You have no idea how often I get asked if I miss Switzerland. And when I answer that I don’t people are usually really surprised.
How can it be that I don’t miss it? It is such a beautiful country. It is green (or white, depending on the season…) and clean, safe, nice and it has yummy chocolate and cheese and so on…
Yes, I know. I grew up there. And yes, Switzerland is great and if you would want to move there I would tell you that you should. I loved living there too. And I admit, I miss Christmas in winter. I do. Christmas in summer is still weird to me, only because it is not getting dark early. What I also slightly miss is the opportunity to hop in the car and drive to Munich or Vienna, Paris or Rome, Florence or any other city in Europe in a more or less decent amount of time. Although I sort of miss this, I know that one day we will be able to show these places to our kids or they will discover them on their own.
So what makes me not miss Switzerland? The place I grew up? The lifestyle? Let me start here: I always had this strange feeling. The feeling that I don’t really belong there. And it is really hard to explain and understand. I felt like I was meant to live somewhere else. Although I love the mountains and everything, which comes with them, I feel drawn to the ocean. I need open space. At least those two things you won’t really get in Switzerland 😉
Moving to another country always comes with a risk. You never really know what you will get until you live there. You might have visited before. Maybe on vacation, maybe for work and you might have always liked it. But you never really lived there. Visiting and living are two very different things. Both of us, hubby and I, have travelled to Australia before (before we have met) and always loved Australia. When we did the trip Down Under for the first time together (for work) we both agreed that we could picture ourselves living here. Back then we had no clue that it would actually happen.
So fast-forward… When we suddenly had the chance to move Down Under it was not really a brainstormer. Child, dog and the belongings we wanted to drag along were quickly packed (sort of), family and friends shocked and off we went.
We are approaching 10 years in Down Under and never ever have we had regrets. We had to get used to certain things though. As I said, living here is different than visiting. And there are a few points, which surprised me a little bit when I realized them (It is not a big list):
- Australia is about as expensive as Switzerland, if not more expensive (YES! Shocking, right?1?!)
- People here can be grumpy too and sometimes a bit complicated
- It’s not all about “Beauty mate”
- They drink a lot. And I mean A LOT
- Suddenly American English or English English sounds weird…
- It is bloody far from everything (which is sometimes a good thing)
We settled in very quickly. Thanks to friends we had, who already lived here and helped us getting organized. Which would have been a slightly more difficult task on our own (as we were in charge of our relocation and not a company). A couple of important things like bank accounts, mobile phones, land lines, power, water and gas are difficult to organize if you have no bank account in Australia (which you need for the mobile phone and land line), credit history in Australia (which you need for mobile phone and land line), phone bill (which you could use for power, water or gas)… You can do it and you will eventually also find out how, but it was so much easier and faster thanks to them.
It did not take long to get used to the Aussie way. And we made lots of friends really quickly too. I still find it interesting though that most of them are expats too (can we still call ourselves expats although we are here to stay?) or Aussies who used to live abroad… Anyway. They all are a great bunch of people.
Right from the beginning it was important for us that we try to discover the country we now live in. Which is a bit of a task given its size. Kind of a new thing for us, as in Switzerland it takes you approx. 5 hours by car or train to get from the far east to the far west and same with north and south… If you would have more tunnels you would probably be even faster…. If we drive for 5 hours here, we are not even close to the border of this State. Same in the US I guess…
We traveled in Australia. And everything we saw so far was amazing. And different. We’ve been up to Queensland, Brisbane and along the coast. Been over to Western Australia (which we have to explore more), up to New South Wales and to Sydney a couple of times. Had a good look at Canberra, which I really liked. Down to Tasmania, which is just stunning. Hobart, Launceston… you know, Tassie is a bit similar to Switzerland… We’ve been to the Red Center (Northern Territory), watched the Sunset, felt blown away by the size and the aura of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and also by the rest of this magical place. And now we discovered at least one corner of South Australia with our road trip to Adelaide.
We live in Melbourne, Victoria. And we have Victoria more or less under control 😉 Been up to the mountains and skied. Yes, you can ski in Australia and it is actually really good skiing! It’s actually fun to suddenly ski around Gum Trees, you know…
We have not encountered a snake just yet, which I am really happy about but we do see huntsman spiders every now and then (still trying to get used to that…). We’ve seen kangaroos in the wild and koalas and echidnas. And they still amaze me. And all those birds! Rainbow lorikeets and all sort of cockatoos. Every time the fly by it is a wow moment for me. I still try to take a picture when I see them. Although they are not rare, you know…
Australia is amazing. It is hot and crazy and windy (at least down here) but it is beautiful. It is vast and wild and rough, but beautiful. Haven’t had a shark encounter just yet, although the beach close to us was closed one day because of a shark sighting. Saw dolphins one day a couple of years back actually from my sofa in our living room while I was breastfeeding my little girl… We do spot dolphins every now and then but that moment was just crazy special…
There is still so much to discover. I know that everything changes and turns into routine once you are over the “honeymoon period”. But you know what? Somehow I feel like I am still sort of honeymoon-ing as I am not bored yet. And I am glad we have the opportunity to stay and discover more and more of this amazing place.
So this is why I do not miss Switzerland. I am in love with Australia 🙂