Bonjour Genève !

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Lac Léman/Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland

A little over two weeks ago, I started a new chapter in Geneva. After nearly a decade of living in New York, I picked up and moved to Europe to get a leg up on my career and to finally be in the same place as my love. It has been a pretty big change of pace, to say the least. At 8.406 million, New York City's population tops that of the entire country of Switzerland by 325,000 — nearly twice Geneva's population of 188,000. So I spent most of my first few days wondering where everyone was until I realized this is everyone.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like the swans on Lac Léman, I find myself sailing through daily life with minimal aggravation. After years of choking subway morning commutes, I can now calmly walk to work. On the days that I use public transportation, I always have a comfortable seat and a peaceful ride. At work, everyone says a polite "Bonjour" or "Bonne soirée" when we cross paths, and the men hold doors and ensure that I enter the elevator first — gracious behavior I'd largely forgotten in the daily New York rat race. When I go out with friends and colleagues, there's always ample room — whether it's at a lakeside terrace, a bar on a boat, a trendy cocktail bar or a popular fondue spot. The city is incredibly compact so even when nights out run late, we can always walk home. No power tripping bouncers, no shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, no pricey cab rides. The struggle is over, it seems — for the fun stuff, at least.

Rebuilding a life, however, takes time. I arrived with my passport and contract, and had to rebuild everything from there. We forget about it after staying in one place too long, but it's all the little boring details that make us a "real" person (though paradoxically, all on paper): a bank account, a functioning debit card, a residence permit. Day by day, with each piece of paper signed, sealed and delivered, I am starting to feel more and more like a real person again. With God's grace (and the infamous Swiss Régies' blessings), I might even have a proper address soon! In the notoriously difficult Swiss housing market, one can only hope.

In the meantime, I soothe the relocation stress with bread dipped in melted cheese and swills of Swiss wine. And day by day, I find little things to love in our new home.

Boat and Jet d'Eau on Lac Léman/Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland
Swan on Lac Léman/Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland
Bateau Genève in Geneva, Switzerland
Paddle boarding on Lac Léman/Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland
Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, Switzerland
Reformation Wall, Geneva, Switzerland
Poppies and flowers in Geneva, Switzerland
La Petite Reine in Geneva, Switzerland
Fondue from Bains de Paquis, Geneva, Switzerland
Cave Ouvertes, Geneva, Switzerland

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  1. Welcome to Europe! As an American in Germany, I can say that its definately a big adjustment but you will find your way. The adventures do make up for the headaches!


    1. Thanks for the warm welcome and reassuring words, Amy! We finally seem to be getting past the headaches and can enjoy adventures much more. So far, I agree it's worth it!