Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I know that Ameri.cans have gotten ourselves a bit of a bad reputation for being notoriously bad at certain things. To list a few:
-Poor at geography
-Culturally overly sensitive
-Self obsessed/no idea of what is going on outside of the U.S.
-Loud and obnoxious
-Wasteful and constant need for instant gratification
I would say that the above list is somewhat fair. I know a lot of people who fall into at least a few of these categories.
HOWEVER I will also say that some of them are maybe not so bad after you think about it. For example, is there really a need, in 2008, to make numerous sexist jokes in the workplace? Regarding the instant gratification bit, is it really so bad to ask that a store be open until 8pm once in a while or that you don't have to wait 45 minutes to get your freaking check at a restaurant? I don't think so.
I find that I get labelled pretty badly as an Ameri.can, which means people think, for example, I am the following:
-Poor at Geography
Ok, I was once asked where "Aiti" is. "Excuse me?" "Aiti." I had to apologize and say that I had never heard of Aiti, to which this person replied it was pretty pathetic that I didn't know the islands in the Carribean considering how close it is to the U.S. "Oh, HAITI!!" I said. I mean is it really my fault that people don't pronounce their H's here? I know that a lot of people probably expect me to speak Swedish when I come home. But I won't. And I would like to inform you that I came in 4th place of the entire Kennedy JH 7th grade geography bee. My geography is not bad.
-Culturally insensitive or overly sensitive
Sure, a lot of people don't make an effort to learn French. I have, and it is also not my fault that my country does not use the metric system. I like the metric system!! Also I get made fun of a lot for having a positive attitude and wanting things to be "fair" and "equal" and everyone to play on a team together. What is so bad about this? I realize that the world is not so sunshiny and wonderful, does that mean we have to always be trying to screw each other over??
OK, this is the main reason I am writing this post.
First of all, I just got in a long argument with a guy who was telling me that it is "50 times cheaper" to ship my things by sea than air freight. Yes, I know. I work with expatriates on a daily basis. I am an expatriate. Yet, he was trying to convince me that instead of paying for an extra bag on my flight on Thursday to the U.S., that I should ship it through the post office. Because apparently, since it is 50 times cheaper, it is only going to cost like 2 francs to ship it, because the extra baggage fee (and I JUST checked) is 100 bucks. I have several small packages of like 2 kilos each to the U.S. through the post and it cost like 40 CHF each. So don't try and argue these things with me and act like because I am not so wordly like you, Mr, that I don't know how much these things cost. I do.
Second, what the heck is Can.adian thanksgiving? Apparently there is such a thing. I first heard about it on HIMYM but my friend Anji verified that it is real. Ok, so fine. There is CT. Do you think in grade school we learned anything but about the AT? No, of course not. And by 3rd grade, we were a little busy learning multiplication tables and didn't have time to hear about yet another group of settlers and indians who got together. I accept the fact that it exists and it's unfortunate that we were only informed of our own tradition. When I was discussing this new found fact with a few people, one girl said to me "How long have you lived in Geneva? One and a half years? yes, well, that's the problem with your people, you think that everything that exists in the US can only exist in the US and no where else." Hello!? I'm not saying we are the only ones with independence day or christmas. I'm saying thanskgiving, which is kind of a unique holiday. That would be like expecting me to believe that something like the Escalade also happens in say, Italy, which it very well might but as far as we know, no one else threw soup over the wall at the french except for the genevois.
Everyone has their faults and just because I don't speak 5 languages and want things to be open on Sunday and might not finish all my food and tu someone when I should vous them doesn't mean that I should be a social pariah. We have nice things too. Like late night food. Really, REALLY awesome customer service. TJ Maxx. All the good movies and songs that euros LOVE. Maybe we are a little bit less cultured, but we sure as hell are not so stuck up and are much more friendly. And we don't wear tapered jeans or ankle booties.
So my point is, I am really sick and tired of having these pre conceived notions. Of course they probably think I'm being overly sensitive.
And by the way, the brits are by far louder and more obnoxious. I'll never look at one of their cute red phone booths the same way.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
WHY DOES EVERYTHING CLOSE SO EARLY?!!
I got stuck at work and raced home in an attempt to make it to the pool. But the pool closes at 830. Why can't it close at 9? 9 is normal. 830 is like...annoying. I was walking out the door at 805 and came back in frustration. When things close here, they are SHUT. Seriously they turn off the lights in the grocery store when it closes. At 7pm. So I could bet you anything that had I tried to get just a 15 minute swim in, they would have denied me even to get in.
Other annoying things:
A light blew out in my kitchen, or should I say, THE light, and I can't get another one because the stupid store is closed. So I had to cook in the dark.
I am out of toothpaste and conditioner. Again, I cannot go to the store. I realize I can go to the corner store but I don't want the random brands. I want MINE that I normally get, at a normal store, that is open at normal times!!!
To top it off I now get to go to the laundromat. The bane of my existence!!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
This is taken outside of my work. He's much rustier in person.
And I know you're tempted to make fun of the basket. Feel free. It is so practical. I put everything in there - laptop, workout clothes, towel, groceries. Two weeks ago, I tried to put Bhav in it. That didn't work so well and we ended up crashing onto the pavement (not to worry, we were drinking and didn't feel a thing until the next morning).
As you already know, RB accompanies me to work every day that it doesn't rain. And we go wakeboarding together and other errands. But lately, me and RB have been having even more adventures. For example, he now gets to come out late with me to bars and escorts me home at 2am. It's really sweet. And because he is so ugly and rusted, no one would ever want to steal him. He has become my constant companion.
We had quite a big weekend together. On Saturday, we went to wakeboarding at 8am (15 min ride) , then home, then back to wakesurf at 230pm. Wakesurfing, by the way, is awesome. Everyone sits on one side of the boat and it makes this little wave. You have a mini surfboard which is not attached to you at all, but somehow you just surf in this wave. And I got up on the first try!! I have to admit I was pretty darn pleased with myself. There are not many things I can get on the first try. Anyway, after that, we rode across the lake to the windsurf club (30 min but we did in 20), then rode home (30) then rode back to windsurf club (20) then rode to this boat to have dinner (15) then rode to a bar (10) then rode home (20). Then on Sunday we went to Versoix, which is maybe 40 minutes away, and of course we rode to dinner and then we rode back home.
This morning was a bright sunny day, and we were off for another adventure. Until some frenchy mechanic started yelling some jibberish at me about my velo. "Mademoiselle!!" And they pointed to my tire. I got off my bike and bent down to take a look.
"Ah merde." I said. My back tire was completely flat. Remember the story about Justin's flat tire? Yes, it was just as flat. I had a ton of stuff to carry and hated the idea of having to drag it all on the tram.
As I was parking it back by the other bikes, frenchy mechanic and friends came over to me with a hand pump and offered to blow up my tire. I have to say I was really touched that some stranger would stop and do this. Yes, I was freshly primped for work and yes, they were 3 crusty mechanics but still. The pump was tiny and it took quite a bit of effort. After a few minutes, RB was in stable condition and we pedaled off to work after many merci's were doled out to my new friends.
However, once at work, I solicited the help of my colleague Simon, and when we went out to check out my bike at 11am, once again, the back tire was completely flat. So today I bought a new tube, or as they call it in French, a "chambre a air" (literally means "a room for air") which Simon will help me install tomorrow. Let's hope this does not spell the end for our dear friend RB!