It’s been a long journey and Zurich has been a huge part of that for me. There’s still a long road ahead, as there always is. Nothing, as we know, is finite.
But the time has come for me to move on from the city that has given me so much. Or I gave myself much more of myself whilst I was there. I am moving back to the UK, though I will still be working and staying in Zurich often, which I am happy about.
It’s been a funny process being home. Speaking English every day is lovely and easy, but lacks the challenge of everyday life in Switzerland. The wind has surprised me, as has the lack of public transport options and swimming pools.
But it’s nice to be home for many reasons. I can finally reflect on my life in Zurich in the last four and a half years and how far I have come. I have learnt German – not perfectly – but well enough to converse naturally on most things and call the doctors asking for my medical records (but forgetting to pick them up – Schade!).
I’ve learnt to look after myself. That I am important. And I’ve learnt that being direct makes complete sense. Sometimes I feel myself lapsing on that back at home, but it really does. Why waste energy or words on indifference?
I’ve noticed since I got back that people respond to me differently, compared to before I went. They perceive me as colder than I am and quieter than I am. But that’s ok, it’s another part of anglo-culture I don’t mind ousting – along with sitting on the fence and smalltalk. The need to over-communicate has always bemused me.
The thing I am most grateful to Zurich for, is the opportunity to wholly realise that everyone isn’t the same. People are very different to each other, then you introduce culture and language. It’s a bit of a revelation when you’ve only ventured out only for short work trips and holidays.
So even though I thought I had this covered, I have learnt that you can never judge someone else too strongly, as they are where they are. I include myself in that, I surprise myself sometimes by my tunnel vision – even when I try to think about it in German for a new perspective.
I know it’s not Zurich or Switzerland that has got me here. It’s the like-minded and amazing people I have met along the way. My friends. The friends who are also moving on right now from the place they have called home for so long and who have supported me through the difficult times. They have always reminded me of what is special about me, even though they regularly reminded me what a pain in the ass I am. This is what is really special about them, they just accepted me for who I am and the choices I have made.
So thank you Zurich. For bringing me those friends who I know will always be there in one way or another. For showing me the value of my friends back home – who always made the effort to stay involved in my world, even though it was miles away. For bringing me closer to myself and for bringing me closer to wherever the hell it is that I’m going next.
Danke vielmals und bis bald.