i had the most wonderful time in switzerland and raffaele and i decided very quickly that it makes the most sense for me to move in with him (tin brunnen - pictured above) and finish my PhD from there. i'll fly back for supervisions and other commitments and we're only going to spend about six months there before deciding where to be next. so, it doesn't feel like too much of an upheaval but is still extraordinarily exciting and i could not be more thrilled.
1 - we'll be living in brunnen in raffaele's beautiful apartment (pictured below) which has oodles of character, is surrounded by mountains and is only 5 minutes from the lake and nice bars, cafes, restaurants and the train station so it feels very civilised. it is the town i most wanted to live in when i was there all those years ago.
the view from the balcony. in a few weeks these mountains will most likely be completely covered in snow.
2 - many more people speak english than used to (people are older, more confident, have travelled etc) so i can communicate with people at a deeper level. i knew enough german to get by pretty well and it is coming back quite quickly - along with a tiny bit of recognition of swiss german (a dialect so different that native german speakers don't understand it). but the more people that speak english the better. especially since it's a short-term move so i won't have a chance to become fluent.
3 - raffaele's sister, monica, has had three beautiful girls since raff and i were last together and it was so exciting to meet them and feel so welcomed back into the family. i'm so pleased to have three new nieces.
4 - the internet exists! ok, it did exist then but i wasn't connected in the way that i am now. being able to talk regularly to friends and family on skype and being able to chat to friends via e-mail or facebook and bristol knitters (for example) on twitter means i won't feel isolated.
i'll do another post of more photos soon but, for now, here are three more of my favourites:
photo at the top of this post via
and another shot of brunnen just for good measure... via