Tag Archives: Plum Village

01 Leaving Switzerland

Friday, 13th June 2003

Writing From the Train : Paris-Bordeaux
I had spent my last night in Zurich in the uppity-up room of the Bernets’ brilliantly restored farmhouse. I woke up feeling tired this morning, not having slept more than 2 fretful hours. It’s been hot. The promise of rain did not deliver. It’s been a week of summer, quite unusual in June. This is Europe, no air-conditioning tradition here. Funny what one thinks about during one’s last night. After 7 years with the company and 5 years living in Switzerland, I am leaving for the unknown of a sabbatical year (hopefully).

Driving to the office we were stuck in horrendous traffic – yes they have those even in Zurich. Saying goodbye at the office consisted of a whirl of tri-kisses, photos and best wishes, and finally storming into my boss, W’s office to inform him that I did not really intend to walk to Bordeaux. He kindly offered to drive me to the airport. A couple of hugs and a couple of tears and it was over. We had a great team, and it was hard to say goodbye.

The apartment in Windlach has been given up (loved that apartment), the car sold (loved that car), the furniture mostly given away. Still my worldly possessions weigh heavily upon me, especially since the French are still working on their railway strike. I’ve been so tired, I don’t think I can heck the going to Plum Village and doing the 5am meditation thing right away. The last week has been exhausting, emotionally, physically and it’s been so darn hot*. I think I need a breather when I do get to Bordeaux. I’ll may be spend a couple of days there just sleeping, and go to Plum Village on Sunday morning.

Zurich to Paris was uneventful.

Vive la France! Aeroport CDG to Montpanasse via Gare du Nord was an exercise in patience: long wait at immigration, disorganized train service, a partial strike, long wait for taxi at Gare du Nord, flying around trying to get a phonecall to Plum Village. I bought a 7Euro phone card to make the one call. The number was engaged and I had to run to the train. Life today had been a see-saw of waiting in line and flying around after being late for having waited in line. And it is definitely true – I am always stuck in the slow lane. Today was after all, Friday, the 13th (and 14th on the Chinese calendar).

Through it all I had the distinct feeling that it was supposed to happen – the cultural clash of the merger and the subsequent drama, what the buddhists term ‘aversion’ came up big time. I’ve been tired of that bs for some time. This was a kick start for me to get out and do what I need to do. I’ve at least manage to protect my team. I am also proud of G, she’s put her dreams on the table with talking to people about moving back to the city (New York City) and also doing some sort of business. I hope to have news when I leave. 6/13/2003 4:37 PM

Writing from Bordeaux: Sanitized for Your Protection
8.30pm and I’m in a 2-star (sanitised for your protection) hotel across from the Bordeaux St. Jean station. They cancelled all the other trains to Begerac for tonight. Just as well. After lugging my bags around, up and down stairs, in the heat, I was ready to call it a day. Dumped most of the luggage in the baggage place and found the Hotel Arcantis at €43++. No aircon, took a coldish shower, going to be a night in the bare buff I think. Might go in search of something to eat, perhaps some type of salad. Or go to sleep now. 6/13/2003 8:41 PM

* It turned out to be the hottest summer in Europe in recorded history. About 40,000 Europeans died.