Immigrant Story: Sam

Sam could have been a Swiss banker with a fast car, a gold watch and a house overlooking Lake Zurich. He could have been a lot things–a sheep farmer, a TV producer, a Chinese interpreter–and he was all those things until he decided to move to Israel after he spent a day and a week with the woman who is now his wife.

I had a similar encounter with my husband, so I don’t find this odd. I’m not sure I find any of Sam’s story odd, except of course that he could have been neighbours with Roger Federer.

Switzerland, he tells me, offers a very good life, but everything is already built. (I consider the view from Federer’s balcony as he says this.)

Sam helped build and lead a company–the largest online platform for Swiss cinema and entertainment. He was in a long, long-term relationship and he had mastered 4 ½ foreign languages. Everything was built, except perhaps the extension to his house on Lake Zurich.

Was your family surprised when you left? I ask. No. I think they always knew I would do something like this. Like, leave your safe, stable, Swiss life behind for this shrapnel-shelled shtetl in the desert? Something like that.

His life is pretty simple. He works in digital design and all that SEO goodness, he stirs a lot of fondue, and from time to time, he goes to ulpan. He and his wife are expecting their first child.

I am confused as to why he couldn’t have done all this in his house on Lake Zurich, but as he goes on about the local elections and the dismal peace process, I realise that he probably needed to be in a place that wasn’t yet built.

About the Author
Lauren Blanchard is an International Relations graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since moving to Israel, she has developed a habit of long distance beach running, dropping bits of wearable technology into the sea, and writing about start-ups and society.
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