Two Weeks in Zürich

Hi everyone! This is my first post on this blog. While I also love keeping up with people via email and phone calls, it also seems practical to start a blog in order to keep family and friends updated on my new life here in Switzerland. Everything is still so fresh and I’m excited to have a designated place where I can write down my impressions as well as interesting experiences that I want to remember in detail.

I have now been in Zürich for a little over two weeks. In this time, I’ve developed an appreciation of the organizational capabilities of the Swiss. I’ve been slightly disappointed with the weather, but there have been a handful of sunny days here and there. I also…

  • Enrolled in an intensive German course
  • Bought a sofa and a big wooden dining table with F to begin furnishing our apartment
  • Registered at the “Kreis 1” District Office and Migration Office
  • Obtained a Swiss residence permit “mit erwerbstätigkeit” (meaning that I am allowed to work)
  • Opened a bank account at PostFinance, which is basically the post office (because apparently it’s difficult for US citizens to open one elsewhere)
  • Got a “Swiss Pass” (a yearly subscription that allows you to pay half price for all forms of public transportation: trains, trams, boats, etc…)
  • Threw a successful house warming party, ending with complaints from our upstairs neighbor and the cops showing up at 11:30 pm (apparently in Switzerland it’s always expected to inform neighbors about such activities, oops!)

I may not be off to the best start with my upstairs neighbor, but I really love my neighborhood. We live on a cobblestone, pedestrian-only street in the old town. There is a hotel bar downstairs across the street with a disco ball in the window where a blues band plays on Monday nights. We live just above a tattoo/piercing shop where we get a 10% discount and where I occasionally hear people talking in American English instead of Swiss German. The beautiful Predigerkirche church makes for a lovely view from our window. As I type I can hear the bells ringing in the distance, but not too loud, which seems so European to me and adds some nice background noise to daily life at our home. I’ll definitely take the far-away church bells over horns honking and loud teenagers at the intersection outside my previous room in Astoria.

The apartment is also great. I’ll probably post some pictures once we get some more furniture. At the moment it’s a bit empty, but that’s okay because I’ve fallen in love with the parquet floor, high ceilings and large windows that can open inward from both the side and the top when you turn the handle a certain way (never seen this before). It takes less than five minutes to walk to the Limmat River and about 10 minutes to walk to Lake Zürich. It’s a very central location and we are really lucky to have snagged this apartment when it was available.

I still feel kind of like I’m on vacation and that I don’t really live here. For the moment I’m still working remotely for a professor at The New School as a research assistant, and on June 20 I will begin my half-day German course, which should add a nice level of structure to my day. My last semester of graduate school was very busy so I’m really trying to relax, live in the present and enjoy my new surroundings for the moment before throwing myself into some other form of work, which I have the rest of my life to do. Everything seems so peaceful and easygoing compared to New York. I feel extremely happy and I wish I could share so many of these experiences with friends and family elsewhere.

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