The title of this post is not so much inspired by my need to connect with fellow human beings but rather by the 3 pm coffee that has jolted me out of my zombie like state. I should’ve had this coffee on Monday. Better late than never.
So so so, regular programming is coming to you from Dornbirn in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. My sister has helpfully pulled the facts from Wiki; 437 above sea level in the rhine valley, at the foot of the Karren mountain, part of the Bregenz Forest Mountain chain at the edge of the Eastern Alps. How did I end up here you ask? Well the short of it is that the husband was rudely awakened from his quantum informational reverie and decided to dive headfirst into industry. The long if it is that engineers (the ones that do engineering work as opposed to managing business administration) usually get carted off to the middle of nowhere to hide them from normal folk. So most real engineering towns are just that – engineering towns out in the middle of nowhere. But as middles of nowhere go, foothills of the Alps is not a bad place to be!
So I too managed to channel my marketing skills and landed a job in a small research company in aforementioned small town. Given that the population is half that of our previous little town (Leuven, Belgium) I’m guessing jobs are not aplenty and thus counting it as a win/good sales pitch!
Anyhow, so we loaded our life into a moving truck and drove across two countries to become probably the 3rd and 4th brown people to inhabit Dornbirn. The weekend after that I took off to the other side of the world to spend my first ever ‘unemployed’ holiday with the family. I’ve said in the past how I never took a break post school, university or PhD (except to do wedding planning which if you think counts as a break, you have another think coming!).
It was scary at first, not having to wake up to agendas, meetings and emails. Oh the emails! but slowly as the batteries on the gadgets died, the motivation to charge them waned and gradually I was cut off from the virtual world, it was a sense of relief and liberation.
The holiday moved from the shores of Auckland to the beaches of Gold Coast where things were kicked up a notch by the sister! After the initial shock when then pilot said ‘Welcome to Coolengatta!, I was treated to a live comedy show, koala and kangaroo petting, high tea, whale watching and of course great food and conversation. This time with the family was different and one image remains ingrained in my memory – since GC is
boganville so accommodating, non travellers can get through security and come right up to the departure gates. As I rushed through the gate, walked to the aircraft and climbed the stairs, I glanced back to look at my family. There they were, the three of them, huddled together, all looking at me and waving goodbye. At that moment I realised that that tiny (in the larger scheme of things) huddle, was in fact my whole world. And I know three other people for whom this is the case, whether or not they like it!
Family time was followed by friend/cousin time reinforcing that old friends are indeed gold and they will take their digs even if you only see them for a few hours, they will travel a few hours to come see you for a few hours and that one must be thankful that some things never change! Also reinforcing that sometimes one just needs good ol’ girlfriend gossip over a drink!
One would think that to keep my sanity I would call it a holiday and come back to reality. But I still had two weeks to go and this warranted a whirlwind trip to the US to catch up with no less than 30 members of the husband’s family. The US of A was experienced in all its materialistic glory with food, shopping and more food and shopping.
On a rainy Sunday we carted 3 suitcases of goodies back to the EU and landed to the harsh realities of Zurich airport under construction, which included a package deal of bad signage, pouring rain, only outdoor walking facilities and elevators that did not work.
I’ve been sombre ever since. The new house is not fully there yet presenting with exactly the kind of problems that I hate – cigarette smoke and bad plumbing. The weather is morose and I think I’m battling jet lag. Nevertheless what we cannot cure we must endure. The silver lining is the job which I seem to have seamlessly integrated into. Which is either a good thing or a bad thing.
After two months of being around people that surround you with a warmth that only true caring can generate, it is hard to accept that in this part of the world, right now, we are alone.