So for those of you who don’t know, I shuttle my life between 2 beautiful cities of Switzerland (one smaller than the other): Basel and Vevey. Over the last 2 years I have spoken quite a lot about Basel in general and frankly, in my mind everything was supposedly the same across this picturesque country. However, I was wrong.
I didn’t realize the big difference between the German part and the French part of Switzerland. After Bern (if you are on the train), things start to change gradually but significantly. Let me give you some deets:
Basel Vs Vevey: Language and Culture
Since german wasn’t enough of a problem, I adopted another one – French. Much harder, much cooler (sounding)… This made me think of my past associations with this language that’s much harder, albeit cooler to listen. Back in the day, I took up a quick beginner course in French in Bangalore but I remember nothing of it. I even adapted a French play from Satre called The Respectful Prostitute to a play called “Woman In Red”. This play was directed by a friend and yours truly. So much for my tryst with this language.
On the other hand, I attended a much more serious programme for German, which was a gift from the canton of Basel during our registration process. Since I attended 40% of the classes; I can still do bits and pieces of the language but am definitely not conversational.
I mix the two languages all the time; at the supermarkets, at the stores and the cafes across cities. This is not appreciated. And I am not kidding.
At my workplace, my co-workers operate in English and Bengali. Again, I am not kidding. (What’s wrong with my luck, right?!)So this is what I have decided, I am not embracing this, I am very much ignoring and avoiding this. We will continue to converse in Hindi and operate in English. I am over 35, I am adaptable to change but not so adaptable to the language complexity.
Basel Vs Vevey: The City Vibe
Ok, so to tell you the truth, Basel was already quite this “small-ish” town for me, where everyone kinda knew everyone (not literally just figuratively). So when one compares Basel and Vevey, it’s almost like comparing apples and oranges. Vevey is quiet, quaint and quirky. Sometimes, during the lunch hour when I walk inside the by lanes, there is literally no one on the road. Like no one. How is this possible!
I come from India, I am used to seeing people, an awful lot of them – so for me, this is a deafening silence. In a line, Vevey is like a small village with some (not many) people, Nestle and the beautiful lake in your backyard.
It’s a laid-back city, where people probably retire – I mean Chaplin did and I get it.
My usual days are home-office-home, and that’s been okay for me. I have not cultivated a social life here, I did that in Basel and I worked hard on it. I am perfectly okay with lone outings – like a visit to the lake, the mall, restaurants, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, but these choices have to be high on either necessity or interest.
Basel Vs Vevey: Which Is More Scenic?
As a family, we have explored Vevey and the surrounding areas. By the way, if I haven’t mentioned already – Vevey is much more scenic than Basel and many other places in Switzerland. Nevertheless, what’s missing is – the vibe. By the way, all the celebrities (Ranveer Singh Rem?) visit Vevey for the sunset, for Chaplin’s world, for Alimentarium, Mont Pelerin and Les Pléiades. I have done all of these, it’s been great – but life on a daily basis is not tourism. This is one thing that the expats’ community needs to understand: We are here to live and not to put tick marks on the to-do travel list.
I still highly recommend visiting Vevey, living here, is not for everyone, only the privileged in their quirky studios 😉
Basel Vs Vevey: What It’s Like To Have Two Homes
I have a super sweet studio in Vevey, it could be termed as a perfect “bachelor pad” – except it’s anything but that. It’s always clean, no one has ever visited it and I am off alcohol since long now. The lake is just behind my apartment, like a stone’s throw away – so swimming, walking and cycling is within access.
There is some weird Church bell that goes off every hour, actually every half hour – it can be super irritating in the night. (That’s the church, the picture above.)
I don’t cook here, I don’t need to clean that much either and I do the laundry back home – so in terms of chores, I have none in Vevey. I only work here, and watch Netflix or YouTube in the background.
The sweet home is the one in Basel, and you’ve seen that one.
Basel Vs Vevey: Which Do I Prefer?
My loyalty remains, life in Basel has been rewarding, stressful and beautiful – and continues to be that way. Moreover, my heart is where my family is – even if it were Frankfurt or Amsterdam or Bangalore or Neverland. I would choose anything, together.
On a less heavier note, my friends are in Basel, my comfort in terms of where what is, is in Basel – but am not ungrateful to the silences, the space and the success that Vevey has given me.
I just experienced Déjà vu, when I was in India (during the unmarried days) – our collective family discussions on Sunday lunches would be column comparisons between New Delhi and Bangalore. Manavi would sit on the table and sigh! I remember contributing, I really hope – that’s not what I am doing right now.
No complain mode
So guys I just wanted to give you all a small peek into my world, through this series. A lot has changed in the last few months – some parts of it are cool and some not so cool. But whatever it is, this is how reality is. We strive to strike balance and make it all better.
Tell me how have things been for you, in the comments section.
Tell me if you could see a little part of you, in our 4 part series.
My promise is to write more, to be connected – make sure you follow me on Instagram. That’s where I exist, in the social media world I mean.