Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Today I woke up in France. I now do this every day, but today was special because it marked two months of waking up in France. And that little two month tick makes this officially my longest stay in France. While I’ve done several study abroad programs, none were longer than two months- until now. I don’t know if life changes at all after eight weeks, but I’m about to find out. If today was any indication than it looks like I’m on the road to some changes and lots of new things. And god am I excited. Is this the start of everything else? Could be.

We’ve had quite a busy time lately here at 42 avenue Berthelot. My schedule has picked up at the Ecole Chevreul, where I’m the English assistant (known as the Assistante US) and I’m spending a fair amount of time prepping classes and creating activities for the ten million students I see every week. I’ve had to learn to be more of a disciplinarian, as sometimes the students seem to want to talk more than work. And there are no games of Quel est ton problème here, sadly. With last weekend also came the visit of my friend Sandra (we’ve known each other since high school!) who is spending a year and a half studying engineering in Metz. That’s right everyone, she’s good at math. Her friend John came along for the ride, and for the information for their presentation on the Rhône-Alps region. We spent a very busy weekend running around the city and trying to fit in as much lyonnais culture as possible. I don’t remember the last time I ate that much. We visited three separate markets, two restaurants (including a wonderful bar à tartines that I’ve fallen for and visited again today), many patisseries, a chocolaterie, a crêpe stand, an ice cream parlor and Monoprix for more pasta and jam and olive oil. Friday night we were invited to the apartment of the Bonnamours, host family of my friend Taza, who had asked me to help organize her surprise birthday dinner. Having dinner (especially dinner for 12 or 13) with a French family was wonderful. I had a prime seat between Monsieur and Madame Bonnamour (who is a French teacher at Chevreul and the reason I have my position there) and learned all sorts of things from places to visit to how to become a French citizen. Taza decided that she wanted to have dinner with the “posse” again on Saturday and asked to have it at my apartment. With everyone’s friends visiting the posse evolved into 13 people taking over my tiny space for several hours on Saturday evening. I found out what it’s like to make 2 kilos of pasta salad and how much lettuce 13 people will really eat. Luckily, I wasn’t in charge of wine.

But don’t worry- we did more than eat! After weeks of anticipation and mockery from friends, I finally made it to Fourvière. The basilica itself is beautiful and we were lucky enough to be there on a clear, sunny, day when we could see all of Lyon from the observation areas. Not content to take just one of the funiculars (I know! How fun!), the next day we went to see the Roman amphitheatre on another part of the hill. I wasn’t feeling very well by this point and managed to take zero pictures. Way to go me. Sandra and John also went to the Musée des Tissus et de l’Art Décoratif while I was at work on Friday, which is another place I still haven’t made it to yet. I consoled myself with the fact that I can give directions to the Department de Lettres like nobody’s business, but then realized that it didn’t really help.

I don’t think things are going to slow down for a while- this weekend looks like another busy one and the next week is the beginning of Toussaint. This Toussaint break is important because my MOM (did you know that’s WOW upside down?) is coming to visit and we are going to PARIS. So there. I will eat my weight in macaroons and overdose on café and quiche. But really, when don’t I?


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