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  #61  
Old 15.05.2015, 19:05
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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Do it!!! I did exactly this about three years ago after living in Affoltern am Albis / working in zurich. Moved back to London and the first thing I did.... Was breathe and think, 'Yes - civilisation again'

London / UK maybe be (by comparison) rough round the edges but it feels more real, more alive, more positive (Swiss just moan moan moan) more culturally aware / accepting / more opportunity... The list goes on...

If you miss the skiing, jump on a plane and go to France. Cheaper / better runs / less Swiss...

I'm sorry but you cannot compare living in Affoltern a/A with living in London and base your decision on that, the two cities are about as far apart as you can get.
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  #62  
Old 15.05.2015, 20:15
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

we're going over this question right now and trying to weigh up the pros and cons

for us its all abount the schooling as its, lets be honest, still stuck in the dark ages in some kantons, and unless your kid is exceptionally bright, going to the gimmi is not very easy (especially for a non-native)

sending my oldest boy to the local secondry is not an option so we either move to another town in CH or back to the UK where schooling is a lot more standardised and structered.

in our village they push the "trade" route very heavily, which is probably ok if you never plan to work outside ok CH but thats not really an option for us. even if my son did do that, then a matura, he'd probably graduate at 30 years old!

also the swiss are not a socilable bunch which we do miss.
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  #63  
Old 16.05.2015, 08:49
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

I have lived here since October 1989, - over 25 years. It has been an up and down experience, with more ups than downs!

When I came here I already had 12 years living in Munich behind me, and so from the start I could read the local newspaper and argue with my neighbours.

I still very much enjoy visiting England, apart from London the natives are friendly and the countryside is beautiful. But could I live there again? I don't think so.

I find a major difference between the countries is the legal system. In Britain the laws are either not present, or ignored. Here we are reminded constantly of the petty little rules, and as foreigners we resent these. BUT with everyone following these rules we do have a safe and clean country here.

Many years ago I used to really enjoy leaving Britain, everytime I thought "What a stupid country, why can't they follow Germany's example" but these days either Britain has changed or I have, as I don't enjoy leaving so much. I believe Britain was shaken up by Mrs Thatcher, and it is now a far better place.

Yes there are those unfortunates with 0 hour contracts. Here the long term unemployed are on social security and are seduced into working at crappy jobs for a little bit more money. Not much difference really. (When I was on social security I was offered a bog cleaning job at a hospital, starting at 5 am. Luckily there was no public transport at that time of the morning!)
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  #64  
Old 16.05.2015, 11:01
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

Slightly different situation: my wife and I are Dutch, we came to CH 1981 and left 2014. Would I go back to Holland? Big no. IMHO Holland has changed too much, no further comment. Would I stay in CH? Very big NO. We never really liked it in CH but I had to stay because of my work. We finally left for France (Brittany) last year and have not one minute regreted our decision. Our kids were born in CH, went to school (Berufsmatur and "normal" matur) and left CH to study abroad and stayed abroad. They positively hated it in CH, never felt at home, were mobbed at school starting at Kindergarten. (Kanton Be, Zh and Tg). Our situation improved when we bought a house. No direct neighbours -> no problems. But no social life, unless you find talking about the condition of your tomatoes (potatoes, onions, the wheather ...) very stimulating.

After a few weeks in France neighbours etc. started asking if we intended to stay (lots of people have 2nd homes here), Ah yes? Bienvenue en Bretagne! (Nobody in CH ever bade me welcome ... ).
We soon got (and still get) invited for drinks, coffee, diner, made friends (French!) and sometimes we find it allmost too much We have to get used to it!! Are we happy: yes. Do we feel at home: yes.

Conclusion: we should've left earlier.

BTW: we left Switzerland the very day the MEI was accepted, well, someone can have my place
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  #65  
Old 16.05.2015, 11:28
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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Rising house prices is a by-product of success. They go up here too so that's hardly an argument for Switzerland being better, is it?
Or the intended effect of a change in regulation. From what I understand, in the UK people can buy a home with 5% downpayment (subject to additional restriction, seems to me the vast majority will qualify), government will provide 20% and the bank the remainder.

Nevermind that crazy leverage (by the banks mostly, but still) got the UK into that bloody mess a few years ago they're still suffering from. One could think some can't wait to get smacked, again.
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  #66  
Old 16.05.2015, 11:32
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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Slightly different situation: my wife and I are Dutch, we came to CH 1981 and left 2014. Would I go back to Holland? Big no. IMHO Holland has changed too much, no further comment. Would I stay in CH? Very big NO.
My husband was born in the Netherlands as well, came to the US to go to graduate school, and worked there afterward. He feels the same way about the Netherlands, and I think pretty much for the same reasons as you. It has changed a lot - even in the 20 years we've been together.

We came here nearly 8 years ago for his work - Switzerland has some pretty big golden handcuffs if you're an academic - good salary and resources that you're not likely to find in many other countries - for sure not easily found in the US or UK at the moment, although there are always exceptions.

And there are downsides - there is some insanity and pettiness, it's not Nirvana, but for now we'd rather be here. We prefer it much more to the decimation of the public university system where we were previously.

As for aging parents, it's not just proximity that matters. My mother died in my mid thirties, I was single and in a research, not management position. My boss was very understanding and let me pack up my computer and work from my parents' home 300 miles away for the last 6 weeks of her life, something which I am so grateful for.

Seventeen years later, when my father was dying, I was in a management position elsewhere, and it was so much more difficult to get time to come to visit my father 500 miles away. So even being in the US, it was more difficult. And this predicament really helped me encourage my husband to seriously consider the offer from Switzerland. We moved here shortly after my father's death.

My husband's father was now 7 hours away by car, and we were able to visit him frequently. When my brother in law died suddenly, we could get to the Netherlands quickly. So I'm grateful we have time with my husband's family.

Will we stay here? I don't know. We have had some nibbles again from the US, and some of them are attractive. Time will tell. The big disadvantage in Switzerland is the required retirement at 65 (or whatever it will be in about 15 years). Makes sense for a physical worker, but academics can be productive for a long time afterward. On the other hand, it is favourable for consulting, and we like living here.

I'm not sure I'd want to return to the US, but never say never. We're always going to live near a research-oriented university, and I'm always going to need good health care. So we all have handcuffs of a sort.
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  #67  
Old 16.05.2015, 12:28
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

We have been here for nearly 6 years and believe me the first 2 years were horrible, but once I broke through the 'pain barrier' and just accepted Switzerland for what it was (clean, organised, structured and rules rules rules!) then I stared to relax and really enjoy it here.

Just recently my husbands only bother died very suddenly in an accident, it was very tragic and he left behind his wife and 2 kids of 2 and 6, also his parents are getting older and he has made a case for moving back to the UK to be close to family.....my husband has never settled as well as me and the kiddies have and would love to move back.

The kids love their school, they love to go out an play with their school friends that are also their neighbours, they love to walk to school, to go to the mountains for the day and cook sausages in the middle of nowhere, they love to spend the summer holidays at the local Badi meeting and playing with local friends.....

The life style is great for them and they cannot imagine anything different. They spend a lot of time with their English cousin who has a very different experience - not bad or worse but different and my kids have always thought it odd that he cannot walk to school by himself and his friends live miles away.
Also they are learning a second language in the best way possible, living it. (shame its German but you cant have everything )

School in the UK puts the fear in me, what if we move back and I cant get all 3 in the same school? what if the local school is full and I have to travel miles each day to take them....it may not be like that but im not keen to take the risk right now.

I also dont miss the amount of shopping the Brits do, there was a time in the early days i would do anything just to have a tesco or sainsburys but now when I go back as soon as I enter a tesco I long to be entering my local Coop! So much food, the stores are so massive and there really is sooo much choice (cant believe im moaning about having choice!)
A lot of my friends and family back in the UK make a day out of going to the shops, they seem to be always shopping. Here there is nothing to buy so it isnt really appealing!

Im not doing the UK down but I really think (hope) Im giving my young kids a really good start in life in CH much like what I had (in the UK) I really think if we move back the perceived positives will quickly turn into negatives.

So Im doing my best to persuade my husband that the old saying ' the grass is always greener on the other side' has some truth in it......
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Old 16.05.2015, 13:02
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

Brilliant summary, zurich99.
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  #69  
Old 17.05.2015, 10:36
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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We would go to Watford, so no commuting to Central London involved. To be really honest I am not familiar with the Watford area. I've spend my time in London mostly in the city, Ealing and for a short time Uxbridge..

We were in Watford last week...... certainly wouldn't swap it for Hergiswil!
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Old 17.05.2015, 11:54
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

Having moved around the world my entire life, I really don't think 2 years is enough time to truly feel at home somewhere, it has always taken me 4-5 years. That said it is easier to move away, if you have not quite arrived . I think that you really have to weigh the pros and cons, sit down and make a list together, if the kids are old enough, include them. My experience is that the grass is not greener, just different. Even though my husband has family in England, and does not speak German yet, he says he would not move there to live.
Factors that played a role in our decision to move here were family, job prospects, schooling, language opportunities, quality of life, and finances. But I think the priorities in all those vary for everyone, so you really have to come up with your own .
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Old 18.05.2015, 13:19
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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I'm sorry but you cannot compare living in Affoltern a/A with living in London and base your decision on that, the two cities are about as far apart as you can get.


Lived in Zurich and A/A and worked in Zurich whilst living in A/A. Same difference really...


And for that reason - I'm out!


I mean come on, you'd never see a post like this about life in the UK (or most other countries for that matter).
staying sane in Switzerland: finding happy, interesting activities


For some reason, Switzerland with all it's amazing natural beauty and out door opportunities somehow breeds this (high level) kind of unhappiness...
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  #72  
Old 18.05.2015, 13:27
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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I also dont miss the amount of shopping the Brits do, there was a time in the early days i would do anything just to have a tesco or sainsburys but now when I go back as soon as I enter a tesco I long to be entering my local Coop! So much food, the stores are so massive and there really is sooo much choice (cant believe im moaning about having choice!)
A lot of my friends and family back in the UK make a day out of going to the shops, they seem to be always shopping. Here there is nothing to buy so it isnt really appealing!
I'm not even convinced that Tesco's have that much genuine additional choice. It's easy to confuse inventory with choice. In terms of fruit and veg it's true that Tesco has a lot, largely on account of the broad choice of ethnic fruit and veg which you'd be hard pressed to get here outside of a specialist (and expensive) shop. But in other categories I often have the impression Tesco just packages the same stuff in different ways to create a pretence of choice, whereas in Coop if two cheeses or two wines have different names you can assume they also taste different.
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  #73  
Old 18.05.2015, 13:29
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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I mean come on, you'd never see a post like this about life in the UK (or most other countries for that matter).
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Oh I think there are plenty of unhappy expats in the UK, too! Maybe they don't have a forum to voice their frustration
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Old 18.05.2015, 13:30
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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Oh I think there are plenty of unhappy expats in the UK, too! Maybe they don't have a forum to voice their frustration
yes they do, he's called Nigel Farage
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Old 18.05.2015, 14:00
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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We were in Watford last week...... certainly wouldn't swap it for Hergiswil!
I lived for 8 years in Watford. There or anywhere in Switzerland is a no-brainer. Now in CH for 26 years...
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  #76  
Old 18.05.2015, 14:21
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

Well never say never- for now, we are very happy here. But we also have a huge part of our heart in the UK and always will - as we have our children and grand-children there, and so many good friends there - and love so many parts of that beautiful country...

Our daughters have made us swear that if one day we needed full time care or one of us was left alone - we would go back to the UK. And it would be no hardship at all as we love it there too- in a very different way. We moved here partly due to issues with elderly parents- I had a very difficult time trying to look after them from the UK- as well as holding down a senior job (which I gave up in the end to go back to being a 'minion'), bringing up teenagers and supporting OH in a very time and energy consuming job + looking after a big old place with large garden- never would I want my kids ot have all the 'Angst' it gave me- so want to ensure they are never stuck in the 'teenagers/elderly parents abroad' mill!

(but sorry- Watford it would never be, lol we drive through there as quickly as we can, lol...). The East Midlands would be perfect fo us- in the small market town where we own a lovely appartment- close to the sea and the Peak District + Rutland + Cotswolds and London- with excellent road and rail services to all parts of the UK- including Surrey where OH comes from and where many close relatives and our grand-kids live and Leicester for the multicultural vibrancy and friends where we lived for over 30 years.

For now, we just love having one foot in both places and the wonderful contrast that brings. We love going 'back home' and we love coming back 'back home' when we return- the best of both worlds. There are lovely places further North and in the South West- but just too far for quick access to London and the continent by road, air or rail. East Mids is just perfect and beautful countryside too.

Last edited by Odile; 18.05.2015 at 15:18.
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Old 18.05.2015, 14:52
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Re: Would you trade in your current Swiss life(style) and move back to England?

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This struck a chord.

We, too, had those thoughts - and along with responsibilties here, they kept us doing a balancing act on both sides of the pond.

However, looking back now that 3 out of 4 parents are gone... I wish to heaven that we had moved back home, for whatever time remained, at whatever the cost.

The majestic mountains, pretty vistas, trains running on time that Switzerland offers - these are utterly meaningless compared to the bonds of family.

Sure we were home often, every few weeks those last years, and when not home were in daily contact, managing the situation. But we missed providing the casual chats, the simple gestures, the million and one day-to-day things that are actually far, far more important. And that haunts me.

So if y'all will forgive a Yank for jumping into the discussion: If I could turn back time then yes, I'd trade in my Swiss life(style) and go back home. In a heartbeat.
What a post Meloncollie and the earlier post also struck a chord here with us. Aging parents and all the stuff we miss as you said the gestures etc. Talk about turning back time if only we could.
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