First few days in Geneva have been interesting – some things have been awesome, others not so great.
I guess I’m not too surprised that things got off to a rocky start here in Geneva. Leaving was hardly easy, so no surprise there were a few unpleasant surprises waiting for us here in Europe. Like the fridge not working. That’s a pretty major thing, and I truly believe that we completely take for granted our fridges until they stop working, and we wonder how we ever did anything without them. Like keep a babies’ milk cold. The first few evenings were chilly enough I was able to leave the milk outside, but that’s a stop gap that hardly helps.
Now we couldn’t have picked a worse time to arrive into Geneva – 7 pm on a Friday. Not that we chose that time, but it’s when we showed up. One of the things I love about the culture is that people seem to genuinely not work on evenings and weekends – there’s no checking emails every five minutes and you’re not expected to get back to anyone until Monday morning. Great, until you end up a little bit stranded for the whole weekend. We’ve made it work and the repairman is coming today, thank god, but I could have lived without that initial stress.
We went grocery shopping for the first time Saturday afternoon. Again, interesting, and again, we couldn’t have picked a worse time to go. We were set to peruse a little bit, except that the shop was closing in an hour for the rest of the weekend and it was PACKED. Full of people who acted as if I was in their way (I was). It was a little hectic, but we managed to get out of there with most of what it was we needed. In case you were wondering, yes, it is really expensive here in Geneva. I guess I’m lucky coming from Calgary, where things are also expensive so it’s not too much of a shock. If only living in expensive places makes you lucky.
There have been some really wonderful moments already as well. Sunday was fantastic. Everything shuts down on Sunday, so you really can’t do anything. Z and I are totally guilty of always finding something to do, some errands that have to be done on the weekend. I can’t remember the last time we just chilled and hung out with each other. Well, even with everything that has to get done here, we just weren’t able to do anything other than spend the day together. It was amazing. We went to a park a few blocks from our apartment, which was perfect. We wanted X to run around and get tired out, but he seemed overwhelmed by the amount of things to do, so stood in one spot and gaped at everything. He’ll get the hang of it. I heard English, French, Italian, German and Russian from the parents sitting around me. What fun to be in such an international community. People have already picked us out as Canadians, apparently from our hick French accents.
Another thing that’s really making this move a lot nicer is the weather. It is glorious. Here is what I was coming from:
Edmonton, March 30, 2014 at noon: -12 C, feels like -19 C.
The “view” on our way to the Edmonton Airport.
Here is what I am dealing with now:
Geneva, April 6, 2014 at noon: 18C, feels like 18C
Springtime! I’ve never lived anywhere that’s had spring. Or that didn’t have a windchill factor. In fact, the 18 degrees felt much warmer than I’m used to. The air is soft and warm with humidity and everything smells like flowers and I am in love with Geneva already.
Another one of the challenges I’ve been dealing with is the language here. Yes, most people do speak English, I think, but they speak French first and foremost. Often loudly and rapid-fire. I’ve always heard that immersion is the only real way to learn a language, but this is my first time really experiencing it. I’m not trying to order a meal here, I’m trying to figure out the wifi with the repairman. My brain is coming up with stuff I thought was well and truly forgotten, and each time I come out of a conversation, more or less successfully, there’s a feeling of total satisfaction. I am definitely working on this, though. Z has suggested I take some classes, in a non critical way (I think), which would be amazing if I could find a place that included child care. Also a fun way to meet other ex-pats?