It’s our second holiday in Switzerland. We last came here 10 years ago, in 2013, when Zoe was 8 and Irene just 4.
It’s amazing coming back to our favourite places like the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Trummelbach Falls ten years later, doing some of the same things, and reflecting on how much has changed.
We had rented a campervan that time. Now we’ve driven in our own campervan (RV). We left our dog in a kennel that time; now we’ve brought our dog, lovely Jake instead of lovely Trooper, whom we gave away when we left the US.
I was not a blogger then, and did not own a business. It was pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter, and we did not miss being disconnected from the world. I had a few essays out, and an (abortive) book proposal and checked on them at internet cafes, and emailed a few friends.
Now, I have a WiFi hotspot which works anywhere in the world, pretty much, so am as connected as at home–and like it that way, though obviously, I am not spending much time reading blogs, FB statuses, or tweets.
We’ve brought technology with us, laptops, iPads, iPhones, iPods, each to his or her own, because the internet, the world wide flow of knowledge is an extension of ourselves, has become part of the way we think (continually researching areas of curiosity) and the way we do life. We are unapologetic about it!!
We’ve changed; the world has changed; human consciousness has changed. Facebook, Twitter, blogs—all these barely existed ten years ago. They are now part of how I do life. Just like recording in a journal gets one to slow down, and take it all in, sharing your life in a blog or Facebook enforces a beneficial slowing down, paying attention, and reaching out and connecting which is a universal human impulse. Knowing I am going to write about it, photographing things as I go, enforces a heightened attention and I think that is a good thing.
Ten years ago, we lived in America and were American citizens. Now we live in England, and are British citizens too. Ten years, ago, we blinked at the stressfully high Swiss prices. Now, having living in England for 9 years, we’ve become inured to high prices.
Ten years, ago we had wild lively children, heard long before they were seen. Now we have savvy teenagers. Ten years ago, they would volunteer to cook us a meal at the campground kitchen and it was an grand adventure. Now, they’d rather read.
Ten years ago, we were intimidated by Swiss glares when the children were heard as well as seen, and by general Swiss dourness. Now, bah, the Swiss are just people, and if they frown and glare, I shrug! (Besides, they definitely seem to have grown nicer, or perhaps I have!)
Internally, I am happier, deeper, more content, more rooted in God. I have learned the secret of the bluebird of happiness. She lives within, that wild thing, and one must burrow within to find her.
A few then-and-now photos:
- Jake the Collie, with one eye blue and one brown, has been a photographed by many tourists to Switzerland!
Some photos of the fortified hilltop village Gruyères (from where Gruyère cheese comes from). The symbol of Gruyères is the stork (gru, in French).
Switzerland has gorgeous scenery. All but one of these are from the Lauterbrunnen vallley.