While Trav’s been away in France for a science conference, I’ve alternately fended off loneliness; struggled with frustration – feels like we’re being flooded with bills, all in French, for things we’re not accustomed to having to pay; and exhilarated in my freedom to explore the surrounding countryside with only whim to dictate where I go. It’s impossible to walk anywhere in Switzerland without feeling continually startled at the absolute beauty of where we live. The upside of his absence is that I’ve been learning how to cope with expat loneliness.
With each of my daily forays into the woods, I feel less inclined to seek out human contact.
I’ve become more content with the quiet company of our dog, the resident foxes hunting for mice in the fields, and the lumbering Guernsey cows that are easily satisfied as long as they have a patch of nice, green grass.
While passing my favorite bunch of beasts this evening, I stopped to utter some nonsensical sounds I thought cows might appreciate.
Never good conversationalists, they ignored my efforts, so I continued on past the farmhouse, appreciating the immaculately landscaped yard and traditional Swiss architecture.
My glance unintentionally slid to an un-shuttered over-sized window where an entire family was clustered, frozen in the act of washing and drying dinner dishes, all eyes locked on my passage.
Clearly they had witnessed my friendly exchange with their cows and appeared quite concerned.
I gave a small smile, hoping to alleviate their unease.
Right then I decided that perhaps it would be best to spend some time with people tomorrow and spend less time talking to cows.
Love a good hermit story?
Read all about the North Pond Hermit who survived in the woods of Maine for 27 years.
Do you have tips for how to cope with expat loneliness in Switzerland?
Or in other countries? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share them in the comments below.