When (No Longer) in Rome…
It’s been two months since my family up and left Rome for the mountains of Switzerland, a decision that had been a long time in the making. Looking back I admit that I may have underestimated what the trauma of closing two travel agencies, packing up a household of 6, and leaving our home of nearly 20 years would look like. Having survived the experience (just barely), I wanted to document some of my early observations.
When in Rome, an average day used to look something like this:
6:30 alarm, wake kids, breakfast, chaos
7:30 leave the house, school dropoffs, Roman traffic
9:30 Arrive at the Vatican, search for parking
10:00 Keep searching for parking
10:15 Debate turning back and going home
10:30 Park car, cappuccino break, complain about traffic/parking
10:45 Actually get to work
1:00 Lunchtime in Rome
1:30 back to work
3:00 Leave the Vatican, more traffic, school pickup, taxi-ing kids around town for sports etc, then dinner, more chaos
10:00 Go to bed, then repeat
All things considered, running my Rome tour company felt more like a hobby than a career.
Now, all Heidi jokes aside, Switzerland is a whole different ballgame. After the initial trauma of unpacking 15 million boxes and then figuring out how to recycle them according to gospel, school finally started for my kids and Swiss life began. What I mean by Swiss life is that now my schedule looks something like this:
7:00 Wake up, look out at the mountains. Have a cup of coffee. Wake up kids (still chaos-some things will never change).
8:00 all kids are out of the house. Starting in first grade, they go to school ON THEIR OWN. Seriously. Then…
8 hours of unbridled work. No distractions, no car horns honking, no dozens of whatsapp messages from the various school mom groups complaining about the school lunches or teacher strike or the fact that the school bathrooms are so filthy they’ll soon be condemned. Apparently these groups have no purpose here, at least in my experience thus far. It would appear that things just work, and everyone simply minds their business and carries on. Extraordinary. 1000% improvement in the productivity department. Base Camp Europe has launched and I’m extremely optimistic about all the new tours and gear rental services we’ll be launching over the next few weeks.
Reality sets in.
Sometimes the silence in my home office can be disturbing. It’s as if I somehow miss the constant noise, honking horns, feisty Romans outside arguing over someone double parking or not picking up after their dog…today was one of those days. But before I had a chance to get too nostalgic about it all I looked out my office window just in time to see a majestic grey heron land on the tree outside before swooping down to the little pond below to take aim at one of the unsuspecting fish.
Boring? Maybe. But it would appear that, at least for me, boring is the new normal.