Staff Members’ Christmas Wishlists

Author: Leah Didisheim

For this year’s issue, we asked our dearest staff members for their Christmas wishlist and they kindly agreed to take the time during this stressful period to write their wishes down. So, (drumroll please!) here are their deepest desires revealed here and only here just for you! And thanks to their generosity, you can appreciate the best baby pictures they have of themselves. Without further ado, let’s read about our favourite teachers from another angle!

Kevin Curran:

1. The chance to relive my youth! (But this time with friends and without living in my parents’ basement until the age of 35.)

2. An opportunity to explain myself, properly, about that “incident” in Las Vegas, which I think has been misinterpreted and blown way out of proportion.

3. Further to above: My dignity back

4. A statue of me, erected in a public place, that says something to the effect of “He Was Right After All.” Nothing too fancy. Just a little larger than life-size. Not embossed in gold or anything like that. Marble will do. Perhaps in a Grecian pose?

5. A written apology from all those who have wronged me. You know who you are! I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOUR BETRAYALS AND YOUR . . . [is hastily bundled out of the room by men in white coats]

Kirsten Stirling:

1. Some research time

2. A direct wormhole to New York

3. The complete collection of Moomin mugs

4. Another date with James McAvoy

Anita Auer:

1. Heaps of snow

2. A little red riding hood cape to go with the dress

3. A time machine to listen to all the different dialects in the history of English

4. A date with Poldark

Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet:

1. Necromantic superpowers

2. A one-way ticket to Ibiza

3. Dinner with Edgar Allan Poe

4. A magic mushroom home-growing kit

Benjamin Pickford:

1. An invisible, immaterial bookcase, which would hold all my library without taking up any actual space in my apartment, but still hold actual books and not electronic files

2. A complete set of the OED, all 20 volumes, to go on that bookcase

3. Fluency in French, German, and Italian, instantly

4. A year’s supply of Branston Pickle (this can be an ongoing Christmas request, I could never have too much Branston on hand)

5. A pub crawl with Karl Marx, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Friedrich Nietzsche, though I’m not sure that any of them were notorious boozers (maybe it would be more fun with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, and Mark Twain…)

Dear Felicity – a Literary Advice Column

 Image: “Hanas Helpline” by DrJohnBullas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These literary characters have reached out to MUSE’s agony aunt, Felicity, asking for her help. Can you guess who they are?

Dear Felicity,

I have been unsuccessfully looking for love. I want a girlfriend but I think there’s nobody like me in the world. I would love her for all her flaws and imperfections. My father left me after my birth. I have recently found him again but he finds me ugly and he says no one will ever love me the way I am. I even have asked him to help me get a girlfriend but it’s out of the question for him. I have so much love to give but I don’t know what to do anymore. What else can I do?      

Yearning for love

Dear Yearning,

Your father sounds like a very unhealthy person. He may be your father, but you are by no means obligated to stay in his life if he isn’t doing you any good. You are worth it and beautiful just the way you are, and somewhere out there, there is someone looking for you. Don’t give up!

Dear Felicity,

I just got married! I am really excited: he is loving, handsome, rich – a dream! My problem is, since the day we got married and I moved in with him, he seems cold and does not show any affection. I have been trying to distract myself but his housekeeper keeps reminding me of his late wife. I have started to think he is still in love with her! What should I do about it?

A discouraged bride

Dear Discouraged,

First of all, no one should compare you to another woman. If your husband’s housekeeper has a problem working for you, raise the problem to your husband – she should respect you. Second of all, from what you’re describing it seems like your husband loves you and really wanted to marry you. Maybe something else is on his mind and he is not ready to open up about it yet. Show him that you’re there for him and share your limits and boundaries. Good luck!

Dear Felicity,

I’ve just been expelled from school. I know I should care, but I feel like everybody is so fake, so I don’t. I’m struggling to make good decisions and I always seem to fail saying the right thing to people who do care about me. I don’t like many things. I make big decisions lightly, knowing I wouldn’t go through with them anyway. I’m scared my parents will never be proud of me. Can you help me?

        An overwhelmed boy

Dear Overwhelmed,

It isn’t easy growing up and knowing what you want. Remember that nobody has got it figured out. Do more of what makes you happy, keep exploring. Take your time to process information; nobody is rushing you. Your parents are there for you and I’m sure that if you share your worries with them, they will happily help you make sense of what you’re going through. Take your time to breathe!

Dear Felicity,

I have been spending a lot of time with a man recently. He is coaching me so I can get a better job. I’ve been making great efforts and helping him with so many things, but he has never even praised or thanked me! But I keep telling myself that somewhere between all his bitterness must lie kindness, and I keep pursuing recognition from him. Also, he tells me if I leave, I will go back to my old job and never succeed. I’m afraid I won’t make it on my own. What am I supposed to do?

                                                                                                                      A torn girl

Dear Torn,

I hear you: it is hard to let someone go if you believe there is good in everyone. But, someone who disrespects you is not worth your time: spend time with people who treat you right. If you are not ready to give up on his coaching just yet, try to set yourself a limit of how far you are willing to go, or how long you are willing to stay without recognition. Plus, from what I’m hearing, you have made a great deal of progress and I am sure you can make it without him. Take care of yourself, you’ve got this!

MUSE’s English Events and Escapades: fun stuff to do, in English, outside the classroom

World Radio Switzerland: Listen to local news in English with this privately owned radio station in Geneva. Check out their website, app, or DAB+ broadcasts in Geneva, Vaud and Valais.

The Village Players of Lausanne: an English language theatre group based in Lausanne that produces plays and hosts events in Ouchy.

Geneva English Drama Society: The GEDS is an English language amateur drama society offering a wide range of opportunities through their theatrical productions. The group also hosts playreading performances, i.e., script-in-hand readings, in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. The entry fee for playreadings is 5 CHF & sign-up is required.

The Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature: The Jan Michalski Foundation hosts exhibitions and conferences as well as other cultural events centred around literature. Some of these events are held in English, while others are in French (see the website for more information).

Jim’s British Market in Gland: Jim’s British Market specialises in British products. They are always listening to customer’s requests and try to adapt their offer based on feedback. If there is food that you miss or have always wanted to try from Britain, head on down!

Books Books Books: Lausanne’s English language bookshop is the place to go for all manner of fiction and non-fiction, including recent publications. Check out the staff’s recommendations as well as the events they host regularly through their website.

The Library in English: The Library in English is in Geneva. As well as offering access to over 10,000 books, it hosts two book sales a year – in spring and autumn – where you can buy cheap second-hand books in English, along with other cultural events.

Renegade Saints: an English-language improv group based in Geneva. The group hosts monthly performances at Mr Pickwick Pub (tickets are 15 CHF), as well as weekend workshops, and free drop-in improv sessions (also at the pub or at a location nearby).

Ulysses at 100: a live event at UNIL. On February 25th 2022, there will be an evening of talks, music and student readings, to celebrate 100 years since the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses and 75 years of Joyce studies in Switzerland. This event is being organised in collaboration with the Irish Embassy, the Max Geilinger Foundation and the Swiss Association of University Teachers of English and will take place on the UNIL campus (Amphimax 415). Keep your eyes peeled for posters around campus.

Simon Armitage: a poetry reading at UNIGE. On Friday, May 20th 2022, there will be a poetry reading by Simon Armitage, the UK Poet Laureate, at the University of Geneva at 6 pm. The exact address is: Bâtiment Colladon, 2 rue Jean-Daniel Colladon, 1211 Genève.

Presented by Tonia Ramogida and Arthur Margot