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Old 06.01.2019, 18:59
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Homesickness and other problems

Hi,

I live in Switzerland for almost 6 months now but still feel like I haven't arrived here yet. I have a lot of trouble understanding the local dialect even though I speak High German fluently. I tried to make friends but ended up without a single friend here. At work I feel isolated because of my language problems. Most of the time I don't understand my co-workers when they talk to each other.

Yesterday my mother (69) called me and told me about a diagnosis she got last week. She apparently has a heart disease and her doctor banned her from doing any work. According to her doctor, this can be permanent. She owns a large house in a small village and has to do all the housework alone because my father died several years ago. I'm her only child and feel like I betray her by staying in Switzerland.

I currently think about returning back to the Netherlands. I miss my mom and my friends back home. What would you guys do in my situation? It probably was a huge mistake to move here.

Regards,
shag
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Old 06.01.2019, 19:09
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

Are you here just for the money? Or did you move because of love, a great job or some other important reason?


Netherlands is a great country, you are not escaping famine, war or poverty. You have freedom of movement freely without visas.


So what's keeping you in a foreign country with no support network, away from people you obviously love? When you figure out why you came here, you'll have your answer.


Everyone when moving abroad knows ill parents and lack of network come along for granted. The language issue is easy, register in a Swiss German course and in 6 months you'll speak perfectly. Most of us don't even speak High German, you are fluent so the rest is just a matter of time.


Maybe you just need a new job? It's 40% of your day, you must be happy there.


Switzerland is not easy to integrate for sure, but it doesn't sound like the answers lie with any of us in a forum but you probably already know what's wrong and have trouble facing it.


Consider paying 3-4 hours to go to a therapist and see if they can make whatever is causing this to bubble up. Could make things easier.


Best of luck and try to remember how good you have it either way, with the choices you have.
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  #3  
Old 06.01.2019, 19:18
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

So sorry for your troubles!

6 months is a very short time to feel integrated in Switzerland, the wintertime can make it especially punishing. The Swiss are a very sincere bunch, it takes a long time to win their trust and friendship. Try and be honest with your colleagues and ask that they speak in high German or English when you are socializing. I also recommend that you try and build a network of expat friends as they are in your same shoes and are quicker to make friendships since they are also feeling homesick.

I don’t know the reason why you came here, if it is for your career...list the pros and cons for sticking it out a bit longer. I am also an only child and can sympathize with your pain. Luckily the NL isn’t too far and with EasyJet, hopefully you can get home as often as possible.

All the best!
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Old 06.01.2019, 19:25
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

Good posts above - andI won't repeat.

Most of us know how difficult it can be- here, there or anywhere- when you move abroad. And that this becomes much harder when parents become frail and elderly, and the guilt set in. We moved here to help my very elderly parents (in the 90s though - not late 60s (my age ) ... and they both died very soon after- in fact, my mum 3 weeks before our move. I had lived in the UK for 39 years.

No-one can advise you, only sympathise and say we do get it - as we have most of us been there- and that is is not easy.

In the short term- an't you try and spend more time back with your mum, and see if you can help her rationalise the work in her home- close the rooms she does not use (we only use less than a 1/4 of our home and only clean the other rooms when required)- symplify the garden, declutter, etc. And have her come to spend time with ou here?

Bonne chance - Spring and sunshine will be here soon, and you may feel totally differently. x
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Old 06.01.2019, 19:29
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

You got the call from your mother only 24 hours ago. You are still in crisis mode and fast-problem-solving mode. Stop. Take a deep breath.



You came here for a reason. You are reacting to the call from your mother. That is only natural. Take the time to completely evaluate all of your options. Remember, if it is a question of housework at your mom's house, she can hire someone to come in twice a week. It is no reason to give up your life.


Do not make life-altering decisions on the spur of the moment.
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Old 06.01.2019, 19:41
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

Don't worry about the dialect, I also thought I would have no problems coming here as a Dutch with very good knowledge of the German language, after 3, 5 yrs I still have to ask them to either speak slower or speak German.

As for your mum, The Netherlands is depending on where you have to be 5 to 10 hours drive, so you could pass by often if you want/need.

As for your mother she has to get a medical indication that she cannot do the household (or parts of it) anymore, through her doctor/townhall and she'll get homecare and/or a cleaner which at most would cost her something in the twohundred a month if she has enough income/assets to participate in the bills, if not it is all for free.

I have been where you are now, and can only say, do not go back if your plan was to make a life here, talk about this with your mum and if she loves you she will understand. But have somebody set all up with the help or go by a couple of days to help doing this.

Feel free to pm me in Dutch if you have questions about this.
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Old 06.01.2019, 20:21
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

My honest advice and I think you will eventually do it anyway is to come back home, Netherlands is a good country with a good level of life and it is your language, your family, your friends. If you feel bad after only 6 months, it will become only worse afterwards, unless you have a family and children here, there is nothing to do in a long term, all my colleagues (20-30 years old) from France, Germany, Belgium, USA came back home, they had their experience and money, and they went home. Don't get me wrong it is a beautiful country, nature, safety, money, so usually what happens is people are happy first couple of years, but once they realize how society and everything here functions than the disappointment starts, and depending on where people are from they either soothe themselves with a good salary and enjoy skiing, or start a family here, or come back home.
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Old 06.01.2019, 20:41
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

My outlook differs from some the previous posters, based on my experiences juggling eldercare for four parents, and the subsequent deaths of three of them.

If I could turn back the clock:

I should have left Switzerland once it was clear that we were facing terminal illness. I very much regret having stayed.

It has been several years since my father, FIL, and MIL died yet there are still days I cannot look myself in the mirror. Even though I 'did my best' to balance needs and responsibilities here and there, with an ocean in between my best wasn't nearly good enough - and my failure haunts me.

Flying back and forth every few weeks took care of the organizational, practical, financial, medical needs, sure. But I ended up more often than not simply reacting to the crisis du jour, rather than proactively helping my loved ones negotiate last chapter. Blinded by the backing-and-forthing, I did not fully see that what my parents and ILs needed most was for their child to be there, now, immediately, when they needed to talk, for their child to hold their hand at 2Am, for their child to simply be with them in the moment. Now, spontaneously - not 48 hours from now when the next flight landed, not video'd on a Skype screen.

Although we knew the deaths were inevitable, we were nonetheless completely blindsided by the loss. And the guilt. It is still eating away at both OH and I. 'I should have...' is a very painful load to carry.

If I could turn back the clock, with the benefit of hindsight - I'd move home in a heartbeat. Especially if you are not deliriously happy - or even well settled - here. You are an EU citizen, you can always come back. But you cannot get back time lost with your mother.

My 5Rp, having been there, wishing I had done that differently.



Whatever you decide, I wish you and your mother all the very best.
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Old 06.01.2019, 21:15
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

My view : hang in there...

I also have very good high-german, having lived in DE for 10 years+....
Still took me years to have a good understanding of Swiss german. Still can´t understand the Valais ppl....
Take a Migros course in Swiss german : you get to know swissgerman, and meet people in the same situation as you.

Of the ca. 12 ppl in my group that moved from NL to CH, ( Company move ),25 years ago, about halve stayed permanently. I did, although I had similar issues like you have now.

Staying here enabled me to retire a full 14 years earlier than would have been possible in NL. That is a massive amount of livetime I would have lost going back to NL. This is, of course, very dependent on personal circumstances, mainly w.r.t. having children or not.


Feel free to PM me in Dutch.


Jos
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Old 06.01.2019, 21:55
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

Very moving Melon and I am so sorry you have regrets. Each situation is different and personal.

If you are married to someone from another country, in their country, and their job is just not easily transported, and you have children born there who feel they belong there - then the situation becomes very different indeed. We would have loved to buy the wonderful family home when the situation arose- but the girls were at key stages in their education- and OH's job would have been more than VERY difficult to move over. So we waited until he was retired and I gave up my job.

One of the things I shall always be so grateful for, and so admired my parents for - is that they never ever put pressure on me, or made me feel guitly in any way ever- they always said 'enjoy your life and your family there - be happy - and yes, we love you to come and visit when you can.

Last edited by Odile; 06.01.2019 at 22:21.
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Old 06.01.2019, 22:26
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

If you have children and family on your own it's not that simple. You don't uproot your own lives and destroy your family's routine to go back and be on 24/7 hospice call. Life doesn't work that way and being so emotional when you were there for your parents is not going to help either. Are you sure you don't overcompensate for some past actions or regrets?

It's all a balance between people you love, you cannot take action that will harm your own family to facilitate a dying parent. You do everything you can for them, take some sabbatical for a few months or bring them here to provide top care but you certainly can't expect everyone to disrupt their daily life, career, family,schools etc and just up and leave to take care of a sick parent.

In my case, I will always ask what my mom would want me to do. If she got a whiff that I'd do that she'd threaten to 'break my head' even from her deathbed.

Now if you are single and were thinking about going back anyway it's another story. But think what you'll do next, your career and savings hit and long term where you want to be.

Some children are closer to their parents from a continent away than other siblings who live 10km down the road. I hope you do what's best for both of you and live without regrets.
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Old 06.01.2019, 22:55
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Re: Homesickness and other problems

OP's mother is in Holland - so very easy to get back to on a regular basis, by train, plane or car- for short trips, week-ends even. In the UK, in the 70s and 80s- Switzerland was not easily or cheaply accessible - much easier later on when my parents did get very old and frail, EasyJet, etc, made it so much easier.

If you have parents in the USA or even further on the other side of the world- a different story altogether.

shag (tbh I am a bit surprised about your choice of name, but ...) what does your mother say? Is she putting pressure on you and piling on the guilt, or is it just how YOU feel.
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