Our seven month anniversary in this [not so] foreign land brings with it the reality that those gloriously long Summer days that I so lovingly referred to a couple of months ago get replaced by short Winter days and loooong Winter nights. Our sun currently rises at 07:26 and sets at 16:56. I’m not complaining as Winter also brings with it the promise of cosy evenings in front of the fire, woolly jerseys, beanies, gloves and scarves, Christmas markets, hot roasted Maroni nuts, cheese fondues and of course, this …
pretty pink cheeks after a very cold walk home from school.
We are no longer ‘new’ to Switzerland and yet everything still feels so new and unfamiliar. We are learning our way around a fairly complicated schooling system and Julz is in the midst of testing for high school next year to see which tier she will fall into. Guys, my baby is going to high school!!! (When did that happen? I swear she was two just yesterday.)
Until then, we are soaking in the delight of primary school as it is not as intense as back home with a strong focus on play – letting them stay little for just a little bit longer. There is also a strong emphasis on creativity and Julz is now pretty comfortable using a hand saw as well as a sewing machine (both skills learnt from Hand Craft). It almost feels like we’ve enrolled her in Scouts or Girl Guides as opposed to formal schooling.
Language is also a big part of the schooling system with German, English and French all being taught in the local schools. My guardian angel, Heidi, gives Julz extra French lessons after school which gives me a good excuse to join them for a cup of tea and to listen to my child being taught another language in another language. I am in complete awe!
As for me, learning a new language has come with many challenges. When my nearly 40-year-old brain actually remembers a word, I am often unable to get my tongue around the word to pronounce it correctly. The good side to this though, is that I am providing Julz with hours of entertainment as well as added opportunities for her to practice her German because she’s constantly needing to correct me.
Luckily for me, the people here are extremely patient and kind and are happy for me to fumble my way through this journey with little judgement. The Swiss have a bad reputation for being cold and closed off but I’ve come to learn that they are just overly polite and don’t want to intrude on someone’s personal time/space. We joke that the Swiss are like nuts, difficult to crack. Once you’ve cracked that outer shell though, they are warm, wonderful and genuine people.
We’ve managed to crack a few nuts so far and our little circle of 3 is gradually growing into a beautiful community. One that feels a little more like family.
Benito is already in his second month of work and whilst I don’t envy his early morning wake-up calls, I do envy the fact that he has somewhere to be every day with a purpose. I’ve never been a stay-at-home mom so this transition has been a tough one, but we have set some goals and will work towards bridging this gap in the new year. Also, I booked my first photography shoot!
Speaking of photos (my language of choice) … this is what we’ve been up to lately …
The Chinese Gardens in Zürich
Hiking from Uetliberg to Felsenegg
My cows. I visit them often and they’re starting to know me (Swiss cows are happy cows).