My last days living in Switzerland are looming. Two weeks and I’ll be back across the pond, the sun rising hours later on a completely different body of water. As the time draws nearer, I realize that:
One, I’m getting really impatient with things that drive me nuts about Switzerland.
Two, I’m already feeling nostalgic about the things that I love about Switzerland.
Our house changed hands on Friday. The weeds are now officially Not My Problem. Good luck, French family!
Yesterday my friend Liz and her husband took me out for a spin in their motorboat. It was a perfect opportunity to contemplate Lausanne from the water. Pinpointing its contours, identifying its landmarks, I realize that I know this place really well. It has become home to me.
Earlier, on my morning run, I also looked at things with an outsider’s eye. I can run for 7 miles without having to worry about cars. There are judiciously-spaced bathrooms that always have plenty of toilet paper. There are hills if I want them, flats if I don’t. In the fall there are apples. And always, always, the majestic backdrop of the Alps in the distance. It’s an amazing place to run.
I skipped the Saturday market in Morges, because that’s more Marc’s thing; he’s convinced that we keep most of these people financially afloat – the flirty flower man, the sweet round egg-woman, the soap seller, the sheep-milk man, the woman in the butcher’s van with the huge hoop earrings, frosted lips and perfectly sculpted bleached-blond hair. From the prices they charge, I tend to agree with him. It’s a formidable force, this combination of Marc, an ATM machine, the market and the wine store. Sure, he’s taking a pay cut in this new job. But I’m not convinced we’ll feel it.
I made a stop at the local Coop supermarket, where the checkout lady knew without asking that I didn’t want the stickers that you can collect to buy the “discount” item of the moment. I’m familiar to all of these ladies because I spend a large amount of time hauling quantities of food to the three bottomless pits back home. I wondered for a fleeting moment if they would notice my absence. (The checkout ladies, not the bottomless pits).
For my part, I’ll be fine without the Swiss supermarkets. There’s more to life than chocolate and cheese. Steel cut oats? Vitamins? Kale? Green chile? Nitrate-free sandwich meats? Shopping on Sunday? And don’t forget I am going to the land of wild salmon and berries. Life doesn’t get much tastier than that.
I will miss Thursday morning yoga, trying to get my rigid frame to bend and twist, lengthening my already long self, sitting in silence, breathing in and breathing out. And oh, how I will miss those magic words – quand vous etes complètement détendues, prenez la position du repos. And most of all I’ll miss the after-class coffee klatch, where we gathered around a table in a nearby boulangerie and fussed like a brood of hens about the men and children in our lives.
I’ll miss the once-a month Monday afternoons in BooksBooksBooks with my writing group. These fellow writers were the midwives in the rebirth of my creative life. If this book I’m writing ever becomes a solid, separate thing, it will be because they encouraged me so enthusiastically.
There’s so much more to say but I cannot bring myself to write any more. It’s too hard.
Thank you, Switzerland, for being my home for ten years.
Thank you, my friends, for taking me in. I will miss you.