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Old 30.01.2011, 22:04
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What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Since there are so many foreigners here in Switzerland, and many seem to be living very happily, i just wonder if people only feel happy when they can feel they have settled in?

So, here follows this question: what makes you feel you have settled in? I am myself sometimes confused about this. Of course, I will go back home after some time here, but it is still a problem for me, as I may go to different cities in my country too.

Do you think buying your own house in the city where you work is the most important thing to convince you that you have settled in?
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:07
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Settled in is a state of mind.
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:30
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Having friends, routines and not getting lost in the streets.
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:37
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Bumping into people that you know when you go out for the day - for example, yesterday we went iceskating and there were two other families from our kids school there. Today we went up a mountain to go sledding and bumped into a colleague with her family on the train station...

Relaxing in your own place - and realising that you haven't been out of town for over a month, and out of the country for 6...
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:41
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

I felt settled when I applied for my second job here. Doing that made the place feel like home rather than a mere work placement.

Also: Talking about going "home" when going to the airport after visiting family in England.
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:45
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Local farmers wave at me, don't know why (maybe I buy stuff past the sell by date?)

My local garage guy fixes stuff for free?

Tom

Damned if I know!
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:48
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

For me it was having visitors from home that did it. On a practical level for starters: me having to find everything, show everything, translate everything for them... reminded me just how gormless I must have looked myself in the beginning! (Don't get me wrong, I still don't understand everything around me - but I don't wander around the Hauptbahnhof like a lost lamb any more, or try to GPS my way out to the right tram stop, and that is progress.)

Also, the fact that family do visit us here is sort of settledness-affirming in itself. I'm not away from home, I'm at home now, and this is where they can come and visit us.
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Old 30.01.2011, 22:56
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

I've never felt especially settled anywhere, but I don't much mind.
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Old 30.01.2011, 23:07
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

What made me feel settled was probably some new friends asking me for help with integrating, using me as a data bank ...

Then, being back home and realizing there are a bunch of things I miss now, when I am there. Like, I never thought I would actually admit, the bread. The low key ambiance, etc. How clean things are, and reliable the infrastructure is. How ego-less some people can be...

When I look forward to watching the local news now, as if they were my news. For me. Not being able to get my fix on info related to people's life here, not understanding the newspaper and radio stuff was really painful before, made me feel like an ignorant newcomer.

Knowing where to go and who to ask when one is in trouble made me feel settled. And then, fidning things related to my studies, the libraries, info centers, surfing for info in a local language and understanding, conferences.

And, ultimately, getting my band together again will make me feel like at home. Getting my painting started again, too. I guess those are the last things that had to wait.
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Old 30.01.2011, 23:18
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

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When I look forward to watching the local news now, as if they were my news. For me. Not being able to get my fix on info related to people's life here, not understanding the newspaper and radio stuff was really painful before, made me feel like an ignorant newcomer.

.
So, if you didn't understand German, you would hardly feel settled?

As for the people who don't speak local language?
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Old 30.01.2011, 23:25
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

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So, if you didn't understand German, you would hardly feel settled?

As for the people who don't speak local language?
I think I didn't feel settled until I got my local lingo up to a usable level. I do know bunch of folks who don't really know the local lingo yet still feel very much home here. I have known people like this all over the world, though. I think it is a personal thing, it makes me a lot more independent knowing how to take care of things, answer phones, arrange appointments, tell people off when they bug me or bond with locals in a brutal version of French but somewhat working...

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Old 30.01.2011, 23:30
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

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So, if you didn't understand German, you would hardly feel settled?

As for the people who don't speak local language?
I feel settle without speaking the German. I have my friends, my doctors, my neighbourhood stores when they know me, I know where to buy what.
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Old 30.01.2011, 23:58
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

For me it will be when I can get by in the local language and when I have a home that I feel comfortable inviting local friends over to dinner in.
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Old 31.01.2011, 00:02
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

We are all different, thank Dog- but personally I just do not know how one can feel settled somewhere without being able to communicate with people, at all sorts of levels. I try to imagine how my experience of living in the UK would have turned out, had I not learnt to communicate. I am not making a judgment - just don't get it at all. Same for my OH here, and other family members and friends all over the world.
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Old 31.01.2011, 00:20
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

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So, if you didn't understand German, you would hardly feel settled?
Who gives a crap about German?

My girlfriend doesn't speak it, and it's her mother tongue!

Tom
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Old 31.01.2011, 00:36
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

The language has become a barrier to me feeling settled.

I have been doing German evening courses for 4 years now and have only reached level B2 because I do not have a huge opportunity to use it (I use it practically every day but not all day every day). I used to live in France and my French improved to a standard where in daily life, people couldn't tell I wasn't French. That made me feel integrated and as such settled. I now compare my bad German to my french and I know that I have let my lack of language become a barrier to me feeling integrated.

I really admire people who can feel at home even though their language skills are sometimes far from perfect. I worry that I am not doing my best particularly for my two children in guiding them through their life here because I am not the best advocate I could be for them, precisely because of my lack of language skills.

So yes, for me, understanding the language and being able to express myself fluently is crucial to me feeling settled, but I do wish it wasn't!
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Old 31.01.2011, 00:49
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

We moved here because of my husband's job. Although that 1-2 year assignment turned into 13 and counting, we can't forget that we stay at the whim of my husband's employer. Sooner or later we'll have to move on.

On a personal level, that means while I feel comfortable here, I just can't let myself put down roots; been there, done that, broke my heart when it was time to leave. Since then, I've learned to live with the suitcases always packed - at least in my mind. No matter how long we stay, no matter how well I speak the language, no matter how involved I am in the community - in my mind I'll likely always be 'just passing through'.

I suppose I'll feel settled the day I unpack those suitcases. Wherever that happens to be.

But on the whole, Switzerland is a nice place to be 'unsettled'.
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Old 31.01.2011, 08:30
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Well, just small things, like speaking German, having Swiss friends, bought a house, got citizenship, had kids born here, taking vacations inside Switzerland, and having developed a taste for blutwurst and leberwurst. And defending Switzerland on this forum against onslaughts by lost inbroad. Boy, I am at the point of no return.
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Old 31.01.2011, 08:54
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Pretty much settled in by making the first steps about three years ago and reaching to the local communities. Although we are not that much close altogether but we can always rely on few people here, mostly those who are well travelled and used to live internationally before. From language point of view, we do not find pressure and need to speak any of the local languages. I work with international people and we predominantly use English at the workplace. There are German classes offered but there is no such requirements. We do not follow political scene much here but in general we try to be knowledgable about what going on around us. International TV feeds us with the global news. It's just average, most of the time very interesting and only at sometimes boring expats life. We reckon that we are doing pretty well though despite being surrounded by lots of complains people in similar shoes make. We still cannot decide whether it is temporary or permanent. We will play cards tossed out by the destiny trying to help it as much as we can.

We have our favourite sports centers, mountains, places to go, shops and etc. Settling down is time consuming process. Each to their own. Some people find it more conducive and matter of months but some will be struggling even after years.
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Old 31.01.2011, 09:26
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Re: What makes you feel that you have settled in here?

Bought a house. Kids in local school. Four different jobs. Swiss friends (And I still don't speak German very well.) Being quite happy to drive across Aeschenplatz, Kannenfeldplatz, junction at Markthalle, and Wettsteinplatz.
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