Today marks 5 years since we moved to Basel. FIVE!! We did that.
It’s a helluva lift to pick up your 4-year-old and move across an ocean to a country where you definitely don’t speak the language and you definitely don’t know what the hell you’re doing.
Driving to France or Germany weekly for groceries? Finding a pediatrician auf Deutsch? Navigating European shoe and clothing sizes? Living without air conditioning or smoke detectors? Finding a studio where I can teach yoga in English? Decoding appliance settings in Italian, French, and German?
Done. Not easy at first, but done.
When we took this photo, it was literally the first time we’d been across the Rhine. After about two months, my heart no longer raced every time I had to pay the gas station cashier auf Deutsch. Five years later, my kid has a stellar native accent and our German is considerably less sh*tty. And I am proud to have learned a (hard) new language in my 40s.
Google Translate and GPS have definitely saved our lives countless times. (I can’t imagine living overseas without either.) More importantly, so has our amazing community. The relationships we’ve made here have become forever-friendships beyond what we ever could have hoped for. Truly the best part of this whole experience.
Thanks to everyone near and far who’s been a part of our Swiss adventure thus far. When we first moved here, we thought it might feasibly last only six months. Super proud to now have five years (and a lot more cheese and chocolate) under our belts.
There are a million fitness bros on the internet trying to sell you on bone broth and intermittent fasting and the evils of seed oils. F*&k that.
Just take a walk. Every day.
I’ve got a thing lately for urban design — in particular, the power of walkable communities. Living in Europe has stoked this fire.
One of the fascinating tidbits I’ve learned is that Americans often
1) Romanticize their college life — because it was the one time they lived in an actual walkable community with everything they needed and their best friends within a few minutes’ stroll, and
2) Yearn for the magic and charm of the vacations they experienced in walkable European cities like Paris or Barcelona or Prague or even, gulp, Disney World. Do you know what made them feel so magical? The mixed-use zoning that allows for cafes, apartments, and businesses to occupy the same block.
Did you feel it trick-or-treating last night? How great it felt to walk around your neighborhood and see people out and about and breathe the crisp autumn air and crunch leaves on the sidewalk alongside your littles and be in your body instead of strapped into an isolated metal bubble on wheels?
There’s wonder and wellness and connectivity in walking. Not to mention the power to save the planet.
It’s simple and accessible and you can do it with people you love. Or listen to a podcast and feed your brain and your spirit while you’re at it.
Our bodies are designed for this. Trust them.
You don’t have to pay for some expensive gym.
Being well — being every day embodied, out in the world, sharing space and breath and nature — doesn’t have to cost a dime.
This morning my little family rolled out of bed and pulled on clothes we’d actually ironed and I applied once-a-year makeup and wore a real bra and not leggings (!!) to meet up with the always-wonderful Suzy Lou Photography for our annual family photos.
(This is a quick behind-the-scenes shot from last year’s in the Alt Stadt.)
We met Suzy the first fall we’d moved here, back in 2018, when we’d only lived in Basel a few months and we weren’t sure how long we’d actually get to stay. The cityscape along the Rhine was the main character that year, and ever since, we’ve discovered different urban corners to create a visual history as our little guy grows (and as my husband and I both go grey).
It’s a pain in the ass to actually get properly dressed and put on lipstick and we’re often swearing at each other under our breath between snaps, but I’m so, so glad we’ve done this all these years.
Expat life offers no illusion of permanence; everything about our Swiss reality could change in a heartbeat, depending on the job that allows us to stay. The rug can be pulled out from underneath it all at any moment.
So I’m ever grateful to have taken the time for these chilly cobblestone shots over the years.