Last week Hidai and I did something we did not do since July 2019 - we took 4 whole days off work. Completely off - no emails, no phone calls, no meetings. Complete with an out-of-office automatic reply.
And for the first time in years, the sky did not fall.
I know it might sound a little funny to most people, because that is the normal way of taking a holiday. But for us, after years in stressful work environments, where every day off is an opportunity for some kind of crisis, and after years of running our own business where every day off means no money, taking a day off is not easy, let alone 4.
But unfortunately we raised smart, opinionated, independent kids, and one of them is in the midst of deciding which university to go to next year, and have decided that ETH Zürich Mathematics Department is a strong contender. And apparently, for some reason, if you want to visit a university, you need to get there when they are open.
So because we are good, supportive, encouraging parents (and definitely not because Lindt is our favourite chocolate and we miss excellent pastries) we spent half of last week around Zürich, trying to figure out if Ron feels he can live there.
We're getting used to saying goodbye
It is not that I think that visiting a country is the same as living in it, it is more that visiting is like the recruitment process - it is the nicest, relaxest, least-complicated, this company, sorry, country, will ever be. Everyone's nice, you don't have any responsibilities, there are no deadlines, and no annoying bureaucracy. The way we always think of it is, if you can't imagine yourself staying there under these conditions, then for sure it's not going to work when you throw in trying to figure out how the health system works. Or how to buy the right toilet paper. In a different language.
Well, apparently Ron can see himself buying Swiss toilet paper.
And it wasn't really surprising, after all, the chocolate was amazing, the pastries were to die for, and the public transport was superb. Everywhere we went it was quiet, efficient, and so very clean.
It was also very expensive, made us think a lot about the history of Europe, and everyone, from baby to hipster, was dressed better than us.
But it doesn't matter. Mostly because we don't have to live there, but also because this is not the point of the post (or the visit).
Hidai and Heidi :)
The thing is, that without a doubt taking this time off had workload repercussions, money repercussions, and stress repercussions.
And in that case, were 4 days eating our way through a foreign city and spending 24 hours a day with 2 (slightly) grumpy teens really worth it?
And the answer is always Yes.
You see, though the official reason for this trip was to check out Zürich University, the real reason for it was the fact that Hidai & I can visibly see the last grains in our family-of-2-parents-and-2-young-kids hourglass falling down.
In the discussion on what is the most important resource a person has, Hidai & I always erred on the side of time.
We know we have (very) limited time left with the kids before they no longer acknowledge they know us (they have already started practicing that one actually), before they no longer want to come everywhere with us, basically before they discover they don't need us anymore and move on.
So we've decided to ignore all those other repercussions and take any moment we can with the kids before that happens.
And if there are some delicious pastries and free chocolates involved (Lindt Home of Chocolate, don't ask. Just go there), who are we to say no? :)
Like a kid in a chocolate factory 😂
Love this. Glad you got to spend that quality chocolately time with them. Because we all know life is like a box of chocolates ;) I too am feeling the grains sipping away, with one girl already spending more of her time in America and applying for college there, so I totally get this. Hope it all works out for Ron x