Swiss Expat Story: Gabriele in Esplas, France

par MySwissWorld & Swiss Food Box Team

Helvetic post 25

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 Esplas, France:
Meet Gabriele Wichtermann, a Swiss-born herbal tea maker who now lives in France. Gabriele and her family moved to France in 1994, where they bought a farm and raised organic chickens. Today, she makes and sells herbal tea, a passion she has had for a long time. In this interview, Gabriele talks about her connection to Switzerland, what she misses most about the country, and her plans to return in the future.
What is your name and where are you living now? 
My name is Gabriele Wichtermann and I live in France since 1994 with a view of the Pyrenees. We bought a farm there and installed ourselves with organic chickens for eggs. We gave that up later.
Newly I now make herbal tea for sale. Collecting herbs and also making ointments has been a hobby for a long time.
What is your connection to Switzerland? Have you been born there, or do you have some roots in Switzerland?  
I was born in Bern and grew up there. When we emigrated with our three children I was almost thirty years old. The children were almost four and the twins one year old. 
At the beginning we didn't go to Switzerland very often, the beginning here was rather hard. Now the children are grown up and we don't have any animals anymore, so we go to visit twice a year. My husband's parents are still alive and my siblings are also there. Since recently now also our eldest daughter.
What is the thing that you miss about Switzerland the most? 
The mountains. Hiking in the Pyrenees is also beautiful, but not the same. In Switzerland everything is so well organized. The hiking trails are better and also well marked. Here it is often just straight up, when you get older bad hiking trails are much more strenuous.
There is no public transportation here in the country, everyone needs their car. Train travel in Switzerland is beautiful and so easy. Buy a ticket and get on. This is possible here only for small distances, but first make sure if the train is running at all. Otherwise, space must be reserved and is then only valid on exactly the one train...
What do you think is better or do you like more in your new country? 
Here we have a lot of space and land. The neighbors are not right next door, no one looks into my garden.
Do you have any plans of returning soon? For vacations or permanently. 
We visited the parents for Christmas and then some skiing. I am very happy that we can do that now. Since the children have moved out, I miss Switzerland more. But going all the way back is no longer possible for us.


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