Thoughts from Switzerland that I never had the chance to upload...
I didn't think I'd enjoy Zurich as much as I did today. I woke up in a hotel room, all to myself and had a lazy morning while a storm came thundering through the city. I unpacked my back and repacked it. I'm still trying to figure out how to eliminate some of the weight (65lbs./29kg). I think by the time I leave Europe, I'll have lost some of the it in guidebooks and snacks. There's a scale in the bathroom here, if it's correct, I've lost at least 10-15lbs. in body weight since I've left the states. I guess I wasn't imagining it.
In the afternoon I bought a tram ticket and headed to the center of town for a look around. At first I was thinking that it was a nice place, with lots of shopping, but not really much to see. After spending a few hours walking through the streets and having some sweets by the water, Zurich started to charm me. I noticed that everyone seemed to be very easy-going. I felt safe. Quality of life did seem a bit higher here (along with the prices of everything... $8/hr at the Internet cafe?). I walked along the water for a bit and passed by the Corbusier House (which I'd seen a whole exhibit about in Madrid). Suddenly, this peace came over me. I was smiling inside and out. I almost wanted to shout out loud- Life is Good! It was awesome. I'd come so far to feel this way. I just looked at everyone around me with delight. I wanted to stop people in the streets to remind them that it was good to be alive.
Why was it so hard to feel this way before? What could I do to hold on to this feeling (for a bit, I was thinking, beer but I abstained)? Yesterday I had been thinking a lot about the general feeling of happiness I'd been experiencing on my travels. I realized that traveling was non-stop distraction. I always have to be on my toes because everyday is new. A new place or a new person or a new experience. As I rode the tram through Zurich, examining faces on the street and laughing to myself at the stories I imagined they each had, I realized. Life is good for a tourist. I clicked myself down a notch with this realization.
A tourist is just visiting. A tourist is in a place to hunt for the 'best of'. We get to see the greener grass on the other side. We don't have to deal with life in that place. I was reminded of a conversation I had with Alfredo in Havana where I told him how beautiful I thought his city was. He reminded me that I was on vacation and that life is hard for a Cuban in Cuba.
So I'm enjoying my time as a global tourist. I feel extremely fortunate for this opportunity. I'm going to hold on to this perspective and I'm going to use it when the grass back home starts to go brown. Everything has beauty in someone's eyes.
Afterthoughts: When I have these occasions of bliss, I often think, 'You know what would make everything perfect right now? Someone to share this with'. I hope that reading some of this rambling inspires some sort of joy in your day. Take a breath and just be amazed at what's around us, whether it's wondrous or miserable.
Swiss girls. When I first strolled around the city, I didn't notice any substantial percentage of pretty girls. But in my bliss, I realized that they were all working in the shops. All the pretty people have jobs here. By six o'clock though, they start to hit the cafes.
It was interesting to sit in the lobby of the hotel last night. Such a different crowd from a hostel. Businessmen and tourists milling about. Then a pack of people with bicycles in special transport cases. Turns out this weekend is Ironman Switzerland. Today, the hotel was swarming with these triathletes. Nutty.