In Buddhism we talk about seeking our mission for Kosen Rufu (world peace). I never questioned that my mission was in the United States. Now it appears that my mission is in Switzerland—a place where I do not speak any of the 3 national languages. I have visited once. Seems like a lifetime ago because it was before I met my husband. Summer in the Alps was beautiful! It seemed like every hike involved finding an isolated tavern in the middle of nowhere on some mountain top that served beer. A friend hosted dinner in his parent’s garden and everyone was happy to speak English. Zurich was one of the highlights of that European trip. So when my husband said that he’d like to move out of the country, Switzerland was on the list of places I would say yes to.
As a headhunter myself I can appreciate how it happened. My husband listed his resume with a specialized recruiting group with a note that he would entertain offers outside the US. A couple months ago he got a call from a headhunter—would he consider moving to Switzerland? A handful of skype interviews later and he had a job offer! We literally had 48 hours to decide whether or not we wanted to change our lives forever.
The kids are excited! They both have friends that they will be leaving and my daughter is at a critical stage in High School—but the truth is they are more enthusiastic that I am. I’m glad that my husband and I are able to give them this once in a lifetime experience but I know it will be a hard change for me. I’ve put down roots and made deep connections with people here in Northern California; I own my own business; I love my Buddhist community; I’m accustomed to the convenience of Amazon and 24 hour grocery stores and shopping on Sundays.
The reality is–I’m in a rut. I’ve gotten used to drinking wine every night and watching TV. I stopped going to yoga and haven’t blogged in months. I only have a few more years with my kids before they are off to college and I’ve gotten out of the habit of making nightly family meals—we sit down together once a week or so. Will a dramatic change in geography snap me out of this rut? I’m not sure, but I do know that I’m not hiking up a steep alpine road every day carrying multiple bottles of wine. Also all that walking in the Alps will quickly make me fit.
I have a lot to learn from the Swiss! Their neutrality is something so foreign to me. I have very strong opinions and have an intolerance for conservative dogma. I’ll have to summon my Buddhist Nature and really learn how to dialogue. The United Nations is in Geneva after all where all the notable world peace deals are made. The Swiss also are very serious about their protection. Switzerland is one of the 10 safest places on Earth. The Swiss Guard protect the Pope because they can kick some serious ass! My son also informed me that all of the entry points into Switzerland are rigged to blow and block entrance if there is a risk of invasion—also all large buildings are required to have a bomb shelter. Protection of clean air and water are a given there (unlike in the US where Trump and the new EPA is rolling back air and water protections as I type—I literally threw my phone when I read the news this morning).
Speaking of Trump—he makes it very easy to say yes to Switzerland. Perhaps I can expand my business into Switzerland where I can recruit Bay Area workers to become expats because they too are totally freaked out by Trump. Cost of living is pretty comparable.
So I’m off on a grand adventure—one that will hopefully inspire change and growth. I don’t want to become stagnate and septic with my too comfortable life. As I was explaining to someone this weekend—at my core I am always afraid of everything. But what I like to do with my fear is challenge it. I believe it’s better to have lived and have experiences (even if some of the experiences aren’t positive) than to live with too much caution. My kids thankfully didn’t inherit my fear—they are both lovers of adventure like their father.