Regional Relocation Company Owner/Director & Licensed Architect AIA/SIA
If Pinnochio’s Blue Fairy were to ask my one wish for this event, my answer would be: energize the lives and experiences of locals and expats in the Basel region through shared experiences in social, business and volunteer settings. Those of us who have benefited from study or work abroad in a foreign language and culture know well how such an experience opens one’s eyes to new possibilities, more creative ways of thinking and greater personal flexibility. In my 21 years of living in Basel, I have found my own life enriched on many levels by the variety of locals and expats with whom I have met, worked, learned and just plain had fun.
When I arrived in Basel on 1 August 1990, I did not speak German. I soon discovered, however, that people of all backgrounds and languages responded to my earnest efforts at communication when accompanied by a smile. This was equally true of the elderly farmer with whom my son and I mucked stalls at the Binningen Hippotherapie Zentrum as for my American neighbor. The former spoke broad Büuredytschand gave me my first vocabulary lessons. My neighbor introduced us to a colorful swath of Swiss and expats and got me into serious volunteering, first for the British American Club and the American Women’s Club then for the Professional Women’s Group and Centrepoint. I am in fact a founder of Centrepoint on whose Board I served for years.
BaselConnect is a concept born of many such experiences. It is a means to extend the reach of information and vast potentials beyond what any single person or organization can offer. I often devise ways for my local friends and clients to meet one another to experience new ways of living and learning with positive results. North Americans enroll their children in Swiss public schools. South Americans, accustomed to living on small estates, choose an in-town flat rather than a suburban house and use public transport. Russian and German pharma executives tour a Basel museum jewel and learn how a Swiss combined Kandinsky with the Bauhaus to create the font Helvetica and commercial graphics for their industry. A Swiss fitness center manager hires an Indian ISB student for a summer Pratikum.Given the opportunity and a bit of encouragement, they mix, mingle, learn … and enjoy themselves immensely in the process. Imagine what could happen if there were even more opportunities to bring all these people together?
Originally from Connecticut in the USA, I had already lived in Paris, St Thomas USVI, and Cairo, Egypt before moving to Basel in 1990 with my ex-husband and my 5-month old son. I have studied and spoken French since high school and managed to learn Egyptian Arabic dialect during my three years in Cairo. Acquiring German in Swiss-dialect speaking Basel, however, was a true challenge, especially as I had no childcare and could not attend formal language schools. I basically learned with my son, starting in Kindsgi andending in the Gymnasium,2. Niveau.By that time, I was proud to be able to understand the other parents in the Elternbeirat on which I served for three years.
My volunteer activities eventually led to creating my own business. I started an architecture and furnished flat sourcing company but soon expanded it to include relocation services for accompanying partners, spouses, children, pets and assorted other family members. Over the past fifteen years, my clients have constantly reminded me of my own perplexities, amazement, and wonder at the rules and regulations, efficiency, and success of the Swiss socio-cultural and economic systems. Even now, with a Swiss-born husband at my side and a Basler Heimatschein to my name, I am still learning! How to transfer these years of observation, gradual understanding and knowledge to my novice clients? Through baselconnect… with your time and support of course!