Quotes tell you ‘home is not a place, it is a feeling’, but when do you actually see yourself calling a new place a home?
We came to Lausanne with our almost two-year-old twin boys. Our first week was spent orienting ourselves to the basics – the grocery stores, the neighborhood, the transport system, the rules, etc. A larger part was making sure our kids were comfortable. Having come from a South Indian winter of ‘18 degrees’, we were in for a shock with temperature being -2 degrees Celsius on the day we landed. A few weeks in, I wondered – do we feel at home now that 5 degrees feels like a good day?
Once we got comfortable with the weather, we were all set to explore Lausanne! The slopes and hills can be a bit unkind with a pram, but the transport system is very simple, luckily. For long walks, my mantra has been walk down hill and take a bus or metro up hill. But what is it about the transport system that makes you feel at home? For me it was when I missed a bus and instantly knew I just had to run across the park to catch the next connecting bus. I felt confident about knowing my way around without a map and that felt homely.
At the grocery store, the day I stumbled upon the discounted shopping hour, I felt like I found magic beans. It was not as much about the money saving as it was about feeling like a part of the local cohort.
The kids are enrolled in a lovely garderie/day care that they absolutely love and I am enrolling for a pottery class this month (covid permitting). The partner programs have helped me access a lot of information and tips as well as being a great way to meet everyone. Some days, we go park hopping, feed the ducks and ride the carousel by the lake. Our kids also saw snow for the first time, which as you can imagine was beyond exciting for them.
Goûter/tea time has become my favorite time of the day, and a good excuse to explore local boulangeries and patisseries as I fall in love with the city’s architecture.
The big question:
What about time with your spouse / partner?
I can let you in on a little secret here. Once you know your way around the city, there is so much to do that you will barely have time to miss your partner. That said, yes you will find a balance, a schedule and some family time together. As a couple, we believe in celebrating everything. And even amidst a busy MBA schedule, we have found time to celebrate small achievements including a good first month of the MBA program, and our kids’ second birthday.
Another comforting thing has been to know that there are other partners in the same boat. A lot of peace and strength comes from this group.
It’s a lot like doing things you did in the city you came from, but with a new set of friends, in a new city. Living here is not all about fun and fondue, it is also equal parts chores and challenges. But, it can be about treating yourself with fondue after a challenging day!
My biggest take away so far has been, ‘Don’t fight the routine, find the magic beans in it instead’. Safe to say we have found ours and can see ourselves calling Lausanne our HOME for 2021.