28.8.10

my first days :)

day 1 CISL

we took the taxi to the centre international de séjour lyon, which is our temporary housing. we then unpacked just a little but then found out how to take the tram (public transport tickets require change (not bills) so we had to keep making sure we had enough) to la place de bellecour, which must be for markets or parades or something because it’s essentially a big huge open space with some statues. it was very charming and calm.

we walked around the shopping zone for a while looking for places to eat lunch, but to no avail (kind of). we found mac do (mcdonald’s) and starbucks, but we did not want to experience that just yet. so we ended up, after an hour of indecision, eating at a pizza place. I had a pizza “julino” (it had salmon, crème fraîche, and mushrooms)

with a kir au vin blanc (white wine with blackcurrant liqueur) followed by un café plaisir (a dessert platter: espresso, ice cream, tiramisu, and some sort of custard). zoe got un mousse au chocolat de la maison, which was super cute and delicious; yes, I tried it. somehow, I managed to fit all that food in my stomach!

however, I was miraculously hungry by dinner, but it killed my appetite once I felt the texture (it was cow tongue). the salad was mediocre as well but I ate some of it (this is the food that returnees said wasn’t so good, and now I get what they mean). I may have to hit the marché right across the street on the day it happens and smuggle a couple things up to my room.

walking for blocks and blocks really does a number on your energy. not that I’m not used to it; it’s also the amount of visual stimuli and the language coming at you in all directions.

day 2 CISL

you could say today wasn’t AT the student center. we had a long orientation meeting, followed by a couple hours trying to get phones (I got a SIM card which didn’t work with my hacked iphone, unfortunately), and then a couple hours opening bank accounts, and then a run back to the residence to freshen up in 2.5 minutes, then to a lovely full dinner (salad and pate, leg of lamb with potatoes and soufflé, dessert, and espresso). and then we, a group of 4, walked to the river and around a little bit just talking and enjoying that it was actually cool weather (with the wind). fortunately we found a wonderful cheap boulangérie (though I think they’re all cheap) where we got lunch sometime in the chaos before phone searching. I had a quiche, which was SO good, and a croissant which I saved for later. I would not be very happy without an afternoon snack because there’s about 6 hours between lunch and dinner, and that’s when we do stuff like walk everywhere in the humid heat.

day 3 CISL

it rained in the morning, which was very misleading. the French ladies said “oh, it’s going to rain soon.” and to me rain means a day of rain, not just a few hours in the morning followed by warm weather. showers means that, but then again I’m from Washington. today was a bit busy: zoe and I got up early enough for breakfast, and then we went to the gare (transit station) to get our bus/metro/tram passes for September. and then we went to see Christine (the French admin type person) and she helped us with apartment hunting and stuff like that. she is an angel!!

we grabbed some lunch at the same boulangerie as yesterday, and then we headed to another phone store (out of the 5 or 15 they have on that street) and I got a phone so I can actually be in contact with other people as well as be contactable. the man who helped us was very nice, didn’t try to speak English to us, allowing us to get more comfortable with speaking French so terribly. we tried to find the H&M to do some shopping, but we couldn’t recall precisely where it was and didn’t find it. we took a while to just sit and look at plants and people before heading back to the residence. for dinner, we didn’t want to wait too long so we went to a supermarket called “simply” (haha) and got a wedge of brie, a baguette, some fresh fruit, and some screw top individually portioned wine. we then had a little picnic in the park.

at night, we decided to go out with some girls to another girl’s place (she had already found it) and then to some bars. unfortunately all the bars closed at 1 (I have no idea why) and wouldn’t let us in even though it was 1230 or so. I did get into one it was tighter than a can of sardines. I got to know quite a few people, and I got feel for who I want to be friends with and who I don’t really have time for. I’m amazed that there are so many people from sacramento and redding and red bluff! I got back very late and slept like a baby!

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