Thursday, July 25, 2013

10 things I'm looking forward to about living in Switzerland

  • #1 - The chocolate
  • I really think I may have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know. Well, except maybe for Andy, my brother in law. I suppose the second biggest sweet tooth is still pretty serious. So it's not shocking that I am very excited to sample all the delicious varieties of Swiss chocolate out there. Forget the IMD restaurant. The real reason I will gain fifteen pounds next year is because of the Swiss chocolate!

  • #2 - The cheese
  • I'm almost as excited about the chesse in Switzerland as I am about the chocolate. I know this list is starting off as a massive cliché, but what can I say, I love my cheeses and my chocolates. I did have a chance to try some fondue in Lausanne - all those cows out in Switzerland sure make some delicious cheeses, and I can't wait to try some more!

  • #3 - Being close to a lot of places in Europe
  • Living in Switzerland will put Ashley and I within close proximity to a lot of interesting destinations. Considering how much we enjoy traveling and exploring new places, we are both very excited about the possibilities. Hopefully the grueling IMD schedule will allow a few free weekends every once in a while for us to hop on a quick train (or plane) ride to some of these nearby places!

  • #4- The mountains
  • For the last 15 years or so I have been living in places that are very flat, topography-wise. The people I've met who are from mountainous places always talk about how much they miss the mountains, how just looking at them in the horizon helps them relax. And every time I do visit a mountainous region I see what they mean! I am excited to have the Alps as my backdrop next year!

  • #5 - Living in a smaller city
  • All my life, I've always lived in really large cities. Actually, now that I think about it, DC might be the smallest of all cities I've ever lived in, except for maybe when I was a little kid. And with a metro-area population of almost 6 million people, I wouldn't exactly classify DC as "small!" While I am sure there are many things about sig bitty, I mean, big city life that I will miss, I am definitely looking forward to living in a smaller place. Lausanne isn't so small that it intimidates me - it still seems to have a lot of restaurants, shopping, culture and excitement to offer. But it's small enough that it should have a slower pace, and not be too crowded, too trafficky and too stressful.

  • #6 - Walking everywhere
  • One of the great conveniences of American life is the ability to drive everywhere. No doubt I am going to miss it! But at the same time, I really enjoy the idea of being independent from a car, and being able to accomplish everything on foot. From the short time I spent in Lausanne back in April, I got a sense that it is a very walkable city. Perhaps those hills will help me lose some of the weight I will put on from all that cheese and chocolate!

  • #7 - Hopefully learning a little French
  • It sounds like life as and IMD student doesn't afford you a lot of time to interact with the outside world (I'm hoping I'll be able to find enough time to spend with Ashley without derailing too many projects or letting too many people down!). But I am hopeful that being in Lausanne will give me the opportunity to at least learn a tiny bit of French. You know, just enough to be able to get the gist of what people are saying, and to be able communicate at a restaurant or at the grocery store.

  • #8 - Picking up some new Olympic trivia
  • As it turns out, Lausanne is home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters. I didn't really think of myself as an Olympics geek, but Ashley frequently makes fun of me for it, so maybe I'm more of one than I imagined. In any case, I am excited to visit the Olympic Museum and share a home with the IOC!

  • #9 - Swiss orderliness and cleanliness
  • I think it's kind of funny how the Swiss get the stereotype that they are so crazy about being clean and tidy. It's funny because I believe I will really identify with this aspect of Swiss culture! I'm a little bit of a neat-freak myself - I just hate clutter. I like all my hangers to be the same color, all my t-shirts to be folded a certain way, all my socks to match, etc. so it will be nice to be in a place where I don't have to feel like a weirdo for being that way!

  • #10 - Excellent public transportation
  • Did you know Lausanne is the world's smallest city to have a full metro system? I was able to ride the Lausanne metro when I visited back in April, and it was very easy and seemed very reliable, not to mention clean and new. My favorite part was the "sound effect" from each station - for example, the train would play "seagull" noises when arriving in Ouchy, the waterfront station.

    By all accounts that's not an exception to the rule. Public transportation in Switzerland in general is said to be excellent. It gets you pretty much anywhere you need to go and is extremely reliable. That will be a huge change form the US!

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