Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'll miss this Swiss.

My time is limited. I board a plane just hours from now to head back to the homeland. I spent 8 of my final francs on cheese pizza earlier and braved the cold to watch some more happily drunken Oktoberfest revelers (when they sing along and sway in circles, it can’t possibly get old), but I’m going to have to say goodbye to Zurich very soon.

I have a friend who asked me the other night where I would live if I could live out my dreams and become an expat. It caught me unawares. Her continent of choice was Africa, but I didn’t have one. I just knew that, at some point in my life, I wanted to live outside of the United States, learning and growing in a realm outside the American norm. So, I immediately decided on either the Philippines (go with what you know) or France (simply based on the many movies I’d seen filmed there). Those seemed to feel right. Whereas one would have me living in bare feet and white sandy beaches, likely catching all the lobster and shrimp I could stomach, the other would see me raising children in an environment that love was openly expressed, outward affections being the norm.

Here, I’ve seen nothing but starcrossed lovers, pausing to hug or kiss or simply hold one another in the middle of a street or on a train. At first it embarrassed me and made me look away, I won’t lie. The more I witnessed it, the more it endeared me to these amazing surroundings. Something is definitely in the air (and it’s not just cigarette smoke). To say I’ve entered a French film since I’ve been here, well, that might not mean anything to anyone outside of myself. Comparing the beauty of this city and country to a movie doesn’t do it enough justice. No amount of dressed up words or photographs will suffice, either. Both snapping shots or tapping out on my keyboard fail to show you what I’ve seen and experienced here. If I could remove my eyes and allow you to retrace my steps, I would.

I am a lucky man to have experienced this place I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. To those who made it happen, I’m forever gracious and grateful for the opportunity. And, it may as well be said, I’m already finagling some way to return here for good.

Has anybody else ever had that kind of an experience with a locale? If so, please, let loose and share. I’m all eyes.

P.S. It's worth noting that this trip to Europe brought me out of a sad 2-month slump of not writing poetry. I'm not sure what happened to make me stop or allow me to write again, but it feels right nice (no thanks to Sweden).

A song to go with this post HERE


plainoldsarah said...

africa is not a country.

glad you had such an awakening. i found myself in love with baguio, the weekend i spent there. but truthfully, i've always found myself at home exactly where i am - i could never pick another place to settle unless i'm there and needing to settle.

ZLB said...

the peruvian andes (huaraz)
some island in brazil
but realistically? norway or switzerland
p.s. that fondue pic has me salivating all over my keyboard. let's make some when you are back?

ewesa said...

I mistook "settle" for "seattle", and I was about to say me too! heh. thanks for the post, love hearing about this stuff!

word verification- Puuuae. if there was somewhere called "Puuuae", I'd want to settle there.

Lincoln said...

for's New Zealand.
I could go on and on and on about it. But this is your I won't. Suffice it to say I spent 6 wonderful months there. If I were to be an expat...that's where I'd go...south island by the way...the best part of the country.

Ashley said...

I'm so glad you've loved it. I felt such a kinship with the German-speaking countries I visited (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), but my heart still belongs to London.

Dainon. said...

Expose yourself to London, Ash. Am I right?

Dainon. said...

Country, continent ... details, shmetails. Thanks for dispelling your geography knowledge, teach. I never done learned it very well when I was a-schoolin'.

f*bomb. said...

Favourite part about living in a French film?
Spontaniously breaking out into song. For sure.

ewesa said...

I'd just like to do all the smoking.

Ashley said...

Expose yourself to London, indeed. Can't believe you remember that, my friend.

D'Arcy said...'s the only place that I feel it is truly ok to go all the way in a pubic park...I lived and worked there for a year. I am just biding my time until I am an expat for good!

Sherpa said...

I love South America, but I don't know if I could do it again. You're either rich or poor and that bothers me.

Probably Italy. I've been three times, and I'm ready to go back for more.

Lindsey Lundeen said...

i'm not sure in what country that picture was taken, but I have a song recommendation.
Kuchashi Ertkhel by Vaja Tugushi