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Myriam Butscher: «I wanted to see the world!»
Sunday, 06 June 2021

Meet the most hospitable member of our club - Myriam Butscher! How many IWCM events have been organized at Myriam's home! They simply cannot be counted: variety of potlucks, different workshops, farewell parties and just meetings over a cup of aromatic tea. Myriam is always ready to open the doors of her home for any of the IWCM initiative. She will always feed you with delicious food and warm you up with heartfelt conversations.

When you look from the outside, it seems to you that Myriam is a fragile woman. But, in fact, she fits a wide soul of a cosmopolitan and huge heart of a traveler. She is a cat and dog rescuer and a great environmentalist!

Myriam, you lived both at the foot of Everest and at Kilimanjaro, witnessed the most destructive tsunami in the history in Sri-Lanka. Please, tell us about your life adventures! 
I was 31 years old when I left Switzerland together with my 6 month old daughter and husband to Nepal. The next ten years were the most beautiful of my life. Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal) is like an open museum. Surrounded by the Himalayas it provides lots of opportunities for hiking. So we made all the possible hikes there.
I was able to work as a volunteer by training locals in organizing their office work. I also worked part-time in the Swiss Coordination office and in the final three years I was the substitute for the Swiss honorary consul.
After roughly 10 wonderful years in Nepal, we moved to Sri Lanka. We also lived there for 10 years. Although Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country the civil war and tsunami in 2004 put some restrictions to our daily life but I got the opportunity to complete Cambridge certificate for teaching English as a second language. Together with the “Diplome de Langue”, which I completed in Kathmandu and an on the job training in the Goethe Institute I was fit to teach these three languages in a private language center and for students of the International School our daughter attended.

It was clear to us that we would move on to new pastures after our daughter finishes school and so at the end of 2009 we move to Tanzania for 4,5 years. It was not easy to make new friends there because we did not live where most expats had their homes but also of security reasons. With African wildlife at the doorstep I reactivated an old hobby of mine. I had the opportunity to join a photography course and I got deeply involved into photography. I’ve travelled to most National Parks of Tanzania. I was absolutely happy.

From there on it was time to move to Kosovo for further 4 years. I enjoyed my time living in this country very much. Wonderful people, great food and an unspoiled countryside – the Balkan Alps offer exciting summer hikes and winter walks.

After Kosovo came our last post to Moldova. We lived here for 3 years and now the time has come to return home.

Myriam, you’ve had experience living in so many countries. Cultural differences of these countries are significant. What is your key to adapt to the environment?
My curiosity, finding out about other people, cultures and nature. 

Everyone knows that Switzerland was and is still one of the most developed countries in the world. Millions of people are ready to give up everything today and go to live there. What was it like not living in your home country for so many years? Did you miss it?
No, I never miss one day at all. I wanted to see the world. Finding out all about those beautiful things in the world. A little it also comes with DNA, I guess, as two siblings of my grandfather already migrated and found each other far away from places where they were born.

Are you feeling nostalgic sometimes?
Not at all! I don’t miss anything certainly not the sausages.

I know it’s your third year staying in Moldova. What was your first impression of this country?
First, I was a bit disappointed coz it took me a few months to talk to somebody while walking in the park. Not knowing the language was really an issue 3 years ago. Therefore my husband and I took Romanian course. Once you know few sentences it becomes easier to find somebody who wants to speak with you. 

What is your favorite place in Moldova that you are going to miss?
We needed people who would take care of our pets while we were on holidays and they introduced us to their village Tatareshti. It is a gateway to find out about village life. Also I’m going to miss Old Orhei. It’s really interesting. I’ll miss the vineyards. These vast, beautifully groomed vineyards. The waves which roll over and through the country. It’s such a pleasure of the eye! It’s unbelievable.

Locals often compare Moldova to small Switzerland. Similar climate, similar size of the country. What would you add to Moldova to make it look like Switzerland?
We don’t have to change the people because people are more beautiful and more friendly here. Maybe the roads I would bring more order in urbanization. But in general each country is unique! Not being perfect, little roughness gives it so much more charm.

Looking into the past of your life, would you like to change something?
No, I’m really happy like this. Of course, I would like to live forever so I could see each country in the world. I was also very happy that I could stay at some places for such a long time. Only then you can really become immersed in it.

Blitz poll questions

  • Feeling home for you is...
  • ...where I am at the moment
  • Arriving in a new country you start first with…
  • ...finding out where I can get what I need, and equally important finding the connection to the women’s club
  • Whatever happens...
  • ...I want to continue living the way I did
  • What aspects of Moldavian culture do you like most of all?
  • In Moldavian culture I like most of all the music. I love to attend concerts at the Opera house, the Philharmonic and Organ hall. I love also the many different festivals. People come in their traditional attire; it is stunning and beautiful.
  • Favorite Moldavian restaurant?
  • La Placinta and Villa Etnica
  • What do you prefer to do on the week-end in Moldova?
  • I prefer bird watching and walking with my dogs in the park

Written by Svetlana Shishkina

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