My verdict on moving to Switzerland after visiting London (my 2nd home) for a week. Is it time to move back or was relocating to Switzerland the right choice?
First impressions are always important. So once I was on the train to London instead of reading a book or looking at my phone I watched out of the window. I hoped to answer the following question – How do I now feel about the UK?
It wasn’t a bad day, the sun was breaking its way through the clouds and spring flowers were already blossoming. But after some greenery, all I saw was terraced houses one after another…All the same – grey and boring. I could straight away imagine myself being in one ( after all, I used to live in them) – old moldy windows, damp air, tiny gardens and bedrooms so small you can only fit a bed. And this all with a huge price tag just because it’s close to London.
Despite the negatives, for a long time, it was my dream to someday own a house like that. But now I had seen a glimpse of a different life. A life with a magnificent view outside each window.
Once my husband and I arrived in the city center, we headed to meet our friends. And this was how we mainly spent the next 2 days – meeting up with people and filling our bellies with delicious food and drinks. Oh, and the choice of different cuisines!
London is great that way. No denying, it was fun and something we are missing here in Switzerland. It’s the part of the city I do not hesitate to return to. Although, I did notice that whereas I have changed, my London friends have stayed fundamentally the same. Yes, they might have new jobs, new homes new things. But when you go through major life events (like changing ones lifestyle) there is no denying that your personality will change with it. I could instantly tell that some of my life priorities had moved to a different direction. Neither is better than the other, just different.
Once the weekend ended everyone got back to their jobs and so did I. The routine set in and the grey skies made me homesick on the first days. London is quite well known for its rain. And although it can be annoying the most part that has always bothered me about the British weather is the wind! Even if there is 15 degrees outside you might still be freezing just because of the wind.
You would think because of such cold winds that the houses in the UK are properly insulated and heated. But no! I don’t know what is wrong with this country, but no matter the building I lived in it was always cold. On the Contrary, Swiss weather has rarely any wind and 15 degrees feels almost like summer. Plus, all 3 apartments that I have so far lived in Switzerland have been warm.
It was so strange to go out and be able to fully communicate with the people around me. In Switzerland, every simple conversation is a struggle and I try my best to speak in my broken French. But in London, I can easily understand everything that’s been said to me and express my thoughts. It’s nice not to feel like an outsider.
Although I must say, I missed putting my French to practice. Every time I go out in Switzerland it’s a little adventure – wherever I go I learn new words. I have always enjoyed learning languages and I am determined to become fluent in French!
On my 3rd day, I ended up on the London underground during the rush hour. Believe me, this is not the place anyone wants to be in. All I could think was – Why would anyone put themselves through this? People running through stations just to get home a few minutes earlier; packed train carriages; queue to get inside the station…And then, heaven forbid, the station announcement that says ‘severe delays’.
Of course, I myself, did this for years. I never enjoyed it but it also didn’t strike me as something terrible. Yes, I feared terrorist attacks but the overall amount of people and squeezing your body against strangers didn’t seem too bad to me.
Now, on the other hand, it felt impossible. I would rather have less money than spend 10 hours a week of my life on a busy metro.
The last days
Most of my time in London felt surreal – it was like I was in a place I know all too well but at the same time seems strange. I suppose I no longer belong here. Yes, I could still live in London if necessary. And most likely with time I would get used to its ways.
Nonetheless, if I had a choice (and for now I do) I would not move back. I want to be able to enjoy the stunning landscape on every weekend and not just holidays. I want to be able to live in a home that’s built with people in mind and not city commuters. I want to be able to ski and hike as a hobby and not for a special occasion.