We can’t contain our excitement… can we just dive in? We found our new space to call home! It was easier than we anticipated but by no means easy. The process really began back in March as we received a questionnaire from our relocation consultant detailing the criteria we had for our new place. She asked for certain neighborhoods we were interested in which led to some thorough research as there was a lot to consider when finding the right area, especially without being able to see them in person. After narrowing our radius down a bit, we began exploring the available options to get an idea of what was out there. We had been told by our relocation consultant and had read online that finding a permanent place to stay was not a simple task. Switzerland is mostly made up of either agricultural land, forest, or water, only 7% is actually habitable. Of that 7%, only 0.2% of rentals are available at any given time. Long story short, we were prepared for this step to be a long one. As we explored options online we noticed that a new one would be posted but by the end of the next day, it would be taken down indicating it had already been claimed. We wanted the hunt to go as smooth as possible so we agreed to keep an open mind with potential homes and make our decisions about each of them with no hesitation.
Our feet are tired. Our brains are tired. Everything is just tired. Keeping in mind that we have no vehicle and that we love staying active, we walked to every showing we attended when we weren’t accompanied by our consultant. We stumble upon some neat views and shops along the way so the treks are worth it! Some places had scheduled tours but most offered a group showing. This meant that for an hour or so on a given day, whoever wanted to view the apartment could. This also meant that the highly sought after ones were extremely packed. The first one I attended was a group showing with a steady mob of about 25 coming and going. It was overwhelming and I had a slightly claustrophobic feeling as I attempted to scope out the place. With that many people in such a small area, actually seeing the apartment itself was pretty difficult! After going to a couple, we quickly picked up on what we needed to ask, clarify, and see (in French as well since most managers didn’t speak English).
After seeing 13 apartments, one thing we found to be true was that each was very unique. No cookie cutters here! Another thing we realized is that our lifestyle at home will change a bit. Most of the housing here is extremely old, therefore it’s normal to have no hookups for a washing machine or dryer, no dishwasher, no oven, no shower. We managed to make it out with one of the five, an oven. This just means we will spend a little more time on things than we did before our move abroad. We will revert back to our college days of lugging our clothes down to the communal laundry area to wash, which is reserved for us one day per week. As for the “shower”, it’s a bathtub with a handheld nozzle, typical to most baths in Europe. The idea being you take a bath and then rinse off with this nozzle, which also explains why none of them have built in shower rods. I think it’s safe to say we will be untraditional with this one and make-shift a hook for our convertible shower.
We were accepted for the first one we applied to… pop the champagne! Now that we’ve claimed a place, we can begin to coordinate the move in procedure, various insurances, and utilities. There’s a lot to it from funding various fees that are inexplicable but mandatory (we’ll get into this later) to reporting proof of X, Y, and Z to different agencies. Our to-do list has started to morph into a flow chart!
After arriving, I noticed in conversation we would mention “back home” referring to Fayetteville. I wondered if/when we would refer to this place in that way and I got to thinking, what makes somewhere a home? Is it family? Friends? Where you were born and raised? I think it’s wherever you find effortless comfort, happiness, safety, and freedom in being your true self. It’s where you love and are loved. It doesn’t always have to be a where but can sometimes be a who. Together we can carry those things with us wherever we go and that’s a great feeling to realize. We are so excited for this next chapter and to have another space to call home!