Sliding Across International Borders…Again

…I’m back in the UK. My year in Switzerland is over. I had my last day of work (which I knew was my last because when I came in that morning they’d already cancelled my ID access badge). I said goodbye to my friends via BBQs, picnics, pizza and no-nonsense Swiss-German handshakes. My flat was tidied up. I closed my Swiss bank account and de-registered with the Basel authorities without any complications. I somehow got everything into my suitcases without paying overweight luggage fees (although I did have to board my flight with lots of underwear stuffed into my fleece pockets and carrying my two hefty winter coats).

…And that was that.

I guess I expected to feel more emotions than I actually did. There was neither elation, worry nor protracted grief.

I’ve mentioned before that there were several screw-ups I associate with my time in Basel – the act of moving to a different country was a way of breaking from my mistakes and starting over. My last week in Basel turned out to be a hectic one: work was over and I wanted to crack on with a fairly exciting writing project that I’d been commissioned to take part in (more on that in the near future); I also wanted to start aligning things for my Philadelphia holiday (I’m trying to arrange to see ALL my Philly friends, do ALL my favourite Philly activities, attend ALL the pharma/science networking events, as well as visit ALL the grad schools in the area that I’m interested in). In the end it felt like I needed to leave Switzerland to push on with my To Do list.

It turned out that I was more upset about leaving my work than I was about leaving the country, at least from the amount of tears I shed over it. When I was over in Philadelphia it felt like the stuff I did outside of work was what defined that year: the hiking, the dancing, the travelling. Here in Basel it kinda felt like the work was the main thing. I really loved my job, even though it wasn’t the easiest. Even though I’m still slowly learning how to function as an adult in a professional environment. It hurt to say goodbye to my work colleagues and draw a line under a piece of research experience that I enjoyed.

I’m sad about leaving my friends behind, but I’ve learned something important in the years of being an international chemist: if they are real friends…distance and time doesn’t matter. They’ll still be my friends when I go back. I’ll miss them, but I know I can keep in contact electronically and that will work out fine.

The view from Lausanne’s lakeside when I visited earlier this year. That was Switzerland at it’s finest.


Thus I’m sitting back in Crail looking out of the window onto a gorgeous Scottish summer day: the sea is sparkling and there isn’t a cloud to be seen. Hey, I missed having the sea at the bottom of my garden. Sure it’s colder here than continental Europe, but there isn’t such things as humidity or stifling heat. At some point soon I’m going to have to go through the intimidating strata of Stuff that’s in my bedroom, which either belonged to my pre-university life or else got dumped here between terms/countries. My father has been making sarcastic comments about the Stuff for years, now. The local charity shops are in for a treat…

It’s all about making do with the location you’re in, looking for the positives and methodically dealing with the negatives.

Sunshine in Scotland. Proof that the UK can be as warm as continental Europe when it feels like it.


People have been asking about my next adventure, and I’m almost in a position where I can give the full overview. Accommodation, finances and travel have still to be finalised – hence why I’ve kept quiet up until now – but things are getting sorted quite nicely. A detailed blog post will come along soon that explains everything, I promise.

The early preview, though?

–> London. 

6 thoughts on “Sliding Across International Borders…Again

    • Exoticism is relative, after all. To me Scotland is at times mundane because it is so familiar – other times I try to look at it with fresh eyes.
      Thank you in return for *reading* my shared experiences.

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