Culture shock – in reverse?

We lived in Switzerland from 1990 until 2007. 17 years of our lives were spent there – 17 out of 48 and 51 for my husband Alan and myself. For Gemma, our eldest daughter, 17 out of 19. For Kiki, our youngest daughter, 16 out of 16!

So, what’s it like to be ‘back home’? Is it really ‘back home’? For some of us more than others, obviously.

I want to explore this whole idea later – and would welcome any input from anyone on the subject. What do you think ‘home’ is? Where is it? Is it ‘where the heart is’? etc.etc.

But for now, here are some ways we know we are NOT quite at home here yet:

I still answer the telephone by giving my name (not my number or – the more normal greeting – ‘hello’)

I still walk out of the doctor’s surgery or a shop and say ‘Thank-you’ and ‘Good-bye’ (most people here don’t seem to do that)

Alan and I are still sometimes tempted to drive on the right side of the road (that one could be slightly more dangerous…)

Kiki has had difficulty getting the bus driver to stop for her (in Switzerland one didn’t have to ‘hail’ the bus)

I tend to want to say ‘Bon Appetit’ when we start a meal together

I still turn my head when I hear people speaking English (duh….)

We wonder what people are talking about when they say ‘That’s a lovely day now’ after the latest rain shower (and before the next one)

We don’t know our way around yet – I have just about worked out how to get to the nearest supermarket, I’m not sure how to find the local amenities centre, and people frequently refer to places which we have no idea how to get to (and our girls have never heard of)

……….that’s it for now. How long will it be before I am writing about ‘How we know we are at home here now’?


6 thoughts on “Culture shock – in reverse?

  1. …and on a more serious note I would say that “officially” home is wherever your mum lives, but unofficially, and at the risk of sounding rather naff, I would say that home is wherever I’ve found love. So I have felt totally at home in at least 4 different countries this year, 2 of which I’ve never been to before. Maybe I’m just rootless – I carry my home with me like a turtle!


  2. Thanks for the comments – very helpful! Hope you had a safe trip home – wherever home is right now – maybe where a computer is available???

  3. Pingback: Are we at home yet? « Coastal Reflections

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