It's a short drive from Geneva, and it came highly recommended by my supervisor, co-interns, host family, and friends alike (haha, the build-up!), so we were so glad because the place definitely did NOT disappoint.
We stayed cute place called Hotel Central, which has the quirkiest design for its rooms and reception area (bonus that we got a balcony for a superb price). We stuffed ourselves crazy, happy that we were away from expensive Geneva (Ingo was right, one could never go wrong with French food!) We also walked around town, looked at key points of interest such as the Pont des Amours, and went shopping (half the price, compared to Geneva). But my favorite would have to be our little paddleboat trip on the gorgeous lake itself, finding our little island, and getting lost in the beauty of our Alpine background.
These trips are nothing but cherries on top, really, and could never entirely capture how wonderful the past months have been--from the Skype calls, WhatsApp messages, the way he'd cook for me and even bring me lunch, to our frantic moments when we're terribly stressed out, to shared celebrations for achieving personal goals. It's unbelievably comforting to find and continue to discover someone who seems to know the pains, joys, and hopes of your heart, inside-out.
No, it 's not easy, and yes, long discussions about differences and the need to respect each other's culture have come up several times but at the end of the day, we've found ways to resolve them.
With him, I don't feel like I have to beg for attention nor affection. With him, I see a soul I wish to come home to, everyday, for a long time. <3
The mobile phone I lost (from my last update) in Basel that ended up in Zurich? It was shipped to me by the guy who found it, and he even added some gummy bears in the box (talk about sweet!). My personal laptop that accidentally got locked, which I was initially advised to ship back to Boston? Not only was it decrypted remotely so that iI could unearth my files, the IT guy who helped me even went beyond his duty by uninstalling certain programs and components. Now, it's running faster than before (crazy!)
I've also had a chance to bond with people, old and new, like Tin, a fellow VSO volunteer/scholar/development worker, who now serves as an M&E fellow at the UN!
And how do I even begin thanking the heavens for sending Ingo my way? Cheese alert: It's crazy, but so far, not a day has passed by without him making me feel so supported and [unconditionally] loved! Right after he completed his MSc in dublin, he chose to celebrate it by visiting me.
Work-wise, what an amazing ride it has been! My depressing, non-existent skills in the French language almost had me packing for the first flight home (I was too embarrassed about burdening people with the translation of certain tasks), but the encouragement and patience of my supervisors helped ease my discomfort about my limitations. Their openness even encouraged me to face this fear head-on, someday soon (new mantra: learn another language or die trying? haha).
And then, days ago, while furiously scribbling notes in a crowded room at the UN while listening to updates on the Central African Republic, I heard the chairperson introduce an all too familiar name in the panel----it was one of my professors from Dublin (the one I had a major professional crush on, no less) providing details about the humanitarian response from an international NGO's perspective!
Two days after, I was invited by another supervisor to the briefing on Iraq, only to find out that my former boss (the Philippine resident coordinator who is now deputy special representative/humanitarian coordinator to the country) was the one presenting the updates via videolink!
To cap off the workweek, I managed to meet two very inspiring graduates of my course. One was kind enough to meet me over lunch, and gave me the lowdown on the challenges of being an international development/humanitarian worker in Geneva, while the other was generous enough to meet me for coffee and offered to facilitate introductions to personal contacts who are relevant to my thesis!
So before I get accused of hoarding all the exclamation points in the world, here's a sincere wish that the coming weeks will bring y'all joy and a growing spirit of gratitude!!! Sending a chock-full of love and smiles, wherever you may be!!!
And just like that, half a year of happiness.
Oh my. How time flies!
On my first trip back to Ingo's country in April, we visited Hallstatt, a beautiful, historic village in the Salzkammergut Region of Austria. while happily enjoying the short boat ride to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, we were randomly spotted by a group of students filming a short travel documentary about the place, and were interviewed about our reasons for choosing to visit.
As the foreign visitor/main instigator of this leg of our holiday, I took the liberty of answering, not knowing that the group would include the clip... the entire clip. So much for my request to edit out the last part!
Months after, the group sent us this... a welcome surprise on our sixth (oh, how he used to shudder at the idea, haha) "monthsary".
For the rest of the Easter holiday, we spent time enjoying what his motherland has to offer. Some of the highlights include checking out the sites that appeared in the Julie Andrews film, The Sound of Music; visiting Halstatt, a cute lakeside village that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; taking the funicular to see the Salzkammergut area; trying out local Austrian food, especially the famous dessert, Sacher Torte. :)
There really are very important, life-
Here's to embracing and starting this fresh journey, (hopefully) sans the baggage.
- Mental Diarrhea is the online home of Rhea Alba. She aims to fill this space with pockets of sunshine and occasionally, a few dark clouds (i.e. incoherent thoughts and rants, haha). You've been warned! ;) Contents are mainly written for family and friends, but if you're a random visitor, feel free to roam around, open your mind, and share your thoughts.
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