Life in flux

Switzerland by Expat Edna

The past week — and this month in general — has just left my head spinning. My stomach is constantly fluttering with so many butterflies I feel like a colony of caterpillars is crawling through my insides while I’m on a roller coaster going through airplane turbulence.

It’s both exhilarating and annoying (really, there’s only so much intestinal caterpillar tickling one can take) and I don’t even know where to begin.


I’ll just say this: I know I am at a crossroads.

It’s not some fleeting quarter-life crisis feeling. No, it’s as if I am standing on the map of my life and I can very clearly see that this is the moment everything changes. That fork in the road Robert Frost talks about? I am there, right now. I can practically see it, touch it in front of me.

Except there is no fork, there is just a one-way arrow. Something in my gut is telling me that years from now I will look back and say — just like I can say 2008 in China changed everything — that this time, the summer of 2013, that’s when everything changed again.

Every time I’ve left a country up until now — from the US to China to Singapore to Australia to France — it’s just been ‘the next step’. Each move was just for an adventure and a laugh. Each saw me with a different type of job and visa; no city was serious or permanent.

But this next move, the one I’m preparing to make in a month’s time — well, it could be the one that changes everything.

It could also turn out to be nothing in the end. But even if I fail, it will have changed the course in a major way.

So, there’s that.


June itself has been a clusterfudge of change and surprise with a lot of late nights and goodbyes.

My social life has not slowed down this month, if anything it’s gone into overdrive — my google calendar is a sea of color-coded parties and dinners and friend dates — but the company has changed. Friendships I thought were solid have faded into the background, while people I’d considered mere acquaintances for ages have unexpectedly stepped up to the plate to become star confidantes and partners-in-crime.

You know that terrible realization of Man, I guess I didn’t really know that person at all? Well, sometimes that can actually turn out to be a positively delightful surprise.

And so Paris has become even more fun than I expected at the eleventh hour, though with different company than I’d expected to see out my time here.


Then there was last week.

The three days of that weekend I hardly slept, between Fête de la Musique and packing up my apartment — which I’ll explain in more detail soon — which lasted well into early Monday morning, when I closed the door on my apartment for the last time and handed back my keys.

So there I was at 8 am, dragging my worldly possessions halfway across Paris, a hot sweaty hobo-looking mess getting all sorts of stares on the metro. Once resettled at my new temporary flat, I then had to unpack all my boxes from the weekend so I could repack a suitcase for Switzerland (and no, I couldn’t have prepared it beforehand, don’t bother suggesting it).

But by noon I was on the TGV speeding towards Lausanne. By nightfall I was in Switzerland, sitting high above Lake Geneva, drinking champagne while staring at the mountains of France across the lake.

As I wrote on facebook: I can’t even comprehend that this is my life sometimes.


I’ve always felt this strange dichotomy with my work trips. Last week I was staying up all night to the sun, up all night for good fun [couldn’t resist], living spontaneously, hardly a care in the world. My biggest decision was which Belgian beer I wanted to drink next.

This week I’m in in suits with my hair pulled back, hanging out with International Olympic Committee contacts in my free time, having lunch at UEFA (European Football) headquarters, preparing for an event with Jacques Rogge (IOC president, folks!) this weekend and the IOC extraordinary session next week.

Lunchtime conversations now revolve the upcoming IOC elections, the Confederations Cup, and speculation about our colleague on the Istanbul 2020 bid team (they’ve got to be having a tough time now, no?).

I spent the other night holed up in my hotel room for hours, editing sports articles and sports photos while Spain v Italy played on the tv in the background. I was drowning in sport and I felt so content.


So that’s a glimpse into my headspace and where I am right now, which is just all over the shop between work and friends and moving. I hope this explains the radio silence for the past couple weeks.

I still have so much I want to write about — Corsica, my road trip to Belgium two weeks ago, Switzerland, not to mention oh my god so many Paris posts — but it will likely have to wait until I return to Paris next week.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how to cure a bad case of butterflies in the stomach, let me know. They’re driving me nuts in there.

I may not be updating the blog as much, but for updates to see if I’m still alive check out facebook and twitter.

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  1. Oh, darling, I am so excited for the wonder that awaits you! I feel the butterflies, too. Can’t wait to visit :)

    • Thank you my dear! I cannot wait for you to visit either. It will be wonderful :)

  2. You certainly have a lot going on. You’re amazing just for juggling all the things you do. Look on the bright side – butterflies in the stomach mean life is changing and spontaneous and exciting, which is much better than being stuck in one place, dull and boring. Good luck!

    • Thanks Jessica! “Butterflies mean life is changing and spontaneous and exciting” — I love that, and of course you are so right.

  3. Good luck with your big change! I’m afraid I have no cure for the butterflies in the stomach thing – that’s the worst.

    • Thanks Jessica! Ah I’ll be alright, a couple G&Ts seem to be helping ;)

  4. I know that feeling you mean – that whole butterflies/crossroads thing. The only way through is to relax into it. Know you can’t make a wrong choice because every choice you’re making is taking you closer to where (and to who) you want to be. Remember that it’s a gift. That some people never get to feel this alive. You will do great things. Just relax, breathe, trust. Bon courage, ma belle. Stay in touch!

    • I love all of this! Thanks for the sweet and meaningful advice, Jenny. Of course I’ll stay in touch, and you must visit when I’m settled into my new place!

  5. I think it’s just so wonderful that you are such a free spirit able to travel for please and for work and being so successful in your work at such a young age too! Good for you and please do continue your blog…love the photos and your musings too!

    • Thanks so much Connie! Of course I’ll continue, I love sharing my photos and musings :)

  6. This is awesome! I’m so envious! (Mostly of all the international jet setting!)

    I love change. I think it’s really good and I’m always looking to instigate more change in my life – instead of waiting for it to happen to me. Unfortunately, though, I’ve never done anything (yet at least) that transformed my life in some hugely magnificent way. Everything has been very gradual, slow – like a glacier. No speeding bullets, no butterflies.

    I suppose my life has been more like a walk through the forest. Strolling. Casual. But not that exciting.

    • I love change as well, that’s why I move countries every 18 months! I’m sure you’ll find your butterflies soon — a glacier is still a huge force to be dealt with. You just need the right catalyst :)

  7. Butterflies are good. And knowing what I know, your kind is definitely the good kind. Taking plunges every now and then is good for us. They bring us new understandings, heightened appreciations, and most importantly, building that all important self-character. Keep it up!

  8. I’m so excited for you! Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out — and I’m convinced you have an amazing future ahead of you! Enjoy the butterflies!

  9. It is so awesome that you have International Olympic Committee contacts!!! HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!

  10. I’m very excited for you too, Edna! Butterflies aside, I am very confident that you will find your way and that your life will continue to be amazing because YOU are amazing! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    • Thank you Daisy! That is very very sweet of you and I’m so happy to have connected with you in this crazy blogging world :)

  11. The blog will still be here, just keep living your life and enjoying the end of your time in Paris. Your adventures astound me and I can’t wait to hear where they bring you next (GERMANY?!! :D). I know the crossroads feeling, which is why I have avoided mine all together and kinda just kept hanging out. Cest la vie!

    • Aw thanks for the kind words and for the blog reassurance Alex! Trust me, don’t worry about the crossroads too much — sometimes you find they come to you! Besides, I’d be completely content having the adventures you’re having in Germany!

  12. I’m sad you’re leaving Paris, but I’m looking forward to hearing about your new adventures in a different country (especially the food). xoxoo

  13. I’m so excited for you and so intrigued to find out where you’re going next. :D

  14. Could relate to so many things you mentioned here.
    Happy for you.
    Time of change. Makes sense you got a case of the butterflies.
    Deep breathing? Acknowledging the butterflies and asking yourself- what’s going on right now? in this moment? Are they fears? worries? Excitement?

    Excited for you!

    • Thanks Lauren! It’s a huge transition period, more than I even realized when I wrote this p0st…Hope you’re doing well with yours also!

  15. Sounds like an exciting time…Switzerland has gotta be my favorite country in Europe! Keep the food coming, I can’t wait to see all the Italian. Happy 4th!

  16. I am happy and sad to say that I can totally relate to all you’re feeling and experiencing right now. I’ll be going through a similar move myself a few months down the road … best wishes to you.

  17. Yikes! That’s a great description of feeling nervous. Tell yourself it’s excitement rather than nerves, or remember the scariest thing you ever did and think ‘at least I’m not back about to do that’! Failing that, I find a glass of wine usually works wonders :)

  18. Your adventurous spirit is inspiring! So glad I came across your blog, I will be following!

  19. Imagine not being nervous and being comfortable or indifferent with everything changing, it wouldn’t be as interesting! Also, re: your very first description of feeling flutterings in your stomach- buying tape worms as a new dieting fad was not a good idea. You should get that checked.

    • Dang. I knew I did something wrong, shouldn’t have trusted that guy with the magic tapeworms after he mentioned something about a beanstalk.

  20. I so admire your ability to pick up your roots, bag up everything, and then whisk off to another country periodically. Most people like to have a feeling of “groundedness” or some kind of home base – maybe that’s where your butterflies are coming from. Hopefully, at least, the writing will provide some sort of grounding for you. Good luck on your latest move!

    • Thanks! Life has been too crazy even to write lately, but I’m really looking forward to getting back into it. I miss my blog buddies.

  21. What a beautifully written post. I feel exactly the same at the moment, having just received my visa to work in London. And you have just described the feeling perfectly! One thing I know, change can be a very good thing and you never know until you try. I hope you adore Switzerland, Lausanne is lovely (fond memories eating pizzas and drinking panaches at the Brasserie du Chateau as a student…hopefully it is still as good!) Hang in there and in the meantime, we look forward to hearing more about your adventures “a la Suisse”.

  22. Change always tends to have that butterflies in stomach effect… if you didn’t have them, I would wonder if you weren’t human! ;) My fiancé spent some time in Lausanne and speaks so fondly of it, I’m sure you will fall right into the lifestyle Suisse. Enjoy your last bit of time in Paris, can’t wait to follow along on your next adventure.

  23. Enjoy it all and I still cannot wait to hear where you are off to next! Hopefully by now the butterflies have settled :) Have fun in Madrid!

    • Sorry to keep you waiting so long for the reveal! And I loved Madrid, I can’t wait to come visit again (and will definitely look you up when I do!)

  24. Enjoy those butterflies – it’s a sign that good things are coming your way ;). If you really want to try to get rid of them though… you should try some some ginger beer and screaming into your pillow :)

  25. I know that feeling! I felt it for the year leading up to graduating from Grad School and the year leading up to my wedding. I say embrace the butterflies!!! It means something BIG is about to happen! :)

  26. It’s good to hear that you are still around. I always figure that when travel bloggers go on a bit of a lull, it’s because they are having too much fun offline. ;)

    • It was a combination of fun and oh-my-god-what-is-happening-to-my-life. It was a crazy summer.

  27. gorgeous picture! life changes are stressful but so exciting. glad to have discovered your blog! XOXO


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