Use Your Words - Different Countries, Different Customs!

Today’s post is writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

deviant ~ revel ~ awakening ~ burst ~ sneer

They were submitted by The Angrivated Mom thank you, Steena!

Every year in January, when a new season of "Auf und Davon" (=up and away) starts, I get to think. 

It's a reality show portraying Swiss people who move to a new country. 

You have met my friend Annette and her family in several posts - they appeared in season 2014.

I'm always in awe watching the people in this show. The courage to leave everything behind for good!

At some point pretty much all of them say "you know, you only live once. If you have that dream, you've got to follow it. I can't wait to revel in my new life."

Whoa. Following big dreams require our ways to be deviant from your usual ones, bursting out of our comfort zone. 

In our "first world" we are so high up in the hierarchy of needs that we seem to have the luxury to ask ourselves if this is it.

Normality. Day to day life. Responsibilities. We finished our education, got a job or five, a car, a house, got married, had kids - now what? Isn't there something that's missing? 

A challenge?

For the rest of us it's not always comprehensible. 

There is this family from season 2015 for instance. 

She successfully ran a bakery store, he built up a skate- and snowboard business which was doing great as well. With their three kids, then between 6 and 13 years old, they were living in a nice house in Thun at the base of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland, land of chocolate and watches, low unemployment, low taxes, generous benefits.

Guess what, they wanted out. Abundance was preventing them for being happy.

This family is in good company. About a tenth of the Swiss population lives abroad. (As opposed to 2.7% of U.S. non military citizens). Most Swiss leave because Switzerland has become too crowded (490 Swiss (84 U.S.people per square mile), and because people are too narrow minded - nothing ever really changes around here. 

BK (before kids) they had done some traveling through Costa Rica, and they fell in love with the beautiful country, the friendly people and the laid back lifestyle. 

They wanted to live the simple life. Especially for their children who have been growing up having it all.

Pura vida, yay!

Guess what, as soon as they arrived, they were up for some rude awakening:

  • The new SUV they had ordered well ahead, wasn't ready.
  • Against written agreement, the car dealer didn't accept the check they wanted to pay the car with. They had to wire the money, and the dealer kept saying it didn't arrive.
  • The wife and the younger kids left San José alone and got to their destination by rental car.
  • The house they had rented via internet, didn't meet their standards. Not by far. No light in some rooms, no house keys, filthy furniture.
  • The people who were supposed to sell them the land to build their guest house, suddenly weren't in a rush to sell.
  • When they called, they were always being put off.
  • The little daughter was home-sick and had a really rough time at school in the beginning. Teachers and schoolmates spoke English and Spanish. The Swiss kids? Nope.
  • The husband got sick, had a high fever and lost consciousness. Turned out he caught the dengue virus. Local medical care was not satisfactory, he had to take a day-log trip to the hospital in San José in his critical condition.

And just like that, it was 

pura vida, my ass!

The thing is, you can try and sugar coat it all you want, but if you're Swiss you can't just quit expecting that written deals are being respected, people hold their promises, amenities are available upon request, and apartments in the jungle are spick-and-span. 


Now I'm far from wanting to sneer about them. 

If I wanted to do so, I'd pick the couple who went to Greece in order to finally have more time together. Buying, remodeling and opening a blues bar kind of cut into their quality relationship time. 

Or the family of six who signed a contract to buy a 2 mio resort without having the money or at least realistic investor prospects, but uprooted their kids anyway. The Mom is living her dream of working with the Aborigines in Down Under, while the Dad has been "commuting" between Switzerland and Australia for two years and counting, because - stable income.

As I was saying, I don't mock the Costa Rica family. They seem like very nice people, and if I'm ever there, I'd probably want to spend some time in their "jungelow" in Santa Teresa. 

Yes, you've heard right. They got over the initial shock and made their dream come true! They run a successful guest house business in the jungle and love it there! A former classmate of mine visited them last year.

Of course, their lifestyle isn't exactly simple

They live in a luxurious villa with a pool, A/C, wifi, the works. 

Purchasing power with Swiss money is excellent, which allows them to build more guest houses.

Their children attend international school, along with other expats in the area. 

Soon the oldest son is gonna have to make some tough decisions regarding his education. His options require leaving the beach paradise and either going to college in San José or returning to Switzerland for a 3- or 4-year long vocational training - cause this kind of sought-after apprenticeship is not available in Latin America. 

This is one of the reasons for which Swiss many emigrants
come to realize that everything isn't bad about living in Switzerland and actually move back, part-time or permanently.

I did it myself - although in my case it was clearly 9/11's fault. Plus my good friend's who is now my husband.

So every year in January, as a new season of this emigrant show rolls around, I get to think "what if". Not in a longing way. Just curious. 

For this post's sake, let's try and imagine.

Once I'd finally have obtained "eligible to work" status, I'd be a recruiter for IKEA in San Diego, CA, 

living in a small apartment on Nobel drive

After my experience with roommates and failed dates I'd have wanted to live alone. 

How long would I have been able to pay the rent on my - compared to Switzerland - low salary? 

How would every day life have been able to hold up against my dream of living and working in sunny California?

Would I have been successful in my job in order to advance? 

Would I have met a nice guy, gotten married at the Del, have kids?

I just realize I limited my "what if" to basically the same life I've had here - just there. 

Nothing wrong with that - at all.

But come on now, we're talking fiction here, where was the writing gonna come in, and the party planning? Or both, for that matter - a book deal that'd allow me to write about organizing parties? 

I think I need a retreat to think about things. After all I met my future me in California!!?

Now go find out what my blogging friends' words were, and what they did with them: