Wednesday gets its own paragraph. I had planned to go to fourvière with Zoe in the afternoon but i wanted to do something inthe morning. so... I invited Tina to go with me to parc de la tête d'or for the morning. but so sadly i had to burn some time at a cafe before meeting up with her upon arriving we spontaneously decided to try out the velo'v system. there are these bike stations all over the city where you can rent a bike for however long and return it later to any station. of course you have certain time limits and such. however it's super convenient and could save you a cab ride. so Tina and I got our bikes and then spent an hour riding around the park. we returned the bikes and then walked around. apparently weekdays mean that this huge park has next to zero people in it. it felt good to breathe so much fresh air not to mention the smell of fresh cut grass. mmmm :)
after that I ate my picnic lunch that I had made from food I bought from the marché that morning. and then met Zoe in vieux Lyon for our sightseeing adventure. the basilica was built in the 19th century in Byzantine style. I was in such awe that I just didn't take pictures really. because it's on the hill you can see all of Lyon extending out on the land. I had a moment of utter excitement looking out across my new home city. it's so beautiful and accessible. I've only been here a few weeks and i feel as though I could have lived here for months.
I have grown to love plastic cup coffee. because it's ridiculously cheap and it's fairly decent. don't disown me! I haven't had any milk except for a little in coffee sometimes (it really is just a little... it's still on the bottom half of the paint swatch if you know what i mean). I eat some yogurt and some cheese but that's it. I try to eat out once a week but at the same time it's expensive. one meal costs almost as much as the rest of my food for the week. I will admit my diet is pretty cheap but very grain and fat heavy. need veggies! but that's what ratatouille is for :)
i could (and did) eat a whole baguette. just sayin.
After this point, i’ve lost track of the days, except for some anchors I have for this last week.
Monday we had a meeting in the afternoon about how the French academic system works. while I was waiting for it to start, I made some phone calls to people who had open apartments and made rendez-vous with them. the one I saw that night was PERFECT, but the lady wouldn’t let me say yes until I called her in the morning after talking with my parents. so, the next morning I called and told her I wanted it and she said I could move in right away. fortunately, it’s all no-nonsense; I pay the rent with all charges included. the only paperwork we did was me getting a signed paper saying I do indeed live here, and I gave her a copy of my ID.
Tuesday, I started to move in; that is, I took my big suitcase over in the evening and picked up my keys. earlier in the morning, we had a rendez-vous to get our “timbres fiscaux” for the carte de séjour (residence permit, I think) allowing us to stay for more than 3 months in france. I think after that i hung out with zoe, juan, and Samantha for a lovely, long, and very Lyonnais lunch. then it was off to two h&m’s, rue de la Ré (short for république) for printemps (the macy’s/bloomingdale’s of france but better) and public restrooms. plus, it was pretty. just being out in the nice weather was enough to get me all relaxed and excited.
Wednesday was the day of the placement test. I don’t remember what I did afterward, but it probably involved bread. i think i moved in all the way, making two metro trips to my place. see pictures. i live with a lady and two french boys who are in lycée (kinda like junior college i think?).
the room :)
On thusday, we had to show up at 8am to find out what level we placed in. I placed in level 7, which is the best. I have no idea how I did it unless I’m just very strong in writing despite my inability to understand and reply to what people say to me (I almost always ask them to repeat themselves). my classes start at 10am for the next week and a half, thankfully. however, it is still 6 straight hours of class with one or two 15-minute breaks. that means I have to buy my lunch ahead of time. at least the classes are stimulating and the instructors are energetic and innovative. on my way back, I went to the mall thing by where I live, but it was an absolute nightmare trying to find what I was looking for in the madness of everyone getting off work. I did walk out with some food and a notebook, so that’s enough of an accomplishment, I think.
and alas, Friday, today. I found that my commute is much shorter than I originally thought because I was doing it wrong. I was walking 5 minutes north to the only metro station I knew instead of walking 5 to the giant has-everything-including-a-mall station. madame kindly showed me how to get around this morning :) my writing instructor is rather monotone for being French, and he talked about syntax; talk about instant turn-offs. I do get to write a piece on a city I know well, so I think I might write it on Arlington. or maybe redding because I have to focus on positive aspects.
I’ve been to 3 h&m’s here and they’re all awesome! I got a dress and a skirt today because they looked amazing on me and they were pretty cheap. I’ve had a hard time with sizing, but it seems that I’m a size 40 (US10), not a size up like I thought. I still don’t know my pants size because I tried on the equivalent today and they didn’t fit so well. however, it could have just been the cut or that they were meant to be tight. no, I have not actually lost weight, but I’m at a different latitude so gravity is different here (just kidding! but really..) what I mean to say is that I’ve been bloaty so I may be packing a few pounds of water weight and therefore have lost 3-5 pounds. however, I’m still EXACTLY at my set-weight, even though I’m reading it in kilos. the body is an amazing machine. so much bread, yet so much walking.
zoe and I went to la musée de tissus (textiles) just because we wanted something to do. the happened to have a special exposee happening with pieces from spain. the textiles industry had quite the heyday in lyon, with brilliant minds at the helm. this was back when it wasn’t a computer program, yet these pieces were so intricately woven and embroidered, they were truly art. every piece was like looking at the minutes of someone’s life in each strand, pulled together to paint the picture of their time here on earth. there were so many priest’s robes and altar decorations that had threads entwined with gold and silver in the collection. there was even one that looked 3D, like the depictions of saints and jesus stood out from the velvet and looked very lifelike. toward the end of the museum, there were pieces from 4th and 5th century Egypt and the like, and those were mostly fragments. however, it was remarkable that people have known how to weave beautifully for millennia. I was sad to not be able to take pictures, but I spent a good and long time at each display to absorb all the beauty.
day 5 CISL
because it was Sunday, we decided to go explore vieux-lyon, which has a lot of churches and cool secrets. while it was a little on the touristy side, it was beautiful. all it took was walking to a side street where there were no people (they’re truly weren’t very many though because it was Sunday) and you’d find little interesting things. we had a map that told us where the traboules were; these are pathways between streets where you can see the buildings of the Italian, german, and French bourgeoisie of the renaissance. we went through quite a few and were taken by awe every time.
a road without people/tourists: