Finding harmony and joy in the village life...
It’s been about three weeks in our new home, living the Swiss way… Lots of things to take in at once, from French as a new language, to where to find most grocery items we’re acquainted with, to understanding and learning the rules and regulations in our village and the canton of Geneva. We’re taking it all in, and adjusting one experience at a time. Being once an immigrant helped tremendously in not taking anything too personal, or getting frustrated.
The most challenging aspect, if you can believe it, is the schedule of grocery stores – most of them closing around 6:30pm with Sunday being closed everywhere. No more the convenience of shopping at any hour, everywhere we turn. We have to be more mindful about what we need and when, and shop during the day rather than in the evening when everyone is in the stores. Restaurants in our area are closed on Sunday and some don’t open until 7pm. Reservations are also needed in most places.
Sundays are sacred around here. Something we begin to love and appreciate as it creates more spaciousness in our lives for family time, rest and exploration. Cotton candy skies plump and fluffy are so fun to watch forming. I forgot how magic it is to stare into the sky following the birds and watching the skies shape-shifting. The farms around the area keep mostly goats, horses, and cows. Often walking through the village, we meet our neighbors riding their horses for a morning or an evening stroll. The church bell rings every 30 minutes. I pause each time I hear it, take a deep breath and awake to the soothing sound.
We’re incredibly fortunate to live in a rustic historic village, Cartigny part of the Canton de Geneve with homes built in 17-19th century. Cartigny is part of the Swiss Heritage Sites and has the Jura Mountains and the Rhone River on one side and the Alps on the other. Picturesque farmland, pastures and vineyards are everywhere.
Getting to Geneva from Cartigny it’s just a 20 min ride with the bus from the village, and then 15 more minutes with a connecting tram to reach downtown. Everyone here seems to be using public transportation which runs like a well-made Swiss watch. The buses and trams arrive on the dot. Electronic screens in buses and trams show travelers the incoming stations and the connecting buses at each location. It’s really hard to get lost or be late here for anything. You can purchase tickets in the bus or simply buy a pass. Biking seems also to be a favorite mode of traveling. People bike to go to work, to shop and to explore the nature around.
Two weeks ago we traveled to Montreux for a day. Montreux is known for its international annual Jazz Festival. We listened to a mesmerizing live jazz concert of Sufi artist Dhafer Youssef, and explored the music, food and art of local artists.
From there we took the GoldenPass Jazz Train, from Montreux Gare to Rochers-de-Naye, about an hour trip. Rochers-de-Naye is at an altitude of about 2000 m. Steam trains have been running up to the Rochers-de-Naye since 1892. Today the steam train is replaced by an electric cogwheel train that takes travelers to the mountains. The train crosses several Alpine villages, some of the most picturesque I’ve seen.
Gilles Remy, a fantastic New Orleans jazz orchestra kept all travelers fully engaged and entertained in the train and during our stay at Rochers-de-Naye. The train ride was quite an amazing sightseeing experience of chateaux, Lake Geneva and stunning Alpine meadows and mountain peaks.
Once we arrived at Rochers-de-Naye, we had about 2 hours to explore the area, listen to jazz, have a bite, and enjoy the beautiful Jardin Alpine and stunning peaks of the Alps. The local restaurant was quite good, and the hotel offers overnight stays in Mongolian yurt tents. This place was magic and sumptuous, one that we will certainly return to further explore and hike.
Being back in Europe has made room for me to connect more often with my family. My younger brother visited for the weekend. He lives and works in Paris, France as a surgeon assistant. Searching for better opportunities, he left Romania in 2010. His wife joined him later and they both are building a life following their hearts and their chosen careers. We haven’t spent quality time in years, and being close to each other helped us reconnect in a real meaningful way.
Finally, I am beginning slowly to make room in my mind for the book and jot down thoughts. I am doing walking meditations, breathing, and listening to master teachers on spiritual growth. Thank you to Isabelle for introducing me to Insight Meditation Community of Washington.
I feel that I have a gift of time to just recharge and re-envision before new horizons reveal their steep mountain peaks to be climbed… I am letting it all sink in and gently guide me where I must be next on the journey. There is no resistance, no struggle, and no rush in the now. The road is twisting and curving ahead, as it knows the wondrous rhythm of the heart. I am traveling on the road to somewhere and the distance keeps me focused, content and energized.
I will continue to post regularly on this blog and on Facebook. Drop a note or a comment. Would love to hear from you.
Onward and Upward,
7/30/2015 03:13:46 am
Lovely words of inspiration in your new environment. Cartigny sounds wonderful!
7/30/2015 06:50:25 am
Words and even pictures don't do enough justice to the beauty this place holds. It's simply magic! Thank you for keeping in touch Sheri. Sounds like you're doing amazing work with Habitat in Trinidad!
7/30/2015 03:33:33 am
Marga although I've seen every picture taken since you all been there, this is like seeing the sights for the very first time again. I'm in awe and enjoying this journey with you, Jesse, Geanina, and Authur.
All I can say is How Awesome is Our God. He provides everything you need just when you need it, and especially rest for the weary.
Thanks for sharing this awesome journey with your family back here at home.
Hugs and kisses,
7/30/2015 03:40:04 am
A short note! these pictures reminded me of Heidi, the girl of the Alps! I loved that show as a kid! Enjoy your peace Marga!
Love you and miss you!
7/30/2015 07:11:01 am
So true! Everything is like in a fairy-tale we all heard as young children. Charming, beautiful and idyllic !
7/30/2015 03:41:08 am
Dearest Marga .. Although I miss you very much but seeing you have so much good and quality time with your beloved family make me so happy for you:) I appreciate sharing with us all the beautiful memories and gorgeous pics for scenery in Switzerland. Enjoy dear and hope to always be in touch .. Lot and lots of xoxoxo 😘
7/30/2015 07:29:37 am
Oh, Aida I so miss you too! It's priceless to take a break and spend a little time with some of my tribe over here. How are things going? Cooking and Beyond is making great progress and I know amazing opportunities are just around the corner for you. Drop an email and let me know how things are. Much Love! Marga
7/30/2015 07:06:54 am
Thank you so much Velma for walking with us on the journey of heart. I know you're here and can feel the beauty in each sunset and moonrise over the village. I got your email and recent update, and I am so happy to know you're training as a docent for the Underground Railroad and Oakley Cabi. You will love it and be amazing at history and storytelling. Next will be to find a way to bring the aprons into the story ... Perhaps through your grandmother's story. Featuring her life and a new freedom apron collection. Why not?
7/30/2015 02:50:00 pm
That sounds like an excellent idea. Thanks
7/30/2015 04:08:56 am
Fresh air, fresh air,
can you mail that here? You are in the land of milk and chocolate, I cannot stop thinking of vacation when I look at the picture. I will happily trade your place to mine. LOL.
Miss your spirit around, big hug to the family.
7/30/2015 07:35:57 am
I miss you too Paulette. You're in my heart. I know you're working hard, but you must pause to recharge and re-imagine. This is as important, if not more, than marketing your brand. And you are a miracle worker! Much love, Marga
7/30/2015 05:58:27 am
And there are no billboards or power lines,is this true?Mom
7/30/2015 06:18:18 am
The pictures are beautiful & the village & different type of life you're leading sounds magical.
Starting a new life as I also have done is a great time for reflection, regrouping & seeing life anew.
Have a wonderful journey. You are missed & iny heart always,
7/30/2015 07:40:53 am
Miss you much Carolyn. Sending lots of fresh energy from these mountains. "Seeing like anew." So very wise and true. Thank you for the inspiration and amazing support. Much Love!
7/30/2015 06:40:36 am
This is great Marga! So happy for all you guys. It seems things are working out well.
7/30/2015 07:42:09 am
We're loving each moment of it. Miss you, Lloyd. Drop an email and let us know your plans. We're thinking of you. Much love!
7/30/2015 09:02:15 am
Even though I've seen your photos before and we've just recently spoken, the combination of your photos and words evokes such beautiful images. So heartwarming to see you and your family enjoying your time together and this beautiful place you now call home. Can't wait to read the next entry on your fabulous blog.
7/30/2015 10:58:39 am
Swiss Family Fripp! Get your yodel on....
8/10/2015 01:58:13 pm
So thrilled to see your first blog post Marga! The pictures are breathtaking and surreal. I am so happy to see you happy and having a much deserved great family time. Looking forward to hearing more and seeing more from you. Missing you...Lots of love ~ Sharmila
11/6/2015 03:44:37 am
Lovely landscapes, love family, lovely home, and lovely words. I'll keep reading your blog Marga!! Bijous
11/9/2015 06:25:16 am
OMG .. Marga that is amazing, thank you for sharing this beautiful, inspiring, and amazing journey. You brought too many precious memories to me when I busted some of these places with my beloved parents and my dear aunt who still alive and lives in Geneva! I remember even the breeze in Mont Blanc and crossing from the Swiss side to the French boarder to the French alps, also having lunch at buying gifts at the beautiful town of Chamonix! You know I got a "apron" from there and I still have it, I think that place inspired me as a cook:) I love you so much and I'm very happy for you and I miss you loads.. I can see your new book is coming:) lots of xoxox to you and enjoy every moment dear, and hope to see you so we will visit some of these places together. God bless you and all your beautiful family.