In 2006, American Chantal Panozzo moved to a spa town near Zurich ready for a glamorous life as an expatriate. She would eat chocolate. She would climb mountains. And she would order cheese in four languages.
Instead, she lived a life more in tune with reality than fantasy. Contrary to popular American belief, Switzerland isn’t just a setting in a storybook called Heidi. It’s a real place where someone with a master’s degree in communications can’t make a phone call, where you can be hired in one language and fired in another, and where small talk doesn’t exist—but phrases like Aufenthaltskategorien von Drittstaatsangehörigen do.
Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known is a collection of both published (The Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Glimpse, Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, and Brain, Child) and new essays in which Chantal discovers that no matter how hard she wills her geraniums to cascade properly, she will never be a glamorous American expatriate—or Swiss.
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About the Author
Originally from Chicago, Chantal Panozzo arrived in Switzerland in 2006, relieved to discover a country where people can actually pronounce her name. Her essays have appeared everywhere from The Christian Science Monitor to Swiss News, where she wrote the monthly “Expat Adventure” column for three years. She has also served as a National Geographic Glimpse correspondent, been commissioned to write and perform a corporate drama by World Radio Switzerland, and her essays have appeared in several best-selling anthologies. In 2010, she co-founded the Zurich Writers Workshop. A recipient of the Rosalie Fleming Memorial Humor Prize, Chantal divides her time between copywriting, writing, and blogging (One Big Yodel and Writer Abroad). She is currently at work on a novel, and would like to remind everyone that really, it’s okay to live in canton Aargau. www.chantalpanozzo.com