Howdy folks, I’m baaack! Yup, after two months of falling off the blogging bandwagon, I’m finally ready to write again. I was getting worried that I was turning into one of those bloggers that started off strong and then fizzled off over time.
So what’s happened in the meantime? I guess life happened, that’s what. I actually got busy with a life outside of the internet… which I suppose is a good thing, right? I mean, I’m not getting paid to write, so sometimes other things take priority, like… being swamped at work (boo), traveling around Europe (yay), hanging out with friends (double yay), and drinking up a storm (uh, maybe yay? ;)). Hehehe…
But seriously, I can’t complain. Life this summer in Switzerland has been crazy busy, but overall, good. It’s funny, because a few years ago, my friend E- told me that most foreigners here go through a cycle where you start off excited about moving to a new country, and then reality sets in and there’s a period of struggle where you question why you are here, but if you can get over this slump, then you tend to stay here long-term.
I think I hit this slump earlier this year. Probably about the time I started blogging. It was my fourth year in Switzerland, I still hadn’t mastered the German language, the relationship I had last year had gone south, I was doubting whether I could really find a good partner here to share my life with, and I wondered if there was really a promising future for me in this country. I actually started wondering if I should just call it quits and move back to California.
But you know what? It’s funny how perspectives can change. I’m still single, but for the first time in my life, I think I’m learning to live on my own. I mean, I’ve lived alone for a while now, but what I mean is to really learn to enjoy life as it comes and not seek happiness from another. I think I used to be the type of girl who clung onto a guy for meaning in life. And now… it’s just me. Well, me and a bunch of friends (both old and new) who bring meaning to my life. You guys, you know who you are. I love you all. Thanks for everything you mean to me, thanks for your companionship and friendship. Thanks for being who you are and for making my life more special. Muah!
And you know what was the most interesting thing that brought about this change? An old MBA classmate whom I hadn’t seen in over 5 years came to visit, and after we started talking, I suddenly realized that I’ve changed. I’m not the same I-Lin from California. I looked at him, and he seemed so… American. LOL.
It’s so funny, because I’ve always thought of myself as a hard-core California girl. When I speak English here, I tend to lapse into California slang, and my friends and coworkers often scratch their heads in puzzlement, wondering what the heck I’m talking about. But you know what? Slowly but surely, I’ve… adapted. Adjusted. Changed slightly into my new European lifestyle. It’s a mix of the old and new–not to say that one is better than the other–but just… different.
My life here is a hodge-podge of experiences and exposure from all my international friends, and I LOVE IT. And I don’t know if I could ever go back.
I think many foreigners who settle into a new country probably face this same dilemma. Living abroad changes us. And we will never be the same.
For instance, I learned a new Dutch word kansloos which means hopeless, desperate, futureless, impossible, without chance. It perfectly describes how I feel sometimes, and it’s WAY cooler to say, “I’m so kansloos today,” rather than saying, “I feel like a loser.” 😉
I was also introduced to the Swedish game kubb, a lawn game where you knock over wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing wooden batons at them. It’s actually a lot harder than I thought, and I was getting frustrated while chucking the batons, not knocking any kubbs over, let alone the king. But when you add some friendly peeps, a barbecue, and some bottles of wine to the mix, it suddenly becomes a more fun game. 😉 Plus, I also knocked some pieces over later, so semi-success! Even though my team lost. But who cares? I still had a great time.
I also had the opportunity to go Lake Como to be a bridesmaid in a good friend’s wedding. Now how cool is that? The girl’s from Hong Kong but grew up in the U.K., the guy’s from Switzerland, and the wedding was in Italy. I finally met the other bridesmaids from the U.K., and we all looked fabulous in our H&M bridesmaid dresses. Who cares that we couldn’t find George Clooney’s villa? I had good eats, got to ride my first car ferry across the lake, visited the real Bellagio (not the Vegas one), and got to attend my first European wedding with lots of international peeps. 🙂
And then the following week, my friend from California came to visit, and we hopped over to France for the long weekend, just because we could. More good eats, a tour of the Palace of Versailles, and it was back to Switzerland. And not two weeks after that, I went to London with the girls for a long weekend of shopping, dining, and my first musical since I moved to Europe, yay!
My latest endeavor is signing up for my first 5 Mile Run at the Swiss City Marathon in Lucerne on October 27. This cockamamie idea came about during a late-night chat on Monday with some friends. So beware while chatting online at midnight folks… you might in your delirious state end up agreeing to a marathon! :O
I am not a runner, so my more experienced friends said I could start with just the 5 Mile Run. But I hadn’t run more than 3 miles at a time in my life, so I said I would only register if our friend J- also signed up. I hadn’t actually banked on J- signing up, as I thought he had to focus on studying for his upcoming CFA exam… but lo and behold–with some gentle encouragement from K- the next day–he actually did it! :O So then I was compelled by peer pressure to pay CHF 50- to torture myself in “the beauty of the heart of Switzerland, including the historical buildings of a 700-year old town, Lake Lucerne, Mount Pilatus and modern art”. 😛
Actually, I just started training, and guess what? I was actually able to run the 5 miles this weekend. Don’t get me wrong–it was still a struggle–but after 3 days of running, I was able to hit 5 miles on the 4th and 5th days. So I guess this bodacious bod isn’t just for looks. 😉 My feet are hurting, so I might have to take a break for a while, but it’s good to know that this mini-accomplishment is definitely achievable. Listening to my new fav band Placebo non-stop is also motivating.
Life isch guet. 😀