When moving into a Swiss apartment there is a formal meeting that takes place between the previous tenant, the leasing agent and the new tenant (and in our case our relocation agent). All parties meet at the apartment in question and the leasing agent goes through the entire residence inch by inch, noting anything that is damaged or irregular. During the inspection, the leasing agent who I will refer to as PF (for Perpetual Frown) took the better part of two hours to scribble endlessly on her notepad face like a thundercloud, muttering angrily in French while we looked on, completely perplexed.

It is expected that the outgoing tenant leave the residence in spotless condition. As in eat-off-the-toilet-seat spotless. Given the massive security deposits that are required to rent anything here, it's no wonder that most people hire a company to come in and scour the place.

After her inspection, the PF pointed out three things that were not cleaned to her satisfaction (one side of the door on the dishwasher, a 3''x 3'' spot on the gleaming tub and some spots on the bathroom grout) and listed the total fine if the areas in question were not cleaned by the end of the week (500 CF...seriously). After we all shook hands and went our separate ways, I made a mental note to cover the entire apartment in Clorox-soaked bubble wrap during our stay to avoid getting nailed when it is time for us to leave.

We were able to pick up the keys a few days later and set a move-in date for Friday. Setting a date was exciting not just because we were finally moving into our home for the foreseeable future, but also because it meant that our belongings had made it to dry land and were not, in fact, sitting on the floor of the Atlantic.

As someone who's idea of moving, (until now) has involved bribing various less-than-enthused friends and family members, carrying absurdly large items on public transportation and filling garbage bags with everything within arms reach, just the idea of having movers still blows my mind. When they actually showed up on time (!), were insanely nice(!!) and had our things off the truck and unpacked within a matter of hours (!!!) I was pretty sure I was in some sort of dream and would soon awaken to reality (which in this case would involve all our furniture tossed in a heap at the bottom of the staircase and some little imp laughing at me as I tried to lug it upstairs while crying)

The fact that the moving crew were not just smiling, but singing after carrying my monstrous black cabinet up five flights of stairs was more than I could handle. For I have had to move that cabinet less than fifty yards and the words that came out of my mouth while doing so were along the lines of "I'm dead now! My back is broken! Leave me - save yourselves!" etc.

After the Jolly Movers had left and the dust settled, we began the arduous task of Putting Everything in Its Place. Anthony was a hero and rewired all our lamps while I set about the  (equally demanding) task of making things look pretty. We started on Friday afternoon and did not stop moving until Saturday night when our legs gave out and we had to start self medicating with wine.

It is very surreal to be rearranging one's possessions on a new continent. Every time I put something away, my brain would say ''my electric toothbrush! The last time I saw this I was in Chicago! I can't believe it's here! How cool!'' Contrary to popular belief, this did not get old.

And then, at some undefinable point, we stopped putting things away in a new apartment and started putting them away in our new apartment. We cooked a meal and ate it in our living room while watching a movie. Bliss.

It's good to be home.