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).
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!