Oct 16, 2011

One year yodel

I was having a bad day today. Nothing serious. Just grey skies. The weight of an up-coming birthday. A friend's recent break-up making me feel both sorry for her and for myself (because I really am that selfish). And a one-season-old pair of Kate Spade suede boots having to go in the trash because of a nasty tear. All this on my one-year-in-Switzerland anniversary.

So I bought a couple books (for the small price of half a kidney) and that made me feel better. I would have also bought a couple pairs of shoes but I can't afford it and, besides, it's Sunday so all the shops are closed (except, thank god, the book store at the train station).

Happy Switzerversary to me.

Oct 15, 2011

Occupy this

I could talk about the rugby. I could tell you about the 50-something lady in a tailored suit cheering for France at the top of her lungs in an Irish pub at 10am. I could. But if you watched the game, you'll know there is nothing to gloat about. Go Wales, I say.

Anyhoo, instead I will tell you about my walk away from the Irish pub towards the restaurant where I was meeting INSEADers for lunch. A walk in below-freezing temperatures (I think it's already Christmas in Switzerland, those damn cuckoo clocks must be fast). A walk that took me past the banking square in the banking capital of the banking nation of the world.

Where I found this.

Granted, the tourists and media probably outnumbered the protesters 2 to 1. And even with the add-ons that only made a total of about 50 people. And apparently I was the only one who spotted the irony of me walking around an "Occupy" protest taking pictures with my Blackberry. But well done, Switzerland, for somehow coming up with a left wing out of nowhere. I honestly didn't think you had it in you.

Of course, 5 minutes later the world was back to normal and I was having lunch surrounded by Credit Suisse bankers who were very much unfazed. Looks like the Bentleys are safe, for now.

Sep 15, 2011

Timid wave

Don't get too excited. I don't know if I'm back yet. But I had a small, silent urge to write and I thought I better seize the moment before it passed. So here I am. Writing. A little.

Today is Day 5 of my Ultimate Relaxation Holiday. No, I'm not at a spa. Or an ashram. I'm all by my lonesome down in my happy place in the South of France. That's right. I took one week off work to be by myself. Does that make me a freak? Maybe. But God it's so nice to not have to care about what anyone else thinks, wants, says, needs... No one else matters this week but me. And that is true luxury. That, and my iPad.

So here I am. I drove down from my little corner of Switzerland, winding my way past lakes and mountains, then through Italy (ah, Italy, how I have come to love you this year..) and across into France along the Côte d'Azur. It's an absolutely terrible drive to do if you get easily distracted by beautiful scenery (like me), dislike spending 20 minutes covered by a million tonnes of mountain as you go through the Gotthard Pass (like me), get easily annoyed by crazy Italian drivers (like me) and have a car that is less than comfortable with windy-hilly-pseudo-highways and has no AC (like me). But gosh it's stunning. Anyways, I made it in one piece, and have since been doing mostly nothing at all. Some running (trying to avoid the major roadside accidents of last year), some time at the pool, some time at the beach, some serious fall collection shopping in St Tropez. Heaven. Except that I have been bitten by so many mosquitos it looks like someone tried to write on me in braille. I'm thinking a sonnet.

I did have big plans to get cracking on the second book this week. Back around Christmas time I got incredibly inspired and started four different chapters of an idea I thought would revolutionize the concept of the American Novel. Or the French-Wannabee-American Novel anyways. And now... Well, now I hate it. I am so thoroughly bored by the idea it puts me to sleep just thinking about it. But there is one little nugget of something I like in one of the chapters. I wonder if there's somewhere I can go with it - maybe a short story. We'll have to see.

As for the first novel, well, like me, it is making it's lonely scary way in the world, trying its very best. Both the Kindle and the paperback versions have sold a few copies, and now I'm debating whether or not to try another round of agents. Especially after my recent run of disappointing reads that have left me thinking that if THEY found a publisher, then surely... We'll see. First, there are so many other things to sort out. Finding a new rental arrangement for my perfect little Parisian flat. Finding a new place in Switzerland (the flatmate and I are parting ways, amicably, and it's time for me to strike out on my own). Getting to grips with the job which is about to hit that difficult second year, where the novelty is gone and you have to work past all the annoyances and grievances and frustrations to make it something exciting again. And hey, maybe I'll even manage to get back to writing this blog...

Jul 19, 2011


I feel like I need to send out a general apology to the readership. Two months now without a word from me. It must seem terribly selfish.

Especially since I need you to indulge me a little bit longer.  I'm not ready to come back yet. The words aren't there, the energy isn't there, it's just not a good writing time.

I need a break.

I will come back though, I promise.

Until then, buy shoes.

Or something else that makes you happy.



May 15, 2011


You already know that I don't do New Year's resolutions. No, not me, I couldn't possibly do anything like anyone else.

So this year, I took some resolutions in May.  Because I can. Seriously. Are you going to stop me? There, I didn't think so.

So anyway, first up on my May resolutions list, lose weight.  This involves some huffing, puffing, and sweating, the details of which I have generously decided to leave out of this post. But it also involves Weight Watchers in all its point-counting, meeting-attending, public-weighing glory.

It has probably not escaped your attention that I live in Switzerland.  Not only that, but I live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.  So named because no one actually speaks German there.  Nay, instead they speak Schweizerdeutsch, which in German would be pronounced Shwizer-Doitch, but which in S-D is pronounced Shweetser-Dootch.  And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Needless to say, I understand next to nothing of this beautiful, phlegm-producing language. I know it has a lot of eeee, ooooo, and leeeee sounds, and that anything purporting to be a 'g' or a 'k' is delivered with a vicious scraping of the respiratory tract, but that's about as far as it goes.

Which means that every week I have the privilege of being weighed in public, handed a list of Swiss-sounding foods I'm unable to identify but now know the point-value of, and listening to strangers cough up a lung for thirty minutes.

An original, and hopefully effective diet technique. It certainly is making food sound pretty scary.

May 1, 2011

The lucky cow

There are some stories from childhood that stay with you forever.  You don't know why these particular stories stuck and not the countless others your obliging parents read to you, but they did.  For me, there's the one about the robin and Jesus (Selma Lagerloff) and there's the one about the cow and her glasses.

Dear lucky readers, you are in for a treat.

Once upon a time, there was a cow.  The cow was wonderful in many ways but let's face it, she was an astonishingly picky eater.  And stubborn.  And this otherwise lovable cow decided she could only eat four-leaf clovers.

Trouble was, there weren't a lot of four-leaf clovers in the field where she lived, and so she slowly began to starve.  (Gosh, this was a children's story?!)  Her friends the duck, the goat and the rabbit (OK, I don't really remember what species her friends were, but just go with it) tried to convince her that she needed to eat the regular old grass and stop being such a drama queen but she stuck to her guns and just kept on looking for those four-leaf clovers.

So one day, her friends come up with an ingenious plan.  They convince our heroine, the cow, that there are actually lots of four-leaf clovers in her field but that she actually hasn't been able to see them because she forgot to get a check-up at the optician.  Fortunately, they've already picked out some glasses for her which should do the trick.  And lo and behold, the glasses are perfect!  There are four-leaf clovers everywhere!  The cow can't believe she has been so blind this whole time!

Little does she know, of course, that the four-leaf clovers she now sees have in fact been painted on her glasses by her friends.

The end.

This is a story about perspective.  And friendship.  And the importance of regular medical examination and fashionable corrective eyewear.

And it's a story about Miss Res.  And Switzerland.  And just diving in and having a grand old time because, well, this is my field for now and I don't want to go hungry.

Apr 19, 2011

You're not here to make friends

You would think that people at CoolCo and CoolCoSub would be cool, right?  And I'm quite cool.  Okay, that's a lie, but I could probably qualify as cool-ish.  Strait-laced with a side of cool, if you will.

Which means, if the theory that likes attract likes is correct, that we should all be one happy family.

And yet.

The sad truth is....

I work in a place where everyone hates me.


Let's rewind for a sec.

Last summer, I was interviewed for a position which didn't yet exist.  To create a department that was brand spanking new.  To do things that had never been done before.  By anyone.  Anywhere.

So, I said, you want me to Make the Change Happen? No problemo, dear CoolCo, I'm your woman.  (No, I didn't actually say that, but you know what I mean).

And on that basis, I was hired.  An ex-litigator, NY-Bar-qualified, former BM-consultant, crazy chick.  You would have thought they would know what they were getting themselves into.  It's not like I lied about the merchandise.

But now, I'm seeing hands being thrown up in the air, angry faces all red and scrunched up, and people squeaking: "but Res, that's just not how we DO things!"

Res: "No kidding.  That's why you hired me, right?"

Angry CoolCo people: "But no, Res, you must do things the way we've always done things.  That is the CoolCo way.  That is what makes us cool."

Res: "Well, actually, it's not, but in any event I can't do things the way you've always done things because YOU'VE NEVER DONE WHAT I DO BEFORE...."

ACCP:"Ach, but Res, this is a big problem."

Speaking of problems, after all that I need to turn around and tell my direct reports that they can't take that vacation they were planning to take because I might need them around.  I was so upset about having to break the news that I had nightmares for days.  I even seriously considered letting them go off and frolic and just working non-stop myself.  My boss couldn't understand what my problem was - "you're in charge, you tell them what's what."

Yeah, sure.  But now everyone REALLY hates me.

Is it just women that care about these things?

Thank goodness I'm going home to Paris tomorrow, where everyone still loves me.  I hope.

Apr 16, 2011

Hiding in Plain Sight

Isn't it strange how well the internet allows you to hide while linked to the whole world?

I've often been asked the question, "why do you expose yourself like this?"

Expose myself? Are you kidding? The internet is my hiding place.  My safe house.  The real danger is outside - it's when you confront yourself with actual people that everything starts to break down.  Even skype is treacherous - at least here no one talks back.

Hmmm.... Maybe I've spent too much time today reading Joanne Harris' blueeyedboy

(Books are a good place to hide too.)

Coco and Camarao do Brazil

I am so tired.

That kind of tired that seeps into your bones and makes them heavy as rocks, that crawls in behind your stinging eyeballs, the kind of tired that you feel you'll never be able to shake off.

And I only recently came back from vacation.  Something's rotten in the state of Res, I tell you.

Speaking of vacation, I am way overdue a posting.  So here it is, a brief but exclusive glimpse into the glamorous Brazilian adventures of Res and Hottie:

Friday: Res bails early from CoolCo Sub and hops onto a small plane to a London with a big suitcase full of dresses.  Hottie has just returned from Houston (obviously).  The two of them are exhausted and skip the big Friday night out in London.

Saturday: Res and Hottie wait for pre-ordered cab.  And wait some more. Cab doesn't show up. Learn to never trust anyone but black cabs.  Make it to Heathrow in time for plane (and pancakes at Giraffe). Spend a long time in a flying metal tube. Land in Rio.  It's hot. Hottie has a couple caipirinhas. Res is a party pooper and goes to bed.

Sunday: Our fearless heroines decide to jump off a mountain.  Not before signing beautifully drafted liability waiver, specifying that it applies to all hang-gliding activities such as "take-off and landing (including, but not limited to, crashing)". Despite said waiver, both girls manage stunning, crash-free landings. Spend rest of day recovering on Ipanema with some coconut water and a couple camarao. Res takes first caipirinha.  And second.

Monday: Trusty host Daniel takes the girls on tour of city.  Gets them lost in Tijuca National Park.  Explains ups and downs of marriage over large skewers of meat. Then plonks them down on a bar terrace overlooking Santa Teresa for caipirinha o'clock.  Where we meet a yacht stewardess and a straight man with a T-shirt that says "Flower". Res takes a bit of a fancy to Brazilian beers. At dinner, Hottie attempts to identify menu options by making barnyard animal sounds at the waiter and Res orders a mint tea only to receive a small swamp in a bucket.

Tuesday: More beach time.  The girls even manage to squeeze in a run and purchase bikinis (size large, therefore covering half a butt-cheek; we learn that what we think of as "normal" bikini bottoms are referred to here as American bikinis, diapers or parachutes. Lovely).  Then Christ the Redeemer goes all mystical in the fog and Copacabana sparkles from the top of the Sugarloaf, before it's time to samba the night away at the fabulous Rio Scenarium.  More caipirinhas are had.

Wednesday: It rains. Res gets a sunburn (rainburn?) and turns into a bit of a camarao herself. For good cheer, Res and Hottie purchase Havaianas and try to sing for beer money. It doesn't work. Res orders fish for dinner and gets beef. Never mind. There's always more samba to save the day (until a senior citizen decides to demonstrate his trademarked pelvic thrust move and the girls run away... fast).

Thursday: Bye bye Rio, off to Paraty.  It rains. Paraty is nonetheless charming.  And serves wonderful caipirinhas.  Res gets a samba lesson from a waiter.

Friday: Sunshine in Paraty makes for idyllic beach time. Res misses her coconut water, though.  In the evening, the girls are entertained by the fabulous Yara and Richard Roberts and eat the best food of the whole trip. Res makes farofa and feels pretty pleased with herself. Hottie learns how to make caipirinhas and London cocktail nights are transformed forever.

Saturday: Last day in Brazil, spent in Sao Paulo with INSEAD alumns and friends. Much food, drink and dancing is had by all.  It rains.  That's because Brazil is sad the girls are leaving.

Sunday: Plane, more plane, an early Monday morning breakfast at Heathrow, another plane, and arrival in Zurich.  The vacation is over.  Time to prepare work trip to South Africa.

More on that in another post.

Mar 21, 2011


Only a few, cold wintry days of work left before the Hottie and I jet off to the warmer, friendlier climes of Brazil!  (A trip largely designed and organized by an INSEAD alumn's newly minted private travel company, which is a fun bonus).

But there's a "hic" as the French say (pronounced, appropriately enough, 'Eek!')  No, no, not some Appalachian redneck (apologies) but a snag.  A hitch.  A teensy weensy problemo.

In the nine-odd months since I last wore warm-weather clothes my body has, how should I put it - somewhat expanded its horizons.  The Swiss call it the Raclette-Equator.

I call it stress.

Anyways, as most women know, when you run into this kind of hic, the only clothes that still (more or less) fit are your dresses.  Especially the light, airy, flowy ones.

Which means that next week you will find me paragliding over the beaches of Rio in a dress. 

That's right, a dress.

I'm sure to be a hit with the locals.

Mar 12, 2011


The temperature has finally edged above 5°C and the city's gone mad.

All over town the restaurants and bars have dragged chairs and tables out onto the sidewalk.  They've thrown some sheepskin on them and, lo and behold, made a killing.  Apparently, all you need in Switzerland is a good sheepskin and you might as well be in Jamaica.

Even more surprising, along the lake the boat and bath houses have opened.  Loungers are set up by the water, and I actually spotted a group of crazies pulling on diving gear.

People.  We're still in the single digits here.  Is this all entirely reasonable?

Then again, the heatwave mass hysteria is rather contagious.  I pulled on the sportswear this morning (sans hat, scarf, gloves, fleece or anything - just the bright pink top courtesy of HH) and ran for an hour along the lake.  Then I had a sit-down in the sunshine on my balcony with some ice tea.


I think I might start liking Switzerland in springtime!

Mar 6, 2011


That's it.  It's out there.  When you look me up on amazon, you now get a hit (both .com AND the .co.uk versions!)

I hummed and hahed about publicizing it on this blog.  You have been my biggest supporters, after all.  But, well, the title page doesn't say "Res" and, as Buddy noted, that would result in an uncomfortable mix of my personas.

So, if you're interested in checking out the baby you're going to have to be a little bit clever.  Or drop me a line and I'll whisper in your ear.

After almost 18 months, I've reached the end of my project.  It didn't all go according to plan, and there were many, many painful moments, but still, I achieved something.  I wrote a book.  An entire one.  Some people have read it.  A few more may still.  Maybe one of them will really like it.

And that's already something.

Mar 5, 2011

The Past Imperfect Re-Kindled

This afternoon I saw a demonstration in Switzerland.  Hundreds of people blocking up the streets and waving signs, and one man singing (badly) a rather humorous song, or at least I assume it was humorous based on the giggles of the passers-by.  Although Swiss-German always sounds quite amusing to me anyway.

Leaving the demonstrators behind, I wandered onto the main drag of the city, the one where all the fancy watches and the LV handbags go to feel casual.  And there was a woman begging for money on the sidewalk.

I was so surprised I almost tripped over her.

It was like someone had sent me a tiny chunk of the outside world right into my Swiss antibacterial bubble.

Speaking of the bubble, it's been a challenge lately.  Turns out CoolCo Sub is so very cool that everyone wants a piece of it.  And they're suing us to get it.  Which is when everyone turns around to me and says "wait a sec, you're a litigator, right?" at which point I somehow become responsible for everyone keeping their jobs.  Fantabulous.  Especially when my Nemesis sticks his nose in it and starts trashing my work like the angry little man he is.  And I've already failed in my mission to save everyone's job since we had to fire someone two weeks ago.  I'm not going to go into that any further except to say it was incredibly unpleasant.

It was right in the middle of all this medieval madness that I received the following email from the agent who had asked to see my full manuscript:

"Dear Res,
Loved the first few chapters, girl.  But then, not so much.  So I will now crush your hopes and dreams and suggest you go read One Day so you can see what real authors do.

So there it is.  I could keep going.  I could re-write.  Again.  I could send out to more agents.  And I could keep waiting.

Part of me wants to do that.  Part of me wants to wait for the chance to open up a brown cardboard package with the first ever copy of my book, a book I could slide into my bookshelf and smile at my name written on the side.

But the other part won. 

And so, following my Facebook friends' advice, I am publishing my novel on Amazon's Kindle.  It will be coming out very soon, so watch this space.

In the meantime, maybe I should buy a Kindle?

Feb 13, 2011

Red Cross

So I went to a Swiss doctor for the first time yesterday because I was having another one of those episodes where my body falls apart as it's own special way of telling me to stop working on those slides because really, who cares if the font is all the same size and perfectly aligned.

Anyway, the nice Swiss doctor lady huffed and puffed and drew some blood and told me I had a Blut Entzündung.  I nodded and said thank you but obviously I had no idea what that meant so I went home and looked it up, and the only translation I could find was sepsis, but I figure that can't be right because otherwise I'd probably be dead by now.  My guess is she was feeling a bit dramatic when she woke up this morning and decided to spice things up.  Who can blame her, really.  It must be so boring seeing rich Swiss people with the sniffles and telling them that yes, it's just a cold, so once in a while I guess you start feeling a bit Puck-ish and you diagnose them with something ghastly and preferably fatal. 

Must be even more fun when the patient's a sniffling foreigner who's pretending to speak German but really she has no idea what you're talking about.

Ah, yes.  Swiss humour.  Gets me every time.

Feb 7, 2011

You say po-tay-to

Picture, if you will, a potato.

It's not a pretty potato.  Not the kind multi-starred chefs would serve up as is, whole, lightly grilled with some olive oil and rosemary.

No.  This potato is the dumpy kind.  Its color is slightly off.  It has sprouty bits in several places.  And instead of being nice and evenly oval, it's got lumps and bumps all over.  It might still be good to eat, perhaps in a mash with a nice pad of butter, but it certainly isn't a looker.

You've got it?  Good.

Now imagine we take this potato, and we run it through the spin cycle.

At this point, you're getting a pretty good sense of what I feel like after my second session of my new personal-trainer-approved fitness regime.

Apparently, it's meant to give me some muscles and make me look thinner.  A lofty goal, certainly, and one I could get really behind if only I could still walk.  Or stand.  Or tie my shoelaces.

Jan 30, 2011

Swiss Reds

I'm in a foul mood again.  I suppose you're not surprised, at this point.

I should be in a good mood, really.  I now have a grand total of two friends in Switzerland.  One at work and one who is as lost in this place as I am.  I went to the gym today, and followed my 7km speed training with half an hour in the jacuzzi.  I have plans for every night of next week.  My new hire hasn't run away screaming, yet.  I've finally booked myself on a holiday to Brazil with HH at the end of March.

All good things.



Roomie is back with his ex.  They're here now, hidden away and lovied up.  I hate them.  My ex still thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread that he doesn't want a relationship with.  And he spent the night one room away, in my apartment, two days ago.  I hate him.  My boss thinks I have superhuman powers and can somehow transform decades of illegal practices into kitten-cuddling utopia between now and springtime.  Though who knows when spring will actually ever come.  I hate my job, and the lack of springtime.  My body is always hungry and constantly gaining weight.  Yup, hate the old body as well.



Crave chocolate.

You know what?  I don't want to list 5 things I'm grateful for.  I don't want to lift my chin up (although I suppose it might hide the doubles).  I don't want to put a brave face on or find some blasted silver lining.  I'm not interested in either buckling up or chilling out.

I am angry and frustrated and I want to punch somebody.  But because my mama raised me better than that, all I'm left with is telling you how much I want to punch somebody.  And it doesn't help.

What would help is somebody loving me back.  An agent thinking my book isn't shit.  My body deciding food is not a good substitute.  People choosing to walk the straight and narrow.  Switzerland becoming home.

For Pete's sake, I don't even have any Nutella in the flat.  How could you possibly expect me to cope?

Jan 25, 2011

Hello conscience

"Hi. I am your conscience. And right now, I'm telling you that it's time for you to BLOG already!"

That's the message I got from my conscience today.  And believe me, when your conscience suddenly starts talking to you, you stand up and take note.  You also find yourself wondering whether those mushrooms you pulled out from the back of the fridge last night in a half-hearted attempt to get your five-a-day weren't a bit funny...

So here I am, blogging.  But what about?

The problem with getting a job is that your life becomes a whole lot less exciting all of a sudden.  Especially if that job is in Switzerland.  And especially if you can't blog about your job because said job is so unique that as soon as you open your exhibitionist little mouth everyone would figure out exactly what it is you're doing.

Which would get you fired.

Although I suppose that would be something to blog about.

But until that happens, there's always the fascinating topic of the failed novel.  I'm up to ten rejections now (they come in slow and steady, like an IV drip).  I'm thinking I should publish the best ones and let you vote on which are the most insulting.  So far I'm leaning towards the personalized and delightfully constructive "Res, you write beautifully, but your characters and plot suck."


As for the agents who asked for my full manuscript, not a peep out of them since October.  Come on people, I wrote a 63,000-word basic Chick Lit novel, not War and Peace!

Okay, see?  This is why I don't blog anymore.  Because I just end up getting upset and ranting and raving and showing you my not-so-darling side...

I need some Gute Laune... can anyone catch me some of those?  (with a side of sunshine, please)

Jan 11, 2011

Rendez-vous manqués

Oh my God the frustration...

I just found out that one of my absolute favourite authors of 2009 / 2010, David Nicholls (author, entre autres, of the fantastic "One Day") will be doing a reading at the WH Smith on Rivoli and I won't be there!  Please, for your own sake and literary enlightenment, if you're in the neighbourhood on February 2, go see him.  I will leave it at your discretion whether you choose to tell David that a certain Little Swiss Miss is head over snow-booted heels in novelistic love with him.  Feel free.  Either way.

And in the meantime, read his books (there are - sadly - only three of them, so you have no excuse not to read them all).  Although be warned, when I recommended "One Day" to The Boy, he stopped three chapters before the end and cursed me into oblivion because things didn't turn out how he wanted them too.

Yes, well, things don't always turn out the way we want them to, do they?

PS: The Roomie and I just finished putting the sofa together.  He wanted me to point that out.  On the premise that a little free advertising for his ruggedly handsome IKEA-handy self never hurt.  So consider him advertised, girls.

Jan 10, 2011

It is Resolved

I don't do New Year's resolutions.  I'm just too chicken.  I mean, who wants to feel bad about themselves so soon into the new year just because they got overly ambitious while hungover (or still drunk)?

Nope, not me.  But I did use this weekend to reconnect with the old me that had gotten left behind in all the frenzy of the move.

First, I went back to the gym.  I found a gym in the centre of town, one of those gyms that is so expensive and luxurious you really do have to go (heck, sometimes you even want to, but mostly for the hammam).  It was only after having done serious damage to my credit card that they told me towels were extra.  Towels are extra?!  Sigh... only in Switzerland.

Nevermind, I had a great 5km run on the treadmill, surrounded by the city's gorgeous young things.  Damn, I forgot how great it felt to exercise!  Sadly, this realization was followed 24 hours later by a similarly intense realization of how sore your muscles get after the first workout you've had in months.

The other good old habit I got back into?  Writing.  I have now officially started my next novel.  But this time, I'm doing it all differently.  Instead of starting with a full story (complete with a beginning, most of a middle, and an end that isn't one) I am starting with close to nothing.  A character or two.  A vivid scene I came up with one insomniac night a few weeks ago.  God only knows how, or if, these things will come together to form a novel.  At the very least though, I should have something resembling a short story.

Wait, so you think it sounds like I made resolutions? No, really.  If you don't write it down, it doesn't count.

What do you mean I just wrote it down?

Jan 3, 2011

That's a Wrap

Hey, look at that, two posts in one day!

Usually I like to spread the love a bit, but I realized I hadn't done the "2010 recap" post and, like Christmas cards, that really needs to get done before Epiphany (ah, the irony) so let's get started.

I'm back with the parents now and feeling like a properly unemployed writer.  Well, mostly unemployed, really, because all the traveling is kind of getting in the way of the writing.  First there's New York (cold, brrr...) then Namibia, South Africa and Australia (warm, aah...)  I return a happy bunny.

OK, that's it, time to get serious.  Now that the half marathon is out of the way (good god why did I do that to myself?) the book needs to be priority number one.  So I focus, head to the South of France, and hammer out the pages.  By the end of it I have come to two thirds of the novel and the unpleasant realization that I am not over my exes.  Not being able to get over one ex is unfortunate, but not being able to get over two?  That's schizophrenic bordering on downright disorganized.

The final push on the book.  I'm determined to get this done before the summer, dammit.  And then I'm moving into my newly purchased flat so no time to get all Austen, must instead be interior decorator extraordinaire, sort of a Martha Stewart meets Philip Stark.  It's all rather stressful, really.

After nine months of being willingly unemployed in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s, it finally dawns on me, MBA-graduate that I am, that finding a job is going to be hard.  Especially in Paris.  Especially with my insane CV that doesn't seem to make sense to anybody unless they're Picasso (I have a very cubist CV - nothing is quite what or where it should be).  And so I send out applications for random jobs, including one in Switzerland that makes my friends laugh when I tell them.

Turns out the random job was just random enough to be perfect for me, and there I go, signing on the dotted line and throwing away my Parisian life.  There's just enough time to wrap up the edits on the second draft of the novel and send it off to agents before I pack up my newly-purchased flat (or rather, leave everything as is because I'm in denial) and drive off into the sunset (although that's not entirely correct, geographically-speaking, Switzerland being to the east - but who ever drives off into the sunrise?)

Oh dear Lord, here I am and I don't know what I'm doing.  I have no friends, I have no clue about my job, and it's freaking cold.  But hardship makes a girl grow stronger, or something like that, so I pick out a little flat next to some prostitutes, climb every mountain to work in the morning and think of some of my favourite things like chocolate (and put on three kilos).  Julie Andrews eat your heart out.


There are a lot of rules in Switzerland.  Rules about where you can park your car.  Rules about what kind of tires your parked car should be wearing.  Rules about where you can cross the road and when and under what circumstances.  Rules about what days you can take out your garbage.  And which type of garbage bag they should be in.  Rules about doing your washing (not on Sundays).  And lots of other rules that I haven't figured out yet and will therefore be fined heavily for in order to teach me a lesson.

So it makes sense that there should be rules in the trams as well.

Don't smoke.
Don't be poor.
Don't play the guitar.
Don't saw the seats.
Don't put your feet up.

Wait a sec, what was that last one?

Don't put your feet up.

No, not that one, the one before it.

Don't saw the seats.

Right.  Of course.  You certainly wouldn't want anyone to be doing that in the tram.  It would get messy.  And there would be less places to sit if half the seats were sawn off, now wouldn't there?

And don't be poor?  Well, that doesn't apply just to the tram, that's a general leitmotiv of life here in the land of cheese, chocolate, Rolexes and secret bank accounts.

Although strangely, if there was one thing you could actually afford on a budget in Switzerland, it would be public transportation....