Annemasse and Dodly
For the first month while I am working in Geneve, I will be living in Annemasse, France. I am living in a villa with my host, Dodly. Our villa is only about seven miles from the Swiss border, so I will take a bus across the border to get to work each morning. Thankfully, Dodly picked me up at Annemasse Gare (station) when I arrived on Friday because I was tired and confused after taking the train from the airport followed by a long bus ride from Cornavin. On Friday, I purchased my monthly tram pass, went grocery shopping, took a post-JJC (Joint Journal Competition) nap, and went for a stroll. Dodly works in telecommunications so he spends some weeks at his apartment in Geneve, most weekends here in Annemasse, and several days each week at his second office in Zurich. He speaks French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, and several African dialects, and runs marathons all over Europe. He will be running one to and from Mont St. Michel next month (it is a beautiful island I was able to visit with some French military cadets during undergrad). Dodly is not impressed by my ability to speak only English. A friend of mine introduced me to the app "Duolingo" with which I'm trying to start learning French, and appease Dodly.
Macarons and Markets
Despite my language difficulties, I fared well at the grocery store (Dodly commented ealier that he really liked the smell of what I was cooking)! I had only one mishap: I accidentally purchased some sort of coconut mousse instead of the coconut yogurt I was hoping for. I was glad that I had read some blogs about expat life before arriving, so I knew that there would be no grocery bags at the store, and I knew I needed to weigh my produce and print stickers for it before arriving at the cashier station, etc. My friend Kang introduced me to macarons on my birthday last month, and it was a life changing experience. So far here I've had caramel, pistachio, strawberry, chocolate, and maple macarons. Considering the plentiful and enticing pastries here, I'm glad I've planned to do a lot of running. I found a park earlier today with a 1.5 mile path, and there is another right next to the ville with a 1.25 mile path. I'll need to branch out a bit more for my longer runs as I learn the area, but there are some promising rural farmlands I found while exploring. In the picture of the park, you may be able to see the futbol complex in the background above right of the bridge, and the mountains beyond. Because almost everything in Geneve and France is closed on Sundays, it is a nice treat to live in Annemasse. There is a large open air market spanning several entire streets where you can buy anything from cheese, olives, and produce to children's toys and hejabs. I believe Dodly said this market has been held without interruption since the 1700s.
Annemasse is in the Alps region and there are mountains bordering on several sides. One of the more well known is Mt. Saleve, which is in the picture with fog obscuring the peak. I plan to visit Mt. Saleve for hiking in the next week or two. Many of the folks who live in Annemasse commute into Geneve for work. Despite it being a bedroom community, I'm really enjoying my time in Annemasse with the mountains, parks, market, macarons, and Dodly!