Or: the Trials and Tribulations of an Uptown Girl with a Boyfriend from Old Europe

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Location: Basel, Switzerland

Friday, October 13, 2006


I first decided to start a blog to help my friends and family keep up with my life. Now, as I type, I'm wondering if I'm really using this blog so that I can keep up with my own life. Everything seems to be in flux right now; I feel gauzy and insubstantial, as if I'm just passing through. It's a bizarre sensation for me, since for the past five years, I've been solidly materialistic. I live in my cozy little apartment in New York City, eat cozy little meals, shop in cozy boutiques (and not-so-cozy department stores), hang out with my cozy, wonderful friends. I know where to buy what, and how things are done. I have a place this this messy, frightening, and exhilirating city.

And now I'm giving it all up. To go halfway across the world. For a

I must be nuts. I never thought I would be doing something like this. And yet, instead of dreading all this change, I'm oddly excited.

Swissy-Pie, as I'll call said guy for reasons which I hope are obvious, is already back home. And much faster than I expected, things are starting to come together. We're going to be in Basel, Switzerland, right where France, Germany, and Switzerland come together, glaring at each other over the legendary Rhine River like members of some dysfunctional family over dinner. While I personally have dubbed it the Ugliest City in Switzerland, it's his favorite. Oh well. I suppose New York could be considered ugly, too, but I've gotten used to it. Hopefully Basel will grow on me as well. At least
the Black Forest in Germany, which is really close by, is absolutely spectacular.

To be fair, there are some lovely neighborhoods. A few months ago, I spent a day in the area, and found a few pockets that I really liked. And during our apartment search (a virtual one for me), we've come across a few more.

One place in particular looks fantastic; I've posted the photo here. It's a big (over 1000 sq. ft) 4-room apartment in an old building, with lots of original plaster detail, beautiful herringbone hardwood floors, leaded glass doors, two balconies, a shared garden, and charm to spare. And the rent's quite reasonable, too!
We both independently chose it as our top pick. (This bodes well, I hope, for future decision-making.)

At first I was nervous because it simply looked too good to be true. But today he went to see it in person, and reported that the photos don't do it justice. Even better, no one else has applied for it! Of course, he submitted an application immediately. Hopefully we'll find out within the next few days whether we get it or not.

Assuming we do, the only thing that's left is for me to find a job, so that I don't die of loneliness and/or boredom in this brave Old World. There are a few obstacles:

  1. No EU work visa. I refuse to marry Swissy-Pie just to get one.
  2. Not fluent in German. Given I've only been learning for 6 months, I'm quite good. But that's nowhere close to good enough.
  3. Few finance jobs in Basel. That means I may have to commute to Z├╝rich, 1 hour away. Yelch.
  4. No skills relevant to pharma positions, of which Basel does have plenty.
Oh well. I suppose can always join Centrepoint, or whatever the American Women's Club of Basel calls itself these days. But I have to ask, if it used to be an American club, why do they spell Centre like the British?



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