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?
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