Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

By Minh Tam   August 27, 2023 | 03:00 pm PT
Alexis Phan and her Swiss husband spent one year looking for a rural garden house in Switzerland to fulfill their dream of living out in nature.
Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

Phan, born Phan Viet Huong, is living with her husband and their two-year-old son in a 700-meter-square house located over 100 kilometers away from Geneva.

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

Every morning, when the sun rises, Phan opens the door and goes to her garden. She breathes a deep breath to enjoy the clean air.

“That’s my way to be energetic for the whole day,” she explains.

She then visits the newly bloomed flowers in her garden while her husband enjoys a cup of coffee she has just made, with their son running around, letting out sounds of happiness as he hears the birds sing.

Phan prepares tasty meals for her whole family when the weather is pleasant and arranges them in the family’s garden: her small family has many small “picnics at home.”

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

Born in HCMC, Phan first arrived in Switzerland in 2016 with her now-husband. The couple explored southern France and the route from Geneva to Zurich together.

They got married two years later and decided to spend summers in Geneva and winters in Vietnam.

The couple welcomed their first son in October 2019. Covid-19 hit during the first winter after their son’s birth, trapping the three-member family in their Geneva apartment.

“I constantly wished that I could go out to enjoy fresh air and see natural landscapes with my own eyes during that time period,” Phan recalls.

“I started dreaming about a small house surrounded by a green garden full of flowers. But given our financial capacity at the time, buying a house in Geneva was impossible.”

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

As the pandemic eased, Phan’s family took a trip to a wooden house in the countryside in the summer of 2020. She came to appreciate the tranquility of the villages for the first time in her life.

“We could breathe fresh air again for the first time after a while,” she says.

The couple decided to move to the rural area permanently to enjoy nature after Phan raised the idea with her husband. She started her search for her dream house immediately, and it took her roughly one year to find a house that allowed her family their “picnics at home” lifestyle.

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

“People in Vietnam prefer houses located on main roads, while people in Switzerland prefer accommodations on smaller streets, which blend perfectly with nature,” Phan says.

She eventually found a house with a garden as she wished, which was also newly built and equipped with every facility her small family might need.

The couple instantly sold their old apartment and moved to their new countryside home.

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

“I can look over to a lake and wild forest standing in the house,” she says. “This is indeed the house of my dreams and the perfect home for my family.”

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

The thing that makes Phan satisfied with her new house the most is how it is fully equipped despite its humble appearance.

According to her, the garden did not have many fruit trees or flowers when her family just moved in. But it is now covered in her favorite trees, flowers, and vegetables of all kinds.

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

“My husband and I plant the vegetables every year, saving us a lot on grocery expenses during the spring and summer,” she says.

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

The tranquil lifestyle Phan’s family currently enjoys is admired by many.

Her small family often enjoys summertime in the garden, rides bikes across fields of flowers, explores wild forests, or row paddle boats through the area’s clean rivers.

“We prioritized a house that allows us to rest at home like this when we searched for a place to settle down,” Phan says.

“We can swim in the lake, enjoy our time together at the garden, or ride our bicycles around the forests and flower fields.”

Vietnamese mother lives rural Swiss life

Phan says she and her husband had to give up many things when they left the city for a rural area, but they have their dream life in return. When they miss the bustling city life too badly, the couple would drive to nearby villages, in which there are busy markets where crowds of people gather.

“We feel like teleporting to the cities while standing in the heart of the countryside,” she says. “I can also see old houses and giant palaces from here, which is an interesting experience.”

Photo courtesy of Phan

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