We’ve been home in California for a few days now and already back in our usual routine. Oddly, the thing that was the hardest to adapt to in Switzerland, the lack of commercialism on Sunday’s, is the thing that is giving me the biggest reverse culture shock. The car dealer was open late on Saturday night to purchase a car and again on Sunday when I would pick it up. Movers came on Sunday to move our things from storage into the house. Our landscape contractor visited us on Sunday to discuss what needed to be done in the next week. Large chain stores along with the tiny mom-n-pop corner grocery were open at 8 a.m. All these commercial activities that nobody blinks an eye at on their sacred day off. The rat race has begun and our old routines have been restarted.
Already our adventure in Switzerland feels as if it were a dream. There are so many things I’ll miss: the honor system of the Passabene that tallied your goods as you shopped and whizzed you through checkout, the landscape, children who cried “les loups” at the dogs, the landscape, the traffic circles (yes they really do make sense), the quiet mountain trails, our Sunday walks to Morges for pup cups, the landscape, tiny villages with barely soul in them, the endless farmland hikes, the landscape, complaining about “Swiss Efficiencies” such as the ridiculously small parking spaces and tiny freezers, “bonjours” to the passerby, the landscape, the cows and donkeys, the sunrise and moonrise over Lac Léman, the scent of fresh fertilizer in the spring, the landscape, the standard Swiss 3-kiss social greeting and even those silly government required black trash bags. But most of all, I’ll miss the pace of life. Oh, and the landscape.
Our life there was so different from our life in California, that it feels surreal. Each day the memories will grow more hazy and dreamlike. But the country’s impression, its attitude and life lessons, will never be forgotten.