I thought this was going to be a pretty short past as I haven’t done much this week but, surprise surprise, managed to ramble on quite nicely. It’s only going to get more boring from here once I actually start uni, so appreciate the long posts while they last!
Didn’t do much all day until Jamie and I met up in the afternoon and went to Cafe Mokxa, the cafe owned by a Kiwi which naturally every expat knows about as it’s THE place to get a decent coffee/the elusive Flat White. Unfortunately neither of us are coffee drinkers but the hot chocolates were very nice (though a bit pricey). We were pleased to find they were still open at 6pm, with quite a crowd too! We sat outside and took advantage of the complimentary blankets. Mine was and old school crochet job, truly Kiwi! We then went in search of dinner and eventually settled on a nice cafe/restaurant/bar-y place and had a very nice waiter who made conversation with us about NZ and put up with us taking forever to choose what we were going to order – there was just too much on the menu! We both ended up being trumped by our meals as they were just so BIG! (Yet another ginormous bowl of pasta for me. I have definitely learnt my lesson now. Though I don’t know if I will be able to go a whole semester without ordering pasta again!)
I finally checked out of my hotel (yay!) and met Jamie to go to Les Halles Paul Bocuse, which is kind of like a big indoor food market but made up of fancy permanent ‘stalls’. We had a look round but there wasn’t anywhere were we could actually sit down and have food. We were just leaving when literally the last stall before the door was an A-MA-ZING patisserie. I guess you kind of get used to seeing patisseries, even though they don’t get any less impressive, but this was something different. I had to get a closer look to see what these things were; I though they were jewellery display cushions or something but nope, they were cakes. We were actually gobsmacked. The guy was really nice and we had a good convo with him too but awkwardly had to be like…not really in our price range buddy. So we ended up each buying a macaron (we couldn’t say no) and then we had to face the decision of which flavour. Jamie ended up going for passionfruit/mango and I went for apricot/almond, both of which he had recommended. Then we were innocently discussing what ‘cassis’ meant (I suspected boysenberry due to creme de cassis) and he thought raspberry and then said we could try one of those ones to find out. We felt really bad but were just really thankful and said we’d come back and tell all our friends to go there.
EDIT: Just found out that a whole paragraph disappeared, presumably when i added those photos. FML.
- we got lunch at a heat-n-eat kind of place and had yummy lasagne
- The guy was really nice and I felt bad cos it seemed like his idea hadn’t really taken off (no other customers)
- I went back to my hotel to retrieve my probably 30kg suitcase to move to Léa’s studio apartment
- Hauled it through town cos I missed the bus and couldn’t be bothered waiting
- Highlight was having to get it up the below stairs in the dark. Not a single person offered to help!
- But it was all worth it to see Léa and stay in her studio which was very nice!
Wednesday was focussed around a FLAT VIEWING. I had emailed a girl a couple of days earlier and she replied seeming really enthusiastic but as I have discovered the French don’t seem to be too up with the whole texting thing. So I was just hanging out waiting to hear from her. Eventually we organised our date and I trotted off to get the tram to meet her. It seemed to go really well; I was there for over an hour and a half and the whole time she was talking like I was going to move in (saying I could go with her and her boyfriend when they drive to Switzerland, Italy etc) but when I asked she said she’d had a lot of interest and she was going to decide the next day after she had her last two exams. So I went home feeling really optimistic (as she had lived in NZ for two years and it all seemed very promising) but I didn’t want to get my hopes up and have them hopelessly crushed! I got a kebab for dinner and Léa and I watched ‘Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas‘ which I understood sans subtitles aww yeahh.
Much like Wednesday, Thursday was spent waiting to hear about the flat and making contingency plans in case the answer was ‘non’. I watched some TV (Charmed was on again! My all time fav show eva) then went into town to check out les soldes (the sales). France has two big sale periods, in January and July, and they go crazy. This was the second day and there were people everywhere. I was really just window shopping and trying to get a feel for all the stores. I haven’t really had a compulsion to shop but on my list are a big chunky scarf, more styley hat and some leather shoes (not boots). All much harder to come across than you’d think, especially if you want the scarf/hat to have any element of wool, and not cost a bomb. I’ll probably end up flagging it, let’s be honest. Shopping is not my forte. Léa and I got pizza for dinner, mine had cream on it which is apparently quite normal. I watched ‘l’Auberge Espagnole‘ which I would definitely recommend. I like to think this is what Genna‘s life is like while she studies (‘studies’) in Madrid. About 10pm I finally heard back and I GOT THE FLAT!!!!!! I imagine most of you reading this will already be up to date with that big announcement. It was such a relief. I slept well on the couch that night!
Once again didn’t do much as the other Kiwis have already started uni (they’re doing courses in English) as had Léa. That night we met up at Sarah’s apartment with three Aussies who were also doing the English programme and a German friend of a friend of Sarah’s. On the way I stopped off at the supermarket in search of come cider (my classy go-to) but disappointingly had to settle for another dodgy wine bottle-full for about €2 again. It ended up not being disgusting like the other one but was instead more like a sickly sweet apple juice. While I was there an NZ song played on the radio which was incroyable! After being at Sarah’s for a couple of hours and making some ‘friends’ on the metro we eventually made it to town and met up with a whole lot of Mexicans. I tried out my rusty Spanish on them which was exciting! We went to a bar/pub thing that had really bad music, thanks to the 50 y/o DJ who had a sign saying ‘I’m not a jukebox. I’m not an iPod. Don’t ask me to play your requests’). I left after that as it was near where I was staying and as public transport stops at midnight I couldn’t be bothered walking back from the next place they were planning on going. Woo.
Saturday was the day of the big move! Only problem was, I hadn’t heard exactly what time the big move was going down. I headed up to the Croix Rousse to have a bit of a look around and found a ‘cafe’ that did bagels so I had one of those for lunch. Then I headed back down into the main part of town and explored the side streets on the Saône side. I found some nice shops and yet another massive church that was just casually hiding amongst the other buildings. I eventually heard back from my flatmate who was coming to pick me up at 4pm which soon became 5pm and we got stuck in the crazy traffic. Then we did some supermarket shopping and it was about 6:30pm by the time we actually got to the flat. We unpacked the groceries and I had to excuse myself and dash out for my dinner date with the peeps. Indian in the old city, wouldn’t be everyone’s go-to but it was good! Then we got crepes and I held a convo (somehow I kept ending up being the spokesperson for the group) with the ‘vendor’ who was pretty much in shock when he found out we were from NZ. Then I successfully navigated the metro and tram home AND managed to get into the building which I see as the biggest achievement.
I live with a 22 y/o French girl called Amandine and her boyfriend Youri, who’s from Cameroon (a former French colony for those unaware). It’s in the 8th arrondissement of Lyon which is a mainly residential area. It takes 10 minutes to get to Perrache, one of the two big train/metro stations on the Presqu’Ile by tram, and is 5 minutes from uni by bus, and a further five minutes to Part Dieu, the other big transport/shopping hub. It’s in a big new development and is split-level. On the entrance level is a toilet, kitchen, balcony and dining/living area, then upstairs are the bedrooms and bathroom. It’s fully furnished (although my room is a bit lacking – I’ll be hitting up IKEA this week to buy a desk, chair, lamp, sheets, duvet, coathangers, towels…I think that’s all). But, my rent is €420 a month including all charges which at the current exchange rate is about the same as my rent alone in Wellington. So I can’t complain! Here are some photos, I took them at night so they’re not the best. Apparently just sleeping on a mattress on the ground is pretty standard so I’ll have to get used to that! Hopefully by the time I post next week I will have made it more ‘me’ with furniture, stuff on the walls etc. Will keep you all updated, don’t you worry!
Amandine, Youri and I had a late breakfast together then were cool and just hung out for a bit. Then I spent most of the day writing this (it takes longer than you’d think!). In the evening we went out to see a film, ‘De l’autre côté du périph‘ (no link for this en anglais soz) with Omar Sy ( from Les Intouchables). We were meant to go at 6pm but Youri arrived too late to pick us up (as expected) so we went to the 8pm screening instead. We cruised around in the car for a bit, with me pretty much having no idea where we were most of the time. I’d finally orientate myself when we got near a landmark I knew then just get completely lost again. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera for what is I’m pretty sure the first day since I’ve been here, and naturally missed out on some awesome photos! We went to La Confluence, the area at the bottom of the Presqu’Ile where the two rivers converge (hence the name). It used to be disused docks/factories etc but they’ve recently done a huge redevelopment to make it a generally more desirable area. The cinema we went to was in a big mall with amazing lights and the roof wasn’t connected so it was almost like an open-air mall if that makes any sense. Yes, we were there at 8pm. Yes, it was freezing. We also drove past the other university campus which looked amazing all lit up at night! I’ll get photos of it and explain more about the different unis and the people they’re named after in next week’s post once I’ve started :) Sorry for the awful photo integration, wordpress seems to have changed making it even harder to get them to do anything useful than last week. Maybe by July I will have learnt how to manipulate them…maybe.