week 1, settling in


It’s hard to believe we’ve now spent an entire week in our new home! True enough, the last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur, filled with a whole range of emotions. (Apologies and a million thanks to everyone for their patience and help during the last days before the move.)

Once we were finally on our way, our trip was actually remarkably smooth. The nightmares Aimee was having about horrible things going wrong (she’s so good at this sort of thing), especially regarding Abbey, turned out to be nothing more than bad dreams after all. We arrived with hours to spare at SFO to get ourselves and Abbey checked in. Her international traveling documents (prepared by the awesome vets at Midtown, in case anyone is planning a trip with their dog, and certified by the USDA) passed the first examination by Swiss Air. It was shocking and sad to see them drag her kennel away after the final inspection (why couldn’t they pick the thing up and put it on a dolly?). 

The flight was 11 long hours during which neither of us slept much. Too much adrenaline and a million things running through our heads probably. By far, the best part of the flight was the landing.  First, it was really beautiful flying over the Alps, covered in snow and shiny in the sun. But as we landed we thought we could hear what sounded like a dog barking. Could that really be Abbey or were we both imagining it?  Sure enough, as we started taxiing to the gate, we could hear distinct barking, and there was no question, it was Abbey saying”we’re here, now get me out of this thing!”

“Yes! She’s alive and her good old self!”

For Jo, the barking was great news and he interpreted it as, “Yes! She’s alive and her good old self!” Typical. For Aimee, it was rather, “Oh, poor Abbey, she must be so distressed and scared, what if she was barking the whole time and we couldn’t hear it? What if… ”  Also typical.

Well, in any case, looking hopefully out the window, we were rewarded when we saw Abbey’s kennel come down the conveyer belt and from our view we could see her clawing at the door and hear her barking as Aimee waved optimistically through our little window.


Getting through customs with Abbey put Midtown’s paperwork to the test again and with no problems at all, the Swiss immigration officer welcomed us to our new home.  A new ETH colleague was kind enough to rent a van (from “mobility” a car sharing company that we will check out for our personal transportation too) and pick us all up at the airport. He had even picked up our keys and 20 minutes later we were walking into our new apartment!


Toasty warm from the lovely heated flooring and fully furnished, it was easy to move into the apartment. Jo found the wifi password and was connected within minutes.

We arrived with 3 big duffel bags, Jo’s new skis, and a couple of carry-ons (plus one XL sky kennel) so unpacking was a breeze. And after the big (or what Aimee calls: miserable) task of packing in Davis, we are committed to accumulating less stuff. Here’s to hoping the apartment will help us with that.

The three of us have been struggling a bit with the usual jet lag and it is probably the worst for Abbey who has never experienced it before and probably finds it more confusing than we do. (with eyes half-shut, she seems to ask “why the heck are we getting up now?”)


In the meantime, we are lucky to have the time to get us all registered and signed in everywhere we need to be.This turns out to be more complicated than it is in the US (or so does Aimee think because she hasn’t experienced the hassle it takes to become a resident in the US…as far as Jo can tell, getting a work permit C in Switzerland is much easier than getting a green card in the US), but thankfully we have ETH people here to help us navigate the system and point us to the correct offices. We got registered in our district, received something important called a meldevorschriften, applied for our residency permits, registered Abbey with national pet registry, and got her signed up with the city hundekontrolle.  We also tackled a bunch of other important tasks and did some less important but interesting errands. More posts on some of these adventures to follow. Maybe this is why the first week feels like a long one, but it is exciting to get set up over here and when we get stumped we are trying to interpret it as part of the big adventure.  And this mostly works.


One response to “week 1, settling in

  1. Pingback: Abbey: 1997 – 2013 | Aimee&Jo.ch·

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