In 2011 my husband got an offer to work for Google in Zürich, Switzerland. Neither me nor my husband spoke German or ever lived outside of Russia.
We rented an apartment on the top floor at Zwinglistrasse 17, twenty minutes walk from the Google office. I had a limited residence permit and couldn’t work for two years. So I stayed at home. We bought curtains, a table and some glasses. We met my husband’s new colleagues, Google employees, and their wives, Google wives.
I began to explore this community and myself inside it. One meeting was constantly followed by another, typically behind a table, during a brunch, a lunch, or a dinner… I started wondering what brought us together? Why are we talking to each other? Why are we laughing together, why are we eating together, why are we helping one another, why are we feeling lonely and isolated? Is the only thing that unites is that we all came to Switzerland from abroad and our partners work in Google? Is it that we are all Google wives?
Nothing apparently big or important happens on the pictures or between the pictures. The project captures series of seemingly unremarkable daily episodes: cafes, chairs, women, children, casual conversations. As the story unfolds, presenting itself as a cinematic storyboard, the pictures start focusing more on their protagonist: on a young woman who followed her partner into a new country, into a new life, on what she feels and how life changes for her as these episodes pass.
This is a personal story of my daily life, but with an attempt to reflect on topics such as adapting to a new culture, establishing yourself both personally and professionally and finding your new role, especially when the circumstances have forced another one on you.