Shhhhh! It's a Swiss Sunday shutdown. Kill the lawnmower, punish the kids with CHEESE
Cheap cigs, choc, skiing ... not all at once
The eXpat Files This week's edition of The eXpat Files takes us to Switzerland, where British expat Simon Murphy says you can run out of food – or beer – if you forget that the shops are all closed on Sundays. It's also forbidden to mow one's lawn on the Sabbath. Which sounds quite civilised.
Simon also explains how to blend cold beer and melted cheese in his tale of life in Geneva. Over to you, Simon.
The Register: What kind of work do you do and with which technologies?
The Register: Where's home and why did you want to leave?
The Register: Why Switzerland?
In the Geneva area the language is French, which I speak comfortably.
The Register: How did you arrange your new gig?
The Register: Pay: up or down?
The Register: How do workplaces differ between home and Switzerland?
The Register: Will your expat gig be good for your career?
My current role could be good as it's a BI project on Oracle Linux.
The Register: What's cheaper in Switzerland? What's more expensive?
Well, Lindt chocolate is slightly cheaper here, and income tax is lower, as is VAT.
And skiing: The kids are going on a school ski trip (in term time, of course), total cost for travel, full board, lift pass and full ski lessons? 100 quid.
And cigarettes, they're quite a bit cheaper.
The Register: What will you miss about Switzerland when or if you go home?
The Register: What's your top tip to help new arrivals settle in?
The Register: What advice would you offer someone considering the same move?
Make sure the finances stack up, what sounds like a great rate in the UK will barely pay the rent here. Health insurance is compulsory and around 500CHF per adult, per month. Get your employer to pay, if you can.
The kids get stellar support at school to learn the local language.
The Register: How easy is it to watch your favourite sportsball team in Switzerland?
The Register: When I eat the Swiss melted-cheese-on-bread snack raclette and drink cold beer, nasty things happen shortly afterwards. How do the locals handle it?
We use the threat of fondue to make the kids behave.
The Register: Expat communities: embrace, graze when you need a reminder of home or stay away from those grumblebums who always complain about being here?
The Register: And because this is the weekend edition, what can you do on weekends in Switzerland that you can't do at home?
In the summer, the lake is warm enough to swim in. You can take a cheap, clean, punctual train almost anywhere. Loads of free and cheap family and sports' activities.
You'll also find international standard, open (free) access BMX tracks near many towns.
And what can't you do? You can't cut the grass or make other noise on a Sunday.
Where have you lived and how did it go? We're always keen for more expat stories. Plus: we're also now looking for tales of odd things that have happened to you while working on-call.
Drop us a line to share either experience. ®