My name is Paul Reed-Peck.
If you are reading this page then you must want to know a bit more about me, the author.
Why would you want to know? I honestly haven't the foggiest. The mere fact that you have stumbled across my blog amidst the millions (or is it billions?) of pages out there on the World Wide Web and then actually clicked on the "About Me" link is probably just an enormous coincidence, or a slice of good/bad luck on your part.
Whatever your reasons, and true to what you would expect from a page called "About Me", here is a little bit of background to who I am, for those who are interested.
|The young me|
I didn't excel at sports, despite playing for the school football team (once), but I did succeed in assembling a group of friends who I still see regularly today. Generally speaking, my life was remarkably average.
I made it through school and passed my exams with reasonable grades, and went on to university where I achieved a BSc in Computer Science, and in doing so decided completely against a career in this field. Little did I know when I started my degree studies that only a couple of years later a series of events would unfold that ultimately altered the course of my future and paved the path for a previously unimagined life.
During my final year at university, I decided to go backpacking around Australia after completing my degree. Looking back at this time, it was only really after this that my sheltered life truly began.
For someone with an almost crippling shyness, this was a huge step. I had never been away from the safety and security of my parents home for more than two weeks up to this point, to the extent of choosing to study at the nearest university just so I wouldn't have to move out.
Initially I travelled to Australia with some friends from the UK. I remember my mum crying when we said our goodbyes at Heathrow airport, but I was strangely calm and unfazed. I don't think the enormity of what I was about to do had really sunk in. I wasn't used to being entirely responsible for looking after myself at this point, and in my mind the Australia trip would just be one big holiday.
After a couple of months travelling with my friends, taking in various sites from Perth to Ayrs Rock (including a near-death experience as I climbed the famous Uluru), Alice Springs to Adelaide and then on to Melbourne, we went our separate ways and I took to exploring Down Under on my own, starting with Sydney.
|Me during my time in Australia|
The decision to head off to Sydney on my own, effectively making me entirely alone some 17,000 km from the comfort of my parents' home, did wonders for overcoming my shyness. I was finally in a situation where I had to do everything myself, and had to talk to people I didn't know. This was the beginning of a phase of personal development that continues today (I'm still shy, but much less so now).
During my travels around Oz I met many people from various countries all over the world, helping to enhance my understanding of other cultures and open my eyes to the sheer scale of human nature. One of the people that I met was Christelle, a Swiss girl who would eventually go on to help me build the life I have today. We were only together in Australia for a few weeks before my time was up, but even in such a short time we knew we had something special.
After I returned to the UK and Christelle went back to Switzerland, we kept in touch and began to regularly travel to each other's countries for visits, thanks to the relatively low-cost easyJet flights.
The first couple of visits were a little awkward, meeting each other's families for the first time. At this point my knowledge of the French language stretched to "bonjour" and "merci", and as Chris' parents don't speak much English those early meetings were - for want of a better word - strange.
However, we still knew there was something that felt right between us, and after initially making trips to each other's country every two to three months, we began seeing each other every couple of weeks. In 2006, on the first anniversary of our time together in Australia, we went on a two week holiday in Thailand, where I popped the question to Chris, and she accepted.
For the newly engaged couple, the long distance relationship was even more tiring, frustrating and often lonely than before. Being in such a relationship is certainly not an easy thing to do, but having stayed together it feels like this served to make our bond much stronger.
Still, there comes a point when something had to give, and having spent the last two years criss-crossing the English Channel for brief visits, Chris made the brave decision to move to England to live with me. This decision was based on the fact that Chris spoke English fluently, while my French had not progressed much, as well as the fact that Chris had career experience in her field while my career had not really found it's direction yet.
|The happy couple|
Shortly before we moved, I started this blog as a way of keeping my loved ones updated on my Swiss adventures - hence the blog title. Over time, I have supplemented the stories of my life with additional pages and blog articles designed to help others in my situation, using my experiences to offer guidance for other Brits moving to Switzerland.
|My cheeky little girl|
To sum it up. I'm a married, father-of-one, British expat living in Switzerland who blogs about his life.
If you've made it this far then you've clearly spent a couple of minutes reading about me, so thank you very much for your time and interest. It flatters and honours me just to know that others take an interest in my life, and my sincere hope is that, somewhere in the garbled history of my Swiss adventure, there might lie some information that can be useful to others.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions regarding anything written on this blog please feel free to contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome all feedback, good or bad, and will respond to every message.
PS - if you are wondering where the name "erniemcpeck" comes from, the story goes that it involved an alcohol-influenced night out with friends, some Sesame Street impressions and a change of names in one friend's mobile phone contacts list. Hey - I didn't say it was an interesting story.