An appreciation post
1. Cobblestone streets. Geneva has a new city and an old city. The old city has the largest cathedral, countless shops and little restaurants, and (if you know where to look), perfect little nooks to hang out in the early evening to watch the sunset.
2. Studying abroad is hard. It can be lonesome and it can keep you up at night wondering why you don't know how you feel or why you feel it. But when we relieve ourselves of the people in our lives that serve as mirrors of ourselves, we have to recenter our knowledge of who we are. It can be difficult to refocus your internal mirror if you have been reliant upon your external mirrors for a while. We often become lazy and let others tell us who we are, without question, this being neither good nor bad. But when they are gone, we are forced to remember why we are the way we are and what fulfills us most. It's difficult, but most beautiful things are.
"If no other in the world be aware, I sit content, / and if each and all be aware, I sit content."
3. The river. I often walk in the evenings, find a place to sit along the river & read one of the books on my never ending to-read list. Now, it is Feminine Mystique, which I would highly recommend. It is about the second feminist movement in the late 1950s.
4. Because wine is a big export here, it is super cheap. People can get wine for less than 3 dollars, and it is really good quality wine!! America needs to jump on this wagon, and soon.
5. Denner. Denner is the cheapest grocery store in Geneva. In my opinion, it is a college kid's haven. I could eat on $10 a week shopping at Denner. Geneva is known for being a rich, expensive city, but if you do it right, it isn't so bad!
6. Irish pubs. The gal pals & I discovered an Irish Pub where everyone speaks English. Although I love hearing French every day & have been trying to immerse myself entirely in the culture, there is something great about ordering a Guiness in English.
7. The language barrier. Although the language barrier, in some aspects, is the worst part about traveling in other countries, it can also be the best. I love how much more often I am quiet. I stop talking, and start listening. It gives me so much more time to think. I also love it because I get to interact with people more via smiles and body language. People can usually tell that I am American, I feel, due to my more bohemian, less chic attire (which is not popular at all in Europe), so they cater to me accordingly. I love when people make the extra effort to say what little English they know & to make conversation. There is nothing that gives me more joy than the kindness of strangers.
8. Well trained dogs. I see at least 10 dogs a day and I have yet to hear one bark. Europe is a strange place.
9. Diversity. I can't believe the United States takes the name "the melting pot". I love how in Europe, no one would ever ask someone "where are you from...originally?" as a result of someone's skin color. It's just something that would never happen, whereas in the US, it's not always that way unfortunately. In Europe, I see 100 ethnicities every time I walk down the street. And everyone is just European! There is no group of minorities being oppressed that you find on the streets late at night or that you see in "slums". There is no grouping of ethnic groups or stares at interracial couples. It's wonderful and the US should follow suit.
10. Humans. I am grateful for strangers who smile, for friends who call, and for roommates who go grocery shopping with you at all hours of the day.