I am no doubt the happiest I've ever been in my life! I'm really thankful for everything... I now live in one of the most beautiful and friendliest cities in the world. I have everything I wished for...
It had been snowing the last few days and it feels like we are living a fairy tale. I don't know how I lived without experiencing snow! There is something so magical about it. It was about -2 degrees during the day, yesterday and today, and it's almost as if the cold makes you feel alive and makes you want to do great things... I love it when you walk in the snow and its so soft under your shoes and the beautiful little snowflakes tenderly caress your cheeks and every now and then make you giggle because it's almost ticklish! Oh, I love it here!!!!!
Yesterday I practised my flute while looking out of the window at the snowflakes falling like magical fairy dust! And everywhere... it was white, beautiful and pure. I watched people puffed up and completely covered from head to toes, going in and out of the boulangerie/pâtisserie on Place Voltaire... They smiled... they talked and they were happy!
Today I went to the market at Place Guichard. The markets are quite an experience. There are lots of people selling things and lots of people buying things. The sellers shout: "allez, allez, allez courgettes,...allez, allez, allez carottes,...!" advertising loudly and cheerfully what they have on offer. It's hard to resist... everything is so fresh and so tempting! And of course when you are buying honey or olives or something else that comes from a specific region, you are encouraged to taste it plus you'll hear all the detail of the product and the region where it comes from.
After Place Guichard I also walked to the markets on the banks of the Rhône and the Saône. These now resemble a ski resort. Apart from the sellers and buyers at the markets, people were out enjoying the opportunities the snow offers: skying, pulling each other on mini sleighs, building snowmen, having snowball 'fights', just walking in the snow,... I'm not as yet suitably fitted out for this weather though. So after about two hours or so I took the metro home. I will have to invest in snowboots, a warmer hat and gloves, and a warmer coat.
With regard to my installation in Lyon. I now have a document saying I'm allowed to work and earn an income here. I have a French bank account and I'm moving into my 'permanent' appartment on 19 January.
I've realised that there are a number of things that are very important here:
- Documents. For every single thing you have to or want to do, you need a ton of documents.
- Meal times. Don't phone someone between 12h and 14h30 or expect them to do something for you at that time. It's lunchtime for heaven's sake!
- Food. Quality food. You have to know your wines, your cheeses, your chocolates, your pâtisseries, what treats or specialities go with which festival or celebration, ... Also, meals consist of a number of courses and that's just the way it is!
There are a lot of things that I really appreciate here in Lyon. The city is not too big and not too small. It has everything I could think of so far and a lot more! There are lots of specialised shops for just about everything. The people are very friendly, warm and helpful.
I've joined the AVF, Accueil des Villes Françaises. This is an organisation that have branches in many of France's cities and towns and their aim is to welcome foreigners to France and help them to settle in. This is a very active association with some kind of an event almost every day of the week. There are lunches, dinners, tea parties, outings to watch a film and discuss it afterwards over a cup of coffee in a restaurant, outings to museums, castles, mountains, there are conversation classes/meetings for different languages, celebrations for French festivals and for festivals celebrated in other countries, there are concerts (I hope to play one soon for them), book discussion groups, workshops, etc.
With regard to my own activities. I arrived here in Lyon with my four Cat Babies, my flute and and an idea for writing a book. Well so far I have a few offers lined up for performances, which I'll pursue after moving into my apartment. With regard to my book, the one idea developed into ideas and I'm now working on FOUR books. I have so many ideas!!!!! Everything here is just so inspiring! So wherever I go I walk around with four notebooks and my camera... My four books: 1. A beautiful love story involving an Italian musician who comes to live in France and who meets a beautiful lady here... also a musician, etc. etc. etc. Wait for the book! This is not auto-biographical! 2. This one is auto-biographical and tells my story of moving to France... 3. This one is about my musical and other cultural experiences in France, and 4. This one is about being vegetarian in the food capital of France!
Well there you have it... a few words on my wonderful experiences in Lyon!
Until next time...