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Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

I bought these snow-white Urban Ears headphones to celebrate the end of my probation period at Berlitz and the confirmation that I would get the uni job. At first the idea was simply to listen to podcasts on my way home from work without letting the clamour of cars and people quell the soundtrack, but progressively a new field of possibilities made itself known. I can share music. I can hide the voice of my Skype correspondent from a nosy landlady. I can put the end of the string in my pocket and not only will it drown loud noises out, people will refrain from addressing me thinking I must be absorbed in something important. Amazing. And have I mentioned style? If connecting very large headphones to a tiny iPod is counterproductive, one might as well choose a funky version of the former and accessorize. My only concern is that they may not remain white for very long.

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I’m not sure whether Geneva’s calvinist seriousness and reverence for the demands of business are starting to get on my nerves or if it’s only about these amazing adhesive tapes with lots of different patterns I found in a hip little shop in Berne, but lately I have been listening to female punk bands from the 80s and 90s, learning everything there is to know about zine culture, and feeling like the teenager I never truly was. I’m probably recovering from the shock of finally being registered as a PhD student – having to study as a doctoral student whenever I can and teach French to diplomats the rest of the time is too much pressure. When the day is over, I re-imagine myself as some sort of creative activist whose life is all about counterculture. Tinged as they are with schizophrenia, these slightly traumatic transitions from one state to the other (meet Anne: scholar and anarchist) are seldom convincing.

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Last spring, I became so enthusiastic about this fabric-and-plastic device that I persuaded some of my housemates to make a group order from the United States. One of them even chose the eco-print, which is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen – and I am attracted to ridiculous things. The concept is (brace yourself) to have a re-usable, washable sandwich wrapper which, by a simple yet ingenious process, doubles as a table mat once you open it. It does look slightly tacky, and your grandmother could easily make one for you, but my own Wrap-N-Mat unexpectedly became an essential commodity when I started to work in an office and was, at first, completely broke. It’s actually nice to take your own sandwich to work without sprinkling crumbs all over the place. The only condition for it to become your new green friend is not to be too hungry. Or else, just buy several.

P.S. Wrap-N-Mat do not sponsor me, but perhaps they should.

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Café Livresse

3rdPageThe best part of working in Geneva is discovering lots of new cafés during lunch breaks. I knew Livresse before I started the research project and consider myself very lucky as my office is only five minutes away. Getting used to the virtual inexistence of lattes in the city and opting for cappuccinos or renversés instead only took a couple of days and I am now able to enjoy the autumnal sun undisturbed. Everyone knows I love cafés with a personality, and I love good books, so combining these elements won’t fail to make me happy. There aren’t any cupcakes though, so it doesn’t quite make up for the loss of Boho’s in Canterbury… There’s nowhere half as excentric around here. Is Calvin to blame?

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Rösti and the Federal Counsel

1stPageSummer’s gone, along with the idea of going back to England this year (no unknown dead rich relative mentioning me in their will so far), and I’m back on Scones and the Queen. I’ve briefly considered renaming it Rösti and the Federal Counsel  in order to be more in tune with my country of residence but this option had to be discarded for aesthetic reasons. Imitating the oaks in the nearby wood, I am shedding many of the brown leaves of my past, a process which tends to inspire uncontrolable bursts of ridiculous prose. I moved out of the mighty city of Yverdon this week-end and, as I still haven’t found my own flat, am squatting my aunt’s for two weeks while she’s exploring Crete. Much of my exciting life is now spent on the train to Geneva where I’ll be working as a full-time research assistant until Christmas.

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