Three Doors

As the reality that my time is running short in Basel hit me, it occurred to me that I would actually miss it. I went to lunch by myself yesterday, after a little bit of wandering the canyon-like streets, and sat outside in the autumn sunshine relecting on my time in Basel, now nearly two years.

The seat opposite me at the table was empty, but the ghosts of many colleagues who had joined me in that exact spot flitted by, bringing back fond memories. I feel lucky that I got to work with so many people from so many places around the world. We spent countless hours discussing differences and language mishaps, what we missed most about home and why we keep traveling. When I look back now though, I don't see the differences. I see the kinship of the journey we shared for this brief span of time and I know that as humans we share more in common than we differ.

While I confess I sometimes get amusement out of making fun of the Swiss culture and I don't think I will ever really understand the people of Basel, the town has a simplicity that I think so many of us yearn for. Whenever I try to describe it to people, inevitably I make a comment along the lines of 'it's a city that is stuck in the 50s.' Seeing as I was born in the 70s and don't have any recollection of the 50s, what I am really trying to say is that the town, for me, represents the ideal of the 50s that I have fabricated from watching old 50s TV shows and movies. I always had a thing for I Love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver. The world was crisp and clean in those shows. Humor came from the disorder amongst the order and the reaction of the orderly folks. That is so Basel.

When trying to pinpoint exactly why I should feel an attachment to Basel, there was something more to it than the safe, cozy feel. My bright sunny apartment, the funny Swiss francs, my smattering of Basel dialekt...and then it hit me. For me, Basel is my independence in Europe. It is the proof that I exist outside of what I was in the past in the US and what I am together with M. in Munich. It is a place where I showed I can made it on my own. I am proud of my life in Basel.

Tugging at me all week was this instinct, that when I leave, there is the uncertainty of the future and an instability in my independence. I don't want to lose that independence, so I don't want to lose Basel.

With this realization in hand, it is time for Let's Make A Deal.

Behind Door #1 - An opportunity has come up to stay in Basel. Same project, different team, in an area that is not my specialty by any stretch. The proposal was made based not on my skills but on a good working relationship from previous collaborations. A tempting offer in that I like the individual, would stay mainly in Basel for another year and it would be a good foundation for the promotion I am up for next year. Somehow funny, it would mean I would be partnered with a Frenchman at work and a German at home - two countries I never wanted anything to do with before I met M.

Behind Door #2 - Six to eight months commuting to Singapore! Again, for the same project. The opportunity is a perfect fit from my previous experience and for making a stab at the promotion but so, so far away from Munich. My Sagittarius spirit makes me want to impulsively leap at the chance to fulfill my ever growing wanderlust. I always want to see more! This would be hard on me and M. though, especially with him signed up for some more time in the US in the next months.

Behind Door #3 - I don't get to find out until I reject 1 and 2. Truly a blind roll of the dice, where I would pack up from Basel in two months and set off searching and who knows where and with whom and on what I could be working. There is something scintillating about that too.

It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds...

Posted from Munich


J said...

Good luck at a rather difficult decision.

vailian said...

Isn't this kind of thing agonizing? Makes one wish for split personalities! At one point I was torn between the US, New Zealand, Germany, and France. Don't regret the choice I made, though I often try to imagine the consequences had I chosen otherwise.

Michelle said...

thanks! After a good night's sleep I am thinking more and more that I like Door #1 - it has potential!