Last year around the same time, the time when autumn kicks in and winter starts to tap on your door – I did these posts on moving to Switzerland, Basel in particular. My move, no doubt, gave opportunities to write and to share experiences. Some of my articles resonated with expats in similar situations, some with mothers riding through the same storms and some with women who are and were changing career norms.
Hence, today I decided to keep the promise that I made almost a year ago – to share with our readers if things have changed. If my perspectives and opinions remain the same or has everything taken a U-turn. While I am a year and a quarter old in Basel now, this time has most definitely not flown by. This time has taught me a lot, a lot of life lessons.
I have an adorable 7-year-old who has me wrapped around her tiny little finger from the moment that we met. Since my daughter is growing up, the challenges are now shifting towards emotions as opposed to physical hardships. But let me tell you – the challenges NEVER end, they only DIFFER.
Just like any other individual, the transition of this move for my little one wasn’t the easiest. And if it wasn’t easy on her, then imagine how much harder it was for me. A new language, a new school, new children, new food, new surroundings, new milestones and a new culture – Niyati took everything in her stride and never complained about the things that I had expected. But she needed constant pats on her back, long conversations, lessons on nutrition and motivation from people in her inner circle.
In her new life, Niyati now eats in school, still carries a snack though (with a parantha). She spends a long day in school, she eats strawberries, avocados and sausages. She says that she now hates Peppa pig/ben and holly as they are too babyish and prefers Netflix to YouTube. She goes swimming, has joined the art and cooking clubs in school. She can now converse in German and is a total chatter box.
My most important tip to the mommies out there – listen to your children at this age, have conversations with them even if they don’t want to. Tell them stories and find out what happened at school.
I think I have said this so many times, I left my corporate job as an IT Manager with Unilever when I moved to Basel. Honestly, I cannot say that I haven’t had my moments of regret. But I can also say this – I love what I do at Be for Beauty and I am extremely proud of going back to school.
In the last one year, Be for Beauty worked with some great brands, started managing social media for some wonderful clients, hired and fired some great and some luny interns and we are only getting started. I am in my final semester now, and one of the longest pending items on my bucket list is about to get ticked off.
Life is exciting, to say the least, and I work with my soul mate, my mentor, my best friend. Did I tell you how much Manavi loved Basel? Oh wait, let’s wait for her to tell you.
Friendships and Relationships
Being busy has been the greatest mantra of my life and believe me – it works for me. I have always surrounded myself with work – and more of it. But does that mean I don’t have my moments of loneliness, of course, I do. And the weather here – it just adds to it.
While I have been busy, with my masters, with the blog, and with home – I have also had a chance to cultivate some great friendships. Relationships form, when you least expect it. I grew up on Karan Johar movies, where a college used to be THE place to find love and to find friends for life. However, that was not the case for me.
I found friends through networking. So to all the ladies (and men) out there, use the power of networking not just to land your next job but to form some bonds (the real ones).
I spend most of my time at home, of course, I go out for work and leisure but unlike my past life (Bangalore) – I am more indoors than outdoors. Some of it could be attributed to the weather and some of it could be managing a house. These things were new to me – laundry, cooking, cleaning, organising etc.
I do it all. I don’t necessarily love it – but it has made me self-reliant. At least now when I go back, my helpers (or the lack of them) won’t put a full stop to my life. The concept of dependence is diminishing and that feeling is empowering.
I have no tips here, women on the other side somehow have a feeling that life is very rosy when you live in the west especially Switzerland. I just want to clarify, that I am not living in a Yash Chopra movie, I don’t wear chiffon sarees and dance on the snow-clad mountains. Life is tough, tougher than that!
While this is something that I really wanted to work on, I even took baby steps in this direction sometime last year but there is nothing really to talk about on this aspect but reality.
I gained some weight and then I lost some – so I think weight- vice it’s all the same. But the fact that I feel weaker isn’t the right direction. My plantar fasciitis was tested beyond its limit this summer, my back aches and migraines are back and I am on iron supplements.
The good part about staying in Basel is that you end up walking a lot, and you learn to eat (and enjoy) salads. But there is a lot more that can be done, needs to be done and will be done.
Buy a fit bit, sleep well, have salad and go for a walk – I am doing some of it, let’s try and do all of it.
So that’s that.
To sum this up, we are now over our adjustment phase – this is as far as it can go. I do not speak conversational German, but with a few words, I try to fake it inside stores and supermarkets. People appreciate the effort. The locals are well the same – nice but distant. Discrimination exists – maybe in the undertones but it exists everywhere. As a foreigner, I experience it on a regular basis. The location is excellent; we get to travel a lot. In terms of safety, there can be no complaints.
So just like life, everything has its positives and negatives. And I say this again… even heaven isn’t perfect.
Photographs by Flory Gingging
Shoot Location Riverside – Novartis campus, Basel, Switzerland
- Sweater and Jacket – Zara
- Black Ripped Jeans – ASOS.com
- Overcoat – Mango
- Footwear – Soles (Bangalore), Converse
- Watch – Rado
- Bag – Promod
- Sunglasses – Burberry Eyewear
I can’t thank you enough for reading. But if you comment, I’ll know who you are.