Welcome to Edinburgh - Benoît Decurtins
Name: Benoît Decurtins
Occupation: Bar Manager
Year of moving: 2016
Originally from: Fribourg (last destination Lausanne)
Why did you move? For a change.
What's your story you want to tell? Be careful with the usage of electricity at home.
Secret place: Trossachs (Loch Lomond)
Secret bar: Hanging Bat (best nachos)
What could be improved in Scotland/Edinburgh? To have a central information page online for movers/inhabitants.
I met Benoît Decurtins at the Jolly Botanist on a sunny Tuesday evening. Benoît is Bar Manager at Le Di-Vin and moved to Edinburgh on 1 October 2016 with his girlfriend. When I asked him why he moved, he first said "I don't know". A long pause followed and then he added: "Well, actually, the main reason to move, was, to get a change in our lives".
He was a hardworking man back in Switzerland, (doesn't mean though that he isn't now). He was head of a franchised catering company – he was working up to 80 hours a week, organised 400 events a year. Sometimes it happened there were 15 events on the same day. Even though he was tired of just "working" rather than "living" he started to think of doing something else - somewhere else. His girlfriend and he were first thinking about going to Canada but unfortunately it was way too complicated so they started to do some research for 'closer' countries/destinations. They started to list several countries they could possibly live in and added under each one their pros and contras as well as whether it requires a visa or not. In the end it took them approximately 2 months to finalise their destination. From Canada they switched to Scotland, Malta, Ireland and even up down to South Africa. I reckon Wikipedia helped them a lot as he said he listed how many inhabitants all countries have in square meter etc.
Eventually, Dublin and Edinburgh were the last two destinations they haven't scratched off the list and with, I would say, some luck and no idea of their culture or work ethic, they chose Edinburgh. Confused I asked him one of the most important question, everyone has probably asked even you, dear reader, before: "Did you know about the weather in Scotland?" His answer was absolutely hilarious: "Well, yeah, I was told that the food will be crap and the weather will be rubbish but I was still like 'ok, let's go there'!".
Once they finalised their destination they started to look for a job. "Looking for a job from another country is very hard. Most of the time you get a 'come to Scotland first and we'll talk' or not even a 'no, sorry'." Still motivated they decided to simply book a one-way-ticket to Edinburgh, an Air B&B for two weeks and then see what will happen.
When I asked him if the weather and food was as he expected, he smiled and said "No, actually I thought it would be much worse; I'm actually amazed!" He pointed at today's sunny and cloudless sky, so we took a quick selfie. Here it is:
Furthermore we were talking about the food and the weather. He said he hadn't ever visited a restaurant where he had really bad food. He also added to this he doesn't think he had eaten typical Scottish food as most of them were kind of blended with other countries' food, spices etc. Scotland has clearly adapted to its inhabitants/visitors. Another question I asked, was (I'm sure most of the readers here will agree): "What about Haggis, Neeps and Tatties?" He laughed and answered with "I love it, it's nice". This was, so he said, 'the very first meal I had when I landed in Scotland'. When they arrived in Edinburgh, they went to a pub and ate Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. He tasted it and decided, 'yes, I can live here'. After saying that he looked a bit confused, shook his head and added "people told me that this is possibly the worst you can eat in Scotland. And you know what? Whatever will come after that, it will definitely be better than this."