Meant To Be

2013 marktluecke balcony

I’ve always believed in signs. If I hadn’t, then this last month surely would have changed my mind…

It all started with me writing an old buddy in Zurich, asking, “Hey, if you guys ever have an opening in your team, could you let me know?”

Five minutes later, I get an email, “What a coincidence. I just got back from a long vacation, first day back in the office, and we do have an opening right now.”

Two weeks later, I fly over for the interview and get upgraded to business class for the very first time in my life.

The interview day is so positive, it’s almost eerie. Even though I am as nervous as a giddy first grader approaching the school gate for the first time, I feel comfortable with everyone. The office is located in my favorite part of town and from the meeting room I’m put in for a whole series of interviews, I can see Zurich’s Uetliberg on which I used to spend many happy hours.

Upon returning to Malta, strange things happen. The next day, early morning, I decide to stop being lazy and take the stairs in our apartment building for the first time in weeks. Three floors down, I find a trapped dove. On the fourth attempt of throwing my sweater over it, I finally succeed. I manage to pin the delicate bird securely between my hands, walk down six more floors and upon reaching the street raise the sweater high above my head. I open it up towards the sky. The dove sits there for a long moment, stunned, then takes off soaring into freedom. Being overly romantic by nature, I can’t help but wonder, “Does this mean we’ll soon be flying to a new life, too?”

Two weeks pass without a word. Waiting patiently for big decisions has never been my greatest strength. But just as I begin to doubt, I get the new monthly shift plan for my job here in Malta. The team leader coordinating it for our team is very conscientious and never forgets anything. Curiously, this month he has forgotten two entire weeks on my plan. According to this, I don’t work here anymore from end of June. “Is this another sign?”, I wonder.

The weeks seem to pass in slower-than-slow motion. My inbox refresh-button would have sores on it by now if it were a living being.

Then my wife and I travel to her sister’s wedding in Korea where we have wireless everywhere and spend too much of our time continuing to refresh that inbox.

A week later, still waiting, we travel back to Malta via Paris and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we have a long layover and spend the night in a hotel room. After seventeen hours of traveling, we collapse on our hotel bed and fall asleep instantly. The next morning as we relax on the bed, I notice a nice painting on the wall across from our bed. “That’s a great watercolor of Amsterdam,” I think. Then, “Wait a minute, that’s not Amsterdam!” Sitting up straight on the bed, eyes wide in wonder, my wife and I realize that we have booked the one hotel room out of a thousand in this huge hotel, sporting a watercolor painting of Zurich. We look at each other with goofy smiles on our faces, sensing something like magic in the room.

Five days later, I get the long-awaited email. Such a little thing… a click on a button, a small link on the screen, a few lines of text… but in the end this little thing can determine the course of a life. It can make all the difference.

Scared out of my wits at first, I finally open the email with closed eyes. When I squint a little, I see, “It is my pleasure to inform you…” and breathe out with a long sigh. Minutes later when the first shock has worn off, both my wife and I whoop with joy.

So, after ten years of living abroad, I’ll be coming home. Better yet, I’ll be coming home with my soul mate, and I’ll be able to work in a profession I enjoy. I’ll be having lunch breaks in Zurich’s Niederdorf, at the River Limmat, one of the places in this world that has always enchanted me.

I am so grateful life is leading us in this direction. And, I am sure, with every happy fibre of my heart: This is meant to be.

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