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  #61  
Old 28.07.2008, 14:55
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Perhaps you can 'lend' me one of your choc labs (fruitty or nutty flavour preferred) so I can test-drive her/him - before we inflict our insecurities and tensions on the poor potential seeing-eye pup.

The class is useful, hands-on and fun. Bring a dog, too. We can put her/him on grinding or gnawing duty.



P.S. The other ways I keep sane is to read voraciously, eat just as voraciously, blog, email friends with inane letters, learn how to teach English by CD-ROM/email, dogsit for busy folk, help edit and proof-read theses and CVs, and man a cookie/cakes stall once in a while. Of course, my other half too thinks I do nothing useful all day (I iron only once in three months).



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No sadly not a scentist....space cadet certainly

I'll try the tip for the floor, my wife's convinced I do nothing but sit at the computer all day....I even ask about asian cooking lessons from some nice Malaysian person...yep that was me too.

I was considering using one of our dogs as a 'pat' dog, for therapy for older people and kids who fancy getting slobbered on... was ok in the UK and France, but here slobbering dogs are probably illegal so maybe not
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  #62  
Old 28.07.2008, 15:34
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

I was reaching for the groan button when you mentioned ironing, I tried ducking it for 3 months but the pain from the ear-bashing was too much, and the Rigi sized pile was still there....still if I wait until the afternoon I can do it topless on the balcony....there are some advantages to being appendage-less.

I normally take 'the boss' to work in Zug, so where and when is this doggie thing, what sort of things do they do. We have 2 dogs and a bitch, one dog (Harry) is coming up for 2 and nuetered, and we have a speyed bitch (Minstrel) who's 6 this year, and our intact stud dog (Rolo) who's also nearly six.
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  #63  
Old 28.07.2008, 15:55
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

What you say 'appendageless' I always think of something else (what! are youse neutered?), sorry.

The puppy play group is how Swiss dogs (mostly) end up behaving better than Swiss children, they will have me understand. The puppies discover and play with each other (different colour, breeds and sizes) for 'imprinting' purposes towards a well-adjusted adult life, explore and discover a wading pool filled with colourful balls, cross a narrow bridge following your confident example, walk through an obstacle course, learn to look for their carer round a building, etc.

Will PM you the details and contact number. The model puppy play group is outside Zurich, not Zug. There are others but I don't yet know where and how good they are.

(I meant to bring a choc lab to my cooking class - just for fun. )
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  #64  
Old 28.07.2008, 16:05
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

I'm sure Harry would love that, ladies fawing over him, food on the go.....Where's my brown coat?
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  #65  
Old 29.07.2008, 00:01
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

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Excellent thread, Longbyte!

The single most important lesson for me was learning the difference between 'What I Do' and 'Who I Am'.

The transition from corporate ladder-climber to dependent spouse dealt a severe blow to my self esteem - although I had chosen to give up my career to join my husband, I was unprepared for the loss of identity that came with it. I suddenly had no way to define myself, coming from an environment where 'What One Does' was all-important. I remember being at a party soon after our first move, when the inevitable small talk came up: "So, what do you do?" "Umm....well... nothing." Nearly killed me.
Wow! You've completely hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what I'm feeling right now.
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  #66  
Old 29.07.2008, 22:39
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

I'm another husband following my wife who recently got a job near Luzern. I can't wait to stop working! I'm retiring at 27 Actually, I'll probably work eventually, but I will take a long time off for mountain hiking, cycling, and relaxing.
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  #67  
Old 30.07.2008, 05:38
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

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I'm another husband following my wife who recently got a job near Luzern. I can't wait to stop working! I'm retiring at 27 Actually, I'll probably work eventually, but I will take a long time off for mountain hiking, cycling, and relaxing.
Dude, I'm with you. I'll be joining my wife in Geneva in a couple of weeks and definitely plan to relax, write music, mountain bike, hike w/our dog etc, before I get too serious about looking for a job. Heck, I've earned it with the packing and moving and tying up all the loose ends in Canada I've been doing as of late.
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  #68  
Old 30.07.2008, 16:34
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Well if you ever want to get together for some hiking in the mountains, let me know. I'm free!
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  #69  
Old 31.07.2008, 11:16
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Ok guys - the title of this Thread is "Tips for Trailing Spouses".
Just as most mothers knew a lot about bringing up children until they had own offspring, only to find it didn't work that easily, in the same way, it's 'easy' to find solutions to the 'New in Switzerland Syndrome' when you haven't yet had the problem. The depressing state of being without friends, job, family, not understanding the local dialect even after taking the trouble to learn German, wrestling with official problems and the frustration that everything seem to be done differently from 'at home', has to be experienced to be understood. We are looking for tips from people who HAVE had this experience, here in Switzerland, and are passing their ideas on.
Your discussion about your activities belongs in another Thread.
I'm making a note in my diary, and when you have been here for three months, I'll ask you how you feel. THEN your answer may be relevent to this one.
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Last edited by Longbyt; 31.07.2008 at 12:23. Reason: verb altered in last sentence 'will' is now 'may'!
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  #70  
Old 31.07.2008, 16:27
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

I've already lived in Europe on three occasions in different countries and have spent over three years on the continent, so this isn't as new to me as you have suggested. I love the prospect of making new friends and having new experiences, plus we will be a lot closer to my wife's parents in Romania and her brother in Rome. I actually thrive on change love being in new situations with new challenges. I actually never feel comfortable when I'm in America and I've lived in a city where it's impossible to make friends for 2 years (Boston), but have still made the best of it. It's all about mindset. I find that people that are depressed really aren't trying hard either. I was simply putting a positive spin on the misery and possibly reminding people that there are a lot of things to be excited and happy about when you live in one of the most secure countries on the planet. It could always be a lot worse. Besides, unhappy people always have the option of going back to their own country if they are truly unhappy. And if Switzerland is only temporarily getting you down, a trip to chaotic Italy will cure that!
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  #71  
Old 31.07.2008, 17:08
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

We are looking for suggestions to help Trailing Spouses cope with their very real problems here, in Switzerland. By far the most valuable help comes from those who have been in a similar position and found ways to overcome the difficulties. The lucky folk who have no problems do not need this thread, nor are they the best people to give advice.

If you wish to discuss this further, please PM me.
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  #72  
Old 31.07.2008, 17:35
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

The title is says it's about 'tips' which doesn't necessarily mean there are problems. My tips are to be positive, to do things that you enjoy (like hiking) and to enjoy being in one of the world's best countries. I am also a 'trailing spouse' and wanted to point that out to people. My post was a lot more on-topic than the preceding posts, so why single out those that are enthusiastic about their predicament? This is not the complaints corner.
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  #73  
Old 31.07.2008, 19:59
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Tough crowd...
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Old 31.07.2008, 23:29
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Yeah, don't we new people have enough problems!
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  #75  
Old 01.08.2008, 10:55
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

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We are looking for suggestions to help Trailing Spouses cope with their very real problems here, in Switzerland. By far the most valuable help comes from those who have been in a similar position and found ways to overcome the difficulties. The lucky folk who have no problems do not need this thread, nor are they the best people to give advice.

If you wish to discuss this further, please PM me.
Actually I do not know if this will be appropiate for this thread but I'll post it and repost as a new topic if necessary.

I have been here for almost 4 months as a trailing spouse. I have come to the conclusion that for myself and family it would be better if we moved away from the country temporarily and then re-try in a year or two's time. Has anyone here done that sort of thing?

I recall a former workmate discussing his move to France and then move back to England he said "You can always go back" People forget that and think a move is permanent and one way only. I think its a case of working out what is best for yourself and doing it. if itdoesn't work out then move on.
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  #76  
Old 01.08.2008, 14:38
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

Thanks tincrowdor. That was one of my points. If you're fortunate enough to have the chance to live in Switzerland, you will always have the chance to go back if it doesn't work out. Living abroad is not for everyone I guess, but it suits me personally!
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  #77  
Old 01.08.2008, 16:30
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

OK, here's a tip coming from someone in the religion business:

Join an international church.

Obviously, if you're non-religious, that isn't an option. Also, I say "church," partly because that's the family of faith I belong to and know quite well - and partly because most world cities host international churches. That woudn't be quite as easy for a Jew (though I believe the synagogues in Zürich and Basel have many foreign families), and I have no idea about English speaking Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc communities.

Anyway, for people with a Christian background, international churches can provide support at different levels. A really obvious one is connecting with other people with whom you share a language and the struggles of living in a foreign country. A less obvious one is that values and spirituality are things that help people develop a stronger sense of their identity - and that, oddly enough, can actually make it easier to find your place in a foreign culture. Also - although this can definitely be two-edged sword! - churches are great places to get involved in volunteer work.

(Side note: just in terms of church experience, international churches often have a more open "vibe" than normal churches because people from many different backgrounds and with differing beliefs have to put aside their differences and get along with each other. That's *often* - not always.)

Discalimer: I am not an employee of an international church. However, I am a member of the IPC in Zürich, and I work for the Swiss Reformed church.

Oh, and BTW, if you're trying to integrate into the Swiss world, an international church is more likely a *bad* idea!

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  #78  
Old 01.08.2008, 16:53
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

thanks for the tip, i've been considering it...but wanted to settle in a bit first.
could you please explain your last comment?!? does it just take too much of your time?
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Old 01.08.2008, 17:56
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

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thanks for the tip, i've been considering it...but wanted to settle in a bit first.
could you please explain your last comment?!? does it just take too much of your time?
No problem! I expect you mean the bit about staying away from international churches if you're trying to integrate.

If so, it's because 90% of "going native" is the language. And you don't get the language (not at a near-native level, I mean) without complete language immersion - i.e., fleeing English speakers like the plague.

I've been in CH for a bit over 13 years now (wife Swiss). When I arrived I was about 25, I couldn't speak a word of German, but for various reasons it seemed pretty clear that Switzerland was the place we wanted to be - and that I was going to have to get really, really good at German. That worked out - partly because I was able to take three months of full-time German at the very start (long live Migros!) and even more because I simply stopped speaking anything but German. A month-and-a-half into my beginner German course I even demanded that my wife (two months into our marriage) stop speaking Italian to me. (It used to take about 15 minutes to narrate highly complex events like "me go store buy banana on sale but no get sticky price ticket and then angry, angry, angry money-machine lady at me says "stupid!" Not me stupid, her stupider!!")

During those first few years I would have been a lot happier in the expat community. In fact, if there had been something like this forum I probably would have climbed inside the computer. But if you want to "go native" and you're older then 10, you almost have to be pretty extreme about it.

Anyway, not everyone needs to "go native" - particularly people who are in traditional expat situations (and "trailing spouses" typically are). I think it's good to make an effort to learn German, particularly if people have some time and money available and even more particularly if they have children growing up here and think they might stay permanently. But there are other important things, too.

Last edited by mikegray; 01.08.2008 at 22:56.
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Old 02.08.2008, 00:16
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Re: Tips for Trailing Spouses

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OK, here's a tip coming from someone in the religion business:

Join an international church.
At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I have to agree with Mr Gray.

When I first arrived here, my ex-fiancee's mother (who was good enough to help me out, despite the fact that I was no longer an associate member of the family - for that I shall always be grateful) suggested I join a church. I would have loved to have done - especially when I discovered what a lovely crowd the Anglican community of Zurich were at a bookfair later that year - but I couldn't bring myself to act against my conscience merely for the purposes of meeting people.

My loss. About a year later, one of my colleagues arrived 'fresh off the boat', and within a weekend had made friends and useful contacts amongst her church community, with whom she'd already made contact through her organisation back home. They took her on trips, helped her find a flat, helped her furnish it, and, perhaps most importantly, provided her with comfort and support during those most difficult first few weeks.

I envied my colleague, and realised then the value of membership of a religious community.

It isn't for me, but if you are a member of an organised religion, then you certainly have a ready-made network to help you settle in to your new situation.

Oh, and I have to say: You chaps make some wonderful music.

(Can one be an associate member of a church?)
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