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?

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!