MOVING ABROAD WAS IT A CHOICE OR A NECESSITY?
A choice: for years I wasn't happy in Italy and I always dreamt to live in London. It was the best choice I ever made! I wasn't planning to be an expat forever but it just happened and I don't regret it for a second.
AGE OF YOUR CHILD:
Catherine is 18 months old, she is born in Switzerland but has a Dutch passport just like her daddy ;)
HOW YOU EXPLAINED THE RELOCATION TO TO YOUR CHILD?
Catherine was born here so she never had to move ;)
WHICH DIFFERENCES IN TERMS OF STRUCTURES (PAEDIATRICIANS, KINDERGARTEN...) DID YOU FIND COMPARED TO ITALY?
As per our choice Catherine isn't attending a kindergarten yet, however I've done some research about it as we've considered the idea. Childcare services are extremely expensive here in Switzerland childcare services are extremely expensive: I was asked a monthly fee of around 800 € for her to be able to attend 2 half days a week (the minimum required by any pre-school). With that being said, the premises are really top notch quality wise and the staff is highly trained. In Switzerland there are plenty of kids oriented activities which requires the moms presence unless the kids are older than 2.5 years and potty trained. I can't compare the kindergarten services as I never saw one in Italy.
One thing I can compare are the paediatrician offices: in Switzerland they are beautifully decorated with pretty toys and colourful furniture, Catherine loves to go there as, for her, it is like we are going to a cool new playroom. Regrettably I didn't find the same quality in Italy: the facilities there were neglected and nothing was done to make the waiting time enjoyable for the little ones. I actually got a bit sad about it: it takes such a little effort to make kids happy and I do not understand this mentality of "not caring" about the details. I hope that mine was an exception as I'm confident there are also pretty and welcoming doctor offices in Italy too.
DID YOUR CHILD FIND IT HARD TO ADJUST TO THE NEW LIVING SITUATION? AND YOU AS A MOM?
|Catherine is having a rather "woody" brunch at her doctor office!|
Catherine was born here so the current one is the only reality she knows and she's very well integrated with other expat children. For me, on the other hand, it was very challenging to adjust to Switzerland: I was used to London where the majority of people were foreigners and it was pretty easy to fit in. Here in Switzerland it is quite the opposite and it's almost impossibile to feel like you fit in: Swiss people are quite to themselves to say the least and they don't really care to integrate with expats, so, in general, expats hang out with other expats. It was very hard for me at the beginning but being a mother made it easy to make new friends: I will be forever grateful to all the wonderful moms that I share my expat experiences with; they are a huge support and we always organise fun stuff to do with the kids.
WICH LANGUAGE DO YOU SPEAK WITH YOUR KID?
I speak Italian with Catherine but, often, some English words sneak in ;). Furthermore all the activity we take part in are in English so she hears me speaking tons of English as well! She must be very confused, poor toddler ;)
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO BACK TO ITALY? DID IT EVER HAPPEN THAT YOUR CHILD DIDN'T WANT TO RETURN BACK HOME?
We go to Italy 4/5 times a year but it's getting harder as Catherine doesn't particularly enjoy sitting in the car for 6/7 hours! She is too small to understand when we leave so there hasn't been any drama in that sense just yet, however I do expect this to happen in the future.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME WOULD YOU MOVE AGAIN?
Absolutely!! The only thing I would have done differently is not to move to Switzerland and I would have stayed in London: life was so much more fun there and I miss England a lot!
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOUR CHILD AND GRAND PARENTS?
Thanks to FaceTime Catherine can see her grandma and aunt on a weekly basis, obviously that is not like seeing them in person but at least it helps!
ANY ADVICE FOR A MOM WHO WANTS TO MOVE ABROAD?
To get out of their comfort zone (I wish I had done that sooner!) and reach out to others expats! Creating a social network will make your life so much easier and more enjoyable! Another humble piece of advice is to consider carefully where you move: being an expat is fun and adventurous but can be really challenging and tough at times! If, on the other hand, you are like me and get all excited just by the thought of living in a new country then go for it!