Saturday, July 21, 2007

Salut, Les Amis!

As I stepped off the airplane in Geneva, Switzerland early this morning, I once again became the world travler I once was--or that I once considered myself to be. Okay, I'm only 30, but my global travels have slowed down in the last 3 or 4 years. As I'm finding out, growing up also means working full time, which is a change from the fancy-free college student mentality. But here I am in Switzerland. For those of you who need to catch up, Jennie and I are in a Masters program at University of Michigan - Flint. We are working on a Masters in Education with a Technology in Education specialization. We're fortunate to have found this program with a global component. More on that here.

Walking through the terminal this morning, I was suddenly surrounded by both billboards and bystanders sending me messages in French. A language with which I am familiar with, at least as far as three years of high school French can take you.

"'Au-desses', I know that word...oh...what does it mean? Hmm...I know this!"

My mind flashes back to my French classes at St. Clair High.

"Salut, Les Amis!"

This was the title of the circa 1980 textbook we used during my entire high school Francais education. We used to love to make fun of the funny caricatures used by the author to illustrate vocabulary words and concepts. If only I had that book now!

I know enough to get by, but I was never really a fluent French speaker. Vocab - yes. Long two way conversations - no. But, it is amazing how much you can remember by suddenly being immersed in a language. There are actually fewer fluent English speakers here in Geneva than you'd think. At least seems to be the case thus far. Probably a good thing, since I've been inspired to re-connect with the Language. I think being here for a month will help. Then, as I told Jennie, I want private lessons 3 times a week. Sure, like I have time for that. But seriously, I'm into brushing up.

Okay, back to our first day here. As soon as we got situated at the John Knox center, Jennie and I took a 4 hour nap in our room. Our flight left Detroit at 1:45pm Friday, stopping in Newark before our 5:55 departure from there to Geneva. Add up the 7 hours in the plane and the 6 hour time change, and we got in at 8am.

When we woke up from our little nap, the few University of Michigan people we had seen earlier that morning were gone to lunch. So, Jennie and I ventured out on our own. In search of two things: #1 - Adventure. #2 - A SIM card for my cell phone.

After a few indecisive minutes trying to decide which way to head out, we took a right and walked down to a nearby (2 km) bus stop. We hopped off at the Jardin Botanique (Botannical Garden) and walked the rest of the way into town. It's Saturday, and most of the shops on the outskirts of town were closed. However, as we continued to make our way towards the city-centre and once we got nearer to the lake, the stores were open a bit longer. Jennie got her 'chocolat' and I found the SIM card I needed for my cell phone. By the way, if you miss me (or jennie) and you want to call, email me and I will give you the number!

So, after a delicious pizza dinner on the lake, we made our way the rain.

Right now (9:41pm GMT+1,) my goal is to stay awake another two hours to help cure my jet-lag. That way, we'll be able to sleep through the night soundly.

To wrap up, I'm thrilled to be here. Especially with Jennie! In the hustle and bustle of my everyday existence, it is all-to-difficult to make time to slow down and Picking up and leaving not only Michigan, but North America should help me take a break. If only there was not all this class work to do!

Oh, photos are coming soon. We took a few on our walk today, but neither Jennie nor I remembered to make sure we had the cable to connect the camera to our computers! So, sorry for all the text on the first day!

1 comment:

taawd said...

I much prefer the text. Remember your broadcasting days, the point of writing is to take the "viewer" to the story. I thought you did this, so you can post the pictures later... keep the text coming!