Yesterday was our one month mark and, as it typical of us, the day went by without notice of the milestone. We are a date challenged lot. (Some of my extended family members took more than their share of brains when it comes to dates and the ability to keep track of all things date related leaving some of us a bit short handed. I’m talking about you Aunt Janey!)
It did occur to me today though and so I’ve had a chance to ponder all that has happened in one month’s time.
1. Settlilng in wouldn’t have been possible without the huge head start our Swiss family arranged for us. We arrived to a true home, not just a house. Feeling welcome, loved and supported feels like 90% of what it takes to feel at home.
2. The kids have adjusted far better than I had expected. The first 24 hours was tough – brutal for Diego. When he arrived, despite the amazing welcome party in our home, he crawled into a strange bed, cried & cried and begged me to return home. It broke my heart. And then he slept for 18 hours straight and hasn’t looked back since.
Both kids have a certain degree of contendedness and unprompted will remark “I really like Switzerland.” This allows my heart to feel less heavy. I am amazed by how well they have adjusted considering all the scariness that comes with learning a new language, forging brand new friendships and all the unknown about the school year ahead. It scares the heck out of me and I’m not a kid! It goes to show how resilient kids are and for the immense amount of faith and trust they have in us to guide them safely and keep them surrounded by love.
3. Financial uncertainty is hard. We have always considered ourselves rich in experiences, adventure and love and we’ve always had more than we could ever need. That said, we have never been in a state where money was no object and we have always been careful with our decisions. The decision to move to Switzerland was by far the riskiest decision we’ve ever made. Leaving the security (relative in today’s times in Alberta) of my job and our home to make our way in a new land may have been considered foolish by some. Even by ourselves if we were completely honest. But this new uncertainty has given space for a much greater understanding for our kids about money, wealth and richness. It is a lesson we may have not been doing such a good job of at home with our ease of acquiring (and often replacing) the things we need/want. Perhaps it has been the Walmart effect, which, for the record, was not somewhere I frequented but my love of Superstore and Value Village sure did keep us well stocked with more than we wanted or needed.
Weighing priorities, waiting until we can afford it or foregoing something altogether are now daily conversations and I think it’s good. I sure hope it won’t always be the case here but if it is, that will be ok too. I want our kids to have an appreciation of the hard work required to earn money and the decisions we need to make when considering how to spend it. Their wants are simple…ice cream, on a daily basis. After that, they don’t want for too much.
4. The joy of discovering a new place is such a delight. Having the time to stop to marvel makes a big difference but I can’t help but wonder how it is that we lose this sense of joy in our everyday lives at home. Is it because nothing is new? Or is it because we don’t have time to marvel? Could we make time? I hope that we can return home with the same sense of wonder as how we have lived our days here. It sure makes you able to see all the beauty around you.
5. Thrown into the deep end of change and upheaval has been good for our family. We live in a space far smaller than what we were accustomed to with far fewer “things”. (Ok, I still have the same number of bikes…but I have sacrificed in other ways!) We have been able to support each other in finding balance and in starting to define who we will be here. It isn’t without a fair amount of rolled eyes, slammed doors or heavy sighs, but we haven’t turned on each other so that’s good. Hopefully it is more than just the honeymoon phase and we can continue to give each other the space and support needed to all grow together.
6. Lastly, good food and wine is enjoyed so much more when paired with fresh air and a good amount of movement each day. That isn’t a surprise to us, it’s just that we’re now experiencing an abundance of all of it. Our life without a car forces us to be self propelled more than we’ve ever been. The weather and scenery draws us outside to explore at every possible moment. And the food and wine…that goes without saying. While watching our pennies here, good cheese and yummy wine are cheap and abundant. Thank God!
So, as we begin month number two, we feel really good about what our year here has to offer. Well mostly…the kids just tonight found out that Santa comes to Swiss children on Dec 6th and does not bring presents. Christmas is altogether separate from that and takes place on the 24th. They are NOT pleased. Helena said “I’ve never felt so disappointed in all my life!” We may have some work cut out for us on this one to maintain our happy balance.
Thanks to everyone who is keeping up with our journey. I look at this blog as the scrapbook of our adventure and, at the moment, as one of my jobs. Oh, and most importantly so that my mom can keep up to date while not being on Facebook! Don’t feel you need to read every post but hopefully, when you do feel inspired to tune-in, it will help you catch a glimpse of what life entails for us. We sure wish we could share it with all of you.