Swiss Expat Life Archives - Olliechinny

Swiss Expat Life

Travels Swiss Expat Life Swiss Travels

Cherry Blossoms in Switzerland: The No. 1 Spots to Find Them in Lausanne!

girl under cherry blossoms in musee de l'elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland


Oh spring and cherry blossoms…we have been waiting for you since a long time! Here in Switzerland, we went through some pretty crazy weather in January and February, including having our skies turn a bizarre orange with sand particles blowing over from the Sahara desert!

So say goodbye to skiing, snowmen and sub-degree temperatures, it’s finally time for a riot of cheery spring colours!

In the past, I’d always thought that it is only possible to find beautiful cherry blossoms (sakuras) in Japan. But DID YOU KNOW? In Lausanne, there is actually a secret spot at Ouchy area where you can witness the blooming sakuras, with the same amount of splendor (minus the throngs of tourist crowds)? It is now my favourite way to kick off the spring season in Switzerland!

While we’re dreaming of faraway lands, we so often forget the wonders right in front of our doorsteps. In today’s post, let me help keep your wanderlust in check by showing you where to find the prettiest cherry blossoms in Switzerland, right in my city of Lausanne!

UPDATED MARCH 22: It’s been a year on since this blogpost and I have updated it with new places that I’d explored in Lausanne. Happy cherry-blossom chasing!

Swiss Expat Life

Moving House in Switzerland: 7 Reflections + FREE MOVING CHECKLIST !

A week ago, we moved house in Switzerland from Lausanne to Morges. If you’ve had ever moved house, relocated or been through a renovation process, you would know that it is a REAL roller-coaster ride of emotions. The stress, the chaos, the excitement and the exhaustion….there’s really only a few other things in life (maybe parenthood?) that can rival it in terms of intensity!

Looking back over the whole time, I have to admit there are many things that we could have done more efficiently and differently if I had my time over. The dust’s finally settled and I am sitting in my new living room typing this post to reflect about the whole process of moving house in Switzerland – the ups, the downs, and the honest reality of it.

I have also specially prepared a Swiss MOVING CHECKLIST compiled based on my personal experience, so stay till the end of the post!

No Comments
Swiss Expat Life

27 Important Lessons I’ve Learnt at 27

important lessons at 27

(Warning: Long post ahead.)

Today, I turn 28. It’s not that big of a deal, I know. Afterall, it’s not the big 30. But now that I am at the point of no-return into my late 20s, I’d noticed that my lessons and priorities are much different of those from my younger carefree days, and worth penning down for reflection.

27 was a year of rediscovering myself. Of taking a long hard look in the mirror the past self, after 27 years of just floating through the noise.

As a middle child, I had always been a follower. I never gave much thought to who I was, or what my purpose is in this world. Because I didn’t need to. I only had to walk straight on the path already paved ahead for me and 99% of the time, life turned out pretty much fine.

I spent the entirety of my life absorbing the prescribed Singaporean ideals, beliefs and mindset on what it means to be wife, daughter, sister, employee. And then all of a sudden, I found myself thrown into a different world, where at every possible social event, they ask, without fail: “So, who are you?”. “Why are you here?”, “Tell me more about yourself”. “What do you do in life?”

What makes me, me? I didn’t have an answer to that. Because all this while, I’d only knew what I ought to be in this world, not who to be.

In a way, our move to Switzerland was a necessary part of my growth. Because by removing ourselves away from our past social circle of influence and living life independently, it allowed me the space I needed to re-examine every single part of myself—the good, the ugly, the hidden and the unconscious. It was frustrating having to undo all the past black and white lessons taught in my life. But I needed to come to the realisation on my own, that all that I once used to hold as absolute without questioning, were only illusions of another person’s subjective ideas and beliefs.

27 was the year I started listening to myself and learn to form my own judgement. Based on my opinion, not others.

So, this is my list of the 27 important lessons I’ve learned at 27. I’m openly sharing these lessons, with the hopes that they would bring you comfort and remind you of the light. I know too that I will be reading this list over and over again when life feels heavy and I need the reminder myself. 

Swiss Expat Life

5 Best Places for Coffee in Lausanne, Switzerland

best places for coffee in lausanne

If you know by the back of your hand the best places for coffee in your city, that’s a sure sign that you are well-integrated as an expat! After 1.5 years in Lausanne. I feel like I’m finally acquainted well enough with my neighbourhood, so much so that I now have my frequent haunts for coffee. Mainly for the days when I’m bored of drinking coffee from my old capsules, or when I’m just looking for a place to catch up with friends.

Unlike other majors cities, Lausanne is refreshingly devoid of an overkill of major coffee chains. What you will find instead are some independent roasters and small cafes. 

So get ready for a super caffeinated blogpost! From neighbourhood hotspots helmed by the most passionate of people, to bright and beautiful roasteries to chillax, here’s my personal guide to the 5 best places for coffee in Lausanne to hit up for your morning brew.

Swiss Expat Life

Top 14 Differences between Singapore and Switzerland!

August is a special month, as it is National Day in both Singapore (Aug 9) and Switzerland (Aug 1). Both countries share similarities: Small, safe, extremely rich, with the same knack of having bizarre rules…(No chewing gum in Singapore, no washing of clothes on Sunday in Switzerland!) We even have the same red and white for our national flag colours! Yet living in these two different parts of the world has also attuned me to the various little differences in terms of the living habits, culture, and administration.

In this National Day post: I’ve outlined 14 most interesting differences between Singapore and Switzerland that represented significant changes in our way of living, and also to celebrate the beauty of diversity between our two homes.

Swiss Expat Life

The Top 10 Irresistible Swiss Food You Must Try

crate of swiss food products

It’s no secret that Vince and I miss Singaporean food, and we are always trying to re-create them ourselves in the kitchen. Much as we remain nostalgic for SG snacks and tzechar dishes, there are some incredibly delicious Swiss food that we’ve acquired taste for, and loved ever since!

Right, your usual Swiss food like chocolate and cheeses are part of the list. But wait…THERE’S MORE!

Top 10 Swiss Food Products

I’m mindful that this list of top 10 Swiss food is not fully representative of the country’s cuisine or food preferences, since my food experience is largely limited to within the Swiss-Romande region. Definitely, there are tons of other cultural Swiss food delights in the German and Italian regions. This is just a first humble attempt to pick out and share some of my personal favourites after 1.5 years of living in Lausanne, and hopefully in time I get to taste more local food from other Swiss regions!

So here they are, and in no particular order: The top 10 Swiss food that I LOVE and would (absolutely recommend)!

Swiss Expat Life

Lockdown? 4 Things I did to Stay Happy

I was just talking to Vince the other day about 2020 really started on the wrong footing…that we really never got down to doing anything before this whole lockdown all began. And GUESS WHAT? We are now already a QUARTER through the year! Before we know it, it’s gonna be Christmas already. T.T

Lately I’m also finding it harder to read the news. Almost every piece of information seems to revolves around the coronavirus, rising death rates, or depressing reports about the global economy…There’s just so much toxic negativity spreading around doom and gloom.

So I decided that it’d do me some good to just shut out all these news apps. And instead pen down things that made me happy last week. Things that took my mind off worries and anxious thoughts. I hope that sharing this post would help you feel the same way too 🙂

Swiss Expat Life

10 #Stayhome Ideas

So 2020 took a massive turn with the coronavirus outbreak. When I sit down by myself and really think of the situation, all that is going on right now feels more like a scary sequel to Train to Busan than actual reality. COVID-19 has not only spread across the world at record levels, it has severely disrupted and changed our daily realities. Schools are now closed. Weddings and graduations are canceled. Businesses are suffering financially and winding up. Major cities are under lockdown, and one-third of the world’s people are now in quarantine or confined to their homes.

Many of us might have dreamt, invested and made many plans. To celebrate important life events. To travel overseas for a vacation. Or maybe to roll out a new business idea. Having to forcibly postpone or cancel them causes a huge sense of loss and disappointment. Personally, there were so much that I’d planned to see and travel in Switzerland and Europe this year. Our parents were to come over during the summer, and tickets to Portugal were all booked. It’s sad having to put all these plans on hold now, knowing that we won’t be seeing our family probably till next year or longer.

But the optimist in me is still looking for that silver lining. While life right now may feel like a hard slam on the brakes, God’s goodness has not been cancelled. Learning and growing and maturing has not been cancelled. Instead of grumbling about boredom and all the inconveniences during this period of isolation, we can choose to reframe our thoughts by spendimg our time meaningfully. Knowing that a heart can be filled with joy every day, not just the easy days. 

With that in mind, here’s 10 #stayhome activities that I’ve been up to lately, to share and spread some positivity 🙂

No Comments
Swiss Expat Life

1 Year In Switzerland: 10 Reflections On Living Abroad

It’s been 1 year in Switzerland. We are already into the end of February 2020, and the freshness of the new year is starting to wear off. Belated as it is, I wanted to write this reflection post to look back on 2019.

The beautiful thing about recounting the year is the ability to see what you were blind to in the midst of it. The lessons learned, the perspective gathered, and the realisation of how God faithfully carried us through from one season to the next.

2019 was the most significant year in my life, in that it was our first year living abroad in Switzerland! Name any emotion…and I’ve probably experienced it last year. This expat journey brought so much crazy ups and downs, but I’m thankful for every single second of it. Here’s looking back on 12 months of full adventures, growth and milestones, and the reflections along the way.

No Comments