Mum of 2, Nadine, has recently relocated with her family to a beautiful village just outside of Zurich, Switzerland. Here, she gives us a little insight into her new life:
“I remember the phone call well, I was rushing up the stairs to get some wet wipes (you always run out at the wrong time!) – It was my husband, Gareth. He cut to the point… “there’s a job vacancy opening up in Zurich, how do you fancy a move to Switzerland?”
My reply, “Sounds good – anyway, I need to rush I’m changing a nappy!”
What was I thinking? Why was I so flippant in my response? I was off on maternity leave and had a 4 year old girl and a 7 month old boy. Clearly my hormones were a little crazy that day! Anyway, a very busy 8 weeks later and we arrived, in Zurich!
The prior 8 weeks involved selling lots of furniture, finding people to rent our house, handing in my resignation, paying back my maternity leave pay, filling in lots of forms and saying some sad goodbyes!
Our adventure had just begun! Elise, my eldest enrolled at the local school and there we experienced our first big change! Children don’t learn any maths, reading or writing until 6-7 years of age, (UK Year 2) and are only in for half a day! They walk to and back from school on their own and frequently use hammers and nails as part of their wood work! I still can’t get use to Elise walking to school on her own and I hide behind corners to check she is ok! Instead of daily Phonics, Literacy and Numeracy hours, they go to the woods and build huts! I have to say, Elise loves it!
There seems to be a new festival every month. From, going into school at 6:30am making lots of noise with instruments to parading in the evening with a candle lit carved turnip!!!
Cooking was the other big change for me! As a busy, working Mum, I would frequently use ready sauces to ‘help’ me cook faster! Bolognaise, Chilli con carne, lasagne – you get the picture! However, in Switzerland the only ready meals/sauces they sell are chopped tomatoes and pizza! : ) So, as you can imagine, I had a steep learning curve! Literally, everything you cook has to be from scratch! It took a while to get used to, but now I love it! I know exactly what my meals contain and even though I say so myself, they actually taste better!!!
Before we moved, everyone warned us about how expensive Switzerland is and in many respects they are correct. Any meal out is crazily expensive – £70 easily for a meal for two. Obviously there is no NHS, so you have to pay for Health Insurance. Clothes also seem to be very pricey, I make sure I stock up in the UK! However, supermarkets seem to be about the same. Some items, like eggs, are a little more than the UK and other items, like some cheeses, are cheaper. Funnily, Swiss Chocolate like Lindt, is cheaper in the UK!
The best part about living in Switzerland is the mountains, lakes and forests which you can visit and the weather which allows this! It might be -2 outside, however the blue sky and the bright shining sun makes everything so much better! My husband’s commute to work is shorter than the UK and most Fridays he gets to finish early. So, as a family, we are making the most of living here and enjoy planning each weekend to explore this great country! November and December were taken up with Sami Claus parades, Christmas Markets and Gluhwien!! I have to say the Swiss do Christmas well! January and February have been visits to the moutains and skiing lessons! I’m excited to find out what the next months will bring! We never said we would move to Switzerland forever but we are making the most of every day spent here!”