When the world goes silent

If you’ve even been thrown into a completely different country, with a completely different language, this may resonate with you.

In August 2008, I made a leap and moved to Switzerland to be an Au Pair for 4 young girls. It was a decision made on a bit of a whim but one that’s proved forever fruitful.

On days I reminisce, I come across things that I’ve forgotten to think about for a while and it pleases me so, that I have all these wonderful memories and that I can reach into my mind and re live them whenever I choose.

After a most amazing night out on Friday night with some lovely blogging gals the topic came up of learning languages in the car on the way home.

I shared my story with the girls, and now I’m sharing with you.

As mentioned above, I moved to Switzerland in August 2008, into a French speaking region, Lausanne. I had minimal French under my belt due to 3 years ‘learning’ French at high school and my friends and I ALWAYS proclaiming “As if we will ever need this” (well I’ve sure learnt NOT to say/think that again) So, I had about enough as to tell everybody what my name is, that I am an Au Pair and that I like the swimming pool and post office. So as awesome as my 3 sentences were, this didn’t really assist me with understanding or being able to do ANYTHING solo on my own without looking like I was in a game of charades. (I had to explain to someone that I went horse riding on my holidays one day early on in my travels, now you don’t need help with understanding how funny that looked, in the middle of a pub, all eyes on me…)

As you can imagine, the world turned very different, very quickly. I was scared shirtless at the beginning thinking I would most certainly freak out because I hardly knew a single word. How would I ever cope, was the main thought on my mind.

But then it happened… Peace happened, a kind of peace you would never ever think possible happened. The world was quiet..

It was such an enlightening experience, the fact that I couldn’t understand anyone, made life pretty sweet. I had time with my own thoughts, no one to interrupt. I had time to ponder every single thing, in my own time, because I could. I wasn’t subconsciously trying to listen to every conversation around me, as we do here, in our English speaking country, everyday, whether we realise it or not. I was just doing my thing, with only my own thoughts to worry about.

This immense calmness just enveloped me. And I was seriously on cloud 9. I would just wander around the city taking everything in, like I was a child, because I didn’t have words to distract me.

I learnt a lot about myself then, the internal conversations I had with were so amazing and un interrupted, sometimes I dream for that time again. Bliss.

My magically loud yet personally silent world came to a massive halt the day I started understanding. I remember those few weeks where my silent world was loudly interrupted, and it HURT, my brain was constantly buzzing, because I was picking up words here there and everywhere, and concentrating so hard on what the words were. I remember the constant headache I had, how I seemed to shy away from those city visits because it was just exhausting. How I would dream to go back to the apartment and sit there in proper silence because I couldn’t cope with this unnerving noise.

As the days went by this got progressively easier, the headaches subsided and the noise balanced out. This was all a result of it becoming easier to understand French and easier to speak it, it was slowly becoming the normal. It became the same crazy busy world as it is now for me in Melbourne and my silent world, was gone. Forever.

I’ll never forget those early days where I was a stranger in the world, where the silence eased me and soothed my soul, those few weeks I won’t experience again, but they will also, never leave my mind.

Tuesday = community love, linking in with Mrs IBOT herself, Jess at Diary of a SAHM

Roller-coasters and snowballs.

One of a million amazing views heading to Grand-St-Bernard. Switzerland.

So this week I was planning to do a Switzerland photo mash up post, to highlight my time over there and give more of an insight into Ma Vie Suisse.. However, I only have about 10 million photos, and what I once thought might have taken me only an hour to go through and select my favourite top 10, seeeeeeems it may possibly take about… 10 years. Roughly.

So that is going to have to wait for another time.

What I will touch on however is all the emotions that have just come flooding back, merely by browsing over a few folders of pics. “My first week in France” “My first impressions of Swiss” “My suprise Birthday pary by Lake Geneva”, “When Mum visited Switzerland”… and so they go on.

I have basically just been on a rollercoaster the past 1.5 hours. From the highs I felt while tobogganing down a ski run in the middle of the night celebrating my best friend’s birthday, to the pain and anger I felt at being taken for granted from an employer after giving my heart and soul to them and their family.

I love photos though, for those exact reasons. They can pull at your heart strings and emotions in just one glance. That can make you feel a lifetime of emotions. You can instantly been taken back to that exact time and place and just in that one moment, you are back there again, flying down that mountain, squealing with excitement and a little bit of fear knowing that one foul move or one little rocky bit of ice and you are straight over the edge…
(NB: I did go over the edge, however, no damage was done and the night was not tarnished one iota.. and I laughed.. oh boy did I laugh.)

It’s going to be such a challenge for me to pick some of those photos to sum up my life in Switzerland, but I will definitely be putting myself to the challenge. It will be a good start to choosing 50 to make a photo book out of.

In the meantime, I will take the next few days browsing in and out of photos, attempting to narrow down.

Wish me luck.

<Linking up with DOASAHM for IBOT>

Ain’t nothing gonna’ break my stride..

Five years ago…

My life and my journey all seemed to take off dramatically when the decision was made between my two best friends and me to travel overseas.

We decided to do the whole cliché move to London shebang, with a pit stop in Thailand for a few weeks to head back to the grass roots of it all before throwing ourselves into the hustle and bustle of London living.

“Our” Journey turned sour reasonably early on (Thailand) with lots of home truths sprouting their way out of my two so called best friends. I sat back and watched them both contort into two complete monsters, leaving nothing left of the former them I knew and loved.
This went on for a few more gruesome weeks before anything changed; I didn’t have the strength and guts before this time to take the step that I knew needed to be taken. After a few more hardships and fights and many tears shed I took the plunge and left.
By plunge I mean I bawled my eyes out till I had no more tears left and my mascara had 100% made it down to my neck and boarded a train for north England where I knew I had a friend I could turn to.

That was the biggest step I’ve ever taken and I will not for one second in my entire life time regret the day that I summoned all my strength, courage and grace and left behind a situation that was blackening my soul to its very core.

From there, I embarked on a personal journey of self discovery. I took myself on some tours and travelled around Europe solo. I preceded to meet (and still see to this day) some amazing human beings who showed me what it is really like to live and to witness my own spirit soar. I had never felt as alive as I did when I was wandering the globe and discovering new places with these people. These strangers showed me more compassion and love than either of the two best friends I left behind had ever. They knew I was fragile and a little bit broken but they lifted me up high and to be honest, I haven’t quite come back down yet.

I eventually came back home while still leaving a piece of my heart in Europe, knowing, whether I liked it or not, I was tied to that place forever.

No regrets.

Four months after I had returned home I stumbled across a once in a lifetime opportunity. I applied for and was offered a job as an Au Pair in Switzerland looking after 4 young girls. Now, I must explain… I didn’t go looking for this job, it literally “popped’ up on my screen one day while I was at work and searching for something completely unrelated.     Fate.

Two months later and with my spirits more than flying I landed in Switzerland.
I settled into my new home with ease and there began Ma Vie Suisse…
I was in Switzerland for just under two years.
I knew I was given this unbelievable chance and there was no way I was going to let any little thing tarnish my experiences.
In this time I found my complete person, the person that I continue to try and be true to, day in and day out..
I challenged myself in so many ways and many a hurdle was placed in front of me and I always managed to come out the end smiling. I was in Switzerland after all. Life was amazing.

I visited some of the most magically breathtaking places on earth, places I never imagined existed. I also met and fell in love with my now fiancé J… A highlight beyond compare.
 I have no doubt there will be plenty of posts surrounding my time in Switzerland and the soul searching and soul finding I did. And more than likely lots and lots of photographs.

Returning to Australia in 2010 with J in tow, life has only gotten better. Together we have made our humble abode home.

Tied to Switzerland forever more.