This is most likely the last underground blog post I’m writing this year. Start spreading the news: I’m leaving today. Unlike a year ago, however, this time I’m not going to New York—I’m leaving it behind. And please don’t ask, “for how long?” I’d find it much easier to reply if you asked me to define happiness. There’s no possible way I could know when and even whether I’ll come back. Although I’d love to (at least to visit!), it’s not entirely in my hands—and what is, anyway? (Thank God it is so.)
The last few weeks have been increasingly intense for me. I could make an impressively long list of accomplishments, but I’ll just list some meaningful moments. I’ve taken many photos and delightful long walks in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. I’ve rehearsed a choir with an accent (lovely people and lovely accent, I must say). I’ve resolved bureaucratic and practical entanglements in record time—well, some of the entanglements were miraculously resolved, and I should claim no credit for that.
Also, I’ve been extremely sensitive and on a seesaw of emotions these days. At times, I’m on the verge of bursting into tears because of experiences that otherwise would be more on the trivial side. But there are also moments of the most pure joy: when I’m with people I love and won’t be seeing so often, when I think about this chance of visiting family in Germany and getting to know my newly born niece and nephew, or when I’m reminded that this fall, just like last year’s fall, will lead me to an exciting (albeit potentially short) new life adventure—this time in Geneva, Switzerland.
Now, a few curious facts about Geneva, Switzerland, and me (please note that this time I mean the three of us: the city, the country, and the Christian).
A Brazilian friend of mine, before he knew I was going to Geneva, wrote me jokingly that he would visit me whenever I moved to Geneva to work at the U.N. Environment Programme. He didn’t know UNEP was actually in Nairobi, but it was funny that he mentioned Geneva (and I hope he visits me there anyway!).
On the first day of my visit to Philadelphia, I walked along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is lined with flags of countries from around the world. It caught my attention that the Brazilian and the Swiss flags were exactly across the street from each other.
Remember Celina from the other post? I talked with her again in the elevator the other day. She saw I had a book with me, and asked me if she could see what I was reading. As I showed her the cover of my book, I noticed her old-timey watch, with the inscription “Genève” on the display.
The final coincidence is the most interesting (and the least silly). I was part of a Lutheran church community in Brazil, but I ended up finding my new home church in a Calvinist community in New York. From here, I go to Geneva, where John Calvin promoted the Reformation in the 16th century. By the way, Calvin also studied Law and was about my age when he moved to Geneva! Maybe being there will inspire me again to do the theological readings suggested by Pastor Ben from City Grace Church—readings that never quite worked out for me because of the craziness of my year here.
Even crazier is that the craziness of my year in New York is over! For sure, life in Geneva won’t be as faced-paced as in the City. The challenges will be of other kinds. New address, new culture, new job, new church, new people, new language, new accent… New York, goodbye [for now].