Pro: You make friends from all over the world. Here is a quick sample of countries that our friends call home, France, Spain, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Bosnia, Greece, Romania, England, Poland, Scotland, India, Australia, Madagascar....yup. We're like our very own it's a small world after all. It's truly brilliant. I have learned more about geography in the 2.5 years we've been here than I ever did in school (okay...maybe that's because I didn't pay attention much in school...maybe.) I think I know how to toast in at least 4 languages now, I know "Happy Birthday" in about 5 languages and I've tried more kinds of country specific kinds of moonshine than I care to count at the moment. The reason we have a lot of non-Swiss friends? In part because of where my husband works but also there is a HUGE expat population here. Seriously, you can't throw a rock without hitting an expat (or a new kind of cheese you've never heard of.)
Con: It's hard to make Swiss friends. It took my 2.5 years to actually make any actual Swiss friends. I have roller derby to thank for that. I seriously love the Swiss friends we have made (and not just because they could tell me which mountain range I can see from my balcony.) And it's not that the Swiss are like the Mean Girls of Europe or anything. They are very friendly and very nice but they can be very insular. I've been snubbed because I don't speak Swiss German (I speak high German), I've gotten an odd look when I tell them I'm a writer who works from who and doesn't have kids or a dog. And it's not because they're trying to mean they just don't know what to do with the weird high German speaking Canadian girl with no kids, dog or job they don't understand.
Pro: You're so close to everything that people dream about seeing one day!! Seriously. The husband and I are from Manitoba. His home town of Pierson is a 4 hour and 6 minute drive from my home city of Winnipeg (that's 362 kilometers) according to Google maps anyway. Yes, 4 HOURS of driving and you're still in the same province. Yup. But here you want to know what's only a few hours drive away? Milan, Luxembourg, Belgium, Paris, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Lichtenstein and Stuttgart. Other places are a quick, cheap flight away. John and I flew to Nante France for a weekend for less than 200 francs. We've flown to London, Poland, Italy and Germany all for pretty cheap because it's all so close. Okay, about 20 minutes from his hometown is the American Border and in about 6 minutes you can be in the Province of Saskatchewan and while Saskatchewan is home to the Paris of the Prairies (the teeming cosmopolis of Saskatoon) it's no actual Paris (side note: while in Paris last summer John and I definitely felt like we were in the largest city in Saskwatchewan....yeah....totally...)
|Yup...I totally get a Saskatchewan vibe...|
Pro: The chocolate, the pastries, the cheese, the seasonal food, the local food, the fondue, the beer, the wine, the everything with melted cheese, the everything. We eat better here than we ever did at home in Canada. And I'm not just talking healthy food (my goodness if our Canadian friends could see how we eat it they would be shocked especially considering I'm known bacon nachos.) But I'm talking quality to. We don't eat much processed food, we eat seasonally and locally. And that's not because it's trendy here like it is at home. That's just how they eat here.
Con: Sometimes, you would kill for something from home. People are shocked when I get excited about cupcakes or donuts (I'm looking at you mom...) Here's the thing, fresh pastries and all the yummy awesome food is NORMAL for us now. They're not a novelty anymore. What IS a novelty...poptarts. We currently have a rain barrel of peanut butter and a case of KD in our cupboard that makes us happier beyond words.
Pro: The Swiss have this wonderful connection to the outdoors. Even those who grew up in the city and it's reflected in the kempt hiking trails, the maps of the skating trails, biking trails, the fact that you see people outside on every single nice day. Even in Winter. I've never seen a crowded hiking path before. Then I moved here.
Con: I HATE being outside. My idea of "outdoorsy" is drinking outside. I've learned to kind of like hiking but it's mostly because of the alpine huts that serve beer along the hiking trails. Plus, I don't ski. I like the idea of skiing...probably because of the chalets that serve boozy hot chocolate and raclette. But I'm learning. I've made it my summer goal to finally go floating in the river here like we've been told to do since the day we landed. Yes, Manitoba friends, we have a river that is safe to swim in...go figure.
Pro: I'm starting to understand Swiss German. Can't speak it. Nope. But understanding is getting A LOT easier. It's only taken 2.5 years but it's better than nothing.
Con: I still get funny looks when I speak high German. BUT that's not my problem.
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