Ok, so you guys know I just spent a month on my fantabulous honeymoon. (sneak peak picture included!)
In between the action adventure, hiking, sleeping, sleeping some more, seeing 10,000 viking museums, and eating burgers, we also had almost a full month of no distractions. That means I was provided with tons and tons (and tons) of free time to blabber on (and on and on) to Florian about all of my feelings and reflections about living here for the last year. So, prepare yourselves for a super deep blog post! I’m not sure if my ramblings will be quite coherent enough to explain what I discovered, but what the hell, I’ll take a shot at elaborating. They all tie together and are sort of stepping stones on each other, and they’re all pretty private revelations so you’re getting to peel another layer of my onion (did that sound creepy??).
- Florian unconditionally loves me. This was the hardest revelation to come by and obviously the most important. I always thought in any relationship you had to make sure you were offering the other person enough that they liked you and wanted to stay with you. When you hear people break up, they give you reasons about what the other person didn’t do enough of (ie, not giving enough support, not pitching in their fair share of chores, whatever). And, sidenote, of course I knew Florian loved me, I wouldn’t have married him otherwise!!!, but of course it’s hard to trust in unconditional love between a married couple because you so rarely see it in America. But something further and deeper came from this trip. Florian doesn’t care if I work or don’t work. He doesn’t care if I cook or clean or ever learn to iron. He doesn’t care if I put on makeup (frankly, he probably doesn’t even care if I shower that often). He doesn’t love me because I do X or Y for him. He loves me because he loves me and he wants me to be happy. In fact, all he’s done this whole year is try to find ways to make me happy. And all I’ve done this year is be miserable thinking I’m not giving him enough. Turns out, if I just stop being miserable, that’s enough for him. Because he really, really loves me.
- Switzerland is a magnificent and wonderful place: I had a bit of a rough transition, which of course got better with time and patience, but after this honeymoon I really feel different about my new home. I used to hate living outside of the city but now I am really enjoying the quiet and the nature I’m in. The simple beauty of the land here just makes me smile when I look around. And I have come to embrace the anonymity that Switzerland provides. I can do what makes me happy and not constantly have to worry about the pressures I felt in America.
- I don’t love Marketing: Stupid thing for someone to say who built a career in Marketing. I always thought I loved it! But being so far removed from America has helped to realize what I really loved about it (and it’s hard to admit because it makes me sound like a jerk). I loved having an important job, working for an important company, being recognized for being smart enough to have an important job and an important company. It didn’t hurt that I made above-average salaries and got treated to fancy dinners and special parties and events. And I loved the fun strategy sessions, the brainpower to come up with creative solutions. But the office politics? The finger-pointing? The constantly covering your ass? No thanks. And unfortunately, that’s what Marketing jobs entail in reality.
- I’ve been so upset/mad/sad about not finding a job because I took it as a personal reflection that the Swiss didn’t think I was important, smart, or worthy: which is and it isn’t true. The thing is, the Swiss don’t believe in coddling everyone and telling them how great and special they are. I felt so special in America because so many people patted me on the back all the time for doing simple things. I had to get over so many of my narcissistic tendencies I learned from being a Gen Y American to realize that everyone doesn’t need to constantly tell me I’m special and great to have any self esteem. Leading to realization #3…
- I often do things that I think are praiseworthy/I don’t know how to enjoy something just because I enjoy it: when I moved to Switzerland, everyone told me it would be great to have so much free time to spend on my hobbies. Er, except I didn’t have any hobbies. I worked obsessively, took training and educational classes – those were the kinds of hobbies I had. The ones that made me look great on my resume. I hadn’t ever had a specific hobby as an adult which had intrinsic value to me that I enjoyed doing it just because I enjoyed it. I didn’t bike or run or race cars or build tables or make craft things. I never took the time to really learn to surf, or knit, or play tennis, or cook because I never saw the strategic value in them. I didn’t want to invest precious time and energy in items that didn’t further me in some way. Hence not having a hobby, and hence feeling completely let down when I relied so much on the praise of others and when that praise didn’t flow freely in Switzerland.
- Now that I know all of this about myself, I don’t have to be this way anymore: I think really, for the first time, I will look at my future lifestyle and hobbies not just as something else I can be good at, but something fun I can do to enjoy life. Florian and I were bike riding in Copenhagen and I LOVED it! Now I’m super stoked to get a bike and just casually bike down to the lake. I don’t have to be competitive, join racing teams, or anything. Just simply enjoy the weather and the wind in my hair. And when you see me cook I’m SO much less stressed now. I mean, it’s such a relief to not pressure myself into thinking I should be Julia Child when I’m first learning how to poach an egg or something.
- I don’t have to define myself in the same ways that I used to in America: I let my work and talents define me in America. Here, I’m free to be me) ironic since America is the land of the free!). But that was also part of what was so scary in this transition – who am I if I’m not the good worker, the loud mouth, the confident girl, etc. Here, I don’t have to have a tidy description of “housewife” or “American” or anything. I am “Lisa”. And I like having a working definition of what that means instead of a concise and concrete definition. I want to define myself as more than a housewife. I want my blog to reflect the same.
- I want to always live the honeymoon life: Florian and I had an amazing, spectacular, wonderful, mind-blowing honeymoon together. We spent 24/7 together for 4 weeks and didn’t get annoyed or sick of each other. We cuddled and snuggled and gave each other kisses and held hands and talked about how much we loved our family. We talked about how great the family business is and how I might start my own business in the future. We remembered the natural beauty of Switzerland and were awed by the amazing beauty of Scandinavia. I know people say the honeymoon phase in a relationship doesn’t last but I really want it to!!!! I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
And that is now the focus of my life. How to appreciate and love what I have, and strive to live the honeymoon life always. Okay, okay, let’s be honest, I’m already living the honeymoon life! I just have to figure out how to maintain it 😉