15 May 2008

Break Time

I'm going to take a break from this blog. Don't know how long. Could be a week or could be longer.

Since coming back from the US last week I have been swamped by homesickness and I am having a difficult time feeling positive about Switzerland right now.

I know that a huge part of it is because summer is here. I really do not like summer and dread it every year regardless of where I happen to be. It's worse when I cannot just escape into air conditioning and ignore the weather. I have an intense dislike of being too hot and my definition of "too hot" is very different from most people. My ideal temperature is 65-70 F (18-21 C). Anything above 75 F (about 24 C) is too warm for me. Above 80 F (about 27 C) is quite unpleasant and my discomfort, not to mention whining, grows exponentially as the temp goes up from there.

But I also miss my family and friends. A situation which is not helped by some of my friends here moving elsewhere.

And I miss friendliness, people smiling at strangers and laughing with friends on the street (in public even!) Oh God, I really, really miss friendliness! Must everyone be so stoic here?

I miss hearing English and not feeling panicked when I have to ask someone in a shop a question, not only because I'm not sure of the words but also because there is a high probability that I won't have a clue what the heck they say in response. Even though my German is pretty good at the basic interaction level, Swiss German remains beyond my comprehension.

And I miss how convenient life in the US is. How you don't have to worry about running down to the grocery store before it closes or figuring out where to get x or y or z or having a slight heart attack every time you realize just how much everything costs.

So I just need to take a break until I get past this and feel more positive about being here again.

Hopefully it won't be too long.

18 comments:

Jul said...

I feel the same way about summer. And unfriendly people.

When I approach people here in Munich, I am still a little surprised when they are friendly and helpful (which they almost always are). It is a big relief. And oh, the joys of High German... Anyway, I'm not helping. Expattery almost always goes in cycles, with highs and lows, and I'm sure you'll find a way to weather this low. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Greg said...

I find it's always worse after just coming back from the States. Sometimes, I'll hop in the car and go do some shopping at one of the big grocery stores just across the border from Basel, in France. Then again, I know enough French to get by over there.

You might think about dropping by one of the EF lunches or other events. I find them a good way to meet up with a few other folks in the same situation. There are also quite a few folks that show up to these that are here for the long term.

I agree with you about summers here though. It's a mild one so far though, fortunately.

christina said...

Sorry you're feeling a bit down. I totally get that. General friendliness and convenience are the two things that I really miss as well. And yeah, the heat! 27 is about my limit and then I start to get really cranky.

We'll be leaving for Vancouver in 8 weeks time and I'm already dreading coming back here...

rswb said...

I am much happier with Switzerland since we moved to a french-speaking place. Even though I don't really speak french yet(learning, learning), it's so nice to know that there isn't any swiss-french lurking out there to confuse me and make me feel like I'm wasting my time. Of course the fact that it's inevitable that one day I will move back to german-switzerland, and that my husband's native tongue is swiss stupid german means I can't avoid it forever, I suppose, but for the time being I am more than happy to.

Jill Nachtman said...

I completely understand your feelings, I've been there more then a couple times this year. Funny though, now that the departure date is set for me, all I keep thinking is, if there was just some good Mexican food like back home, I think I'd want to stay forever.
:) Don't forget (as I often have) how many amazing things there are about Zurich.

Jill Nachtman said...

This year?!? I didn't mean that...I meant since moving here. It is only May! I haven't been that disgusted with Switzerland :)

The Big Finn said...

In the 7 years, 7 months, and 9 days that I've lived here I've felt everything from thinking that we might never move back to America to not wanting to live in Switzerland another day! My feelings about living here change as often as the weather, so I've learned to live with the highs and lows. Right now I'm in the "resigned to living here at least another two years" phase. Aaaargh!

Susan May said...

I can understand your feelings. I also just returned from a nice visit to the States, and I really miss my family, friends, and of course the ease of conversing. But with our return date set, I'm like Jill: I'm choosing to focus on all that's wonderful, since I know my days here are numbered. Thankfully I have 12 more months to enjoy before saying good-bye to Switzerland.

beth said...

I hope you feel better and come back soon!!

Zurich Mama Geek said...

I'm sorry you're feeling down and hope you're back up soon. We always enjoy reading about your adventures and perspectives, but we understand needing a little break.

swissmiss said...

I know how that goes, the swings from "this is working" to "this sucks" to "this is such an adventure!" - sometimes all in the same day. I hope it passes soon.

Susie Vereker said...

GL, it's hard being an expat as I know, especially when you are young and idealistic about absorbing foreign cultures. Forgive me for intruding but I think you might be happier if you accept things the way they are in Zurich. Swiss people are not like Americans, as you say. I'm sure it must take at least five years to become accepted by local people so you may as well become fully involved international expat events.
Geneva was my favourite posting and it was partly because, for once, I went with the flow and joined/helped to run the AIWC - something I'd never done before. Though I'm a Brit, it so happened that most of my friends were American or NZers, so I learnt about American culture in Switzerland and it was fun.
Four years on I was just beginning to get to know local people better when we moved away!

Bill said...

We will be here when you get back.
Bill

heather said...

Breaks are a good thing.

It's moments like you describe that I find myself muttering 'one day at a time' and 'this too shall pass.' :-/

Marcy said...

The convenience thing? That's exactly why I'm so excited to go back to the US in November. Just imagine how much more annoying that factor is when it's not just stuff for you you're trying to get, but also stuff for a baby-- which can;t always wait.

Expat Traveler said...

I've definitely found my happiness through expats and activities and how to escape the heat? Find places that you can go that are underground and cooler..

Let's see ideas - a wine cave, a train, mountain areas, snowy areas, zurich zoo?, museums?, places near Zug..

Or just move to BC, you won't really get heat ever.. lol OR you can escape to aircon when you need it.

Ingrid said...

I found your blog through Mrs Mac. I´m an expat Australian living in Austria. And today I am having a bad day too and your blog just touched my core. Í have been here 6 years and have accepted that I am here. I don´t like some things and some things I love but most of the time things are ok, but sometimes you just have a bad day. Thanks for acknowledging it which allowed me to let myself feel sad rather than just having a smile and ignoring how I feel for people who just don´t understand. Good luck and hang in there.

Thierry Le Boulengé said...

Hey!
I just landed on your blog that was recommended to me by my girlfriend in Canada: I just arrived myself 1 month ago in Zurich and I can read a lot about my own experiences in yours :)
Being totally clueless when I have to choose what ingredients to put on a sandwich, having to ask first "Do you speak English/Parlez-vous Français" before starting any casual discussion with strangers, noticing that the said strangers usually don't give a s**t about discussing with me (why take the trouble when there are lots of friends already out there)...
Keep faith!
btw, I am writing some of my lifebits too at :
http://octopuswiss.blogspot.com

Thierry