Monday, March 31, 2008

Back to Normal

When my parents left after visiting us they said, "Now you'll be able to get back to normal."

Problem is there is no normal.

Being at home isn't normal. Because I don't know what "home" really means anymore. Is it my apartment in Switzerland? Is it the last US city I lived in, Richmond? Is it my hometown in Illinois? None are really home anymore.

Friends aren't normal. The ones that speak English as a native language come and go as quickly as you meet them. Or they are traveling or have visitors half the year. The Swiss ones take years to really get to know.

Work isn't normal. It's half in German, half in English. And my schedule is half on, half off.

Weekends aren't normal. They are spent doing shopping that you can't do during the week or traveling out of guilt (or pleasure) for being in the center of Europe.

Transportation isn't normal. I have no car and travel mainly by train and plane.

Eating isn't normal. It's a lot of cheese and chocolate. And most everything else must be made from scratch. And restaurants serve mainly bland food for extremely un-bland prices.

Reading mail isn't normal. Because you can't guarantee you can read it.

Vacationing isn't normal. Because you actually have enough vacation days to do more than go home for Christmas.

Talking isn't normal. Because you're never sure what language you'll talk in or what language someone else will answer you in.

Money isn't normal. It comes in a rainbow of different colors. And when I go 15 miles, I need another kind of money. And when I go home I need yet another kind.

Measurements aren't normal. To rent skis I need to know how much I weigh in kilos. To try on pants I need to know how tall I am in centimeters. To order cheese from the counter I need to know how many grams will make one cup.

Yes, since we moved to Switzerland our lives have been a strange combination of vacation and frustration. But it's funny how the lack of normal has somehow become normal. So maybe now I am back to normal. My very own version of it anyhow.

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