Monday, June 5, 2017

Moving to Switzerland

Well - if you are here because you read my post on facebook, then you are about to learn more than you ever needed to know about our decision.



When did this decision come about?

Over 2 months ago, Mat got invited for an interview at Roche in Switzerland.  At the time, I thought he was crazy to even go, but then viewed it as a chance for him to make some new connections and also see Switzerland for a few days.  When he returned, he was excited about the job, and wanted to discuss the possibility of moving to Switzerland to take the job.

How did the kids react?

At first, they were a full out "no way".  They wouldn't even discuss it without crying.  They had a million reasons why they didn't want to leave, and they were all valid.  Arlington was the first to come around.  She thought that "Studying abroad" could be interesting.  Over the course of the last few months, the kids have gotten used to the idea, and once the decision was made, they were fine with it.  They still wish we weren't going, but also are excited for the possibilities.

Where is the job located in Switzerland?

The job is at Roche in Basel.  Basel is located in the corner of Switzerland near France and Germany.  (we are less than half an hour from both borders).  It is the 3rd largest city in Switzerland.  Their native language is Swiss German, but they also speak High German.


What will Mat being doing at Roche?

Mat's job title with be Head of Rare Disease Research and Development.  He is excited to be getting back into rare disease.  He was also told that part of his job he will get a chance to do some work on LCA.  Here is the ticket to how we made the final decision.   As most of you know - LCA is what Finley has.  The chance for Mat to have a hand in bringing her cure to trial as well as other types of LCA was huge for us.  I would move to the ends of the earth to cure Finley.  And now this this job, and with the help of our researchers for our foundation, we might finally get there.

What are you doing about your house in Massachusetts?

We are not selling our house.  We promised the kids we would keep it in hopes of returning to Boston in a few years.  We love the town we live in and the kids and we have many friends here.  So we are going to rent it out.  We are busy getting it ready to do so - so if you have free time and like to paint.....you know where to find us.

Will you rent or buy in Switzerland?

We will rent.  Housing in Switzerland is very expensive.  There are a lot of hoops to buying a house, so that isn't even in the cards.  Our place there will be quite a bit smaller than our house in Massachusetts, so we won't be taking much with us.

Where will the kids go to school?

The kids will be going to international schools.  The public schools in Switzerland are amazing, but German is the first language.  Part of Mat's package at Roche is that they are helping cover the cost of the private international schools.  The kids have been learning all about them.  They have each chosen the ones that they feel will fit them best (they will still be learning German because these are Swiss international schools).  We are going over in a few weeks so they can visit the schools, meet their future classmates, and get to know the area.  Arlington and Finley have both chosen smaller schools that are more like Swiss public schools, and Cainan has chosen the more "American" International school.

Are they going to be able to meet Finley's needs?

Yes they are.  Basel has a school for the blind, and they have already found a braille teacher that will be with her full time at least for the first year.  She will work at Finley's assistant and braille teacher.  Also she will be getting mobility once a week to help her learn to navigate her new area.  We had talked extensively with Finley's teacher for the vision impaired here in the states, and she encouraged us to do this with her.  She felt that it would be good for her.  Her TVI has also shared everything with the education people in Basel, and that helped them get the things she needed.

When will we go?

The schools start August 14th in Basel.  We would like to be in the country around the 1st of August.  It takes about 2 months for Mat to get a work permit and it will probably take at least that long for us to get the house in order.  We have to have most of our stuff packed up before the end of June that we are taking because it takes several weeks for it to get to Switzerland.  So things will start to move quickly.

How long will you be gone?

We are taking it one year at a time.  We plan on staying between 3-4 years, but anything can happen.  We cannot put a time limit on this like we couldn't put a time limit on anything in life.  But that is the general plan.

So I think that covers most of the basic information.  I will leave you with two fun facts that we have discovered:

Kids ride public transportation to school.  The public transportation is excellent in Basel, and so it is easy to get anywhere without a car.  Finley will not be taking this, though.  Her school does offer a bus for a cost, and we decided that this would be best at least for the first year.  But the other two will hop on public transportation each day for school.

The schools have quite a few breaks.  They have 8 weeks off during the year (in groups of 2 weeks here and there) and then 6 weeks off in the summer.  Plus about 19 public holidays.  Their school days will vary each day - we have been learning more.  Most days they will start between 8-9 (even high school) and will be over around 3-4.  Some days will be half days.

Stay tuned for more!