Vive la France!

Finally finding some time (and some inspiration) to update this blog…

The first few weeks back in France were really hard on me! First, I guess I was very exhausted after all the packing, the selling, the giving and the making sure that I took care of everything before leaving the US. Honestly, I have been actively working on this move since early December and part of me just could not wait to be done with it. Then, moving back to France was a whole different story than coming to visit for a few weeks in the summer time. I spent the first week with my parents and then I moved to Lyon! There, I was on my own, trying to figure out absolutely everything: where to go grocery shopping, what kind of honey should I buy, which brand of chocolate tastes the best, is it ok to buy fish at the ‘marché’, how am I going to make hummus from scratch, how to take the subway or the bus, and why on earth is my stomach not adjusting to French food??? I had to figure out where to open a bank account: here it costs about $11 a month to have a checking account with a banking card and internet access so I did some major shopping around! Then I had to register with Social Security (I don’t know yet if I am going to be covered so the whole process is definitely a bit more complicated than what I assumed from afar). And to make matter worse (to me anyway), it was really cold! Everyday I could see online how the temperatures in NC were rising and in Lyon, we lingered in the 40s or low 50s until about a week ago. And all my warmer clothes had gone into a box instead of crossing the ocean with me!

Still, little by little, I started getting used to it. Everybody is very nice and helpful and I know I can ask for help from any stranger on the street! The day I walked into the nearby grocery store and knew exactly where to go to find the items I needed felt like a major victory! Everything started to look pretty! I met a group of American women who shared how they were so scared of getting their hair cut here which I thought was hilarious since that is the way I have always felt about getting my hair cut in the States ~and all of you who saw my last haircut know that I was totally justified on that one! I have been able to go visit my family on the weekends, which is something I have missed doing for years! And with the help of Internet, I am still pretty much up to date with my favorite TV shows (can’t wait for the new episode of Lost tonight!)

To this day, I still get startled when I hear French spoken around me… I have been waiting for weeks for this feeling to disappear but I guess it will in time. Right now, I spend my days studying which means reading, listening, and writing English so I do not speak enough French although I am getting very excited at the prospect of eventually mastering at least my mother tongue! I love listening to people speaking in French and in a weird way, it is nice for me to hear myself speak a language without a foreign accent… I have made a few friends (some French, some Americans!), I have started riding the velo’v (a system that makes bikes available for anyone to use, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be found at strategic locations all over Lyon, with a network of stations located at intervals of 300 m on average ~there are about 5 stations within a 5-min walk from where I live!), I have been running more and more, and eating about one French baguette a day (oops!). Today, I am in the midst of finalizing for all the belongings I have left in NC to come and join me here as I see not return to the States in sight (although, as always, I am only sure of what I have already done!). And as Serge Gainsbourg famously said: “il n’y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d’avis).

Some pictures:
Les vélo’v
The yogurt aisle
The other side of the yogurt aisle
The chocolate aisle (we are very serious about our chocolate!)
Look who came shopping with me! :)
The pretty packaging!

PS: I though I would hate it but I am actually totally accustomed to kissing people on the cheeks now vs. hugging everyone like it is done overseas!

One thought on “Vive la France!

  1. Hi! I don't usually leave random comments on blogs by people I don't know. But I've been trying to be less shy. So I just wanted to say welcome back to France and welcome to Lyon. I'm an American currently in Lyon still trying to figure everything out (even though I've been here for a while lol), but I love it. :)


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