The past four days have been both a dairy-induced dreamscape, and a Brazil-level bureaucratic nightmare.
Let’s get the bad (read: weird) stuff out of the way first.
When we decided we would make the move to Switzerland, we went through a lot of paper work – both for the NZ government and the Swiss Embassy. It was the most paper work I had ever had to wade through, and it felt totally ridiculous. Boy oh boy, was I in for a rude surprise!
On our first day in the country, I thought it would be a good idea to settle a few essentials – a mobile phone, a bank account etc… What I didn’t expect was the sheer number of trees that would die for the cause. To get a sim-card in Switzerland, you need to hand over a form of identification, as well as sign and date numerous forms confirming your identity and understanding of the pre-paid contract.
To get a bank account, you have to do the same, but you also have to verbally (and in writing) confirm that you are not a US citizen, you never have been a US citizen, you don’t plan to become a US citizen and that you aren’t holding money for anyone else (especially U.S. citizens!). Your internet banking and debit card details are sent to you in the mail; as is anything else of any worth in the country.
It was the same kind of deal at the Gemeinde (community office), the migration office, the train station, and the Klubschule (adult learning center). Many of the people serving us even commented on the so-called “Papier-krieg”. It felt absolutely ridiculous, but at least I know our presence is well documented.
Now for the cool stuff!
We have spent quite some time over the past four days exploring the area and going on little day trips. Sometimes we feel a little guilty – we feel like we should be spending all our time perfecting our CVs and applying for jobs. To be honest, though, I’m trying to challenge that guilt. We have the privilege of being able to enjoy these early days for what they are – a transition period. We are trying to make the most of it.
Except for our one day in Zürich, the weather has been amazing. We’ve averaged around 5°C during the day, and about -1°C at night. It’s cold enough to give the mountains a nice sprinkling while we sleep, but warm enough to go out for walks in the morning.
We’ve been treating ourselves to full-on, sit-down breakfasts before we go out. In Switzerland they say you should eat breakfast like a Kaiser, Lunch like a king, and dinner like a pauper. We’ve been doing our best to integrate ourselves.
When we go out, people greet us on the street (at least here in the small town). It’s not unusual to see people out for walks, but not for fitness per se. Lots of people own dogs, and seem to enjoy a quick stroll in the afternoon.
We’re a little bit disappointed that we missed the “real”snow in late January, but in a way I am already looking forward to spring. There are lots of different trees and shrubs and birds and animals that I can’t wait to discover. But for now we have snow balls.