Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Love British Television

Of the 175+ television stations offered through our Swiss cable provider, we (for obvious reasons) gravitate to about a dozen English language channels (several of which are close captioned in German). These include BBC One, Two, Three and Four and ITV. We are really enjoying both the high and low brow shows offered on these stations. The Brits know how to do TV. Here are two of our favorites:

Dinner Date
Dinner Date gives one lucky guy the opportunity to go on a blind date with three women who cook a romantic meal for him in their home. He then chooses one lucky lady to take out on a dinner date she didn't have to cook.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleachmour Christmas

The Rapperswil Christmas Market was our favorite of those we visited this year. Rapperswil is a quaint town on the opposite end of lake Zurich with a beautiful castle and a scenic main street along the lake. We drank (more) Gluhwein, ate sausages, browsed stalls filled with toys and tasty treats and enjoyed locals singing English Christmas carols.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Hikes in Switzerland

Things are slow and sleepy in Switzerland over the holidays. We were itching to get out of the apartment, but (still) couldn't leave Henry, so we took lots and lots of walks. Luckily, walking paths are plentiful throughout the country, and our neighborhood. As are mountain and lake views. The mild weather may not have allowed a white Christmas, but it did help as we explored our new home.
615 km to Paris? Let's get walking!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Brews

Our local groceries and liquor stores carry a relatively small selection of beers. This is fairly typical of Switzerland, despite the high concentration of microbreweries in this country. So, Matt and I were especially thrilled to find a gas station, just a block from our temporary apartment, open 365 days a year, with an excellent microbeer selection. Each visit we pick out a new beer to try. This week we selected two Christmas ales.

First we tried Mönchshof Weihnachts Bier, a German winter ale. It was a golden yellow ale, much lighter than the Christmas/winter ales we're used to in the states. It was tasty, but unimpressive. At 3 chf a liter, we have no complaints, but probably won't be drinking it again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Henry vs. the Crate

We're crate training the dog. This is painstakingly slow work, especially when what we really want to do is eat fondue and explore our new town. It's a good thing he's cute....

Henry fighting sleep that he desperately wants/needs because he refuses to sleep in his cage. Jerk.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

We Made Tacos!

A warning I heard quite frequently from expats living in Europe was that much of the continent lacked decent Mexican-American/Tex Mex food and the ingredients to make them. Tacos are a staple of our regular meal rotation in the US, so from my first visit to Zurich, I was on the hunt. I found that both our local supermarkets in Uster, Coop and Migros, stock a small, but adequate selection of items including taco seasoning, soft and hard shells, refried beans, salsa and tortilla chips. I picked up a bag (yes, bag) of ground beef, a block of cheddar cheese (after searching the hundreds of cheeses for the one kind of cheddar available!) and sauer halbrahm, which my research suggested was the closest thing to sour cream. I also grabbed sauermilch, out of curiosity.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exploring Swiss Christmas Markets

We're finally out of the hotel and in our temporary apartment. Yay! Once we've unpacked our short-term shipment, I'll post a tour. For now, here's a bit about how we spent our first weekend as Swiss residents.

Switzerland is home to hundreds of Christmas Markets. Over the weekend we explored a few, beginning with the Uster Weihnachtsmarkt, just a ten minute walk from our hotel. Henry began the trip by walking, but soon shivered himself into his carrier. But that didn't stop us from enjoying some Gluhwein (mulled wine) and a snack.
Matt enjoying Gluhwein while Henry looks pathetic.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Move to Zurich!

Henry in the back seat, enjoying a rawhide.
Since Henry (our dog) would be flying in a crate with the luggage, we wanted to take one, direct flight to Zurich. Unsurprisingly, that's not an option from Columbus, so we booked a flight out of Chicago, rented a car to drive the six hours there and stayed one night in a hotel so that we could all rest a bit between legs of the journey.

The drive went very well. It was easily the longest car ride Henry has ever experienced, and he handled it well until the last 20 minutes, or so, when he began to pace and whine.

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we met up with my brother, Joe, for a late lunch and a trip to the airport. Thank god he went with us to wrangle luggage and Henry as we dropped off the rental and checked in everything.

The process of checking in Henry for the flight was a bit confusing. The staff at Swissair weighed him and his cage and argued about whether the charge us for a small or medium cage (without every measuring it). After decided on the cheaper charge (phew!), they had us walk Henry over to have his cage x-rayed. We then put Henry in the cage, which he did for a treat without fuss (yay!) and left him sitting by the staff, watching us walk away (terrible!). He didn't bark, unless he started after we left. I was feeling pretty good about the decision to fly him in cargo.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Five Days

This morning, the moving company came back for our second shipment, which will be sent by air to our temporary housing in Uster, Switzerland (our first shipment won't arrive until we secure a permanent apartment). We are now officially living out of a suitcase.

Here's a Google Map of where we'll be living at first. Feel free to explore. Schloss Uster (Uster Castle) is just around the corner. We'll do an apartment and neighborhood tour once we're settled.

View Larger Map

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Semi-Rational, International Move Stock-Up

In anticipation of leaving America and and all the items we've grown addicted to here, these are the products we stocked up on in fear of paying too much for them or having trouble finding them in Switzerland. I'll be sure to report later on what stuff was actually needed and what was a waste of space.

Matt's size 13 shoes will be downright impossible to find, shoes are pricier in Zurich and I'll take any excuse to go shoe shopping. So far, Matt wisely bought sensible work shoes, athletic shoes and a couple pairs of casual
shoes. I've bought new athletic shoes, three pairs of boots, two pairs of dress heels and two pairs my favorite ballet flats (Me Too Nini flat). I'm going to be walking much more than I'm used to, so I tried to prioritize comfort over fashion. It was tough.
Teva Jordanelle - I can't wait to try these out in snow.
Nine West Turner Boot - not my usual style, but they 
look easy to walk moderate distances in. 
I'll be feeling very '90s in these.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Move to Switzerland

Whenever someone learns about our move abroad, we get a barrage of questions, usually many the same ones. We so appreciate everyone's excitement and interest in our adventure and try to answer each time with as much enthusiasm as the first (second or third!) time we were asked. For those who have been wondering but unable to/haven't yet asked, here are some FAQs about our move to Switzerland.

How long will you be there?
The job Matt has accepted is permanent; there's no specific end date to the contract.
Henry enjoying our deck before moving.
Are you bringing your dog?
Absolutely! Henry is flying over with us. They do not quarantine pets in Zurich. If his paperwork is all done correctly, he'll go through customs and head home with us!

Do you know where you're living? Do you have a place picked out?
Matt's company has provided temporary housing for us in Uster, which is about 20 minutes outside of Zurich by train and one train stop from Matt's office. In January, we'll start looking for a permanent place to move in the spring.

Will you buy or rent?
The housing market is very tight in Switzerland and houses for sale are incredibly expensive. Most people rent and so will we. We're looking forward to a break from home ownership after our first "fixer-upper."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Goodbye, to the Sleachmour Starter Home!

Hey! We sold the house! Check that baby off the long list of things we've been seriously stressing over since deciding to move. In fact, the house sold so quickly, that we are now homeless for a little over a month. Our temporary apartment isn't available in Switzerland in December, so we'll be bouncing back and forth between our parents' homes in the mean time. I'm grateful for family close by, but I hope they won't be offended when I say, I'm not so sure about this plan. I think we'll be ready to go, come December. 

In two days the movers come to pack up and ship 90% of our belongings to Switzerland. These items we won't see until we move into our permanent apartment.... in approximately three to four months. Yikes! We will have a small crate to send to our temporary apartment, thank god. For the past two weeks we've been playing a fun game called, How Long Can I Live Without It? One  month? Three to four months? Several years? Forever? Can't possible part with it for a minute? It's a terrible game and I hate it. I just know I will regret donating half of my clothes, especially when they cost three times as much to replace in Switzerland. I'm trying to be zen about owning less. Sometimes it works. But mostly I feel like a toddler kicking and screaming, "Mine!" in the middle of the floor.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Introduction to Zurich

On Wednesday, I left Columbus for Zurich. Matt had arrived four days earlier for work. The long weekend was my introduction to the city I had already agreed to call home. Luckily, it lived up to my expectations!

I arrived Thursday morning and checked in to our hotel. Matt had a full day of work, so I was on my own to explore. I spent it strolling through Old Town, which sits at the northwest tip of Lake Zurich. It was beautiful and small enough to see the main sites on foot. Public trams got me safely there and back (with a little help from the hotel staff). Matt met me for dinner on the lake and a stroll before heading back to the hotel.
Old Town Zurich

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quiet Phase

About a month ago, Matt reached out to a colleague about a job at his company's international headquarters near Zurich, Switzerland. Two weeks ago, he accepted the job. We are now in what I am calling the "Quiet Phase" of our move. We know we're moving, we're working through sharing the news with family and close friends, but it isn't public knowledge. The contract hasn't been signed. Our visas haven't yet come through.

I haven't shared it on facebook.

My boss doesn't know.

Friday, July 19, 2013

We'll Do It, Someday.

My husband, Matt, lived abroad in college. He spent three months in a small French town taking classes at a local university and weekend trips to Rome and Paris. He left feeling cultured and well-traveled. Which, for a middle-class college student from small town Ohio, he most certainly was.