One year ago I boarded the plane into the relatively unknown. Just a week before my aunt was asking what I was going to do in Switzerland, where I was going to live, what kind of job would I have. My answers were nearly unacceptable to my concerned grandmother listening to this conversation. I didn’t think I could get a work permit in Switzerland. I wasn’t sure if I would be living in a Wege(apartment with flatmates) or with David’s parents before the wedding. I had basically no plan beyond boarding the plane and getting married a month later.
When I arrived I was basically numb. David’s best friend asked me how I felt about leaving America, moving to Switzerland, and basically changing my whole life. My answer. “I don’t feel anything.” That was the honest truth. I was so overwhelmed by all the change that I didn’t want to feel it. Any of it. I wasn’t ready. I put my head to the grind to finish planning our basically unplanned wedding. I looked forward to our wedding week. I looked forward to my family and friends coming to visit. I looked forward to our honeymoon in Asia. Before I knew it, it was four months later and there was nothing else to look forward to. I finally let myself feel it. It was incredibly difficult.
When I meet new people and they find out I’m an Ausländer aus Amerika(Foreigner from America) living in Switzerland they always ask the same question. Always. “How do you like it here in Switzerland?” I answered ,”it’s nice here” or “I like it” or “it’s a beautiful country.” All of these answers are true. But in reality I was incredibly homesick. I missed going to the grocery store and joking with the cashier, I missed being in the same time zone as the people I loved, I missed the familiar, I missed my family, my friends, my culture, and my language. But I’m not the kind of person who likes to bring attention to my pain. I would much rather maintain the facade of optimism. And so I did.
Here I am one year later. Stronger for this experience. I have overcome the struggles and can truly say Switzerland is becoming home. I don’t feel numb anymore. I feel alive. But I had to choose that. I had to get off my butt and decide that this life was worth living to the fullest.
If you’re feeling numb, if life has given you a little more than you can handle, don’t give up. Be real with the people around you. Keep on fighting, get up, take that step toward thriving again.