Thursday, September 01, 2005

I am locked out of the university.

It’s not that they don’t want me there, it’s just that it’s closed for the summer, you see. No, really. The entire university is closed. On vacation. Can’t go in. Haven’t seen the office yet. Even our director can’t get in. It’s August, and it’s vacation time in France.

Unlike in the US, when vacations are more spread out and things run as usual, vacations here are much more of a serious deal. It seems as if most of Lyon is on vacation right now, and consequently, lots of things are closed. It’s not uncommon to waltz up to a boulangerie, craving a croissant, only to find a hand-written sign attached to the window saying that they’re on vacation and will return the …. August. Luckily, that day is this coming Monday for many places (including my dear Université Lyon 2). Even stores that are open will often have special August hours. It’s not just the small establishments, either. My new bank, Credit Lyonnais (possibly the most beautiful bank I’ve ever been in, and yes, the same Credit Lyonnais that sponsors the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey so often worn by Lance Armstong, in the Tour de France) has different hours.

For everyone here, this is a normal phenomenon. It’s accepted and expected that there won’t be too many things that retain their normal hours during this period. For someone who’s just arrived it takes some getting used to. It will be interesting to see how things are when everything is open, as I’ve become accustomed to special hours and closures. And hey, if someone told me I could leave for two weeks to a month and close my store, I’d go too.


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