It's been a long 3 years

Picture it...6 am Winnipeg 2011. Johnathan comes into our bedroom and declares we're moving to Switzerland. Immediately I feel like I'm going to throw up. Then cue the world's fastest move overseas. 

A lot of you know that story. 

The year leading up to that moment, I've shared in bits and pieces. Johnathan changed jobs to get a better work-life balance. I was in career limbo. We were in debt due to sticking our heads in the sand about our finances and not wanting to admit that overspending was linked to both of us being generally unhappy with life and in our marriage. We were good at turning on the charm when we were out and about, but overall, our last year in Canada wasn't great. I look at pictures of us from our last year in Canada, and I feel for those two, I want to tell them it will get better and you'll love each other and life again, just hang on. It's coming! 

We both sincerely believe Switzerland saved us. Not just as a couple but as people. Apparently, Swiss mountain air can, in fact, cure what ails you! 10 years on, I'm still grateful.

The original plan was 3 years, and then we would find a new adventure, whatever that might be. If we returned to Canada, we would have a cool story about that time we lived in Switzerland. Then 3 turned into 6 and then into 9, and now 10 years on, we've realized we underestimated how long 3 years actually is. Just to put it into perspective, when we arrived in Switzerland, we had 1 niece and 2 godchildren. Our niece and godson were about 9 months old, and our goddaughter was about to turn 4. Now 10 years later, we have 2 nieces, 3 nephews, 1 niece or nephew on the way and 2 godchildren. That 4-year-old goddaughter starts high school in the fall. 

We arrived here just after our 5th wedding anniversary. We will be celebrating 15 years this year. When we got hitched, there was a lot of talk about building a life together, and I'll be honest, I had no idea what that meant. We were just two idiots doing stuff together because we fell in love, but I didn't know how to translate that into "building a life."

But 10 years on, I think we've done it! I think we've built a life here. It definitely snuck up on us. I still think back to the first 6 months we were here and wonder how we even made it work. We have a home we love. A community of friends who love us. We have a sense of place and belonging. A lot of the trappings of "desperate expat chic" have slowly been replaced with things that actually bring us joy. Although we do hang on to a few bits and pieces out of sentimentality. We don't want to forget how we got to where we are now. So the terrible futon is still here, in my office, and I have a daily reminder of how far we've come and how hard we've worked. 

So where are we at now? Well, we're looking at our future with a healthy dose of optimism. We're actively planning for our future even though we have no idea what the universe will throw at us. Johnathan is working on an MA (I keep telling people he's studying to be a cybersecurity guard, I'm not convinced this is an accurate description). I'm working on a second BA (Classical Studies and German) with an eye on an archiving program in the future. We got a furry tornado of joy named Mabel. A ridiculous Maine coon who makes every day an adventure. We're both about to celebrate work anniversaries, 10 years of Johnathan and 7 years for me. Despite everything the last 1.5 years have been like on a global scale, we're okay. Exhausted and desperately home sick but okay.