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Old 13.04.2008, 22:26
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Re: How do people live here?!

Hi TexasMomma,

The hubs and I moved here from NY three years ago, but for us the culture shock hasn't been as great. In comparison to the apartment we had there (which was the size of a crackerbox), our 100m flat here is a palace plus we have a balcony with beautiful views of Lake Zurich, and the rent is even less than what we paid in NY. So for us, home life has definitely improved here.

Home ownership is NOT a big thing here like it is in the States. There aren't the same tax incentives to own as there are in the US. In fact, Switzerland has one of the lowest home ownership rates in Europe. Plus, it's a smaller country, so living is more compact. I know, coming from TX, this will be shocking for you and your family, but you'll get used to it.

Regarding the washing machine situation, it's really not that bad. For me, having an assigned day solely for myself is better than the catch-as-catch-can situation I had to deal with in my apt. building in NY. Every time I wanted to do the laundry, the machines were being used It's also possible that you may find an apartment (or even a house since there are houses for rent) with a W/D in the unit and then you'll be able to wash whenever you'd like.

Yes, the perceived necessity for personal space is an American thing. So don't be surprised when people stand closer to you on the Tram or in shops and in queues. Again, coming from NY we were already used to crowds.

As for *rich* living, less is more here and bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity.

Be prepared for sticker shock. Even the smallest, most mundane things will cost more money here than what you're used to in the States. There is no such thing here as Costco or Sam's Club, though we do have Carrefour, which is like a French version of Walmart. You will also have to pay more for extras like ketchup and mustard at McDonald's or bratwurst stands. If you're a fan of takeout Chinese or Mexican, you can forget about that here. There are places, but they're overpriced and the food is not that great

For clothing, footwear and accessories, I buy everything from the US (nothing beats Neiman Marcus' sales ). The selection is better and the prices are less. For English books and CD's, we order from Amazon and have them ship it here. Even with the shipping costs and duties (if any), it's still cheaper than buying from an English bookstore here. Ditto for vitamins and supplements. Some things just aren't available here.

Don't be put off, though. You will find it is possible to adapt and live without things you were otherwise convinced were necessities, and you may also make some new and interesting discoveries about yourself in the process.

Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

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Okay, first I have to apologize for being a spoiled, ignorant, American. Bear with me though, I am trying to expand my horizons! Please understand I know I am ignorant! I am honestly confused about the "rich" living when it all seems to small to me.
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