Lately it feels like time is playing tricks with me. Slowing down and speeding up. Sometimes it seems to have stopped completely.
It started when the world went viral and we stopped doing all the things we normally do each day. It continued when we moved to a place where, even after two-and-a-half years, I only speak a few words of the language. And it’s gotten worse since we decided to move away from this place and have been waiting for things to happen.
Now, they are happening. Or about to happen. But I am still not sure what day of what week it is without looking at my apps.
Is it just me? Am I losing the plot of my own life? Or are we all still a little shell shocked?
I was convinced that I had shared the story of our new house here on the blog. But it turns out I only wrote a short update on Instagram.
So let me go back and resume our story for you lovely readers of this sadly neglected blog.
The backstory: We sold our house in France back in 2020 to move closer to my husband’s work in Zug. We didn’t know central Switzerland that well, so we decided to rent while we began to look around to buy a home. After a year we realized there was little on the market, and mostly beyond our budget. In the meantime, thanks to Covid, Stefan began working 100% from home and no longer needed to be at the office. So we expanded our search back into French-speaking ‘Suisse Romande’ and found a new project being built just half an hour from where our son and his partner had settled, and were expecting our first grandchild. We signed a contract for the ground floor apartment with a view of Lake Geneva. It was supposed to be completed and delivered between September and December of 2022.
Big breath in.
Lo and behold, the project got stalled on technicalities. Isn’t it funny how sometimes things in which you have the most confidence turn out to be the ones that go pear-shaped? Over the years we built two houses in France, and despite all of the complexity of regulations and the strike-prone labour environment in that country, both of them went off without a hitch. In Switzerland? With its rock solid banks and clock-setting trains? We didn’t blink an eye when we signed, but fortunately, the contract stipulated that if ever the building was not delivered on time, we were entitled to withdraw. So we did. A few months, one good lawyer and considerable anguish later, we finally got our investment – plus, a bonus penalty fee – back and were free to move on.
This all happened just in January when we simultaneously began looking for a new home. Apartment, duplex, townhouse…we were open to different options. What we found was that by moving further away from my beloved Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), prices got a lot more affordable. Basically, for less than our original apartment, we were able to get a house. But time was of the essence. We had the financing in place for the first project, at an attractive interest rate, and the bank was willing to keep the same terms for the mortgage as long as the deal was signed within the first half of the year. So we hustled our bustles and found a place that ticked most of our boxes, agreed on a price, and signed the purchase agreement.
And the bank? Just as we signed on the dotted line, the news broke that Crédit Suisse was on the brink of collapse. Thankfully, they came through with the payment. (And will now merge with that other esteemed Swiss bank, UBS).
Big breath out.
Now, the fun begins. The place we bought is almost new, built in 2019. It has good space and feels right. But…the previous owners’ taste ran to some very different styles from our own. So we are scrambling to get a few essential things done, like redoing the floors on the main level and transforming a fitness room into a guest room and ensuite. We take possession on May 1st, and plan to move in later in the month. That leaves three weeks. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, this time thing continues to plague me. Thankfully, the season is changing, and the slow shift into spring is giving me moments of pure bliss as I watch the long-tailed birds (Tits? Shrikes?) flit around the bushes on our balcony. Each morning, we wake to a melancholy performance from a blackbird who clearly inspired the song by the Beatles. And I take in the beautiful views all around me in Brunnen, knowing how much I will miss them, while looking forward to different vistas that will greet us in our new home.
How about you? Is time playing tricks with your life? What is the ‘zeitgeist’ (collective mood) in your part of the world?
Great to read your news, Mel!! Your new house looks stunning, and I’m sure you’re going to be very happy there!
This year, the change from winter to summer time has really messed with my perception of time – not the days of the week, just what time it is during the day! Thankfully, with the days getting longer I’m able to spend more (much needed) time working in the garden. But I’ve still not found any time (perhaps due to lack of motivation) to re-start writing my blog! So I’m grateful to read your update!!
Nice to read you, Andreas! It is good to know I’m not alone in my lazy blogging habits these days. Oddly, the dreaded clock change somehow threw me less than normal this time. Probably because I’m still completely lost after the last one! P.S. I may reach out for your gardening advice!
Mel, I even took a ‘blog reading and replying break’. So you are, by far, not the only one with a time-management problem! I just before realised that on Thursday next week I not only have a week-long staying guest but that I have THREE things firmly fixed in my agenda. This is crazy!!!! And me who normally truly needs to use my agenda AND an additional mobile phone alarm to get through with everything, simply forgot to add one of the three ‘dates’ plus the fact that I will have to care for my guest too…. I am now thinking of how to get all this sorted out w/o getting crazy.
I’m glad for you to have sorted your new home. Do send me the address by mail; we might just (maybe!) meet up one of these days in the future of our lives.
In any case, I DID wonder a few times how you life went but also I thought that, same as us, you’d be more than busy with getting settled somewhere, sometime, and the last thing you needed was being pushed to write.
So you’re one of the only and very few who gets to hear from me…. Treasure it; it might be long before you read me again! 😉 But do send me your addy. All the best for your move – may it go well and may you be blissfully happy. Even sans Lac Léman!
I will definitely send it to you, Kiki! (Hint: If you are ever in the ski resorts near Sierre, we are not from Crans Montana.)
As for your planning challenges, something has definitely slipped for me too. I used to plan family and work events and make travel arrangements without any difficulty. Now, I find myself struggling with so many details. Perhaps it is our over-reliance on digital technology? In any case, glad to hear that others also take breaks from the blogosphere, and still happily return from time to time to share news! 😎
Good to hear all this. I think most of us occasional bloggers take long breaks, sometimes for good reasons but mostly for “busy-ness”. My own flower-growing hobby has pushed so many things to the back burner as the days warm and lengthen. There are never enough hours in the day, though, and I’m now counting down in months (28) until I retire, and my days are no longer ruled by clock and calendar.
Flower growing? I did not realize that was your hobby. Mostly I see your fabulous fashion statements on Instagram, but I will also look for botanical inspirations. We will have a greenhouse in the garden at our new home, so will have to cultivate our green thumbs! Rock on retirement! (I’m winding down this year…)
Great to hear you have finally found a house to your liking and will move soon. That will be one less worry for you.
I find that time has been going faster as I grow older; years go by without me noticing it. I can’t believe that we are already in 2023…I do understand that blogging can be spotty and I think it is a good thing. We now only blog when we get back from a big trip so there are burst of posts (like right now) and long silence which is fine by me as I don’t want to become a slave to the blog. (Suzanne)
I think your approach is a good one, Suzanne. Post a series when you are enthusiastic and have something exciting to share, then take a break. A bit of the best of both worlds. As for the move, we added up the number of times we’ve moved since we met and it is at least 12! So hopefully this will be the lasting one. 🤞🏻
Congrats on the new house MEL. Love the contemporary design! I’m sure many wonderful blessings await you there. Hugs and Happy Easter wishes, Elyse
Thank you, my friend! We will have a comfy guest room if you ever feel like making a return trip to Europe and discovering Switzerland. I can guarantee you will love it! Much joy to you for Easter and beyond!
This is exciting good news and encouraging. I wish you well in your new home, and that it may be all that you hope for. As for the local ‘zeitgeist’… it revolves around talk about how off-course the USA is and *hallelujah* it’s spring. I’m getting whiplash just thinking about it.
Well at least there’s a bit of brightness in the mood, although I appreciate it’s somewhat hard to swing between those two extremes. Thank you for the well wishes! Will be happy to be home again.
Ugh, it sounds as if you’ve both been through the wringer. So glad you’ve found a place to settle although I do /not/ envy you the hassle of having to move. Looking forward to some more pics. Happy post-Easter!
Thanks, Meeks! It was cathartic to write it all out and helped me to be grateful for just how much we got done despite the challenges. Also helps me to remember what’s what. Moving is no picnic, but hoping this one will be the last for a while.
Yeah, putting it into words often takes some of the sting out of a situation. Fingers crossed that you won’t have to move for YEARS! lol
Things will go deservedly well for you now MEL. Time will soon cease to play tricks only to restsrt when you gain a bit of age and you’ll see days drag on but Christmas arrive valmost monthly. Lookafter yourself and enjoy thr newe home. Huge Hugs
Thank you kindly for the well wishes, David. I am surely not deserving but will welcome a smooth ride for however long it lasts. Shall I wish you a Merry Christmas? 🎄 The weather certainly seems to be cooperating around here! xoxo
Goodness. What a roller-coaster you’ve had. But it looks as though it’s coming together at last, and – what a house! That looks definitely worth waiting for. Looking forward to getting to know your house and new home area better!
Thank you, Margaret. 🙏 It is a house that will need some love but I sense will give back in spades. I look forward to sharing our ups and downs as we settle in!
I’m looking forward to your new adventure too!
Well, melting brains come to mind, as it were, with all that stress. So well done for sailing through it so well. Dare I say, the house looks a little Corbusian? (And that’s a positive, btw.) I admire you for choosing such wonderful places to live, and I’m sure the new area will offer lots of wonderful new experiences.
Oh, I take Corbusian very much as a compliment (although I never thought of it that way…) Now that you mention it, it definitely has some of that ‘esprit nouveau’ at least on the outside, and the inside is all about light, so perhaps you are right. As for the area, I think that was down to luck and being willing to go a little further. Fingers crossed we have no regrets!