Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Sixty Days in Suisse - Part IX

Grimaces, Gourmet and Games

My Permis B, complete with psycho stare photo
As I write this blog I am now in my ninth week of being a Swiss resident, and finally received my Permis B (the document that shows I am legally allowed to work in Switzerland). I popped down to the SPOP in Lausanne to collect the document, and luckily I didn’t have to pay any extra administration fees, apart from the 8.- CHF for a passport photo to affix to the permit.

Admittedly it isn’t the greatest photo of me ever, as it looks like I had just been told some exceedingly bad news. The reason for the grimace is that the photo booth had a warning that said “Do Not Smile”, so I didn’t. The end result is a very grumpy looking work permit, but at least that grumpy person can now proudly tell prospective employers that he can work for them (legally).

Snow creeping closer...

In other news, the temperature really dropped this week, and we have actually had little dustings of snow not far from where we live (I spotted some on the hill just across the way from our apartment building).

Chris and I took a drive this evening to go for a walk in the snow, but it started raining quite heavily and was very dark, so we decided to just turn around and come back home rather than risk catching a cold in some very grisly weather.

Oh well, the weathermen here have announced more snow towards the end of the week, so we should get a chance to go out and build some snowmen.

Following on from my successes at Lotto, Chris and I bought a ticket for “Billet le Million”, a sort of scratch-card-lottery game in which you have a card that you scratch to reveal a different symbol each day, and the central gaming place issues a set of winning symbols each day. If your symbol matches one of the winning symbols, you win the corresponding prize – the prizes range from 1,000 CHF and Volvo cars, through to Mercedes cars and 1,000,000 CHF, so it’s certainly worth a try.

There is a new set of winning symbols drawn each day, so effectively we have 24 chances to win something – a million francs would certainly come in handy. We didn’t win anything today, but fingers crossed for the rest of December.

Well, that sums up everything important that happened to me in the past eight weeks since moving to Switzerland. There have been lots of highs (like Lotto wins, exam success, and delicious meals), and not many lows (the disappointing tapas meal and having to say goodbye to my parents are the only ones that spring to mind), and all of it has helped me to grow as a person.

I am now more comfortable speaking in French, and I’m learning new words and phrases all the time. I even conducted an interview with a nice lady at Adecco in Lausanne entirely in French, something that is pretty impressive for a guy who could barely say “bonjour” just a couple of years ago.

Speaking of Adecco, the job hunt here in Switzerland hasn’t really turned up any positive leads yet. I have applied for plenty of positions on the employment agency websites but not really had any encouraging news, meaning it looks likely that I will be heading back to England for Christmas as jobless as when I left back in October.

I’m not too worried – I know that I will find something here, it’s just a matter of time. I guess we didn’t pick a particularly good time of year for me to start looking for a job, as things are always slow in the build up to the festive period (particularly in a recession). Hopefully I will get more positive feedback on the jobs I apply for in the New Year, and then Chris and I can look forwards to getting our own apartment and then kick-starting the rest of our life together (possibly including the creation of a little play-mate for Andy Junior?).

Lausanne's Christmas tree

I’m really looking forward to having a festive holiday in England this year – it should be great fun to stay with my parents and the whole gang, including my sister, my brothers and their fiancées. All of us under one roof for Christmas should be very interesting indeed, and I can’t wait to eat the big Christmas lunch of turkey with all the trimmings. That’s something that I am truly thankful for when I think about England at Christmas – nothing better than a gourmet turkey meal with all the family round the table.

A modern Santa, complete
with iPod and PSP!

Chris asked me today if we could go and have a meal at an Indian restaurant in England when we are back for the holidays – she didn’t have to ask me twice, I am always up for a nice meal at the Raj Tandoori in Knebworth where the food never disappoints. Still think they should try to open a branch here in Lausanne, I know a Project Manager who could oversee it...

To let everyone know, Chris and I have finally got round to booking our flights for Christmas, and will be back in good old Blighty from Tuesday 22nd December until early on Thursday 31st December, so hopefully that will be enough time to catch up with all my family and friends.

Let me know if you fancy meeting up while we are back and I’ll try to sort something out.

Well, that brings you up to speed with everything that's happened during my first two months of Swiss life.

Hopefully I will blog again before Christmas, but if I don’t I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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