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Miserable in Switzerland

(12 Posts)
dippywhentired Wed 05-Oct-11 12:48:15

Moved here with DH's job 2 months' ago with our 2 DDs, 4 and 18 months. I didn't initially want to move as I was happy in the UK, but DH persuaded me we'd be crazy not to take the opportunity. We're here for a minimum of 2 years and then we'll see how we feel.

The first few weeks were great - felt like being on holiday. Now I am missing all my friends at home, my job (worked 2 days a week), etc. I like the weekends where there seems to be lots to do, but during the week DD1 is at school and I'm at home with DD2 and am bored. I have made a few friends, and meet up with them once or twice a week, but at home I had something to do every day. My DH is at work so it's very different for him. I don't speak German either, am having lessons, but am not going to be fluent over night.

If I knew we were here for 2 years and would then be going home I think it'd be easier, but if we do go back, DH'd have to find another job to go back to (he's on a permanent contract here). He has also just said that he doesn't think he'd want to go back to where we lived before as he wants to keep 'doing different things'. I don't know how we can compromise when I want to go back to the life I had before and he doesn't.

Not really sure what I'm asking, probably just wanted to vent and see if it's normal to feel like this when you first move abroad.

heather1 Wed 05-Oct-11 12:52:29

Hi, Im in Switzerland too, Zurich. Where are you?
As to your feelings, well you could be describing how I have felt. And sometimes still do feel a bit,
We have been here since Easter.
I think your feelings are normal. I miss my friends like crazy. I have 2 ds 4 and 6. Also I think the Swiss are not so into going out to the park and soft play and things, Seem more into cleaning and taking kids to the supermarket. Anyway if you want to get in contact would be great to talk to you.

dippywhentired Wed 05-Oct-11 13:08:52

Hi Heather - I'm about an hour from Zurich in a relatively small city. It's not that I hate it - I was trying to explain to DH last night that I enjoy all the things we can do as a family (and am looking forward to ski-ing, etc), but on a day to day basis I was happier at home. He doesn't get it. I used to go to toddler groups and see my friends there, or go to soft play or each other's houses. Here the only toddler groups I have heard of are once a fortnight, and in the afternoon when I have to go and pick DD1 up from school. I also hate not being able to speak the language, and have found people rude if I ask if they speak English (like doctor's receptionists, etc.)

LIZS Wed 05-Oct-11 13:10:43

That's a shame . We lived just outside Zurich for 4 years when dc were young (dd was born there) and it isn't an easy culutre to assimilate into. However we found friends through the expat community and dh's office, went along to groups like Kindermusik (in English) and I joined an expat book group(members came from all over the world). Is your dd at a local kindergarten or international school ? The latter will have a pa and local area reps who organise coffee mornings etc. Even if she is at a local school you may find the local IS runs courses for adults, perhaps with creche, and hosts after school activities and playgroups for non pupils.

To be honest the first year was difficult although having dd kept me busy, and going into the second even harder but we stayed for 4 years having intended 1 intiially. It is easy to assume everyone is fine and not that interested in you but you'd be surprised how common your feelings are. Online forums can be a good source of information, events and support if you haven't already come across them - this is one of several moderated by a friend of mine. hth

dippywhentired Wed 05-Oct-11 13:15:27

Thanks LIZS - I am on that forum but must admit I look at the summaries i get emailed, but that's about it. There seems to be a lot going on in Zurich and in French-speaking parts but not too much round here. My DD is at international school but it is very small (only started 3 years' ago) so don't think they're very up on coffee mornings, etc. I'll look into Kindermusik and see if there's a group round here.

LIZS Wed 05-Oct-11 13:23:49

Is it the one which is a spin off of ZIS?

dippywhentired Wed 05-Oct-11 13:26:14

No, it's not. It's linked with ISSK (Kreuzlingen)

heather1 Wed 05-Oct-11 19:12:45

Have you tried, the yahoo group "families in Zurich" ? Not all the people live in zurich. It might be worth asking for English speakers in your ares. Maybe also talk to the local school (in your town town) as they may have some english speaking Mums that you could be put in contact with.
In our village they had some thing called Turnen for the little ones on a Saturday. I think its gymnastics.
Where are you living, if you dont mind me asking?
It honestly does get easier. Nerly 6 months on (we arrived at Easter) I still have days when I HATE it and miss my friends soo so much. But they are at the end of the telephone and easy jet can be ever so cheap! Abd every day it gets a little easier and more used to things.
Are you leaning German?

heather1 Wed 05-Oct-11 19:13:46

Forgot to mention also good as it covers the whole of Switzerlan

dippywhentired Wed 05-Oct-11 20:52:16

Thanks for your replies - am in St Gallen. Am learning German (slowly!), go to lessons twice a week and am doing the Pimsleur CDs, which I find more helpful than the lessons to be honest. I hate not being able to converse properly and feel like a typical Brit!

coffeeinbed Wed 05-Oct-11 20:58:25

Switzerland can be a bugger.
Two months is far too early though.
It might even get worse before it gets better. Hang in there. Winter/snow's lovely.

TortillaDeMaiz Sat 08-Oct-11 23:12:37

Hi dippy,

I do hope it starts to get better. It can be quite overwhelming at first to be on a foreign country where you don't speak the language, but it does get better once you get more used to the culture and find more activities for you and your toddler.

Even if you are just learning, try to use german as much as possible. People will be more understanding if you make an effort. I've been here for over 1.5 years and still find it stressful to make the first telephone contact. Perhaps during your classes, you can ask your teacher to go through situations of daily life, like calling the doctors, going to the post, doing the shopping.

By the way, if you have a 18 month old, it will be worth arranging an appointment with the pediatritian for immunisation/development assessment. The immunisation plan is a bit different here than the UK, some jabs are given a bit earlier. So you might as well ask the doctor to check your DD1 immunisation plan. The receptionist might not speak english but most likely the doctor will. The waiting rooms are normally filled with all sorts of leaflets including other groups/activities that might suit your schedule, or ask directly the doctor.

Also check about where is the "Mutter Beratung", which is the equivalent of the Health visitor team. They might be able to recommend you activities for you and your DD2, like "turnen" or swimming or other toddler groups.

There are some yearly events coming up you could take part and a good opportunity to meet people: the "Kerzenziehen" where you can make your own candles (your DD1 might enjoy giving it a try) and the Rabechilbi, where you carve a giant radish put a candle on it and walk around the village in a procession.

I hope you find this useful and not too long for you to read. All the best.

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