Oh what a night/weekend
I said at the end of my last post that I was looking forward to having my friend Sarah visit for the weekend. Well, it didn’t disappoint! It kicked off at 10pm Friday evening when her (delayed) train arrived in to Lyon; our night on the town began at 12am and ended at 6am. Anyone who knows me well will know this is EXTREMELY UNCHARACTERISTIC! I was in a state of disbelief the whole time due to a) having totally no concept of what time it was (casually catching up over a drink in an Irish pub at 3am?); b) being weirdly not-tired, despite being up for over 24 hours in total, and c) actually enjoying myself?? Pigs may fly…
The rest of the weekend consisted of a nostalgia tour of our favourite haunts from our uni days and catching up with old and new friends. It felt like we picked up exactly where we left off in 2013! All too soon Sarah had to head back to Paris at the crack of dawn on Monday morning, and I was back to the real world with a full day of school. Merci mon amie pour ce weekend inoubliable!
Le 8 décembre
As I mentioned in the last post, Lyon’s iconic Fête des Lumières did not go ahead this year due to the security situation. However, the traditional celebrations of the 8th of December, the day that started it all, continued. To summarise the story – 1600s plague, the Lyonnais prayed to Mary, spared from the plague, 1800s built the basilica, later added a statue, weather drama on inauguration day, the Lyonnais put candles on their windowsills as a makeshift celebration. Et voilà, the tradition continues. There was an extra drive this year to put the traditional ‘lumignons’ all over the city. The only light projection that continued was the one along the river here, which was adapted to include the names of the Paris victims.
Une soirée à l’Institut Lumière
An unexpected highlight of the fortnight came on a Thursday evening as I headed to a film screening at the Lumière Institute. Quick background – the Lumière brothers are generally regarded as being the first filmmakers. They were from Lyon and their old house is now a great museum on the history of cinema, with a film institute next door. The event was a screening of a recently remastered compilation of some of their best film clips, which I was already excited to see. What I did not expect was a) a 30 minute historical introduction from Thierry Frémaux, director of the Institut and of the Cannes film festival; b) commentary from him for each small clip of the 1.5 hour long film; c) getting to see an original cinématographe (early precursor to a film camera) projecting the first ever film as it was viewed in 1895; d) being informed we were going to recreate said original film (La sortie de l’usine, portraying workers leaving the film factory which is now the site of the institute); e) rushing back inside to watch the film straight afterwards; f) receiving a certificate signed by Thierry Frémaux and Bertrand Tavernier, film director and president of the Lumière Institute saying we had participated in the event, and lastly g) wine and chocolate? All for the momentous sum of €10 which is less than what a regular movie ticket here costs?
End of school
Last week was the last week of school before the Christmas break. Disappointingly, I wore my newly obtained ugly Christmas jumper every single day and not a single person commented on it! I partially forgave the English department at least as on Thursday we had a very cute Christmas lunch with 7 of the 10 English teachers; roadtripping to one of the teachers’ nearby houses for full on wine/nibbles/main and desserts before most of the teachers had to be back at school at 2pm. It was just such a cute thing to do! What’s more, they got me a present! They had US-style school hoodies made which the students had to sell to raise money for a trip to Ireland (I don’t even know if the trip is still going ahead with post-Paris complications). Anyway, they all chipped in to get me one! And gave me cute little card too. It was so nice and really unexpected as I have not even been there for three months!
Last night Ben, Rose and I had a little Christmas entre amis as Rose is heading back to the US for the holidays. Aside from watching a marathon of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares dubbed in French (‘Cauchemar en Cuisine’, disappointingly censored as well) the most important thing to come from the evening was that I made my first ever pavlova that wasn’t a total disaster (even if it did look a little worse for wear after I carted it 40 minutes across town on three modes of transport)! I even got something verging on s compliment from my ‘friends’. It has bolstered my spirits for the main event on Christmas Day at least!
Other mundane excitements of the week:
1 – Finally had my 3-part medical appointment and got the magic sticker in my passport which means that after three months all my immigration formalities are finally over with! I didn’t get to keep my lung xray this time, sadly (last time I had to carry it round uni all day with me, a great conversation starter)
2 – Finally got my first official payslip! Which I need for other living-related formalities and may mean I eventually see some more money coming in to my account rather than going out – not holding my breath for that one though.
Other than that I’m now on school holidays for two weeks; this week I do have some work to get out of the way so that I am totally free to enjoy Paris with Sophie next week! We will be in Paris for four days then Sophie will spend some time down in Lyon so the next blog post will probably come after that chapter concludes
Bonnes fêtes à tous,