It was late November, 1999 when this picture was taken - our third vacation to Hawai'i in as many years, and all was well with the world. While driving to South Point on the Big Island, we pulled off the main road for a quick - and rather large - cup of coffee.
When this picture was taken, we had been living in our house (the house we thought we'd live in for the rest of our lives) for 9+ years, and we were in the midst of planning a major renovation. All was well in our personal and professional lives, and...life was good.
A few months earlier, Mrs. TBF's ex-boss had moved to Switzerland to take a job with a major pharmaceutical company, and before leaving Chicago, he extended to us an open invitation to come visit him and his family (probably thinking that we'd never take him up on his offer). One day, during this trip to Hawai'i, Mrs. TBF suggested that we actually take him up on his offer, and she bought a couple of Switzerland travel books. I remember relaxing next to the pool at our hotel, reading about the Basel Fasnacht, and thinking that it might be a good time to go to Basel. Upon arriving home from the trip, Mrs. TBF contacted her ex-boss, and the wheels were in motion; we would be going to Switzerland (as tourists) a few months later.
Skip ahead to March, 2000, and we've just arrived at Zürich Airport. The ex-boss, his father-in-law, Mrs. TBF, and I are cruising down the highway between the airport and Basel. Mind you, we're jet lagged, and we've been in Switzerland for approximately half an hour. Suddenly, the following exchange takes place:
Ex-boss: You know, [Mrs. TBF], there are A LOT of great jobs in Basel. Would you ever consider moving to Switzerland?
Mrs. TBF: I don't know. [TBF], would you ever consider moving to Switzerland?
TBF: Yeah....if I didn't have to work.
Mrs. TBF: Would [TBF] have to work?
Ex-boss: He doesn't HAVE TO work now.
Mrs. TBF: You know what I mean...
About three months later, on June 17, 2000 (if the date on the camera was correct), we were sipping al fresco coffees in Basel's Marktplatz while taking a break from...APARTMENT HUNTING!!! Yes, in three months' time, we had gone from leaving our house in the Chicago suburbs (again...the one we thought we'd live in for the rest of our lives) for a vacation in Switzerland to...putting it up for sale, giving notice on the jobs, and turning our lives completely upside down. Yes, we thought it all through when the ball started rolling. But overall, it was pretty much a spontaneous, crazy act that I still sometimes can not believe we actually did. When we broke the news to our families, they couldn't believe it either. We were probably the least likely candidates to EVER move away from Chicago, let alone to another country...
But move to another country we did! And, I've never regretted it. Sure, I miss family and friends back "home" in Chicago, but I see them fairly often, AND I'm sure we'll be back living there again before too long...I think...I hope...been saying that for four years now. We've seen so much in the past 7.5 years, and I'm glad we've had the opportunity to experience Europe, in the prime of our lives. Living here has changed our values, our outlooks, and...we've enjoyed a lot of damn-good coffee! Oh, for instance, like these fine brews on the Ile de la Cité in Paris this past December. Come to think of it, I could use a cup of that fine Parisian coffee right about...this afternoon.
Shall we, Mrs. TBF?