No, this isn't a blog about some sort of sequel to the horror film series ("28 Days Later" and "28 Weeks Later"), nor is it a follow up to the Hugh Grant comedy film, "Nine Months". In fact, it has nothing to do with any films, no matter how gory or foppish.
Instead, the title is a reference to the fact that I have now been a Swiss resident for twelve whole months. One entire year. Three hundred and sixty five days. A period of time in which many things can change - and that has certainly been the case for me.
Since I first arrived here in the land of fine chocolates, delicious cheese, breathtaking scenery and real seasons that involve hot summers and cold winters (unlike English seasons, where in winter it rains and it's cold, and in summer it also rains but it's a bit less cold), my life has gone through many changes. I will be honest at this point and say that not everything has been easy; sometimes in life we have to fight for what we want and try to deal with whatever obstacles are thrown in our way, and the last twelve months have had their fair share of lows as well as some spectacular highs.
Rather than dwell on the darker moments, I prefer to see the brighter side of life, and this positive approach has been invaluable to me since I decided to move to Switzerland. Before writing this article I had a quick read through of my previous entries, and noticed that the overwhelming majority of my stories describe events that have made me happy, a theme that relates to my overall view of life in Switzerland.
Instead of trying to sum up everything that has happened to me since The Big Move one year ago (which would result in pages and pages of text that would take ages to read), I decided that this blog should be about the things I have learned since starting a new life here, both about my adopted country and about myself.
1. Switzerland is only expensive if you don't live there
My new homeland has a reputation for being a very expensive place to visit, but I have come to learn that this is not true for the Swiss themselves. As a tourist from England, converting the 9.- CHF that you paid for your beer into pound sterling might make you think about becoming teetotal (especially given the small size of the glass the beer is served in). However, the Swiss earn higher salaries than we do in England, and when you take this into account it actually means the beer price is roughly the same as back in Blighty. The Swiss, therefore, are not paying ridiculously over the odds for their goods and services, as they earn enough to be able to afford it. This doesn't help the tourists, of course, unless the exchange rate has a sudden huge swing in favour of the pound.
2. Driving an English car in Switzerland is not always practical