I’m 20 years old. Which means that by most standards both cultural and legal, I’ve been an “adult” for quite some time. But as I’ve quickly realized since moving here to Geneva, age really is just a number and no amount of being an adult will make you really feel like one until you’re ready.
Readiness, of course, is more of an issue of perspective, but one thing has become infinitely clear to me of late: this is my summer of getting to know (the beginning of) the 20s. Here’s hoping for the best! :)
I was also extremely excited to welcome my family here to visit me a few weeks ago. Pics below of our Swiss getaway~
Welcome to the Swiss Alps!
7 Lessons from the beginning of my 20s–Swiss Style
1) Missing mom will never get easier.
“I’m a child of hope”
I’m already missing her, but here’s mom and me in the Council Chamber (Room of Negotiation) during a tour of the Palais des Nations (UN Headquarters) during her recent visit. Besides being a beautiful room, this chamber is decorated by gold and sepia murals that were designed by Catalan artist José Maria Sert to depict the “3 progresses”: scientific (medicine), technological (an image of machinery), and social (the end of slavery). The last tableau features the image of a woman standing on top of cannons and holding her baby to the sky. The painter is said to have designated this as the image of hope, the last great thing that man had yet to achieve.
I also think this picture is fitting because “negotiation” is pretty much what defined my relationship with my mom during my teenage years :)
2) Distance makes the heart grow fonder–and more thankful. No matter how old I get, thanks, dad, for always being my on-call advice-giver, counselor, and friend who never fails to instill confidence in me even (and especially) when I’ve lost sight of it within myself.
Dad’s favorite kind of scenery– tree-filled and peaceful :) Next time, he and Inesha will have to join us!
3) Keep writing. My grandmother used to keep a diary. Going back through her old things, we’ve found boxes and boxes of notebooks filled with her tiny script. It would seem that she documented almost everything. I’ve realized that for me, too, writing has been both a love and a therapy all at once. Even though I type more than I use my pen these days, I finally understand what all those notebooks meant to her.
4) “Being happy” is no exact science, but at least it’s a science that we each can control for ourselves. Seeing things like the #100happydays trend or this neat hand-written note project make me think that there are plenty of people who are tinkering at their lab benches and trying to figure it out too–and when they do, I hope they continue to share it with the world.
5 years younger and this little one still reminds me what happy is all about :)
5) Learning how to cook is oh-so-important. Though my mom (and uncles and aunts) went grocery shopping for me and cooked and froze Sri Lankan food that they then shipped from England, I imagine that being this spoiled has an expiration date. Here’s to venturing into more Swiss farmer’s markets!
Plainpalais on a Sunday. Best mangoes around
6) Sometimes you walk in your mom’s footsteps. That’s something that I hope I’ll continue to do even as I carve my own path.
Standing in the same spot where my mom stood when she was my age and came to Geneva years ago with her parents
7) Look to those who have had more experiences than you–and then listen.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks about the state of youth unemployment at the International Labour Organization (ILO), and notes that in 2050, half of the world’s population will be over 60, but today, half of that population is under 25. “Work is far more than a source of income; it is a source of dignity,” he said.
And more than anything, these streets we walk are beautiful.
A few more pictures below :)