Saturday, June 27, 2009
Switzerland: A Reflection
In two days, we will be venturing by airplane to America. We have not made this journey since last August when we moved here. So much has happened since then, and we have definitely grown as a family and individually. I will never take for granted how wonderful this experience has really been. The fact that my children can venture outside and have the freedom that I had growing up is so priceless. Coretta will leave and play with her neighborhood friends and not be back until dark. This could never have happened in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It really makes me wonder why? What has so severely changed since when I was growing up that makes this time period more dangerous. Any time you are watching the local news, all you hear about is robberies, murders, drug busts, meth houses, police car chases, and abused children. I again ask why? Why have we allowed our world to be so dangerous?
In Switzerland for example, women can even walk alone at night. I remember when I first moved here, how odd it felt to walk at night and not feel scared. It has given me such a liberated feeling.
Moreover, the public transportation system in America is extremely outdated. Back in the states, it would take me 45 minutes one way to get to my job each day which means on a good day 90 minutes of my day is stuck in a car dealing with traffic jams. In Switzerland, it has been very refreshing to know that all I need to do is jump on a train or a bus to get anywhere in Switzerland, or anywhere in Europe for that matter. It is safe, clean, and reliable. No muggings, no violence, no hassle.
Now things are more expensive here, but that to me is a trade off for people who are paid a living wage. Every person in Switzerland is highly skilled and trained at what they do. Because of this, they are paid much more than in America. In fact I believe that minimum wage is 30 dollars an hour and what is it in America?
The travel opportunities here have been too many to count. We have had the opportunity to travel within Switzerland to Lugano, Sattel, Engelberg, Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus, Mount Titlus, as well as several other villages. We have been to France five times spending time in Strasbourg, Paris, Colmar, Marseille, and Lyon. We have been two places in Germany: Munich and the Black Forest along the Titisee Lake. We have been to Lake Como in Italy and traveled to Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna. This is all in one year! Nick and I laugh because back home we were lucky to do one family vacation a year and this year we went to 10 different cities in three different countries and so many places in Switzerland itself, I have lost count.
With this said, I am still looking forward to coming home (so to speak) which is used loosely because I feel that Switzerland is or feels more like home than anywhere I have ever lived. It will be great to see family and friends and spend quality time with those loved ones who matter to us. Although they will be sadly missed for another year when I return to Switzerland, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Switzerland is really my home, my refuge, and my soul.