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"Reaching Ravioli"-- update
Old 01-29-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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"Reaching Ravioli"-- update

Hello everyone,

Bryan Barnfellow here again after a long absence. I have an update on my RE story. You will likely not remember, so here's the link:


Reaching Ravioli


The short version is that after having posted the above in early 2008 and living through the crash of 08-09, I was offered an opportunity to live and work in Switzerland. My wife readily agreed with pulling up stakes (or "upping sticks" as the Brits like to say) and we moved in 2009 with our clothes and some books and favorite art with an idea to see how it goes. We left our home in the US mostly intact and closed up.

Now, 2.5 years later we are loving it and recently sold our home and moved everything here. It's not Italy -- but Italy is just over the border from us (we are in Italian-speaking southern Switzerland). In some ways our canton is the best of both Switzerland and Italy. Lots to tell everyone if you might be interested on the subjects of being an ex-pat, dealing with a new language, taxes(!), climate, cost of living, and health care.

The RE dream isn't dead -- just postponed until December 31, 2015 (about 5 years after our original 2010 date). On the financial side, the move was good in terms of compensation, so more savings under our belt. We'll need it. Lifelong LBYMérs, we somehow managed to have moved to one of the most expensive countries in the world. We're still trying to adjust to the price shock. We are renters, as are many Swiss. A nice 2-bedroom apartment in our city can cost anywhere from 500,000 to 1M swiss francs (=$550K to $1.1M at current exchange rate). That gives you some idea. The quality of life here is insanely wonderful; so we believe the price of admission is worth it. Everything works -- trains, services, medical facilities, you name it.

So, revised member of the RE class of 2015 happy to report back in -- all is well and on track.

Bryan Barnfellow
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bryan Barnfellow View Post
Now, 2.5 years later we are loving it and recently sold our home and moved everything here. It's not Italy -- but Italy is just over the border from us (we are in Italian-speaking southern Switzerland). In some ways our canton is the best of both Switzerland and Italy. Lots to tell everyone if you might be interested on the subjects of being an ex-pat, dealing with a new language, taxes(!), climate, cost of living, and health care....
Welcome back!

I used to dream of retiring to a nice spot like where you are now, but no more. The cost and the logistics are something I would not be able to handle. Besides, there are just too many nice places.

However, seeing that you are in the southern part of Switzerland brings back some memories. We were visiting Switzerland on a vacation, and decided to ride the train down to either Lugano or Locarno, I do not remember. I had read that they had this special dish of donkey stew in Northern Italy, and thought that we would have time to cross into Italy on a day trip, so that I could sample that dish (it was just me, as my wife was not so adventurous, culinarily or otherwise). Anyway, of course we did not have enough time to enter Italy in search of that local dish, and just had a wonderful day in that southern Swiss town.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks, NW-Bound. It might have been either Lugano or Locarno. Both have easy access to Italy. I found that once I stopped translating prices from Swiss francs into US dollars, it wasn't such an issue anymore.

I do pay for my (and my wife's) own health care -- typically in Switzerland your employer doesn't provide it. The saving grace is that it's offered by about 80 competing nonprofit BC/BS type health insurers (the old BC/BS that is!). Each plan includes prescription drugs, has no "pre-existing conditions" restrictions and is yours for life, whether you change jobs, retire, whatever. If you ever have trouble paying for it, the cantonal government can offer financial assistance.

Glad you had a nice stay'!

Bryan B.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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I forgot to comment on the donkey stew. Never tried; likely won't. Horse is somewhat common here; but not for me. I'd never eat something that could talk to me (a la Mr. Ed). :-)
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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I spent a couple weeks around Lucerne many years ago on business. It looked beautiful, but everyone seemed very intense, like the boss was always looking out the window at them. Lots of tourists also. But a lovely place.
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