It’s only been a few days since I’ve left The Land Down Under, and yet, I’ve learned a lot about myself:
A) I’m easily fascinated. This became especially obvious when I was on the plane-the people sitting next to me thought it was hilarious when I became excited about the wrapped packets of cutlery. My French family were also bemused by my reaction towards the Italian sweets they brought home.
B) My French is terrible. So far, out of every rapid conversation I’ve paid attention to, I’ve only understood one word per sentence. I hope to increase that number to three words by the end of my stay here.
C) The little things are what make the differences in cultures most apparent. For example:
– my French family doesn’t own a microwave , nor an oven. This is making my quest for a cup of tea very difficult.
– the bathrooms here have pink toilet paper (although, apparently, white paper can also be used).
– “doughnuts,” are labelled “doony’s,” in France. There’s no need for the change, however-everyone just calls them “doughnuts,” anyway.
– French people never have eggs for breakfast. That’s just plain weird to me!
– Although this is well-known, it still freaked me out when I saw it in action for the first time: they drive on the right (wrong) side of the road.
D) I love it here.
I haven’t really had much of a chance to do much due to jetlag and a lack of clean clothing (see: second part of the poorly-presented, ridiculously long video linked below) so for the past few days, I’ve spent most of my time getting to know the family I’m staying with. They’re absolutely lovely, but the two girls’ proficiency with the English language is rather daunting. They’re both so good that I don’t know what I can teach them!
I’ve been eating well, because mealtimes and food in general are really important in France. My French dad, Marc, is a fantastic chef, and loves to experiment with his cooking. I know for certain that I am not going to starve here.
On Sunday, I went for a short walk with my French mum, Sylvie, and the family’s lovely dog, Pinup. The suburb where I live is incredibly beautiful, especially in springtime. The town explodes with colour: buildings are painted with vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow; vibrant flowers peek out from every walled garden; and the land is carpeted in lush greenery not found in a drought-stricken country like my home. When walking through the town centre, I felt like I was on a movie set due to the 18th century buildings and cobblestone paths. It’s incredible to be living in a place so rich with history. On Friday, I plan on going for another walk and checking out the bakery-as a lover of bread, eating an authentic French baguette is a priority for me.
Monday was spent celebrating Easter, which is known as Pâques in France. They don’t have the Easter Bunny here; instead, French children believe that chocolates are delivered by flying bells. I hunted for bonbons in the garden with the two girls (and learned that Easter chocolates aren’t just shaped like the traditional chickens and rabbits, but also cows, fish, ducks and bells) before enjoying a beautiful lunch with the family. Oh dear, it looks like my blog has already become food-oriented!
Tomorrow, I plan on taking the bus and subway into the heart of Lyon and exploring the grand city. It should be an interesting adventure.
Until next time,
I made a few (abominable-quality) videos to document my journey of approximately 16,800 kilometres from Sydney to Lyon. If you’re willing to watch over sixteen minutes of me blabbering about nothing in particular, here are the links:
Part one: http://youtu.be/KLiILF-X0tQ
Part two: http://youtu.be/F-EcQ7kAEDs
Below is the poor-quality photograph of Iran from 40,000 feet, taken through a window on my phone. During those rare moments when I could see land below, my nose remained permanently glued to the glass!
Featured photo is of the Maison Forte, a beautiful 18th century building that is now used as a tourism centre and music school.