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Adjustment period

Swiss slippers
My new slippers I found for 5 Swiss francs!

I have found that I, personally, have an adjustment period as an expat.

It took about 10 months for me to start feeling at home in France and it has taken me about 8 months to adjust to life in Switzerland.

Switzerland has slowly become my home.

I adore fondue, raclette, all the snow, the traditions and the feeling of being a part of a community.

However, if you would have asked me last week how I felt about my life here in Switzerland I would have not been as quick to focus on the good but rather the bad. I would have talked about how the Swiss can be hard, negative, prejudice and gossipy. But, in truth the Swiss are no more hard, negative, prejudice or gossipy than the people in America or France.

So, what happened to make me stop looking at the Swiss as “the Swiss” and see them as my neighbors and friends?

Simple.

I took down my wall.

I stopped looking at my life here in Switzerland as an outsider. This week, I began living my life in Switzerland as if I belong here.

I do belong here.

I am not an outsider unless I let myself be.

We have a great village full of wonderful people that I have neglected for far too long.

The people here are actually pretty open and always ready to lend a hand. Of course, we have small town politics and the rumor mill. However, I can find the same thing in the States or France.

On the whole I like the people in our village and I am happier here than I have ever been. Sweet Bear has two wonderful teachers. The mothers of her classmates are all great. For the most part people here are humorous, light-hearted and kind.

So…Why was I putting up a wall?

You know. It is way to easy to look at things and people in a new country as if you are separated from it all. You nitpick and start to only look at the bad or you create it for yourself.

I think all expats go through this stage and some never move past it.

It is a choice.

You have to take down the wall and start looking at your new country as your home.

There are problems in all countries. There are uneducated prejudiced people in all countries. However, there are more people that are kind and intelligent than there are those that are the opposite…in all countries.

We just have to open our eyes to it.

It is a growing process.

I thought I was past all that after adjusting to life in France. However, I think you have to start over with each country.

Each country has it’s own personality.

Now, I feel at home in Switzerland as much as France or America.

I know all three countries and all three have a place in my heart.

It all goes back to the simple fact that…

People are people the world over.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • expatraveler February 8, 2008, 6:54 pm

    That is so heart warming! Congrats. I love your new look. I know it is a lot me because well I love the photos.

    And meeting up – let’s stay in touch. It could happen as I want to visit Basel and then I will be traveling to Biel afterwards. Somewhere in there I’m sure I could train to get to you!

  • expatraveler February 8, 2008, 7:10 pm

    p.s. – you are going to have to email me and tell me where I can find those slippers because I am buying a pair or two when I get there next month!

  • Pumpkin February 8, 2008, 8:57 pm

    Expatraveler,
    It is actually my old template from before. I don’t think I will be changing for a long, long time. I will change the photo for the header once I take a good one or find an old one I took before on flickr. Luckily, I had uploaded all my photos before the old computer bit the bullet.

    We could always meet up in Basel or Biel. They aren’t that far away. :)

    I don’t remember the name of the shoe store. It was the shoe store just across from Carrefour in La Chaux-de-Fonds. I’ll see if I can find it for you.

  • expatraveler February 10, 2008, 5:53 am

    Ok – Well we have to meet up! I will keep in touch for sure and let’s keep in touch via email at least.

    How far away is Biel from you anyhow? My friend might want to take a trip though. I also know how fun it is to get outside of the village when/if you can.

  • Mouse February 10, 2008, 4:44 pm

    I needed to read this after 17 months living in ‘The Backside of Brittany’, a reminder of why I am here
    Though I could use some snow raather than all this rain!
    Thank You

  • Pumpkin February 10, 2008, 5:47 pm

    Expatraveler, Will send you an email within the next few days. :)

    Mouse, We got our share of rain this past summer. It felt like it rained a month straight. I know I will go through another “spell” of not fitting in but over time these will come less and less and not last as long. I think it is normal to have these feelings as we adjust to our new life in a new country. :)

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