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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Same Time Next Year?

The arrival of June marks my one year anniversary with a Swiss postal code.  I can hardly believe that much time has past since I arrived.  It is also somewhat unfathomable that I have been out of Canada for three years.

But I have.  

I adore my time on my trips back home.  Seeing my family is a huge part of it, but so is life there.  I love going into the grocery stores stocked full of familiar foods that I cannot find in my adopted home.  I can go shopping and ask complicated questions - something my limited German vocabulary will not allow me to do.  Conversation is easy, people get it when I say something cliche and truly Canadian.  My jokes are funny...

But it is not all so easy.  Over the three years friendships have become increasingly awkward due to the strain of my absence and you can see how people have moved on and filled the spots that you once claimed.  The landscape is dynamic.  People grow older.  

And it isn't just them, it is me too.  The structure of society over here has worn off me.  For instance, I am acutely aware of time and do my best to make sure I am not late - and feel completely uncomfortable if I have a sip of wine without first raising my glass and clinking them together.  Walking everywhere in all elements is not something I even pause to ponder, I just do it.  What I spend money on is completely different.

However, as increasingly integrated as I become, I will always be different.    But somehow that is okay.  It just so happens that I feel a bit different everywhere I go now.  An odd statement I know.   Before my comfort was defined by what was familiar.  Home was the place I felt most comfortable - where I knew what to do, when to do it and had people to do it all with - I was shaped by that life.  Living elsewhere has taken that away, there is nothing and no one to hide behind.  It is just me.  

On the eve of my one year anniversary with a Swiss postal code, I have to admit, I am not exactly sure where home is anymore.  In many ways I would like to stop and settle in here.  I love Switzerland.  But that is not a decision that is solely up to me.  My mother always said that it would be love that would see me settle down somewhere, and although I think she meant it would be a man, I think she is half right. I love my life here.  But then, let us see what I write this time next year... :)

ps.  This blog was about the steps/processes involved in securing the necessary approvals for a permit renewal for residency . Nothing more, nothing less ;)

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