Our Extended Swiss Family

A bit of Australian bird folk lore for all our new family and friends

As the emu flies Jo and I are about 16,500 kilometres from our home in Australia, although I wouldn't like to fly the distance at emu speed. From Geneva to Brisbane, with a stop over in Dubai, and if everything goes to schedule, the journey takes around twenty six hours, which is doable. We went home once more than we had anticipated during the last two years but that helped actually helped set up what might come next for us. The hours we spent walking along kilometres of white sand and diving through countless sets of perfect green and foam inspiration after Christmas help us cement our decision to return back to Oz at the beginning of July. Work and money might fill in the days but they don't constitute Life.
A month before I escaped banking (with Kris)

A couple of years later with 'The Goattees'

Back in a previous persuasion when I dressed up as a bank manager every day, one of my most financially successful customers passed on to me what he considered the best advice he'd ever been given. He said if I could make it a core value I would not only have a successful career in my chosen field but all areas of my life would be fulfilling.

His wisdom was as simple as this.

  'Always remember to use money and love people... and to never get the two mixed up.'

Whenever David came in to do business with me we would spend the majority of our time discussing what was important in our personal lives and the last five or ten minutes tidying up the financial details. When I finally resigned from the bank after twenty four years it was this line that helped me know I was making the right decision.

For me (after God), people are always more important than anything else. Jo and I have had amazing adventures together over the last twelve years and we always look forward to the what opens up for us as we continue this spontaneous journey together. We have a beautiful home to return to that comes complete with equally beautiful and interesting family, friends and an abundance of new opportunities. The Swiss leg of  our  'Spontaneous Bliss'  (my next book title) included a period of  9-10 months of (often stressful) cultural and climatic adjustment interspersed with amazing holidays all around Europe.

Jodie, Lubna, 'little' Lubna
Raua, Layla, Chisal and Rhoda - adding colour to a colourful world
Without the support of the people we had met here in Switzerland we would have done a runner after the first twelve months. A big part of these friendships have come out of the work I have been blessed enough to do at the EVAM funded, asylum seeker's centre in Crissier. People working at the centre. Staff from Jo's school. But just as importantly for Jo and I have been the residents of the asylum seeker's program. If I ever thought I was having a hard moment all I needed to do was catch a number 18 bus to Crissier and hang out for an hour or two at the centre, talking to people who could instantly redefine 'hard' for me.

Lunch Eritrean and Sudanese style

Jodie, Chisal and Raua - funny faces

Abrahim and me outside their Biere home
Last Saturday night Jo and I got to have dinner and conversation  with some neat people from her school who have been supportive of what we've been doing while living here in Switzerland. On Sunday we drove up to Biere at the base of the Jura Mountains to catch up with two families from Libya, who we met when they lived at EVAM Crissier and have now moved out into the larger community. These families remain truly inspirational to us in any work or project that we undertake. Their ability to overcome all manner of adversity with patience and good humour is the solid stuff of good books and movies.We all had a fun talk-eat-walk fest sort of day and it was another perfect example of my old customer David's sound one liner from so many years ago. The generosity of people from ISL through the 'Friends of EVAM' project that has developed and grown through an idea I had before we left Australia, has truly brought a lot of love and hope into the lives of these two families along with hundreds of others.

Jo Rhoda and Layla dressing up

With Chisal, Lubna and Jo

The countryside around Biere had a back home feeling about it
My last blog before we leave for familiar shores (and I change the title of my blog from Rob in Lausanne to Rob in the Sun or probably more appropriately, Rob in the Rain) will be about the 'Friends of EVAM' project. But this one is just a big thank you to all those people who have given us so much of what really counts during our two years in Lausanne and expected very little in return for their love and helpfulness.


This photo reminded me of a John Denver song

Raua doing what matters most


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