Sometimes it can be hard to really enjoy the places where we spend most of our time. They become routine and normal and seem to lack the luster of a new adventure. That being said, a little research goes a long way. There is ALWAYS something to do. This post is going to be all about my favorite memories from Lyon because although I haven’t written about it yet, I actually really love it here.
So, rewind about a month, I moved into the dorm in Lyon after a whirlwind week of travel in the Cote d’Azur and Provence regions (pictures below).
In the U.S., the French have the stereotype of being quite cold and unfriendly, but I have not found this to be true. Most people are very kind and amiable. I think that this stereotype exists because a large portion of Americans that come to France do not speak any French. With increased globalization comes a decreased interest in individualized culture, which can be oppressive and offensive. One of the key elements to a successful inter-human relationship is effort. If you want people to take you seriously, then you need to actually try to engage in the conversation and have an interest in integrating to a new culture, i.e., don’t assume that everyone everywhere speaks the same language that you do. One of the greatest challenges of our time is finding the balance between taking advantage of the opportunities to learn about other cultures while preserving the individualized nature of each culture. So I can appreciate the desire of the French to want to preserve their language. When someone automatically assumes that he/she can disregard native culture for his/her own, of course there will be some push back. So again I say, when you visit another place, just try to speak the language. Even if you make mistakes, it is the thought and the effort that makes the positive impression.
With that, let’s officially begin.
I have had great experiences here in Lyon. Every week comes with the promise of new adventure and experience. On Tuesdays, I go to a local elementary school and help some 1st grade students with their English. I love it! The kids are so cute! They are all so happy and excited, but very well behaved. Sometimes we play Simon Says, sometimes we practice saying the days of the week, and sometimes we talk about animals. I have a lot of fun, and I hope that they enjoy it as well. The school is located behind the Notre Dame de Fourvière, which is the big cathedral overlooking the city. The walk every Tuesday is gorgeous, and the views of the city are spectacular.
Last week, I had the opportunity to eat dinner with a Lyonnaise family. The whole evening was great. We had a delicious meal as well as a wonderful opportunity to practice conversational French, instead of the more formal French that we speak in class.
Sometimes I like to go to the Parc de la Tête d’Or (Park of the Golden Head), which is just a huge park with lots of different gardens and a zoo. It’s pretty great. I find the nature to be really refreshing because I feel like I only see concrete and brick all day, every day.
Another one of my favorite things to do is go to the market on the Saône River. Although it is set up every morning, the best day to go is Saturday because for some reasons, the apples look redder, the flowers are brighter, and the bread smells more delicious.
Apart from outdoor attractions, there are also a lot of museums in Lyon. One of which is the Musée des Confluences, probably the best natural history museum that I have ever visited. I had a teacher once who told me never to say that anything is boring because that meant that my mind was closed to learning new things, so I won’t say that natural history is boring, but read between the lines. However, this museum is different because is centered around the questions “Where do we come from? Who are we? and What do we do?” I think I liked it so well because of the anthropological approach to natural history. The museum is located right where the two rivers in Lyon (the Saône and the Rhône) come together, thus the name Musée des Confluences.
And finally, here are some of my favorite pictures from my time here
With that, bonne journée!