Swiss Expat Story: Esther in Bozeman, United States

par MySwissWorld & Swiss Food Box Team

Helvetic post 24

We welcome you to our newest interview in our weekly series. Here we interview each week somebody from the community and learn a bit more about their lives. This week, from Bozeman, United States: 🇺🇸
 Esther Leutwyler, a line dancing teacher and craft enthusiast, is living in Bozeman, Montana, but her roots lie in Switzerland. Her daughter's decision to emigrate to the US in 1996 was the catalyst for Esther to visit and fall in love with the country. She eventually followed her daughter's footsteps and immigrated in 2006.
What is your name and where are you living now? 
I am Esther Leutwyler and I live in Bozeman, Montana. I'm retired but I teach line dancing twice a week and I like to do all kind of crafts (cardmaking, jewelry, painting).
What is your connection to Switzerland? Have you been born there, or do you have some roots in Switzerland?  
My daughter Beatrice emigrated to the US in November 1996 to be an au pair in New Jersey. She wanted to try out life here because she always felt she doesn't belong to Switzerland. 3 months later she told me that she doesn't want to come back home and another few months later she met her now husband and they married in summer 2001. 
I started to visit her as often as I could and every time, I arrived at the airport I felt like I was home. My daughter started the application for me to immigrate and in June 2006, I followed her.
I was visiting Switzerland in 2008 for the civil wedding and in 2009 for the church wedding of my son Markus. In April 2009 my daughter, her family and I moved to Bozeman, Montana to be closer to my son-in-law's parents.
What is the thing that you miss about Switzerland the most? 
Besides my family and chocolate, nothing.
What do you think is better or do you like more in your new country? 
I love the lifestyle here. People are much more open and welcoming, and I feel home and grounded, like I never felt in Switzerland. Even though I was born and lived there for so many years before I came here.
Do you have any plans of returning soon? For vacations or permanently. 
I don't plan to return to Switzerland. I have two grandchildren here Joshua, 16, and Emma, 14, and I see them on a regular basis. I'm involved in so many things (member of the Gallatin Valley Newcomers Club and active as their historian, leader of 2 interest groups for knitting and I teach line dancing). I also teaching line dancing at the Senior Center in Belgrade.
So, as you can see, I am pretty occupied! 


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