The transition at Marcelly was going great. I was slowly being accepted the way I was; coloured, full of beans and a strong personality.
I started to apply myself at school and received some much needed support. I also develop a massive crush on a boy who was super cute. The funny thing is we were polar opposite; he was shy, reserved, gentle and obviously white. I, on the other hand, was a tomboy, I was rough, tough, although reserved at first slowly I would be so outgoing and loud. We couldn’t have been more different. The boy I had this crush on was the first with whom I started developing deep feelings. My fellow Portuguese friend, I quickly realized we would only be friends and I was ok with that. However, years later, we would go out. Still, he was a close friend.
I must admit, I was such a burden for that poor crush of mine. At first, I made him notice I was into him by always wanting to be near him. Then, when I became more confident, I would hug him and kiss him on the cheek. I would overdo things however by hugging him so tight and he would even tell me off for that. The funny thing is, he accepted my affection just telling me in his way not to hug him too tight. I was so happy. Before him, I didn’t care about my appearance. This changed when I had this massive crush on him, I would always make an extra effort with my appearance. From then on, I wanted to look nice and beautiful. Sadly for him, I was a pest as I couldn’t get enough of him. His acceptance of my affection always struck a chord with me because he saw me as me, and not the colour of my skin.
Outside of school, my mum used to make us travel which I enjoyed so much. Just like the famous Portuguese explorers of the 15 century, I too enjoyed exploring different places. We first started exploring other parts of Switzerland, especially the famous Swiss mountains. I felt so at peace there, becoming part of the scene. My eyes were devouring the delicious views. I was never satisfied and wanted more. We used to roll down the hills and mountains. Despite Switzerland being a small country, the vast greenery and many mountains seems to tell another story. Even during school trips, while my classmates take these views for granted, I was always admiring the views. I seemed to be in my own world. What I also remarked was how despite being different, people would look at us with amazement such as touching the texture of our hair, examining us like we were a science experiment. We enjoyed going to Fribourg the most, especially the Gruyère region. Also, when we visit villages, villagers are so polite greeting us despite now knowing us.
Seeing that we enjoy travelling, my mum arranged trips to France. At first, I would know about France because of the TV channels which enabled us to know their culture since we share the same language. Also, we learned about the history of France at school and I became fascinated and wanted to know more. I recall this dictionary that I enjoy reading more than looking for the meaning of words, Le petit Larousse. This dictionary is divided in 2 parts. The 1st part is the meaning of nouns. The 2nd part is all about proper nouns and my favourite part where I discovered not only about France and its rich history, but famous people and countries. I would read this dictionary on a daily basis. Of course, the dictionary focused on France more and I enjoyed learning about France and I wanted to visit le Louvre and Versailles. Going to France was a dream come true to finally go there in person and not having to see France in films or cartoons. Obviously, we would go to neighbouring France on a daily basis to do our shopping, but it wasn’t the same. Also, we had many dreaded holiday clubs in France, but for me Paris plays a massive part in the French culture.
I met my many relatives in France, I like the fact that despite us being related, we were outsiders because we were from Switzerland and we don’t share the same culture but just the language. I quickly noticed that in France, you’d see more black people than you would see in Geneva. It felt great to see people like us. I fell in complete love with France and we used to go there on weekends or during holidays. From Geneva, we have access to the TGV (a fast train), which enabled us to be in Paris, from Geneva in under a couple of hours. In the summer, there are often strikes therefore it would take longer than 2 hours to get to Paris.
I wonder sometimes how my mother did in making ends meet, looking after us single handedly and treat us with various trips. She would however deliver the biggest surprise ever when she planned a trip to the UK. My first ever time visiting the UK was in 1991.