I believe that to some extent, we are all shaped by the place we live in. Since living in Switzerland I’ve developed new interests, and different parts of my personality have become emphasised. Here’s how living in Switzerland has changed me:
I’ve become more interested in cooking
Switzerland is so expensive, that we hardly ever eat out. So, we eat almost all of our meals at home, and since eating the same thing all the time is boring, I have been trying out new recipes on a weekly basis. I used to find cooking to be a chore, but now I have my own kitchen that I don’t have to share with roommates and more time than I used to, I find it to be fun and relaxing. I’m really glad that I’ve developed this skill, since it means that I can hopefully save money and eat well for life! I’m still learning, but I’m so much more confident in the kitchen than I used to be since living here.
I’ve become better at saving money
There’s definitely more of a culture of saving money here than in the UK; there are adverts everywhere for digital piggy banks for children, and my bank sends me a quarterly magazine, which always has a feature in it about how saving is key to a successful future. These messages have finally started to sink in over the last year, and now saving regularly is becoming a habit.
I appreciate how lucky I am to actually be in a position where I can save on a regular basis, due to the higher wages here, so I’m trying to make the most of it. The two years before when I was living in London, I barely saved anything, which meant I had to borrow money from my boyfriend to survive the first few months of living here. I’m still paying him back even now, so by moving, I’ve really learnt just how important saving in advance for things can be. Hopefully I can continue to develop good fiscal habits whilst living here!
I have more time to be creative
I’ve always loved creating, since I was a child, but my productivity has certainly increased since being here. Again, this is partly due to my current working pattern. I simply have more time to create here, and my flat is my perfect working environment. It’s spacious, comfortable, quiet, and calm. Also, since I don’t know many people here, I’ve found I’ve developed my inner life more; With time on my hands I’ve developed my imagination by finding new avenues to explore, such as meditation or ASMR, and these new avenues have in turn lead me to have more ideas than ever before. I plan to write this blog for years come, and I have a long list of things I want to write about. In the past, I always only had one or two ideas for future blog posts, now I have loads!
I actually enjoy learning a new language
Alongside maths, German used to be my least favourite subject at school. Whilst it seems churlish, I do blame the teacher, she managed to make a living, breathing language seem irrelevant and dead. It also didn’t help that we spoke English during the entire lesson. Now, thanks to Migros klub Schule and my speaking partner, I actually enjoy learning German. I love seeing a sign and understanding what it means, or being able to ask for something I need in a pharmacy, it makes me feel empowered. Whilst I’m still not comfortable speaking German for extended periods of time, and I still think I speak like a three year old, there is something so satisfying about being able to build on my knowledge and get better little by little. It’s so much easier to learn a language when you are surrounded by it every day.
I prefer a quieter pace of life
Whenever I return to London, I’m always struck by how loud and busy it is! The tube is crowded, people are in a rush, there’s no space to walk, and my find myself getting tired and stressed more easily. I used to think that I was made for living in a big city, now I’m not so sure. I love the space to move about here. Even at peak times, Zürich doesn’t feel too crowded. There’s room to breathe here, and I like that.
How have you changed as an expat? Do you think where we live does have an effect on us?