Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In Which I Learn to Navigate in Three Languages, And None of Them Well
I've been in Geneva now for nearly a week. Still a little jet-lagged and trying to adapt to working in an office where air conditioning is not the norm. Plus, I don't speak French, so that's its own challenge. Still, I'm having a lovely time and am hoping this leads to a longer-term gig. All I know is, I don't want to blow this opportunity and I'm feeling a little gun shy from my last three jobs in D.C.--all of which did not end positively, but from which I learned a great deal.
Saturday, Dr. Lala and I (Dr. Lala's the friend I'm staying with in her home in the French countryside) went to the farmer's market in Geneva. I've seen some beautiful produce at markets when I lived in California, but this market put all those to shame. I found four varieties of radishes, five kinds of pineapple, three types of bananas, six kinds of strawberries, not to mention the countless varieties of mushrooms, artichokes, and aubergines to be had. Throw in a few cheese mongers and bread stands, as well as a couple of Basque butchers carving ham taken from pigs that are raised on nothing but black acorns, and you have a gastronome's heaven. And a photographer's, too!
Scattered throughout the fruit, vegetable, bread, cheese, and meat stands were flower vendors. Oh la la! The flowers, mon amis. The flowers. I spent a good fifteen minutes watching and photographing one couple who were working with the flower vendor to create a bouquet of roses and peonies and greenery that were stunning. But what struck me as much, if not more, than the flowers was the couple. I tried to photograph them in a way that captured the intimacy of their relationship without cluttering the picture with noise and busyness. I have to say, I think I'm kind of proud of the results.
I'm not going to write a lot here about where I work, except to say that what I'm doing is timely and collaborative and I'm enjoying it. The other day, I was in a meeting where only three of us were native English speakers. The rest of the participants were from Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and France. What was exciting was watching all of these people from various cultures and languages work beyond their cultural differences and come together to do good for the people of the world. Pretty dang cool, if you ask me!
I'd love to send postcards to folks, but the damn things cost a fortune over here--CHF 1 or about $1.20/card. No thanks! To see more of what I'm seeing as I'm over here, visit D.C. Confidential.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 05/09