After a four-year absence, I’m back in my own four walls. Home.
I’m very fortunate in that I have at least three places I can call home, places where I feel safe, where I belong, where I can relax. Places where I don’t have to ask permission to use anything, where everything is at my personal disposal and if I happen to breaks something, it’s my loss and no-one else’s.
For the last four years I’ve been living at my mother’s, the home where I was born – and where the proviso that I can break something with impunity doesn’t apply. There, I am still a child in certain senses. But this is my grown-up home in Switzerland, my adoptive Heimat, the country where I have spent more than half of my life. This is my home that I have created by myself and for myself, my own nest.
It’s a strange feeling to arrive back in the country after such a long absence. Everything strikes me as familiar yet strange: there are differences to the place I left, some subtle, others marked. It took me a couple of days to remember where things were and how various gadgets – such as the phone and TV – work. In fact, the TV doesn’t work, having been made obsolete by digitalisation. That may be a blessing!
More of a shock to the system is the realisation of how different my lifestyle and social circle is here, as compared to England. And I won’t dwell on the beauty of Swiss efficiency, but simply relish the reliability of the systems here.
I’m here to deal with some administrative matters, sort out one or two minor issues, and ensure that my relations with officialdom are properly regulated. Reunions with family and friends are a felicitous by-product of that: even video chats can’t replace a real warm hug, kiss and cuddle.
And who would be so churlish as to complain that it’s been snowing, when the sun shines the next day on this?