I’ve heard that money spent on travelling is money well spent because it’s the only thing that you can buy that will make you richer. I have to keep reminding myself this as I watch my bank account balance quickly deteriorate while my weekends become more and more packed with trips to new destinations. Within the next three months, I will be visiting; Paris, Dublin, Lisbon, Barcelona and Berlin. Those are the trips that I have booked so far, and my wallet is most certainly feeling the affects of it, but I am beyond ready and willing to throw my money into flights and hostels if it means I get the chance to see what the world has to offer. I am also hoping to visit London after my exams are over in December, and I’d love to see a bit more of France while I am here. We’ll see how far I can stretch my money – good thing baguettes are cheap here, I think I’ll just live off of bread for the semester. They say carbs are good for runners, right?
With only two free weekends left in November, and none in October, I’m beginning to realize how quickly my semester abroad is going to fly by. It feels like just yesterday I arrived in my hotel in a strange new city, overwhelmed by the prospect of a starting a new life in a foreign country. But here I am today, eating Nutella and baguette as a late-night snack like any other Frenchy (or so I’d like to think). I’m really feeling settled and comfortable in my new environment, and I am happy to be back into a regular school routine, finding time to run, meet up with friends for dinner and fitting in some time to tackle my pile of french homework. I have already found a favourite spot in the library on campus, which Ian jokes will always be my home away from home, no matter what country or city I am in. I find comfort in being surrounded by books and the silence of concentrating students.
But most of the desire of being an exchange student is escaping the academic life in order to see the world around us, which I will always manage to find time for. This past weekend I went to Geneva for four other girls. Two of the girls stayed overnight, but unwilling to pay the costly Genevan hotel prices, I opted to train in just for the day on Saturday, which only cost me 26 euros roundtrip thanks to student pricing. It was a beautiful city, but I’m not sure I would’ve wanted to stay any longer than a day.
We started our day at the UN, which had a line that looked like it would’ve been over a two hour wait to stand in, so we took pictures of the “broken chair” and the line up of flags, then went to hunt down a fondue restaurant.
The fondue was quite tasty and cost us each 10 euro, which seemed affordable considering what we had heard about prices in Geneva.
On our way back to the city from the restaurant we noticed the line had only about a ten minute wait, so we got in it. Unbeknownst to us, the one day we decided to visit Geneva happened to be the one day in two years that the UN is opened to the public for free. After going through security, we got a short tour and then were given free range to roam around the property and through the buildings.
I still can’t believe our luck, and 3/4 of the girls I was with are studying International Relations, so they were in “academic heaven”. The rest of the day we spent along Lake Geneva, which was beautiful. We made friends with some very tame swans and got drinks along the water. It was the perfect ending to a Swiss day.
I should probably be heading to bed sometime soon but I am far too excited to be sleeping. Ian leaves for Lyon on Friday, which means we will be reunited in 3 sleeps! I am so excited for him to see Europe and for him to get a glimpse of the life I have made for myself here in Lyon. We will be sight seeing in Lyon for the weekend, and then next weekend we are going to Paris for my birthday!
I had my frist two non-french classes today, which went well. It’s different than the Canadian learning environment because we don’t have to buy our own books and our mark is based only off 2-3 assignments/tests, but that is perfectly ok with me. I have two more classes tomorrow and then it is my weekend! I plan on spending Friday studying in a coffee shop, and getting my place ready for Ian’s visit. I’ll keep everyone posted on my life in France as best I can.
Love and miss everyone back home,