If you’ve followed this blog, or even just read the About page, you know I didn’t set out on these XpatAdventures alone.
Oh, no. This path has not been a solitary one.
Even before the first blog post, I shared this road from stepmother in Colorado to tenure-track professor in Idaho, to entrepreneur-supporting, world-traveling expat in Switzerland with a 100-pound canine companion.
At least three different people, not knowing each other and years apart, have claimed he wasn’t really a dog but a human with fur. Lately it’s seemed he was just days from fully formed speech; that’s how clear his communication was.
You can see more about him here.
Mufasa and I have shared our lives for 13 years.
Until this week.
The night after Mufasa died (not the first night, the first night I drank wine and fast forwarded through bad romantic comedies, but the very first night after that) at about 9:30 pm, just as the summer sun was setting, I put on my dog-walking clothes and went for a long, fast hike.
It had been at least a year since Mufasa had been able to go for the kind of walk he loved — up through the park above the house, across the street into the woods, along the dirt logging road south-east of home, down the hill fast to the street and back along the block of houses where tens of dogs pee each day, so lingering to sniff everything.
I took that walk because he would have wanted to and I still could.
And it made me happy.
It made me happy to think that even after he’s gone I can live like he showed me and bring along some of the joy we shared.
Here are a few of the things he taught me. I’m sure they’ll work for you, too:
Go for a hike.
Be amazed… by the trees you’ve seen a thousand times and each stranger who crosses your path.
Relish your food.
Love your people.
Say a hearty “Yes!” to any sentence that begins, “Do you wanna…?” because it’s almost always a treat, a trip in the car, or a walk. Perk up. Say yes. It’ll be good.
And most of all: Enjoy. Enjoy it all. Enjoy sounding the alarm. Give chase without care or caution. Make friends of all shapes and sizes. Be your beautiful self.
Here’s the last idea: Even after almost eight years here, I am fighting for my work and residence permit again. Fighting might not be the right word. I’m applying for a one-year renewal and it is frightening. I used to say, “Home is where Mufasa is.” For a moment on my walk I thought, “It would be so much easier to just go back to the United States now,” and I can since Mufasa is gone.
I walked these hills and fields tonight, though, breathed in the muggy night air, and realized I am so happy here, just me, alone. I love this life. I live here. This is not a temporary thing. I have friends and music and rewarding work and opportunity and I love this land, this country, this place. It doesn’t make me any less American, it is all part of this expat adventure. This, every bit of it, is what it’s all about.
I am at peace and know that my big, sweet, lumbering, joyful companion is, too. Rest in peace, funny, gorgeous boy. The world is poorer tonight for losing you. And don’t worry… I might not need guarding any more.