Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th in Geneva
My mentor at the office pointed out early last week that July 4th was just around the corner. I was shocked.. OK, I knew I was starting at the office on June 30th, but I couldn't believe it was already July 4th! So - in a joking manner, my mentor yelled out to the big boss (President of the firm) that "Kent wants to have July 4th off". Mr President says "well, it's not Swiss holiday - or something to that effect", then I said "well - if you can bring in hot dogs for me on Friday, that's close enough!"

Sure enough, there's an "American hot dog" stand right outside the office. So, on July 4th, I decided to "celebrate" and had a hot dog for lunch. (see proof below). The bread - wow - the most delicious hot dog bun I've ever had. Imagine a baguette - with a hot dog inside it! Then I asked my British office assistant how the British felt about American Indepedence Day.. if there's any resentment, or jealousy. Her response was great "I think it's great - you Americans all don't have enough holidays to begin with!"

On Friday afternoon, I found out that there's this American Club in Geneva, it was throwing a big 4th of July bash. It required registration for some reason, but I decided to just show up. It was totally surprising... 200 people in a sports center park, American flags everywhere, band playing 50-80's hits, and best part: ribs, cole slow, potato salad for only CHF15 (about US$15). That's a steal by Swiss standards. (See proof below)

Going there by myself is a little hard, but I decided to join a table with some other people. And when it comes to explaing where I'm from, and what I'm doing in Geneva, it becomes soo complicated. First I explain that I'm from Ohio, but worked in Minnesota for the past 6 years. THen, I'm now in business school, in INSEAD Singapore and France, but I'm doing an internship in Geneva, but I'm returning to Singapore at the end of August.

After all this, the most common response was: "Wait - are you Singaporean??". It was a bit shocking to here this.. after all, I'm speaking with a plain midwestern accent, coming to a July 4th party - why would I be Singaporean? Because I look Chinese? Expats, of all people, should realize that Americans are a varied lot, of all races. Maybe I was a bit too sensitive, but I expected a bit more from an expat crowd.

Anyhow, it was fun, met a bunch of New Yorkers that have lived in Geneva for 10-20 years (not too surpringly, either working in banking or some international MNC), and had a nice bbq meal to celebrate the 4th.

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