Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let it snow…

Today I returned from Brussels to Geneva by train. It was a smooth trip on the TGV and not too crowded. It had been trying to snow in Brussels, and as soon as we got outside the city, the entire Belgian countryside was white. As I crossed France, the white continued…in some places, it was snowing or sleeting onto green fields, and in some places it was snowing or sleeting onto white fields. In any case, almost all the way it was snowing in some form or other, or had done so. And I arrived back to Geneva in a sort of snow-flurry that will probably settle by the morning. I wonder how often the majority of the continent manages to get snow all at once...

Here's a picture of snowy Belgium:

Songs and memories

Last Monday, as I was walking to the ecumenical centre to go to this service, I thought about what one would choose to sing at a service to celebrate arrivals and departures. And I thought, aha, I suppose the appropriate thing would be "One more step along the world I go…" and indeed, it was. It's a song that has particular memories, because the very first time I sang it stuck (for a reason unknown to me) in my head. But that was not such a surprise, since I sing it often enough.
More surprising was the second song-related moment of remembering that happened to me this week. On Friday evening, as one does, I found myself in Brussels, practising hungarian songs with a bunch of hungarians for a mass this morning. A couple of the songs turned out to have familiar tunes, indeed, to be Hungarian versions of songs I knew (including "Seek ye first the kingdom of God"…). One of them was the round "Jesus, we adore you, lay our lives before you…" It's a song I haven't heard, sung or even thought about for years. Probably more than a decade. But singing it took me right back to my childhood, and many good memories about that time that I haven't revisited for ages.

It happens with music like it happens with smells and numerous other kinds of things…ah, the wonders of the human mind…

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Swiss things…

Shopping in Switzerland is generally rather disappointing compared to the experience in other countries. However, one thing is certainly more exciting here than in some places: yogurt.

The Swiss seem to love strange yogurt inventions, so in the yogurt row of the supermarket you can usually find coffee, coconut, chocolate brownie, linzertorte, mulled wine and other rather unusual flavours. Today I tried Apple Strudel…with bits of apple and raisins in. A strange but tasty experience, and even with a brief history of Apple strudel on the inside of the pot (in three languages, bien sur).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tales from Grand-Saconnex #1

So another month has gone by, and it's hard to believe that I've already been in Geneva 3 whole months. The reason I didn't write for the whole of October was not really for lack of things to say, but because most of my time was occupied with moving into this flat (finally), which involved not only doing all the paperwork, but also physically moving a whole flat-worth of furniture across town with just a small van and some willing friends…and then arranging phone line, internet, electricity, and all that. We still need to put the lights up…

Still, it all worked out and Johan (a Swedish intern in the communications office) and I are now settling in to our rather nice new abode, which is on the 5th floor, with a balcony, and just 3 minutes from a supermarket and 5 minutes from work…could be a lot worse. There's also a pub just down the road, and we're only 15 minutes walk from the airport. And the neighbours seem reasonable–what more could we want?

Amongst all that I managed to join a second choir, which hasn't started rehearsing yet–more of it when that happens. I also spent 3 very cold days in Frankfurt for a meeting, and three days on holiday visiting Prague for the first time (which was most beautiful, especially with all the autumn colours).

Posts to follow on more exciting topics once I get some more time to write creatively :)