It all worked out in the end - what started as a random "Hm, let's see what happens if I move to Switzerland" experiment turned into one of the best decisions I've ever made. Leaving my life in Zurich was one of the hardest things I've done, but I left older and wiser. Or so I thought.
As it turns out, only one of those was true. I am now 30, so I'm definitely older, but I'm not sure that I'm any wiser.
Somehow, I thought that coming back to the States would be an easy homecoming, of sorts. Moving back wouldn't be the big adjustment that moving to Europe had been, I reasoned, because I'm American and I'm moving back to America. Turns out that I should have said that I'm an East Coaster moving to California. Californians are nearly as alien and unfathomable to me as the Swiss. Preliminary observations reveal a marked penchant for yoga and bicycles.
These aliens seem quite at home in a place that is quite foreign to me. For the first time in thirteen years, I'm living in the suburbs, and I have to drive everywhere, instead of just hopping on a tram (Zurich), the subway (New York), or the T (Boston). I have no idea what to do with my substantial collection of heavy coats and umbrellas. After four years of bringing my dog everywhere except for grocery stores, I suddenly have to leave him at home when I'm going to a restaurant (as opposed to Zurich, where he would sometimes get better service from the waitstaff than I would). I am somewhat discombobulated by the lack of marching bands and church bells.
I think it will take longer than anticipated to get used to this place.