Happy Valentine’s Day!

We all know how I feel about this day, but I hope you’ve all had a wonderful, sickeningly sweet day with friends, family and loved ones.聽 馃檪

As for me, I spent the day in class.聽 Five hours of class.聽 I really enjoyed the professor and the topic (Internet and Digital Copyright Law), but five hours is much too much.聽 Anyway, I survived.聽 And after the class, I was given a free pastry by my baker friend.聽 It made me smile.聽 The neighborhood baker is this older gentleman who likes to make fun of my lack of language skills.聽 Actually, at first, he seemed to just get really annoyed with me each time I entered the store, but he’s slowly come around.聽 He’s now really friendly (maybe that’s what happens after he watches you get proposed to by a random stranger in the bakery one day).聽 He smiles at me whenever I pass the store and gave me my free treat today!聽 Of course, now this means that I feel guilty going to any other bakeries, but that’s okay!

Then I spent a quiet evening at home cooking dinner and watching Grey’s Anatomy, Season 2.聽 Pretty exciting Valentine’s Day, n’est-ce pas?

This weekend was even more exciting – let me tell you.聽 I didn’t leave the apartment a single time because I was stuck writing a paper for Comparative Criminal Law and taking a final for EU Law and Policy.聽 I bet you all wish you were studying abroad now, don’t you?

Anyway, just wanted to wish you all a wonderful “holiday.”聽 Love you all!

Bellecour on a beautiful night

A Busy, Busy Week

As you know, this past weekend I had my first final in France.聽 It was a 72-hour take-home exam on the Protection of Cultural Property under International Law.聽 It almost killed me.聽 I don’t know what my problem was, but I honestly could not focus.聽 All weekend.聽 This led to me finishing up the final on Monday, half an hour before it was due, having had only about 3 hours of sleep that night.聽 Not a fun experience, let me tell you.聽 I have two finals this weekend, so I’m going to try not to repeat that experience.

After suffering through the final, I rewarded myself with three picnics during the week.聽 On Monday, after submitting the final, Cynthia and I met up to enjoy sandwiches on the river.聽 It was a beautiful, somewhat warm day here, so I was even able to spend some time outside without a jacket!聽 Amazing.聽 I almost wore flip flops, but wisely decided not to go quite that far.

Tuesday picnic spot! (on the Rh么ne)

The time soaking up the sun definitely helped me get through my class that afternoon.

On Tuesday, we had another beautiful day, although not quite as warm.聽 Since we had a three-and-a-half hour break between class, C虏 and I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and head up to the Roman ruins that I had heard about.聽聽 They had both been up there before, but they humored me and allowed me to be touristy, stopping every few feet to take lots of pictures.聽 (Isaac, I’m pretty sure they can sympathize with how you felt on our Panama trip!)

Cynthia and I wanted to walk up to the ruins, but Colton scoffed at that idea.聽 So, we compromised – took the funicular up and walked back down.聽 To get to the funicular, we crossed the other river in Lyon, the Sa么ne.

The Sa么ne.

Then, we went to the funicular station.聽 What should have been a short wait to get onto the funicular ended up taking as probably as long as our walk would have taken because some doofus on our train broke the doors!聽 We had entered the train, were sitting and waiting for it to take off, when some guy rushed in and forced the closing doors back open.聽 *sigh*

The funicular we did not take...

After waiting for over 10 minutes for them to attempt to fix the train, we ended up having to catch a different one.聽 Good thing that doofus rushed to catch that train!

Eventually, we got to the ruins.

Le Th茅芒tre Gallo-Romain Fourvi猫re (Gallo-Roman amphitheater)

This is Le Th茅芒tre Gallo-Romain Fourvi猫re (Gallo-Roman amphitheater), which was built by the Romans back in the 1st century B.C.聽 This is by far the oldest thing I have ever seen.聽 Very cool.聽 According to Wikipedia, this was used mainly for musicals.

Our Tuesday picnic spot

We enjoyed a picnic at the theatre – I had a jambon beurre sandwich (ham and butter on a baguette – I know it sounds kind of gross, but it’s really delicious!) and a lemon tart.聽 And a coca light, bien s没r.

The Odeon, or little theatre

Next to the Amphitheater, there is another set of ruins – the Odeon, or little theatre.聽 This was built in the 1st century AD.聽 It’s not in quite as good of shape as the amphitheater, but I think the amphitheater has been better maintained.聽 And it’s still quite impressive.

The Odeon

After relaxing for a bit, we decided to walk back to school.聽 I’m really glad we forced Colton into the walk, because the views along the way were gorgeous.

The view of the city and the Sa么ne

On our way back to school, Colton lead us on a detour to see some additional ruins.

More ruins

I don’t know anything about these ruins (I guess I should have read the sign), but they are ancient ruins of a church in front of a “new” church.聽 I think it’s very cool that they preserved the ruins when they built the other church.

The Sa么ne River

Again, the trip out into the sun helped me get through the afternoon class. This whole 7-hours-of-class-each-day thing is killing me.

On Wednesday, we didn’t do any picnics, but we did get together in Cynthia’s apartment to make some dinner and bake a funfetti cake, per Colton’s request.

Colton with his cake

Thursday involved another picnic along the Rh么ne and too many hours of class. Overall, this week, while it did involve some wonderful breaks in the sun, also involved way too much work!聽 I had to give three presentations, write two papers, complete a final, do a ton of reading, and sit in class for 25 hours.

Thursday's picnic place

Okay, in the next post, I’ll discuss the ridiculous day I had on Friday and, probably, whine about the two finals I have this weekend – which I should probably go work on now.聽 Gross.

Miss you all!

Operas Should Not Involve Clowns

On Monday, I didn’t have classes (are you jealous of my schedule yet?), so I spent most of the day puttering about my apartment and watching season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy.聽 It turns out, that’s a pretty great show.聽 And the best part of it is that it’s supposed to be set in Seattle, so I got to see tons of shots of the Seattle city sky line.聽 (I miss my city.)

In the evening, I headed over to Cynthia’s apartment to have dinner with C虏.聽 We had some croque monsieur and some galette des rois (kings’ cake – not to be confused with king’s cake in Louisiana, which is quite different).聽 The galette des rois is a very light pastry filled with almond paste.聽 It’s quite delicious.聽 I forgot to take a picture, but here’s one I found on the internet:

From Wikipedia.

This is going on my list of things to learn how to make when I get home.

After dinner, Colton and I rushed off to my first opera of the year.聽 We had tickets to see Werther at the Lyon Opera House.

 

The un-renovated portion of the opera house - my favorite part.

I had high hopes because I like the story.聽 However, I was incredibly disappointed.聽 It was TERRIBLE.聽 Seriously awful.聽 Don’t get me wrong – the singers were fantastic.聽 I especially enjoyed the guy who portrayed Werther.聽 He was great.聽 The director reset the opera into some bizarre time period where there were clowns everywhere.聽 CLOWNS!聽 Why the heck he thought clowns would facilitate the story, I have no idea.聽 It was bizarre.聽 I was willing to get past that, though, until the death scene.聽 In Werther, Werther falls in love with a woman who is engaged to be married to someone else.聽 At the end of the show, he’s supposed to kill himself; the woman he loves comes to his side while he’s dying and admits to herself and to him that she is in love with him, too.聽 Then he is able to die in peace because he knows that he is loved.

 

At the opera.

Well, in this production, the director, for some bizarre reason, decided to have him die alone, only imagining that his love has come to see him.聽 So, she actually never admits to him or herself that she is in love.聽 It totally changed the meaning of the entire show.聽 And it was just dumb.聽 It made no sense at all.聽 I don’t understand why anyone thought that was a good idea.

It was so bad, in fact that Colton actually booed the director.聽 He says that booing is acceptable in the opera community, but this is the first time he has ever booed at an opera (even though he’s seen 55 different operas!).聽 I don’t know if the French don’t boo or if they actually enjoyed the production, but Colton appeared to be the only person booing at the end.

Anyway, now you know, you probably don’t want to ask me what I thought of the opera.聽 馃檪

 

The very modern interior of the opera house.

On Tuesday, I was stuck in class or 7 hours.聽 SEVEN HOURS!聽 It was awful.聽 I guess that’s how they make up for giving us all those days off.聽 I had five hours straight of European Union Law and Policy and then two hours of International Copyright Law with the professor who has such a strong accent I can barely understand him.聽 He seems very sweet, though.聽 And he tries.聽 He kept referring to the “numerical age,” or what we could call the “digital age.”聽 He’s clearly translating from the French to the English in his head when he speaks, and since “digital age” translates to “猫re du num茅rique,” his terminology makes sense.聽 But it’s certainly confusing!

I had no classes today (and don’t have any tomorrow, either…聽 I know, it’s rough).聽 I’m all alone, though, because C虏 took off for a mid-week trip to Grenoble to stay with some friends.聽 So, I’m left to entertain myself.聽 Today, I went to the mall to get a few things* and then came home and cooked up some dinner in my tiny apartment.

 

Spaghetti and fresh veggies. The joys of small-kitchen cooking.

I thought my kitchen in Seattle was small, but now it seems luxurious!聽 But, while the kitchen is small, it definitely functions.聽 I’ll have to head over to Cynthia’s to bake anything, but I can get by without my own oven for the next two months (I hope!).

In other news, I have a very cute neighbor:

 

I think he's thrilled that I used a bright flash to capture this photo.

He’s no replacement for Bailey, of course, but he’ll do for now.

_______

* While France is freaking freezing, there is one really big plus to being in France in January – les soldes (the sales)!聽 According to one of my guidebooks, the French government mandates huge sales in January and July, so every store has a TON of stuff on sale.聽 It’s awesome.聽 Like after-Christmas sales in the U.S., but much better.聽 Today, I got a neck-warmer for less than 7鈧, some great earrings for less than 3鈧, and some sunglasses for less than 9鈧!聽 It was awesome!

 

Check out my new hat and neck-warmer!

 

Il a neig茅!

I had a new experience in Lyon this week – it snowed!聽 I’ve been doing a terrible job of predicting what the weather will be like, and I keep ending up wearing the wrong jacket.聽 The day it snowed was no exception.聽 I did not think it would be super cold on Thursday, so I wore my lightest jacket.聽 Then, of course, it snowed!聽 I am not a fan of that white stuff falling from the sky unless I can go skiing.聽 Since that was not an option this week, the snow was really wasted and I did not enjoy walking to and from the metro in it.聽 Gross.聽 And cold.聽 Yuck.

It hasn’t snowed since, but it has been so darn cold!聽 I swear I have never been so cold in my life!聽 Today, it got down to -7掳 C.聽 I may have to go buy some new clothes just to stay warm!聽 I do have my eye on a very French hat, which I think I will go buy this week to keep my head warm!聽 (Totally necessary, right?)

On my day off on Thursday, I had lunch with Colton and Cynthia (henceforth referred to as C虏).聽 We cooked a frozen pizza – very exciting, I know – in Cynthia’s oven.聽 Then, we went to a concert held at the university.聽 The musicians were a trio, with a violin, cello and piano, and they played some wonderful classical music.

After the concert, I slipped and slid my way home in the freezing wind and snow and bundled myself up in blankets at home for the rest of the afternoon.

That evening, I attempted to cook dinner in my minuscule apartment for the first time.聽 It worked just fine, but I’m going to have to get imaginative because my one dinner idea is going to get old very fast.聽 I sauteed veggies and shrimp.聽 It was good, but could definitely have benefited from some soy sauce or seasoning.

On Friday, I skyped with Isaac in the morning, then was stuck in class from noon until 5pm.聽 The class was European Law and Policy.聽 I could understand this professor much better than the first (she’s British), but she requires a lot of group projects, and we all know how I feel about that.聽 So, it’ll be interesting.聽 Also, 50% of the grade is participation.聽 Gross.

After class, Cynthia and I met up to wander around town and grab dinner.

Today (Saturday), I went to the March茅 Plus for some groceries, then met up with C虏 for some dinner.聽 We went to a small Lyonnaise restaurant where I had a shrimp muffin for an appetizer (tr茅s bizarre), a duck tarte for dinner, and a fondant chocolat (chocolate molten lava cake) for dessert.聽 It was delicious!聽 Food may be very pricey here, but at least it’s good!聽 C虏 were heading off to a play (the title of which roughly translated to “My wife is making me into a sextoy” – seriously), but I skipped that and headed home.

Well, wasn’t this an exciting blog entry? (Perhaps this is what Isaac meant when he said I wasn’t clever/witty enough to have a blog…)聽 I have a full day planned for tomorrow, so hopefully after that I’ll have more exciting things to discuss.聽 Also, Colton and I are headed to the opera on Monday night, which I’m sure will be awesome.

Miss you all!

Life in Lyon

After spending four days in a tiny apartment in Paris, my mom and I boarded a ridiculously early train bound for Lyon last Monday.聽 We almost missed our train because I had to go to four different counters to try to figure out who could print my tickets, but I finally got our tickets, we raced to the train, and boarded just in time.聽 It’s a good thing we weren’t late – when mom left last weekend, a woman arrived just after they had closed the doors (but before the train had started moving) and the guards at the station kept yelling at her, “Vous 锚tes trop tard!聽 Vous 锚tes trop tard!” You are too late!聽 You are too late! So, we made it on time, struggled to carry all of our my massive luggage onto the train, and then waited the two hours until we arrived at my new home.

Fortunately for us, Colton was waiting for us when we arrived in Lyon and helped us carry our my luggage into the taxi and instructed the taxi where to take us.聽 I am now staying in a little studio with a loft.聽 It’s very cute, and very small.聽 Essentially, very European.聽 It has a tiny kitchen (if you can call it that, which consists of a sink, a microwave, and a burner), a bathroom with very hot water and a towel warmer (I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to living without that), a small living area with a futon-type couch and a tv, and then a bedroom upstairs in the loft.聽 It works perfectly for me.聽 It’s a little pricey, but it’s fully furnished, so it saved me from having to buy necessities like dishes and pans and such.

Since I’ve arrived in Lyon, I’ve done little sightseeing.聽 I have seen the town square (Bellecour), with a giant statute of Louis XIV, the two main shopping streets, and a couple of markets with independent vendors.聽 There is actually a fair amount to do in Lyon because it’s the home of the author of Le Petit Prince and the creator of Punch and Judy.聽 So, there are a number of museums I will have to check out.聽 I just haven’t done that yet.

On my first day in Lyon, I attended two hours of orientation, which consisted of a description of some of the history of Lyon.聽 I was supposed to attend orientation the rest of the week, but I decided to skip it in favor of sleeping and spending more time with mom while she was here.聽 I really enjoyed her visit and was very sad to see her leave here last Saturday.

On Sunday, Cynthia and I went to a produce market, which is apparently the best place to buy fresh food items.聽 While food is generally much more expensive here (a dinner for two is typically between 40鈧 and 60鈧!), I was able to buy 20 clementine oranges, 20 large organic carrots and 3 large zucchini for just 4鈧10!聽 Then we went to a cr猫perie and I had a compl猫t cr猫pe, which had ham and cheese, and was topped by an egg.聽 It was delicious!

I attended my first two hours of class yesterday, which was interesting.聽 The subject is international copyright law, which could be a good topic, but the professor who teaches it has such a strong accent that it took me at least ten minutes to figure out that he was saying “author’s right” and not “also right.”聽 I don’t think that bodes well for that class.聽 The scheduling here is kind of strange, so now I’m off until Friday.

Today, I went to an indoor market with Colton and Cynthia and had a nice lunch.聽 Then, Cynthia offended the waiter by asking to take her leftovers with her.聽 The French find that very tacky.聽 He was clearly offended, but he did it for her anyway.聽 Then, I got a nice looking dessert on my way out of the market, which I will enjoy later.聽 Here are some pictures of Lyon for you to enjoy.聽 Maybe this will spark in interest in some of you and you’ll want to come visit… 馃檪聽 I have that couch/futon to sleep on!

Also, the picture at the top of the page is a panoramic shot of Lyon.聽 I didn’t take it, but it gives you an idea of what the city is like.