Life lately: under lockdown again in Geneva

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Welp, here we are in the middle of the second wave and another lockdown. Who could have possibly seen this coming?

… What’s that? Oh, everyone?

Switzerland had a relatively easy first wave. The ICUs were not overloaded, and some hospitals even took on patients from France. Most of us were content to just clap from our balconies, sympathetic to the plight of our neighbors in France and Italy, and secretly glad we were not them.

This time, things are bad. The cantons of Geneva and Fribourg have requested military assistance to their hospitals. Geneva is now considered the hotspot of Europe; every person knows, like, five people who have tested positive. Non-essential shops and most workplaces have closed again. We’re still incredibly lax compared to France, though: no attestation of where you’re going, no curfew, no restrictions on domestic travel. Funnily enough, the COVID situation in Switzerland has gotten so bad that the government has now removed most of its quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals.

Many people, including myself, are slowly coming to the realization that we will not be able to travel to be with family over the holidays.

“I don’t know if we will be able to save Christmas,” Alain Berset, federal councillor and minister of health, said in a recent interview. Which of course sparked the following meme, reposted by Berset himself on Instagram:

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It’s going to be a long and hard winter.

Here are some things I’ve been up to lately….

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Tuned in to a webinar called “POC surviving predominantly white institutions”. I always learn something new.
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Advertisement for jedi classes, spotted a few days before Halloween.
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Quite possibly the last meal I’ll ever have with another person before the end of this year. I organized a small sendoff at a Lebanese restaurant for a coworker who was leaving; four of us came to lunch, the limit for the number of people who can share a restaurant table in Geneva.
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Fall in the park by the lake.
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Homemade shrimp garlic noodles from a recipe I got off Instagram. Asian stir fry and scallions combined with parmesan cheese and tagliatelle noodles for some East-West fusion.
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Geneva is a lot of concrete blocks, but every so often you stumble across a charming little pocket.
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OK, I couldn’t help it. I got bubble tea for the first time in at least a year and it was SOOO GOOD. This shop was the first one to bring Taiwanese bubble tea to Switzerland… all the way back in 2009. I’m making an intentional effort to support local businesses more through takeout, though I do need to figure out how to minimize the associated waste while also respecting that the workers may not want to touch any containers that I bring from home out of sanitation concerns. Has anyone solved this puzzle yet?

What I read / watched / consumed

The podcast ‘Canary’ from the Washington Post. It opens on a story that I’d heard of before, being a former DC resident, about a local chef who was attacking and sexually assaulting women in broad daylight. But then it zooms out to tell a bigger story, one that began decades ago. Only seven episodes long and absolutely engrossing.

Homeland seasons 7 and 8. I had taken a break after season 6, but finally decided to go back and watch the conclusion of the show. All I can say is wow. Even when Homeland is bad, it’s good. I’m now going to start watching ‘The Americans’ to get more of that spy intrigue fix.

An engagement story (not that kind). I had never read an essay that so deftly captured the beauty and strength of being alone. It makes me want to buy a pretty ring and wear it on my finger — any finger.

Vivian. I have been listening to the podcast ‘Heavyweight’ for a long time, but this was the first time where I got gut-punched by the raw emotion. One of the interviewees said something that made me gasp, and tears began rolling down my face, unprompted.

Some of the funniest tweets about Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Because this was the funniest and most fitting conclusion to this cesspool of a presidency that none of us could have imagined. Even more funny tweets here.

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