Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Leaving Switzerland

27 September 2012

Thirty-five years ago today, I married my best friend.

In the wall, a friendly family of field mice had their home. The grainery stood empty and since winter was not far off, the little family of mice began to gather corn and wheat and straw. They worked all day and night. All except Frederick.

It's funny. In the two years we have lived here, I don't ever remember feeling homesick. Not even once. But now that we're leaving, I do feel homesick.
For Switzerland.

Frederick, why don't you work?
I do work. I gather sunrays for the cold dark winter days. I gather colors. Winter is gray. I am gathering words for the winter days are long and many and we'll run out of things to say.

Greg and I are savoring our last few weeks in this lovely country, squeezing in as much as we can.

We'll be in Africa when Noah celebrates his first birthday, so we celebrated his tenth month birthday when the kids came the end of July.

We've been doing a lot of walks around town and the surrounding area.

We stumbled upon Zurich's Street Parade. We missed the actual parade but enjoyed the weird attire. The smashed bottles littering the streets were not as appreciated. But, it being Switzerland, when we walked downtown the next day, the town had returned to its usual pristine self.

We've made our last trips to the Oerlikon Market.

We've squeezed in a meal or two.

We managed to say goodbye to some people but not to others. Wish I'd spent more time on goodbyes and less time on cleaning. (This is where Dottie and Laurie give me the I told you so smug looks.)

Friend Maggie and I had lunch at the Hilton in Glattburg.

Definitely tasted as great as it looks!

It's the middle one. Avocado (perfectly ripe) topped with tiny crayfish and covered with a hot Jerusalem Artichoke soup! YUM!
In Switzerland when you leave or have something to celebrate, it is YOU who provides the party. Greg decided the apero for his ETH group should have a picnic theme and so we made a bunch of sandwiches and threw together some other things, provided appropriate refreshments, and enjoyed the party.

The following week, he treated the bunch from SuSoS, the startup company he worked with, to lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Miglia.

And then there are the chores. We've suffered our yellow fever shots, cleaned the apartment and "deregistered" at the Staadt Haus downtown. 

No ladder.

The apartment looks so bare. There is no longer any sense that we were ever here. 
This building has stood on this spot since 1896 and many people have moved through these rooms over the years. I've never felt their presence and I doubt that any future tenants will feel ours.

But little by little they had nibbled up most of the nuts and berries. The straw was gone and the corn was only a memory. It was cold in the wall and noone felt like chatting.
Then they remembered what Frederick had said about the sunrays and colors and words.
What about your supplies Frederick? they asked.
Close your eyes, he said. Now I send you the rays of the sun. Do you feel their golden glow? And the little mice began to feel warmer... And when he told them of the blue periwinkles, the red poppies and the yellow wheat and the green leaves of the berry bush, they saw the colors as clearly as if they had been painted in their minds.

But we've stored our memories of two years living here just as Frederick stored his memories of summer. And, through the coming years, I will retrieve them and relive this wonderful experience of being an expat in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

And, since this blog is entitled Lost and Found in Zurich, this will be my last post ... 

All packed for Africa.

Sort of packed to return to US. I TOLD Greg we were going to need more than one oversized ugly pink suitcase! Two years ago, we arrived with six suitcases. We've taken stuff home, sent stuff home with the kids and still have more luggage than we brought. Is it breeding?
... well, on this blog anyway. I've begun a new one to carry on describing whatever adventures come our way as we begin this next part of our journey through life.
(But don't expect to be hearing from me too soon - most of the places we're staying in Africa do not have internet access.)


So, to quote Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

The text quoted is taken from Frederick by Leo Lionni: one of my favorite books.

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