Two-Year Anniversary

I experienced a bit of déjà vu on Wednesday: I pushed through one of the enormous glass doors of the Geneva Apple store, weaved my way through the sea of eager customers trying out the latest Macs and made my way to the left side of the room where I knew I would find the iPad-wielding employee that essentially serves as the bouncer for the Genius Bar. As far as I could remember, I had not set foot in the store since the several-week debacle over my MacBook shortly after moving to Geneva, during which I helplessly relied on my husband to communicate on my behalf. But this time, I reminded myself, things were different. I took a deep breath and approached the smiling bouncer.  Continue reading

21-Month Anniversary

Optimized-118I don’t mean to disappoint, but I think it’s only fair to share bad news up front. This post is from Guillaume. You may know me as Melissa’s husband, a supporting character in the Plaid Shirt Diaries known for erratic driving through the Balkans and an unquenchable thirst for history. Have no fear! This is temporary! The Plaid Shirts Diaries is not about to become an unwanted history lesson. Thankfully, Melissa will soon return to the stage. Over the past few months, other projects have sadly pulled her away from this blog. But I can assure you that she will return and cannot wait to fill you in on our latest adventures.

Soon to come are posts on:

Continue reading

15-Month Anniversary

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

I have to be honest: I’ve been totally wrapped up in trying to power through the 90-degree Fahrenheit/32-degree Celsius temperature inside our un-airconditioned Geneva apartment and get some studying done for exams, and did not realize I was due for an anniversary post until my trusty phone alert late last night. Thus, you’ll have to forgive that this entry is short on thoughtful expat reflections, and accept a substitute of some very wise attic apartment advice instead: When it’s 90 degrees outside, do not leave your windows open all day in the hope that a breeze will bring some fresh air into your flat. There is no breeze and your apartment will somehow stay at a sauna-like 90 degrees all week as a result — even though it’s back down to 70 degrees outside. (You’re welcome.)

Outside of studying for exams — four more to go! — Gui and I have been spending our time down by the lake relaxing between workdays and classes, and soaking in what I really do think is Geneva’s best season now that I’ve experienced them all: Summer. (I know, it’s still officially spring, but this weather says otherwise.) The city comes to life with swimmers, sailors and festivals, and it’s really a different atmosphere from the quieter winter months when downtown empties out in favor of the nearby ski slopes.  Continue reading

Understanding Your British and Irish Friends: An American’s Guide

Since we moved to Geneva last year, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to learn my husband’s native tongue of French — but I’ve also had the pleasure of expanding my English vocabulary from a purely American repertoire to one that understands that your Irish friend has not, in fact, just declared that she’s high (more on that later). Indeed, it turns out that the differences between American, British and Irish English extend quite a bit beyond the occasional “bloody hell,” and often can lead to some rather amusing confusion. I’ve been keeping a list of some of those particularities since I started grad school last semester, courtesy of my dear — American dear that is — classmates who call England and Ireland home. So without further ado, here it is: An American’s Guide to Understanding Your British and Irish Friends!

Continue reading

One-Year Anniversary

It’s quite the leap of faith to move to a country you’ve never before set foot in, trusting that you’ll be able to make a home there. It’s also very much against my Type A, super-planner personality. But two years ago today, that’s exactly what we did, and I am certain that we are better for it.


Sunrise from our Geneva-bound plane, one year ago today.

Continue reading

Expat Battle: Blogger Collaboration!

Hey guys! Amy from the awesome blog Food Etcaetera asked me to inaugurate her new series called “Expat Battle,” which features expat bloggers discussing their experience in a new country. Amy is a Swiss blogger living in the United States and I’m an American living in Switzerland (duh), hence the “battle” 🙂 French speakers, get excited: You can enjoy the post in English and French by adjusting the language in the top left menu bar, thanks to Amy’s translation skills.

Check it out here! 


On Going Back to School

img_2408I turned in my first grad school paper Wednesday morning and I’ve spent the past two days reflecting on the whirlwind that has been my return to classroom after a seven year hiatus. Happily, I’ve found that I still love learning. Give me an afternoon discussion about TB at the World Health Organization or a morning lecture on human rights and HIV/AIDS and I’m totally hooked — though perhaps that’s not so surprising, as it’s one of the things I’ve always loved about journalism: every day you get to learn and write about something new.

Continue reading