For many reasons…including lack of inspiration and motivation…I’ve decided to end this blog here. Our expat life has come to a pause and other priorities have come to the forefront..choosing a preschool for Danny, selecting sports and activities for Noah, looking at what I want to do next. Rather than feel guilty about not writing any posts, I’ll leave it at the end of our journey. And, who knows, maybe another blog will take it’s place. On to the next adventure…
After a firm decision to remain in Switzerland for a third, and final year, we chose…at the last minute… (primarily for financial and family reasons) to return to Minnesota permanently in the summer of 2011. It was an amazing adventure. We would do many things differently (mostly logistics and having more patience), but it was a once in a life time whirlwind for our family. We’ll return…to show Danny where he was born, relive memories of Noah’s preschool years, and take a glimpse of what our life may have been if we had stayed. But everything happens the way it is supposed to. As we look ahead in 2012, deciding what we want our life to be…more adventures abroad of firmly planted in the States…I offer a final glimpse of the road not taken.
Belp. This was the town we were planning on moving to before we did an about-face and returned to Minnesota. It is a cute, small town, near Bern (a quick train ride from the main station), with lots of cows, great views, and most important friends who would have lived just feet from our front door.
I had become good friends with the mom of one of Noah’s preschool classmates. We each had two boys close to the same ages, she had lived in Canada, and BONUS for Colin, was originally from Germany, so spoke High German.
We had toured a number of apartments in the same complex/neighborhood and had chosen one. A spacious place with awesome views of the alps. The downside: they were in the beginning stages of building more units directly in front of “our place.” But, we figured we would be moving in a year, so we should miss the mess.
Noah would have attended the local kindergarten a few hundred feet away, with his friend, Janis. We had checked and double-checked and because there were so many Germans living in the area, the kindergarten would be taught in High German.
All of these combined to present a very appealing option for our final year in Switzerland. But, the stress of the move and separation of our family proved too much for us. This is the home we didn’t choose.
Buskers Bern is an international street music festival in Bern. This year’s festival took place just a few days before Colin returned to Minnesota. While he didn’t catch a lot of the action, he did manage to capture a couple of shots. After a couple of years in Bern, I’m sorry to say, but I started to avoid these kind of events with the kids. The crowds and noise was too much for us. It always looked like a lot of fun and sans kids I would have loved to stroll the streets.
Soon after the boys and I left the Swiss-land, they started major construction projects (i.e. track cleaning) on the tram lines in town. I am SO glad to have missed this. The trams are so easy with strollers, but the buses not always so. With the tram lines down, they created alternate bus routes. Ew and Ug.
Colin documented different stages of the work and enjoyed the precision with which they did their jobs. Regimented break times, beer times, work times, and stop times.
When we first arrived in Bern, Colin’s office was located in Ostermundigen. A suburb just north east of Bern. It was an easy commute. Colin walked two blocks and hopped on a bus that took him right there. He could walk or bike as well, but rarely did due to the rainy, gray days. After a few months, his team and other divisions were moved to offices in Liebefeld. This suburb was located on the opposite side of town – south and west. This area had a different, new vibe, like a growing suburb that doesn’t quite have all the amenities of older ‘burbs, but felt fresh and open. Here are some photos from his office there. How the Swiss do the workplace….
A few weeks before returning to Minnesota permanently, Colin hiked in the mountains. A fitting end. We started our time in Bern with a hike down the Muggestutz. Noah was almost three and a half, had to be carried down half the mountain and I was about six months into my pregnancy with Danny. It was harder than we had thought it would be. Colin complained about toting Noah, but I had my belly in the front and a stuffed, full backpack in the back. I think I get the medal for that hike.
Here are some photos Colin took on his final journey.