Category Archives: the elephants journey between the continents

The story or better a journal about the transition from the US to Europe

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Day 4 – short walk & blessing of a big studio

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Another day full of painting, only interrupted by an hour walk around the lake. What I became aware of today, is that my senses are so much more awake since I am painting all day long. It seems, that I … Continue reading

Falling in love with a city and with Europe again

My hard is overflowing with emotions and in some situations my eyes are tearing up because I feel so overwhelmed happy and grateful to be here.

Walking around, riding the bike and taking public transportation to get to know new places feels like the first few month with your teenage lover. Everything is so beautiful in this moment.

For sure, the weather and the company of my husband are supporting this.

But every flower, the fields of tulips, the blooming trees, the few of the alps and the most beautiful old houses, churches and villages are such an incredible richness I am so much enjoying.

I often wished I would have my camera with me to document what I can see.

The multi-culti city is another highpoint. Being able to hear such a diversity of languages in daily live. Coming from the Bay Area for sure you know what this means. Slowly we get to know places where we can get our comfort food – Thai – without giving to give an arm and leg for it.

Thinking Marin is expensive, take it double or sometimes three times then you get an idea how expensive live in Zurich is – well at least eating out!

Sometimes I feel like having received the Jackpot twice. Living here with my partner and working in a very interesting and fun place.

Hopefully there won’t be the same amount of tears after the “teenage love” becomes more a relationship we have to work on….

Landing Part II – or – hitting the ground running

It is time to let friends and family finally know about the first/ second parts of landing.
I completed successfully my first week (3 days) of work. It started with a ten-hour day followed by a 11 hour day and ended in a normal 8.5 hour day.
It is a luck that I will work “only” 60% until April first, so we will have time to arrange all formalities which there are countless when you start living and working in Swiss.

While we had the luxury of staying in an hotel for the first nights (due to the horrendous rental market in Zurich) it also was very convenient to not have to commute for a long time thanks to the excellent public transportation there.

The first few bus rides reminded me a little on my first years in SF where you would ride in a bus with such a variety of different people that it  made you think  being part of the private bus of the UN.
Here in Zürich it is almost the same: I hear a Spanish conversation about living in a tent, I sit next to an young probably Indian guy who is listening to Bollywood music, a Middle Eastern mother with her son is trying to stop the bus and get out, but the little boy drops his umbrella, the bus door closes and is speeding ahead before the mom can get out – now they will have to walk a long stretch back….

There is construction all over Zürich, it seems there is no street without any construction. It is busy here and people looking stressed as they do in any other big City.
I myself still walk a little slower, taking in all the impressions of our new destination and do hope that I will be able to remain an inner calmness.

The work itself is interesting, challenging and will become hopefully a lot of fun. The greatest thing is that I am able to speak English during work time, it is the main language to communicate with the clients I work with – great, I was afraid loosing it.
Since my boss is French there is also the wonderful singing melody of the french language in my office.

Oh and one more thing LUNCH time, while I was thinking that we are already trained to expect high prices on food and lunch, having spend the last years in Marin-  Zürich is INSANE! For lunch 18.- to 24.- CHF !!!!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with lunch, all the prices are over the top, letting my eyes fill up with tears. Thanks good that we temporary rented a studio which has at least a two burner oven in a small kitchen so that I will be able to prepare some food….
But I do have to admit, I get paid very good – thanks to a fair and honest treatment of our HR person who arranged for a good salary.

I am looking forward writing hopefully next time about settling in – the end to an odyssey of apartment hunting….

Landing: Part I

It was a sudden and abrupt landing, there was no time to think twice or capture the extend of the surprising offer.

I got a job and it seems to be even better than I expected. Working in an international office in Zürich with a job position I was looking for since a long time and projects which can compete with the last ones I worked on. But not knowing how the reality will look like, I will have to wait for the first week to pass by.

Using some of my earlier terminology: the tomatoes ripened in the full sunlight and time needed, looking and smelling as the ones you only can get in your garden. I prepared the salad and now sit on the table waiting to taste the first bite of the delicious tomato salad.

The relativity of time – Part II

You can’t influence time. There is no way that you are able to speed up time or jump over it like it would be a big boulder in front of your path. You also cannot stop time or hold it tight to you as you would like to do it with your loved one.

Somehow the funny thing is, that in these transition times the only thing you can do is being present. It seems to be a rare state of being in our time since we are so used to hurry on and to plan one thing after the other and run from one thing to the other.

Being somehow like captured in a place  – the place of transition is almost surreal. There was once a dharma talk on someone who comes home recognizing that his home was emptied out by robbers with nothing left behind and how this experience was for a short time a freeing moment after the first shock and before all the worries that follow. There it was that moment of emptiness, of being in the present which is so free from everything.

Somehow today I feel like this, being in the in between without the power of moving anything any faster than it is.

The relativity of time

Problems become problems if we put our expectations and wanting in a specific time frame. Once we disregard time it is much easier to accept things as they are in the present moment.

In my situation it means that it is not a problem to look for a job (or especially a job I really would love) if I would give myself enough time.

When we left California and we planned the next new beginning, we had a very particular idea of how fast things would materialize. Coming closer to this time line (I had in my mind – four to six weeks) I realize how much tension is building up in me, how I was feeling an urge of completion. Not to panic and to stay cool in our situation is a challenge but it is the only way to reach the goal we set for ourselves some months ago.

If I think about the irrationality of setting myself an exact date of completing my job search and finding a place to live, it is almost ridiculous.

It seems to me as I would like to tell my plants and vegetables to grow faster and to be ripe on exactly that day I want them to be  ready.

Thankfully with plants we are all much smarter and we know that we can only influence so many parameters, but with ourselves, we think that we are not effected by any laws of nature and absolutely independent.

But as much as I know for the plants, I know that if I do my very best of planning and “watering my plants” my goals and plans will realize just like a tomato will ripe eventually (unless it will rain the whole summer – but this is nature).

In the meantime, I will try to enjoy the beauty of each day and not give up to want my tomato salad but to be patient for the tomatoes to ripe so that in the end I will be able to enjoy a delicious tomato salad.

The need for some private space – There is always the space within you…

Nineteen days away from our former home, actually a little more have passed. Having finally the time where I could pursue my interests, my passions and my art I feel the tightness and the constriction of not having my own space.

I still try to find my own rhythm and wonder if I could just do the things I would love to do in a limited and restricted surrounding. But at the same time it feels like trying this in an camp – not a very good idea..

The thought that we could rent a place where we can spread out a little more, where I could work within my own creativity is not only tempting but seems to be just wonderful…

And now just some few minutes later I did find my space, a place where I am at home and feel comfort and rest – my inner space.

Probably two or even three years ago I started to listen every so often to the dharma talks on i-tunes called “Zencast”. Looking back, I can see that listening to this podcast I created / cultivated a space within me where I am at peace, for at least the time of the talk.

Tonight I listened to it for the first time here in Germany and a warm, calm feeling of being home, of having my own space arose.

Interesting to experience, that when the need of physical space is so high, the inner space, calmness or peace can bring the same feeling of freedom. I do wonder if this is the way people who have to endure times of being imprisoned can actually survive the constriction of the physical space.