We are moving to Switzerland. WHOA. With 3 children under 5. Double WHOA. As we embark on this adventure, there are bound to be lots of stories to be told so in the interest of keeping a log and keeping friends and family updated, welcome to Swiss Family Stender.
As we prep, there are some questions:
- Where will we be living?
- Is it wrong to tranquilize children on long flights?
- Everyone speaks American, right?
- How does a family of 5 not die of starvation without access to Costco?
These questions will be answered and as we learn them, we’ll share here. Sarah’s HR department told her that as long we’re not expecting Switzerland to be America, we’ll be fine. Put another way, if you’re flexible you’ll be fine. Which we are so it should be a blast.
We do know the area we’ll be living – Vevey. Contrary to the nitwit who corrected my evidently pathetic American pronunciation, it is in fact pronounced VEH-VAY, not VA-VAY. #Groan. It looks to be a postcard perfect little village perched on Lake Geneva. Across the lake is France. Down the road is Italy. There’s also Germany and Austria on the periphery. Weep for us.
Did you know there are 4 languages spoken in Switzerland? French, German, Italian and Romansh – which is obviously some sort of pretend language. We’ll be living in the French speaking section which is fortuitous since I am a former Advanced Placement French student. You know, “AP French” in high school? Which must be a misnomer as Milan, our 4 year old, already knows more French than I do. Advanced Jackass would be more appropriate.
There is the small concern on keeping calorie intake up. You see, the children have all inherited some version of my insatiable appetite. Two breakfasts is our norm. One at 6 AM (peanut butter and jelly with fruit), another at 8 AM (piles of eggs with meat and more fruit). Do the Swiss eat like this? Is there a reason Americans are generally larger? The correlation is unclear but the reality is clear – we must find food. Turns out horsemeat is on the menu over there. But I might actually prefer to go hungry than eat Seabiscuit. We’ll see.
The general conversation with my friends is that the country is run by a team of elves, wearing lederhosen and working out of large oak trees. Cousins of the Keeblers. Making chocolate and toys. The usual. I’m not sure if the Swiss allow elves in their midst but I do know lederhosen are a generally accepted part of society. As such, the top item on my priority list is a tailored set. Halloween will be done – forever. But should I plan to wear them while in country? Yodeling like the Ricola man? Or singing like Maria in the Sound of Music? We will see.
As you can see, there a lot of critical questions to be answered. But it’s an adventure. We’ll figure it out as we go. When I studied abroad in college, my friend Kevin and I got off the plane in Budapest both under the impression the other had the pertinent paperwork. Neither did. Neither of us knew where we were going. So we went to the bar instead. I can tell you that won’t be the case here. But I can tell you it’s going to be just as much fun.