5 Fun Updates on Expat Life in Switzerland - Olliechinny
Swiss Expat Life

5 Fun Updates on Expat Life in Switzerland

It’s been 1.5 months of expat life in Switzerland.

I most certainly see the parallels between moving abroad and embarking on a new relationship. It feels almost like the initial infatuation phase: You are feeling shy and awkward, trying to understand each other’s preferences, patterns and habits. Sometimes you have great fun together and you discover amazing traits of each other, yet there are other times when you are left frustrated and helpless, wondering if you said or did something wrong…!? But at the end of the day, both parties are determined to make this long-term relationship work.

So here’s a recount of my honeymoon with Lausanne over the last 1.5 months!

1) We made our own traditional cheese fondue!

We invited Vince’s friend from EPFL, Melissa (who happens to be my senior from RV too, such a small world indeed!) and her boyfriend Sam over for a cheese fondue dinner. It’s a very traditional, convival Swiss dish best enjoyed during the cold winters. We went for the moitié-moitié (half-and-half) using containing half Gruyère and half…something else!along with some warm bread. Was great that we had Sam with us because he gave us authentic Swiss advice on the way fondue should be prepared!

It was my first time trying it and while the pungent smell does takes some getting used to, thick cheese-coated bread tasted pretty delicious overall! Melissa suggested dipping mushrooms and potatoes into the fondue as well and I think those would be great alternatives for our next fondue meal!

2) Paying visits to our colleagues-neighbours

Vincent’s colleague, Maria lives just about 10 minutes away from our apartment and invited us (along with another colleague Ivan, and his wife Joycelyn) over for afternoon tea and we enjoyed ourselves over some local swiss snacks.

expat life in switzerland swiss apéro

Ivan and Jocelyn have a bright and active 4 year old little girl, Nayeli and I have to admit, it gets so fun yet so draining just watching her crazy antics prancing around the house! How do parents handle the mess and the mania 24/7?! We really appreciated the couple’s candid sharings about their life’s adjustments now with a kid in tow, it helped to put things into perspective and gave us a glimpse into joys/struggles of parenthood, on what it takes to raise a little human. Although we certainly don’t feel ready for it now!

expat life in switzerland meeting friends and neighbours
expat expat With Ivan (back), Jocelyn, Maria and Fernando. You can’t see Neyali because the cheeky monkey was hiding at the back!

3) Apprendre le français, chaque jour!

I had completed my intensive A1 French course last week and have since moved on to the A2 level! This is definitely the most internationally diverse class I have attended, with people coming from all over the world: Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, India, Kosovo, Spain, Australia…each of them being brave souls, with their own immigrant/expat stories to tell.

expat life in switzerland french class at l'école migros
My highly diverse and lively classmates!

A number of them share similar circumstances as me: They had moved to Lausanne to accompany their partners/spouses to Switzerland for work, while a few younger ones intend to further their studies at the local universities.

I’m really glad to have met these bunch of classmates: we speak to one another in a funny mix of half-arse French-glish and Italian, we make a lot of mistakes with grammar (and laugh about them!) but everyday we learn so much together and soak up French like thirsty absorbent sponges, all harbouring the same hopes of mastering the lingua franca of Lausanne and to integrate into the local community one day.

(I will soon be writing a post about my experience + tips on learning French soon, so do continue to watch this space!)

4) Geneva International Motor Show 2019

We were never crazy fans of cars, but the International Motor Show 2019 happened to be held in Geneva, and it is one of the biggest event in the automotive world, so we thought…why not pay it a visit over the weekend?

I have NEVER seen so many spectacular cars in my life! There were the fast and furious F1 race cars, the glorious fleets of Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and Feraris, the small and playful Fiat Centoveni concept car…And these were all merely the tip of the iceberg. We were in the exhibition for 4 whole hours, walking till our knees turned weak and still we didn’t finish through!

With impending EU emissions laws kicking into place by 2021, the focus at the show was alot on electric cars this year: we saw a whole fleet of electric SUVs, along with cute buggies and other interesting hybrids as well. Overall I think it is a good move by the automotive industry towards offering more eco-friendly and sustainable mobility options for car-owners in the future.

Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire was definitely the star of the show. Stunning and sleek, this black beast is a one-off (there will never be another, says its CEO!) and the most expensive new car ever built, costing a whooping €16.7 million! Someone had bought it already, that lucky bastard!

Photo Credits: www.Dezeen.com

Wondering when it would ever be our turn to own a badass multi-million luxury car…!

5) Our Wedding Anniversary!

Vince and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on 18 March! Thankful for God’s faithfulness and His bountiful blessings in our 2 years of marriage and that this year, we get to experience a stint of life abroad together.

I definitely don’t wish to sound like I am complaining about our family commitments back when we were in Singapore (because I absolutely enjoy all the moments with my loved ones and now that I’m here, I miss them all the more every single day)…but I’m sure that married couples will be able to relate to the occasional days when you felt like all your weekends were packed back-to-back, spent on catching up with both sides of the family, attending birthdays celebrations/ family gatherings, church and fellowship, meeting up with friends, and by the time you get back home, there really just isn’t much couple-time and winding down just for ourselves!

Now that it’s ONLY the two of us here in Switzerland, this solitude/ independence comes with the advantage of enjoying more quality together. We go out for weekend dates, we sit down together for dinners and have conversations, we get to practice French with each other, doing grocery-shopping together can be quite fun these days, we chill on the couch and read together…plus the cold winter makes it perfect for snuggling. Overall, I absolutely love this new change, this #usagainsttheworld season of our marriage! I guess we better enjoy it while it lasts.

Anyway, it was nothing too fancy for us for our anniversary. We went for a cosy dinner at Cafe Grancy, recommended by our friend Harpreet. It appears highly popular with the locals and was absolutely packed (even on a Monday night!), so if you are interested in dining there be prepared to reserve in advance!

Cafe Grancy, located just a stone’s throw away from Lausanne Gare.

Other random news…

  • I’d gotten my grocery membership cards from Migros and Co-Op! Now whenever we shop for groceries we can accumulate points like a local. I guess the Singaporean auntie spirit in me still lives on… (*cackles*)
  • My parents-in-laws are arriving….TOMORROW! I honestly can’t wait to bring them around Lausanne and around Europe, we have already booked and planned for a couple of trips!

So there you have it, my first 1.5 months of expat life in Switzerland. From learning to establish a new home routine, making new friends, exploring new places, celebrating marriage milestones, finding a new job.. I look back and I find that the lesson the Lord is trying to instill in me during these initial months in Switzerland is all about being BRAVE.

That perhaps He puts us in a new place and give us a new identity, with new people and new experiences, and we’re expecting ourselves to feel home-sick, anxious, tested and discouraged. But He also proves to us that once you fully accept this new reality, that there is now no more backdoor refuge to run back to and you are all on your own….

Eventually you learn to wipe away those tears and toughen up . You push yourself to muster up the courage to say more “yes-es” and “why-nots?” rather then always choosing to the safe option. You slowly learn to appreciate your newfound freedom to steer your day in whichever direction/agenda you want to. And you also realize that there are others around you sharing the same cluelessness and foreign-ness as you, and you aren’t that alone after-all in this integration journey.

And slowly, things does not seem as scary and hard as it appeared to be. And you feel braver.

Even though you had a different idea on what it means to be brave. Even though it had always been in you all along.

Promise me you will always remember – you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ Christopher Robin

Till next time!

Love, Ollie

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