Friday, May 8, 2009

I survived the first week

Even better for Nathan - he survived the first week without me killing him:). It was a close call at a couple of points but we are better now. I don't recommend moving to a new country when you have PMS:)

Let's start at the beginning. ABB has no relocation support for the relocating spouse - why is that? Nathan had his orientation on Monday and he has been coming here for over 5 years. Honestly this has been very frustrating. I guess no one in HR has ever had to relocate to another country or I'm hoping they would be a little more sympathetic. I would have appreciated even just a 1 hour meeting. Thank God for the internet - how did people do this in the 80's? I guess the HR budgets hadn't been cut back then and they ACTUALLY got an orientation. I will move on from this topic or you will be reading this for the next 2 hours....

Since we only had about a month and a half warning that would be moving it was a little crazy before we moved. I tell you this b/c I feel like I need to defend myself for not being more prepared. I had to focus on my business (hiring new employees, training the store manager, etc) instead of reading up on Switzerland. I didn't have time to do any research. I can't think of one night Nathan and I sat on our butts - b/c we also had to sell a lot of our belongings, rent our townhome, go visit family, etc. So with that being said....... Why the hell didn't I read up more on Switzerland? Why did I trust Nathan when he said everyone spoke english? Why didn't I ask any of my expat friends what they wish they would have known when they moved? The "Why's" could keep coming - believe me! I don't tell you this so you can feel sorry for me - I am telling you this so if you ever know anyone else who is moving our seas - give them my number or have them read this blog! If I can help just one person have a smoother transition it will make this week worth while.:)

A couple things we did this week in order to officially live in Switzerland:
1. Registered with our Kries (so the goverment knows where you are and where to find you). This was pretty painless except that we had to take "passport" type pictures without smiling. Are you kidding me? You know how big of a picture nazi I am! If I don't like a picture on YOUR camera I will delete it:) So NO - none of you are going to get to see this photo. I look like an ad campaign for botox (the before photo). Nathan looks like a terrorist though so I don't feel as bad:)
2. Opened a Swiss Bank Account. We couldn't go to just any branch. We walked into a UBS in Oerlikon and they informed us that only the Airport branch would take "us Americans". The process took about an hour and apparently if we move we have to close it - unless we want to give them about $25K - then we can keep it.
3 Bought our "half pass" for the train (that I'm still not 100% sure how to use yet). This allows us to travel within Switzerland at "half" the cost. Which is still expensive mind you. Our 30 minute train ride to Zug was $15 each! That is some expensive gas!
4. I have perfected the word "Gruetzi" - basically SwissGerman for Hello. That is what everyone says here when you see them. I must have done a good job b/c someone came up and asked me for directions - at least that is what I thought he was asking me. To which I said "No sprechen zie Deutsch".:) But it maid me feel good that he thought I could:)

Stuff I wish I would have thought of/done before I left the US:
1. Bought Rosetta Stone or some other type of German Language crash course. Thank you Carla for shipping me one ASAP!
2. Shipped over books to read. I guess it never dawned on me that all the books over here would be in German - duh!
3. Known about the fact that and all the american TV stations block downloads of their TV shows to overseas IP addresses. I would have also loved to have known about Slingbox - the device that lets someone in one country DVR TV shows and you can watch those TV shows on your computer any where in the world. But LATE is better than NEVER! Thanks Sara!
4. Thought to join a Zurich Expat yahoo group. The woman I sat next to on the airplane told me that that was one of the most beneficial/helpful things for her. I joined yesterday and have already found out a bunch of info!
5. Thought to ask everyone on FB if they had ever lived in Switzerland and to give me some tips!

Stuff that I am so glad we knew about/did before we moved:
1.Magicjack. Magicjack is a thing you plug into your computer and then into your phone so you can make calls for free to your home country. It does run through the internet so you need a connection, but our Magicjack phone number is a 919 area code so all our friends and family can call us without extra fees! Love it!
2. Of course I already knew about Facebook - but I LOVE IT even more now that I live in Zurich. It makes me feel like I am still so close to everyone. It would have been so much harder to do this before the internet or my phone bills would have just been CRAZY! Also, I was introduced to someone over here after I posted that I was moving - thanks Lisa!

Hindsight/Perspective/Stuff I wish I knew then that I know now:
1. I would tell anyone to not bother shipping over any electronics. My hair dryer was supposed to convert from 110V/240V with the push of a button, but it didnt't - and it blew our $40 adapter! Just buy the stuff where you live -that way you can actually plug the item into the wall! As far as I can tell the electronics really aren't that much more expensive over here - and you will have to buy an adapter anyway - which at $40 a pop (in 2009) ain't cheap!
2. They don't have closets in most of Europe - they have wardrobes - which are quite small. That would have been a nice bit of info to have. I probably wouldn't have shipped over 200lbs of clothes..... And as my sister asked - if you don't have drawers - where do you put your underwear? Good question Marla - I'll get back to you on that - right now they are in the cardboard shipping boxes:)
3. When they tell you to they are going to let you ship 500 lbs of stuff - it is b/c you don't have enough room for anything else:) Get rid of half your stuff then get rid of half the stuff you have remaining - at that point you will still have more than you need but it will be manageable!
4. Buying my one Europe travel book was a good idea! Again - the ones here aren't in english:)
5. Have a good sense of humor - you are going to need it! Not being able to buy groceries efficiently was an eye opener.
6. I brought a cook book, but I realized that I will have to do all the converting to metric b/c that is what all my cooking supplies are in, so I think I will just use the internet so they can convert for me!

My Favorite Thing I Learned This Week:
So yesterday I wanted to go to Old Town in Zurich and was trying to find directions. I wasn't sure how I was going to use them though b/c we don't have a car. WELL the cool thing over here (that maybe some of you already knew but I didn't) is that you can choose how you want your directions: By Car, By Public Transportation, or By Walking. Cool, huh?! I hit the public transportation button and it gave me a couple choices - by Train or by Tram. The train seemed more direct so I chose that one then it gave me the next available time and then directions on where to walk once I arrived at the right train station! Thank you GOOGLE - you rock!

Here is a picture from my outing. If you can see - the guy in the left hand bottom corner really loves his city - he tattooed it across his back - nice!:) Sorry Mary Helen - I didn't hear the 3 clocks b/c I was listening to my ipod! I will go back and try again:)

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails