symmetry magazine

dimensions of particle physics

dimensions of particle physics

A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

 

Katie & Adam Yurkewicz: Bon voyage

May 01, 2007

Katie & Adam Yurkewicz: Bon voyage

In August 2006, after almost a year of preparation, we packed up all our belongings to move from Batavia, Illinois, to Geneva, Switzerland. We were following our particle physics careers from Fermilab to CERN, the European particle physics lab.

Day in the life: Katie and Adam Yurkewicz
 


In August 2006, after almost a year of preparation, we packed up all our belongings to move from Batavia, Illinois, to Geneva, Switzerland. We were following our particle physics careers from Fermilab to CERN, the European particle physics lab–Adam to work on the ATLAS experiment and Katie to serve as US communicator for the Large Hadron Collider. We said goodbye to friends and our coworkers at Fermilab; divided our belongings into Europe-bound and storage-bound; spent a week with each of our families in New York; and finally set off on separate flights to Geneva in September. Two months and one lost suitcase, three rental cars, five apartment viewings, dozens of hours of bureaucracy, and countless French-translation errors later, we were living in an apartment in the French countryside, owners of a French used car, and beginning to settle into our new lives and routines.
 


What to take, what to toss, what to put in storage for three years in my parents’ garage? For the most part practicality prevailed–clothes to Europe, fragile china to storage–but somehow a $10 globe, 100 plastic cookie cutters, and a large collection of refrigerator magnets were deemed worthy of shipping 4400 miles.
 

Separate employers, separate travel itineraries from New York. I flew Swiss airlines direct to Geneva; Adam's layover in Heathrow resulted in the temporary loss of his carry-on bag containing all our electronic equipment and important documents. The bag eventually turned up with all contents intact, but not before a week of bureaucratic wrangling that spiced up our arrival in our new city.

After six moves in nine years, we thought we had apartment-hunting down to a science, but it's a whole new thing in a whole new country. We eventually chose an apartment in the tiny town of Vesancy, France. What our town lacks in nightlife, it makes up in cows, mules, friendly neighbors, and hiking in the Jura Mountains right outside our door.

Apartment, car, belongings arriving safely from the US were all important milestones. But once the big things were done, we started the real job of adapting to a new culture: learning the language; driving a manual transmission; adapting to local shopping habits; eating different types of food; and even finding time for some sightseeing. No matter how comfortable we may get in Europe, care packages from home are still always highly anticipated.


Photos and text: Katie and Adam Yurkewicz
 

Click here to download the pdf version of this article.

 

Issue: 
Science topics: 
Experiments and machines: 
Laboratories and facilities: