Then the sun came out.

Considering the bleakness of our news-feed these days, if feels wrong to post about happiness and simplicity. So many people are fighting for happiness, fearing all of their freedom and joy may be gone.
We find ourselves in a strange place. Having uprooted our lives from our idyllic happiness, to join the ranks of citizens seeking happiness elsewhere. We didn’t flee, we weren’t afraid (ok, maybe a little bit, but nothing compared to a fear for your life.)

We had a choice.

We still have a choice.

Looking into the eyes of our fellow “new families” we see that each one of them brings hopes, dreams and love to their new Swiss home. To replace that all by fear and uncertainty, at a time that already feels scary just because of the newness of it is just cruel.

We may one day be told we cannot stay. Correction, I may be told that I cannot stay; and even that is a very slim chance considering that my husband and children are citizens. My ability to renew my visa to stay is not guaranteed. But regardless, if I were to face an order that prevented me from staying, the alternative still offers complete freedom, peace and happiness.

Going back home, for us, will always be a joy-filled option. That is the biggest difference. To be told that you cannot stay and that you must return to where you came from, to a place that does not offer you freedom, hope, security or the prospect of joy is a reality that try as I might, I will never fully comprehend.

And so we try to be mindful of all we have, each and every day. Despite having so much less than we did back home, we are aware of just how rich we are.

It has been easy to be thankful and optimistic these last two days. The sun began to shine again in what feels like the first time all year. We leave our apartment, round the corner and walk smack dab into a ray of sunshine. Each of us would instinctively pause and turn our faces up towards the sun. There is such simple, easy bliss in taking a moment to revel in the feeling of the sun on your face.

The first blue sky in a long, long while.
Frosty water fountains.
Everything is prettier when the sun is shining.

We did our very best to make the most of it, meandering through our trails for the sole purpose of enjoying the sun.

We invited our new friends to join us in the woods for a good-old wiener roast. We always try to represent Canada well while out and about here but the opportunity to show-off our lumberjack skills really allows us to shine!

Manolo and I came out into the woods a little earlier this morning to gather fire wood and we then made sure to arrive at our picnic location a good 30 minutes early to ensure we had a roaring fire ready for our urban friends.

Manolo and I shopping for wood in the forest. This is what free Swiss firewood looks like.

While so much around us continues to feel strange and unfamiliar, sharing beers and food cooked on an open fire feels wonderfully familiar.

Helena and I awaiting our friends.

The frosty fountain at our picnic spot.
Helena and Ester. The trunk of a giant Californian Redwood tree behind them.

 I will wear my reek of campfire proudly to my German class in the morning, perhaps with my plaid scarf and hiking boots for good measure. Must leave a lasting Canadian impression with my international classmates.

All of us students may still be a little wide eyed and slow to comprehend but what we all have in common is that the freedom in our new home is not in question. Never have I been more aware, or more appreciative of that fact.

All packed up after a successful picnic. The first of many with our friends.


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