Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Price is Not so Right

As I have mentioned before, the cost of living in Geneva is simply outrageous. Since we re-located from another expensive city in London, I did not think the difference would be too extreme. Wow, I was wrong. Below is a list of some common item/services and their price (US dollars) in Geneva. There is a reason why people who live in Geneva drive to France for groceries and haircuts! Let’s just say that when I am in the States for Thanksgiving, I will be bringing an empty suitcase to fill up from one major shopping spree.

Men’s haircut- minimum $40.00
Manicure- $55.00
McDonald’s Value meal- $13.50
Ski Pants- $450.00
1 small frozen pizza- $8.00
1 beer at a local bar- $9.00
Meal for two at a basic Italian restaurant- minimum of $75.00

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is ridiculously overpriced. Wine, public transportation and rent are a few of things that seem to be about the same as in London. I guess if all else fails and we find ourselves digging in our pockets for coins, we will just pick up a bottle of wine and ride the bus around for entertainment!

Au Revoir

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Week Down...

After living in Geneva for a little over a week, I have to admit that I have some feelings of concern. The city itself is not the prettiest, most interesting, or biggest. I am very frustrated that I cannot speak the language and find myself trying to avoid talking to people. I feel completely helpless everywhere. At the grocery store I cannot read the labels or communicate with the cashier. I have been trying to get a frequent users card from our local grocery store for a week now to no avail! Calling a public swimming pool for hours and prices was a complete disaster. I have no idea how I am going to meet people and make friends. I am scared that I might actually have to join the American Women`s Club and learn to quilt. I am quickly realizing that any small hopes of finding a job have most definitely flown out the window. To say that I am worried about the cost of living is an understatement. The cheapest men`s haircut that we could find today was $35.00 (Jignesh used to pay £6 in London…that is about $10.00). Even though the only thing I have bought is food, I feel like money is just flying out of the bank account quicker than a mouse running from a cat. I also have to mention some of the strict rules in Switzerland. There are some residential buildings that forbid you from flushing a toilet after 10pm (I will let you think about that one all by yourself).

With all this being said, I have to remember that we have only been here a week. I am sure that once we are out of our sterile, dark temporary flat and in something more permanent with all of our things, Geneva will feel more like home. I know that with some classes and a lot of practice, my French will become usable (I hope). If I really reach beyond my personality and put myself out there, I am sure that I will find a friendly running or triathlon group similar to the one I left and loved in London. If all else fails, Swiss chocolate always makes for good therapy (oops, I forgot that I cannot afford the chocolate either).

As for Jignesh, he has been thrown into the fire at work. He has already been put in charge of a major project and has had hours of client meetings in his first week alone. He once again has his own office and really likes the co-workers that he has met so far. His commute from home to the office is almost half of what it was in London. So, thumbs up for Jignesh and work.

I guess the only thing left to say as of now is….to be continued.

Au Revoir.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Pics From Our Last Days in London

Entering the Hampstead tube station for the last time

Goodbye 17a Willow Road

Leaving our flat for the last time

Some more leaving do drinks

Some Pictures from Our Last Days in London

Having fun at our leaving do!

A little more fun...

Jignesh and Schlopy on moving day

Our London lives all packed up!

Origin: London
Desitnation: Geneva

The best movers!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hello Geneva!

Well, we made it! We have officially been residents of Geneva for a little over 48 hours. The London side of the move was surprisingly smooth. We dropped Schlopy off at British Airways cargo 4.5 hours before the flight and then proceeded to the terminal where we enjoyed one last breakfast in the UK. Once we arrived in Switzerland, things got a little more interesting. After landing we made our way through customs, collected our luggage, and boarded a bus to collect Schlopy at cargo. Well, after about 5 minutes on the bus we discovered that we were on the wrong bus AND going the wrong direction. So, we quickly got off at the next stop. While we were standing on some random street with way too much luggage trying to figure out how to get to cargo, Jignesh received a phone call. Apparently while we made the flight, Schlopy did not! Schlopy was stranded in London! How is possible that BA could not get Schlopy to the plane on time despite having over a 4 hour window? Luckily, BA was able to get him on the next flight so we found ourselves drinking some wine in the Geneva cargo staff restuarnat while waiting for Schlopy to arrive. Although he was shaken and definietely confused, he was otherwise healthy. Wih our son and all our luggage, we hailed a taxi to our temporary flat where we will be until finding a permanent place to live.

After just 48 hous in Geneva, here are some of our initial observations on our new home!

*The place is bloody expensive! Our bill at an average italian restaurant totaled $65.oo. Yes, $65.00! That did not even include dessert, appetizers, or coffee! We only had one main and one glass on wine each. How are we going to survive here?!

*EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays. If you want to buy anything (milk, clothes, gas) simply forget about it. Hours for stores during the week are not much better. Most businesses close for 1.5 hours during luchtime and lock their doors for the days by 4:30pm or 5:00pm. When do these people actually work?

*Apartments are extremely difficult to find. It is not unusual to have over 20 applicants bid for the same apartment. Most people have to bid on several places before securing something.

*People here love their little, perfectly groomed dogs and you can bring them everything...including restaurants! I think that I may have to bring Schlopy to a professional groomer (no more Mom cuts) if he wants to fit in.

Stayed tuned for some pictures from the move!

Au Revior

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday, I celebrated my 29th birthday (yes, I will always be turning 29 for the rest of my life)! Despite that fact that the we had a ton of things to do before leaving London on Thursday, we still managed to hit the theatre one last time. The selected show was Jersey Boys. We were a bit worried when we found our seats only to realize that we were completely surrounded by an audience with an average above that of my parents! But I guess that happens when you go to see a show about a popular band (The Four Seasons) from the 60's. Despite our lack of knowledge of the band, the show was fatastic. The musicians and actors were incredibly talented and the direction was simple but interesting. It amazes me how each theatre production is so amazing yet so different. We have have enjoyed taking advantage of London's West End and are certaintly going to miss having a huge selection of quality theatre productions at our doorstep. The evening finished with a glass of wine at home and few phone calls from friends and family! What a perfect birthday!

Au Revoir

Goodbye London!

Today is moving day and our London lives are quickly and efficiently being packed away. In just a few hours, we will watch our surprisingly few number of boxes drive away for a final sendoff. I thought that I would be a bit more sad on this day but I am shockingly ready to leave London. In fact, I wish we were directly following the truck instead of waiting until Thursday to board the plane. I guess I cannot really say why I am ready to leave when I have absolutely loved this experience and this city. Maybe it is because we have alreay said our goodbyes. Or maybe it is because for the last 6 months this move at times as been a "go" and at other times a "no" and I just want the whole process to be over and done with it. Or maybe I am simply anxious and excited to begin writing the next chapter of our lives. Regardless of my mixed feelings, there is no doubt that this move is happening. The packed boxes, the cancelled utilities, and the booked flights confirm that there is no turning back now!

Au Revoir!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Days are Numbered

Well folks, the time has almost come. Our visas have been approved, our one-way flights are booked, the movers are scheduled, and our goodbyes to friends have started. This time next week, we will wake up in Geneva for the first time. Last night, Jignesh's co-workers had a fantastic farewell party for him (which I, of course, crashed!). As we were walking along the Thames River with the Tower Bridge as our backdrop, I began to think about all the things I will miss about London. The list is truly endless. I will miss my long runs and walks (with Schlopy) on Hampstead Heath, the unusual words and phrases used by the Brits, and the buzz of central London on the weekends. I will miss the architecture, history, and diversity of the city. I will miss the markets (a ostrich burger from Borough Market sounds so good right now), the shopping, and Marks and Spencers. I think I might even miss going to the grocery store almost everyday and lugging my bags of food home! Of course, I cannot forget about all the friends we have met through work, running club, and other random ways.

With all that being said, I am looking forward to so much about Geneva. I cannot wait to hit the slopes, hiking trails, and cyling paths that are so abundant in Geneva. I am excited to learn a language and throw myself into a true foreign experience. I am already planning all our weekends away as we will be centrally located in Europe.

I have been trying to remember what I was feeling when we were only a week away from moving to London. I am sure I was having all the same feelings that I am having now...excitement, sadness, nervousness. While I may not know what to expect of our new lives in Geneva, I do know that we are incedibly lucky to have this opportunity.

Au Revoir