One week after landing in a hazy, overcast, gray Geneva, Switzerland, I had my very first taste of what I’d moved 3,000 miles to experience. And it was, of course, magical.
I was alone for the first time in weeks. Exploring. John was working, Jacob was safely at his first day of school. I was on my own, with only our Bernese Mountain Dog, Charlie, for company, when it happened.
I was driving down the Route de Divonne when the clouds, at long last, parted. And there they were – just past the now glistening Lake Geneva — the mountains. Mont Blanc, with its year-round snowy peak, the highest mountain in Europe. The Alps, danced right there, just through my windshield. I could practically reach out and touch them, taste them, smell their beauty. It was magical. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Unforgettable.
I felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. You know just what I mean, don’t you. I felt like Julie when she is up there in the mountains by herself. When she throws her arms wide and sings with all her heart, The Hills Are Alive, With the Sound of Music. And they are. Trust me.
I slowed down, tried to breathe, tried to memorize the moment and keep it in my heart. Tried to capture the moment forever. I also tried not to hit another car.
And then, well, something else happened. From a side street to my left came a small car. It turned in front of me, pulling behind it a long green open-air trailer. Neatly stenciled on the back in a lacy, delicate script were these words:
“Natural Garden,” in french.
And on top of that trailer sat the largest pile of steaming cow manure I have ever seen.
And so, my first solo excursion in the Swiss countryside became a metaphor for life as an ex-patriot living there: There were moments of majestic beauty that I call “Julie Andrews Moments,” when I was filled with beauty and awe and felt like the luckiest person on earth.
And there was a lot of shit. These two elements combined with travel to places I never dreamed I’d see, made our time in Geneva the adventure of a lifetime.
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Some of my bloggin’ buddies have asked me to write more about our time in Geneva, and I figured it is about time I did. It was a wonderful experience, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss my non-home-away from home, Switzerland.