So it's been a roller coaster ride. On Sunday I took a rather spontaneous trip to Geneva with some friends to meet up with some other friends from Edinburgh. During the day I went to the museum I had visited in July when au pairing in Switzerland again with my Spanish friend, Alex. We then explored a medieval passage which is only open twice a year, before taking a stroll along the lake and trying to walk along every street. I drank hot chocolate to warm my fingers. I then got a vegetarian gummy sweet and dark chocolate delivery from one of the Edinburgh friends, which was much appreciated. There was a festival going on, la fete de l'escalade. The streets were roaring with Medieval reenactments, a procession of dukes on horseback followed by peasants leading cattle, donkeys and sheep, canons shooting and people in medieval attire. It was pretty surreal being in Geneva again after 5/6 months, but a reminder that life goes on when you leave a place, even if you just dip your toes in.
Yesterday, as a celebration for having finished class for this semester, I went for a vegetarian lunch at an organic restaurant called au clair de lune with my tandem partner, "someone else" and his friend. Polenta topped with roasted pumpkin and a chunky tomato sauce, served with salad, sweet red cabbage, a lentil paste, hummus and some wholegrain bread. It was pretty delicious. For pudding three of us opted for the chestnut flour chocolate fondant, a brownie like pudding with a hint of orange. My tandem partner had the surprise citron tart, within which there was a mystery ingredient. The restaurant had organised a game, the winner of which would guess the herb. It ended up to be tarragon, so our closest guess was fennel or aniseed. Realizing I had very little to do for the rest of the day, I spent it strolling around with my friendssss once my tandem went home. We did a sweet tour of the town, eating sticky sweet nutty treats from the oriental patisserie, the Christmas market and browsing incense shops. We spent a good hour in Nature and Découverte in Caserme de Bonne, something which has become a bit of a regular haunt for me, a place where I go to drink free herbal tea samples, smell scented candles and procrastinate amongst the many toys, instruments and gadgets. We got the feeling browsing that it was aimed at middle class women, the goods ranging from children's toys to yoga mats and self help books. Whatever, we sank ourselves into the massaging chairs and stayed there for a while. After eating dinner I realized that my throat was tightening up, and ended up doing laser tag with a sore throat, extreme congestion and a bit of a headache. Needless to say I came last, at least in my team. Not saying I would have done much better had I not been ill, but I think a wee bit better. It was fun though, very much like playing a video game.
This morning I said my first goodbye and realized that I am going home in just over two weeks time. As a seasoned traveler I am quite familiar with this feeling, though I realize that some goodbyes will be particularly difficult. My mum is coming here on Saturday and we will spend Christmas together. Then I just have the new year left in Grenoble before heading back home to the Scottish highlands. After 11 days at home I will be jetting off to some mysterious Francophone country, before potentially visiting Germany or Morocco at the end of January. We shall see! Then, prossima firmata, Milano, in February. I hope to make a few more posts about my experience in France before moving on.