I think th-at I have a love-hate relationship with Zurich.
I complain about a lot of silly things and I'm still adjusting to how expensinve things are, but in the end I really do love it here.
Today, for example, I planned to go rollerblading with some people from one of the Expat groups. I'm not sure what happened, but I ended up renting rollerblades and being in the wrong place at the wrong time and not finding the group. I decided since I had the rollerblades I'd try it out on my own. First of all, it was so cool that I was able to rent rollerblades complete with a helmet and wrist, elbow, and knee pads, from the maintrain station. (http://www.sbx.ch/) At 25 CHF for the whole day or 20 CHF for a half day it really wasn't a bad deal. I rode along the lake trying to avoid cobblestones and had a great time. When I was starting out I was going really slowly over some bumps in the pavement and this old man smiled at me and said "nicht so schnell" joking about how slow I was going. :-) I went almost to Ruschlikon, where I used to live and remembered how gorgeous it was there. I took off my blades just in time to catch my old bus back to Burkliplatz and hop on my favorite Tram 11 back to the station to return the skates.
It was about 8:30pm and I was wishing that the grocery stores were open because I pretty much had nothing at the apartment. I remembered that the Migros at the airport was open until at least 9 and luckily there was a train leaving 2 minutes later.
That's one thing I love about Zurich....the trains are AMAZING and almost always on time.
I honestly don't think I will be able to handle taking the CTA anymore if and when I move back to Chicago in a few years... Maybe if the Olympics do come to Chicago they'll work on making the publich transit system a little bit better.
I got to the airport in enought time to pick up a few things I needed from the Migros and head home. One of my coworkers told me that you're either a Migros person or a Coop person. (The 2 big grocery stores out here.) Although I'm still a coupon clipper at heart and like to read the sales that come in the mail and sometimes shop at Otto's, Aldi, and Lidl, I'm definitely a Coop person. I've found that a lot of the Coop store brand stuff is really good and pretty cheap. Their strawberry yogurt especially! My apartment is about equidistand from a big Migros and a big Coop but if I have the choice and unless I'm standing right infront of the Migros, I always go to the Coop. One thing that really bugs me about the Migros is that they put the prices on the items. That sounds nice, but the thing is that the prices are ONLY on the items. Nowhere on the shelf, unless something is on sale, do they put the price. Everytime I go to Migros I have to pick up every item, turn it over and over trying to find the tiny black lettering where they put the price. This is especially annoying with frozen items where I find myself constandly opening the freezer door, taking something out and trying to find that tiny little price.
It still bugs me that most stores close at 6:30 or 8 on weekdays, but in some ways it does make evenings a little more relaxing when you're not running out to the store at midnight.
In other ways, I feel like sometimes I'm planning my life around when stores are open or when I was able to sign up for the one washing machine in my building.
On the other hand there are so many things that I absolutely love about Zurich. I love that I live on the outskirts of the city, but I'm just a 7 minute train ride to the main train station. I love that it only takes 10 minutes to get from the main train station to the airport. I really love that Zurich is a small compact city, but really feels like a big city. There are more concerts and cultural events than I have time to see. Everytime I talk to a coworker or check out someone's blog or read about the city I add something else to my list of restaurants to try or places to visit. I've been here 3 months and I feel like I could be here for at least another year and still have plenty more exploring to do just in Zurich. I also really love how close Zurich is to everywhere in Europe. I can take a 3 hour train ride and be anywhere in Switzerland. I've taken a night trian and be in Vienna, a 4 hour train ride to Paris, and a 2 hour flight to Dublin.
My family is looking into a trip to Egypt in November. I looked into flights in Chicago and it's looking like 17-23 hours of travel with long layovers and really early or late flight times. From Zurich to Cairo for under $600 you can take a 4 hour flight direct to Cairo at a normal time of day. That's just cool!