Until We Meet Again

Farewell to Switzerland for Now

 Lac Léman

Lac Léman

A fabulous expat ride in Switzerland is coming to an end for me and my family. Like many expats know, moving to a foreign country is loaded with waves of opposing emotions. However, after assessing our ride thoroughly it has been completely worth the blood, sweat, and tears of moving to Switzerland. Three things stand out for me: enjoying Switzerland’s unparalleled natural beauty, opportunity for personal growth (even if somewhat painful), and friendships forged in mutual ups/downs of adjusting expatriate life.

Beautiful Switzerland

I think my fellow adventurers would agree that our number one joy of living in Switzerland is the unbounded beauty of this small country. I actually have a Pinterest board named Beautiful Switzerland. Almost everywhere you look, there is a feast for your eyes. Only while in Switzerland, I become a professional photographer! It is an amazing transformation. You don’t believe me? What about these pictures taken from my IPhone.

Pully, Switzerland

Pully, Switzerland

Lavaux in the fall.

Lavaux in the fall.

Everywhere you look in Switzerland God’s amazing grace is seen in majestic nature. The beauty of Switzerland can almost be surreal. Make your trip across the big pond to be reminded that their is a Creator of us all things great and small.

Opportunities for Personal Growth

“If you want to change, you will have to be willing to be uncomfortable”

Moving to Switzerland has given each person in my family an opportunity for growth and change. When you reflect on your life, the most difficult circumstances that are mixed in with adventure and joy caused the most change. So even though Switzerland is like a postcard at every turn, moving beyond your comfort zone to take a huge leap across the big pond created many learning opportunities. The culture in Switzerland is a challenge for me and at the same time a joy . . . . I will start with the challenges and end with the joys!



This is the disapproving look! Ah là là!

  •  Random lectures from complete strangers for a multitude of wrong doings that you are unaware of . . . at least I learned quickly that it was not only me that was receiving  random lectures; other expats and locals where subject to lecture giving. I was lectured for using the communal laundry incorrectly after repeatedly asking the process, for my dog urinating on the street, for popping my knuckles on the bus and many more.
  • The Swiss are QUIET! Sundays is the super quiet day when no laundry, vacuuming, laughing loudly or recycling glass is allowed. One Sunday evening, a car drove up to our neighborhood recycling area and began recycling glass. . .the horror!  A neighbor ran out yelling at the couple and filming them! WOW . . . Sundays in Switzerland are super seriously quiet!
  • Swiss are private and socially closed. While we live in Switzerland,  I sorely missed my friendly state of Texas where you can speak with anyone . . . make connections with strangers easily.
  •  The three F’s . . .missing family, friends, familiarity!


  • Clean! Switzerland is one of the most pristine countries in the world. Clean air, clean streets (you would surely get a lecture for throwing down any trash), and clean water. In Switzerland, you can drink the water anywhere . . . seriously. Communal water fountains are everywhere known as Fontaine d’eau in French. This is one of the fountains in the small village where we lived, Pully . . .fill up your bottle and drink!


    Water Fountain, Pully, Switzerland.

  • Public transportation. We lived for almost three years without a car. You can get almost anywhere in Switzerland on a train, bus, boat or funicular (cog and wheel train). All transportation is clean, timely and cost effective. In addition to public transportation, people walk! I waked to church, to the grocery store, to friends flats and for exercise.
  • Five Food Groups. Like most humans, we adapted to our new environment enjoying the five food groups in Switzerland: bread, cheese, cooked sausage, wine and finally chocolate.
  • The view!  You simply can not repeat the fantastic views in the small world called Switzerland.
  • Side walk cafes (la brasserie). A chance to slow down and watch the world walk by with an excellent cup of coffee, a beer, or glass of wine. In Switzerland, and most of Europe having a beer or glass of wine at 10:00 any day of the week is not frowned upon . . . actually quite normal! I wish we could relax a little in the USA.

It has been over a year now since I moved back to Texas from Switzerland.  At odd and bizarre times, my heart longs for the parts of Switzerland I love. Switzerland will always be my home away from home.  I end this blog with a picture of the central area of Lausanne, Place Saint-Francois.


Café in Lausanne, Switzerland. My home away from home.



About HelenHThomas

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I am honored to work at Cook Children's Medical Center as a Clinical Therapist providing supportive counseling for the parents of our tiniest patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I feel infinitely thankful to share my life with my best friend and life partner, Dr. Charles R. Thomas (Chuck). Spending time with my wildly fantastic adult children, their spouses and our exceptionally wonderful friends makes my life complete. Life is good!
This entry was posted in culture, Expatriation, food, home, Transitions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s