Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And now the decorating begins.

One of the many things different about our lives in Switzerland was our home. Instead of owning our own home, we rented a smaller flat. And we had to answer to our landlords. So Brian and I shied away from decorating our flat. We had bare white walls, with the exception of a pair of maps and some of Marion's artwork- hung with poster gum of course.

It was kind of a depressing way to live. No color on the walls, no pictures. It was very stark and impersonal.

In addition to the white walls, we tried to furnish the flat as cheaply as possible. Everything was Ikea and purchased in Switzerland. We didn't bring any of our furniture, pictures, or artwork from home.

Now, I have nothing against Ikea. They have some great stuff. But it never felt like ours.

As a result, one of the things Brian and I were itching for after our 2.5 years in Switzerland was our own place to settle in to and decorate like we wanted. It's definitely more work having our own place; we have to take care of everything now. But we enjoy it. And now that the unpacking is (close to) over, the fun of decorating begins!

I've been thinking about how to write about our home on here and I think I'll do each room on its own so you can see what we have done and make some suggestions if you choose to do so.

But in the meantime, I want to share my first project: curtains for the playroom! I kind of improvised on these since I'm reintroducing myself to sewing, but I think they turned out pretty well. One project down, about million more projects and blog posts about them to go!

Friday, October 15, 2010

More on the world's longest tunnel...

I liked this newest article, particularly this quote:

"It's a day of joy for Switzerland," Peter Fueglistaler, director of Switzerland's Federal Office of Transport, said shortly before the tunnel was completed. "We are not a very emotional people but if we have the longest tunnel in the world, this also for us is very, very emotional."

Ask Mrs Mac!

Lately I've been getting emails from people who are thinking of or are moving to Switzerland. And I love it! Seriously, after writing this blog to keep my family and friends updated on what we were doing, I started this blog to help others with this experience. Because when you are embarking on moving your family to a complete different part of the world, there are bound to be a ton of questions and issues.

I won't be posting the questions on the blog because most of them are personal, specific questions about certain towns, paperwork, and moving issues. However, if I get one that I think may be helpful to others I might post it on here.

Either way, keep them coming people! And to everyone else who may be a little hesitant, please don't be. I love getting these questions and will do my best to answer them.

Thanks for being faithful readers everyone; have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Swiss are about to have a par-tay

A tunnel party!

The Swiss are about to complete the world's longest tunnel. Why? To move cargo away from the beautiful Alps and onto trains underneath the mountains. Makes perfect sense... if you are from, have lived or have visited Switzerland. ;)

Go Switzerland!

Move to Switzerland, get healthy!

Since I've been back I've been taking care of all the health related things I've let sit on the back burner. I didn't go to the doctor unless absolutely necessary in Switzerland because 1- I had a slight aversion to doing it due to the language barrier and 2- I knew our time in Switzerland was short lived.

So, doctors visits, physicals and blood tests oh my!

Today I received some of my blood test results. And imagine my surprise when my doctor was blown away by my cholesterol numbers. So much so he gave me a thumbs up. Go me!

And then I told Brian and he said, "Duh, Meghan, we've been in Switzerland eating fantastic healthy food for the last few years."

I didn't feel so proud of myself after that.

But my point is, it was super healthy to do because healthy options are almost your only option over there. Beef is insanely expensive, the bread is so yummy you don't need to eat pastries, and fried food is practically non-existent in Switzerland. Also, fast food isn't readily available; it was easier for me to whip something up at home then drive the 15 minutes to the super expensive McDonald's two towns over.

And that is saying a ton because Rachael Ray I am not.

We're going to try our best to keep up the Swiss-like diet. It's going to be difficult for us but we'll give it our best shot! And then, of course, I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dude, don't get a Dell.

Seriously my fellow expats, just don't do it.

I've mentioned my issues with my Dell Inspiron laptop on here before. Just do a quick search for 'dell' and you'll find a small sample of my frustration with my laptop and the company.

It's been a roller coaster with this thing and it all started when I moved to Europe. Imagine my surprise when my charger stopped working after a few months of living over there. The charger says it can handle European electrical loads but I have experienced four broken chargers in the past two years that says otherwise.

When I moved back to the US, I thought my issues with my laptop would be over. This is the country I purchased it in, so hopefully no more electrical issues!

Hahaha. Ha.

My charger hasn't been working for a week and I've been getting a new error message. This message informs me that I'm plugged in to an incorrect charger and must change to a 65W AC adapter. Nope, it is a 65W AC adapter. So I tried unplugging the charger, unplugging the battery, restarting the laptop yadda yadda yadda. Still getting the message. And now my battery isn't holding a charge so everytime my power cord comes out of the computer, the computer shuts down.

Having had enough, I contacted Dell technical support online last night. Apparently they couldn't do anything for me so they quickly got rid of me, telling me to call a 1-800 number today with my laptop's express service code number.

So I did. And now I have a migraine.

I called and explained the situation to the lady I was speaking to. I gave her all the information. She put me on hold. When she came back, our conversation went a little something like this:

Her: "Your computer is registered to a country outside of the US, have you changed the registration back to the US?"

Me: "No, I bought the laptop in the US and never registered it in Switzerland."

Her: "Well, our records show that it isn't registered to the US, did you ever change the registration back?"

Me: "If I wasn't aware that the computer was registered in Switzerland, how would I know to change it back to the US?"

Her: "Would it be okay for me to put you on hold for 2-3 minutes?"

When she came back she said she was trying to access my computer and warranty information. I informed her that the laptop was purchased in 2008 so I suspected it was no longer under warranty. However, the adapter needed to be replaced often while I lived in Switzerland and that Dell Switzerland had covered it because the adapter was failing so quickly, before any warranty could expire on it. She asked me for more information to find the purchase information and then put me on hold, again.

The third time she came back she asked what troubleshooting I had attempted on the computer. I told her and then she directed me to remove the battery from the laptop and see if I still got the error message. I did. So she put me on hold again.

The fourth time she came back she told me the warranty had expired on my laptop but I could purchase an extended warranty plan. I said, yea, no thanks. She said my error message indicated that something else might be wrong with the laptop, like a motherboard issue. I told her that Switzerland had looked at that and, no, that wasn't the problem. The chargers suck. Then she asked me for the reference number that was used for the new adapter that I received in Switzerland. I told her I didn't have it. She said she needed it to put in her records so that a 'higher up technical person' could help with this issue. I said, "Well, I thought you couldn't access foreign records?" She said that this higher-up person could to which I responded, "Great, then he should be able to use the laptop's service code, which has never changed, to be able to see all of the records from Switzerland." Then she - can you guess? Yep, put me on hold again.

The final time she came back she again informed me that my warranty had expired in April 2009 (a year after I purchased it) and, as a result, in the future I would be charged $59.99 for contacting phone support.

That's when my mouth hit the ground and I went in to full "Are you kidding me?" mode.

She wasn't, she was dead serious.

So that's that. I have a crappy laptop, charger, and battery and I'm missing the Swiss support because they seemed to give a damn.

Learn from my experience people! Just say no!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We are definitely not in Zurich anymore.

Reality smacked me in the face this week; I went back to work!

I'm working three days a week for the company I was with before I left for Switzerland. While I'm enjoying working again, going back has been an interesting experience. Some things are the same and others aren't. And it's odd to sit at my desk, one cubicle away from where I sat two and a half years ago, and wonder, "Did that really just happen?"

It doesn't feel like it. It seems like I was just there, at the office, working on projects. Projects, coincidentally, that are now being run by other engineers and are now in construction.

But it did and I'm so thankful for that. Brian and I challenged ourselves by moving to Switzerland and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. The experience changed us, for the better I like to think, and gave us life long friends.

Marion was lucky enough to make life long friends as well. And she's been missing them dearly. This week, she decided to email some of them back in Switzerland. Well, okay, she dictated to me and I wrote it. Either way, here is one of the emails she sent:

Dear S,

Please come to America to see Marion and Mommy and Daddy and Bettina. If you come to my house, you have to go my school too. I want to play dress ups with you S and Grammie wants to see you too. I want you to play with all my toys. I miss you.


Writing that kind of felt like someone ripped my heart out and played football with it a bit; completely broke my heart. But I am so so happy that she has these friends in her life and look forward to helping her keep those friendships for a long time. Even if it hurts to do it sometimes.