Scenes from a previous life

I was fretting about
that trip to Vienna. Not all the time, but occasionally, the worried Greek mom
at the back of my mind would show up. As the kids’ excitement was building up,
in anticipation of going back and seeing the friends that they had missed so
much, I was wondering whether it was not too soon to visit and whether this
trip would set them back in their adjustment to their new home. How would
they feel coming back to Zurich? What if they did not want to come back at all?
Vienna turned out to be
a whirlwind tour (more like a race) between breakfasts, lunches and dinners,
play-dates, sleepovers, and birthday parties – but a successful one. I wonder why I had not seen this coming. It is hard
enough to try to fit a life of eleven years into one week, but it is almost
impossible when you have three kids with distinct, hyper-busy social schedules,
who need to be shuttled back and forth among different appointments and events.
I think we (parents) managed to see a couple of friends of our own, too J.
What struck me as soon
as I got to Vienna is that I felt a strange lack of connection with the physical
environment: I was slightly out of place in what used to be my daily
surroundings. I have not lived in Zurich that long, but obviously the place has grown on me. Seeing my friends was the
exact opposite experience: I felt like I had not left at all. I was having
breakfast with a girlfriend – same place, same time like the old days – and we
both could not believe that the last time we saw each other was over three
months ago. Stunning, but I guess that’s what a good friendship feels like.
I think the children had
a similar experience. They loved going to school and meeting with their “old” classmates, exchanging stories and treating them to Swiss chocolates. It was
just like old times. Anyone who saw the glow in their eyes could tell that they
were in heaven. Again, I almost felt guilty for uprooting them and pulling them
away from all that. Almost.
Saying goodbye was, once
again, a sad business. Somehow, it was even sadder than when we left, because this
time the children did not have the excitement of the new and unknown. Landing
in Zurich was anti-climactic, but we survived it, mostly thanks to the routine of our daily lives, which took over instantly and helped soften the blow. Now comes the difficult part of keeping in touch. I have a hard enough time connecting with the people I
love and miss as much as I would like to; I also need to help these little people do the same. Any good tips out there?

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