…Or I could say writes of passages, since I’ve known them in the plural form. In this blog, I plan to write about them all.
And what more appropriate blog launch than to begin writing of passages exactly where I stand, smack dab at the crossroads of one. Today I am straddling worlds–hemispheres, (east and west), countries, cultures, cuisines, climates—with the movers arriving in a matter of days. With me at command central, the crew will pack up our equatorial years and ship them off to our alpine ones. We’re leaving balmy Singapore for brisk Switzerland.
I know, I know. Not too shabby. Indeed, I feel the golden fortune of this, and am grateful way down past my buckling knees.
After 16 international moves, you’re right to guess that I know this whole spiel by heart. I just pull up the Excel spreadsheet and hit auto pilot, right? Could do it with my eyes closed, hands and feet tied behind my back in a yoga contortion, maybe? Kinda. Sorta. But as I’ve learned over 20+ years of globalicity, these crossroads can either be a predictable stroll to the other curb, or they can slam you broadside. Inevitably, there will be some unavoidable jerks and mini-whiplashes in between, and as a veteran vagablonde, I can safely say something is bound to happen that at least gets me sweating. Heavily. (And that means something when you’re not in Singapore.) We’ll just wait and see how this one goes.
Speaking of not sweating, just a week ago today I was standing on the shores of Lake Geneva. I actually had on boots and a sweater, which would have liquefied me on the spot in the perpetual 31˚ Celsius and 95% humidity of Singapore. My husband Randall and I were in Geneva for a few days doing the preliminary legwork of hunting for schools for Dalton and Luc, the two youngest of our four children, the lucky ones who will be accompanying us there in August. Claire, our college senior studying in the States, had come to Singapore to hold down the roost during our week-long absence.
Geneva is a town begging to be fallen in love with: built along the gray-blue expanse of Lake Geneva, and cupped by the Jura mountain range on one side, Alps on the other, it’s a gentle stunner. It has enough Parisian elegance to remind us of that former home (we were there eight years), enough of Olso’s saltiness to remind us of that former home (we were there five years), enough of Munich’s restraint to remind us of that former home (we were there a total of five years), enough of Vienna’s conviviality to remind us of that former home (we were there a total of over two and a half years), and actually little in common with Hong Kong or Singapore, except for all their diversity.
Geneva’s diversity is due to the presence of the U.N., the W.T.O., the W.H.O., the Red Cross, and numerous international entities including bankers, watchmakers, and candlestick makers. (I’m just tossing them in). For a metropole, it felt compact, though its 200,000 inhabitants pack a multicultural punch. Nearly 50% of these folks are non-Swiss, I learned interrogating the pretty attendant at the hotel desk, and I witnessed proof of that rumor while wandering the vieille ville (old city), where I heard as much Russian, Korean, Mandarin, German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English as I did French.
Since we’re all for diversity, Randall and I, we’re glad we don’t have to give that up in leaving Singapore. What these two cities have in common besides diversity, though, is their high quality of life. But as you probably might guess, that quality doesn’t come for free. The home we’re exiting like the one we’re entering both rank neck-in-neck near the top of the list of World’s Most Expensive Cities to live in. (So whatever happened to getting transferred to Kathmandu?)
But I’m stumbling all over myself, writing us already into the future. We’ll get there soon enough. For now, there are two more months remaining in Singapore, and for these weeks ahead, as the passage ramps up in slope and speed, I’ll return to write of it.
© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and melissadaltonbradford.wordpress.com, 2012. This work (text and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.