Archive | November, 2012

A month gone already

1 Nov

I have been here for just over a month now and, even though I have the odd moment when I think that I have made the wrong decision in moving over here, I’m starting to feel a bit more at home. Things at work are getting easier now that I am adjusting a bit better to the difference in working environments and I have realised that potentially my work could be very interesting as well as being challenging and rewarding for me. I’ve started to make a few new friends in some different departments as well and I no longer panic that I will have no one to sit with a lunch.

Over the next few weeks I am going to make an effort to push myself out of my comfort zone (sounds a bit like the sort of thing that they say to X Factor contestants or celebrities in the jungle) and get a bit more of a routine to my week and start looking different activities to do so that I can meet more people and have things to look forward to. I have realised how much you take for granted a routine when you don’t have to think about it and you always do a certain thing on a Wednesday but when that’s taken away from you it can be really easy just to do nothing. So hopefully I will have lots of things to write about in a few weeks.

Anyway the news round up since I last blogged (is that even a word?)…

Team trip to Einsiedeln

A week last Friday we had a team workshop out of the office (to be honest I think this was arranged because I was finding it a bit difficult fitting in and it was thought that it would be a good idea for the team to get to know me a bit better). So we did a very Swiss thing and went hiking in Einsiedeln! It was a beautiful day and it was very hot. Obviously being the fairest and the most Anglo-Saxon, I was the one with the sunburn to prove it. It was lovely to be out and about on such a lovely day and see the ‘real’ Switzerland. It was the stuff of postcards – cows with bells round their necks grazing on the mountain side. We hiked up to a small restaurant at the top of Etzel, where there was a stunning view of the coastline of the lake.

At the restaurant I tried my first Cordon Bleu which is beef, ham and cheese in breadcrumbs. It was really tasty but from what I understand the quest to find the best Corden Bleu in Switzerland is a bit like trying to find the Holy Grail; everyone is convinced that they know where you can get the best! Obviously I will be happy to join the good people of Switzerland on their quest and I’ll try to find the ultimate Cordon Bleu.

  The long road up!

After lunch we hiked for about 3 hours to Einsiedeln where there is a monastery, church and a small farm where horses are bred. It was lovely to step inside a cool church after spending most of the day in the blazing hot sun. We wandered round the monastery grounds and then caught the train home.

The amazing view from the top was worth it!







Someone I know who has lived in Switzerland before told me that you need to know a Swiss person very well before they will invite you to their home. Well, I must have a gift or something because on the train home one of our colleagues invited us all back to their home for some food. It was a lovely end to the evening and good to get to know people when we were more relaxed and being able to enjoy each others company outside the office.

Language friend

The German situation is getting a bit better but still not great. I met a new colleague who started at the company 2 weeks after I moved over to Switzerland. She is German and she asked if I would be interested in a language exchange with her because she knew that I wasn’t great at German (slight understatement) and she wanted to improve her business English. So we are now meeting twice a week for lunch; one day we will talk in English and the second time in German. I was so nervous at first about it because she is an amazingly good English speaker* and I am a very basic German speaker. I was really encouraged that she said she was impressed with my German accent. This is the main thing that has been discouraging me is “sounding English” or as I call it “sounding English but trying to say really long, complicated words”. So that has given me a bit of motivation to carry on learning. She was a little bit surprised that I was good as I was when I had not had any German lessons. The other motivation is that I have now used up all the vocabulary I have learnt since August time so I need to have something else to say for next week! I think that it will be a good way to learn because we can both ask each other questions without being worried about laughed at and it’s actually fun. We have been in stitches laughing about when the other has been trying to pronounce words.

I think I will probably start German lessons in January when everything is more sorted and I have found the best language school to join.

* In a related story, I needed to ask for something specific in a shop recently so I asked the shop assistant if they could speak English. She said (as most people do here) “A little bit”, which translated means “I’m fluent and I have a Phd in English linguistics to prove it”. Of course, she was able to answer my question with perfect sentence structure. If an English person says that they can speak a little bit of a language it means they can say hello, thank you, count from 1 to 5 and order a pint. In which case, I can speak a little bit of French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and almost a little bit of Swahili.

It’s snowed!

People have assured me that October is very early for snow in Switzerland. But last weekend it snowed and snowed and snowed. It was a revelation that the public transport still ran on time and everyone went about their daily business as if nothing was any different. You would get that at home!

Before and After: The left was taken from my window  just as the snow started last Saturday and the picture on the right I took 2 hours later!


The most exciting thing this week though is that I have got the keys to my permanent apartment today. I move in properly tomorrow. I have some furniture being delivered from IKEA and my things should pass through customs easily (fingers crossed). So tomorrow is going to be busy! I am most looking forward to having my own bed back. Although the temporary place I have been staying is lovely, the bed is a bit hard for me and I haven’t been sleeping very well. And there is nothing like being back in your own bed.

I got the keys this evening and took some of my things to the apartment already so that I don’t have to get it all on the tram tomorrow morning when it is crowded. It was a bit spooky being in the apartment on my own when no furniture was in there because it was a bit echoey. I know that it will be hugely different tomorrow when all my things arrive. I don’t think of myself as a particularly materialistic person but it is nice to have your creature comforts to come home to at the end of the day. I’m looking forward to having a new neighbourhood to explore as well.

I have a lot of things to sort out: TV, internet, mobile, TV licence etc so it might be a while before I can blog again. I will post some pictures of the apartment when I have got myself sorted and am reconnected with the modern world.