Moving back to the US

9 Oct

 

After a year of battling cancer in Switzerland, I finally managed to procure a health insurance policy in the States.  Most people in my shoes would probably have been happy to be able to return “home”, but I most definitely was not.  First of all, the insurance plan was not so great, as the monthly premium was seven times my Swiss premium, the deductible was 12 times my Swiss deductible, and I would get about 20% less coverage than what was provided by my Swiss plan. I didn’t really have a choice about going back, though, because my family needed the income my mom could earn as a teacher, and she wasn’t allowed to work legally in Switzerland.

Mom was very happy to be going back, although I wasn’t sure whether she was happiest about seeing her husband, seeing her dogs, having a clean kitchen or having a bathroom to herself.  Or not having to pay to do laundry at a certain time each week.

I, on the other hand, was much less happy about going back.  I was sad about giving up my job.  I was sad about moving far from my friends.  I was nervous about giving up the great network of doctors that I had built up in Geneva.  Plus I just plain liked the Geneva way of life — in my heart, I felt more like a Genevan than an American.  I loved it there.

I defended my thesis and earned my MA just a few days before we left.  Unfortunately, since we were on such a tight schedule to tie up all our loose ends in Geneva and get back to the States in time for my mom to be able to interview for jobs, we weren’t able to schedule my thesis defense on a day when my Swiss Mom could attend, even though the plan had always been to have her there.  It was especially disappointing since I blew everyone out of the water and earned a near-perfect grade of 5.9 out of 6.0.

I wasn’t planning on sitting on my butt and doing nothing once I got back Stateside, though.  I found a local synagogue that looked great on paper — Conservative, slightly larger than my synagogue in Geneva, lots of adult education classes, a conversion class that was to start in October, and a large Jewish library.  I hadn’t seen photos of the congregation, but I was hoping they would have a nice selection of young men in attendance — and it wouldn’t hurt if they were cute.

The state of my health didn’t really let me hold down a steady desk job, but I also planned to look for flexible freelance work that would allow me to take off time for health problems when I needed to.  I planned to take the American Translators Association’s certification exams in French and Spanish, and I wanted to register with the local school district to substitute teach French and Spanish.  I also considered volunteering to guest lecture on Swiss history/culture/civics and organizing private tutoring sessions, conversation classes, and classes for SAT II/AP test preparation.

On top of all that, I also needed to take some test drives around the neighborhood to see whether or not the heart in the middle of my right eye messed up my vision too much to see the road properly.  If it didn’t, I was thinking about buying a used car, because three working adults sharing one car just doesn’t work well.

I had pretty much managed to give my mom the all-around Geneva experience during the year she lived with me – she ate fondue, raclette and fried Lake Geneva perch (and sampled Swiss wine).  She had been in the hospital (both as a patient and as a visitor), dealt with Swisscom telephone service and had a run-in with the little green TPG bus ticket-taker men.  We went on a boat ride on the lake, ate a picnic dinner on the jetty at Bains des Pâquis, and watched the musical fireworks over the lake during Geneva’s biggest party of the year, the Fêtes de Genève.  She walked all around the Old Town, saw the Reformation Monument, and visited the cathedral and the Reformation museum.  She went to concerts in Victoria Hall and the cathedral, and outdoors during the summer music festival.  She saw the Jet d’Eau fountain in the middle of the lake, the enormous flower clock planted in the English Garden, and the rose gardens on the left bank of the lake.  She took a tour of the UN and got to take pictures all through the main building.  She even got to pet the local organ grinder’s cat.  The only major activity she missed was the Escalade historical reenactment. There was nothing I could do about Escalade, since it only comes around once a year, but she did get to have a chocolate marmite with marzipan vegetable candies inside and discover a love of marzipan.

To keep a positive outlook, I made a list of all the things I wanted to eat when we got back. The first stop on the list: Dunkin’ Donuts at Newark airport.

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