There are certain times that lend themselves to self-reflection. A new baby, a big birthday, and I think relocating to a different country. There is a special window of time where the possibilities for change and reinvention are endless. A unique opportunity to ponder what’s important and what direction to take.
My plan, my little dream that suddenly seemed within reach, was to open a cafe. A small one, but with great coffee and homemade food.
Just after arriving in Zurich I had a list of things to do, big things, and I just needed a moment, to take a breath, before getting started. I needed to be in a cafe, in my own thoughts, but with life reassuringly happening around me. I needed a decent coffee. As it happened it took a few weeks and some research to find a good cafe. In the meantime the idea to open my own had taken hold.
Of course at some point reality sets in. I can’t speak German, it’s too expensive, I’m too tired. But for a little while, it was good to dream and have some clarity.
For now though, I’m super happy when I find a good coffee, and I do appreciate someone else making it for me.
For someone who tends to think about things a lot, the decision to move away from England was surprisingly unremarkable. I guess it’s not always easy to see how monumental something is at the time, and hoping for the best is as good a strategy as anything else. I can see myself now, aged 24, the day I left. My rucksack on the back seat of the car. I can picture my friends, waving from the door of our shared house in Bermondsey. We’d lived together as students, and now we’d all transported ourselves to a house in London. We’d studied for four years to be nurses, and now here we were, with proper jobs and everything. But something was missing, the boy I’d fallen in love with was in a different country. My phone bills were huge. We’d discussed him moving to London, but in the end I’d been the one to suggest that I move to Norway. It would be an adventure, and the town where my boyfriend lived was beautiful. Yep, I was ready to leave London. I’d learn the language and get a job. I promptly filled out the papers to start the process of getting my education recognised in Norway. I’m efficient, me. A few months later, and there I was, driving off towards a new life with barely a backward glance. All I remember thinking was that I hoped the ugly display cabinet in my room that I’d flatpacked one day when I couldn’t stand to look at it any more, would stay upright now that I’d hastily reassembled it.