It has been a crazy THREE DAYS without Internet but i’m FINALLY back online! I went through some withdrawal symptoms, not being able to communicate with my family and friends especially since I did not have a phone yet! The internet has become an essential part of my life but I must admit after getting over the initial frustration of it all, I discovered other things to do…. like reading my copy of Life of Pi in bed… and finally unpacking and cleaning…or just discovering more of Lyon, and hanging out with friends… 🙂 I have been typing up my posts in Word, so you will notice a back-log of posts more or less at once! Hopefully by tomorrow, i’ll be all caught up! Enjoy!
SO FANCY…..(Thursday/Friday’s Post)
1. Part-Dieu! This is the largest downtown shopping centre in Europe and my friend and I were excited to see what the fuss was all about! It is OVERWHELMING! Especially on a Saturday where the amount of human traffic is unimaginable! We got to France at the PERFECT time of year though… There are only TWO big sales in France: once in the summer and once in the winter… so at the moment there is a MONTH long sale at EVERY SINGLE STORE!… Time to shop for little gifts for the family! 😉
2. Getting lost on the subway. I have found that this is the easiest way to discover new places! On the way to Part-Dieu, Joyce and I took the subway in the wrong direction and had to get off at Monplaisir-Lumiere Station to change directions. Right outside the subway station, we discovered the Institut Lumière which we had been told about during one of our orientation sessions. The surrounding area is BEAUTIFUL so we took a few pics and noted the area as place to come back and visit!
3. Student Monthly pass: Another way to discover Lyon is to purchase a monthly pass, which is discounted for students. Now we can use the bus, metro or tram system and stop at each and every station to explore. Also, the subway trains here are AUTOMATIC! My face fell when I was at the end of the train and noticed that all I could see was ENDLESS TUNNEL!… SO FRANCY?!
4. Finding my first little open market. Yet another result of taking the subway in the wrong direction, leading to my discovery of a market at Jean Macé! Fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, bread, sweets, and even roast chicken were on display! I can’t wait to go back and actually shop for groceries there!
Today we had our first FCC (French Culture and Civilization) session with Anne Favier-Townsend. She introduced us to what Lyon and France in general have to offer, starting her session with a list of positive and negative things she has noted over the years. I decided to list the negatives in my not-so-fancy section ..
NOT SO FANCY….
5. Public toilets! France does not have the best facilities when it comes to public washrooms. Also, some of the washrooms at my university are unisex! (see previous post) I am not sure if i’ll ever get used to this, but at least i’m over the initial shock of it all!
6. University facilities: According to Ms Favier-Townsend, the French are very much for equality and rights. University here is therefore practically free (as low as 250 Euros) as it is highly subsidized by the government! This ensures that everyone has an equal chance of getting higher education, which is extremely commendable…. The only downside of this is that the facilities are not as good as in other countries…
7. Strikes: Going on strike is a French sport! This all goes back to the French belief in equality and rights. Strikes are therefore highly acceptable! For example, on Thursday taxi drivers went on strike because other drivers kept using their designated taxi lanes. They therefore spent most of the morning driving at a snail’s pace to show how irritating it is for them to have to share their designated lanes when they have to rush their passengers to the airport and other places. And no one would dare complain! Why, it is their right!
8. Working hours: There was once a law that restricted working hours to 35 hours a week. This law was passed in order to reduce unemployment and to allow people to enjoy more personal time. Shops would therefore close from 12-2pm for lunch, which is SACRED here, and then close for the day by 7pm. Today, this law no longer exists, however the French are used to these working hours and employers cannot require their employees to work more than 35 hours/week! This is perfect for the French… not so perfect for those of us who are used to getting many services 24/7
9. Racism: I am yet to experience this, but apparently racism is much more openly demonstrated in France. Especially with the older generations.
10. Girls, BEWARE! Ms Favier-Townsend was very particular about this, seeing that we all come from different countries where different things are acceptable. Whereas it is normal in North America and other parts of the world for girls to dress in shorter/tighter/etc. clothes when going out, it is NOT acceptable in France. This is the way prostitutes dress here, and if one dresses like that, then one will be treated as such! So keep your mini-skirts and dresses at home ladies!