Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Geneva

I've just been to a 'Question and Answer' session with a Belgian actress who studied at RADA and now works in Paris. It was really useful... But it has also shit me up a bit-  if I get past the first round of auditions for RADA, I'll have to go back three times for recalls. That's three lots of Eurostar tickets and three days I will have to get off work. Obviously the money thing is an issue, but getting the time off is going to be tricky as well...

When I told the au pair mum that I needed a Wednesday off for my RADA audition, she looked like she was going to cry. It's ridiculous- being an au pair might be Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, but it's unlike any other job in that you can never take a day off. Even teachers and doctors can call in sick or take a morning off to go for a job interview. I've given them plenty of notice about this audition. Do they expect me to work for them until the end of July and then just fall off the edge of the world, with no job and nowhere to live?

If worse comes to worse, I'll pay a homeless Bag Lady to replace me for the day. I'll wash her and feed her- the family will never know. I'll say I got her from a nanny agency. She comes highly recommended, loves kids. Just don't ask her about those bags. Don't touch them, don't even look at them... She's great with babies!

But what am I going to do for all my other auditions? Guildhall, LAMDA... what if I get recalls for all three drama schools? I don't think I'll get a second audition to be honest... but what if I do? If it came down to it, would I quit my au pair job?


This was a fucking stupid idea.

I can't blog, I can't concentrate. I've got my RADA audition in four week's time and I feel sick just thinking about it. Am I just going to be constantly nervous and on edge until the audition process is over?

I've been learning my Shakespeare speeches today. I can't find any good contemporary pieces. I bought a few plays on Amazon that I thought might have good speeches in, but none of them are right. I don't have access to a library here. Gaaaah.

I really can't write today, or think.

Let me tell you about Geneva, to calm myself down. I can't believe it's come and gone already. I booked it all really last minute, even though we've been talking about it for weeks. By the time we agreed a date and I knew for sure that I wasn't needed in the nursery, all the trains were booked up, there were no coaches available on the days I wanted to travel... and flights were ridiculously expensive.

I'm an idiot- I'd completely forgotten that half the city would be going skiing for the half term holidays, with a fair few of them choosing to ski somewhere in Switzerland... I'd chosen the most popular day of the year to travel from Paris to Geneva.

Olivia, Kayt and Amy (I can't believe I haven't blogged about that weekend yet, by the way) tried to tell me gently that there was no way I was getting to Geneva. I knew I should give up but it seemed like such a shame... my cousin Chloë lives with an au pair family and they'd agreed that she could have visitors that weekend. Also, I knew if it was the other way round, Chloë would find a way to get to me, if it meant trekking across France on a scabby donkey.

I knew I had to find a way so I kept looking, then Chloë suggested getting the coach to Lyon- she could pick me up from there as it wasn't far from Geneva. I had no idea that Lyon was so close to Switzerland! I booked my coach ticket and then I found a flight back to Paris for only sixty euros... Safe, safe.

The coach journey was quite enjoyable, actually. I slept for most of the way and when I wasn't sleeping, I noticed that the scenery outside my window was a lot more interesting than the dull, flat fields you see on the way to Calais.

As we got closer to Lyon, I realised that me and Chloë hadn't swapped French numbers. We'd done the whole exchange over Facebook, so I messaged her my number. It was only then I remembered that Chloë left her iPhone on a plane a few months ago, so she probably didn't have access to the internet and therefore wouldn't get my message...

I woke up as we were pulling into the bus station. I looked at the time and realised we were forty minutes late. I didn't have any messages from anyone, so I was assuming Chloë didn't know my telephone number. How were we going to get in touch? What if she wasn't at the bus station? The last time I'd spoken with her, she'd asked me for the coach station address and I'd given her a rather suspect address that I found on the Eurolines website. It hadn't seemed like a real address...

Unbeknownst to me, Chloë had been running around Lyon for an hour because it hadn't been a real address. Well, it had been the address of a hotel, not a coach station. Luckily, a toilet attendant in the hotel had told her how to get to the bus station and she'd managed to find it just before my bus pulled in. As she was expecting my coach to have arrived forty minutes ago, it came as a nasty surprise to see that I wasn't in the waiting room. She told me that she bounced in waving her arms and going 'ta-dah', then stopped dead in her tracks when she couldn't locate my face among a sea of strangers, their gloomy eyes asking her what she was so damn happy about.

My coach pulled in just as Chloë was asking somebody whether the Paris bus had arrived or not. As I stepped off the bus, the first pangs of panic started to prickle over my skin, but thank the gods and goddesses, I saw Chloë running towards me. Yey! It was Fate, guiding us together... We got on the metro and an old couple gave us their day tickets because they were going home and didn't need them anymore- Fate. As soon as we sat down, Chloë asked me if I'd heard of Dusky (yes, I love Dusky) because they were playing that night in Geneva- definitely Fate.



We met up with her friend Holly, who had driven them from Geneva. The girls wanted to do a bit of shopping- they told me that the shops are ridiculously expensive in Switzerland- then we headed back to Geneva.

I like Lyon, I'd like to go for a proper weekend one day. I recognised it a little bit from my Tour Bus Adventure, many moons ago...

Anyway, we got back on the road and it took us about an hour and a half to get to the village where Chloë lives. It seemed as if the snow and mountains started as soon as we crossed the Swiss border. The big mountains were hidden in mist and it was hard to imagine that there were giants of rock and earth lurking just beyond my vision... Still, it was impressive, even without the mountains. We wound round narrow roads, high up in the mountains, then we drove through deep valleys, surrounded by trees. I felt like we were in a James Bond film.

Chloë's au pair family were away for the weekend, so we had the house to ourselves. We made some dinner quickly and drank the bottle of wine I'd brought from Paris, as a thank you present to the au pair parents... Oops. We didn't have long to get ready and we debated whether to go out at all- the little village we were in was two trains away from Geneva. We would have to stay out all night so we could get the train home in the morning, but we would also have to start our night quite early, because Chloë wanted to make sure we got into the club. She said that the last time she went, there was a chaotic crush outside and they had to queue for about an hour.

In the end, we decided that we had to go. It was Fate that Dusky were playing. Chloë told me that she's only been out three times since moving to Switzerland to be an au pair... we had to do it. It would be an Adventure.

First we had to get the train to a little town called Nyon and we had enough time to walk to the fort and drink the rest of our wine before Chloë's friend Holly showed up and we got the train to Geneva. I know it's a cliche, but the trains in Switzerland really do run like clockwork. Chloë told me that when she first moved there, she couldn't believe that the trains wouldn't wait for her if she was buying her ticket or running down the platform...

As a city person, it seems ridiculous to think that a train would wait for you, but my cousin is from the Lake District. I've got a train with her before when the driver saw us running down the steps to the platform and not only did he wait for us, but he waited for us to to buy our tickets before we got on. He was hanging out of his window saying grumpily: "Come on girls."

Anyway we got to Geneva and went for a quick drink before the club opened. I thought Paris was expensive... it was 43 Swiss francs (yep, I didn't realise that they don't use euros in Switzerland, so all the cash I'd saved up just sat uselessly in my purse all weekend) for the cheapest bottle of wine and I could tell that it wasn't a particularly expensive bar. The trains were quite expensive as well, actually. (Apparently people get paid quite a lot in Switzerland though, because the cost of living is so high.)

Luckily, the club entry was only fifteen francs and once we got inside, Chloë and Holly said that it was probably the cheapest drinks prices they'd seen in Geneva. The club- L'Usine- was a massive warehouse-style space by the river. I liked it a lot.

The music was brilliant. Holly went home about 2am because she wanted to get the night bus, but me and Chloë felt as if we could easily last the night. The music was so good, as always I don't remember any of the tracks but I do remember they played this:



It always takes me back to the second year we went to Ibiza. It always brings me up...

We chatted to a lot of people and we made friends with a little specky guy called Federico. He sounded like he was from Bristol but he was actually Colombian. He told us that he'd lived in Bristol for a few years and missed the British way of raving... When the night finished, Federico said there was an after-party that finished at 11am. The adventure continues...

Federico made us sit on a wall and wait for him while he got his rucksack, which he had hidden in some bushes... I know what you're thinking, we were thinking it as well, but we had an hour to wait for the first train so we reckoned we might as well follow Federico around and see what 'hilarious' high jinks he could get us into...

Two men tried to chat to us and before we had a chance to tell them go away, a police car pulled up. Two policemen jumped out and asked us if we knew the two guys. We said no and the next thing we knew, the police had the two guys up against the wall, demanding to see papers, asking them where they were from. The two guys looked vaguely North African. I got a bit upset because I thought it was blatant racism, but Chloë said Geneva was just a really safe city.

"They were harrassing us." she said.

By the way I was going on, you would think that the two guys had been my best friends, rather than two weirdos who has been hassling us to 'faire la bise'. But still... if they had been white, would the police had stopped?

Anyway, they stopped the wrong guys, because when we met up with Federico again, he showed us what was in his rucksack...

...about ten canisters of laughing gas and a packet of balloons.

"I miss all the drugs and dat from England man, so I bring them over on the train innit."

Luck favours the brave, Federico!

But I'm not sure the law does...

So we sat in a park (laughing) for a while, then me and Chloë decided that we should go home, otherwise we'd never get up for our Healthy and Wholesome Swiss Hike. We said goodbye to Federico at the train station and swapped numbers, we promised to go out raving together soon. (We won't.)

At Nyon we discovered that the train to Chloë's village wasn't for another forty five minutes, so we got a taxi. The taxi driver kept asking me whether it was 'left, right or straight on' and I was getting really annoyed, until I realised that he was asking me to teach him how to say 'left, right or straight on' in English. I gave him a little lesson and he knocked three euros off the fare for us.

When we got in we drank tea and ate pasta and chatted about family stuff, then we drank water, took Ibuprofen and went to sleep, praying that it would help us get up for our hike.

Woah this has been a long post, I'll continue my Genevan Adventure tomorrow...

3 comments:

  1. Don't want to worry you about the auditions, seeing you successfully veered off, but do whatever it takes, or you'll be regretting it. Can you go and live with your Mum (rent-free of course) and go on the dole till you've done them? (You'll probably think that's totally over the top and drastic, but if not that, then give yourself the best chance of getting to them all, whatever that might be.) Good luck! :)

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    1. Argh I hope it doesn't come to that... I guess maybe it will! I wonder if I would do that, if it came down to it? I think my best plan is to just go to the auditions and see what happens, I might not get past round the first round of auditions so there's no point worrying. Thanks for the advice!

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    2. I didn't read carefully enough and missed the bit that the other three were based on the first, and obviously in that case it is all going to happen in a relatively short space of time. All the best xx

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