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From Swiss Countryside to Balinese Bliss: A Family’s Journey of Relocation and Fulfillment

In January 2023, we engaged in a discovery call with Aline and Bernard from Switzerland, exploring their ambitions to relocate to Bali for a two-year work opportunity that promised not just professional development but also a fulfilling family experience. Shortly after their move in August of the same year, Aline and I met up in her beautiful Sanur villa that was a short walk to the beach. Now, with over six months of living in Bali behind them, it’s a joy to reconnect and delve into the distinctive expat journey they’ve experienced. Enjoy this wonderful story of a European family living a great life in Bali in the interview below.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you originally from?

We are a family from Northwestern Switzerland, who used to live in a small country town called Attiswil in the canton of Berne. My husband Bernard and I (Aline) bought Bernard’s mother’s house and we were the 8th generation living there. Together with our two children Lionel, 10 years old, and Amélie, 7 years old, we’ve enjoyed our historic home and garden. However, Bernard and I have always liked exploring foreign countries and therefore spent several months/a year in France and Australia (Aline) and Canada (Bernard) for our education.

When did you first arrive in Bali, and what brought you here?

We arrived in Bali in July 2023. Bernard was lucky to receive a job opportunity from a Swiss friend’s company called Koltiva. First Bernard worked remotely from Switzerland. Koltiva’s main office is based in Jakarta but we did not want to live in a polluted city with our family. When Koltiva opened a hub in Bali, we knew it was the time to start our adventure.

How did you hear about Our Year in Bali, and what was your experience like with Simone’s assistance?

I found Simone’s service when I was doing a google research about Bali. Since her website was so convincing, I booked a free 30 minute zoom meeting. After this, we decided to buy the Silver package and it was more than worth it! Simone’s information is very well structured and it covered all our open questions. We even found a 3-bedroom villa through a villa agent recommended by Simone.

What motivated you to move to Bali, and how did you go about making the decision to do so?

Bernard and I have visited our Swiss friend living in Indonesia in 2009 and 2011. We were fascinated about Indonesia’s culture and fertile nature. When Bernard started working for Koltiva in November 2022, he travelled to Bali several times.
In Switzerland, we have a very high living standard and we have always wanted to show our children that this should not be taken for granted. When the opportunity with Bali arose, we just knew this was our chance to widen our children’s perspective about the world and to get to know people from all over it. Bali offers a great range of people with different nationalities.

Where in Bali do you live, and what made you choose that location?

We live in Sanur because Bernard’s office is here. Our home is situated in a very quiet neighbourhood and only a 5 minute walk from the beach. Since we do not have an ocean in Switzerland, we thought it would be amazing to be close this time. We just love our new home and its location.

What has the schooling experience been like? How was it meeting other parents and the kids making friends?

We have chosen the Open Flow Learning Centre for our kids, which focuses on nature-based learning. We share the opinion that through the internet and Artificial Intelligence the amount of academic knowledge needed is reduced. However, social and intercultural skills cannot be acquired anywhere else than in real life. Our kids love their school here and made friends within the first few months. We occasionally meet our kids’ friends family and spend nice evenings at the beach or meet up during school holidays. Meeting other school children’s parents is usually very enriching.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when moving to Bali?

It was always clear to us that we want to keep our house in Switzerland and we did not want it to be empty during our adventure abroad. At the beginning we did not know how easy or difficult it would be to find someone who would like to rent it for a few years. Finally, my father-in-law Roger told us he would like to leave the city of Lucerne and move to the countryside due to the tourist increase after Covid. This was our perfect match.

In addition, leaving behind my mother who has dementia was another challenge. I never know if she will still recognise me when I return to Switzerland.

What are the new hobbies or activities you are excited to try or looking forward to discovering in Bali?

Since we live so close to the ocean, our family has started surfing. We usually go surfing on the weekend or go for a bike ride along the beach. I also go to yoga classes every week and our kids started doing Muay Thai (boxing). We also like to discover new places around Bali and have done some trips up North, to the East of Bali and to the surrounding islands.

How have you adapted to the local customs and traditions in Bali, and what are your learning and enjoying from the experience?

Our children do the full moon prayer at school and we have already been invited to join a Karya ceremony which only takes place every forty years. The incredible devotion to detail of the Balinese people and how they manage to pass on their cultural traditions through generations is unique. We also enjoy the offerings and the smell of incense sticks which can be found everywhere and are looking forward to experience the day of silence Nyepi.

How has living in Bali influenced your personal and professional life, and what opportunities have you found here?

I was really able to fill my batteries during the last months living in Bali and it has been lovely to spend so much time with my kids. Back in Switzerland I was usually working a lot and having to do all the work in and around the house added up to long working days. It seems that there is a job opportunity arising for me but we have to work out the work permit side of it. My goal is to work part time in order to continue enjoying Bali life with my family. For my husband Bernard it has been very enriching to be able to visit Jakarta office every month and gaining a closer insight into the company.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about Bali, and how would you correct them?

It seems that many people are afraid about the food hygiene in Bali. However, we have made very positive experience during our time here. The ice cubes have always been safe and unless you are not eating an egg sunny side up, you should be fine.

In addition, I always thought it might be a bit chaotic in Bali but with the useful apps like gojek and whatsapp it is very easy to book an appointment, order a car or food and to my astonishment, Balinese people are very punctual and reliable – at least the ones I have been dealing with.

Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for you in Bali?

We usually set the alarm clock to 6am. Then we have breakfast with our children around 7am. Our lovely driver Putu picks up the kids at 7.35am to drive them to school. At the same time, my husband Bernard usually leaves to go to the office by motorbike. I then get ready to ride to Yoga class by bicycle. After Yoga I do some laundry, check my mails/bills or go grocery shopping with my motorbike. Sometimes I also order vegetables and fruits from an organic farm. For lunch I often eat something simple at home or meet a friend or my husband in a restaurant in Sanur.

In the afternoon I have a swim in our swimming pool or in the ocean and sometimes I take the time to read a book which I love. At 4pm our kids get back from school and I usually prepare some afternoon snacks for them. They then also have a swim in the pool or when my husband gets back from work around 5pm, we sometimes go to the beach all together. For dinner, I cook something at home around 3 to 4 times a week and the other times we enjoy the many restaurants in our area. After dinner, we read a few pages aloud in the Harry Potter book in our mother tongue. This is a good exercise for our kids and they just love the story. Around 8 or 8.30pm our kids go to bed and my husband and I have some time as a couple. Since the sun sets between 6.30 and 7pm we usually go to bed quite early around 10pm.

What would you say is the best thing about living in Bali?

The climate, the friendly, lovely and helpful people, the positive vibes and that you never need socks. Our kids would say the school!

Ready to get started?

Book a free discovery call to learn more about how we can help you feel confident about a move to Bali.

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