Last Saturday, I went to a miniature “League of Nations” meet-up in Geneva, Switzerland with other language assistants. Two of the assistants in my academie have cars, so I got to see beautiful scenery (like in the above picture) from the passenger seat and listen to lots of New Order and Depeche Mode. It’s kind of unsettling to ride in the left-front seat of the car where I’m used to driving. I think it was unsettling for some of the French drivers we passed, too. Oh, and gas station food in France is ten times better than in the States. But you probably could have guessed that.
This was my third time to visit Geneva. The first time was with my dad after my summer in Vichy and the second was with study abroad friends while in Clermont-Ferrand. Those trips were much more about sightseeing, this was more about hanging out. However, we did go to the Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge (The International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent), saw John Calvin’s church, and took a tour of the United Nations/League of Nations building. I thought the Red Cross museum was excellent in the way it was interactive, thought-provoking, and educational while giving a very personal experience. Okay, maybe I hang around Museum Studies people too often. Or not enough?
I somehow managed to get into the United Nations without paying and without showing my passport, neither of which should have been possible and represented uncharacteristic luck for me. I’m usually the person who has to go through extra security and give away all my chapstick. I think this was pulled off by entering with a language assistant who had already paid, speaking bad French, and getting my coat stuck in the x-ray machine because I forgot to put it in a plastic bin. Anyway, the tour itself was a little dry at times, but overall interesting. The current United Nations offices are housed in what was formerly the League of Nations, up until it was dismantled after the start of World War II. My favorite part of the tour was the ornate meeting rooms in the original League of Nations building. And now I can be extra-annoying when I watch the news and say “I’ve been there!” every time something at the U.N. Geneva building is shown.
There was a giant Broken Chair sculpture outside the U.N. representing the disabilities caused by landmines. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it only has three legs and the fourth has obviously been blown off. Geneva isn’t the most uplifting place, between the Prisoner of War archives we walked through in the Red Cross Museum and the talk about genocide and human rights on the U.N. tour. However, I’m convinced that Switzerland will be the last country standing in the case of an apocalypse. I’m going to assume, without much research, that their banks are safer than ours (or at least safer than Iceland’s) and apparently every building has a nuclear bomb shelter. And they have plenty of cows and chocolate to feed their country for months. Furthermore, I bet that if there was a war, no one would attack the neutral country and everyone would destroy each other. Oh, these are the things I think of while walking in beautiful Switzerland.
So it was a quick trip to Geneva, as the weekend trips are. Now I’m in the work week and taught three classes today. I’m more confident, although one class was extra-insane today because they had a substitute teacher. I’m starting to actually make good use of my free time. I work best when I’m busy, so it’s been hard to work at all with only 12 hours at the schools each week. But now I am looking at MBA programs (better start studying for the GMAT), looking at novel publishers, trying to start a new novel (hardest task), and taking on tutoring jobs. One of our many school vacations, Toussaint, is after next week so I’m trying to plan for that as well.