Friday, July 1, 2011

A friend for life!

"The rings of a tree are nature's way of marking the passage of time."

I have been putting off writing this post for weeks now. I have written my post over and over again in my head, trying to decide on which part of my life I should focus: the past or the future?

Either I write about leaving my friends or about departing from Switzerland - my home country - for the third time in my life or about how I would love to be able to tell you how I am moving to some exotic place where adventure awaits us. (I could never resist a healthy challenge.) I could write about how we are moving to the city of fashion and that my girlfriends just give me a big grin and sigh when I tell them I'd rather travel to a place where I can learn Chinese or Arabic! Instead, I will tell you that I am leaving Lugano but I have no intentions of giving up my blog about Lugano.

Having lived in the Ticino for nearly five years, with the firm conviction that we would be settling down for the next 20 years, I kept complaining how small Lugano was and how I missed the big city life. When I became desperate I'd take myself off to Milano - 70km down the road - for some serious shopping , a cultural event or a swanky furniture exhibition. What I didn't realize was how much we had become part of the local life. I never perceived to which point we had become integrated - and I dare say accepted - by the "natives".

Ticinese are not the sort of people who open up to you. They might look Italian and speak Italian but in their minds and attitudes they are as Swiss as it gets. This fact threw me off a bit when we first arrived. I expected a Latino community but encountered a very Swiss mindset whom just happend to speak Italian.

It wasn't until 5 years down the road when I slowly started announcing to my aquaintances/friends during conversation that we were to leave that something happend which took me completely by surprise. One of my neighbours started crying, another (male) neighbour became teary eyed, people left me messages on my voice mail sobbing at the end, hugs, tears, kisses, one of my friends even translated the Audrey Hepburn quote at the top of my blog into Ticinese dialect and framed it for me....all of a sudden all these emotions came flying my way.....all while I was desperately trying to keep mine under control! The most amazing expressions of friendship, affection, attachment, fondness, gratitude, thankfulness, sadness and solidarity started pouring out.

All of a sudden it hit me how much we meant to these people and how much they meant to us. For some of my friends it was the first time they had to say goodbye to a loved one. Not many expats reach Breganzona, let alone leave this lovely part of Lugano. We had tried hard to adapt and fit in, even more so, since I knew how the Swiss tick having grown up in the country. We knew we would always be the crazy foreigners in the village but what we didn't know is that the village had come to accept US!

This realization made it all the harder to leave our home in Breganzona knowing that what we thought would be our home forever has turned out to be another mark the passage of time. As one of my friends so nicely put it: you have left your mark with us like a tree's growth ring leaves his mark in time.

This post is dedicated to all my friends I left behind in Breganzona and whom I know I'll always be able to count on, because once you finally manage to make a Swiss friend............ it's for life!


elegantdaily said...

Found you through a blog hop, come visit me!

Peace Love & Poop said...

Great post! I have lived in a few different places in my life and I still remember the people I left behind. (I miss them)

New blog follower! Come follow back and enter my great giveaways!

LisaWeidknecht said...

Hi. I'm a new follower via Boost my Blog Hop. Come visit me at! Enjoy your weekend!

Expat with Kids said...

@elegantdaily: Wow. I am impressed you manage to keep up withfour blogs.....
@Peace, Love & Poop: good luck with the potty training
@Lisa: I love your post on the American Soldiers

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