I believe it was J.R. Tolkien who wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” And I have always loved this quote, finding it rather relatable. However, upon my arrival in Europe I dearly wished that good ol’ J.R. had amended his famous quote to include something along the lines of “ . . . but some are, so please help them.”
When I arrived in Switzerland, dirty, exhausted and hungry from traveling across the world, my first job was to locate my luggage and find my way out of the airport to my pre-arranged apartment. One fifty-dollar taxi ride later, I had arrived at the address of my ‘supposed-to-exist’ apartment to find it simply non-existent. Unable to afford the rising fare of the taximeter, I paid the driver what I hoped was the correct amount of Swiss Francs, grabbed my bags and got out. Standing alone in a dimly lit alleyway in an unknown city watching the taxi’s lights fade into the darkness was not exactly what I had imagined for my first night in Geneva. Feeling rather exposed with my luggage at my feet and a stamp across my forehead reading TOURIST, I had no choice but to walk the streets in the hopes of finding a hotel. Fortunately, Geneva is a popular city and I happened across a hotel in a matter of minutes; unfortunately, Geneva is ranked amongst the top 5 most expensive cities in the world. Adopting the mentality of Christopher Columbus, I settled into my hotel room thinking, “well, it’s not exactly what I was looking for, but I guess I’ll stay now that I’m here.”
After two days of searching for a place to live, I found a room for rent in an apartment located in a town outside of Geneva. I bid farewell to my hotel, hopped on a train, and found myself in a quaint little Swiss Ville called Gland. I now share a cozy apartment with a kind woman named Sarah and her lovely daughter, Cothy, who just so happens to be the same age as me. They have been nothing short of angels and have welcomed me into their home whole-heartedly. I can watch the sun setting over the Alps from my bedroom window and I can walk to the shore of Lake Geneva in just 15 minutes.
Although not exactly as I had planned it, I do believe that my move to Europe has worked out for the best. As Shakespeare would say, “All’s well that ends well.”