When going somewhere new for a long period of time, be it off to college or on a relaxing beach vacation, there’s that initial excitement–the rush of the foreign, pretty, and unknown–but then there comes a time to settle into a daily routine; find a new normal.
I think it’s just as exciting, only in a different way, to realize that everyday life has come to mean something different and will for a while.
Here’s my daily life, Lyon-style, in pictures.
Apricots. So many apricots. My family buys a big crate every Saturday at the local market, and we eat them all week at every meal. They’re fresh, soft, perfectly sweet, and? Inexpensive.
This is what I eat every morning. A handful of fresh apricots and a tartine (leftover baguette, toasted; good butter, and homemade apricot jam).
Then, four days a week, it’s off to my classes: Gastronomy and French 3160. I have to leave about an hour before they start, which takes some getting used to, but really isn’t bad. Maybe by the end of this I’ll become a metro pro.
On days I just have 3160, I usually grab lunch and walk around Lyon for a while after class ends, maybe writing or taking some pictures near one of the rivers, the Saône or the Rhône.
This is my absolute favorite quick lunch, a chèvre quiche from a café just down the street from Sciences-U. It doesn’t hurt that the man who works there looks like a younger Richard Gere. Um, bonjour!
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head back to the school and go to Gastronomy, after which I go on our group excursions to places like museums and markets, where I get to hang out with cool people like this:
After the excursions, we often eat/grab ice cream/go shopping/have a beer, and then I go home to my host family’s, where, most days, I go swimming with my French sisters.
We splash around, eat some apricots, and listen to music. I love hanging out with these girls! They are sassy and funny and sweet and love to dance. I do too, and I don’t mind looking a little ridiculous. We have a good time.
They love Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets,” which I hadn’t even heard before I got here. Guess what’s stuck in my head 24/7.
Once we cool off, we usually play some board games like Puissance Quatre or toss around the football I brought them.
or salade Lyonnaise.
Every couple of days we have Lyonnaise dishes such as quenelle, tripe, or certain kinds of sausages. That’s one thing I love about France: the regional cuisine. It’s so neat that history and tradition and unity are present in foods that families prepare themselves, all the time.
Nearly every dinnertime I get some brain food with my real food: my host parents tell me about the origins or cultural implications of whatever we’re eating. Being that I’m the kind of person who will sneak a book to the table whenever possible, I definitely love the “learn new things” aspect of dinners with my host family.
It helps, too, that I have really enjoyed everything I’ve tried (yes, even tripe!). Here’s what my family most often says about me: Jessica aime tous! (Jessica loves everything)
My host mom has kindly said several times that if I don’t like something, I don’t have to eat it, and I don’t have to worry about offending them. Before I have a chance to assure her that I really do like what I’m eating, my host sisters say something like “Elle aime tous! Tu ne comprends pas?!”
Like I said, sassy.
After the l’apero and le plat principal, we have either cheese or yogurts and then either a dessert (like homemade crème caramel) or fresh fruit.
We usually stay at the table for awhile, talking about all kinds of things, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
My host dad is really into music and owns a lot of American & English albums, so I enjoy seeing what he’ll choose each night to listen to at dinner. Could be Norah Jones, Neil Young, Elvis…lately it’s been Sade, and if I had to pick a song of the trip at this point it would be Sade’s “Cherish the Day.”
After dinner, everyone has tea and we watch some French tv or maybe a World Cup game.