I have been in Geneva for less than 48 hours, and I am happy to report that the flight over went without incident. Letters to Juliet and L'Arnacoeur were the two in-flight movies I enjoyed (I love Romain Duris!), and my neighbor's dad offered me some sour Skittles and Starbust to further my enjoyment of the flight. I got to London, where I awaited my next flight to Geneva, nervous about having to either get an expensive taxi or navigate the train system and walk with my copious amounts of luggage to my new home. The decision was made for me when I found out that only one suitcase had made it on the plane (the heavier one!). This was actually great news because 1) I had dealt with lost luggage before in France, so no big deal, I was a seasoned veteran on that, and 2) This helped me make my decision about how to get to the Foyer International pour Jeunes Filles! With about 40 pounds less to weigh me down, I found the train station and then hauled my luggage to my quintessential Swiss apartment (aside from the no male visitors thing!). My studio is AWESOME--kitchenette, bathroom, plenty of closet space, a sweet desk (which I anticipate will inspire some great dissertation writing), a balcony (which I anticipate will inspire some great dissertation writing distraction) and a bed that can sleep all 5'9" of me. :) Pictures for your viewing pleasure are below.
The woman who runs the residence has been such a huge help--she advised me on where to eat for cheap, gave me directions to the closest SwissCom to get my new cell phone, and even loaned me a hairdryer for the year--no purchase necessary! :) Aside from that, she's been very motherly, in a good way, and I'm looking forward to meeting the other girls who live here on Friday for our first group meeting.
My French is rusty, but the good news is I think I'll get along just fine. UniGe has cours d'appui for French, and I intend to take one to improve my spoken expression. The first gentleman I spoke to at the cell phone store couldn't place my accent, and the second one I spoke to at a different cell phone store asked me if I had lived in France before, since I couldn't have simply "just arrived" given how well I spoke. You can guess which gentleman got my business. :)
Other snafus and cultural frustrations?
In spite of my great French at SwissCom, when I installed the SIM card (not something they do for you here, like they do in the U.S.!), it was set to the German language. After some coaching with my good friends AMA who speaks German and Carina who IS German, I fumbled through and found the SIM language setting.
I went to the grocery store, located all the items I needed (GREAT! NOT TOO EXPENSIVE!) and promptly felt like an imbecile when the cashier told me that I needed to weigh the produce. :) She was very understanding and even ran over to help me as I muddled through. The other customers in the check-out line took it well, too. The guy behind me must have been American because he said, "Don't worry, it happens to everybody." Whew. At least I didn't start a riot.
I also checked out the bank to see about opening an account, but alas--no can do, until I have my student ID from the university. Unfortunately, I won't get that until our séance d'accueil on Friday. Until then, I'm working on locating a bike to get around town and exploring the town.
This evening I tried out the Geneva Runners group--I met a few people, but didn't go for the whole run, preferring instead to return and meander through (read: got a little lost) the jardin botanique. I'll need to go on a few solo runs before I'm up to their pace.
All in all, a pretty good day, given it's only Day Two. I can't believe I'm here and this is the life I'm living! Lots of changes and new things to come in the next few weeks! And I'll continue to update you all here.