When I first moved to Switzerland, I was following a boy. 6 months before, we'd had a house-warming party together in an apartment that was not mine. I'd taken a German course and could successfully order food in a restaurant and send it back if I so chose. Ivo came to pick me up and we had to go to New York to get my visa in time. He also lost multiple games of cribbage to my mother and asked if he had her blessing to propose to me.
My brother had approved of my plan to live in Switzerland. (I may have told him while we were strolling along the Rhein on a goregous summer day - a little unfair.) My sister was encouraging sight-unseen, but both asked how many states in the US I'd been to and how well I knew the home that I was leaving.
This year has given me the gift of seeing more of the middle of America than I'd ever seen before. I've learned that I'll never be able to appreciate it's diversity, expanses and different community full of incredible people.
The experience of writing our guide book is also extraordinary. When writing about religion and weapons in Texas, I wound up stumbling on the same information that Ivo had used in his section about drought. Without knowing that the other was using it, we both wrote about the governor of Texas having a day of prayer to stop forest fires. Only I, however, had included the fact that that same governor had cut the budget for the forestry service shortly before. So, I'm writing about this country that has a new place in my heart and worry about being too negative when describing it for Swiss readers.
It's not only Rt 66 that has made America over in my eyes. The United States is now home to my favorite little person, my nephew Simon. I now want all sorts of good things for his homeland and the people in it. I want to come back and connect to it in a new way now that he's here, growing and changing every day. I'm also headed to Switzerland in a whole different way. I'm dragging my husband back, excited to move to a place that I know and love (he's less excited, I think). I'm looking at sports teams to join, excited about adopting a puppy, beginning the citizenship process and returning to a community and making one of my own.
I notice a change since returning from meeting my lil' nephew. The way that he came to the world was a path of unexpected twists, turns and surprises. It was also traveled by peaceful loving people. Suddenly the unexpected and twisty things to come seem less scary. There's a new peace thanks to the lesson that this teeny person has taught me.