I 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:
Celebrating a year and a half in Geneva today! Time to blow out the candle!
Photo credit: Akorfa Carlos KLUTSE
(Seriously, though. Notice anything?)
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
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!
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.
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! https://www.foodetcaetera.com/en/expat-battle-1usa-switzerland/
For our nine-month anniversary of living abroad, I thought I’d switch things up and update everyone BuzzFeed-style. So without further adieu, here are nine things I still haven’t adjusted to as an American living in Geneva:
I 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.
Well, it’s official: As of today, we’re a quarter of the way through the two years we’re expecting to live in Switzerland. Time has flown by, and, without a doubt, the last three months were much easier on us than the first three. Let me catch you guys up.
Getting sick is never fun. But getting sick abroad has the added challenge of trying to track down your tried and true remedies in foreign terrain. Two weeks ago I had an allergic reaction to a bug bite. Benadryl? Nope, apparently you have to go to France, as the Swiss pharmacies stopped carrying that formulation. Looking for a refill for your bottle of Tums? Well, it seems the nearest country you might have luck is England. Somehow fall up the stone stairs in front of your university? (yes, I know, I’m special…) Neosporin is not a thing here. Fall prey to a weird summer flu that wreaks havoc on your stomach? Ginger ale and saltine crackers are a rare find in Genevois supermarkets (a big thank you, Gui, for your perseverance).