Saturday, 10 November 2012

Expat Dads Who Blog - Part II

If you're reading this article there's a strong chance you've just read through the second part of my interview with the good people at Geneva Family Diaries, and ended up clicking on the link to my blog to find out more about me.

First of all, I would like to thank you for your interest in me and my life.

Secondly, this might be a good opportunity for me to explain to any new readers a little about myself and what my blog represents.

I had originally created this blog to give my partner, Christelle, a platform to share news with her family after she moved to England from her native Switzerland to live with me. She didn't really go for this, preferring instead to call her family on the phone. So, the blog went unused for over 2 years.

When we decided to make the switch and move over to Switzerland in October 2009, I began to reconnect with the blog that had remained untouched since 2007. I reversed the purpose for the blog and instead made it an account of my thoughts and feelings both before and after the big move. If you are interested in reading more about how I felt, I invite you to read through "Preparing for Moving Day", "Car Cleaning, a Farewell and a Haircut" and "The Big Move".

On our wedding day
Having dated Chris since April 2005, when we met in Brisbane, Australia, I had made quite a few trips over to Switzerland to spend time with her. We flew back and forth roughly every 2 weeks for 2 years before Chris came to England to live with me.

My frequent weekends in Switzerland meant I had plenty of opportunities to experience the country and see some of the beautiful things it has to offer.

This softened the blow when I moved here in October 2009, just a month after our wedding, to start my life as an expat.

Still, adapting to life in a new country is never a straightforward thing. I was fortunate to have the support of my wife and her family and friends to help me settle in, as they all gave their time and energy to make me feel at home.

Exploring Switzerland

My first few weeks in Switzerland absolutely flew by, keeping me so busy that I didn't manage to write any blog articles for a while.

When I finally managed to write my next entry, I found that I had so much to share that I simply couldn't fit it into one manageable article.

So, I ended up writing a nine-part blog about my experiences - to see what I got up to in these first weeks in Switzerland, please read "Sixty Days in Suisse - Part I".

When we moved to Switzerland we were lucky enough to have my in-laws allow us to live with them while we found our feet. Despite this, as a newly married couple embarking on a new life together, the goal was to find somewhere to live, a little apartment of our own. I found out that getting an apartment here is much tougher than in England, as the demand for apartments far exceeds the supply. It's therefore a massive help to know someone who knows someone at the estate agents who can pull a few strings for you. We ended up first renting directly from a friend of the family (see "Finding Somewhere to Live"), and then the following year moving to a bigger apartment that we managed to get by knowing someone who knew someone.

As well as getting an apartment and adapting to life in general in Switzerland, one of my major focuses was on finding a job. I hadn't lined anything up before moving, so I was literally starting from scratch. It took me roughly 4 months to find a job, which I consider to be a brilliant accomplishment considering I had no support from the Swiss benefits office (ORP) and very little help from local employment agencies. Add to that the fact that I didn't speak French fluently, and that I was looking for a job during the Christmas period and during a global recession, and it really makes it an impressive feat to achieve. Without wanting to blow my own horn too much, please read about how I found my job in "The Job Search".

Over the following months I continued exploring Switzerland and learning more about my adopted country, slowly integrating myself into Swiss society. Then, in August of 2010, we received the happy news that my wife was pregnant with our first child. We were absolutely over the moon, and couldn't wait to become parents. Of course we were nervous and slightly scared, possibly more at the prospect of losing our independence, but looking forward to it nonetheless.

The big day finally arrived; Thursday 21st April 2011 - Lydia Reed-Peck was born (see "Life's Greatest Miracle"). It goes without saying that this was the single most important day of my life, welcoming our little girl into the world after a gruelling labour. And so began my next big adventure, that of being a Dad.

My cheeky monkey
One of my favourite photos
From that moment onwards, and perhaps understandably, the direction of my blog changed a little. Instead of simply talking about me and my feelings, it evolved into a Dad's view of raising a child, and the highs and lows of parenthood. Of course, it's not all baby talk on my blog.

Articles about being a proud father ("Sit Ups" and "Now There's No Stopping Her!"), or on problems with children ("How to Calm a Screaming Baby" and "Travelling with Babies"), are interspersed with my latest activities here in Switzerland ("A Week In Nax" or "Bimbadaboum!"), general observations ("Oh, To Be A Kid Again" and "Pushy People") and things I'm looking forward to ("Living Our Dreams Through Our Children").

One of my most popular entries is simply an album showcasing occasions when English words are used in ways that don't really make sense, or when things get a bit lost in translation ("When Translations Just Don't Work"). There'll be a part 2 coming soon for this (spoiler alert!).

So, my blog is essentially the tale of my life in Switzerland, first telling the story of how I adapted to living in another country and then to becoming a father, and now relates the adventures (and occasional misadventures) of our little family.

If this sort of thing interests you then I look forward to your comments on my articles. If it isn't really your cup of tea, then still thanks all the same for taking the time to visit my blog.

All the best,


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