Things with Basel are starting to get serious. Basel has met my mum and will soon meet the in-laws - brace yourself, Basel (joke!). Basel and I have leapt into the commitment phase. I have the key to a city apartment, I’ve made an amazing ‘mum’ friend at my daughter’s school and am slowly settling in by creating a social network.
It’s been a few months and well it’s one of those relationships that gets you all reflective about life and how we live it. For instance, coffee is a staple in my life, who am I kidding? It’s the sole reason for my existence and I often observe how others order their coffee. Back home in Sydney, the coffee ritual begins with the quick: “Cap with one”. People rush and walk around the streets with takeaway coffee cups, the idea of being ‘busy’ is glorified by paper coffee cups that are floating about the city. Here, takeaway coffee cups are not so common, in fact they are rare. When I first arrived here and ordered a coffee, a barista told me he had to go down to the cellar to find takeaway cups for my coffee. I waited fifteen minutes until he arrived empty handed, his apron dusty with a look of defeat on his face. He wiped his forehead before saying, "Sorry Madame. Vee do not have dis cups,” clearly feeling embarrassed. But I was embarrassed when I realised I could have sat down and enjoyed the coffee like others in the city. This experience made more conscious of how fast paced my life used to be, working five days and never really being in the moment. I am becoming more mindful and am savouring everyday moments; enjoying slow dinners by the river and nonsensical conversations with my children. I am starting to treasure the slower paced life, appreciating that not only is sitting down and enjoying a coffee great for my mental health, it’s also great for the environment which brings me to my next point – rubbish and recycling!
When we left Sydney some people were up in arms about the fact that plastic bags were no longer being provided by supermarket chains. One man protested by putting his entire shopping trolley in his car boot. I would be amused if that man came to live in Basel. Here, not only are plastic bags not distributed at the supermarkets, but people have to pay for household rubbish bags, we don’t have a bin to place plastic rubbish bags in, instead we pay for the bags we use (these are specially marked bags you buy at the tobacco counter of the supermarket). The situation gets is even more epic when one decides to recycle. Sydneysiders have it so good (well, we did). They place paper, plastic and glass in one bin for collection – what a dream. In Basel, we have to recycle ourselves. We have to separate glass (depending on its colour - brown, white and green) by taking it to a recycling station, then we recycle PET bottles at the supermarket and paper is collected once a month. However, for those who can’t wait or would rather do it in one go, there is a canton run recycling park to take all these unwanted items.
In a nutshell, these small inconveniences have made me see Basel differently. At first, I thought Basel was a bit uptight, but now I get it. Basel wants me to slow down and smell the proverbial coffee. Basel wants me to consider the environment and make an effort to value the earth we live in. When someone asks you to change you have every opportunity to resist, but when it’s the city you live in, you have no choice. I’m just lucky I found a good one.
Stay tuned for episode two, it's all about learning German (insert facepalm emoji times a million!).
Thanks for being here for the ride nomads, I hope you take time to slow down and smell the coffee, the sweet scent of coffee!