La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Summer days, drifting away…

Summer holidays are here, Northern Hemisphere style. No Christmas or New Year celebrations to busy things up, just two long, hot months off.

July cruised along nice and quietly. This is what I got up to:

  • a few afternoons spent in at school to prepare things for la rentrée,
  • a bit of tutoring now and then,
  • watching Le Tour,
  • watching the FINA World Championships (hello Camille Lacourt !),
  • reading Stephen King for hours every day,
  • sleep-ins,
  • playing with the cat,
  • ‘swims’ in the bathtub because it’s bloody hot and the nearest pool is expensive, indoor and full of families and people that don’t have bathtubs,
  • spending time (mostly apéros !) with family and friends, and
  • having that third (fourth ?!) beer on a ‘school’ night !

August is here now, and looks to be a little busier. Oh, perhaps not. Perhaps it will be just doing the same things in different places. Sim has holidays, so we’ll spend some time in St Sym with his parents, as well as a week in Rioz (near Besançon), house-sitting his brother’s house while he’s on holidays with his family. There’s a trip to Paris with a life-long friend, and the possibility of a hot trip out west to Hossegor.

Vive les vacances !

Bisous !

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Kitty cat Knack

Meet the newest addition to the family. Knacki. She was a birthday present from Sim’s mum back in April and moved in with us at the end of June. She’s a normal, feisty kitten who loves nothing more than playing ambush. Under the bed, under the oven, from a bag, around the corner…

PicMonkey Collage Knacki 2

She’s curious, it’s a cat thing, and has already fallen in both the toilet and the bath. She likes people-watching from the balcony and can often be found in front of the washing machine as it’s doing its thing. I think she’d appreciate a window on the dishwasher too as she always tries to stickybeak inside it when it’s unloading time.

PicMonkey Collage Knacki

She keeps us entertained, that’s for sure. I’m loving having a cat again !

Bisous !

 

Update 24/07:

We took Knacki to the vet yesterday to start the vaccination process, and it turns out that she is a HE ! Whoops ! The vet tells us that if she’s wrong, we can get him/her desexed for free !

Le Tour comes to town

France is gripped by Tour fever, as is normal for July. Even we have been gripped, as Le Tour came through Lyon last weekend. The riders arrived on Saturday afternoon at Gerland, then departed on Sunday morning from Givors. We headed a little further south to get a good look on Sunday morning.PicMonkey Collage Le Tour 1

We went to Beaurepaire, a town in the Isère department of the Rhône-Alpes. The riders were scheduled to head through around 11:30 but we arrived super early, at 9:15. Why ? To see La Caravane ! La Caravane is the vehicular procession of sponsors that proceeds the riders by nearly two hours. It’s very animated, with all sponsers vocally publicising their products and throwing all sorts of samples out the windows. You have to be careful not to lose an eye from a packet of washing detergent though, or to be knocked over by a grandpa trying to catch a cordial sample !

PicMonkey Collage Le Tour 2

We had a good spot on the side of the road, and there weren’t too many people (except for the crazy grandpa !) around us. After the caravan passed, we were kept entertained by people watching, team and media cars driving through, trying to catch the attention of the Orica GreenEDGE cars (1 out of 3 noticed us and our little flags !) and eating our Haribo lollies. Then the riders arrived. The first few zipped through, then came Thomas Voeckler who nearly fell off because he was too busy looking behind him, then the rest. We spotted Froome and the chou-chou Rolland thanks to their jerseys, had time for a quick ‘Allez Cadel !’ and they were gone, a fast moving snake of lean, lithe, stupidly fit lycra-clad men. Not even time for a photo – maybe next year.

Vive le Tour !

Bisous !

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 !

The lolly museum

I like lollies. The only thing I like better than lollies are potato chips, and I don’t know of a museum dedicated to those, so lollies it was when we visited the Haribo Museum in Uzés. Now Haribo lollies are by no means French, they’re German and date back to the early 1920s. The name Haribo comes from their founder, Hans Riegel, who was from Bonn (see what he did there ?). At the Haribo site at Uzés, you can find the museum, a boutique and a factory, where they make the delicious-smelling mint alcohol, Ricqlès.

It's strange to not see a 'u' after the 'q' ! Or maybe that's just me...

It’s strange to not see a ‘u’ after the ‘q’ ! Or maybe that’s just me…

The museum houses all sorts of bits and pieces, including machines, examples of advertising through the ages, interactive touch screen games, vintage packaging and even clothing made out of lollies and lolly bags. In the machine room at the end of the tour, we inserted tokens that we’d received upon entry into the lolly bagging machines and watched as they bagged four mini bags of lollies for us. The boutique sells a wide range of souvenirs (postcards, magnets, books, tins, t-shirts and towels), mint alcohol, and LOLLIES ! Sim stocked up on Schtroumpfs (Smurfs !) and I on sour crocodiles. Miam !

PicMonkey Collage Haribo1

PicMonkey Collage Haribo2

Click here for more information about the Haribo Museum.

Bisous !

May I have a day off ? Or four ?

Yes, yes I can. This year, May has four public holidays.

  • May 1 – Fête du Travaille
  • May 8 – Victoire 1945
  • May 9 – Ascension
  • May 20 – Lundi de Pentecôte

I especially like how Ascension has fallen on the 9th this year. Not only do we have two holidays in a row, the 10th is a Friday and, as is common practice in France when there’s a holiday on a Thursday, most businesses are closed (including my school) to make an extra-long weekend. This year, it’s a 5-day one. The same can be said for when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday – most businesses are closed on the Monday. The French call this faire le pont, or make the bridge and I think it’s one of their better ideas.

As for this week, just to top it all off, it’s the first week back after the school holidays. A 2-day working week – good timing !

Bisous !

Southern sunshine ?

Sim and I headed down south for the weekend, a weekend away that was a Christmas present from my parents.

We left mid-afternoon and jumped on the autoroute just out of Lyon – along with all the northeners heading south for their holidays ! 100km and two hours later, things sped up a bit, and we reached out first destination, the Pont du Gard at around 7 pm. The Pont du Gard, a three-level bridge crossing the Gardon river valley, was built by the Romans in the first century AD, and is today UNESCO World Heritage listed. It’s amazing, and at 48 metres, is apparently the highest bridge in the Roman world.

PicMonkey Collage PontduGard

We took the backroads to Nîmes, found and checked in to our hotel and headed out for a bite to eat. It was cool, and it had been wet, but we mananged to avoid any more showers in a cosy booth in a Café Leffe. Two meaty meals and buckets of beer later, we left to wander Nîmes at nighttime. The rain held off, and we visited the arena, the new Esplanade Charles De Gaulle and the Irish pub.

PicMonkey Collage night

The next day dawned bright and sunny grey and drizzly, and after free coffees and general chit-chat at the hotel, we ventured out with our umbrella. First stop was Sim’s old apartment, from his student days in Nîmes. Next, the Jardins de la Fontaine. The gardens were built in the 18th century, on the site of a shrine dating back to the first century. The shrine was laid out around a spring, where the first Nîmois (well, a Celtic tribe called the Volcae !) settled two and a half thousand years ago, and the gardens are planned around it. On top of the hill overlooking the gardens is a tower, the Tour Magne. We climbed the hill, climbed the tower and then rested whilst feasting our eyes on the fantastic view !

PicMonkey Collage JardindelaFontaine

The rain just kept on coming down, so we found a brasserie, ordered some lunch and holed up for a few hours – Sim watching a soccer match, me writing post cards. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to explore more of this wide, sand-coloured southern city, with palm trees and images of crocodiles everywhere, but to me that only means one thing – we’ll just have to go back another time !

PicMonkey Collage

Bisous !

Sun is Shining…

Here’s what we got up to one sunny day last week. Thanks for letting me reblog your post Courtney.

Bisous !

Pardon My French

The weather is sweet, makes you want to move your dancing feet or in my case go have a picnic in the park with some of my friends. The last two days in Lyon have been gorgeous and everyone has been out enjoying it, including me.

The Girls

Jayde, me, Juliette and Asami (Denitza is taking the picture, but she’s seated below with Asami)

Picnic Fun

After we feasted on all sorts of yummy food including my friend Juliette’s apple, salmon and red onion spread; fresh grapes; Jade’s quiche, Asami’s spring rolls and Denitza’s adorable ham and cheese sandwiches we played a few games of Uno and then attempted to play Scrabble in French (I opted out on that one). Then, it was time for dessert – I made individual sized low-fat chocolate banana bread. Our bellies full and our spirit nourished we decided the next time would be on my terrace. Now, we…

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My vie quotidienne

How things have changed this year!

I’ve gone from the full-time student life to the full-time working life in the blink of an eye. This is my daily life now, or ma vie quotidienne.

I get up around quarter to seven, faff around and leave the house at quarter to eight to catch the 8:04 bus down at the bridge (unless I have the car, then I leave around 8).  I have a 15 to 20 minute bus ride, depending on the traffic (though Lyonnais/e bus drivers are pretty good at pushing cars out of their way, and are usually on time !), then a short but very steep walk to school.

Getting ready for the hill !

Getting ready for the hill !

I arrive, pick up my canteen register from the office and deposit my stuff in my room. I wet my blackboard sponge and fill up my drink bottle, say hello to the English teachers and kiss the French teachers.

The bell rings at 8:50, and the school day begins.

The morning schedule goes something like this: registration, day/date/weather discussion and handwriting, poetry, vocabulary activities, recess (10:15 – 10:35), more vocabulary activites, listening and comprehension activities and a quick game to finish up.

My little Frenchies hard at it !

My little Frenchies hard at it !

I have canteen duty (12:00 – 1:00) twice a week, and yard duty (1:00 – 2:00) twice a week. Canteen days I eat after the kids, by myself, relishing the silence ! Yard duty days, I eat with the other teachers, stealing glances out the window and praying that it won’t rain !

One of many delicious school lunches.

One of many delicious school lunches.

The afternoon session starts at 2, and follows the same timetable as the morning session. The kids who were with me in the morning head off to the French half of their day, and the kids who had French in the morning come to me.  They have a snack at recess (3:15 – 3:35), and we pack up to go at ten to five.

The anglophone teachers have door duty every day, from ten to until ten past five. We greet the parents, make sure they are who they say they are, and send the kids home.

I have study hall duty four times a week, from 5:30 until 6:30, supervising the kids who stay at school to do their homework. Most of them finish by 6, so they can play a quiet game, read, draw and sometimes, if I’m feeling generous and they’ve been good, I take them outside for some extra playtime. At 6:30, they head off to garderie.

The school closes at 7. If I have the car, I head home any time after 6:30. If not, I usually hang around until 7 and get a lift home with Laurianne,  who supervises the kids until 7 and who lives in the building behind me. Handy !

It’s a change alright, but one that I’m enjoying !

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 !

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