Thursday, January 13, 2011

Week Two: Recap

Oh my goodness.

I would love to return to last week, when my life was about seeing the city and Lausanne and eating food and running around in a foreign country.

Now it's about CLASSES. Ugh.

Thanks to some complicated issues resulting from going to a school that operates on quarters and studying abroad at a school that operates on semesters, I have to take about a billion classes here. So for anyone who knows me, it's obvious that I am FREAKING OUT.

These are the classes I'm taking:

Human Rights: 1:45-4:30 on Mondays
European Economic Systems: 7:00-9:45 on Mondays
French: 11:15-12:45 on Tuesdays and 9:30-10:45 on Thursdays
European Politics: 3:00-5:45 on Tuesdays
Problems of International Organizations: 3:00-5:45 on Wednesdays
International Business: 7:00-9:45 on Wednesdays

So in case anyone wants to add up all those hours, it comes to a total of about INSANITY. No matter that the classes are all almost three hours each. If you've ever tried to sit though a three-hour class, you know that it doesn't matter in the slightest how interesting the subject matter is. Although I am quite interested in the classes I'm taking. We'll see how the business course goes since my mind works nothing like that of a businessperson. But me taking economics classes is what happens only when I have to take so many credit hours that I've exhausted all the other possible options. Right.

So since classes are stressful and the reading and papers and presentations are already piling up, let's talk about something different.

Geneva is incredible. Being in a foreign country is nothing like what I expected it to be, obviously. Even things that are a bit similar are super freaking different. Allow me to take you through some examples.

The Bus System: The TPG, Geneva's transportation system, operates on an honor code. Coming from the States, I am pretty much in shock that this exists (and actually works). Essentially, here's how it works. You buy a bus pass, you keep it with you, but when the bus comes, you just get on. You don't have to show anyone your pass. If at some point they do a random "check," where they ask to see everyone's pass, and you don't have one, you're pretty much screwed. So there's the potential for me to be here for four months, ride the bus the entire time I'm here, and never be asked to present my bus pass. So I could save 180CHF but never purchasing a pass. Not that I'd ever do that. But still! Imagine NYC trying to implement something like that. Hahahahha it's laughable.

Grocery Stores: Oh my goodness. The grocery and shopping situation here is quite, quite different from the States. As someone who has never been to Europe before, everything is different to me. Here they essentially have shopping conglomerates. Everything you could possibly need is in one gigantic building. For example, they have this thing called Manor about twenty steps from where we live. On one level is a cafeteria-type deal, there's a department store situation, a gigantic grocery store (where I've already purchased my weight in chocolate), a Best Buy-esque electronics store, a beauty supply/pharmacy, etc. There are also stores called Migros and Coop, essentially kind of the same thing. Big, crowded, noisy, confusing. But I've come to love them. A bus ride away is an Aldi. Like the Aldis in the states. Wonderful wonderful wonderful when you factor in how freaking expensive Geneva is. A Starbucks Frappuccino will run you between 8 and 10CHF. Not kidding. The first time I walked into one of these grocery stores I was considerably overwhelmed. Nothing looks the same as in the States. I couldn't find anything I wanted and my 4.5 years of French did me little good while freaking out. A few trips later, I am loving it. I love searching for things I want and just looking around at all the fascinating words and foreign foods. Miam miam!

Kebab: OH MY GOSH. Delicious. Cannot even give a long explanation for something so delicious.

I think that might be enough for now. It's been a lazy day here in Geneva. About to be a crazy night :) Not having class on Fridays is going to be both wonderful and detrimental to my bank account..

Until next time, au revoir from Geneva!

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