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Excited to share in today’s post about our new home in Switzerland!

The Neighbourhood

Our apartment is located within the suburbs of Lausanne. 

Coming from Singapore where we take take a daily 40 minute commute to work… this new-found accessibility turned out to be a refreshing change and a privilege that we enjoy greatly! Our mornings are A LOT less rushed now: Vince gets up at a reasonable 7.45am, washes up and finds time to sit down for breakfast before leaving for work, while reaching office promptly by 9am. Come spring when the roads are less slippery, he can even e-scoot to work! 

There is also a small bakery, a car rental, florist, restaurants, kindergartens and a church…all within walking distance from our house. All shops close on Sundays and it becomes a dead-town by then, so we usually pre-plan our groceries ahead and get our shopping done on weekdays.

The park happens to be my favourite spot in the entire neighbourhood!

Our neighbourhood park. This shot somewhat reminds me of the scene in Winter Sonata!

We LOVE living so close to nature. Plus I think it’s perfect hideout to watch the sunrise and for quiet reflection during the early mornings.

The Swiss enjoys outdoors a lot, and on weekends you can catch them basking under the sun and enjoying conversations with neighbours, walking their dogs, watching kids play at the playground, reading a book on the park bench…or just taking an idle nap! While it’s not that ideal now to go out running in the chilly winter air, I’m thinking of starting my morning running routine when spring comes in March.

The Apartment

It took us quite a few months of house search and some failed attempts with other choice apartments (here in Switzerland, we’ve come to learnt that many times you don’t get to choose the house….the landlords choose you!) before we settled on this apartment. While we are forking out slightly higher for rent, we liked that it is a brand-new furnished apartment and in terms of location, it is just along the perimeters of Lausanne.

Our open kitchen and living room. Because there isn’t a study room, our dining table acts as our work corner too! We also did away with the TV (BUT we are still obligated to pay for the Swiss TV and radio tax of $365 francs a year! Slight hmpfh about this) so our TV console now acts as our makeshift book shelf/ display corner.

It’s hard to believe that this apartment was completely raw with blank spaces, undecorated rooms, dusty floors, zero lights, routines that could use some work, etc. etc. etc. 4 months ago! We shipped a bulk of our furnitures over from Singapore, with the remainder bought from IKEA and assembled manually by Vince. If there’s only one reason for my settling down so smoothly here in Switzerland: its because he had put in TREMENDOUS amount of hard work to set up the house, dealing with all the administration completely all on his own before I came. My man’s love language is acts of service, and I think doing all these are his way of expressing love for our family. I can’t thank Vince enough for everything he has done for our second home (in two years)!

Moving to a new space has also provided us with a fresh canvas to plan out and decorate. Since this is a rented apartment, we wanted to keep whatever we put on the wall to be easily removable, minimal and yet meaningful. We brought along some frames which we bought from various countries during our travels, and hung them around the house. They perked up the atmosphere immediately and added alot more joy and inspiration to our living space! I’d also brought a couple of photos of my loved ones, which I’m planning to use to up a photo-wall soon.

In sum, decorations doesn’t have to be expensive!

My two homes back in Singapore both had balconies, so I couldn’t be any happier when Vince told me before the move that our unit…is SURROUNDED with balcony decks! It’s so huge that its literally 1/3 the size of our indoor space and I can even run around it. Some people do find balconies a waste of space. But I think that when cooped indoors for too long, it’s always nice to stand outside the house for a breath of fresh air. PLUS, it means I can grow my own little outdoor garden soon!

Here’s a splendid morning view from one of the balcony corners, facing the park. Ain’t it gorgeous?

The workers are fixing up the wooden decking for now because of some mould and humidity issues. I’m eagerly waiting for them to be done so that I can do my HIIT exercises and have breakfast out in the sun 🙂

While we certainly enjoy living in this new home, there are still some adjustments to make, that are taking us a while to get used to:

  • Peace & quiet… We went from a HDB next to a cross-street junction with 24/7 noise and weddings/funerals happening at void-decks pretty much on every other weekend … to an apartment on a a dead-quiet street where you really never hear anything at night, except for the occasional rumbling of the trains! During my second week here it felt so UNBEARABLY quiet I even had to ask Google Home to play some nature sounds.
  • Dealing with lesser space. Apartments are generally smaller-sized in Switzerland. While it was a quality upgrade for us from a HDB to a penthouse unit, in terms of space, it was a reduction from a 3 beds, 2 baths to a 1 bed, 1 bath. There isn’t even space for the washing machine or a storeroom! (Our laundry and storage are located at the common area in the basement) But looking on a positive side of things: a smaller apartment simply means I have lesser floors to keep clean now! 🙂
  • Indoor heating system. Our building’s underfloor heating system takes eco-friendliness to the next level…unfortunately to my detriment. Because it takes an entire 24 hours to adjust to the surrounding temperatures. Hence, we have keep the shades up for our full-length glass windows during the day, just so that the heating will be adjusted to room temperature by night time.
  • Recycling. While we are extremely supportive of the recycling culture here (which Singapore certainly has a lot to learn and aspire towards!) but let’s just say that it’s not completely second nature yet…and sometimes I still get messed up with this whole sorting process for paper, glass, compost, plastic and trash!
  • Eye-watering high prices. I’m not gonna kid, but prices BITE here. Some funnily exorbitant items I’ve came across include: a cheese-grater ($15SGD) and a packet of taupok ($8SGD! *gasps*). Often-times we simply CANNOT rationalize going out to restaurants for dinner or even buying meat at a supermarket (coincidentally, I’ve switched to a pescatarian diet before the move, so my food choices are slightly less affected in this aspect). So far, apart from the occasional hanging out with friends/colleagues for coffee and drinks, we have been cooking our meals at home daily. It’s definitely doing me some good here because I’ve upped my culinary skills by a notch and also found the chance to experiment with new recipes which I’d never found the time to try out in Singapore! [Nevertheless, just to be fair here: there are definitely some other Swiss-made products that are priced reasonably or even cheaper than Singapore e.g. herbs and spices, fruits in general, yoghurts, cheese, bread, and wine!]

That’s all for our neighbourhood/ apartment tour!

Overall, we feel unmeasurably blessed to be able to be part of this Swiss community. Of course there are still times when I sorely miss our family back in Singapore and I feel rather lonely, but I have come to learnt that with change, you learn to adapt and see the positivities of where God has placed you in the present, while never forgetting where you came from.

This apartment will be our home for the next few years. My hope is that beyond just being 4 walls with a roof, where we kick off our shoes and lie on the couch after a long day…it will become a sacred refuge, a happy and safe space where we can love and be loved, and a treasure chest holding our family’s memories in Switzerland.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

Love, Ollie

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