On the road again

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This blog is about to wake up because once again, I'm going travelling. Emigrating, even. In fact, I'm relocating to Zürich for work, leaving tomorrow. It's all been arranged in rather a hurry, so as Tara still has a doctorate to finish she'll be staying in Oxford for the time being to work, teach, and feed the cat, and we'll be finding a place in Switzerland in the first months of next year. I've been commuting about two-and-a-half hours each way to work since we moved here and I'm looking forward to getting several hours of my life back every day, but at the same time I'm going to miss Tara a lot. Fortunately it's relatively easy to get from London to Zürich, so regular visits will be happening, although the number of days I'll be allowed to spend in the UK is something I'll have to keep an eye on in order to make sure I'm not liable for British tax as well as Swiss.

All the arrangements are made. I have temporary accomodation lined up, and my flight arrives fairly late tomorrow evening. Right now I'm in the putting-off-thinking-about-packing phase of things. The bike bag I bought so I could take one of my bikes with me was far easier to get the bike into than I expected - just took the wheels off and turned the bars, without the hours of dismantling and wrestling and taping I expected to have to undergo. I've done all those things you do before going away for a long trip - getting a haircut, tidying up loose ends of administrivia, researching the byzantine rules the Inland Revenue use to decide if you're resident or not, that sort of thing. I even bought a new pair of glasses for the first time since something like 2001. They're rimless and look rather Germanic, so I should blend right in.

I'm looking forward to seeing which of the stereotypes are true (I've been there before, and it's certainly a very clean place, so that's one) and which aren't (are there really apartment blocks where it's forbidden for men to pee standing up after 10pm?). It'll be an adventure to be living right in the heart of Europe, and even more of an adventure to attempt to speak Swiss German. I can speak High German after a fashion, but the local dialect is something else entirely, and as someone who likes to be able to communicate with other people, the language barrier is one of the things which worries me the most. This worry is of course irrational as most of Switzerland speaks English better than how I does, but as a native English speaker this, of course, fills me with guilt.

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