I’m in Lyon!
The 9 hour long flight was pretty good, as it involved talking to some new people, 2 movies, and a little bit of sleeping. They fed us oddly frequently. It only said lunch on the itinerary, but they gave us snack, lunch, sandwich, and breakfast. Huh. A security checkpoint almost made me late to my connection flight, but it wasn’t anything a quick jog didn’t solve.
I felt so good about my French when I first arrived. I talked a little with my taxi driver, and he told me that there really isn’t much to look at in Lyon. When I got to school, a very helpful freshman got me to the office, lugging my giant suitcase along too. After that it went downhill.
I have nowhere official to stay. Yippee. I found my way to a hostel (turned around at least 6 times), and we’ll see what happens from there. But it’s a solid 40 minutes to school (on foot), and after finding my way back to school (getting lost again), I had to drag my 50-pound suitcase and carry on suitcase back to the hostel. I am NOT looking forward to moving them…
I also needed to have a photo, and a social security fee paid to get my student ID. The photo wasn’t a big deal. Every big supermarket or ticket office has a “Photomaton,” which is like a photo booth, except it takes passport photos. The social security, on the other hand…
Let me explain this to you:
In order to pay the social security (1E, niiice), you must open a bank account. To open a bank account, you must have a residence and a confirmation from the school saying you’re a student, and your passport. The residence was annoying, having to go to the hostel, then go back with it. The passport, ok. But the confirmation they want is given to you at the same time as when you get your student ID. See the problem?
I spent about a day going back and forth, explaining to the bank and the school that they were getting us in a loophole. Luckily, the bank also took the initial confirmation sent to our homes. But I’d left it at home. Which led to another detour, going through a lot of different people directing me to another. I did get it, and I’ll be opening my bank account tomorrow. Whew.
Then there was the trip to Part-Dieu. I got lost in la Gare Part-Dieu, the train station, thinking the bus/tramway passes were sold there too. But the mall across the train station……oh my.
It’s so big! They’ve got a Gallerie Lafayette inside (think Neiman Marcus), and a Carrefour (like a GIANT supermarket that sells literally everything), and a BHV (I think that’s the name… it’s a furniture store)! The center of the mall has a water fountain, flanked on each floor by a winding staircase and wooden steps to sit on. They also had many boulangeries, and even a Vietnamese store and a couple sushi stores! The boulangeries weren’t all boulangeries in the sense that they weren’t all shops. Most of them were just kiosk-like things in the middle of the path, selling pastries and ficelle-sandwiches. With 5 floors and at least 3 or 4 of these food kiosks on each, you can imagine how many there were.
When I went into the Carrefour (which of the three did you think I would go into?), it was…….
There are no words to describe it. There’re two floors, connected by the textured ramp-escalator that grips onto your cart to keep it from rolling. The first sold household items, school supplies, electronics, etc. The second was almost all food. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (the most gigantic bananas I’ve ever seen! Just 5 were 1.6 kg), a butcher-meat section, and fresh fish section, a baker-bread section, and the most wondrous packaged foods ever. Giant tubs of Nutella, an aisle all for chocolate bars, and all sorts of temptations.
Did you know that they don’t refrigerate their eggs? They’re packed just like a dry good. It’s weird.
They don’t have many flavored yogurts, and very few greek-style ones.
They also sell Bonne Maman prune jam and chestnut jam. So interesting…!
Anyways, I’m on my way to getting settled. I got my bus pass, and my SIM card. I almost have my student ID, and hopefully I’ll get a place to live soon too. It doesn’t really feel pleasant to have a tinytiny room (like the size of my closet in the apartment, not even a toilet…) and then go all the way out to go to school, etc. But I’ll be going to my first day of orientation tomorrow, and hopefully also getting to know some people, and exploring the city more! I haven’t even crossed a single river yet…
PS – I did have my first viennoisserie today! It was a pain aux raisins. So crisp! So yummy! Hehehe. It was from some place called Pomme de Pain. I dunno.