I’m here in the beautiful city of Lyon and after fourteen hours of sleep last night, I feel pretty good. Travel went without a hitch, which for me is no small thing. Flying scares me, I realized that yesterday. I might not have thought to use the word before, but it’s true. It’s not the flying itself that scares me, for it’s not claustrophobia or fear of a crash. Rather, it’s the rush, the stress, it’s all those people. It’s the feeling of helplessness, or something like it. In the airport, on the plane, there’s so little I control. I am never so aware of how much my life is in the hands of others than when flying. The stress I feel tends to result in a hastily-made decision, some wrong turn or other that really puts me in a bind. This time went well, though, which was encouraging. And what fun is anything if it doesn’t scare you a little?
My host family from the study abroad program two years ago picked me up at the Lyon airport. The sun was setting beautifully. Chez eux, we had dinner: champagne and lots of little aperitif snacks and pizza with chèvre. We managed a good conversation, though all this time not in France has affected my ability to converse. While slightly discouraging, I’m sure it’ll only be a few weeks before I’m back to where I was.
My host sisters have grown and are now in the throes of l’adolescence, causing their parents all sorts of grief. They keep asking me if I was like this, as if worried this new attitude will never leave. I assured them that, selon moi, it’s completely normal. They’re a lot like me at twelve, fifteen (the eye-rolling, the indignation), just with sighs that sound a lot more French.
They’re still total cuties. The younger girl and I bonded over a love of goat cheese, and now she’ll root around in her salad and exclaim excitedly over finding a piece of Roquefort. Definitely a French middle-schooler if there ever was one.
Today I woke up and decided to use my one full day here to revisit some of my favorite spots. Happily, I knew my bus and metro stops like a natural (no getting lost!).
I took the funicular to Fourvière to marvel at the familiar view. From up there you can see the Saone river, the Place de Bellecour with the statue of Louis XIV, the cathedral in the Vieux Lyon…
It was perfect weather to walk, just the slightest bit chilly. This is my first time experiencing France in the fall and it’s feeling highly appropriate to wear my favorite kind of clothes: sweater dress, boots, scarf…
After touring the Basilique, I walked around the Vieux Lyon and visited the museum of cinema. It was dark and played classic movie music but this was the view :
I saw props and costumes from Harry Potter, Star Wars, the Terminator, Mrs. Doubtfire, Indiana Jones, and the Lord of the Rings, just to name a few. I learned a lot about special effects, makeup, and even how to shoot a sword-fighting scene on a miniature boat.
There were several rooms prohibited for “children and sensitive people.” Good call. These rooms were full of horror movie monsters, mummies and aliens, a ten foot (?) tall animatronic “alien queen” and synthetic corpses in various states of disarray.
The museum also houses a collection of miniature objects and miniature rooms. The artists overlooks no detail, as the rooms even contain appropriate “natural” light as the situation calls for. Here’s one example, a bouchon (traditional Lyonnais restaurant) about a foot long.
After a nice walk on the banks of the Saone, my feet were done for the day. Tomorrow, à Montluçon, my new home. A fellow teaching assistant is already there. She says it’s small, la vraie campagne (the country). Don’t know how I feel about that. In any case, I’m eager to finally see it.