One of the things about being an expat is that you leave friends behind in your old homes. No, I don’t mean I left someone sleeping on my couch in my house in Canada, closed the door and they are still there ordering pizza for delivery on my old credit card. Continue reading Paris in the spring with the girls→
Wrote this a while ago, about my experience moving to Switzerland 12 years ago. Thought it was worth posting it here as it sums up the whole “how I got here” part of my story!
When people ask me why I left my comfortable life in Canada to move to Switzerland, they usually are hoping to hear a story that involves hiking in the Alps, eating chocolate for breakfast and fondue for lunch, and meeting a charming man in leaderhosen called Hans who stole my heart with a bouquet of edelweiss he collected himself…
As I begin writing this article I am sitting on my balcony in a small town not too far from Geneva, with a beautiful view of the Swiss alps. I am listening to The Hip – Ahead by a Century, probably too loud. I don’t care , I am feeling rebellious. Rebellious and nostalgic.
Rebellious and nostalgic and another feeling I can’t quite place.
This may come as a surprise to most Canadians, other than those who live or have many friends outside of Canada. Most people in the “rest of the world” don’t actually know the Tragically Hip.
As a Canadian living over here in Europe, I was surprised by the announcement that Gord Downie had terminal cancer. But the second biggest surprise was when I started talking about it around me – “Did you hear about the lead singer of the Tragically Hip?!?!” I said, shocked.
Saturday, across the globe, people participated in Women’s Marches – this movement is not “just” for women, but for everyone. From Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada, people gathered to march against intolerance, to take a stand for women’s rights, minority rights, rights for lesbian, gay, transgender people, rights for disabled people, rights for immigrants and refugees.
And to stand up for Truth . With a capital T. Because apparently that’s up for grabs now.
A few pearls of wisdom from a mom watching her son move out and far away…
Take care of your body. Eat vegetables. Use sunscreen. Drive defensively. Drink moderately. In other words, please take good care of this person that I have protected for the past 20 years!
Take care of your brain. Eat vegetables. Read books. Keep learning. Drink moderately. In other words, please take good care of this person you have created for the past 20 years!
Don’t let anyone change who you are.
Life is long. You don’t have to get everything done right away, or accomplish everything quickly. What goes around comes around -eventually, the good guys win and the bad guys learn – it just takes time and patience.
Life is short. Don’t waste your time on people or things that drag you down, that hurt you, that stop you from being happy.
Don’t let anyone make up your mind. You don’t have to think like everyone else. The world’s greatest minds have often been independant thinkers with their own ideas, who didn’t allow themselves to be drawn in to a way of thinking just because it was popular. Be careful of small minded people.
The world is huge. Many people have not had the chance to see the world like you, to experience 4 cultures, live on 2 continents, to be immersed in 4 languages, and to travel extensively. It is possible you will encounter people who live in their small corner of the world and think they know everything. They don’t. You don’t.
The world is small. The theory states all people in the world are linked by 6 degrees of separation only. No matter how far you travel, you will never really be away from home, because you are always home.
Avoid intolerant people. It is always easier to judge an entire group than to try to understand. Very few arguments can be won against someone who has made up their mind to be racist, sexist, homophobic or generally prejudiced. You cannot convince someone with words. But you can win by keeping your own heart and mind open and not letting generalizations influence how you see others.
Choose love. This sounds silly but it’s the truth. If you can’t decide betwen two options, choose whatever is kinder, more tolerant, nicer, more fun, or will lead to more happiness.