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  #21  
Old 22.05.2012, 14:12
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

It's good to know others feel this way too...
That's exactly how I feel. Knowing that there is more of us helps...
I try not to blame it on anything or anyone but after 7 months it is clear l will never like the country... It didn't happen until now so it's not going to happen later.

I really hoped to adjust easily as I always loved this life style and travelling was a choice and pleasure not a must. I never wanted to live differently or stay where I was born but it looks like 7 months in Switzerland is nothing to call this place Home. Time goes so slowly here and I really see no changes... I also have no motivation to fight for it, partly because knowing the language, meeting new people and 'killing time' will not solve this problem. It is still killing time and suffering not living your life to the fullest. You try to make yourself happy where you are but it is still trying and fighting, pretending that "it's not so bad and will get better with time".

I try to work, travel and make friends. I am open for new ideas, meetings, visits, organizing activities with (new) friends so I can't say it was my choice to feel isolated but there are weeks when I'm totally depressed... It is exactly how you described it here. It feels like I made this decision for someone but I forgot about myself... I have no goal, no plans, no pressure, no purpose to exist and no job to do on this planet... it feels awful to feel like you are living for nothing, not having any plans for yourself or hopes to change things...
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:15
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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... they feed off each other. Sometimes that goes in a positive direction, but unfortunately sometimes it's a downwards spiral.
I spent a year living in Stuttgart. Due to the fact these things are more affordable in Germany than this lovely country, I arranged weekly dinners for the expat community (initially via the toytown website), and weekly drinks, and most weekends off to a festival or daytrip.

It was a large group, of up to 35 people, all having a great time.

For two weeks, a new small group of three women came to my dinners. They spent the entire time moaning about Stuttgart, how they hated Germany and how they hated their life there. They fed off each other. Each time someone suggested coming on one of our wacky adventures (pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg Palace anyone?) they laughed, said how dull that must be, and that instead they were going to drive to an outlet store. Which in their words was crap, expensive and had rubbish clothes, but they were going to spend the day driving there and back anyway.

After two weeks, thankfully, they stopped coming to our dinners. Total downers. The three were all "expat wives". They had taken the fact that they didn't decide to come to Stuttgart as an excuse to just bitch continually about where they were. And any attempt to get them involed in life (from festivals to a clubbing night out) was met with a patronising laugh. They'd never done those things but oh my aren't they rubbish in Stuttgart.

They were miserable. And they deserved to be. No sympathy at all from me. It's as if they enjoyed being miserable. Maybe they actually did!
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:16
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

I should have been a psychologist!
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:19
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I'm not a trailing spouse or a WAG as I came here under my own steam....so I've no experience to draw on here but I definitely agree with some of your points. My philosophy is that I am responsible for my own success in life, but also being tenacious, going the extra mile and stepping out of my comfort zone also work for me. Admittedly, my german skills are basic (I may address that in the future if I see it as being prohibitive) but so far it hasn't stopped me having a nice life in CH for the last 6 years.
This. Exactly.

I first came to CH on my own. I was an au pair meant for teaching English to children. I came with ZERO German, no friends, no idea what to expect.

I didn't really need intensive German, but learned it slowly from the kids. It was helpful, and I made myself read the 20 Minuten everyday. Not because I needed to, but because I wanted to know what was going on where I lived!

I went out -- alone. I wandered -- alone. I explored -- alone. But by doing those things, I met people. I made friends. I met my future husband.

Language isn't the only necessary component for getting on with life! (But many use it as an excuse not to.)

It was only after leaving here for 3 years that I had to come back as a trailing spouse. I still had my friends from before, but this time took language courses. I made NEW friends -- ones that German was our only common language. I made a life for myself that did not depend on my husband to keep me entertained.
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:24
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

Do expat wives have the right to work in Switzerland?
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:25
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

It is important for people to take control of their lives - set goals and achieve the Positive Future they deserve... All power to the people who do this, as it is not easy to move from Negative to Positive - it takes a lot of strength...
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:27
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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Do expat wives have the right to work in Switzerland?
It depends on the type of visa they have.

I have the right, thankfully. But it did take a long time to find a job that my specialized training was helpful for, and that didn't require near perfect German.
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:32
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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It depends on the type of visa they have.

I have the right, thankfully. But it did take a long time to find a job that my specialized training was helpful for, and that didn't require near perfect German.
I would have thought that all expat wives would have the right to work here. Immigrants do often have to take relatively low skilled jobs.
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:34
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I would have thought that all expat wives would have the right to work here. Immigrants do often have to take relatively low skilled jobs.
When I moved here as a dependent on my husband's work permit (late 90s, non EU), I did not have the right to work.
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:37
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I spent a year living in Stuttgart. Due to the fact these things are more affordable in Germany than this lovely country, I arranged weekly dinners for the expat community (initially via the toytown website), and weekly drinks, and most weekends off to a festival or daytrip.

It was a large group, of up to 35 people, all having a great time.

For two weeks, a new small group of three women came to my dinners. They spent the entire time moaning about Stuttgart, how they hated Germany and how they hated their life there. They fed off each other. Each time someone suggested coming on one of our wacky adventures (pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg Palace anyone?) they laughed, said how dull that must be, and that instead they were going to drive to an outlet store. Which in their words was crap, expensive and had rubbish clothes, but they were going to spend the day driving there and back anyway.

After two weeks, thankfully, they stopped coming to our dinners. Total downers. The three were all "expat wives". They had taken the fact that they didn't decide to come to Stuttgart as an excuse to just bitch continually about where they were. And any attempt to get them involed in life (from festivals to a clubbing night out) was met with a patronising laugh. They'd never done those things but oh my aren't they rubbish in Stuttgart.

They were miserable. And they deserved to be. No sympathy at all from me. It's as if they enjoyed being miserable. Maybe they actually did!
Not everyone is cut out to live a different country. Some people LIKE their lives they way they were. I'll bet at home they didn't run off to pumpkin festivals either. In my short stint as an relocation agent, the very first thing I would talk to the not-yet-working spouse about was to be careful of these types of expats. They suck you in and they suck your energy. Of course we can all have a bit of a moan. Just be careful of the under tow.

Also, I think we forget that some of the people we sort of get thrown in with would never be our friends at home. My first two years in Geneva were a nightmare and much of that was because I hated "my friends". Once I realized that I hadn't choose them and I wasn't obliged to be friends with them life got so much better.

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I would have thought that all expat wives would have the right to work here. Immigrants do often have to take relatively low skilled jobs.
Now also all spouse can work, except for L permit holders. Taking a low skilled job is not going to necessarily make you happier and don't forget it's likely the low skill jobs are the ones that require the local language. And sometimes the career, training that the spouse has isn't transferable to a foreign country. They don't have locally accepted qualifications, etc.
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:39
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I would have thought that all expat wives would have the right to work here. Immigrants do often have to take relatively low skilled jobs.
Hold on a second! You're opening up an old discussion there! Expats vs Immigrants

Immigrants = take relatively low skilled jobs
Expats = upper class Immigrants??
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:40
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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It's good to know others feel this way too...
That's exactly how I feel. Knowing that there is more of us helps...
I try not to blame it on anything or anyone but after 7 months it is clear l will never like the country... It didn't happen until now so it's not going to happen later.

I really hoped to adjust easily as I always loved this life style and travelling was a choice and pleasure not a must. I never wanted to live differently or stay where I was born but it looks like 7 months in Switzerland is nothing to call this place Home. Time goes so slowly here and I really see no changes... I also have no motivation to fight for it, partly because knowing the language, meeting new people and 'killing time' will not solve this problem. It is still killing time and suffering not living your life to the fullest. You try to make yourself happy where you are but it is still trying and fighting, pretending that "it's not so bad and will get better with time".

I try to work, travel and make friends. I am open for new ideas, meetings, visits, organizing activities with (new) friends so I can't say it was my choice to feel isolated but there are weeks when I'm totally depressed... It is exactly how you described it here. It feels like I made this decision for someone but I forgot about myself... I have no goal, no plans, no pressure, no purpose to exist and no job to do on this planet... it feels awful to feel like you are living for nothing, not having any plans for yourself or hopes to change things...
Isabela, your post I could have written a few months ago, using the exact same words. A few months later, I can safely say that you do have a purpose and you do have goals, plans, and a job to do - you just have "lost track" of them, because the radical change in your life kind of shuffled them around in a way that makes it more difficult to see them clearly. Don't beat yourself up if you are unhappy from time to time - it is what it is. But please ask yourself what exactly is making you unhappy, and then do all you possibly can to try and kill the source of it - perhaps you won't like the answer, but this change of attitude from "can't" to "can do" is a must to survive, here or elsewhere.

What makes you unhappy? (you don't have to answer, just as an example). If it's work - can you change it? Can you move within the company? Can you take a break and do some courses? If it's the lack of work - what is the problem? Can you work as an independent? Can you consider a job in another country and commute over weekends, etc.? If it's the lack of social life - are you coming out to meet people at events? And so forth.

I am in Zurich, so if you ever feel like an evening coffee or drink sometimes, feel free to send me a PM. And remember to smile at yourself in the mirror when you get up in the morning - sounds stupid, but it works wonders
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  #33  
Old 22.05.2012, 14:43
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Do expat wives have the right to work in Switzerland?
It depends, of course on the permit issued. For us, my ability to work or not was a deal breaker. As it turned out, it was a non issue...and I've not worked much. It was important to have the choice.

So often, I think what really makes people unhappy is that lack of choice. The feeling that you are trapped.when expats isolate themselves, and see only other expats or try to hold on to their culture too hard without adopting anything else, it's easy to dig yourself into a dark hole. Try as you might, you cannot replicate "home".

One of the reasons we like it here is that we haven't felt constrained by the culture, and we do feel we have choices.
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  #34  
Old 22.05.2012, 14:51
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I'm not saying that it's impossible to truly dislike Switzerland. But at least give a fighting chance, and dislike it for the right reasons!
Lilke being closed on Sundays
and being bumped into for no apparent reason
and paying for a toilet
and no air conditioning
and paying over 100 Francs for a dinner for 2 at a mediocre restaurant
and... speed cameras.... wtf is up with speed cameras???
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Old 22.05.2012, 14:56
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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Lilke being closed on Sundays
and being bumped into for no apparent reason
and paying for a toilet
and no air conditioning
and paying over 100 Francs for a dinner for 2 at a mediocre restaurant
and... speed cameras.... wtf is up with speed cameras???
Exactly.

But don't forget:

difficulties finding brown sugar
difficulties finding baking soda

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  #36  
Old 22.05.2012, 14:59
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

I'm going to promote my other thread about making a film now...

If you are bored, lost etc why not join us and make a film? You will meet people and have a reason to get up in the morning. Maybe the contact will help and make you feel more at home.

Maybe we should even make this the topic of the film ( or short film).
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Old 22.05.2012, 15:00
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

Adrian,

They probably thought your dinner parties were dull too, that's why they stopped visiting
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Old 22.05.2012, 15:03
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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Maybe we should even make this the topic of the film ( or short film).
I'd love to make a film about this, but I have no experience whatsoever!

"Expats' Adventures in Swiss" [ Spelled incorrectly on purpose ], The plot will defo involve searching for brown sugar, trying to pull Swiss girls, complaining about how expensive everything is, going to a forum meet up and driving to eat KFC in a different country! It will win a trophy somewhere I'm sure!
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Old 22.05.2012, 15:06
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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Oh, come on. Money isn't everything

Why should their feelings and perceptions be belittled, just because their husbands have money??
I take it the majority won't be their husband's slaves? Presumably, the majority will have the gumption to shift expectations and chose to be happy with their cushioned lot... or do something about it, which money greatly helps achieve.

God help the poor, though; they're always with us and don't have the option to self wallow in SUVs when worrying about the rent. There's a fair number of down at heels here too, who are excluded from the VIP.

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They lifted themselves up, made the changes they needed to, got themselves fluent in the language, built a social circle, kicked out the husband, found employment and made the life they wanted.

I'm not saying life is all puppies and rainbows. Problems don't disappear because you plaster a smile on your face. What makes the difference is the attitude we have to adversity and how we deal with it.
Someone wise (from this here Forum) once said "Life will teach them a lesson" and that phrase has stuck in my mind ever since. You have to lead from the front.




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<snip> Taking a low skilled job is not going to necessarily make you happier ...
Hopefully those who don't need low paid jobs aren't taking the places from those who do need them. If you need a job and are willing to work whatever it takes to pay the rent, then yes, there's dignity in labour. Working classes know all about that.
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Old 22.05.2012, 15:06
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Re: are you singing the expat blues?

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I'd love to make a film about this, but I have no experience whatsoever!

"Expats' Adventures in Swiss" [ Spelled incorrectly on purpose ], The plot will defo involve searching for brown sugar, trying to pull Swiss girls, complaining about how expensive everything is, going to a forum meet up and driving to eat KFC in a different country! It will win a trophy somewhere I'm sure!
Sounds good to me a nice comedy to cheer us all up.
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