From “Hello” to «Grüezi»

It has almost been two months since Jessica and I arrived in Zurich, Switzerland. The journey here was quite involved, and we are still getting used to the cultural and lifestyle changes of living in this very beautiful country. So I hope you will forgive me if this comes across as a little incoherent due to a combination of excitement and exhaustion. Furthermore, there’s so much to share that I am backlogged on ideas of posts to write. Some of them will be technical, such as how I threw this custom website together before the move, to more accessible topics, such as: public transportation, zoning, style of government, the language, the food, the very colorful money, the nuclear bunkers, gun ownership, nature, religion, and general societal philosophy.

Here’s a small, easy difference to mention: In Switzerland the ground floor is numbered zero, as opposed to the USA where the ground floor is literally floor number one. Underground floors here are negative, whereas in the USA it was more common to see B1, B2, and so on. This leads to the silly computer-science joke about off-by-one errors, when I arrive at one floor below where I should be. Also, it means I now associate the USA with programming languages like Fortran because arrays are “one-indexed” so the first three elements are numbered “one, two, three”. And the Swiss numbering corresponds to languages like C that are “zero-indexed” so that the first three elements are “zero, one, and two”.

I’ll go ahead and describe the other things I listed above with one-word first-impressions:

These are subject to change or be refined as we spend more time here. Additionally, one word does not do justice to how different each of these are. It’s not a comprehensive list either, as there’s always more to write and experience.


I know, you’re here about Helix. Yes, Helix is doing fine! He survived the two flights, and I am super proud of Jessica for traveling alone with him to bring him here. He is now a very happy puppy except when he has to ride on the train. With a little exposure therapy though, he will adjust. I still think a little bit of him misses his grandparents that spoiled him while he awaited Jessica returning to bring him. I will let her document as much or as little of that journey on her part of this blog.


I went on what I thought would be a short and easy hike up Uetliberg mountain while Jessica was back in the US. It wound up being the last nice warm weekend. I had gauged the distance right but was not prepared for the intense slope all the way up from Albisgütli. The path began deceptively easy.

Path Entrance Up Uetliberg Mountain

But once up there, the view of the city to the east and the countryside to the west was very nice. The weather changed quickly while I was up there too. It went from mostly cloudy to clear skies within an hour. This is a picture of the city of Zurich at the north side of the lake, looking east from the mountain:

Zurich From Uetliberg Mountain

This is the countryside southwest, with the jagged Swiss Alps visible, with skies clearing up:

Countryside West Of Uetliberg Mountain

Finally, with skies clear, this is looking south southeast along the mountain ridge, with the Swiss Alps in the distance:

Uetliberg Mountain Ridge

Thanks for reading!

Published: Nov 22, 2017 17:38:02 EST
By: Cory Slep