Say What?! 8 Unexpected Aspects of Swiss Life

As we are approaching our one-year anniversary in July (“expatversary,” if you will), I started thinking about all of the things that really surprised me when we first moved to Switzerland. It’s actually a bit funny writing these out now, because as we have adapted to the Swiss lifestyle, we’ve simply gotten used to most of these things as a way of life. I’ve written about my unexpected favorites, things Switzerland does well, and things they could work on, so this list is a new mix of all three. Some affect my daily life, some don’t, some things I love and some still leave me a bit bewildered, but they all contradicted a previously held notion in some way.

Part 1 - Truffles in Tiny Towns: Istria, Croatia

I’m not sure if Istria is one of the “best-kept secrets” in the country, but I had certainly never heard about this region before planning our trip. And even then, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Previously, when I thought of Croatia, a couple standard things came to mind: Dubrovnik, the blue blue blue water of the Adriatic, and Plitvice National Park with all it’s waterfalls. Northern Croatia never really even crossed my mind. But I am so, so happy we made it there.

What I've Read: Spring 2019

For this season of book reviews, I mixed things up a little bit: There was a compelling nonfiction, a memoir of personal challenge and triumph, a fiction book written like a documentary, a break-your-heart-wide-open book (there needed to be at least one), a though-provoking slow burn novel, a book from an old favorite author, and a book from a new favorite author. They weren’t all great, but this list is certainly the most varied. A book here for everyone!

Spring Wanderwegs: Best Spring Hikes in Switzerland

In the summer, Raunaq and I are focused on high alpine hiking. But in the spring, when all the snow packs are melting, there’s no better time to wander through a Swiss valley - especially if that valley is the land of the 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen might just be the most whimsical place in all of Switzerland. Which, in a land full of storybook towns and rolling green countrysides and aquamarine lakes, is saying something. It’s modern-day Rivendell, and it is spectacular.

How to Say Hello in Swiss German

I’m at the point. THE point. If you’ve learned a foreign language, you know this point. The point when you can understand much more than you have the ability to speak. Even if I don’t recognize every word of German that is spoken, I can generally understand the comprehensive meaning of what was said. However, when I’m left to my own devices to reproduce the words, I’m at a loss. Ugh. Welcome to phase two.

The Surprising World of Swiss Apartment Life

Apartment living can sometimes be more than just a place to lay your head and store your things: it can be an adventure in of itself. I have such fond memories of every place I’ve lived, and in some ways, each one has become a framework of that specific stage of my life. That apartment, this neighborhood, that landlord, this roommate. Each apartment comes with it’s own quicks, intricacies, and sometimes, a mirror to reflect the culture of the city itself. Swiss apartments, in this way, are no different.

Bavaria, Biers, Brats: Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg. Famous (more like infamous) for yes, the WWII war crimes tribunals and hosting massive Nazi party rallies, but also more breweries per square capita than anywhere else, a charming medieval old town, teeny tiny little sausages, and an area literally named after Switzerland (Franconia Switzerland) because it, well, looks just like Switzerland.