Australian Daniel, his wife Kim and daughters Erika and Serena have been living in the canton of Zug for almost three years. They praise their new home in the highest tones.
Australia is a place that many Europeans long to visit. It has an area is 7,692,000 square kilometres - Switzerland would fit into this area about 180 times. It's mainly the coastal areas that are inhabited in Australia, and the Spirdonoff family used to live there. More specifically, in Melbourne. This metropolis is the second largest city in Australia and the most southerly million-city in the world. It's located on the same latitude as Cape Town (South Africa) and is part of the Australian state of Victoria.
But the Spirdonoffs prefer to talk about Switzerland. And they do this on the Guggi Hügel in the city of Zug. They have chosen this vantage point as a place of conversation. "We live very close," says Kim Spirdonoff regarding their selection. "The view of Zug is so wonderful here." You can only agree with her.
Her husband Daniel works in Rotkreuz at AB InBev, which is the largest brewing group in the world. As a trained lawyer, he takes care of "legal services" at the global beverage retailer. He also worked for the company in Melbourne. When they moved to Switzerland in 2018, it was only a first for their daughters, as Daniel has already travelled in Europe with his parents. And his wife Kim accompanied him on his second trip. They didn’t visit Zug on that trip in the late 1990’s, but did go to Zurich.
The peacefulness of Zug as a big plus
When asked how long they wanted to stay in Zug, Mr and Mrs Spirdonoff couldn’t or didn’t want to commit themselves yet. A sign that they like it here. In Melbourne, they lived in the inner city, as they now do in Zug. "But things are much quieter here in Zug. We appreciate that." Kim Spirdonoff also finds that everything is so close. And this suits them, of course, because they like being outdoors and to go hiking. They've also visited various sights in Switzerland since their arrival in 2018, including Geneva, Zermatt, Interlaken, Lausanne and Montreux, and also Grisons (Graubünden). Daniel Spirdonoff also thinks it's great that he can reach a skiing area in just over half an hour: "From Melbourne, I had to sit in the car for three hours in order to go skiing."
Photo 1: Erika, Serena, Daniel and Kim Spirdonoff on the Guggi in Zug.
Photo 2: The Spirdonoff family has settled in well.
Photos: Stefan Kaiser (Zug, 23 December 2020)
The Corona pandemic has, of course, also restricted their range of opportunities. But the Spirdonoffs would have stayed in Europe in any case. They talk about their parents, who they left behind them in Australia. "We contact each other via Skype or other communication platforms," says Daniel Spirdonoff
Learning German is such a thing
The English spoken by the Spirdonoffs is clear and precise. Kim tells us that she regularly attends German lessons. But holding a conversation is not so easy. The two daughters, who are enrolled at the International School in Walterswil, attend German lessons for four hours a week. As most of their classmates are also English speakers, there’s an additional hurdle for practicing the German language, and, in particular, the Spirdonoffs find Swiss German difficult to understand. A statement that is easy to understand: many Europeans also have problems with this.
Could Kim Spirdonoff imagine going back to work. She waives the question: "I look after my two daughters, and I love doing that." She attended a four-year course as a fashion designer in her home country, and later taught at a school in the fashion sector. "The fact that I couldn’t teach here was hard for me In the first half-year", she adds. But she no longer misses this, however, which is why she is currently concentrating on her daughters. It’s obvious that she has a say in her daughters' choice of clothes. The Spirdonoffs will soon be returning to Guggi Hügel. In this respect, they’re probably a few steps ahead of a number of locals. There are, after all, many people in Zug who have to admit that they have hardly ever been to this viewing point. And they’ve thereby missed something.