I created living.local based on a need I had myself when I came to Switzerland back in 2003.
I was working for a global Pharma company, moving from Austria to Basel. Even though the language was almost the same, I felt completely misplaced, unaware of any rules (spoken & unspoken). Fortunately I could hide in the global network of the company during the week.
My whole life was filled with work and meeting working colleagues and travelling "home" to Austria almost every week-end and holiday: there was no way I could efficiently get things done here, do some networking; I never had the chance to "live local".
Next stop was a house in France, just over the border, which was a compromise to both, my partner and me. We felt that living in a country we both don't know would be a fair deal. The idea was good, but the absence of the language skill was obvious and hindering with each daily task. All things had to be clarified via phone with an office in Paris - so there was no hope that those guys speak German or even English. I had to beg my neighbour or my French working colleagues every time I needed something to get fixed. That was - at least for me - an unbearable situation. It even got worse when I stayed at home after the birth of my first daughter. I fell in a big nothing...no work, no working colleagues, very few other moms I knew...I started to understand how difficult it is, when you are not embedded in the company you came for, but "only" joining your partner's adventure. I moved again -back to German speaking Switzerland.
Now being a single mom and back in Switzerland, I was exhausted. To gain back some energy and enjoy time with my lovely, very active daughter, we travelled to Ibiza - having a week of relaxing yoga, good food and having nice company, gave me the power I need to start over again after.
Having an own network became even more important. I started to re-build my network with the people I knew and dearly missed and soon, I realized - I finally arrived in Switzerland. I can survive on my own, take care of my daughter and enjoy the country I live in with the people I love. There are still moments, I really miss my family being close by, but it's easier to get over it when you have dear friends around and your own home.
After settling down in Switzerland again, back at work part-time, I met my husband and soon we were a happy little family with 2 girls.
Living abroad for more than 17 years, I know now, I am not the only one with the experience of feeling lonely in a foreign country. Everyone needs someone to reach out to when it gets too much, too lonely or too complicated. Some families may have stayed longer or may have spent less energy on survival, if there would have been a place to go and get support.