Tag Archives: transition

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.

Where the mind can immerse in relaxation

„Wo man die Seele baumeln lassen kann“ is a German expression which is difficult to translate in a direct way. So I have to do my own translation for it with “where the mind can immerse in relaxation”.

Today we stopped at one of my favorite coffee places, other than in the US, most people actually sit down to enjoy a real cup (not a paper cup with plastic lit) of coffee.

Just sitting there for 20 min. I could feel how my mind dipped into a huge pot of relaxation, almost like sitting in a warm hot tub, where all the big and small muscles or in my case all the big and small worries dissolve for the time sitting there, smelling and tasting the coffee and having some fine light conversation about…nothing important.

The first time since I am here,where I was dipping my mind in this huge pot of relaxation was a moment, perhaps just three minutes in a church of my mother’s hometown, where only some few people where in the church, holding this quietness together in such a way that the quietness became so present that one could feel it, almost as someone would place his hand on my shoulder. These are the moments, just some few minutes which I love so much and which are for myself so easily accessible here.

Well, at least as long I do not have to work….

flying with a safety net

Tomorrow it will be a week since we left SF. Since 6 days I am back with my parents and since this time four really good old friends contacted me, a good old friend connected with my husband and he will meet with two people he connected with while we were still in the US, next week.

Not only the new/ old connections here but also the friends and family we had to leave behind in the US who ask about our journey and who stay in touch with us help us  that we do not feel like free-falling.

It really feels like a safety net, to have in addition to our family and friends,  people who connect with us already in the first week. It is an amazing feeling of comfort and care, not only from the ones who love us but also form the universe, that things seemingly fall in place.

Taking day by day, sleeping as much as we need and keeping our focus on the final goal feels just good.

And yet I still have difficulties to fall asleep and trust that all will in deed fall in place and we will continue very soon with our lives.

recognizing some old patterns

Once the elephant comes home to its roots, to his beginning years he has the chance to see old, sometimes forgotten and overcome patters.

It is interesting to see how we can change over the years, how different people and different cultures can help us to either overcome old patterns or create new patterns and sometimes to learn to overcome what once hold us back in a place we did not want to belong to.

Being back here in Germany with my family brings back memories of old times, times in which I saw things in a different light other than I can see them today.

Having the experience of a different culture and a lifestyle influenced by different people and thought concepts makes it interesting to look again at things which once where so familiar. Discovering that these same things can be looked at and experienced in a new way.

Sometimes it is difficult for the people who have known you before to see you as the person you have become and to overwrite and newly learn to get to know you as you are today.

It is a great learning experience for yourself, to let your friends and family develop and to get to know them over and over again not assuming that the person you once knew is still the same old person. Look out for the new addition of  the one they have become and enjoy them as you would enjoy the new volume of an ongoing novel.

riding the current

the past few days reminded me on a scene of the movie “finding Nemo”, when the two fish entering and riding the current to south east Australia.

What that picture holds for me is that you enter some kind of time stream on one side of the world and then get spit out on the other side.

It is hard to describe how fast the last days went by and how impossible it was to think further then the next minute ahead. The complex tasks to finalize all and to pack everything up as well as figuring out how to ship the remaining twelve boxes was so much that my brain could not content one more little thought.

Thankfully celebrating christmas with a loving family and friends created a space where we had a break from the organizational stuff and were able to get in touch with the feelings related to that big move and transition.

I know that there is so much still to reflect on and to process that it will take more time and more sentences in the future.

Right now all there is left are some few hours to terminate the old year 2010 and to start the new one which will hold so much change for us.