From the very first time I landed on Swiss soil almost 18 years ago, I fell in love with Switzerland. At first I thought it was just a little Summer fling but since then each time I returned I found myself falling harder and harder. 6 years ago, I took the plunge and introduced him to my daughter. Whilst I knew he would love her, I didn’t quite know what to expect from her, however, their connection was instantaneous and since then their love for one another has also blossomed into something beautiful.
We are now in a serious, committed relationship.
In no particular order, these are some of the traits I love most …
- The mountains
They’re the very first to welcome you into Switzerland and kiss you goodbye when you leave.
- The people
The Swiss people are exceptionally friendly and will go out of their way to help you. I have had nothing but positive experiences with the people I have encountered from the gentle soul at the bicycle shop who offered to specially come in on a Sunday to let me try out a bicycle so that the roads would be quieter for my fragile little ego, to family and friends who have rallied to make our integration just a little bit easier and the shop assistant who saw me struggling with the language and immediately changed from Swiss German to English without skipping a beat and offered me chocolate (she was my favourite).
Enough said. Although I must just add that shopping now takes twice as long as we now have a chocolate isle (not a sweet isle with a chocolate section. A. Chocolate. Isle.).
(this is only one half).
- Public transportation This is still a novelty and I’m hoping that my love for the public transport system won’t be short-lived. When we arrived we bought a month’s travel pass which allows us to travel anywhere in Zürich on any form of public transport (bus, tram, boat or train) and this has allowed us to do a lot of sight seeing.
- Shopping and the honesty system
As a South African, this blows my mind every single time. Whilst there are check-out points with cashiers, a lot of the shops have self-service options. You can either take a scanner, scan your items and pack them in your grocery bags as you go (my favourite option) or you can scan the items and pay for them at the check out counter using your credit card.
There are also a number of farm stalls in our village which sell fresh flowers, eggs, etc. The goodies are placed on display for everyone to see along with a price list and a bucket is left to the side for you to place your money once you’ve selected your items.
This was one of the main ‘pros’ on our list when we decided to move to Switzerland. We wanted a more simple, less hurried lifestyle and this is exactly what Switzerland offered.
Sundays and public holidays are considered ‘family days’ and all shops are closed on these days. What I love though is that the villages come alive on these days … families are out and about, riding bicycles, rollerblading, picnicking or
braainggrilling on their balconies.
Lunch time is a similar ritual with most schools, shops and businesses shutting down for a long afternoon lunch.
Whist we’re still in the early stages of our relationship and trying to figure out this whole cohabitation thing (he has some serious OCD issues), I am looking forward to this next stage and getting to know him a whole lot better!