Most people who know me well know that I am not a city person. I feel much more at home in a smaller mid-west or southern town than I ever have in a city, with the exception of maybe Pittsburgh. But I will be the first to testify that there is something about cities at night. The strange mix of sensations that runs through one's body and mind can pull your emotions in different directions. The streets are silent but the occasional car acts as a passing reminder that, in just a few hours' time, they will be busy. There is a lingering feeling of threat, knowing that most crimes that are committed are committed at night. But above all, there is the feeling of absolute solitude in an environment that does not usually facilitate anything resembling solitude. Cities at night make me feel alive, and Geneva is no different.
I woke up tonight at midnight after two hours of restless sleep, caused by my aching wisdom teeth. As I went downstairs to find something that would help to numb the pain, people began to filter in from their night out at the bar. One member of the group, after thinking about her friend serving in the military overseas all night, was very distraught and, seeing as I was not getting to bed anytime soon either, we decided to go for a walk. I came upstairs, threw on my jeans, shoes, and a jacket, and met her outside. As we walked along the Rhone, we chatted about her friend, her pride in his service to our country, and the politics behind her beliefs. Normally such a contentious topic, it seems, but I was thrilled to talk with someone who shares many of the same principles, as well as contradictions. In all, we were out and about for an hour or so, and had wonderful conversation the whole time. When we came home, I made some tea, grabbed some ice cream, and went back to bed.
The teeth are still hurting a bit, but I'll be able to sleep through it. The cold air got my blood pumping again. Life is good. Tomorrow is my first full day at the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) for the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian De-mining (I'm still working on spitting that job title out smoothly), and I am ready to start getting some work done.