Last weekend I zipped through the novel Hausfrau at an astonishing rate. It was so good. The author, Jill Alexander Essbaum, is a poet and her use of alliteration, imagery and metaphor is phenomenal. The book is set in Zurich, which despite the dark subject matter, made me so homesick for the trams and trains, the lake, the winding streets and parks, even the horrible, depressing fog. How is that possible? I'd really like to know.
I've struggled all year with wondering what our life would have been like if we had stayed in Zurich this year instead of taking a leap of faith on the job opportunities that cropped up here in Duluth. What would Theo's birth have been like? Would he have had the same birthday? Would Coco's potty training have stuck the first time around or would we have had the same regression after Theo came along anyway? How would we have all fit into our tiny apartment? I think about holidays, seasons, friends, daily life. What would it all have been like? Would it have been better than what we experienced here? Probably. This has wound up being the most difficult and challenging year of our lives. In what ways might staying in Zurich have been better? In what ways worse?
Reading Hausfrau only plunged me deeper into that dark, melancholy and really pointless line of thinking. We are nearly ten months on and I'm still struggling with the fact that we left Zurich too soon.. I still weep for the life we didn't finish there. But here we are. Moving onward and (hopefully) upward.
If you haven't read Hausfrau, I highly recommend it. It's dark, dirty, contemplative, riddled and compelling. In a strange way, it gave me the beginning sense of closure that I needed on our Zurich chapter.