Yesterday, August 1, was National Day in Switzerland – the Swiss Independence Day. It celebrates the Federal Charter of 1291, a document that bound together the first cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden as an alliance.
Last year, I spent the Swiss National Day like a good Swiss: on the shores of Lac Léman, watching fireworks being shot off over the water (and sometimes over my shoulder – explosives regulations seem to be pretty lax here). It was really lovely and even though I am not a big fan of loud sounds and crowds, I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie, the festive atmosphere and a warm summer night filled with carnival food and music.
This year was somewhat different…it was a rainy and chilly evening, and I was too tired to go out anyway. Fortunately, I found “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on TV in English! Not only did we only recently get a TV, but American movies are usually dubbed over in French or German, so that was a rare moment of complete cerebral disengagement. Not that I don’t enjoy French dubbing on occasion…it is excellent practice for me, and it can turn even the most dramatic and tragic of movies into a comedy!
Anyway. It seemed like a good time to reflect on my blog and the purpose it has served for almost two years now. Part of the reason I have not posted for so long is because I think I just don’t think of the things that happen to me – good or bad – from an expat perspective quite as much as I used to. Of course, I know I will never really lose that “stranger in a strange land” feeling… there will always be part of me that is attuned to the fact that I am not in the same place where I was born and raised. Some days I dearly miss US culture, food, language, commerce, cityscapes and landscapes…and every single day I miss my family and friends who still live there. I never want those feelings to fade, but I am grateful that I have been able to grow enough to feel comfortable somewhere else (‘comfortable’ being a relative term…I am still scared to talk to people I don’t know, I take my GPS everywhere, and I access Google translate on my phone at least 27 times a day).
But all that aside, the major reason I haven’t written for so long is because I have started a new job! I know it sounds crazy, especially since I was not at the other one for very long, and since this new one is in the capital of Bern and involves quite a long commute. Without going into much detail, though, I can say that it is a writing job…something I have desired my whole life. I am still pinching myself to make sure it is real! At any rate, it has taken a lot of time and energy to get up to speed on a whole new skill set (not to mention significantly buckling down on my French studies, as the job requires it). But mainly, I have been spending the majority of each day writing non-stop, which, while very fulfilling for me, kind of takes the itch out of my fingers when I get home to my own laptop!
In light of these two observations, I think the time has come to close this blog. Perhaps I will start another someday on another aspect of Swiss life, but I don’t feel like I need to document all my daily mishaps, missteps, discoveries and adventures anymore, as they are no longer Swiss experiences…they are just life experiences! I hope other scrappy travellers can derive some counsel – or at least some commiseration – from the few posts I have managed to put up in the last months.
Thank you for reading, one and all. And happy travels!