Tag Archives: missing things

Missing things

29 Oct

Some time ago, I posted about things I miss about home and recently I highlighted the BBC news article about the difficulty faced by expats who decide to move back to their homeland. This got me thinking about the things that I would miss about Switzerland if I left today:

  1. Public Transport

Everything runs on time. Ok, there have been a few times when the train is a few minutes late, but nothing like as bad as it can be in the UK. The Swiss public transport is relatively expensive for tourists but you are paying for a service that is on time and gets you where you want to be.

  1. Clean city

There never seems to be any litter. This is partly because there are lots of bins and ways to get rid of rubbish so there is no excuse for people not to dispose of things properly. And partly because there are team who patrol around sweeping and tidying!

  1. Respect

People have respect for others and their property. I don’t think this needs a lot of explanation.

  1. The Mountains and Lakes

For example…


  1. Public Transport (again)

You can always get a seat on a train (generally). The Swiss transport system app also tells you if the route that you want to take is expected to be busy so that you can prepare yourself. When I was studying for my accountancy exams in Manchester and I had to get the train in, I would never be able to find a seat/have to stand/sit on the floor.

  1. Poor English

I find it quite endearing (and at times hilarious) hearing English being used in not quite the right way. One of my personal favourites is ski-driving instead of the English word skiing. The confusion comes because the German word is “skifahren” which literally translates to ski drive (“fahren” is the word that is used to drive a car). I am not making fun of non-native English speakers; more that I find it interesting the linguistic differences between languages.

  1. So many activities

Skiing, swimming, hiking, sailing, Nordic walking, running, paragliding, paddle-boarding, volleyball, Frisbee, photography, painting, rowing, ice hockey… the list goes on and all available in pleasant weather.

  1. Safety

The crime rate is low in Switzerland. Therefore, the need to worry about things like coming home late at night are reduced. That isn’t to say that there is no risk at all and it is advisable to be vigilant at all times but

  1. Not having to drive anywhere

You want to go skiing? No problem, just take your skis on the train and the bus and you will be dropped off directly at the gondola at the resort. The connections are really great. However, having said that, I now have access to a car and I have hit the road for the first time in over 4 years (and on the wrong side of the road!) While the car is more convenient in that I can go and come back when I like, but at the moment I am a nervous driver as I have to remember, not only to stay on the right side of the road but also get familiar with all the signs, speed limits and signaling.

  1. Quiet laws

I appreciate the fact that noise is prohibited at certain times of the day and on certain days so that you are free to relax and unwind. That isn’t to say that I haven’t found myself on the receiving end of noisy neighbours though. I have now moved twice in Switzerland as a direct result of being fed up with noise and decided to move for the good of my health.


Things that I miss about home

20 Aug

As I have just returned from a weekend at home, here are the main things that I miss about home:

1. People 

This goes without saying… Leaving your home land, or even city, has the added anguish of leaving behind the people who make the place great. It is only at this point that you realise that it is true that you do take people, places and things for granted.

2. Being able to understand everything and being understood

Because I moved to an non-English speaking country I have the language barrier. And it really is a barrier (think Krypton Factor style brick wall). It isn’t the same striking up a conversation with the old lady who just got onto the bus. Instead she talks to me, sees my hugely bewildered look and walks off tuttering and muttering to herself in frustration.

3. Food

Yes, yes the reputation of British food is poor across the globe but nothing quite compares to mum’s home cooking. Or fish and chips for that matter.

4. More TV channels

In an attempt to help me with point 2, I do watch some German TV channels. In Switzerland the number of UK channels is small, especially when compared to Sky. The variety of the channels that are available are pretty trashy and it make me wonder what other nationalities think of our programming.

5. No intermissions in the cinema

An intermission at the cinema probably did exist in the UK in the 1960s or something but the intermission has still not been phased out in Switzerland. Half way through the film… BANG! The film, which was not designed for a break, stops and the lights come on. Plus there is very little warning when the lights go out and the film start again. Very annoying.

6. Humour

The British sense of humour is renowned the world over for being hard to understand but also the best in the world. I have now stopped telling jokes. Things just aren’t funny if you have to explain them.

7. Bread

No Warburton’s or Hovis?? Oh come on, that’s not fair!


Things that I miss about home

29 Aug

After almost 11 months living in Switzerland I have come to appreciate and miss some things from home that I have taken for granted. It is funny the things that you end up missing.

This list is not exhaustive but it is around 80% there.

  • Conversations – my German is still pretty appalling and I don miss having a proper natter with, not just a native English speaker, but a native British speaker. Otherwise you can get yourself messed up in all sorts of problems trying to explain what the different is between a bonnet and a boot or how to pronounce ‘aluminium’ proper with an American. And I miss innuendo. yes, it’s childish and immature but it’s bloody good fun.
  • Washing machine – this one sounds bizarre. But from leaving my washing machine behind in the UK, of which I was the sole user, I now have a communal machine to use. I can only wash on certain specified days and at certain specified times which can be annoying. Creeping down to the basement to check if the machine is free and waiting until the machine is free, reminds me of university days when you used to be desperate to do washing but all the machines are free. Every Tuesday and Sunday I can do my washing. What if I want to go out? I then lose my time and I have to go without. It’s frustrating. I am now at the point where I have to organize my washing around my social life. What I can’t understand is that I have a dishwasher in my apartment. Surely it would make sense for each apartment to have its own washing machine and do away with the dishwasher? All the times when I set the washing machine to on without a care in the world at home is now a million miles away.
  • Food – while being in Switzerland I have eaten quite a lot of foods that I haven’t had before, like lobster, sushi and sashmi, but there are some times that you just want a British classic. I can’t remember the last time I had chips and gravy, or steak and kidney pudding and chips, or a Boost! Being away from home makes you crave comfort food; food that reminds you of the good old days of your childhood. And you can’t find those classics over here. In fact you can’t find a chippy over here FULL STOP. I actually think it’s a huge opportunity to make money by opening a decent British chippy, with the large British expat community. Once I work out where to source the fish from (Switzerland is a land locked country after all) then it’s all systems go!
  •  Humour – sort of related to point 1. Having a common point of reference is the basis for most of the funniest jokes. If you have to explain the joke it isn’t going to be funny; more a long explanation of yet another cultural difference. Everywhere I go people tell me that the British have a wicked sense of humour. But, trust me, we don’t when we are far away from home.
  • Family and Friends – perhaps the most predicable one of them all. Leaving behind a country, a house, a job is the easy part. The hart part is finding new people to share your new experiences with. No one can suddenly fill in a gap which used to be filled by your oldest and bestest friend. I have hear a quote that it is sharing the little things that are what really make relationships. I think it takes a long time to find the right person to share those little things with. And little by little, I can see myself drifting slowly away from the lives of people that I know back home. I hope when I’m next home for a visit there are no hard feelings and we can carry on from where we left off.