Friday, 20 March 2009


Whew, I just returned from an early morning run and faced the full force of running into La Bise. La Bise is a Geneva phenomenon. A violent northern wind that sweeps down from the Alps across Lake Geneva ( lac Léman) and storms over the city.

Living eight years in Calgary acquainted me with winds. In fact, I'm not sure I could have borne the long, dark winters without a frequent friendly visit from the Chinook wind which in a few hours could turn a winter day into a near summer day with its' warm coastal breath.

La Bise, on the other hand, distorts a lovely Spring day, into the chill of winter again and has been known to create interesting ice sculptures of benches, trees, and light poles along the shores of the Lake.

Turning into the wind this morning, my iPod earbuds were blown out of my ears, and wind-stung tears streamed down my cheeks. While climbing a hill, I might as well have been running on a treadmill. However, once I turned south and with the wind at my back, my tempo run was more than back on course and I returned home at an almost full sprint, ah silver linings.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Missing the Mightys

It's down to 13 days now before the Mightys leave Geneva for their new posting in the U.S. (not that we're counting). We hosted a small dinner party for them last night with the usual Canadian contingent that was full of our typical laughs and conversation but tinged a little nostalgic at the same time. The kids all had a ball and were outside playing until 11:00pm taking full advantage of the first real Spring-like day and evening in Geneva.

The six of us (plus kids) have done a lot of playing together in the last 3 years. It began when we took our littlest ones to KinderMusic in Cologny and since then we've snowskiied, waterskiied, shared Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the occasional holiday, lifted many a glass, and shared many meals together. We have been a family of friends united in having real family far away.

There is something else, though, that has glued we Canadian expatriates together while living in this lovely but foreign land; a sense of familiarity and common ground. We six seem to have lived similar experiences. Who else but other Montrealers could nod knowingly when referencing The Peel Pub, Café Santropol , McGill's Curry Gym, Durocher street, and Crescent Street.
Now, we have built new common reference points from our collective experience in Geneva- the Mont Blanc bridge, the Mont Blanc tunnel, la Bise wind, the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, skiing the Alps, crêpes in Yvoire, church bells, the smells of lavender and rosemary, carousels, and Sunday markets. Take them with you, Mightys, and don't forget us. We'll miss you at the table!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Writers and Raclette

Someone once said "There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder". Both sorts gathered last Friday night to bid farewell to one of our best as she prepares to fly across the pond in 2 short weeks.

Our small writers group, splintered from the larger Geneva Writers Group gathers twice a month to lend support to one another, to workshop our efforts, and to learn to be better writers by learning from each other in a collegial, respectful and safe environment. I was one of the last to join our group and aspire to be half as good as them.

It was a an awfully fun evening, replete with a classic Swiss meal of an apero, followed by Raclette, white wine, and much laughter before finally getting down to the business of workshopping chapters from 3 novels in the making.

We band of women united in our love of the written word and storytelling, are also reflective of the international character of Geneva. Together, we represent America, Bosnia, Canada, England, India, and Scotland. We articulate ideas, customs, and cultural ethnology from our native lands and in the process educate and enlighten one another - amazing! Remind me again, Sher, what's a biro?