It’s hard not to be reflective when you pass major milestones, especially when the establishment of such markers is so fresh. I wonder if I’ll feel as prone to reflecting on our move to Bern after we’ve lived here for ten years, or even fifteen.
That was a joke for the benefit of our families. I’m not in a position to make promises, but I’m pretty sure we won’t be here that long.
We’ve been in Bern, Switzerland for just over a year and it’s been an exceptionally rewarding experience. The timing of it almost perfectly parallels our first year of marriage and I can’t help but conclude that the wonder and intensity that we’re experienced over the last 377 days are an amalgamation of those coinciding experiences. Both are life-altering on their own, but when combined the sensation can be overwhelming at times.
I’ve collected a few (read: over 50) images that create a brief, if non-coherent, picture of what the last year has looked like, both in Bern and abroad. Many of the images are repeats, but some are fresh. They aren’t all my favorite pictures, but I think they’re interesting and expressive of our experiences. To see the rest of them and to enjoy a recap of our last year, click below…
As I’ve talked about before, I’m not convinced that our role here is to be happy, or even constantly striving for happiness. To seek happiness in every day of our life here in Bern, not to mention our larger, multi-decade lives, would be foolish and too self-serving. We’re striving for wholeness and roundness. At the risk of sounding New Age, we’re seeking for a more holistic approach to life.
Notice how I so effortlessly invoke that royal “we”? Do note that while I speak for Adam here with reckless abandon, he may have a varied approach to this mindset.
In essence, this move has been challenging both personally and as a couple, but I think over the course of the year we’ve really developed some strategies that work for us. We get coffee together every Wednesday morning at a favorite cafe before Adam goes to work; we eat dinner at home most nights and enjoy eating out as the reward we’d like it to be; we travel often and with great anticipation and appreciation; we split administrative tasks, allowing each partner to flex his or her German muscles; we speak up when something’s not right–our space is too small for festering drama; we try to show gratitude.
We love living here even though it can be a frustrating struggle. The lack of language skills, the astronomical price of everything, the painful homesickness. It’s all very trying, especially on those low days.
But more importantly, it’s fulfilling us in ways that are both relevant in the moment and less obvious in the day-to-day. We love adventure. We love travel. And we love the quality of life that this path affords us right now. We are, it seems, living in the moment.
We’ve extended old traditions and inaugurated new ones. We’ve had big pancake brunches and elegant celebratory dinners. We’ve taken exciting trips and hosted some especially wonderful people. All the in hopes of becoming fuller, more rounded individuals. But also, just to have fun.
In short, we have had the best time. Whatever that means : )
In addition to celebrating the little victory that has been this year abroad, I’m also celebrating my 500th post on this blog! I sort of can’t believe it, much like I can’t believe how scary my writing was when I started it about three and a half years ago, but I am thrilled with the progress nonetheless.
It’s hard to imagine filling the Internet with such personal and minimal thoughts, but I do appreciate you for coming to read and join in on our lives. I’m grateful for your interest and enthusiasm.
With that I tip my head toward whatever excitement and exasperation come our way in the blissfully unforeseen future. Here’s to documenting and enjoying the journey.