La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

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Getting ready to say goodbye

I’m home alone, enjoying the silence of no football on TV, putting the finishing touches on my school reports, watching a storm roll in from the west and making the most of my final month in Francheville.

No no, I’m not moving back to Australia (sorry Mum and Dad). I’m moving into Lyon proper – Sim and I have bought a flat in the 5th arrondissement. It’s a good time to buy in France. The interest rate is quite low at the moment – not low enough to be worried, but low enough so that housing is quite affordable for us. It’s the main reason we decided to buy. Mortgage payments are not much dearer than the rent we’re paying now – why not spend that money on something that’s ours ?

We’ve had a good couple of years here in Francheville. Our flat is in the centre ville of Francheville le Bas. It’s close to everything – bus, school, bakery, patisserie, hairdresser, vet, pizza shop, bar, markets, kebab shop, French style 7-11, supermarket, countryside…I’m going to miss it.

Our new flat isn’t far from Francheville. Like Francheville borders with Oullins, Francheville borders with the 5th. It’s 10 minutes away from here; 10 minutes closer to the city. I’ll be able to walk or bike to school (I can technically do that now, but my school is on top of a big hill and I dislike arriving at work one big sweaty betty).

Our new neighbourhood is on the border of le Point-du-Jour and Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon. It’s a great area, and should be easy enough to sell when the time comes (as much as I frowned upon the idea of buying to sell but hey – we’ll need to finance our farm-house-with-swimming-pool somehow, right ?!).

Here :-)

Here 🙂

 

See you when you come to visit !

Bisous !

 

Vive les vacances !

School holiday wise, France is divided into three zones. Summer, autumn and Christmas holidays are the same across the country. Winter and spring holidays, however, are staggered. Here in Lyon, we’re Zone A. As I write, we’re nearing the end of our two-week break. Zone C are nearly halfway through and Zone B will be starting as I head back to work on Monday. Each year the zones rotate – Zone A is not always the first ‘zone off the rank’ !

So yes, I’m on school holidays at the moment and am loving hanging around at home, in my own space and doing..well, a whole lot of nothing ! Although that’s not strictly true, I am doing things – I’m

  • making my way through the complete works of Jonathan Kellerman,
  • pinning home deco ideas for our up-and-coming flat (and maybe some cute pictures of foxes too !),
  • planning for the third and final trimester at school,
  • enjoying the spring sunshine on our balcony,
  • cooking, crafting, writing, scrapbooking…

The list goes on, but the common theme is that everything I’m doing can be done from the comfort of my own home.

Some well-meaning people wonder aloud if I’m not too bored with my ‘stay-cation’ but I shake my head, no. In fact, I’m happiest when I have an empty calendar !

Anyhoo, I have this little goon to keep me company !

Bisous !

Smartgift

If you’re not sure what to offer someone for a special occasion, a Smartbox is an interesting take on the traditional voucher. Smartboxes are theme based, so you can give an adventure box, a relaxation box, a weekend away box…the list goes on.

The box has a booklet inside, which lists all the offers from participating organisations all over France. An adventure box, for example, might contain an offer for jetskiing in Nice, a drive in a race car in Le Mans or paragliding in the Alps. There are hundreds of things to choose from. The lucky recipient just has to decide and make the booking.

Our friends know me us so well, the ones we’ve received have always been in the gastronomie theme…

Bisous !

Happy New Year

Yes yes, it’s February (almost March !) but I did start writing this post in January – I promise ! I know it’s cliché, but I can’t believe how fast 2013 went. Here’s a little post about the year that was.

We welcomed 2013 in Grenoble with Seb and Clo, Ludo and Louise, and a rabbit named Mojitos. I started job hunting and was successful – I got a post teaching CE1 English, to start in March.

I was thrown in the deep end at school in February, filling in for the CE2 teacher who’d broken her ribs. I kept all my tutoring hours on top of my new work schedule and wound up run down with the flu, just in time for the holidays !

In March, we welcomed baby Luce into the world, and Sim became her godfather. I started teaching my own grade, and was flat out getting my classroom set up and routines in place. I moved all my tutoring sessions to Saturday, and really didn’t have much time for anything else !

In April I blew out 34 candles and had school holidays. We took a hot trip down South, and began the Parc de la Tête d’Or picnic season.

May was unseasonably cold, and we even had a tiny bit of snow on Clo’s hen’s day. I officially became a godmother at Léo’s bapteme, and made my French public speaking debut at the church. There were several public holidays, and Sim and I bid au revoir to Oullins and bonjour to Francheville.

In June, Mum and Dad came to visit. They stayed for a couple of weeks and they had fun at Seb and Clo’s wedding, in Nîmes, at the Fête de la Musique and at my school’s Fête de l’Ecole. School finished for the summer (just after our school camp), and Knacki came to live with us.

July was quiet and hot. We watched le Tour, and even went to see the riders pass by. We had many apéros on our little balcony, and many bottles of rosé were consumed !

August was more of the same. We spent a week house sitting in Rioz, and I spent four days in Paris with and old, dear friend.

The beginning of September was la rentrée, and school got off to good start. So good and so busy, in fact, that I stopped writing my blog ! My school hours were different (that means I did NOT continue supervising études after school !) and I spread my tutoring hours out during the week.

In October, one of my best friends came to visit and I showed off lovely Lyon. Sim and I had a mid week trip to Grenoble and Aix les Bains, and we also spent time in Rioz with the nephews.

November saw Lyon’s first (and – dare I say it – only) snow for the season, and we snuggled down. It was a quiet month, with the monotony of work being broken up with some fun birthday parties and dinners with friends and colleagues. We celebrated our 1 year PACS anniversary.

Lyon was a madhouse in December during the Fête des Lumières, which was beautiful as usual. The highlight though, was going home to Australia for two wonderful weeks ! I spent Christmas and New Year’s at the beach, with my family and friends. It’s been far too long since I’ve done that, and my New Year’s resolution is not to leave it so long between drinks again !

Bisous, and all the very best for 2014 !

Au revoir Oullins !

Sim and I are moving ! No, not back to Aus (not yet !), but we’ll be bidding au revoir to Oullins and saying bonjour to Francheville in a few weeks. Francheville’s not far, it neighbours Oullins to the west and is just that little bit closer to work for both of us. In fact, I’ll be able to walk to and from work. Walking to work involves a big hill however, so to avoid arriving at school one big sweaty betty, it might be more practical (and less smelly !) to walk home.

We started thinking about moving not long after I got my new job. Having two wages (as meagre as they are !) allowed us to start looking for a bigger, lighter appartment with either a parking place or a garage (and a balcony, plus a seperate bathroom with a bath..!) with the idea of moving at the end of June/start of July.

Organising our papers to give to potential landlords made me think of getting ready for a visit to the préfecture ! Luckily I have an excellent boyfriend who was on holidays and had time to organise everything – papers, phone calls and visits !

Sim visited one appartment in Oullins, which at 40m2 wasn’t that much bigger than where we are now, so he didn’t apply for it. We visited the Francheville one together, loved it, applied for it and got it !

It ticks all the boxes, and more – 60m2, renovated, fully equipped kitchen (surprisingly uncommon for rentals in France), first floor, a little balcony, a seperate bathroom with a bath, a parking place AND a garage ! We’re moving a month earlier that we’d planned but never mind – the new apartment is excellent !

Now it’s time to get our little Oullinois appartment ready for show. We have two visits here tomorrow, so I must go – the vaccuum cleaner is calling me !

Bisous !

Cours Elementaire 1

As my life has been totally consumed by work, so too shall my blog – at least until the holidays !

I’ve been working with my new grade, CE1, for four weeks now. They’re a normal, likeable bunch of 7 and 8 year olds. I have 16 students in my morning group, and 18 in my afternoon group. They all call me Jayde.

The focus for this age group is vocabulary. We work to a weekly theme, be it Easter, The Countryside or Spring, and base all of our activities around said theme. The kids do all manner of reading/writing/speaking/listening activities and are graded in terms of Very Good/Satisfactory/Progressing etc.

English is the only subject I teach, though I try to squeeze some respect/values/Being A Good Person stuff in too. History, Geography and Science are taught in English, just not at this level.

They’re a switched-on group, and I am continually (pleasantly !) surprised by how much English they know and understand.

They also know who Don Spencer is, what textas are and when arvo is !

Bisous !

It’s positively estival !

Over the holiday period, the weather has been anything but wintery, and I got to use one of my favourite French words – estival, meaning summery – a lot. Even though the temperature has been between 10 and 15° (hey, that’s a South Gippsland summer right there, no ?!), the days have been crisp, clear and blue-skied.

Looking out over Lyon, with the Alpes and Mont Blanc in the background, 29/12/12.

Looking out over Lyon, with the Alpes and Mont Blanc in the background, 29/12/12.

When we headed out for a sunny afternoon stroll after Christmas lunch, there was much discussion amongst the Frenchies about how un-Christmassy it was, and how they couldn’t remember a Christmas so warm. We found a bit of snow to play around in over New Year’s at Grenoble, but had to drive up to nearly 1500 metres !

I don’t know why the word estival appeals to me so much – perhaps it’s because it’s so similar to festival, and I do love a good festival; or perhaps it’s just the meaning of the word itself, and the good feelings that nice weather brings.

Bisous !

2012: Le Résumé

J’ai été malade pendant le réveillon, donc j’ai accueilli 2012 avec mon doudou sur ma tête et un seau à côté de mon lit ! Sim a eu sa reconstruction du genou et je suis devenu infirmière et chauffeur. Il neigeait, beaucoup, et j’ai appris à conduire sur  cette chose glissante et blanche ! Nous avons mangé la galette, et célébré la Nouvelle Année Chinoise. La fête nationale de l’Australie est venue et parti avec tourte à la viande et la bière Fosters. Je suis allée à mon premier match du football (que nous avons perdu !), et j’ai fini mon premier semestre au CIEF avec une note presque parfaite pour mon diplôme A1.

Février était glacé et blanc, avec une vague de froid qui a duré presque deux semaines. La plus haute température moyenne pour tout le  pays a été 3° et j’ai découvert mon premier -14° ! J’ai passé une semaine avec le frère de Sim et sa famille, et j’ai visité l’école où il enseigne. Les Enfoirés ont fait leur spectacle à Lyon. Sim était occupé avec son kiné, nous avons eu notre deuxième anniversaire et j’ai commencé mon deuxième semestre à l’université.

Mars a été flou ! Mes cours étaient très difficile, et j’ai passé la plupart du temps à étudier (et à péter un câble) !  La France était en mode élection, la météo s’est améliorée, et nous avons encore gardé Tutcho. J’ai visité quelques écoles internationales pendant leur journées portes ouverts, et fêté St Patrick’s Day avec une école d’anglais. Les éboueurs faisaient la grève, et la ville puait !

Avril était super, parce que Maman, Papa et Chelsee sont venus me rendre visite (et les éboueurs ont recommencé leur travail) ! J’ai eu deux semaines de vacances pour Pâques et j’ai passé de super bons moments en montrant 3/5 de ma famille autour mon nouveau pays. Nous avons visité Beaune, Dijon, Besançon, la région du Beaujolais, St Sym, St Etienne, Paris et, bien sûr, Lyon. Nous sommes allés au football, mangé au bouchon Lyonnais et à la Brasserie Georges, fait une croisière dînatoire, vu la grande ouverture de la Confluence et exploré Lyon pendant des heures (sous la pluie) !

Le soleil a réapparu en Mai, sauf le week-end que j’ai  passé à Hossegor – il pleuvait ! J’ai vu Cœur de Pirate à St Etienne avec la cousine de Sim, sa fille et une amie australienne. J’ai eu des examens, et j’ai fini B1 avec un 16 sur 20. J’ai passé une très bonne matinée à la préfecture et renouvelé mon titre de séjour, et François Holland est devenu le nouveau président de la République. Et le 22, nous avons accueilli Léo dans la famille, le deuxième fils de Pierrick et Nelly, et un (pas vraiment !) petit frère pour Evan.

Juin = l’été ! J’ai acheté un abonnement à la piscine et je l’ai utilisé presque chaque jour, en profitant bien pendant que tous les enfants étaient toujours à l’école ! Sim m’a emmené à Disneyland, et nous y avons couru autour comme des enfants toute la journée – il a même porté des oreilles de Minnie ! Nous sommes allés à un grand pique-nique familial et nous avons mangé comme des ours ! Nous avons dansé dans les rues de Lyon pour la Fête de la Musique. J’ai commencé un cours d’été de 4 semaines, car  je ne pouvais pas obtenir assez de grammaire française… !

J’ai continué et fini mon cours en juillet, le soleil brillait toujours autant,  et je suis allée à la piscine du Rhône, la plupart du temps, les midis. J’ai rencontré de bons nouveaux amis, et ensemble nous avons passé un week-end à Avignon, Arles et St-Rémy-de-Provence dans le Sud. Nous avons fêté le 14 avec un pique-nique très alcoolisé sur le quai. Sim et ses cousins ont organisé un week-end pour leurs grands-parents chez Pierrick et Nelly, et nous avons passé de bons moments en visitant Besançon et Rioz, en jouant à la pétanque et au cricket et aussi, vous l’avez deviné – manger !

Août est arrivé, chaud et lent, avec les jours qui se suivent et se ressemblent, et je suis allée en Italie avec Clo pendant une semaine. J’ai fait du mamie-sitting, opposition du baby-sitting, avec une belle veille dame qui s’appelle Madame Juliette. Léo m’a envoyé un mail (quel intelligent bébé !) et m’a demandé d’être sa marraine, ce que j’ai accepté ! Lyon a eu une canicule, mais nous étions en vacances dans le Sud, donc nous avons raté  le pire.

Septembre a débuté avec une autre réunion de famille, cette fois un week-end dans un gîte à Chissey-lès-Macon. Anne-Gaëlle et Raph (la sœur de Sim et son copain) ont annoncé qu’elle était enceinte. Je suis rentré dans le rythme de mes études, après avoir attendu pendant quelques semaines pour des procédures administratives simples d’être effectuées (hey, c’est la façon française !) et j’ai commencé niveau B2.

En octobre, Sim et moi ont commencé le processus pour se Pacser. Il faisait toujours assez beau, et j’ai passé une journée super comme guide touristique avec des amis australiens ! Nous avons reçu des billets gratuits pour un match d’Europa League, Lyon vs Athletic Bilbao, et nous avons vu les français battre les espagnols 2-1. J’ai commencé le tutorat de deux adolescents français pour travailler leur conversation d’anglais. Nous avons passé des moments de qualité avec nos neveux, j’ai bien étudié, et La Vie à Lyon a fêté son premier anniversaire !

J’ai eu mes partiels en novembre, et ils se sont assez bien passés. Sim et moi, nous nous sommes Pacsé, et une autre amie australienne nous a rendu visite. J’ai trouvé un autre petit boulot de tutorat, cette fois avec un garçon anglais. Les arbres sont devenu orange et or, et la grande roue a été érigé sur la Place Bellecour. Je suis allée à la Halle Tony Garnier pour la première fois, pour voir The Black Keys avec Stef.

Decembre est arrivé, ainsi que mon frère ! Nous avons passé une super semaine ensemble (loin d’être assez long !), et nous sommes allés à Grenoble, Annecy et St Sym. Nous avons bu du kir royal et du cidre, et mangé des quenelles, de la raclette, de la tartiflette et du cervelas. Il y avait la Fête des Lumières, et nous avons adoré les Anoukis ! Nous avons vu The Hives au Transbo, et les Verts perdre contre les Lyonnais au Derby. Pierrick a couru la SaintéLyon, et j’ai changé mon titre de séjour. J’ai passé mes examens finaux, dont 11 pendant une semaine horrible, et j’ai eu la gastro à la fin ! Noël est venu et parti, avec beaucoup de bonheur, et maintenant nous sommes en train de nous préparer pour aller encore à Grenoble pour accueillir 2013 aves quelques amis proches.

Je vous souhaite tout le meilleur pour 2013 !

Bisous !

2012: The Roundup

I was sick over New Year, so saw 2012 in with my blankie over my head and a bucket next to my bed ! Sim had his knee reconstruction, so I became nurse and driver. It snowed, a lot, and I learnt how to drive on that slippery white stuff. We ate galette, and celebrated the Chinese New Year. Australia Day came and went with meat pie and Foster’s beer. I went to my first French Cup match (which we lost !), and I finished my first semester at the CIEF with a near perfect score on my A1 diploma.

February was icy and white, with a cold snap that lasted nearly two weeks. The highest average temperature for the whole country was 3° and I experienced my first -14° ! I spent a week with Sim’s brother and his family, and visited the school where Pierrick teaches. Les Enfoirés performed at Lyon. Sim was busy with physiotherapy, we had our 2 year anniversary and I started my second semester at the uni.

March was a bit of a blur ! My course was really difficult, and I spent a lot of time studying (and cracking the sh**s) ! France was getting into election spirit, the weather warmed up, and we looked after Tutcho again. I visited a few international schools on their open days, and celebrated St Patrick’s Day with an English school. The garbage men went on strike, and things got a bit smelly !

April was awesome, because Mum, Dad and Chelsee came to visit (and the garbos went back to work) ! I had two weeks off at Easter and had a blast showing 3/5 of my family around my new home. We visited Beaune, Dijon, Besançon, the Beaujolais region, St Sym, St Etienne, Paris and, of course, Lyon. We went to the football, ate at a bouchon and Brasserie Georges, did a dinner cruise, saw the grand opening of La Confluence and wandered Lyon for hours on end (in the rain) !

The sun came back out in May, except for the long weekend I spent at Hossegor – it rained ! I saw Coeur de Pirate in St Etienne with Sim’s cousin and an Australian friend. I had exams, and finished off B1 with a 16 out of 20. I spent a lovely morning at the préfecture and renewed my titre de séjour, and François Hollande became the new président de la république. And on the 22nd, we welcomed Léo to the world, Pierrick and Nelly’s second child, a (not so) little brother for Evan.

June = summer ! I bought a season ticket at the pool and used it nearly every day, taking advantage of all the kids still being at school. Sim took me to Disneyland and we ran around like kids all day – he even wore Minnie Mouse ears ! We went to a big family picnic and ate ourselves silly, and we danced around the streets of Lyon for the Fête de la Musique. I started a 4 week summer course, because I just couldn’t get enough French grammar…!

I continued and finished my course in July, the sun kept shining, and I went to the Rhône pool most lunchtimes. I made some great new friends, and together we spent a weekend visiting Avignon, Arles and St Remy de Provence down south. We celebrated the 14th with a boozy picnic on the quai. Sim and his cousins organised a weekend for their grandparents at Pierrick and Nelly’s place, and we had a great time visiting Besançon and Rioz, playing pétanque and cricket, and yes, you guessed it – eating !

August oozed along, one long, hot summer day melting into another, and I took off to Italy for a week with Clo. I did some nanna-sitting, as opposed to baby-sitting, with a beautiful old lady named Madame Juliette. Léo sent me an email (what a clever baby !) and asked me to be his godmother, which I accepted ! Lyon had a heat wave, but we were on holidays down south, so missed the worst of it.

September kicked off with another family gathering, this time a weekend in a gite at Chissey lès Macon. Anne-Gaëlle and Raph (Sim’s sister and her boyfriend) announced that they had a bun in the oven. I got back into the swing of studying, after a few weeks of waiting for simple administrative procedures to be carried out (hey, it’s the French way !) and started level B2 at uni.

In October, Sim and I started the process to get PACSed. The weather was still reasonably warm, and I spent a great day tour guiding with Australian friends. We got free tickets to a Europa League match, Lyon v Athletic Bilbao, and watched the Spanish go down to the French 2-1. I started tutoring a couple of French adolescents in conversational English. We spent some quality time with our nephews, I studied hard and La Vie à Lyon turned one !

I had mid-semester exams in November, and pulled through them reasonably well. Sim and I got PACSed, and we had another Aussie friend come to stay. I got another tutoring job, this time with an English boy. The trees turned orange and gold, and the big ferris wheel went up on Place Bellecour. I went to Halle Tony Garnier for the first time, to see The Black Keys.

December arrived, and so did my bro ! We spent a great week together (nowhere near long enough !), and visited Grenoble, Annecy, St Sym, drank kir royals and cider, and ate quenelles, raclette, tartiflette and cervelas. It was the Festival of Lights, and we loved the eskimos ! We saw The Hives at the Transbordeur, and St Etienne go down to Lyon in the Derby. Pierrick ran the SaintéLyon, and I changed my resident status. I had 11 final exams, all in one horrendous week, and got gastro at the end of it ! Christmas came and went, with lots of love and bonheur (and gastro, but not me) ! Now we’re getting ready to head back to Grenoble to welcome 2013 with just a few of our closest friends.

Wishing you all nothing but the best for l’année prochaine !

Bisous !

Au bouche à l’oreille

The expression au bouche à l’oreille means by word of mouth (though it translates to mouth to ear) and thanks to this phenomenon, I’ve found a few petits boulots, or little jobs, over the last couple of months. Many of you know that I was a primary school teacher in my old life, and in my new life I miss it terribly ! So when one of the professors at uni was looking for an English tutor for her two adolescent sons, one of my old professors (who, in hindsight, must’ve understood my awkward French in our first few introductory encounters, and remembered my story !) recommended she ask me. She did, I said “Bien sûr !”  (“Of course !”) and started the following week.

Then I received an email from a friend who works at one of the international schools, asking me if she could pass my details along to some parents who were looking for private tutors for their kids, all anglophones. I said “Bien sûr !” again, and within a few weeks had emails from several parents looking to start up some tutoring either straight away or in the new year.

They really are little jobs, an hour a time, but I love them because they get me doing one of the things I like best !

No, not drinking champagne – teaching !

Bisous !

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