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  #81  
Old 27.02.2008, 19:30
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Re: How do people live here?!

I've driven on frozen lakes in Sweden. Take a run on land, hit the ice, flip the wheel and WHEEEEEEEYEEEEEEEYEEEEEE!!!

Such fun...
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  #82  
Old 27.02.2008, 19:33
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Re: How do people live here?!

Up there there are actually roads that cross lakes that are only open in the winter (obviously :-)



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I've driven on frozen lakes in Sweden. Take a run on land, hit the ice, flip the wheel and WHEEEEEEEYEEEEEEEYEEEEEE!!!

Such fun...
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  #83  
Old 28.02.2008, 14:32
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Re: How do people live here?!

I am also a "Texas Momma"..we moved our family of 4 from Houston last summer to Lausanne. It is a huge adjustment..especially from Texas, which has one of the lowest costs of living in the US. I do think it is really important how you "frame" this move in your head, as it will be crucial to how you and your kids will adapt. We moved from a 3000 sq foot home with pool, etc. to a 1400 sq foot city apt. in a 700 year old building (3rd floor with no lift).

Being a native Wisconsinite, I was actually becoming concerned with the lifestyle in Texas, as my kids were becoming horribly spoiled. This move has taught us all how to appreciate life and our family. My kids had to learn to rely on one another and get along in close space. They now share a bedroom (with the help of a bunk bed). The quality of life in CH is very good, even if everyone does not live in extravagant homes and fill it with unnecessary stuff.

I know that my kids are better people from living here. We have learned to slow down and giggle over our tiny little Swiss refridgerator.

If you are puzzled over Swiss housing, wait until your first visit to the grocery store! It is shockingly expensive...but again, you learn to be more frugal and take advantage of the wonderful markets.

With that being said, our adventure in CH is coming to an end this summer and we are returning to Texas, but I am certain and proud that we will be more centered because of our year here. (I am looking forward to having a washer and dryer, my own car and a full size fridge again!)
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  #84  
Old 28.02.2008, 15:18
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Re: How do people live here?!

I just moved from Texas myself (one of the huge cheaply built homes in a mater palnned communtiy) Although it was gorgeous with tons of space, the positives of learning to scale down, being able to use space wisely, and adapting to the order here in Switz. is so well worth it. It is hard with no storage, a mini freezer and fllights of stairs to climb, but the new lifestlye is treating my mind and body better than ever. For me, even though the transistion is a bit hard, this experience is already having some unexpected benefits. I totallly love it...best of luck. And plus, when/if you do go back to the lone star state, guess how much more you and especially your kids, will appreciate all that they have.
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  #85  
Old 28.02.2008, 17:25
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Re: How do people live here?!

It is so nice to hear from some other Texans! I was speaking with my husband just last night about how low the COLA is in Texas. I think it would be just as much of a financial shock to move to LA or New York as to CH.

I often think that our kids are raised with a little too much abundance and the "keeping up with the Jones" is almost ridiculous. I've just shared my decision with friends that I am only going to have family birthday parties from here on out. No more spending upwards of 500 dollars and inviting every kid in the neighborhood to celebrate someone turning two. You wouldn't believe the looks of shock and disbelief I received!

How many Swiss would be shocked to know that we actually own two refrigerators!
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  #86  
Old 28.02.2008, 17:31
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Re: How do people live here?!

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How many Swiss would be shocked to know that we actually own two refrigerators!
How many Americans would be shocked to know that I actually only own 1 fridge which holds less than half what the average American fridge could..!
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  #87  
Old 29.02.2008, 08:05
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Re: How do people live here?!

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How many Swiss would be shocked to know that we actually own two refrigerators!
An extra freezer would be needed with a family. Trust me. Especially for ice cream season

As for the extra fridge, I know a few expats Americans that have 2 fridges (one for food and one for beverages) so not shocking at all. You have to remember that products here arent full with chemicals and preservatives. It's a bit hard at first to get oneself in the mindset of shopping every 3 to 4 days, unlike stateside where one goes to Sams Club and that lasts a month long.

Good luck with the move. I havent regretted coming over and I dont plan on going back.
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  #88  
Old 13.04.2008, 20:23
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Re: How do people live here?!

Hi,

We also felt the same way when looking for a place to stay. In South Africa we were also used to having a large home. We have been so lucky we found an apartment in Lutry for 4000ch. It has 4 bedrooms, decent sizes and two lounges. The best is it I have my own Laundry room. The big cost is the education. My son cannot speak French so as a result we have to send him to an International School (+-25 000 ch per year).
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  #89  
Old 13.04.2008, 21:15
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Re: How do people live here?!

So did your husband get the job or not?
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  #90  
Old 13.04.2008, 21:26
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Re: How do people live here?!

Hi TexasMomma,

The hubs and I moved here from NY three years ago, but for us the culture shock hasn't been as great. In comparison to the apartment we had there (which was the size of a crackerbox), our 100m flat here is a palace plus we have a balcony with beautiful views of Lake Zurich, and the rent is even less than what we paid in NY. So for us, home life has definitely improved here.

Home ownership is NOT a big thing here like it is in the States. There aren't the same tax incentives to own as there are in the US. In fact, Switzerland has one of the lowest home ownership rates in Europe. Plus, it's a smaller country, so living is more compact. I know, coming from TX, this will be shocking for you and your family, but you'll get used to it.

Regarding the washing machine situation, it's really not that bad. For me, having an assigned day solely for myself is better than the catch-as-catch-can situation I had to deal with in my apt. building in NY. Every time I wanted to do the laundry, the machines were being used It's also possible that you may find an apartment (or even a house since there are houses for rent) with a W/D in the unit and then you'll be able to wash whenever you'd like.

Yes, the perceived necessity for personal space is an American thing. So don't be surprised when people stand closer to you on the Tram or in shops and in queues. Again, coming from NY we were already used to crowds.

As for *rich* living, less is more here and bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity.

Be prepared for sticker shock. Even the smallest, most mundane things will cost more money here than what you're used to in the States. There is no such thing here as Costco or Sam's Club, though we do have Carrefour, which is like a French version of Walmart. You will also have to pay more for extras like ketchup and mustard at McDonald's or bratwurst stands. If you're a fan of takeout Chinese or Mexican, you can forget about that here. There are places, but they're overpriced and the food is not that great

For clothing, footwear and accessories, I buy everything from the US (nothing beats Neiman Marcus' sales ). The selection is better and the prices are less. For English books and CD's, we order from Amazon and have them ship it here. Even with the shipping costs and duties (if any), it's still cheaper than buying from an English bookstore here. Ditto for vitamins and supplements. Some things just aren't available here.

Don't be put off, though. You will find it is possible to adapt and live without things you were otherwise convinced were necessities, and you may also make some new and interesting discoveries about yourself in the process.

Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.


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Okay, first I have to apologize for being a spoiled, ignorant, American. Bear with me though, I am trying to expand my horizons! Please understand I know I am ignorant! I am honestly confused about the "rich" living when it all seems to small to me.
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  #91  
Old 13.04.2008, 22:04
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Re: How do people live here?!

My last 2 apartments had thier own machines (washer and dryer). Now I own a house and obviously this was on the list.

I've nver been in a place with 'fixed' days for washin, but I know they exist.

I know people who have stayed in places that have so many machines there is never a problem finding one free.

Just have to look around. Maybe move out of the City a bit.
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  #92  
Old 13.04.2008, 22:19
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I promise I am not trying to be rude, I think I am just going through culture shock. Is my dream of having a single family home and my own washer and dryer impossible in CH?
It's not impossible. You can find houses for rent from private owners. You'll have to work to find them. I suggest you enlist the help of a expat relocation service to smooth out the local process for you. Unless you have a handle on the local language and culture.
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  #93  
Old 13.04.2008, 22:24
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Re: How do people live here?!

I had a 5 bedroom apt with large balcony on two floors, own washing room, 2 bathrooms for 3200chf in Wallisellen.
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  #94  
Old 13.04.2008, 22:34
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Re: How do people live here?!

I had a rental house with 5 bedrooms and over 200 sq.meters. It was a renovated farm house nestled between forests in the Emmental region. Very rustic and picturesque. Some may call it "out in the sticks", but I liked the peace and quiet. Great for small kids. You won't believe this: 1500 CHF/mo. But this was through a village acquaintance, and is about an hour's drive from Zuerich.
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Old 14.04.2008, 02:10
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Re: How do people live here?!

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So did your husband get the job or not?
We hear the end of April/early May. A long wait still!! Don't worry I will post for sure when we know one way or another.
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Old 14.04.2008, 10:18
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Re: How do people live here?!

To Colin:

I'm curious, why did you groan at my post to TexasMomma? What did I write that was so groanworthy to you? I gave her my honest assessment of life here and what to expect, I didn't speak disparagingly about the locals (or anyone else) as many here are wont to do, and it would appear that she, at least, found my information helpful.

FWIW, I choose to reserve my groans for posts that are personally insulting or inflammatory, not for differences of opinion or some other petty peeve.
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Old 14.04.2008, 10:19
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Re: How do people live here?!

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We hear the end of April/early May. A long wait still!! Don't worry I will post for sure when we know one way or another.
Good luck, TXMomma! We went through a similar thing. I know the wait can be agonizing.
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Old 14.04.2008, 10:31
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Re: How do people live here?!

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To Colin:

I'm curious, why did you groan at my post to TexasMomma? What did I write that was so groanworthy to you? I gave her my honest assessment of life here and what to expect, I didn't speak disparagingly about the locals (or anyone else) as many here are wont to do, and it would appear that she, at least, found my information helpful.

FWIW, I choose to reserve my groans for posts that are personally insulting or inflammatory, not for differences of opinion or some other petty peeve.
I found your comments very helpful for someone that would just be moving here. If this type of information


Try not to take it personally, but it is just the general lack of manners
that is fairly pervasive.
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Old 14.04.2008, 10:49
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Re: How do people live here?!

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Okay, first I have to apologize for being a spoiled, ignorant, American. Bear with me though, I am trying to expand my horizons!

How does the average family live in CH? Expat or otherwise? I don't know if doing my real estate search wrong or what, but it seems like the only housing available are tiny apartments. Are there no single family homes? Is that reserved only for the very wealthy? Do families really live in 100m apartments with only two bedrooms and access to a laundry room only once a week? To me, this seems like craziness. And then I read posters who say that people only come to CH for the money, when it doesn't seem to provide a very extravagant lifestyle.

Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas? Currently each of our 3 children have their own room- is the perceived necessity for personal space an American thing? Here it is unusual and looked down upon if your children have to share a room.

I promise I am not trying to be rude, I think I am just going through culture shock. Is my dream of having a single family home and my own washer and dryer impossible in CH? I think I could manage having two kids to a room, and even adjust to apartment living, but honestly how would a family of 5 do laundry with the usage of machines just once a week?

Please understand I know I am ignorant! I am honestly confused about the "rich" living when it all seems to small to me.

I think housing prices and cost of living in CH compares with some larger metropolitan areas in the US. I used to live in Chicago and found prices comparable to Zurich (maybe not at current exchange rates, but that distorts the picture). Nice 2 bedroom apartment in Chicago is around $2,500, single family homes in good suburbs start at around 500-600K (very small house) and easily go into the millions. That's about the same as in Switzerland - you just cannot compare to places like Atlanta or Dallas - I new many people who moved there just for the low cost of living.
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Old 14.04.2008, 11:01
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Re: How do people live here?!

Once you have received your confirmation then you can seriously take a closer look at what is available.

If you want to live in the City of Zurich, then this will be mainly Apartments (as would any City). If you are happy to live outside the city, then you can find more for less.

You can even find houses with own gardens (and even a swimming pool if you want as I have jsut seen in the link I posted below).

Q's:

1/ Will you receive a housing allowance, if yes how much?
2/ Will your kids be put into private scholl by the company or will they have to go to the local schools?
3/ Will you travel by train or car, if by car will you have a parking space.
4/ Will your office be located in the City of ZH or outside.

For travelling time by public transport, you can use the site:

http://www.sbb.ch/en/

It can sometimes be quicker to travel from out of town into the City than from one part of the City to another, i.e. from Wallisellen to the main station (Zurich HB) takes 11 minutes where a tram/bus from the outskirt of the city could take 20mins or more.

Homgate is one of the bigger housing website here:

http://www.homegate.ch/homegate/obje...ty=&objectType=

some popular places outside the city include:

Adliswil, Thalwil, Kilchberg
Birmensdorf, Bonstetten, Affoltern am Albis
Wallisellen, Dübendorf

I am sure once you know you are coming and can short list some locations/areas, there will be plenty of people to give you advice on the different areas.

Last edited by szhjcn; 14.04.2008 at 11:01. Reason: typo on name
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