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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 10:37 GMT
Expat e-mail: Switzerland
Bridget Jones with her parents at the Matterhorn
Bridget Jones - yes, really - left Lincoln three years ago to take up an engineering job in Switzerland. In our series featuring expatriate readers of BBC News Online, Bridget, 38, tells of her new life.

We came out here due to the downturn in industry in the UK, and because my husband Neil is an avid mountaineer - and I was getting really tired of the jokes about my name.

Bridget Jones on film
Jokes about the scatty singleton wore thin
Life on the whole is good: lots of things we love, like the continental lifestyle, low crime rate and excellent recycling facilities (more than 50% of rubbish recycled); and lots of things which drive us nuts, such as Swiss bureaucracy.

And every time it rains someone says "must make you feel at home, with this English weather" - even though the rainfall for Zurich is higher than Manchester.

Thanks to Easyjet, we can get home fairly easily to stock up on essentials: tea bags, bottles of real ale, proper bacon, good cheddar cheese and - would you believe it - Cadbury's chocolate for Neil.

Being away from family is difficult. We've had a bereavement since we came out - my mother-in-law died unexpectedly of a stroke on Christmas Day. Fortunately we were in the UK at the time, but coming back here was very hard.

Outdoor life

I work in the power industry for a multinational group which covers all sorts including transport and telecommunications.

Baden is about 600 miles from Lincoln
What Bridget misses most is cricket and the life which goes around it
Neil gave up his job - which he hated - to come to Baden with me. He has found part-time work teaching English as a foreign language (which he claims is easy as, being a Makem, English is his second language after Geordie) and creating websites, including a weblog he started when we first came here [see Internet links on right]. He's also tempted to return to his "previous life" as a ski instructor, for skiing here is easy.

We live five minutes walk from the railway station, where you can buy a ticket including travel and ski passes for the day, so we can be on the slopes about an hour-and-a-half after leaving home.

Neil's the energetic one, skiing, rock climbing and such like; I'm more your après-ski type, although gentle mountain walking is fabulous. I am not a climber - completely the wrong shape, not to mention terrified of heights.

Bridget and Neil
Cold snap: The couple on an August mini-break
I also follow my other hobbies, like embroidery and lace-making, although if I'm near Zurich it's shopping. Well, mostly window shopping - Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich is where even Cartier only have a small shop, it's so expensive. A girl can always dream.

And I'm on a mission to persuade friends - who now include Swiss, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Canadian, American, Croatian, Australian, Indian and Dutch - that British cooking can be quite good.

A woman's place

I do feel that the Swiss could learn a lot from the Brits, and vice versa.

Bridget, Neil and a friend at a cafe
Bridget and friends get a taste of Swiss street life
The UK could learn about recycling and crime rates, and also personal responsibility.

Here, for instance, there are no barriers along the pavements outside school. You can see it's a road, so why would you run out on to it? And just to get you all jealous, we haven't bought a car because we don't need one - public transport really works.

But then Switzerland could learn about being more laidback, and especially about equal rights for women. Here women are expected to be at home at least until the children reach secondary school at 12, so what chance of a career?

Never mind, home in three weeks for a holiday. There's a pint in the Morning Star in Lincoln which has my name on it... can hear it calling. Something to drown the sorrows of the cricket, I guess.

Every Tuesday we bring you the story of a Briton who has upped sticks and moved abroad. Do you live far from home? Tell us your experiences, using the form below.

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Every e-mail sent will be read, and we will get in touch if we need more details.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
02 Jun 02 | Europe
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