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  • Writer's pictureDianne Lange

How did we end up here? Village life in Switzerland

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

I put my woolly beanie on. There’s a chilly wind blowing and from looking out the window, the clear blue sky tells me that my ears will ache if I don’t. Autumn has arrived.

I head out for a walk with our dog to the nearby fields. What used to be pavement below my feet and the sound of the city all around, is now replaced with the crunch of freshly cut hay tufts and the tinkle of cowbells.

In the spring, I watch as the farmers release the cows into these fields after their long winter sojourn in the barns. They run around kicking soil into the air and you can sense their complete joy of being free again. In the summer, we watch as the rye grows. One of the most beautiful sights is watching the shiny rye tips rolling as the wind slicks over the top of them in waves. And now it’s autumn. In the evenings you can hear the din from the combine harvesters as they devour the ripened corn to be used to feed their cows over the cold winter months. And the cycle goes on.

We led a very transient life. My husband and I met in Tokyo where we both had high-paced, demanding jobs in the corporate world. Over the next eight years, we managed to live in four different countries, get married, have two of what would eventually be three children, have four different jobs and live in seven different homes. Our lives were ever-changing and unpredictable.

But then things slowed down a bit. Us, who had consistently been on the move at an average of a move every two years, found ourselves settled in a country village outside of Bern, Switzerland.

How did we end up here?

With our third child on the way, we had to find somewhere that was large enough to accommodate all of us comfortably. At the time, the real-estate market in Bern was very limited for rentals. There were no suitable choices in the city of Bern so I had to look a bit further out. When I say further out, I mean 20 minutes with the direct train to Bern Central. 20 minutes in Switzerland, though, blesses you with convivial village life surrounded by nature and stunning scenery.

I certainly miss having the convenience of city life. Just popping out for a quick Pad Thai fix around the corner because I’m too tired to cook or being able to witness first-hand Mick Jagger’s moves at a Rolling Stones concert.

There’s no way that this is going to happen anytime soon in my little village where we have been living now since 2006 – actually, I don’t think that anyone is going to witness Mick Jagger’s moves now even if they do live in the city.

But do I miss it enough to want to move back to a big city? At this point in my life, not yet.

I love that my girls could safely walk or ride their bikes to school. I love that I can take the dog out to fields where she can run freely and live her best life. I love that I look out my kitchen window to a scene of rolling hills with cows grazing and an occasional train cutting through the valley towards the deeper Emmental. I love that I’m in the middle of the ever-changing colours of the seasons. I love that I can get freshly laid eggs from the man who owns chickens in my street and milk and bread from the farm down the road.

We will soon find ourselves at a crossroad – we have some decisions to make. Our girls are getting older and will move on with their own lives before we have the chance to get used to the idea they're not living with us anymore. We both have jobs that are flexible and can be done from anywhere. We can choose to live the city-life again – or not.

But for the time-being, I’m just living in the present and enjoying the fresh air, beautiful scenery and simplicity of life that living in a small village offers.

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