“French Civilisation and Culture” is the name of the classes I have been going through at school since last Wednesday. It has been interesting, and has explained a lot about France and their customs. Some of which I love, and others which I am learning to appreciate/tolerate. For instance, because France is a secular country, elementary school kids don’t have class on Wednesdays in case their parents want them to get religious education. Drinking in public is OK, which makes for a fun Tuesday evening of enjoying wine with friends along the Saone.
I’ve noticed a few other things about France in my short time here: road signs are very small and sometimes hard to find/read (which makes it easy to get lost in a new city); there are bakeries on every other street corner (dangerous for my “girlish” figure, haha); the transit system here is amazing; and long lunch hours (generally from 12-1:30/2:00) make it difficult to get anything done during class breaks. I had heard before coming to France that the French work to live, as opposed to the North American system of living to work. It’s a refreshing atmosphere to be living in, where nothing seems quite as urgent or stressful as it would back home. I had been pretty concerned about having the proper paperwork and being enrolled in the right programs/classes before getting to Université Jean Moulin, but from my first week’s experience, i now realize that the laid back French system makes for a much less stress-inducing experience (even if it’s not always the most effective or speedy process).
With only one day left of French Civilisation and Culture classes, my weekend getaway to Marseilles seems within reach! We are taking to the TGV to Marseilles Friday night, and we get back into Lyon on Sunday around 9 pm, so we have most of Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea and the beaches. Tomorrow I have to write a French placement test in order to determine which French class I will be taking for the rest of the semester. I’m not worried about the test, but I am anxious to find out when I will have French class because that will determine what other courses I can take, and I will hopefully finally know what my schedule will look like for the fall. I’d love to be booking more trips throughout Europe, but have been hesitant because I want to know if I will have Mondays or Fridays off, etc.
Not much else to report on from here in Lyon, but I’m sure I will have more exciting stories when I get back from my weekend away!