It feels like the dust is beginning to settle for the first time since we left our happy, comfortable lives in Zurich. I really miss it. This photo is from one of the countless days Coco and I spent walking around our neighborhood the winter after she learned to walk. She toddled happily from planter to tree, lamp post to gate, locked up bicycle to shop window, focused intently on exploring and examining every detail. It was relaxing and quiet. Sometimes it was a little lonely or boring. But mostly I loved watching her take in the world at her own pace and discover things. I love this photo for the way the cool winter light is reflecting from the building across the street onto the soft blue of the shutters. It was quiet. It was calm. This photo captures that. It seems impossible to me that I won't find myself wandering that same neighborhood again some day. I'm not convinced we are finished with Zurich. I wonder if we might go back.
Of course, that is a big consideration and one that I don't take lightly. Last year was a complete throw away year, but now we are in a place with real potential. My mom and both of my sisters live here in Spokane, Washington. Having family around is huge.
Still, I do miss Zurich.
I miss the social life we had there. We had tons of friends in Zurich and hosted or attended dinner parties every fortnight at least.
I miss the work-life balance. People lived balanced lives, something I fear Americans have lost sight of all together.
I miss my mommy group.
I miss the affordable, world-class healthcare and feeling safe.
I also miss things that are a little less tangible, a little harder to separate by location. For example, I miss feeling organized, like our ducks were in a row. When Theo was born, our shipment from Zurich hadn't even arrived. That meant I had no changing table, no crib or bassinet, no breastfeeding pillows, no swaddle blankets, no clothes. Nothing. I had nothing. I ordered some emergency supplies to get us through until the shipment came, but knowing everything I needed was all in the shipment and how much the move had already cost us, I couldn't justify buying much. So we started out unprepared. When you start out with a baby unprepared, you never catch up. When you add other crazy, stressful demands to that, it's a living nightmare. Would Theo's arrival have blindsided us in the same way if we had stayed? Probably not, but I'll never know for sure.
I feel the need for some sort of closure. When we left our apartment the morning Coco and I flew to the States (ahead of Joel because I was so pregnant), I just ran out the door like any other time. Joel handled the handover of the apartment a week later, so it wasn't empty, it didn't really feel like we were leaving for good. I didn't pause, look back or say goodbye. I just went out as if I were popping down to the post office or grocery store and would be right back. The following night, after we had arrived at my friend Heidi's house in Minneapolis, Coco woke up at 4 am with jet lag, confused and disoriented. "Where's Daddy?" she asked me in the dark. "He's at home," I replied, and then choking on my words, "I mean, he's in Zurich" and my heart sank and it hit me and, being 34 weeks pregnant and brimming with hormones, I sobbed quietly.
I need to go say goodbye to that apartment, to that life. I need to be in Zurich again and see if it erases any of the illusions I'm holding onto. If we are going to move forward, one way or another, I need to let all of that go. So I'm working on a plan to do just that. Have you been in a similar situation? What helped you to move on?