I’m not even permanently set up in Switzerland and yet, the whine and wine fest is in full swing. I’ve mentioned how hard it will be to find an affordable apartment but let me grouse and grumble a little more. We’re actually looking to live in a town attached to the east side of Vevey called La Tour-de-Peilz — a quiet, leafy section a little removed from the kiddie zone, a safe haven for grey-haired, dusty womb types like me.

Anyway, the way it works is that we obsessively troll the online listings and arrange a visit (9 so far) which is conducted by the current tenant. Sometimes it’s an open house thing with hoards of people hmming and hawing, sometimes just us (the preferred method of entitled divas). Then, if we like it, we go to the agency listing the property and throw a giant wad of paperwork at them hoping it will stick. They screen and present files to the landlord and then a decision is made. This can take weeks and weeks with no feedback. If we apply for multiple places and by some miracle get offered more than one lease, any rejected lease offer incurs a fee of about 150 bucks.

As a person who has bought and sold houses in a matter of hours it all seems very strange. I thought it would be just a “we’ll take it” kind of moment. What happened to the scenario where landlords are overcome with gratitude to have such an amazingly classy and debonair couple grace them with their presence and rent cheques?

So, on the off chance that I may be inadvertently discouraging folks to immigrate to Switzerland, there’s a reason that this next adventure poses some special problems for us. We’re what you call “Independents” (in my case fully dependent) meaning that we don’t have fiches salaires, salary slips. The Swiss love things to be neat and tidy and with Nestlé employees running wild about town waving pieces of paper guaranteeing a million Francs every two weeks, we appear a tad risky with revenue statements from our little Rusty run empire.

I suspect it might be easier if in the line after occupation I wrote “world’s best psychiatrist” instead of writer, but I don’t want my relationship with Switzerland to start out under false pretenses. And speaking of jobs and lies, I wonder what kind of flim-flamming is in my future. The secret is I’ve never applied for a job in my life. I’ve always been begged to help hack through gargantuan hospital waiting lists and provide desperately needed services.

I honestly have no idea how it works. My internet research tells me that I’ll have to learn how to sell myself and project an image of competence and reliability. Apparently I might have to get dressed and possibly go to something called a job interview. Also, speaking 3-5 languages appears to be an asset in my chosen part of the world.

I suppose I just assumed a Swiss home and a way to pay for it would magically rise up to meet me. After all, that’s how I found someone to cook and speak for me. I just walked into a crowded nightclub and there he was. Maybe I’ll just start hanging out at bars asking people for work and a place to lay my head. What could possibly go wrong?

 

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