One year ago today, I landed on Swiss soil with two suitcases in hand, a jet lagged head, and a child-like wonder about my new adventures. The first few months were tough sans Expatico, but things got a bit easier as time wore on, and then much easier once he arrived. Now, dare I say, I occasionally find myself calling this unfamiliar place home.
The past year has been exciting, frustrating, entertaining, wondrous, and incredible, all wrapped up into one. Moving is always stressful, but moving to a totally different country that has draconian laws and a significant language barrier is just downright overwhelming. To think I embarked on this adventure, and along with Expatico, have made a life here is really hard to believe. Since last year, we’ve done so much and had so much fun. We’ve also been lucky to make some really great friends who I hope we continue to stay in touch with even when this adventure comes to a close. To think simple interactions at a grocery store, at work, or in a cooking class can result in meeting some great people helps me realize that even in your 30s, meeting people in a new place doesn’t have to be a challenge and can reap so many rewards.
The experiences we’ve packed into 365 days is jaw-dropping, and I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to share this with Expatico as my partner in crime. I know I don’t say this enough, but I am one lucky gal to have him here with me. I doubt that ANY one else in this world could have dealt with me this past year. My emotions at times have been akin to that of a teenager going through puberty; holding it all together on one day, totally snapping the next. All the while, though, my dearest hub-a-dub has been there, holding me when I cry, telling me it’s all going to be all right, and some how working his magic to put it all in perspective. I had a conversation once with a friend whom I’ll call Old Bay (and if she reads this, she’ll know why 🙂 ). She said when she and her husband moved, they found their relationship got stronger because they had to rely on each other for so much. I find that our move helped make a good thing better, which is one of the lovely bonuses of this all.
The entire experience, though, is kind of funny. I mean, if you had told me, when I was a child growing up in a broken home surrounded by dysfunction and drama, that I would be living in Switzerland with an incredible, thoughtful, loving man and have a job that more than one person describes as “big”, I would have thought you were totally nuts, drunk, high or all three. What did I do to be the fortunate recipient of this life? And who do I have to thank for it all?
Of course, none of this means that I’ve forgotten about my true home.
I miss my friends and family and knowing I can call up whom ever, whenever and they’ll be ready at the drop of a hat to go grab a bite or a drink to catch up on this and that.
I miss not having to worry about a six-hour time difference when phoning home.
I miss the familiarity of people, places and things, knowing exactly where something is, be it in a store, on my street or somewhere in the city.
I miss the ease of everyday interactions, such as chatting with the checkout lady at Shaw’s, or recognizing the face of the woman who walks her dog on our street every day.
I miss familiar food since simple things like red potatoes, good salsa, and spicy Italian sausage are damn-near impossible to come by here.
I miss knowing I can get a decent meal at a decent price any day of the week from any kind of ethnic restaurant I can imagine.
I miss my city and its little cracks and crevices full of life, beauty, and excitement.
I miss the ocean and that tell-tale smell, be it on the Cape or near the Harbor.
In the end, though, I know the longing and missing is all worth it for an experience like this. All the things I miss will still be there when we go home.