19 March 2010

From One Jungle to Another

Tonight, as I sit all warm and cozy in my house in a Hawaiian rainforest, with the mist doing a hula past my windows, I'm reminded of the icy afternoons I spent two winters ago on a little 3rd floor terrace in Geneva, where the wind mixed with the whoosh of the passing train below.

A week from today I arrive in Geneva again and will revisit that terrace. I can't wait. Of course I can't wait to join my sweetheart (proprietor of said terrace) and truly begin our life together, but also to greet again a city it took me awhile to learn to love.

Geneva is not like Paris. Paris is instant abandon and love -- and if you think otherwise, you probably ought to go hole up in Peoria and hope for a quick bland death. Geneva wears a cloak of Calvinism. Geneva does not quickly embrace you (excepting the hookers in Paquis); indeed the city practically scowls at you like that over-sized visage of adopted city father Jean Calvin on a wall at the university. Geneva expects the formal "vous" for longer than you might hope. It doesn't squander its smiles. It asks if it can be of service, and if you say no thank you, it wonders if you'd perhaps like to move on.
Or maybe I'm wrong about all this. I only lived there for 3 months the end of 2008, and it wasn't until the last few weeks that I realized I'd developed affection for the city. That's what I'm feeling tonight half a world away, and I can't wait to stand on that terrace again, breathing in the coming spring and the sweet aroma of my chérie.

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