Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lyon is looking better

TUESDAY, September 13, 2005
Ben and I decided to go looking for furniture and really anything useful for our house, not too hard since it’s completely empty! The idea was to go to Op/Thrift Shop for second hand goods (everything is so expensive here and we only need it for 4 months) shops first and Ikea after that. Unfortunately Lyon has a severe lack of second hand shops. There doesn’t seem to be a St Johns/ Red Cross/ Salvo’s presence here. We toddled along toward what I thought was an op shop (saw it when try to meet Ricky). We stopped off at a privately run second hand furniture store and discovered that you could buy the Ikea furniture there for more then it would be brand new at Ikea! When we found my store I had my fingers crossed that it was okay since I lead us al the way there. It turned out to be great. We got almost all the things we need for our kitchen for 5E which is incredible! All cutlery, cutting knives, plates, soup bowls, 2 big cooking bowls, 2 fry pans and after that this really nice woman just started throwing in random dishes and sheets! Amazing. We were ecstatically happy! Ben and I dropped our loot off and Nikki’s and took public transport out to Ikea. We priced fridges and other things out there too. At Ikea we bought some more kitchen stuff but realized we would have to come back for beds anyway. I am tossing up between a futon with a frame, just a futon or a mattress.

WEDNESDAY, September 14, 2005
Went to uni during the day and then quickly jumped on the train and took the metro to Hotel de Ville which is northeast from Nikki’s. I ran to meet Ben and our landlord to sign the contracts for our house. We then went up to the apartment (which seemed smaller to both Ben and I for some reason) and singed contacts, did the condition report and forked over large sums of money.

The first time looked at the house I noticed the size of the rooms, the number of power points and the lack of shelving/storage. The main question I asked was ‘Could I live here, is it was feasible?’. Now seeing it for the second time I notice that there are hooks in the kitchen and on the back of the doors in one of the rooms. Also, there are little shelves in the shower and Ben and I almost bought some! Note to new renters hold off until you know exactly what you need.

I left with only 10E in my pocket! I then returned to Nikki’s with Ben and enlisted my friend Andy (British) and his friend Sebastian to help us carry our kitchen and wine boxes back to Vieux Lyon. Afterwards we all continued onto an orientation activity called ‘Soiree Pub’ which was at a small private nightclub. I danced the night away to a large variety of music (mostly some crazy fast passed Italian/Spanish and America R&B with some golden oldies thrown in), made new friends and walked back home with Nikki and a nice Italian girl as I was without a bed in my new apartment.

THURSDAY September 15, 2005
Woke up early even though didn’t get to sleep until 3am. Went to uni. Went back to Nikki's for lunch (so nice to be so close) and woke here up! We had lunch and decided to meet up later to visit every students dream location, Ikea. Nikki wanted to buy a carpet and I needed a bed. We met at the International Office (my favourite place *sarcasm * and second home *unfortunately not sarcasm*) and took le metro et le tramway to the massive shopping complex where Ikea lives. I decided to buy a mattress instead of a futon I found one half price (due to a tiny rip in the fabric on one side). I also got 2 packs of really cool postcards because I love images, tiny little glasses to hold tea lights (a luxury item for 0.95E) and an extra pillow for when everyone comes to visit me and stay over! To get the mattress home, Nikki and I wheeled the mattress to the tram, took the train to Grange Blanche station where we got on the train with the mattress and took it to Vieux Lyon where we pushed/dragged/lifted it all the way to my apartment! It helped that Vieux Lyon has old drainage tiles down the middle of the cobbled road. People were very nice about the giant mattress on public transport and the streets. They kept saying things like ‘Bonne Courage’ and making jokes about being sleepy! We even ran into a big group of Aussie and British girls from uni! Ben somehow miraculously heard us from a shop and helped me take the mattress up to the 4th floor. That sounds easier then it was without an elevator and only a narrow spiral staircase. Nikki and I then went to her place with the intention of getting the last of my things and taking them back here but decided to chill and sleep instead. Nikki watched the worst American movie I have ever seen (about a giant lizard which bites people and turns then into zombies- If you think the plot is bad you should have seen the acting and the tight shirts + cleavage!) and I called home and talked with Mum and also talked with my Auntie + family.

FRIDAY, September 16, 2005
I have been here for 2 weeks! Hoora! I received an email from my friend Vanja who is currently in Holland with her twin sister. They are thinking of coming to Lyon around the end of September or the beginning of August so I am really excited about that. Maybe not so good for my French though. Went to uni in the morning and then hauled all my stuff to my new apartment! Finally! I will never have to haul that suitcase again! I vacuumed the whole house, unwrapped my mattress and started unpacking my suitcase finally. I have wanted access/closure with that for ages! It feels like I have been here for ages! I cleaned my coat rack (thank you landlord) and started hanging stuff everywhere. I also decided to fill my big Ikea worm with stuff which was a great idea until it got really heavy and fell off the wall…time for a solution (get back to you on that one). I decided to do some washing and after painfully forking out 3.20E for dishing washing soap. It took a bit too figure out the washing and 2 more loads to turn on the water tap so that the clothes would actually wash. I used string that I found randomly the other day stung between the doors to hang my clothes. Who says scavenging is not effective. Somewhere while I was on my hands and knees with the vacuum an Aussie guy from uni arrived. I invited him to stay with me earlier during the day as he is without accommodation (another case of ‘Ooops!’ by the International Office). Nikki turned up and we deiced to go meet friends at Hotel de Ville for ce soir's activities. We missed them but my new British friend Bumble was there and we ended up at the top of the Opera eating dessert and chatting with a beautiful view (perfect for a post card -in fact I have a post of exactly that) and good conversation. Bumble is hilariously funny and after taking we decided to go back to see his place which he claimed was small and made him feel like a giant (he is full of funny phrases like that. ‘I try to keep at least 2 or 3 addictions going at once’ is another one). He said he is bored in Lyon in his apartment alone so he smokes like a chimney. Nikki and I have now volunteered ourselves to help him quit. We talked into 3am when we walked back to my place, both wearing Bumble’s jumpers in the rain. It was freezing actually and we sang songs along the way to keep warm. Finishing off with ‘Advanced Australia Fair’ (both verses!)

SATURDAY, September 17, 2005
Hey guys! The 17th and 18th of September are called ‘Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine’. I have to research this some more but it means lots of things here are free entry like museums and movies are buy one get one free I think. So people queue up everywhere to see things that normally are not open to the public or you have to pay for.

Hey there! I woke up today in MY own bed. I woke up feeling really comfy. I then took a shower in my own shower where the showerhead is affixed to the wall (the majority of the places you have to hold the handle and soap it up). So nice to be clean! There is a soap rack in the shower and everything! I opened the window and felt a chill in the breeze, like ice. I think yesterday was autumn and now today it’s winter. I was happy to try out my new coat and ugg boots (still with the tags on)

We started out today as all days do here…at the bakery. I decided to buy a ‘brioche au chocolate’ which is like the offspring of a croissant and some bread with chocolate chips (not average Aussie choc chips- they are darker and more powdery….hard to explain) of course. Its yum and more substantial then a croissant. We took the metro North to Croix-Rousse where we heard there was a market with free food. It turned out to be free freshly pressed grape juice mais c’est d’accord. At the local market I decided to buy another cheese to try ‘Brie de Meaux Donge- Appellatan d’origine’. I later decided that this cheese tastes like decomposition has set into much for me but with no food in the house I intend to eat it regardless. Nikki and I bought some hand painted tiles the market (a little expensive but very unique). We then trained it back to Hotel de Ville to see the Hotel de Ville (lavishly decorated Town Hall). We went in saw the first room, were bombarded with brochures for the arts and then kicked out because they were closing for lunch (bizarre). We headed back to mine, Nikki decided to go home and rug up and then rendez vous-ed with Rob and I at McDonalds for much needed internet access. I needed to find out what was going on with my finances! Having money access problems = not good! Nikki and I decided to go see a free puppet show (a big thing here) at 3pm but having missed it we milled about until 4pm to watch the next one. Bumble joined us and once again I wished I could understand better what was going on! On our way back we bought a ‘Coussins de Lyon’ which is a famous lollie here. It doesn’t taste like much as it’s almond paste filled with chocolate. Back to McDonalds to collect Rob and my computer and then stop by a church on the way home. Ran into Nikki’s friend Jeaana on the way (amazing to run into someone you know in a city you have only been in for 2 weeks!). Couldn’t find the church so settled on some random church and then Rob and Bumble I am went to MY apartment.

Tonight I cooked my own meal in my own kitchen with my own dishes! Rob and I ate Pasta, which Bumble added onion, garlic and tomatoes to the sauce. Then Rob went to look at a mezzanine in someone’s house (they turned out to be smokers who usually don’t smoke in the house but were tonight and have a cat which he may be allergic to). Bumble departed for home and I got to try and sort out all my stuff (my laundry is DRY! And now I am looking for somewhere to put it…hummm…?), write what’s been happening and update my list of important info on my computer. I keep a print out in my wallet in case I lose something or forget to bring a document. Also, if I lose my wallet I have all the details and numbers necessary to survive and cancel cards (no passwords or anything on this list). And then let there be decoration and clean up! Operation ‘make Cara’s room look like Cara’s room!’. And it is going fabulously! Hooray for that! Hooray for me. My Wine box idea is working very well I will have all you skeptics (what skeptics?) know! I have a tiny 2-box high bookshelf and it looks great. Nikki has the others since she let me stay with her. The large wine boxes are in the kitchen on the pantry shelves and are going to be filled with food soon when Ben returns after visiting his family! Right now the sum total of my food: mostly gone cheese, sultanas and almost finished bag of pasta. Can wash the dishes, neither soap nor sponge. Can’t even light the stove, neither matches nor lighter. The little store below is outrageously expensive so I guess it will all happen Monday.

SUNDAY
September 18, 2005
Today we slept in (oh mon dieu)! Rob and I went down to the little bakery near me. I bought a baguette for later and a brioche de praline, which is like a croissant, covered in sugar and red sugary lollie things. Then we made our way to Hotel de Ville. We decided to go to the Opera after realising the queue was longish and the place would close for lunch in half an hour (something which I still find amazing and wonder why the word roster never came into effect). At the Opera we saw the elaborately decorated foyer while a man explained its history (would have been very interesting but I didn’t understand a lot and found myself investigating my feet/nails). We then got to go into the auditorium where the Opera is held. After running into some fellow exchange students we decided to go to l'Eglise (church) Notre-Dame Saint-Vincent because it was close and not closed for lunch (no, this is not the case with all the churches!). After that we decided to continue on along the river to see the other stops. The first was ‘Les Subsistances’ an old restored monastery/military building that is now a new center for contemporary art. It is hard reading things in French because you don’t really understand what you’re looking at! I looked at the buildings, took some photos and ended up taking to this French guy for a while. He might know somewhere for Rob to live. He was really nice and our conversation wasn’t too bad in French (YAY!). Got his number for my house warming. Rob decided to retire at this stage so I continued up the river to visit CAUE (Conseil d’Architecture d’urbanisme et de l’environnement du Rhone) where I saw an exhibition on Tony Garnier, a famous architect in Lyon (would have been great to understand more). There are free postcards here that I have been picking up and one of them was for this exhibition so that was cool. After that I visited ‘Le grenier d’abondance’ which is another restored building and saw exhibitions about performing Arts. After that I climbed a hill to Fort Saint-Jean, which has been remodeled, into a school (l’Ecole nationnale du Tresor public). I saw a nice view, saw a video on the renovations, picked some lavender for my house and left. I would have liked to walk around the grounds some more but they were closed. Back to the flat and ate my second meal of bread for the day with some of the nastier cheese which I am getting used to. Rob and I then decided to try and see the rest of Hotel de Ville on our way to McDonalds to use the wireless internet. The queue was HUGE now but we saw some exchange students and decided to wait it out with them. The inside was very pretty. We saw lots of rooms on the first floor and on the ground floor were bombarded with more leaflets and brochures like yesterday. The number of different musical groups and performing arts companies stuck me in general. So many tables and brochures and they are all really cheap for students (because we have no money). We then finally got to McDonalds where I am now!

MONDAY September 19, 2005
I didn’t sleep well last night. Rob is still here so I shared my (fabulous) bed when I really just wanted to sprawl! So I slept in until 8:30, got ready quickly (Ben left a half of baguette which I turned into a vegemite and cheese sandwich), bought a Viennoise for breakie, and walked to Hotel de Ville. I took the metro to Sans Souci (without worries) and went into uni. I went to he international office where I asked a few people how to choose subjects (the staff have no idea either), complained a bit with the other exchange students about it (heard lots of ‘back home its organized and we just….’) and then decided to get to it and find timetables. This is really the only thing to do without subject descriptions. Look at the timetable, find something interesting and write it down. As I was looking at the timetables for letters et langues (arts and languages), 2 French guys approached us (I was standing with 2 Americans) asked us our names and then one professed ‘I love you’ repeatedly to me with big eyes like he was enamored. Now I don’t know about you but I find this hard to believe since I had met him 3 mins earlier! He whispered in my ear that he wanted to see me after classes and that I was ‘tres jolie’ et ‘belle’ (an impossibility since I had not even brushed my hair this morning) while all the time I said ‘C’est tres syampa. Merci’ while giving him non believing looks followed by ‘I have to look at the timetable for classes’. Kind of unbelievable really! I then when to my baby French class where we talked about the media and wrote paragraphs which the teacher corrected one on one (really great, that never happens).

After my class I looked everywhere for gestion (business) timetables. I ended up feeling pretty defeated by the time I met Ben at 2pm. The system is really disoragnised. You are just supposed to wander around until you bump into you’re the timetable that you want.
Ben and I decided to go look at transduction (translation) classes and then go to the computer room. I wrote invites for our housewarming party and emailed (my Aussie friend Dhivya is thinking of coming this week from London) until 4pm when I had the baby French class again. At 6pm after my class, Ben and I made our way by bus to Part Dieu to shop at Carrefour for food and house things (like dish washing detergent and sponges). I pinched more wine boxes (little ones this time- one for cutlery, one for clothes and one for Ben). We bought pasta, couscous, beans, cereal, milk, fruit, veg, yogurt, cheese, chocolate and more! We got home at almost 9pm lugging 3 wine boxes, a backpack and shopping bag of groceries. Ben cooked dinner (frittata- eggs, mushrooms, capsicum, green beans) while I loaded up…you guessed it….wine boxes with food and took some photos to celebrate our success and permier repas (first meal). I felt like I had not had a decent meal in ages (which is so true, bread, bread and more bread) and was so happy! No really, so so happy. We both were. Now that we have food it really feels like we live here. We now have a fruit bowl (from the op shop) with bananas, apples, a pear, peach, and an even an avocado. We also now have 5 kinds of cheese in the fridge (YAY! I love cheese), we must be in France! Rob arrived looking defeated, still no place to live (the accommodation woman didn’t turn up to work at all today). We then ate cake (Gateau Marbre Cocao- produit en Bretagne) and milk (which I set a trend by dipping) and felt like absolute kings! Calcium! I was actually able to wash dishes with soap and that too made me feel very happy! All the dishes are clean! Yay! More wine boxes! Yay! I am full! Yay! It is the simple things in life you treasure….and for everything else…C’est la France and that’s why its not simple.

9 comments:

Mr David said...

Hey!

I'm sure the brit's wont be suprised to hear the way you are being treated by the Frenchmen! hehe

Patrimoine day sounded like fun, I wish I could have come with you to the fort and the architecture museum!! grrrr! Mum and Dad are in Goulburn at the moment! Rachel and Dave are flying up to meet Jan and Neil in Newcastle and drive up together. It's the worst thing about being away not being able to take you to Forster with my family this year!

I guess you'll have to settle for Cannes and I for South Beach. Thinking about going on a Bahamas cruise in a couple of weeks....

Are you going to forget about being a vegetarian for a couple of minutes to try a snail?? :)

Where are the photo's of your apartment? When do you start school?

Love

Mr David said...

avis d'ouragan

hehe

Cara's Mom & Pat said...

So WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS ???

Please add photos of Ben, Nikki,Rob,& Brittish guy 'Bumble'!
I want to see your room, your kitchen, the International Student office at the Uni...photos of the Metro please...and the bakery where you buy your breakfast! The view from the Top of the Opera, The street you live on , the front of your apartment building...
Photos please!!!!
Love Mom

claire bear said...

Cara,

Okay, you mum is going just a little insane without you. I personally don't need photo's (though I would like them) because you are describing everything so beautifully.

Life here is good, a little hectic but good. I am currently in a production week and suffering from second night syndrome. A truly terrible performance!!! lets hope tonight is better. Mum and dad are coming and they haven't seen me perform in years. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit nervous, what if they don't like it???
Listen to me, here I am freaking out about the smallest things when you are dealing with actual problems that actually matter (like having somewhere to live) with the class and grace that you carry with you where ever you go. Okay, I have an assignment that was due on last monday and i still haven't finished it. So I am going to give you massive hug, a sloppy kiss, tell you that you are beautiful and go.

Love you

Claire

Anonymous said...

Hey!!

great to hear things are finally starting to settle down. it sounds like you have made some great friends over there, and are begining to experience what life is really like in France.

Send some photos of your appartment and friends

Luv Rhiannon

kristel said...

hey mon ami,
i agree with ur mum and patrick! photos! please my love! a photo tells a thousand words..=)i just wanna see some of these people, like Bumble, everytime i read Bumble i just keep on picturing a large yellow and black bee buzzing around in the air behind u!
hope that you are having a wonderful time, and making lots of friends and having heaps of adventures!
love kris xox

Cara Bradley said...

Dave, you are Dave! Rachel and Dave? What the? Appartment and schhol news soon! Forster sound sreally good about now! avis d'ouragan = hurricane warning... very good Dave! Mummy photos are coming just for you (Rhiannon? Kris and Claire too) I've taken a lot already but I have to get back to McDonalds again to put them on. Thanks for the sloppy kiss Clairess. Hope your 2nd performance went better then the 1st! What part were you performing...not back stage organising this time? I know, Bumble is a great name huh Kris! ?y adventures so far involve finding food and classes at uni (that REALLY is an adventure) but soon I hope to travel to other cities in France!

Mr David said...

heheh I am Dave, but Dave is also Rachel's boyfriend!! hehe how cute... he is a really cool guy, it's a shame we can't all hang out at Forster main beach and go to the dodgy Chinese place that's falling into the ground this year! I like being swallowed up by the ground! :)

Hooray for google translations I say... suprisingly I didn't know the phrase 'hurricane warning' in French off the top of my head.....

Stay safe punkin!

Emily said...

Hi Cara!!

It all sounds a lot of fun over there, though very adventurous...your eating sounds fun especailly and very french...chocolate for breakfast! Sounds like a good plan to me!

I'm very proud of the way your handling things, you are doing so so well and best of all you manage to come out having heaps of fun and making heaps of new friends...your a legend!

And i agree...keep more photos coming, i think we'd like to have a web cam following you around during the day...but we will settle for lots and lots of photos!

Hugs from Emily