~a new chapter with new things~

December 2nd, 2007


The unattributed opening quote of W.W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw, first published in Harper’s in 1902 reads as follows: Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.

The day we returned from Venice we found out Ali’s NY office was closing and they wanted him to relocate. I’ve been dreaming of a sabbatical from teaching and time to finish my book, and Alfonso and I have been dreaming of living in Europe, and now it’s happening.

It’s been two months of considering everywhere from Montreal to Beijing, and Lo! in five weeks from today we will land in Dublin before carrying on to Neuchâtel, Switzerland for nine months, possibly longer. It has its own lake, a population of 30,000 French speakers, and it’s own coat of arms featuring a flame-tongued eagle.

It’s about eighty miles from Gevena, and is famous for the things all of Switzerland is famous for: cheese, chocolate, and watches. Oh, and the clocks.


There is the famous Orson Wells line in the Third Man~ In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love—they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

For the record, the Cuckoo clock was first created in Augsburg, Germany, in 1600s and then famously in the German Black Forest for another three hundred years before the Swiss joined in. But you get the point, it is a mellow, relatively angst-free land. What on earth will Berlin-Boy and Hollywood-Girl do there?!

Beyond simply the adventure of living in a new land, the plan is that we will get our French in shape and explore all the neighboring countries to see if there isn’t a place we like to settle for a time. So far my first choice is Amsterdam, but I’ve never been to any of the places in the running, so who knows?


Ali has been relishing the image of my skipping through the mountains in braids, off to milk the goats. He’s been singing the theme song of that Shirley Temple vehicle Heidi, making up his own words (as he does with all song lyrics–men and listening, thats all I’m gonna say) replacing Hei-di with Kim-mi….

I have long yearned for a pet goat, and am in fact a mountain girl, but truth is I found the world of the book Heidi (by Johanna Spyri) cloying and somewhat alienating as a child. The title of this blog is lifted from the chapter headings, which also includes Fraulein Rottenmeier Spends an Uncomfortable Day, which admittedly is a pretty good…

Meanwhile today we woke to the first snow and crunched through it to the base of the Williamsburg Bridge and our favorite brunch haunt, Dressler, where we met Tim and Katherine for much mimosa-ing and even a little snow ball war.


I’ve been doing everything “for the last time” and I have to say a month more of this will be very hard. Even though we were beyond ready for a radical change and adventure, there is much to miss in New York. I am glad to feel that, but like most things in life, it’s bitter-sweet…

I am thrilled beyond words to have time to simply write.

Another chapters is titled thusly, Heidi Gains in One Way and Loses in Another. I dig it, Heidi.

One Response to “~a new chapter with new things~”

  1. Habib says:

    Oh Swiss Miss! How I will miss thee. But I can see you with a goat in the mountains, for a little while at least.
    XO D

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