It’s hard to imagine how completely different my life has become in just one short week. 9 days ago, we climbed on a plane and headed to a new life in Zurich, Switzerland. One filled with hopes and dreams for a more simple, beautiful life. The reality of this ‘simple’ life quickly became clear when we arrived in Zurich 18 hours later with 10 bags between the three of us and had to catch the bus home.
The day we arrived, I second-guessed my decision to move a thousand times. What was an introverted girl like me doing in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. How was I going to learn to speak Swiss-German from scratch and more importantly, how was I going to provide this beautiful life to my little girl when I was feeling so unsure of myself.
The days that followed provided some clarity … whilst travelling around the city I started to realised that nobody actually fits in in Zurich. There is no one-size-fits-all mould for the people of Zurich and that is part of its charm. Quirky is normal and differences are celebrated. There are a lot of foreigners living in Zurich and it’s not unusual to hear at least 3 different languages being spoken around you at one time.
Our first priority was schooling for Julia and whilst there have been many challenges along the way, this has not been one of them. A mutual decision was made between us and the school principal to send Jules to a specialised school where she will do intensive German lessons for a period of 10 weeks. Thereafter she will be reassessed to see whether she can be integrated into the local German school or whether she should continue learning German until Autumn.
Our next priority was finding an apartment and whilst this has been tons of fun, it’s also been very stressful. Years and years of building good credit ratings in SA count for nothing here and we’re basically starting from scratch. I can’t help but feel that when I moved into my first townhouse in SA when I was 20 years old with nothing but my bed and a fridge (that my parents helped me pay for), that I was better off than I am now. Nevertheless, we’ve put our names down for a couple of apartments and are holding thumbs that we’ll have some positive feedback soon.
Other than that, our first week has felt more like a holiday than anything else. We are enjoying …
long walks in the neighbouring fields and forests and a sun that only starts to set at 20:30
placing a lock on the Mühlesteg footbridge for my Mom and Dad so that we’ll have a special place to visit when we are missing them
Walking up a gazillion steps to get to the top of Grossmünster for the perfect view of Zurich and realising that it was right in front of me the whole time.