Let me preface this post by stating that I really love France and Switzerland. This is an amazingly gorgeous place to live with incredible food, superb wine, mountains, rivers and lakes, beautiful flowers, stunning architecture, interesting history and take your breath away chocolate.

Oh. Also, I love my husband very much and would live with him anywhere.

THAT being said, I absolutely LOATH driving here. I began my French intensive lessons Monday. This has been fantastic as it’s 9-11:30 M-Th and I’ve become myself a bit again… and talkative and I’ve even made a friend, Amy, from Texas, who is lovely.
Dragan has been driving me as my classes are in Nyon, right by UEFA. However, today I insisted on driving myself so that after I could go to la piscine and swim. I can’t run at the moment bc I have tendinitis in my hip, which has become the bane of my existence. Well, until driving in Geneva took that lead. Has been trying to tell me that driving in the cities in towns is way more challenging that the county’s ode driving I’ve been doing and that he didn’t think I’m ready. I insisted on my independence, reminding him how awesome I am at everything I do (well, in mg mind at least :-))))

So I got my way, and …….mon dieu!!!

I just want to know, why ALL the chaos?!?!?! There is chaos in the pool and omg, the sheer craziness of driving downtown in Geneva today. And I’m driving around a convertible so it’s not even that big. Why is it so chaotic you may be wondering??

Take lanes that are 1/4 smaller than in the US….then add in trains running through and crossing in those streets……buses running along the streets, people on bikes and people on motorcycles and people crossing the streets like squirrels darting in front of you at any moment. Also add in cars backing in and out of spots right into traffic. Imagine all of this in a land where people don’t believe in turn signals…..oh, and add in the fact that the lanes can change at any moment and that each lane has it’s own signal pattern coinciding with the trains which will cross through and over your lane and occasionally you are driving ALONG the tracks…….praying to God that the train has a red light and that yours was actually green. Also imagine cars crossing in front of you and driving as though all are in a super race to beat the others. Imagine the way the motorcycles weave in and out to the front of every line at a red light until there are 5 motorcycles at the front and imagine sitting at a red light when a train speeds by to your left only a foot from your car door that you don’t see or expect. You must be aware at every moment for the next thing that can cut in front of you to kill you or that you could accidentally kill. THAT is the epitome of driving in downtown Geneva and in several of the small Swiss towns like Carouge, where my pool is located. I don’t understand it one bit. Sigh.

I had to drive through this for 40 min today and almost pulled over from having a panic attack from almost hitting and being hit by trains or bikes or other cars or motorcycles and missing all the right streets bc the one I was on would suddenly merge in the wrong direction, Etc. It took me an hour and a half to do the 40 min drive.

Keep in mind, I have been living in NYC for over 3 years where I did not own a car BUT I HAVE driven in NYC numerous times perfectly fine with no nerves or panic and I’ve driven from Ohio to Florida to Texas to New York to Boston to Chicago and so on and so on, always perfectly fine. I mean…..HAVE my driving skills decreased after not owning a at for 3.5 years……well…….this is probably a matter of opinion!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
Having never been exposed to Europe though, these small chaotic streets are so stressful for me I broke right on down and cried. Of course I cried.
The thing that is so frustrating is simply that I, in my NYC and USA life, operated as a well oiled machine. No matter where i have lived it was always doable and manageable and to be honest, easy for me. I knew exactly where I needed to be always in NYC and every subway that would take me there. I was always prepared…….never nervous or lost or insecure or panicked and so this is all so new. The other difficulty is that I don’t have anything that is in my comfort zone to fall back on. Except the peanut butter in my cabinet and my brewed coffee maker and when I play music from my computer. Oh, and sometimes F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Comes on in English and sometimes Desperate Housewives too, hahahah!!! You know what I’m saying? When I first moved to NYC, I was terrified. But I had comforts to help me get through the transition. I had my dog and soulmate, Bailey, I could take for a walk or cuddle after a frustrating day. I could stop at DD and get a to go coffee (the way I actually like coffee and more than 4 oz at a time, haha) or go to a cafe and have a coffee or a glass of wine or start a random conversation with a stranger confident they speak your language or go to Barnes & Noble or Bloomingdales ๐Ÿ™‚ You get what I’m saying. It’s challenging to be without something in your comfort zone to help settle your mind. Last night I lit candles, poured a glass of wine, turned out the lights, sat on my balcony and listened to Amy Grant Christmas music. This is true. That is my new comfort zone.

I’m not complaining so I hope this isn’t coming across that way. I’m just hoping to be transparent bc I know other people have gone, are going or will go through this same thing and we are often to afraid to admit that things aren’t perfect in our lives.
Nothing ever is perfect though and honestly, who wants perfect?!?! Just as my life was never as glamorous in NYC as it could appear, it’s not as perfect here as I think it could appear too, as my story with Dragan truly is a bit of a fairy tale and I moved to this magically beautiful place in our world………ummm….I guess I’m trying to just be honest about how difficult a transition like this is and how I, as an Expat, am struggling with not having the things I took for granted.
Drip coffee and take away coffee in general……my dog, who I miss as if my right arm was ripped off……juice bars… apartment……my furniture……my family……my friends…….my work…….normal size roads……..the internet (as I’m still without and am writing this blog post on my phone)…….English……..nail salons on every few blocks where I could get a mani/pedi at any time for 40 bucks…..the subway (ok, now I’m reaching…..haha!!)…..etc.

That being said, I’m madly in love with my new husband. I’m bordering on obsession, as I think he’s the smartest, sexiest, funniest, most handsome and lovely person I’ve ever met, which is GREAT. The smallest things are paradise. Going to buy flowers from the garden store is a magical experience and watching tv in the evening all cuddled up is superb. The challenges that come with learning to live with a person are there of course though, so again, it’s lacking that comfort zone thing that I’m feeling so desperately at the moment.
Maybe the thing is to learn to embrace the feeling of being so far away from everything you have ever known, right? Right now I miss carving pumpkins and football games (American Football) bc it’s fall and I miss my mom a lot this time of year as we both look forward to the Holiday season all year.

I’m TRYING to see all the amazing things and feelings and experiences that I get here as well. Just FYI. Like the yogurt aisles at the grocery store……actually I’m going to write and entire post on THAT. Unbelievable. Superbe!!!!

We all go through a feeling of being homesick when we stray away from our base. I’ve felt it in every city in which I have ever moved; it’s just more pronounced being in a foreign land…..for me at least. Not everyone goes through this stuff.

For now, I’m grateful to write in this blog as it’s nice to share your life with people who take the time to read it.

5 thoughts on “Chaos

  • Hello Sarah! I’m a reader of your blog! I can understand every word and every feelingโ€ฆ It’s frustrating sometimes but things will become to be easier as the time pass, your French improve and you start to get used to your new place and life and you make new friends. Be patient with yourself and do not push yourself too hard! It is only the beginning of your journey and sooner than you can imagine it will start to change and you will start to get used to all this. At the moment your husband is your everything and sometimes this is good and sometimes not so good as you feel a bit dependent of him. But this is normal, do not be scared to be a little bit dependent of him in the beginning of your lives! It will give a good opportunity to make your love stronger and deeper and also to him to show you how much he cares about you and how much he is happy to support you during the tough times! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    More then this I’m here (not so close) available to talk to you whenever you need or want to share your moments!
    A big hug (a bear hug) and gros bisous!
    Your new sister Marcia


  • Hi Sarah, we had been to Geneva (Genf in German) with a car… but as a German driver with a lot of European experience I didn’t remember the traffic as too chaotic there… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    20 Years ago in Paris driving with a 2CV over the Place de la Concorde in Paris was a bit more challenging, but after you get used to the European driving “rules”, just go to Barcelona or Rome or Croatia in the rush hour and you will find Geneva a pretty nice and quiet place…

    I loved to ride motorbikes in Rome and Barcelona. That makes you feel that Mad Max was just a neat schoolboy and you are the real Superhero Every day you will be proud that you have survived without any serious injuries…

    You will learn it for sure! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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