Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My long absence and the blog redesign

I'm sure you've noticed that Swiss Lark is taking a new direction and has a new look. This little blogging hobby of mine really does bring me so much joy and I am so happy to be back with you here in this space. You have no idea how much I missed it and you this last year.

I suppose a little explanation as to why I dropped off the face of the internet is warranted. Last fall, I was busier than I have ever been in my life when I found myself back at work with a one-month-old. We can talk more about that later, (all things considered, I had negotiated for and gotten the best possible all-around scenario for a working mom, even if it did happen way ahead of schedule) but it was overwhelmingly demanding and my life seemed to be falling apart all around me. We were dealing with big life events: international move, Theo's arrival, Coco's starting school. Coco's potty training regressed and our lives were complete chaos. I flat out flunked a post-partum depression survey at my six week check and was sent to speak with a therapist at the hospital. We talked for a bit and I explained how utterly maxed-out and overwhelmed I was. I couldn't keep my house clean; we weren't even close to being fully unpacked! Of course, I wasn't sleeping and I was literally exhausted. I told her how my heart ached for our life back in Zurich: our friends, our apartment, our neighborhood, all of our comfortable and familiar routines, the trams, the wonderful parks and green spaces for Coco right outside our front door. Most mornings, when I woke up, I was stunned to find that I was not there when I opened my eyes. 

The therapist was really sweet and caring, and she had all the right letters after her name, but she had no frame of reference for what I was going through. She had been born in Duluth, raised in Duluth and had never lived outside of Minnesota. She dismissed my grief over leaving Zurich with one simple sentence, "There may be a bit of loss and grieving there," and her active solution was that I stop blogging and reading blogs, "because it's not healthy to compare yourself to other people's seemingly perfect lives." I protested because I really love blogging and it's something that gives me a great deal of satisfaction and creative outlet. But, ultimately, because I didn't have one minute to devote to blogging anyway, I told myself it was for the best and let it drop. 

That therapist was the first of three therapist/counselor/life coach professionals I saw during our year in Duluth. And blogging was the first of many important things that I let drop. I can count on one hand the times that our house was truly clean and tidy during that year. I can count on one finger the number of times we entertained. We went on exactly three date nights during that year. We ate Papa Murphy's pizza on more nights than I could possibly count. Every knitting project that was in progress when Theo was born is on the exact same stitch now as it was then. The situation we gave up our life in Zurich for was not what we had been led to expect. We managed to weather the storm and survive by focusing on and loving each other as a family. Just about everything else, housekeeping, cooking, knitting, blogging, reading, fell by the wayside. J didn't ride his bike once all year and he could probably count the number of runs he got in on one hand. It was a living nightmare. I am so glad it's over.

When we got into this little house of ours and started decorating and got our office area all set up, I got the itch to start blogging again. I got so excited to return to this space and continue with the new theme of repatriating after life in Switzerland. I knew the blog needed to be fresh and new, but honestly, I don't really have the skills to make a beautiful blog template. Additionally, I don't have the spare cash to spend on a service like Wordpress or Squarespace. Then I remembered that a friend had tipped me off to Blogger templates on Etsy. I did a quick search and found this template by The Sunday Studio. I could not be happier!

Angela, the owner of The Sunday Studio, is friendly and fast and helpful and made all my dreams come true. With the current template, I don't have to resize every photo, they just resize automatically, and when I had trouble installing the links bar, she did it for me. If you go deep into the archives, you will come across blurry or slightly off-center photos here and there, but for the most part, everything is looking perfect and amazing. Thank you, Angela! 

A new chapter has begun on Swiss Lark. I think it is going to be a really wonderful one. I can't wait to share photos of our new house once it's all set up and life in Spokane is pretty darn lovely when it gets right down to it. Today, Joel and Coco are riding the Hiawatha Trail. And when my new bike arrives, Theo and I will get to join them on lots of bike rides and fun times, too. Thank you for sticking with me! So much love. xo

10 comments:

  1. I just came to your blog after looking for Montessori resources. I love it and I'm glad to see new posts are coming! I know I'm a stranger but hugs to you for surviving what sounds like a very difficult year. I can't imagine! I'm emerging from my own period of upheaval (new job, new homeownership, new baby) and can't imagine taking all that on PLUS a 2nd child, new city, new country, etc. Wishing you the best.

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    1. Thank you for those kind words and hugs! xo

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  2. So glad you're here! And so glad to hear that Spokane is becoming a new home for you all. Let's get together soon!

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  3. So glad you're here! And so glad to hear that Spokane is becoming a new home for you all. Let's get together soon!

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  4. I'm so glad that you're back! I had checked every so often over the last year to see if you were planning to resurface and I'm so happy that you have chosen to do so. I'm am American living in Vaud with my (also American) husband and our Swiss-born 10-month-old kiddo. We chose to be Swiss expats and love it here, though do contemplate going back to the US in moments of either insanity and clarity. All this to say, I get it, if even just a little bit.

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    1. Oh Gwen, thanks for checking back! That makes me so happy to hear. I hope that my posts will strengthen your resolve to stay in Switzerland. It's such a wonderful place to raise a family. xo

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  5. So where do you live now? Glad things are looking better.

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    1. Hilary, we are in Spokane, Washington. I was born here, but I definitely don't feel like I'm from here and I don't know how to drive anywhere! Haha. I went to middle school, high school and college in Oregon, but since then my mom moved back to Spokane and my sisters are here. It's a great place for us to be right now...;)

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  6. Oh how nice to read your post! I packed up my whole life and moved to Oregon and it was a long time before I could see it as anything other than a horrible mistake. Three years (and three different jobs) later I'm finally ready to settle in and start living here! I'm so sorry for you loss of Zurich but happy that you are finding good things in the PNW. Welcome home!

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    1. Thanks, Maia! in Montessori, there's a lesson technique called the three-period lesson. It kind of applies to moving or adjusting, too. Period one is naming, period two is interacting with, and period three is knowing. Kind of makes sense! I'm glad you're feeling settled and happy with your choice! xo

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