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Monday, 8 September 2014

Learning how to live in the ‘City’

For those of you used to Cayman, you’ll understand that Geneva even with only 200,000 people is a big city – for those of you in London, Hong Kong, Paris, New York or Miami (or almost anywhere else), you’ll think I’m talking nonsense….so I’m talking to those of you in Cayman!!

I shocked myself today when I got on a tram going home for lunch and almost on auto pilot I purposefully didn’t make eye contact with anyone and clutched my handbag tightly under my arm.  It didn’t even occur to me what I’d done until I got home and thought about it and mentioned it to Tony.  As sensible as this behavior is in any city, it saddens me somewhat given I’ve been used to Cayman and of course more recently rural France where I’ve been told off in a supermarket for asking where a product is before saying ‘bonjour madame’!

I think this new behavior will serve me well but I do miss making eye contact and saying ‘bonjour’ to everyone you meet accompanied by a handshake or a kiss (depending on whether you’ve met them before – a handshake if you haven’t, a kiss if you have….or 4 kisses if you live in our area of France and 3 if you live in Geneva!)

We’ve now completed our first week in Geneva which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed although I think Tony is very much looking forward to not only getting stuck in to the renovations but harvesting what’s left of the garden – we’ve been tracking the weather and depending on what our neighbours have had (we did ask them to help themselves in our absence) I have a feeling Tony will still have nearly 100 sweetcorns, 40 pumpkins, a ton of aubergines, green peppers, cucumbers, leeks, celery, beets and still to come cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower & brussel sprouts – he’ll be busy!

On Sunday, I scouted out a local church and asked Tony to come with me to check it out, it was an evangelical Baptist church and I really enjoyed it – all very casual (not just in Geneva standards, for example I was over dressed in jeans!!) and there was a sermon by a missionary who’s been serving in Senegal – digging wells all over the region and dodging the ebola virus – absolutely fascinating listening to people who really dedicate their lives to making others’ lives better and of course spreading the gospel.  I sat next to a lovely lady and when we got chatting I discovered she was from Jamaica having moved here from Miami 5 years ago and works for the United Nations – this is such a fascinating place and like Cayman in the melting pot aspect but just 4 times the amount of people in the pot!

So it’s my second week of work and we’re celebrating ‘Jeune Genevoise’ with a bank holiday on Thursday – I’m still not sure what that is but I shall be happy to celebrate it!  I’ve also been asked if Tony and I would like to sign up for the annual company skiing weekend in January – I had to think about that for all of about 5 seconds on my first day before deciding we should really show willing and join everyone on the mountain – Tony and I are as good at skiing as we are at ‘apres skiing’ so I think we shall have fun.

I’ve found an apartment which has views of the mountains and despite being on the 4th floor, there is no elevator in the building so I guess I’ll get to keep both warm and fit!  That said, there’s obviously room for anyone that wishes to come and visit….

On that note, I shall leave you with a couple of photos of the water shoot that can be found on Lac Leman (apparently only called ‘Lake Geneva’ by expats and foreigners!!)

With much love from us here while it’s still warm in Europe – I’m not sure I can keep the positive vibes going as winter sets in…….only time will tell!

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