We were living happily in our area of la Servette. Obviously, we knew our living arrangements couldn’t be permanent as we were sharing the house with other people. I enjoyed our access to the garden and the many parties as well as barbecues we hosted. My father’s new boss found out about our predicament and vowed to help. Despite his good intention, my father’s boss was a very wealthy and greedy man. Even though he helped us find a flat, his asking price was just extortionate for what it was. We moved there nevertheless. Our new area in Geneva was a place where we would stay until we leave Geneva for good: Thônex.
I found it bitter sweet to leave la Servette. I missed our garden. It was our home for 2 years. Despite our new move, the flat was a box: our new flat consisted of 1 bedroom, one living room and a bathroom. That was it. The kitchen was next to a wall and practically by the entrance. My parents sensed that we did miss our garden and especially our gatherings. So they arranged for gatherings such as trips to rivers on a regular basis, going to the swimming pool and roller skating. It was so much fun. As a family we carried on exploring the beauty Switzerland had to offer. With my parents, we’d go to other regions of Switzerland, especially to Fribourg (French) or Freiburg (German). In Fribourg, that region was blessed where they speak both French and Swiss German. My father always enjoyed travelling, so exploring Switzerland was the only thing he enjoyed doing there. Just like me, he was just mesmerised by the beautiful Swiss mountains. Mountain hiking became our favourite activity. I was more than happy to burn off my energy hiking mountains. Hands on heart, Switzerland is as beautiful as a postcard, so breath taking. My eyes always wanted to devour more and more and the many Swiss delicious landscapes was always on the menu.
My father also liked to discover and introduce things to us like TV programs, we realised our channels consisted more of French channels and we learned so much about the French culture this way. We only had 2 Swiss channels at the time. I always felt a deep connection to France due to the fact our TV channels were mainly French channels. I shall discuss my deep connection to France or how I felt deeply connected to France very soon. My father also introduced us to comic books such as Tintin, Asterix, Gaston Lagaffe and more. Without even noticing, my French became so fluent like a French native with the accent and all. My father also took us many times to the cinema while my mum worked. He was the one who introduced us to Walt Disney films and I became deeply attached to Walt Disney animations that I’d still watch them to this day. The first film in the cinema we watched with my dad, was Lady and the Tramp. That film still holds a special place in my heart. Each time I watch it, I feel like I am 6-7 again.
I mentioned previously how I always felt like an outsider or an outcast. I must admit, when I look closer, this theme of outcast/outsider in films, books or animation will always have a resonance with my life. I will explore this theme of outsider further in my blog. Let’s start with Lady and the Tramp as my first example in the theme of being an outsider and how it connects with me. So in terms of the amazing character of Tramp, we have so many similarities: We both are strong, tough, independent quite simply put outsiders really! See, Tramp doesn’t really hang out with other stray dogs like himself in fear to get caught and he’s very street smart as well as a dog with a reputation; everyone knows about him including the dog catcher. He is intrigued as well as amazed by the posh side of town where dogs have collars therefore a home, something he doesn’t really have despite his claim to have many places to call home. The dogs who have a collar also have owners and live a lavish lifestyle. Something deep down Tramp always longed for. He obviously doesn’t belong in the posh side of town as he’s seen as an outsider because the give away is that he doesn’t have a collar. He doesn’t belong with the stray dogs either because obviously he’s too smart to be surrounded by stray dogs who he keeps on bailing out. He is pretty much alone, lives life in his own terms. Is he happy? Well not really even though he claims to be. Obviously, the film offers a happy ending to Tramp. For me Tramp’s role wasn’t just an outsider but he stood out in the film. I was so happy he finally settled with Lady and most importantly had finally found a place to call home. I see Tramp’s traits in me too relating to feeling like an outsider; just like him I’m strong and independent. So often I had to play alone never sure where I belonged. It will be years before I can slowly be accepted just like Tramp was.
I was slowly finishing my academic year of hell with my evil teacher. My American friend was ready to leave for America. I was already wishing for changes for my following academic year; I wanted my soon to be new teacher to like me including my many flaws, I wanted to have more friends, especially forming friendships with girls. I also wanted society to accept me and not look down at me as if I grew an extra head just because of the colour of my skin. Each time we’d go on public transport or in shops, we’d get people looking at us with shock or disgust. I admit with my dad present it wasn’t as always bad. I could only hope onward and upward.