Poor Geneva has been through a lot over the past decade. I would prefer the Geneva of old to the Geneva of today a thousand times over. It seems so much more crowded with people who seem out of place, out of line and out of culture. The beggars have overtaken the marketplace with their pleas for help resonating off the adjacent buildings and echoing through the long corridors.
Traffic has never been one of Geneva’s strengths, but it seems worse now than before. The crime rate seems to be increasing on a daily rate and the outrageously high rents for even the tiniest apartments has everyone stressed. Already this summer two heat waves have punished the inhabitants where very few have AC.
Let’s not even talk about the skyrocketing prices of even the most basic of necessities. In the bistros, you easily pay $7.50 for a simple beer while a regular cup of coffee can run you $4.50. A small dinner or normal evening out will quickly run you upwards of $100.
Walking down the street, the average pedestrian looks stressed and angry. Going to work, one passes a multitude of scaffoldings and the constant roadworks force the commuter into impromptu demi-tours and about turns that only exasperate one’s normal commute. Time and again you see normal jobs being farmed out to the frontaliers, those who live in nearby France, for less pay at the expense of the Swiss worker. Talking to my own family, they yearn for greener pastures that stress less, yet provide for the simple life we all aspire to.
On the brighter side, a reunion with the family is always satisfying for the soul. To embrace those closest to the heart and enjoy their company is a treat that never grows old. They too, wondered how the business of life moves forward in the United States. How were we surviving the current political landscape the US and was it worth it? This concern was only exasperated by the constant drumbeat news of the horrors reportedly emanating from there.
Certainly, the differences between the two countries drew great attention. In the US, the lack of job security, the fact that four to six weeks of vacation was not the norm and that students spent half their life paying off their student debt shocked one and all. We can debate the differences between the two until the cows come home, but the bottom line is that seeing family makes it all worthwhile.