One month in already and yet it feels like only yesterday we were moving in with my sister and her family, preparing for this big adventure. I still feel like I’m a tourist in my home town and although I long for some familiarity, I hope that this feeling never ends. I look around me and I am in complete awe of the beauty that surrounds me and I have to pinch myself at least once a day because I LIVE IN SWITZERLAND and I have a little German in the house!!!
I knew that the transition from English to German would be quick for Julia but I never realised just how quick. In 8 short days she has learnt to count from 1 – 100 (she can also count backwards and count in 2’s), she can introduce herself, tell you where she’s from, where she lives, how old she is, etc. She’s also starting to make friends with the kids in her class and although none of them speak the same language, they are fluent in play and spend their breaks playing ‘Rock-paper-scissors’ and Uno.
I still travel to school with Jules every morning, more for myself than anything else. I’ve never been a stay-at-home mom and I also had a killer commute to work back in Jozi so I never did the morning drop-offs. I am therefore soaking up and loving this little window of opportunity that I have even if it’s just to sit next to her quietly while she plugs in her earphones and zones into a world that I am not a part of. The teenage years are sneaking up fast.
In two weeks time, my travel pass will expire and she will start to travel to school on her own. This is something that I have struggled with enormously, knowing that my baby is growing up and that her journey to independence has been somewhat accelerated by this move. As difficult as it is to let go, I am greatly comforted by the fact that she is in the right place to explore and grow this independence and I have no doubt that she will be just fine in this world … and so will I.
With Julia’s new found independence, I will have more time to dedicate to getting settled. I have already applied for my permanent residence permit which once received will open a few more doors for me (I am the only outsider in my family as Benito and Julia both have Swiss citizenship). I also want to start learning German and sign up for some sort of ‘integration’ course.
We found a lovely apartment, not far from where we are currently staying and we move in mid-June. Having sold everything back in South Africa we are now faced with the mammoth task of refurnishing our home. When renting a home here, you basically get an empty shell or a blank canvas, whichever way you look at it. The inside is painted all white, there are no built-in cupboards and no light fittings. The homes do however come with a fully fitted kitchen including oven, dishwasher and fridge and there is a communal washing room with a washing machine and tumble dryer.
Finding an apartment was one of our main priorities since we were unable to complete any ‘admin’ (applying for my permit, opening bank accounts, etc.) until we had proof of residence. Now that we have the apartment, things are starting to take shape and we’re finding ourselves getting busier and busier. I welcome this shift towards building our own routines and finding our rhythms but in this in-between space we have been enjoying …
… our bicycles.
We ordered this little treasure online from Germany and it arrived with the postman a few days later (guys, the postal system here deserves it’s own blog post – it is just fabulous!). We weren’t home to accept the delivery and so my bicycle was left downstairs at the entrance door of our apartment building. I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years and was worried that I was going to spend all this money on a bike and not enjoy or want to ride it. My first ride confirmed those thoughts but as the day went on I started to fall more and more in love with it and now our bike rides are some of my favourite moments.
… bicycle trips to the airport to watch the planes come in to land. This always makes me think of my Dad because I know how much he enjoyed this spot when he was here with us a few years back.
… finding a home. On Thursday evening we went for a walk and came to a clearing in the woods and could see our new home in the distance.
… getting back on the tennis court. This has got to be my absolute favourite thing that we’ve done here so far. To see Julia’s face light up on the court was pure magic!
… and some exploring.
The Botanical Gardens in Zürich
Happy weekend every body! We have a long weekend ahead of us and are looking forward to some more exploring. Any suggestions are welcome!