Discovering Our New Area

While were settling in as well as enjoying our new area, we were lucky that we had few months to do so during our summer holidays. We still enjoyed our gatherings and outings exploring our new area Thônex.

I was struggling to get used to our new studio flat as we were cramped the 4 of us like sardines. Also, we were on 7th or 8th floor. So high! Despite the changes, we had a massive green space outside. Somehow, we enjoyed spending our times indoors. The reason why you might ask, is simply because we loved watching TV. For all those who remembered back in the days, there was a popular TV program called Club Dorothée. Some people probably enjoyed it, I sure did, some people didn’t. The cartoons we used to watch daily, especially on Saturdays and the legendary characters. I couldn’t get enough. What I enjoyed the most was the generics and the catchy intros before each cartoons. I still enjoy re watching the cartoons or the generics which brings me right back to the late 80s. I enjoyed Japanese animation the most. My dad really made us discover cool things. I will always be grateful to him because as much as I enjoyed animations on TV, he made us discover comic books. Since our mum worked during the holidays, at my dad’s workplace, she didn’t have much time for us. So my dad took this opportunity to take us to the park, to the lake and simply to buy comic books. My passion for reading started with comic books. I enjoyed so much how the French and Belgian comic books brought the characters to life, by having bubbles for the character’s dialogue, also for they thoughts. I have so many favourite comic books I enjoyed such as Asterix, Tintin, les 4 As, Lucky Luke, Quick and Flupke and many more. I would often sit quietly (the only times I was quiet) and read. I loved the way the characters were drawn, the character’s countless adventures. I would read non stop. We still have the full album collection of Tintin (more than 30 years old).

Comic books I used to read

When both our parents were free, we would do our weekly shopping, I was always moaning to have to carry the potato bag. In reality, I was moaning because I would have preferred staying home and read or watch TV. The only time I never complained going out was either going to the mountains or do activities such as swimming. Someone with so much energy as me needed to spend the energy. We still went hiking mountains in various regions of Switzerland. We also went to neighbouring France, Thônex is right next to the French border. My father knew how much I loved the mountains. Mountains for me represented calm, serenity and tranquillity. In fact, mountains represent Switzerland metaphorically: High ranks, peaceful, struggle to reach the top.

Mountain hiking was my favourite hobby (after reading)

The mountains in Switzerland represents 60 or 70% of the landscape, therefore we were always served with an abundance of stunning views and landscape right on our doorstep.

However, my father still took us to the cinema. This time we watched The Little Mermaid: a masterpiece and the beginning of the Disney Renaissance. So, continuing with the theme of outsider, this is a great example. So Ariel, a mermaid, longed for a life with the humans. She has fallen in love with a prince and wants to be part of his world. She feels so detached to the world she lives. Seeking the sea witch, she is transformed into a human and gets to be with the prince. Even as a human, she doesn’t fit in yet, but slowly adapting and most importantly is finally happy. The Walt Disney film offers a happy ending. No matter that Ariel has now permanently been transformed to a human, she never forgets where she comes from.

Ariel the little mermaid

In contrast to me, I can never forget where I am from, my colour is the biggest give away. I was adapting to my new life in Geneva, my French was fluent. I still wasn’t fully accepted the way I was. The only person who accepted me fully, was my only friend I had at school, my American friend who returned home after the appalling treatment he received. I was always reminded that I was an outsider and brushed aside by my classmates, especially the girls. The boys obviously enjoyed playing with me, but I was not their friend, I was never invited to their birthday party or on a play date. With the return to school looming, I had mixed feelings. I was wondering if I’d have a nice teacher, if my classmates would finally accept me and be my friends? The thought alone was unbearable and haunting.

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