Tag Archives: moving

Article about expats moving home

24 Oct

I read this article on BBC news website today and, although I have no plans about moving back to the UK, I can fully imagine that it would be difficult to leave Switzerland and move.

Over the years I have read a few articles that document this problem that expats face when moving home. To begin with, it seems like a strange concept. It makes sense that emigrating to another country and all the would be difficult with settling in, language barriers and other problems which I have mentioned in passing in some of my other posts but it does seem silly to think that moving back to your home country would prevent similar problems. This is the culture you were brought up in so how could it possibly be hard to go back.

If I think about moving back one of the problems (apart from all of the benefits and advantages that I would lose from moving) that springs to mind would be friendships. I am still in contact with friends from home but inevitably, due to distance and time, the nature of some of these friendships has completely changed. I don’t mean this as anyone’s fault but just physically not being in the same country as someone does has an impact on your relationship. I noticed in the first months and years that relationships had fundamentally changed. People mentioned new people that were now part of the friendship group and had stories that I didn’t understand and I felt strangely excluded from the conversation. Now four years on, friends have moved, had babies etc and I can imagine that things would be different because of how completely they have changed.

I also recognise that my personality has changed and the person that I am today is not who I was when I sat nervously in Manchester airport clutching a one-way ticket. Of course, I would have changed if I had stayed in the UK and never made the decision to leave. I believe in the phrase that travel broadens the mindand if merely travelling to a place broadens the mind, then living somewhere abroad also transforms the mind but in a way that is far more than broadening; though I can’t quite think of the way to describe it.

Spring Clean

2 Apr

Over the past few weeks I have been making a conscious effort to have a tidy up and a spring clean and get rid of things that I don’t want, don’t use or don’t need.

Since I have lived in Switzerland (18 months already!) I have moved 3 times and it has made me realise how much stuff I have that I never use. Living in Switzerland has been a different experience to living at home in the UK. As there is a big expats community here, people seem to be more transient and move around more than they do at home. In fact I think that this is probably true for some Swiss people as well. It therefore makes sense to be more mobile and ready to move on because you never know when you might be forced to move on again. And to be more mobile you need to have less (material) things weighing you down.

I often do a spring clean but when I have tried this year I realised that I might not have done such a good job. The first drawer of clothes that I open is full of clothes that 6 months ago didn’t fit me but I decided to keep them because “I will definitely lose weight”. 6 months on and I realise that nothing has changed; they still don’t fit and they have just been gathering dust and taking up space in my small room. They have now been given to charity.

One of my passions is reading. I can easily get lost in a book and read one in a few days if I really get taken in by the story. As a result, over the years, I have bought books and not have the time to read them so they gather dust and never get opened. I am now on a mission to read the books that I have before I buy anymore (I will not have to buy a book until 2016 at the earliest). Today I have started a Michael Crichton book that has been under my bed for months and months. 

I also found that I have more beauty products and creams and lotions than any woman could need in her life and I don’t really use them anyway. So I am gradually using these up or just throwing or giving them away. Because why should I keep something that is not going to be useful?

It can be hard getting rid of things that you have had for a long time. And you have to be brutally hard and honest with yourself about how much you want/need/can’t live without something.

I still have things that I need to sort through and it could take a while get through anything but I feel so much better that I have made some progress. I now just have to make sure that I don’t buy more things to replace the things I have agonised over throwing away. 

Ein Jahr in der Schweiz!, Or One Year in Switzerland!

27 Sep

My resident permit says I arrived in Switzerland on 27.09.2012. It’s been one whole year.

I actually can’t believe that it has been one year already that I packed my house up and moved over to Switzerland. Was I naive? Yes. Did I think everything would be easier than it was? Of course.

There were more than a few times when I thought that I wouldn’t last this long; that the easiest thing to do was to pack everything up again and then go home and start again. But life has taught me that the best things that you do in life are not necessarily the easiest. In fact, I think if they are then probably you have your priorities in the wrong order.

It probably took me at least 8 months before I felt like this was home, but not home exactly just a good place to be. Sometimes it still takes me by surprise when someone talks to me in German so there are things that I still need to get used to. And, maybe I never will get used to them but surely that’s normal?

Before I left someone told me (or maybe it was more like advice) that the first 12 months are the worst. If you can last through the first year, he told me, you can last a lifetime. I can’t believe that I made it. Being away from everything that you know and love can throw your mind into turmoil and make you very vulnerable and self-aware. But I did it!

I learn more about myself, thrown into a country and a language that I don’t know, than I ever would have being sat doing the same job, living in the same place back home.

I’m not sure if I can put a finger on what exactly I have learned, but I now know: I can do it.