Where Thou Art, That is Home

by Jenn on June 2, 2014

in Breakfast,Gluten Free,Photography,Travel

Chicken and chives frittata

“Where thou art, that is home” – Emily Dickinson

It is said that home is where the heart is – and that having a home is not about the perfect HGTV worthy historic colonial with an impeccably manicured lawn, but rather about having a sense of place, security, and comfort, especially in the company of loved ones.  We have found ourselves at the end of our lovely experience over on the other side of the “pond”, and are now back home with friends and family whom we had missed so much.

Not quite four and a half years ago, my husband and I set off across the world, to arrive in a charming snow-covered city on Lake Geneva. Since then, living in Europe has been an incredible set of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but like all good things must at some point come to an end, in order to start the next chapter in our lives. But really, while my husband and I always thought of our time in Switzerland as merely a place to live (we never even bothered to decorate because well, what was the point if one day we’d have to pack it all up anyways?), in a way for that time at least, Switzerland was home too. After all, Switzerland is the only home that our daughter has ever known, and I know it’s been hard for her as she doesn’t quite understand why Mama and Daddy have been packing up every single item we owned into boxes to send off – but she’ll figure it out soon enough. When it was time for bed the first night out of our little apartment and in the hotel room, she told us, “No, night-night home!” When she figured out we weren’t going to be going back to our apartment that night, she expressed her disappointment in the clearest way that a toddler can – by crying. I felt so bad that my attempts at explaining that we were moving had failed to be articulated in a way that she could understand.

For us too, leaving was a little bittersweet – over Easter , we decided to spend one of our last Swiss weekends with our good friends Jonell and Peter up in the Alps of Villars – The mountains were still snow-capped even in mid-April, and we enjoyed our last trip into the scenic Swiss alpine landscape with an equally fitting last Swiss dinner – la fondue aux tomates and la raclette at the Refuge de Solalex.

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We easily requested pommes de terre, or potatoes, for the fondue, and the raclette was prepared right by the fireplace across the way from our table. To date, this fondue at Solalex is my favorite fondue in all of Switzerland.

Fondue aux Tomates, Solalex Raclette, Solalex

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Fast forward several packed suitcases and a few long airport layovers later, and we find ourselves back home – well, it feels a lot more like home to us at least, being able to be near many dearly missed friends and family again. Baby girl feels it too, despite all the transition of moving halfway around the world.  What has helped her most was finally making the big trip and actually seeing Paw Paw, Grandma, and Granny after so long – you could just see her relax – she knew, despite being a location she surely couldn’t possibly remember first-hand (there was that Thanksgiving trip when she was only a couple months old), that this was now home.

Goodbye Switzerland

I thought I would have more mixed feelings than I do at this point about leaving. Switzerland was the opportunity of a lifetime – we tried to take advantage of visiting as many new places as possible, and made several wonderful friends along the way. We ate well, we tried new things, learned a lot about the interconnect between food, culture, and life, and hopefully I haven’t been too annoying about sharing our experiences here with you on this blog ;) But in the end, it was time. Time to come back home to family and the great United States, and time to show our baby girl all of the amazing and beautiful things in America.

Ash Cave

We had such nostalgia walking through the weekly farmer’s market in our old stomping grounds, and of course were stunned by the plethora of tantalizing gluten free goodies that now line the shelves of our grocery store. So many amazing, some nearly unfathomable, options (many of which I really do hope to try at some point, particularly the gluten free pizza crusts) and yet, what I have had most satisfaction making (as I nearly squealed at the idea of paying only $3.25 for an entire dozen local farm fresh eggs) is a simple naturally gluten free dish from scratch that a dear friend and colleague taught me while I was in Switzerland – a basic Italian omlette, or frittata. Now surely I have totally deviated from all realm of tradition by eating it for breakfast, and adding in garnishes like chopped up leftover roast chicken from the night before, but I promised her I wouldn’t “cheat” when I made it (well she called it cheating, ha), and that I’d actually get the technique down for flipping it over in the skillet rather than finishing it in the oven. The key is really just having the right size pan and plate :)

My morning routine is fast becoming a tasty two-egg frittata thrown together in a skillet, accompanied by a cuppa brewed on the stove in our trusty Bialetti. I find that in these quiet sunlit mornings amongst the wooded Appalachian foothills, a little bit of Europe has indeed come back home with me – and it has found its way into my breakfast.

Chicken and chives frittata

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Neel Learn Food Photography June 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

Wow… Good luck Jenn… moving is no fun and that too with a little one. See you in US soon.

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:09 am

Thanks so much Neel!

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Rosa June 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

A wonderful breakfast treat.

I was very happy to meet you before you left Switzerland. A pity I wasn’t able to get to know you better before you left the country…

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:10 am

Aww thanks Rosa, was wonderful to meet you as well!

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Julia Williams June 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Jenn, So glad to hear that you are back in the States and that you are continuing your fantastic blog! I enjoyed your recent piece in Paleo Magazine. Please drop in on us at Rose-Hulman when you are next in the neighborhood–Julia

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:17 am

Thanks so much! Will definitely make a visit next time I am in the area.
Though I haven’t written anything yet for Paleo mag, I do write for Simply Gluten Free :)

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Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) June 3, 2014 at 2:15 am

Welcome “home” Jenn :) Looking forward to following your adventures in the States! XO

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:18 am

Thanks Mardi! Will have to make it up to Canada sometime to visit!

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krystal June 3, 2014 at 7:33 am

Welcome home Jenn! Can’t wait to hear about all the at home adventures you all will have.

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:18 am

Thanks so much Krystal!

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Laura June 4, 2014 at 3:47 am

Welcome back to the States, I love your blog and look forward to your new adventures.

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:34 am

Thank you Laura!

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Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts June 4, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Welcome back to the U.S., Jenn! Each phase of our lives has importance and shapes who we are. I’m so glad that you all had that amazing experience.

Shirley

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Jenn June 5, 2014 at 3:40 am

Thanks Shirley! It was a great experience indeed :)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary July 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I still can’t believe you came through Denver and we didn’t meet face to face. The years of Skype calls do make for a real relationship but it’s simply not the same as a big old hug!

I can’t wait to hear of your new adventures in Alaska. Heaven forbid you should have settled in a place like Illinois…that would have been way too mundane for your adventurous spirits. All my love and ‘bestest’ wishes for this new place, new job and yes, new life!

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