Eighteen hours and two flights after waking up to go to the airport in San Francisco, I stepped off the plane in Zurich. First thought -- wow, it's cold here. I had been complaining that it was only getting up to about 65 degrees in Mountain View, and going down to the 40's at night. In Zurich, they warned us to be careful not to slip on the ice as we deplaned. Ice?! ICE?!?! Really? OK. I remember this stuff. I can get used to it again.
Wait, ice means that it's so cold that things freeze. So cold that I have to wear more clothes. So instead of wearing a t-shirt and light jacket, I have to wear a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, fleece, ski jacket, hat, and gloves. Oh, and that means I can't type on my BlackBerry as I walk around outside, because the gloves get in the way. Part of moving back to the States and working as a lawyer is that I have become wholly addicted to my BlackBerry. This is going to be a tough week, choosing between having adequate circulation in my fingers and feeding my addiction to constant connectivity.
Walking through the Zurich airport was simultaneously strange and familiar. I've been in the Zurich airport more than I've been in any other airport in the world, and it almost felt like I was just coming back from another of my innumerable weekend trips around Europe, except for the fact that I had to wait for a checked bag full of canned goods. The announcements in German, the unbelievably clean bathrooms, the Swiss-accented English, the piped-in soundtrack of yodeling and cows on the airport shuttle -- all of these things that I hadn't thought about but felt so strangely normal reminded me that I was indeed in Switzerland again.
The entire time that I was in Switzerland, I made occasional trips back to the States, during which I would madly stock up on whatever things I was missing in Switzerland. This time, it's going to be the other way around. I'll be eating things that are rare in the States -- good fondue, a certain kind of salad, and perhaps some sausage. I'll go buy large quantities of chocolate to take back as gifts, but maybe eat before they can be given, and I'll consider smuggling some cheese, as well. If I can find some funky sneakers that I like, I'll bring those, too -- there is space in my luggage now that the yams and onions are gone.
It's strange to visit my old life and realize it's not mine anymore.