The Switzerland Experience

I realise it has been absolutely ages since I’ve posted anything to this blog. Life’s been rather hectic as of late and I’ve not had the opportunity to write anything here, which is a shame because my life has taken a rare turn for the interesting as of late – as I’m writing this I’m currently staying in a hostel in France although by the end of next week I should be living in Geneva, Switzerland.

Why am I here? Well I’ve been quite lucky, I’ve been accepted onto a technical placement at CERN. Yes, CERN! It’s an amazing opportunity, not only to experience a year living in mainland Europe but also a technical placement at one of the most prestigious research institutions in the world. I don’t actually start until Monday so there isn’t much to say until I actually start, other than I’ll be working on the Inspire project as a Python developer – in short, it’s a really big database!

I set off from Newcastle at mid-day towards Manchester Airport. The four of us (myself, Dan, James and Jake) who are also working at CERN, being computer science students, spent a decent amount of time on the trip on laptops. Got a bit bored of that (No internet) so we moved onto playing cards – an interesting game was had.

Traversing Manchester Airport was a bit of a pain, but also rather insightful. Managed to get myself a pint of Thornbridge Kipling from a bar in the departure lounge which came up to £4.60. Ouch! What also doesn’t help is, not being particularly fond of planes anyway, I spent most of the day (and a few days before) suffering crippling anxiety – not fun!

Getting into Geneva was a relief, once I was off the place I managed to start feeling the excitement. What I’ve discovered since then is that Switzerland is a country where zero fucks are given. Not a single one. Walking out the airport to wait for the bus a car pulled up and a man got out, as this blocked the road the car behind honked it’s horn – the man getting out just shushed them. A mix of serenity and arrogance – nice.

The past few days house-hunting have been immensely stressful. The property market for lets in Geneva is not good! We initially wanted a four bedroom house, furnished, in Meyrin – oh how our standards have changed! We’ve settled for a four-bedroom flat in central Geneva which is quite pricey but hopefully worth it. It’s about 20 minutes from CERN so not a bad commute either!

Switzerland itself is beautiful, of what I’ve seen so far. Mountains cover most of the horizon, although the past few days have been rather overcast so the cloud has covered them. I’ll get some nice pictures to show you all.

I’ve had a touristy sort of a day today to investigate central Geneva, we got to see Lake Geneva and the big jet. Also stumbled upon a big protest, not sure quite what it was about but they certainly seemed to annoy the drivers, one of the protesters started smacking an encroaching car with their Solidarity flag.

I’m just chilling in the French hostel at the moment. Begin work on Monday – it’s food time!


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