Yesterday, Theo and I landed in Zurich. I didn't waste any time in finally going to say goodbye to our old apartment in Kieselgasse. When Coco and I left Kieselgasse, on June 23, 2014, the very last day of my pregnancy my doctor would allow me to fly, I went out the door and down to the tram just like I had for every other trip we'd taken to the US from that apartment. I didn't pause, I didn't say goodbye. And because J was still working and didn't go with us, it didn't feel any different. Of course, it was different, very different! We never went back. Yesterday, I finally did.
I had wondered, when planning this trip, if I would get emotional at the airport when we landed in Zurich. I did not. We got through customs and baggage claim and made our way to the train and arrived at our friends' house where we are staying and I wasn't emotional through any of it. In fact, I was struck by how normal Zurich felt. Everything feels exactly the same. It feels completely natural and normal. It feels good.
If it hadn't been for the suitcase and bags, I would have gone straight to Kieselgasse. But it was good that we got settled first. We had a little bite to eat, I drank an entire French press on my own and then Theo and I took a nap. When we woke up, we got ready, went out and got on the tram. It was time to go say goodbye.
A few tram stops before ours, I had to blink back tears. Once I alighted and started walking down our little lane, I began to cry, and when I rounded the corner of our house and saw the sticker of the strawberry on the dumpster, I started sobbing. I walked up to the corner of the house and leaned my head against it and cried and cried and cried. I was glad no one was around to see me and that I didn't run into our rather difficult and nit-picky former neighbor.
Being here is like waking up from a nightmare. I had to keep reminding myself that it's not all over and I am not back home. As I made my way down our little lane, I half expected to see our stuff on our window sills, and J's head sitting on the couch reading. Of course, I did not. I saw some weird big lamp and it was helpful. It gave me a jolting sense of closure. This is not our home anymore.
I walked around the block crying, memories flooding back at every step, path and gate from my time there with Coco. She and I spent countless hours wandering that neighborhood after she learned to walk. She jumped in puddles over here and practiced climbing steps over there. She learned to ride her balance bike there. I cried and wiped tears and cried some more. Then I went back to the house and actually hugged it. I put my arms out and grabbed it and hugged it and sobbed quietly. I felt relieved. A weight lifted.
It doesn't make me miss it any less, but I finally got to say goodbye to that apartment, to that time, to that life, to all that it was to us, and always will be. It will always be the home to which we took Coco from the hospital and it will always be the place where we became parents. It is the first place we put down roots. I'm so grateful for that time and place. I love it forever.
Theo and I are in Zurich for two weeks while I attend the Zurich Writers Workshop, network and figure out if we want to call this city home again. Follow along on Instagram. xo