Up in the air

Disclaimer: Not me.

I have been horribly remiss in posting here. No real excuse, other than the fact that I’ve felt sort of…en suspens, hanging, or up in the air. I don’t know about you but I need to feel grounded, to know where I stand in my life, in order to get things done.

One of the reasons I’ve been feeling that way is our future home. It’s a new build, and we’ve been waiting for a confirmation on the delivery date. Initially it was supposed to be sometime this fall, end of the year at the latest. But that’s delayed now, unsurprisingly given everything that’s been going on. Supply shortages of building materials are one of the the consequences of the war in Ukraine (some of which were already happening with Covid, and the energy crisis hasn’t helped). But in addition to that, there have been difficulties with the project itself.

Last week we learned that one of our future neighbours had filed a complaint. I’m not sure why, as their view will not be at all impacted. But it seems this is a very Swiss thing to do and almost to be expected. It ended up costing a few weeks while work was halted to investigate. The building was found to be set 72 cm too high on the terrain compared to the initial building permit. Additionally, there have been complications due to fact that the site is built into a steep slope, with extra reinforcements needed on the retaining wall behind it.

Long story short: our move-in date is now not until the end of May 2023. Which sounds like a long time but at least we will be able to make plans. And I will be able to post about our new place now knowing that it’s really happening (because until now it felt like a dream).

Another reason I’ve been feeling up in the air is that we’ve been planning a big trip in November and haven’t known whether or where travel would be a possibility. But now that Biden has said the pandemic is over (I mean if a US president says something, it must be true, right? 😉) we’re making plans.

The timing has to do with my husband’s work as he is entitled to a sabbatical month but it has to be taken this year. He is a Japanophile (is that a word?), has been there twice, and is learning Japanese. So while we considered different destinations, I knew in my heart that if Japan ever opened its borders, that would be where we were going. Now it’s looking like that is likely, and we have taken the bold step of booking flights. We should find out this week if the rules will be loosened enough to create our own trip or have to use a tour company. I am not a huge fan of international travel but I’m starting to get excited. So far we’re planning on Tokyo, Kyoto, Okayama, Hiroshima and Okinawa. Fingers crossed!

I took the above photos on Sunday, a beautiful late-summer, early-fall day. My favourite kind. When the air, suddenly several degrees cooler, makes you want to wear a jacket but the sun is still warm enough to make you peel it off. It was a clear day and I watched the paragliders circle down from the mountain above. It is incredibly relaxing to watch them. Feeling perfectly grounded from the safety of terra firma.

What’s up with you? Am I the only one who’s not been good at blogging lately? News, please!


  1. margaret21 · September 21

    All your plans sound so exciting – no wonder blogging has taken a back seat. I haven’t been to Japan: we considered extending our trip to South Korea to Japan as well, but decided – the right decision I think, for us – that SK was enough to take in. But their history is quite intertwined (not in a good way) so we sort of visited in some ways by proxy, and it was wonderful to be in a society so very different from our own. So I hope you have as wonderful and experience in that part of th world as we did. And … good luck with the building project.

    • MELewis · September 21

      Thanks! South Korea was on our list of second choices along with Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. Sounds like you enjoyed the trip. Definitely the idea of a completely different society is appealing — along with nice weather at that time of year!

      • margaret21 · September 21

        I don’t know what Japanese weather is like, but it was rather humid in S. Korea. Ican recimmend South Korea as being a largely tourist free destination – apart from the Chinese. And as you’d pass for Americans (we did too!) you’d be made so welcome. And you wouldn’t have to remember to call lifts elevators and so on, as we had to!

  2. midihideaways · September 21

    You’ve been so virtuous in keeping up your blogging, it makes me feel ashamed! Japan is the most fantastic country – I’ve been lucky enough to have been twice, once in spring and the other time in fall. I had friends living there at the time, who acted kind of as ‘tour guides’ in a very low key manner. Plenty of exploring by ourselves, but the back-up was there if we ran into problems. But through our friends we got to see and do things which we would never have been able to do (or found out about) by ourselves. There are Japan greeters and if you don’t go with a tour group, I would recommend trying to set that up for every city or location you visit. Seeing a place through the eyes of someone local is just so wonderful!
    I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time!

    • MELewis · September 21

      Thank you, Andreas! Even if I don’t feel entirely deserving… 😉 Your trip sounds amazing! While we won’t have personal friends waiting, we will have several of my husband’s colleagues for insider tips. Thanks for sharing your experience. Will look for ‘greeters’ in our planning.

  3. Suzanne et Pierre · September 21

    I totally understand how you feel as I also need some level of grounding to be able to function properly. Being able to project oneself in the future is very important and I think it is one of most important side effect of the pandemic as we weren’t able to project ourselves very far but it is changing. We have never been to Japan but I hear it is wonderful so hopefully you will be able to do the trip you want to do.

    We are also planning a big trip for the winter…we have booked flights and are starting to book accommodations. We will be away for almost 100 days…the longest we have ever done. It will be interesting to see if we like it or not. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · September 22

      Suzanne, I am intrigued! Both by the mystery destination (my curiosity is piqued but I don’t want to spoil the unveiling by asking…) and your ability to go away for such a long period. For me, even a few weeks away from my beloved home base is challenging. You and Pierre will be doing several times that number…wow! As for Japan, I admit to being quite excited. It’s a culture that feels at once exotic and familiar somehow. We shall see….I look forward to sharing some of our experiences. And reading about yours!

      • Suzanne et Pierre · September 24

        It is the first we go away for so long and we are a bit anxious about it. It is something we have been wanting to try for a while to skip most of the Canadian winter if at all possible but haven’t been able to do it because of the pandemic. The longest we have been away so far is 6 weeks. Looking forward to reading about your experience in Japan.

  4. acflory · September 22

    Commiserations on the build and…can I carry your bags to Japan…please!!!! Like your husband, I’m a Japanophile from way back, but I’ve never been. Lots of photos please. 😀

    • MELewis · September 22

      Meeka, let me know if there’s anything you are especially curious about and I will try to document it on some level. Until now I’ve had zero knowledge of Japanese culture but I am currently reading the guides and already getting excited! Plus, today the President of Japan officially announced an opening to tourists. 🙏

      • acflory · September 22

        Yes! That’s great news. And yes, please explore the ‘old’ Japan for me. Ryokans [the old fashioned inns] and the old city in Kyoto. Actually, old anything please! lol

  5. Becky Ross Michael · September 22

    I hope everything smooths out for you!

    • MELewis · September 22

      Thank you! Your wishes seem to have helped with today’s news that Japan is officially reopening!

  6. davidprosser · September 22

    I hope your visit to Japan allows you to see the real culture of the people and the beauty of the place itself. When you arrive home, I hope some of the building problems have ironed themselves out and your date of May is able to be brought forward so you can then be settled and grounded in your new forever home.
    Huge Hugs Mel. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • MELewis · September 22

      David, sweet friend, you have beautifully summed up everything I could possibly wish for. ❤️ Except maybe one thing: that all of my blogging buddies are able to enjoy a little more freedom now that we are (🤞🏻) reaching the end of this horrible pandemic. Hōyō! xo

      • davidprosser · September 22

        Then I gladly add that to the list as I count myself as one of those Blogging Buddies who wishes nothing but the best for you.
        Huge Hugs

  7. Ally Bean · September 22

    I’m sure when you finally get your new home you’ll love it. But it’s the waiting and the delays that can do a person in. Sounds like you have the right attitude about it, but still… I’ve never wanted to go to Japan, but if you make it there, now that the pandemic is over 🙄, I’ll enjoy reading about and seeing photos of your adventures.

    • MELewis · September 22

      Ally Bean, to be honest I’ve never really wanted to go anywhere but where I already am. Yet life keeps throwing adventures at me. Go figure. 🧐 All I hope is that my experiences bring a smile, if not enlightenment, to others. And meanwhile, our new home will hopefully get closer to completion! 🤞🏻

  8. Dale · September 23

    Fear not, Mel… you are not alone. Blogging has taken a back seat for me, as well; sporadic at best! How exciting that you finally can envision your new home – even if it is later than expected.
    I am currently homeless, in a sense as the whole main floor has been ripped out. Problems galore being discovered and I am trying not to get totally discouraged. If all goes well (er) and they manage to get everything up to standards and my kitchen (units, island, etc.) delivered by end of October… I am lucky my friend is gallivanting around Europe and has loaned me her house, in exchange for caring for her cats) until October 11. After that, I shall have to live in my room… ugh.
    Japan is a destination of dreams for both of my kids and, while not top of my list, is on it 🙂 I have no doubt you will have a marvellous time!

    • MELewis · September 24

      Dale, how awful to be homeless (even temporarily). Yet how fortunate to have an absent friend in need of house and pet sitting. 🤗 Hope it all works out in time for you to settle back in to your place properly before the Canadian winter sets in! As for us, we are lucky to have this opportunity to travel to far-off lands (with a couple of house and pet sitters from an association of seniors). And there are worse places to be while waiting for our new home. So, all things considered…🙏

      • Dale · September 24

        Very fortunate to not be homeless completely, thanks to Linda (who, by the way, had HER home redone when she moved it but had to live in one room while it was being done!)
        They have found soooo many things – that’s the trouble when you take down walls, you don’t know what to expect… sigh… Thankfully, my son is an electrician and is helping out.
        I am definitely hoping to be able to properly live in it come the end of October – I move back home on the 12th, sooo.
        Yes, it is great that you have this opportunity! Enjoy!

  9. Colin Bisset · October 16

    Glad to hear you’re off to Japan and look forward to reading your observations. Shame about the house delay but maybe springtime is a nicer time to move (positive thinking, ha). I’m all over the place with blogging. Partly because I’m taken up by our renovation so my thoughts run along very narrow lines that are of interest to no one. Need to travel again and get inspired!

    • MELewis · November 4

      Just saw this now! Springtime would be nice but at this point we may be looking at fall/winter. 😌 As for blogging, I think Instagram has a lot to do with the falling interest in both writing and reading blogs. So much easier to update our lives in pretty pictures with mini-blogs (which I do enjoy but nothing like a good old-fashioned post). In the end I suppose it’s more important to make room for bigger things in life. Your reno is certainly one of them!

      • Colin Bisset · November 5

        Oh do keep blogging, though – I love your posts!

  10. suzlearnsfrench · November 4

    I too am catching up after a very long blogging break. 2021 saw us planning our dream bike ride from Amsterdam to Athens – we started in September and ended a week ago. I thought I’d have time to blog each night – that didn’t happen as I was way to tired after each day’s ride. I hope to write and relax this winter and to spend some time catching up with all my favorite blogs. I look forward to reading about Japan – also one of my dream destinations.

    • MELewis · November 4

      Glad to see you back, Suz! What a ride that was — two of my favourite places (well, not so much Athens per se, though it’s beautiful, but Greece in general). I think it’s important to give ourselves up to experience now and then and not worry about writing about it until later. Hopefully we will read all about over the winter!

  11. Kiki · November 4

    Mel, maybe I shouldn’t reply from latest to earliest )re Japan).
    HH has visited Japan twice for work and a great number of ppl we know have praised their stays super highly. You’ll enjoy it very much.
    As for ‘the American president’s recommendation’ you made me smile. I knew Nr 45 whose very opening of his mouth would have made me shiver. … It can only be better. So go and take it all in.
    Big hugs and much love from the Zürich region.

    • MELewis · November 8

      Thanks, Kiki! Good to know that Swiss travelers approve of Japan — it’s a quality guarantee! As for the former (and hopefully he’ll stay that way) US president, I prefer to block any memory of things he says! Big hugs back 🤗

  12. Al in France · November 7

    Bonne chance with the build…I’m sure it’s stressful even without the issues that you are experiencing. I’ve never had a new build, so can only hazzard a guess at the problems that can arise. A trip to Japan sounds marvellous. I always regret that I never managed to get there when I was living in Australia (it was so close in comparison)! As for blogging…well, I have fallen off the wagon somewhat and am only catching up now. But, better late than never, eh?

    • MELewis · November 8

      Oh, no…hope there’s nothing serious that’s been keeping you away. Glad you’re catching up! As for the build, we’re repeat offenders: this is the 3rd time we’ve embarked on a new project. Funnily enough, despite all of the complexities in France, both of our houses got built without a hitch. I’m beginning to think this project is cursed…but time will tell. The long flight to Japan is definitely a deterrent. I’d love to go to Australia and NZ one day, but we’ll see how I do with Zurich-Tokyo!

      • Al in France · November 9

        No, just some computer laziness, and a generally busy time with one thing and another. The Aus/NZ flight is a breeze….honestly! I’ve done it so many times, and having lived there, I found that I just took it my stride. Happy travels.

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