Hello there, true Maltesers! I have to start by apologising for the long absence from my own blog. I managed to get to drafting a bunch of new posts on topics such as Batman v Superman, Civil War, Ghostbusters (2016) and the latest Avatar comics, but never finished. To be quite honest, as much as I have wanted to come back here, life just got in the way. Working here in Switzerland has been very demanding, but ultimately fulfilling. It therefore pains me to say – on the Swiss national day, no less – that the current Swiss chapter of my life is coming to an end this month as work demands that I return to the boiling rock in the middle of the Mediterranean I have now almost always called home.
Looking back upon this enriching experience, I’m glad to say I didn’t totally lose touch with my inner geek. I’ve thankfully taken up any opportunities to indulge any geeky goodness that came my way, which is surprisingly more often than you’d think. Even my diet got a bit of an unexpected Force power-up (see below). I have to start in earnest, though, by giving a shout out to The Character Station, a figure shop and geeky niche I found, through sheer serendipity, to be just around the corner from by place in Geneva.
I have, of course, also kept up with developments and got to view and read any new major releases this past year. The best parts, however, have probable been the chances to engage with the larger Swiss geek community. My family and I managed to take a quick peek at the Polymanga convention in Montreux in April when happened to be visiting for a spot of sightseeing. While I will forever remember the place for Freddie Mercury overlooking Lake Léman and the Jazz Festival, it was quite a sight seeing the streets full of cosplayers. It really made me regret having to miss the Fantasy Basel convention held later in May.
While I may not have had a chance to cover much material on the subject here (so far), I’m also a big fan of music in general and soundtracks in particular. You can, therefore, imaging my immense satisfaction at having two major orchestra tours within my reach in the same year in Switzerland. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses world tour came to Geneva Arena in October 2016. As much as I love the music for its own sake and for its nostalgic value (don’t just take my word for it), what initially impressed me was the full arena and the number of local people – some with their family – in costume.
Then there was the Distant Worlds: Music of Final Fantasy concert – its first time in Switzerland – in Zurich in May. The Final Fantasy series, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has long been known for its musical greatness, especially when under composer Nobuo Uematsu’s direction. To call the concert celebrating this music in its best form “phenomenal” would be an understatement. Arnie Roth is one heck of a conductor, and the energy in the air was ecstatic. It was such a great experience that I rushed to buy tickets for the proper 30th anniversary concert in London next November.
All in all, and perhaps more importantly, life in and outside geekdom in Switzerland has been a real experience of personal growth. I got to experience a new country, truly take responsibility for my everyday life, and got a good taste of an altogether different culture. I’ve really come to appreciate how much I will truly miss it all when trying to fit in last-minute sightseeing and experience to make time for lost time. The silver lining is that returning to a more ‘normal’ work schedule should give me more time to devote to writing again. Hopefully getting the chance to temporarily become a Swiss geek can help me do better, as it has in other parts of my life.