I am moving to a town in Switzerland that everyone has heard of and nobody has been to. It is the kind of town that makes it onto the occasional shortlist of places to visit on one’s backpacking trip around Europe but gets knocked off for the lack of giant cathedral, world class museum, or momentous monument.
People say it’s beautiful though, simply because it is in Switzerland. By that, I imagine that they are picturing blue skies over slopes of green fields to run across with arms a-stretched. I think I read in a guidebook that it’s the most Swiss town of Switzerland, which momentarily peaked my interest before I knocked it off my must-see list in favor of the London-Paris-Barcelonas of Europe.
I am 32 years old and the idea of not living in a capital city is starting to appeal to me. People say Switzerland’s a good place to raise kids and though I don’t plan to get knocked up anytime soon (at least, not before I get myself some health insurance and some of those famous Swiss social benefits), I feel like, for the first time, I’m moving to place where I could build myself a comfortable little life. At least for a half dozen years.
Let me interrupt here for a little back story. I grew up in San Francisco but for 8.5 years, I’ve lived in Paris and then Tokyo with my boyfriend. These are cities that have anything you could want. If you are looking for friends of all colors and flavors, you’d find them there. If you want quirkiest of shops, the most experimental of restaurants, craziest of bars, museum, karaoke joint, you name it, you’ve got it. As we saw it, big cities contained the best quality of building blocks we would want for constructing our lives.
We were so blinded by the idea of these building blocks that it blinded us from the truth, which was that we are actually very unambitious people. More intrigued by the idea of visiting the latest opening/cool event with our super groovy friends than actually going. Or getting drunk enough to appreciate said friends. And if we made it to anywhere remotely groovy, we were inevitably yawning and grateful when it came time to run out at midnight for the last train.
So here we are in our thirties, coming to terms with what we really want out of life. For the first time, we’re not launching ourselves into an exciting town expecting it to shape us. We are going to go to a simple place to build a cozy little life. I was wondering exactly what this simple dream life would be and realized that the answer was right under my nose. Specifically, in my own google search history.
Lausanne + cozy café +Wifi
Lausanne + ethnic restaurants
Also, Lausanne +
Where to buy Esprit
Authentic Asian restaurant
You can find out a lot from Google. (Two Starbucks. One Mexican restaurant, but expensive.) But even Google has its limits. It gives you the framework to find the answers you’re searching for but leaves you on your own for the real questions: Will I find an apartment with slanted ceilings? Will my French be good enough to make local friends? Will I find a community of friends and feel at home? Just how cold is 0 degrees Celcius and would it deter me from going outside?
Will life in this new city live up to the potential promised by my Google search bar?