Friday, October 22, 2010

Marina Lee and Me Exploring Geneva.

So I never finished my Geneva story. Lucky for you since I didn't write this the next day it will be shorter because I won't remember all the details. But here is the best part of the story: the Korean-Canadian and I became fast friends.

The hostel I stayed at offered a complimentary breakfast. So duh! I was on that like white on rice! I woke up around 8:30am and packed all my things because check out was at 10am. I went down, got my breakfast and sat by myself to eat it. At the table in front of mine sat a group of three traveling buddies. As I watched them talk and eat together I thought of how nice it would be to have a traveling buddy. Then I thought, "no, because then I would have to worry about what they wanted to do and see. I like being on my own schedule." I quickly repented of this thought, and then prayed and asked God to send me a travel buddy so I could work on being less selfish. It was then that Marina Lee asked if she could sit and have breakfast with me. Struck with awe at how fast God works sometimes I said, "yes!"

Marina and I started talking. She had just spent the summer semester studying perfuming in France. She figured since she was over on this side of the pond she would explore a little before she went home. She got her undergrad degree in Chemistry and the summer semester spent in France was for the purpose of making sure perfume was really what she wanted to do next. She discovered that she liked it and has since applied for the program. She is my age and is very Asian. She immigrated from Korea to Canada when she was 16. She lives in Toronto and she loves classical music and taking pictures. I don't know Marina's entire life story, but how much information about another person does it take to form a bond? Relationships aren't measured in accumulated data about the other person. Sometimes people just fit together like a glove fits a hand. That Monday in Geneva Marina Lee was my soul-glove. As we were finishing our breakfast I asked Marina what she planned to do that day, and her plans were the same as mine: explore the city of Geneva...alone. I suggested therefore, that we keep the plan, but chunk the alone part, and we did!

We walked ALL OVER Geneva and we took A MILLION pictures, and we talked. The whole day Marina kept on saying how glad she was that she met me and that she would never forget this day and all the memories we made together. The feeling was mutual.

The first thing we did was go and see Jet d'Eau. Jet d'Eau was originally a semi-naturally occuring fountain that shot out of Lac Leman used as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network. The people of Geneva, however, more than the practical value appreciated the aesthetic value of the fountain and it was made a permanent feature of Geneva. It shoots 459 feet in the air. Super cool!

My favorite site of the day was the Cathedrale de St. Pierre. The architecture was beautiful and the view from its towers was spectacular. We spent around three hours in the place walking on the stone floors and climbing its spiral staircases.In Medieval World, one of my Humanities classes at Criswell, we learned about church architecture. The proffesor of the class told us something about architecture that has stuck with me. He said, "architecture is not three dimensional, it is four dimensional, and the fourth dimension is time." Parts of the cathedral were from the 1500's and I think the newest parts of the cathedral were from the 1800's. It was amazing to walk around this cathedral and think about how it had been adapted over time, and how additions were made as the need arose or as the building was passed from generation to generation who thought they could improve it. I marveled at how many years this place had seen! At how many people had come along and thought they could improve what I'm sure was an already inspiring building. It reminds me of I Corinthians 3:10-15 :

"According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

We explored the rest of Old Town Geneva and around lunch time we stumbled upon a park. We were getting hungry and we saw these two guys eating paninis and Marina went up and asked them where they got them. One of the guys said it was to complicated to tell us (RUDE!), but the other guys gave us directions: first left and second right, yeah that's REAL complicated. The place he gave us directions to was this tiny italian sandwhich shop run by one woman that was packed the whole time we were there. It was a perfect little local place to get lunch.

The next place we visited was a park near the University of Geneva. In this park is a wall called Reformation Wall. It is thus called because it has bigger than life statues of some of the reformers carved into it. Also carved into the wall were paragraphs pertaining to the Reformation, including the Lord's Prayer. We also visited the Palais de Nations or the U.N. building, which was a real let down. When we got there they were not admitting tourist anymore, and the buildings architecture was boring.

After that, we took a bus back to were the Jet d'Eau was because we wanted to see it lit up at night. We took a boat across the lake some distance from Jet d'Eau in the hopes that by the time we walked back to Jet d'Eau the sun would have set and the lights would have come on. Instead, Jet d'Eau went off after the sun set and we found out that it only lights up at night on the weekends.

As we tried to find our way back to the hostel where we had stored our stuff I realized that we were farther away from the bus stop we needed to be at than I had originally thought. Suffice it to say; I missed my train. Luckily there was one an hour later, but then I was worried about making my connection in Biel because the train was supposed to be delayed 11 minutes, which is unheard of in Switzerland. I didn't need to worry though, the Swiss came through, the train actually left on time!

On the train ride home a Swiss girl talked my ear off! This is also unheard of for the Swiss. They are usually very reserved, especially with strangers. During our conversation however, she let slip that she had recently spent time in Spain. I believe this is where she learned how to converse with strangers. Come to find out she works in Biel and said that we should get a drink together some time. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm hoping that she will become a friend and that God will give me the chance to share His light with her. A great end to a super weekend!


  1. What a blessing God gave you with Marina Lee. I bet you will be telling this story to your kids and grandkids some day.

  2. I'm so glad you made a travel buddy friend! Hopefully you are able to meet with the Swiss girl soon!

  3. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures in Geneva, your ability to express yourself and your feelings of homesickness is very touching. I think it is natural to be homesick.