26 Apr 2018

All good things

The previous post to this blog was about the importance of timing. It was two weeks ago - and timing was indeed of the essence. For two weeks represent my contractual notice period at work.

After nine years, a big chapter of life will come to a close as I have decided to leave Canada and return to Switzerland. As long as it took to reach this decision, as quickly will it be executed. In just a few days from now, I will be on a plane, and most of my belongings in a container on a boat to Europe.

By extension, this will also mark the imminent conclusion of this blog (although Google will preserve its contents for posterity). What had started soon after my arrival in Montréal nine years ago, at the suggestion of a friend, has evolved into a form of personal diary of this big Canadian adventure. Just like the time in the Great White North itself, it has outlasted my wildest dreams.

Any attempt at a summary of the past nine years would be futile - too rich, too varied, too rewarding has the time been. What remains is an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards this country and its habitants for having welcomed and integrated me the way they did. In fact, they did so to the point of irreversibility: They made me one of their own.

And it is therein that lies hope. For while I have concluded that the next chapter will be written in Europe again, close to friends and family but far away from her, that next chapter need not be the final one. I now have the privilege of returning to Canada whenever I choose. Just as I never thought that I had left Switzerland for good, I don't feel I am leaving Canada forever now.

Nonetheless, there is a strong sense of sadness (or is it nostalgia?) taking hold of me. As if to tease me, the first signs of spring just started emerging after what felt like an eternal winter. I took my first Bixi ride of the season, sat with friends in a sunny backyard, saw the signs for the festivals go up.

My final week is filled with farewell lunches, culminating in my own 5à7 tonight. In the absence of a real family here, the colleagues I worked with closely in these years have become a big part of my life. Them too, I will leave behind. And if I don't feel much remorse for leaving the company, I do so for them.

The new opportunity awaiting me in Zurich is exciting, and while I am not looking forward to the logistics of moving and re-settling in Switzerland, I now have the confidence of having been through worse and prevailing. But I am curious as to how it will feel to come back to a country that will have changed since I left it - as have I.

All of this pales, though, in comparison to the challenge of engaging in a long distance relationship for the foreseeable future. What our industry coldly calls "VFR Traffic" (visiting friends and relatives) will become a vital trans-atlantic lifeline.

Of all good things, this is the one that will not end.

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