In less than a month, our family is up and moving to Basel, Switzerland. My husband and I have often talked about living abroad, maybe in France or England, but we never imagined that it would happen so soon! And we never considered Switzerland. Never. Still, the prospect is thrilling. Imagine seeing your kids, so young at 9 and 4, learning a new language and culture!
Last week, we went to visit for our “look-see”, to find an apartment and check out the schools for our kids. While it was thrilling to be back in Europe, the idea that we would be moving there so soon hovered over my head as heavily as the unusual humid 96 degrees (F).
The first thing that struck me was the language barrier. Now, it may not be seen as much as a barrier, since most people in Basel speak enough English or even French, which we both studied. But on the first day I had a hard time even imagining myself understanding German. The sound of it is so foreign to my ears, the pronunciations were so different from the words on paper (or signs), and even the arrangement of the words in a sentence didn’t make sense. After a few days, we picked up a few useful phrases that allowed us to order a meal or a drink at a restaurant (weisswine, and grossesbier) and to say polite things. I was starting to really hear the language rather than a jumble of consonants, which might be the first step.
Another major adjustment is going to be the completely different lifestyle. I plan on embracing this. Other ex-pats we met were giving us advice about how to watch American TV, and how you can still make tacos without cheddar cheese. But maybe this shift in lifestyle will be good for our family. Maybe we won’t watch as much TV. Maybe we’ll learn to ski in the Alps. Maybe we’ll learn to yodel. Maybe not. I just hope that it will connect us more as a family.
Less than a month and we’ll be moving in to our apartment in Basel. In Europe! It is hard to believe. And with all the details that need to fall into place in the next month, it’s hard to imagine being there. One step at a time…