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Old 19.09.2014, 22:16
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So far so good - my thoughts a month in...[updated 20 months in]

I read a lot about life in CH on this forum on the run up to moving - some really positive and reassuring stuff and other things that made me want to volunteer for experimental rectal surgery before moving to CH....I would imagine that is the case for many searchers and lurkers here....(the mixed emotions not the experimental surgery)

So I wanted to give my thoughts on a few things a month in to living in Canton Vaud.

On Red tape/bureaucracy - at times it has felt like trying to braid snot but mostly it works. You just have to patient (something I am not) and not expect anything to happen overnight. We were on a very tight schedule (6 weeks from finding out we were moving from the UK to heading over with a van of our stuff) and we still managed it. Our meticulous planning of the inventory for getting through customs was not needed as there wasnt anyone on the border at Valorbe (and we have since been told locally that there almost 'never' is) and the only thing that was hard work was the letting agent for the house...and they are gits the world over. Getting a bank account was really straight forward as was getting the car plates in the end. I have to say though the famed Swiss efficiency still feels like somewhat of a myth other than the public transport and getting the kids in school!

On finding somewhere to live being almost impossible - not true but it depends on your expectations. All I read was how we wouldn't be able to get anything. We did. BUT we didnt want to live in the city and we opted for a temporary place for the first 6 months which while a pain in one respect as we have to move again, I have learned SO much about where I DO want to live and where I DO NOT and what I need from the location and home itself. I am incredibly thankful to a wonderful EF member for signposting me to https://www.sabbaticalhomes.com where we found a place. Now I am sorting out somewhere for the new year and while it's tedious, it's doable - again with patience and plenty of petrol in the car. I have people chasing me up about places we have shown interest in so I don't think we will be homeless.

On the notion that everything is extortionately expensive - housing definitely is from a UK persons perspective but the wages reflect that. When grocery shopping it's swings and roundabouts. We worked on a vastly inflated weekly shopping budget and while we are spending a little more that's been mainly because the booze is so cheap, the sun has been shining and we spent the first 2 weeks thinking we were on holiday! Car insurance has been cheaper for us as has the car and the petrol to go in it.
I can't comment on eating out yet as we aren't lucky enough to have anyone to look after the kids so we can and TBH we aren't at a time in our lives where we do that a lot anyway - we have young kids and one at uni so we have been there done that! But I have noticed that cafe prices are pretty normal which is about the extent of my 'eating out' at the moment!

On The Swiss being....Swiss... - I kept reading that the Swiss were a funny breed. From the stare to them just being ..... well 'Swiss' is what people said. I have to say with the only exception being a grumpy old man in Migros car park and another grumpy old man driving the bus, everyone has been welcoming, patient, helpful and basically wonderful - and they were just generic grumpy old men who you might find anywhere. Even with my poor french I honestly have been bowled over by the kindness shown to me and my family. The kids are enjoying local school and all the neighbours are delightful. We just had another invitation to a BBQ on our street - and they are Swiss-German!!

On being quiet on sunday - the first sunday here with my 2 kids and 2 dogs (one habitual barker) was hell. I was paranoid about my husband farting too loud and we live in a house. I was worried about even thinking about moving the lawnmower ready for monday incase next-door was telepathic. I shut the windows on a roasting hot day to switch the KitchenAid on. I took the dogs collars off so when they scratched their ears their tags didn't jangle too loud. I nearly left my husband for putting wine bottles in the recycling to clink-y-ly....I almost changed my kids names to 'SHUSHHHHH'....
Then the following sunday I saw my SWISS neighbours VACUUMING their car out as their little girl ran screaming up and down the lane and I chilled the f*** out. Turns out they don't bite.

So if someone happens across this post as they research a potential or planned move I hope it gives some hope that it isn't always a total mare and you are not a complete idiot for wondering about these and other things....and if you have been chastised by an EFer for asking a dumb question or not searching properly here don't worry....they're just being Swiss.

Last edited by MaybeeSkint; 20.09.2014 at 00:08.
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Old 23.09.2014, 19:38
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Re: So far so good - my thoughts a month in....

That`s a really nice post right there. Thanks for sharing .
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Old 30.04.2016, 20:47
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Re: So far so good - my thoughts a month in....UPDATED 20 months in!

What a difference 19 months makes...

Well we are still here and life is good! I think 6 months in I was going a little crazy but that was mainly due to the pressure of needing to find a place to live. My opening post talked about finding somewhere to live in the Lausanne/Swiss Riviera area as not being *too* bad but when we came to find somewhere after our 6 month stint in temporary accommodation it wasnt totally plain sailing. I think we were fortunate in many ways as we didnt want to be *in* Lausanne but we did want a garden, pets welcome and the much coveted affordable 3+ bed apartment, so we soon found that limited options. Long story short I needed the patience of a saint when it came to dealing with regies (letting agents) because they seem to revel in the power they weald. I learned that a good dossier helps massively and this would have everything that they would possibly ask for including usual docs: permits if poss, attestations, references, office des poursuites certs, police certs, passports, salary slips, letter describing why you would be awesome tenants and even a nice wholesome looking family picture. I almost gave up and planned the 'nuclear apocalypse option' which involved selling/storing everything, driving home with the kids and pets and leaving my hubby to find us somewhere while sofa surfing. Ironically when I let go that day I finally got 'the call' to say we had THE apartment we wanted all along. Preparation, patience and perseverance.

Swiss (or certainly french-swiss) efficiency continues to mainly be a myth. We have learned to accept that 'it is what it is' and in some cases warmed to it. The trains never fail to impress and we found ourselves on the last leg of our recently holiday in the U.S. flying Swiss Airlines and cooing to each other over how much more superior it was to the other airlines we'd been with....we've booked with Swiss back to the UK for the summer

Financially, now that we are 'in to' life here (know the supermarkets, good deals, great places to eat, cheap work rounds etc) we are by a country mile significantly better off than we were in the UK. This was even before I found a job. My hubby is not a big corporate salary earner BUT we are able to have holidays we didnt expect, eat out when we want to (not often due to young family) support our daughter through uni and have the kids in a few activities. Life is good for us all here and since I managed to find the holy grail of mum's jobs - part time AND around Swiss public school hours, and we have more disposable income than we have had all our married life. We are by no means loaded but for us it's been life changing.

The Swiss continue to be...Swiss but we have many more friends in our new place which is very international both in make up and outlook. The kids remain in Swiss public school (even though both my hubby and I work in private schools they could attend) and are thriving. People here said public was the best option for integration and language acquisition and they are absolutely right. My kids were both fluent in french in well under a year and my 7 year old is actually one of the very top of her class in french, above many native speakers. Longer term we will move probably them to an international system but that it's necessary right now. I never want them to lose this amazing gift and it's certainly made us think about future moves.

9/10 months in was as hard as we were warned. I thought I would lose my mind without a job but putting myself out there paid off and I bagged a great job that I enjoy and works around the kids. Going through the pain barrier and not quitting paid off.

We came to Switzerland because that is where 'the universe' sent us. No grand plan. Now we are here I can see us staying a good while longer.

Last edited by MaybeeSkint; 30.04.2016 at 21:16.
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Old 30.04.2016, 22:30
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Re: So far so good - my thoughts a month in....

Thanks for sharing this experience. I agree on the myth that everything is extremely expensive. This is true if one decides to eat every night at the restaurant. Otherwise everyone will be better off than in most of any other european country right now
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