When you rent a place in Switzerland, you are responsible for installing all ceiling light fixtures. If you’re lucky, you get bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. But, often the wires are tucked up in the ceiling without even a bulb attached.
I heard about this reality when I was looking for a place to live last year. When I decided on my place, I asked if the previous tenant would leave their ceiling lights. They agreed to sell me four of the ceiling lights. (Thank goodness!)
I bought a lot of lamps at IKEA to help light up the place, but I also bought a light fixture for over the dining room table. I settled for an inexpensive solution not really caring about what kind of light it was.
After the purchase, I was advised by several people to hire an electrician to install it. The voltage is significantly higher in Europe than it is in the States, and a few friends experienced some electrical shocks trying to install lights themselves. (These were the same friends who advised turning off the electricity during the process. We all get so much smarter over here with a little trial & error.)
A few people mentioned they knew electricians, but I kept forgetting to write down names or to schedule an appointment. It doesn’t help that no one works on Saturdays here.
Fast forward to today – 11 months after move in. I finally had an electrician come install the light above the dining room table! A sweet expat friend found him for me. He spoke English, and even though he was 1.5 hours late, he was super nice. I greeted him at the door, and he said “I hope you don’t hate me.”
I’ve told you about the price of a lot of things in Switzerland, but this is one of my favorites. Guess how much it cost me to have a simple ceiling light installed?! (A light that maybe cost 20 CHF at IKEA.) Well, first, 90 CHF for driving from Pully to Vevey. This is a 15-20 minute drive. Then, his rate is 94 CHF per hour. For the 15-20 minutes he spent at my apartment, that meant another 20 CHF. So yes, I spent 110 CHF to install a 20 CHF light. Oh, Switzerland…
Thank goodness for Friend Thanksgiving next weekend for pushing me to complete this final outstanding task in my apartment. At least we’ll be able to see our food while we feast!