To Autumn

While our ‘relocate to Switzerland’ conversations were still in progress, my parents wasted no time whatsoever in planning their visit. I suspect we were largely an excuse to see a few other countries they’ve always wanted to explore, but much to our amusement they had their flights booked well before we had confirmed ours. They arrived almost exactly one month after we did, and after acclimatising here they travelled through France, Spain and Portugal before spending their final week with us.

I’ve racked my brains, and I’ve not spent as much concentrated time with my folks since they visited me in Ireland; prior to that, when I lived at home (and we don’t want to consider how long ago that was). Given this, and the fact that we had only just moved ourselves and were settling in to our new home, I wasn’t sure how it’d go. The answer: it went fine and grandparents are awesome.

Our days were simple. Early coffee (sometimes plural, depending on her wake up time) and breakfast, after which I’d get to do whatever I liked (which was usually stare into space) while my parents played with the girl. They’d then head off for the day, or we’d mosey out together, after which we’d reconvene for more space staring slash playing. Motsy would get home, we’d do her night routine (bath, book, bed) followed by our night routine (dinner, wine, chocolate). We also had the luxury of a few nights out sans baby which of course we spent talking pretty much exclusively about her and her latest tricks (saying ‘uh-oh!’ is the current highlight).

For their final weekend we spent Saturday in Zurich, lunching and wandering the streets. We hit a shamelessly tourismo yet delicious beer hall, where Tim and I ate meat on a sword. There was also pork knuckle and rosti and everyone was happy.

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For Sunday lunch we visited a restaurant perched on the hills above Zurich, between a vineyard and a forest. The foliage, while thinning (like someone’s hair), remains stunning.

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Zurich 0031 - 20151102I knocked back a cheeky prosecco while Adelaide tried her hand at stealing post-halloween pumpkins.

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During my first stint at uni (literature and philosophy. Useful. Hence subsequent degrees) I took many poetry classes, one of which included ‘To Autumn‘, by Keats. A work that describes beautifully the rich fullness of the season, it also has undertones of melancholy: the inevitability of the passage of time, the fleeting nature of life as season is overtaken by season, and ultimately of our own mortality. I’ve always loved Autumn, and I love how this poem describes it. This year, it feels much more poignant than it has previously. Partly because of the assault on our senses that we’ve not experienced before, but also because we’re acutely aware how much is changing in our little lives, and how quickly. It wasn’t a melancholy car ride home from leaving my parents in Zurich, but it was somewhat sombre as we contemplated that the next time my folks will see our girl, she’ll be walking and talking (hopefully more than misplaced uh-ohs). There’s a new niece or nephew arriving across the other side of the world early next year, bringing newborn cuddles we’ll miss. We’ve not spoken to dear friends in some months and when we do, it’s the headline events that make the conversations, not the minutiae of the day to day which although simple and ostensibly dull makes life broader, fuller, familiar, more meaningful. While we didn’t exactly get our Keats on – we’re not lamenting the (literal or metaphysical) winter ahead – we did pause, heartstrings pulled a little, as we watched the leaves float down.

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This morning we had to go to the Zug authorities to advise them we’re moving to Canton Luzern. Our lovely Swiss relocation consultant met me bright and early, and we were discussing the glorious colours and the misty mornings. Although English is not her first language, and neither of us are even remotely in the Keats ballpark, I thought her simple words summed up the sentiment perfectly: ‘the mountains just now are so beautiful, I want to cry’.

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