It’s been eighteen years, almost to the day in fact, since we sold the house, sold the car, packed up our things, and arrived in Zagreb, Croatia, to take a one-year contract. Little did we know what life and this wonderful world had in store for us. Of course, we never know, but at this point I can say it’s been a heck of a ride – and I’d do it all again.
South Africa, age 3
One year in Zagreb turned into just over 2, which segued into 3 years in Bangkok, where our daughter was born. Then it was off to Basel, Switzerland, for 4 years (a nice mathematical progression) and then on to Hong Kong, not for 5 years but for 6. We have now been back in Basel for 2 1/2 years and are planning to be here until our daughter graduates from high school.
What comes after that is anyone’s guess. We have had the incredible fortune to live in some great places and to travel to many more. Our traveling days will certainly not end, regardless of what comes next.
Some people, when asked “How are you?” respond, “Oh, I’m all right”. I generally have a bit more enthusiastic response, somewhere along the lines of “I’m great. How are you doing?”.
It’s all a matter of perspective, of course, but no matter how bad a particular day or moment of my life is, overall I have it pretty darn good. After all, wherever I have lived, I can turn on a tap and have water come out. I have roof over my head, and heating in the winter. Granted, I couldn’t always drink that water, but getting potable water was as simple as ordering refills for the water cooler. I have never had to lug a daily supply of water from a river, or a central tap.
While I am delighted to have the right to complain, I don’t think it’s right for me to complain. In fact, I believe I have the obligation to make sure other people have the right to complain and to do something to better their lives.
We arrived at our new destination – Basel, Switzerland – on 19 August 2011. One great thing about moving is the opportunity to reinvent yourself. While I’m not sure I’ll do that completely, I have decided I will once and for all start the blog I’ve been meaning to start for years, so here goes!
I’ve been amazed to find that despite a major change like moving across the ocean, again, things are remarkably the same. We are staying in temporary accomdations in Binningen, in the same building where we stayed upon arriving in Basel the first time in August 2001. Fortunately the building has been upgraded – new, lighter and brighter furnishings – but we easily fell back into the same routines.
Jason is back in the same office building, though in a new job and therefore on a different floor. We arrived on a Friday and Jason went off to work the following Monday, leaving the business of settling in, again, to me. Not to sound mean, but that’s the way it’s been the past five moves, so no great change there.
We spent the first week looking at apartments, considered a few in the outskirts of Basel but decided to take one in the Gellert, the neighborhood where we lived last time. In fact our new apartment is all of two and a half blocks from our old apartment. As I said…
The best “same” is our friends. We have stayed in touch with several families from our Montessori days, and it’s been great to reconnect with them. And some of our new friends here are actually friends from Hong Kong – a family we knew well there has also moved to Basel (that’s tale for the “Small World” category) and it’s been great to maintain that connection too.
A lot in Basel has changed, but much of what I loved about it before is still here. Looking forward to getting out there and exploring more!