I have been living in Geneva for more than 12 years now. Every year I have a sort of crisis- a period of time where I really feel I should be living somewhere else, a feeling I don't belong here. But gradually, I start remembering why I love Geneva.
Does this happen to you too ?
Is it that hard to meet "real" people?
I am a native French speaker so I never even struggled with language barriers ; but when I arrived, like a lot of people (so I hear) I thought: "wow, it is hard to make real friends in this city". I went from hanging out with expats only to finding more "local" people and getting the best friends ever from "both sides". I keep calling it "both sides" because in spite of all my efforts to make people meet, you can’t deny that Geneva is very divided. I love gathering people and I’ve always done that in different ways. From organising small events to creating a festival, diversity for me is the best thing about the world. No matter where you are from, your social economic background, your status here, your skin color, your religion, you are a human being and you have something to share. Everyone does and I believe we can all learn from one another. And Geneva is a small sample of the world. I have met the most amazing, the smartest and the funniest people ; I have met people who have so much resilience after what they have been through.
But how can we learn from one another if we don’t meet ? I am a bit frustrated by this.
Where is Geneva’s soul ?
I am a soul therapist. So i consider myself a "deep" person. I don’t like small talks. I go straight into questions that might make people either feel that they can confide into me and that they will get heard, or that might scare them away because they don’t want to go there.
Either way is fine by me. I can choose who I want to hang out with.
But people come and go here. There is not a real city center, rather a few neighborhoods which are more alive than others, some luxury places, some alternative places.
It all feels a bit dull sometimes. Everything seems scattered around. Where is Geneva's heart?
And yet there are some amazing places like Place des grottes on a market day, where you really feel a soul there, a sense of connection and community. Simple things are my thing, not the appearance. But sometimes I feel Geneva is a lot about what you are wearing, how much you earn or pretend to earn (although talking about money is taboo), and which places you hang out at. I cant give a damn about this kind of things so sometimes I really feel I dont belong here.
And yet again, other times I meet the most amazing people randomly, just because when you open your heart, ask questions and are genuinely interested, you find out everybody here has a soul too. And when people open up and show you that side of them, it's beautiful. But why does it get lost below the layers of appearances? I know people craving for connections, feeling people are too shallow, but maybe by starting to open up and share, people will do the same? So why not try and make the first step?
People who love Geneva
I have some friends who love Geneva. But when I come to think about, they are away half the time, either traveling abroad or in the mountains…! So this is what I have come to realize ; to appreciate Geneva, you have to not always be here. Geneva is a great place to travel from, and also close enough to go into nature as often as you can. I guess it is true for most things. You don’t realize how lucky you are to have something or be somewhere until you don’t have it anymore.
The one thing I love to do is take time to walk around and look everywhere as I were a kid or a tourist. Have people over, meet people who have just arrived. Show them around, rediscover old places and discover the new places. Things are changing fast. Creativity is big here. It’s worth looking for the amazing.
So what about you, what are your favorite places in Geneva ? What do you love about this city ? What do you dislike about it ? And more importantly, what are you doing about it?
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