Sunday, November 26, 2006
Can't escape my middle class fate
Very few people here in Geneva can call themselves true Genevoise. Most of us are foreigners of some description, and many work in and around the UN. I've noticed that this international community has created its own unique class system, and I have managed, yet again, to find myself in the middle class.
The upper class consists of diplomats. Their mode of transport is car or taxi. I have one friend who is a diplomat, and my jaw dropped when I visited her apartment. My humble dwellings paled in comparison to the sheer luxury of this three bedroom villa with breathtaking views of the lake. I haven't had her over to mine yet...I really must.......but I'm a bit embarrased because she will have to sit on a plastic chair and the only view I can offer is of more apartments. My mode of transport? The tram and bus.
But everything is relative. "A view of more apartments?" cry the students and interns. "Sheer luxury. We are so poor we have no view at all! Trams? Why, we have to walk everywhere!" Most interns are not paid anything for the work they do, and need to pay their way by babysitting in the evenings. They are not afforded the luxury of a room to themselves, and must keep meals out to an absolute minimum. In the building where I live, my room is one of only four with its own bathroom and a balcony. A friend of mine who is studying a PhD cannot believe how lucky I am. She has no view at all from her apartment, cycles everywhere to avoid transport costs, and we usually meet for coffee because dinners out are out of the question.
So I've started riding my bike a bit more - in solidarity with my friends, and for the sheer fun of it!