Schaffhausen is a very special place for me and my family and it has become my home. After having lived in New York City for ten years and then Washington State for less than a year, my husband, who is US American, announced that he received a job offer in Switzerland. We did not hesitate long before deciding to embark on this adventure. This would also bring me closer to my home and family in Germany. My daughter was only five months old at the time. We first moved to a little village in the canton of Zurich called Buch am Irchel. As a trained science teacher I soon started looking for a teaching job and was happy to be offered a position at the International School of Schaffhausen in the summer of 2006. From the beginning I loved coming to Schaffhausen. It is a very special place offering a log of sites and activities. The longer we stayed the more we knew that we had arrived at home. I remember a friend once saying to us before we moved to Switzerland, “ be careful not to stay longer than five years. If you do, you will never be able to leave again”. Now I know what he meant.
In 2007 I gave birth to my son here in Switzerland and my daughter joined the local Chindsgi (Kindergarten) and soon spoke Swiss German. In the fall of 2014 we decided it was time to move to Schaffhausen. At that point we felt that that was where we loved spending time and its charm had roped us in. I never regretted moving here. There are so many activities that we enjoy and we love the mixture of its shops, restaurants, cultural offerings and the beautiful surroundings. It is absolutely delightful to be able to go out of my front door and be in a forest in less than five minutes and at the same time being able to go shopping or for a stroll in the city if I walk into the other direction. Schaffhausen´s size is just right. There are a lot of things to do which we enjoy and there is also room for having a quiet afternoon in our garden. What I always liked about this part of the world is that you can go for hikes in nature and after a couple of hours you find a nice place to have lunch or dinner. Sometimes these places are on top of mountains or they can be in the middle of the forest. We often hike to the restaurant at Beringer Randen where we stop for some food and drink. We love it as much as our poodle, Berry, does. Sometimes our adventures take us a bit further towards the Swiss mountains, which we also enjoy both during the winter and during the summer season. Just two weeks ago, we embarked on a strenuous hike with our daughter near the Säntis mountain. I love the fact that we were able to instill an appreciation for nature and the beauty of Switzerland in our children. It was actually my daughter´s wish to go on this hike.
When our children were little we would explore cultural and historical sites nearby. I remember a wonderful afternoon where my son and I donned beekeeper suits at the Museum zu Allerheiligen and watched bee queen and her entourage move around in plexi-glass tubes. We love both the permanent and temporary exhibitions and often visited the museum. When finding out about prehistoric hunters that visited the area already over 14000 years ago, we went on an adventure to find the famed Kesslerloch which served these hunters as shelter and had a barbecue there. It was a very humbling experience to think about eating somewhere where people already ate during the last ice age. This past year we also enjoyed a number of performances at the local theatre. We watched a couple of shows in English as well as in German. It is delightful to see that Schaffhausen is so internationally-minded. This factor is also visible in our International school. We see students and teachers from all over the world including a number of children from the local community. It almost feels like Schaffhausen, in spite of being a smallish city, can boast a world-flair and it can be considered on par with much bigger cities in the world with respect to sophistication and worldliness. You only have to experience Stars in Town to understand how important and grand this town can be. We enjoyed all of the three evenings where we watched both local and international bands perform. The vibe of the spectators was fantastic and the shows were excellent.
There is a wonderful community of people in Schaffhausen, which also contributes to feeling at home. We love our neighbors and have both local and international friends here. I love going to my weekly yoga class, where the session always ends with a friendly “Plausch” (friendly chat).
At the moment I am looking out of my window and am enjoying the first signs of autumn, clear blue sky, my apple tree bearing fruit and the golden glow of the rising sun. It is a bit sad for my husband to not be able to go the Rhybadi anymore, which he did most evenings, but we know that the fall has a lot to offer and the next summer will come. Now it is time to enjoy this season with wine festivals, Herbstmesse, and beautiful walks in the surrounding countryside. Every season here has its charm. Even the winter with its beautiful christmas display in Stein am Rhein, fondue dinners and our annual new year celebration on the Säckelamtshüsli, an elevation in Schaffhausen, where we gather with friends and other Schaffuuser people to toast each other to the new year and have a fantastic view on the whole city all the way to the mountains and the Hegau volcanoes.
By Silke Fox, who leads the Diploma Years at the International School of Schaffhausen.
Silke is 53 years old and is originally from Germany. She has lived in Schaffhausen for 8 years with her family.