Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day Four -- A Very Busy Day

I awoke at 0730 to the breakfast at the hotel. I received a note from the hotel management that I was to meet the relocation coordinators at 10:30. I lounged around my hotel room for a few hours, waiting for the appropriate time. For the first time, I turned on the TV, and watched some of the local programming.

The first 25 channels or so were all French. the next 15 or so were German. I didn't have much of a hard time figuring out the German TV, and the French had enough going on for me to figure out what was being said, although not every word was understood. I watched Cartoon Network, and enjoyed seeing the cartoons in French. There was one cartoon where they went back in time, and met George Washington, who spoke perfect French, and if not for the white curly hair, he would have looked like Napoleon. He sure sounded like Napoleon.

I was expecting to meet Michael, but was met by a lovely English woman named Claire, who was Robert's wife. We set out to the car, where I met Heidi, a local Swiss German from Bern, who was to be the relocation consultant who drove.

They had a busy agenda for me, and at the beginning of the day, I was quite gung-ho about living in Villars-Sur-Glane, or Moncor, or Fribourg; a comfortable bike from home to work. However, the International school is in Bern, 25 km away. I might be comfortable, but the kids and wife would be forced to commute.

We visited two apartments in the neighborhood around the place of work. One was a very nice apartment that had lots of space, and was located on the third floor. It had no stairs, which would suck on grocery time. It had a nice big basement room to store bikes. It had a laundry room, but also a schedule attached to the laundry room.

This is actually quite normal in Europe. Say for instance, you have 6 families living in an apartment building. Family 1 gets Monday, family 2 gets Tuesday, etc. You don't get to just waltz downstairs and use the laundry room if it's not your day. (Unless you arrange it with your neighbor). The clothes dryers were weird, but seemed to be kinda cool. of a your normal machine, where you insert clothes (and maybe money), turn it on, spins around, dry clothes come out. Instead of that, there is a big room with clothes lines. you hang up your clothes, and turn on the heater, which blows hot dry air onto the clothes. I guess this is more energy efficient.

We went to a second apartment that was on the 1st floor. It had a very small elevator, and much more convenient stairs. The apartment hadn't been occupied for a year. It had a large living room with a wonderful view of the valley, and the Alps in the distance. It would be a perfectly nice apartment.

We travelled to Bern, to see another apartment. This apartment we were visiting is owned by an American couple, who are going back to the states for a few years. The apartment is on the north-western side of Bern, and not very far from the International School of Bern. Not far from the glider-port, either. in fact, I think I may have seen the neighborhood from the air, when I was flying on Saturday.

So why would I change my mind so quickly to move to Bern, which increases my grumpy drive? I figure that one man's quiet misery is much less awful than 1 wife's misery and four children's misery. Sacrifices must be made!

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