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samedi 7 mars 2009

Pros and cons of living in Geneva Switzerland

I cannot begin to think of any advantages in being a Geneva resident. There must be some...

Maybe Shrek can fill in the blank for me.

On the contrary I can think of many cons in living here.

Let me count the ways

The plethora of dairy products available such as myriad cheeses, yoghurts and other dairy-based products and since I am a die-hard dairy consumer it is one consolation to compensate for all the food I miss out on.

The availability of good quality chocolate. It is a chocoholic's haven.
The number of parks and playgrounds is elevated compared to some other parts of the world-Asia for instance.

The miniscule size of this small city/big village means that all the amenities are within close proximity. I am only 7 minute walk from the Shopping centre, library (I love libraries and would never tire of perousing books and to me it would be a shame if the art of reading was lost), cultural centre-with the Town Hall, theatre. Most importantly I am a mere 2 minute walk from the primary school which all my children will attend at some stage. Convenient indeed.
The alps and skiing is just a few hundred kilometres away from our doorsteps and we can easily take advantage of this by going on skiing holidays. One setback the cost of chalets,skipasses etc... is an expensive deterrent.

Being just 10 minutes from the French/Swiss border I can access foie gras (which I love) and some delicacies not as readily available in Oz.

The discovery of auctions that presents opportunities to buy magnificent adornments or watches or even furniture at an affordable/reasonable price.

The opportunity to travel and discover different parts of Europe flying low-cost airlines or to go on cheap all-inclusive holidays around Europe: Turkey, Greece etc..

The fruit that I dislike most is the only fruit that is available all year round without exception, the dreaded apple, it's not even the type that I tolerate : Pink Lady or Gala. It is of inferior quality than what I have grown accustomed to when I lived in Sydney.

The library and most public services have opening hours that are incomprehensible to me. They open for 3 hours in the afternoon on weekdays. I like taking refuge in the library and its world of boundless imagination conjured up by books...but cannot go anytime due to the limitations.

The lack of variety and range of fruits and veggies in general. I tire of carrots and broccolis, apples and bananas when that is all that is on offer.

The inexorbitant cost of healthcare. I am paying large sums just to be adhered to a basic and obligatory health insurance company for my whole family. I do not use the health system much except during my multiple pregnancies and deliveries. I feel that I am paying for a service I hardly if ever use.

Whenever I have a craving for Asian greens or essential ingredients I generally have to substitute with what I have on hand or do without. It does impede some of my culinary attempts.

The once again inexorbitant cost of dining out. Restaurant dining is delibitatingly expensive therefore we do not eat out too often. There are no cheap fast food joints either, even Maccas and Domino's Pizza are comparatively costly and I do not want to gorge myself with greasy burgers,fries...and pay dear.

The improbability of owning real estate and moreover the high cost and low availability of housing in Geneva is atrocious and debilitating. One can be paying up to 2500 Swiss Francs for a four-bedroom housing commission (government owned) appartment. Most Swiss never dream of owning their own home since the property market is overpriced and riddled with red tape and finally overtaxed with an imaginary/hypothetical 'income arising from rent' tax.

The lack of childcare facilities and family/kid friendly establishments. Geneva in particular and Switzerland in general are not known for being supportive or encouraging of reproduction as they afford very little assistance to families.

The general diffidence and narrow-mindedness of people.
The deplorable customer service in all manners of speaking, worst being telecommunications companies of which the worst perpetrator is none other than CABLECOM--cacacom

The more heightened sense of solitude felt here.

The grey sky, lack of sunshine and general crappy weather always dampens my mood.

The price of meat, enough said. Moreover the associated luxury of taking for granted all the wonderful fresh produce: fruits and veg included when I lived in Sydney is amiss in Geneva as it is an extravagance to be able to freely access/eat invigorating agricultural crop.

The lack of leisure activities and variety of entertainment. The scene here is totally not happening and the vibe is disinterested to say the least.

The pace is just too slow, too quiet and calm for my liking. I need some bustle and energy to flow/emanate from the place I am at.

Being forced under house-arrest during the long winter months is no fun at all.

The endless episode of cold, flu and other contagious winter-related diseases gives me cause for concern.

51 commentaires:

Slim a dit…

Hello, I really appreciated your frank assessment of life in Geneva. I have not been there since the mid-eighties, but am embarking on a reluctant relocation to that city in 18 days. My fiance and I are both American, with lots of experience living and working in Europe and further overseas. He's been in Geneva for a year, for work-related reasons. For the reasons you mentioned, and more, I am more fearful of moving there than I was of working in conflict zones in West and Central Africa.

You were right to note the flatness of cultural life. But I am determined to bring some projects there to enliven the atmosphere and help me to meet and gather interesting people together. What I need to do is talk with people —perhaps beginning with you!— about what's missing there. I'm a cultural strategist, author and meditation teacher. It's an odd mix, but it's worked for me for 30+ years... and I am hoping to manifest something worthwhile to do there that will serve others' needs as well as my own.

I'd really like to hear from you. My email's below. I arrive in Geneve on 30 October, with my fingers crossed and a smile.


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