Warning: This is a long post.


It's 3:30 pm on Sunday afternoon. I'm sitting at my desk (with internet), looking out of my 6-foot windows, in awe of the rolling clouds, turning leaves and radiant blue sky. How am I living in such a beautiful place? How can a simple state of existence make me this happy? France makes me happy. Lyon makes me happy. And for no reason in particular. Just being here, just because the city exists and it is beautiful and it is my home, I am happy. Then, I receive text messages from my friends asking me what I'm doing later this afternoon or if I want to go to a café with them. My happiness then settles into gratefulness as I reflect on all of the beautiful people I've met here, people who I will have long-lasting friendships with. I cannot begin to explain how deep my gratitude goes for the opportunity to live here and fall in love with the city just a little bit more day by day...

This morning, I woke up at 9:30 am, had some breakfast, drank some tea and got dressed to go to the aristan outdoor market and the fresh produce market just across the river from me. I met up with a new friend, Annie. She's here as a graduate student from Florida. We walked around, admiring the gorgeous art, jewelry and crafts. Leaves fell on our shoulders, the breeze gave us goosebumps and the sun counteracted the chill. It was a beautiful morning. After the arts & crafts market, we went across the street and had cappuccinos, getting to know each other, talking about traveling and plans after school. Before we knew it, two hours had passed so we made our way to the fresh produce market where I bought 5 grapefruits for 2 euros and a baguette :-) I tried all different kinds of cheeses, smelled the different cured meats, heard the vendors shouting prices and enjoyed every minute of it. After my purchases, I came back to my apartment, made some lunch and now, I'm relaxing. Later this evening, I will be meeting with a few people to listen to live classical music at a renaissance festival.

I realized that the things I blog most about are big and important events, excursions, travels and occurrences but sometimes, the best indication of my life here is through daily activities that are almost not worth mentioning about. It is, in fact, those daily events that keep me going, making my experience what it is: beautiful and wonderful. So here we are :-)

I will definitely make more of an effort to take pictures of daily, regular things such as my walk to and from school, the university that I attend, my favorite cafés, my view every morning, etc. Actually, I'm going to take a couple of days to explore the stores, restaurants, cafés directly surrounding my place so that I can get a good grasp of what's around me. I'm so used to going to the "usual" places but if I don't explore, I'll be missing out on a lot...especially places right across the street from me!

Yesterday was yet another remarkable day. It's not the "normal" life that I have; the program went to Cerdon, a beautiful town an hour out of Lyon, towards Geneva. First, the bus ride was absolutely spectacular. The views of the green hills, vineyards and little cottages made my heart jump. When we got there, we went to a copper factory and took a tour of the area. We watched as the guides shaped copper into measuring cups and we observed how the machines worked. After the tour, we had an aperitif before lunch. I'm not sure if you remember my description of the food from Beaujolais (our other group excursion) but without a doubt, we get the best meals on these excursions. Not only are they delicious, mouth-watering and tasty, they are multiple course meals that make me très heureuse [very happy]:)

For lunch, we had salmon pâté, salad, scalloped potatoes, guineafowl (what I thought was chicken), fromage blanc (tastes like yogurt) and an apple tart. I didn't get as belligerently stuffed as Beaujolais but I was full and satisfied.

[Family style dinner]

[Scalloped potatoes and guineafowl: good!]

[A sure sign that the food was good? Unbuttoning pants like Brittany!]

[Vanessa & Jessica comparing food babies]

After our lunch, we went to the grottos (underground caves). It was so neat to experience nature, the beauty of stalagmites and stalactites and so on. Needless to say, we walked off all our food, going down many, many feet, climbing back up, going back down and finally, climbing back up and out. By the time we were finished, it was 6:30 pm and we were beat. But it really was such an amazing experience. The pictures never suffice but they can provide you with some insight on how massive the grotto was.
[This is the entrance to the grotto]

[A little pool of calcium deposits]

[Do you see the little bodies at the bottom? That's our group. What a vast and ginormous cave!]

[Brittany, Jessica, Cyan and me]

[A beautiful rose for a beautiful day!]
The drive back was nice- I knocked out the moment the bus moved. There's something about overcast/rainy weather, on a bus with people you like, listening to music on your iPod that's very heartwarming. I get so comfortable and cozy so even though I would have loved to stay up and see the view of the drive home, I couldn't help myself. I had to nap.

It truly was a beautiful day.

Until next time, ciao <3



Liz! I'm gonna have to say this is one of my favorites posts, next to the one about President Obama. lol.. jk.. Really, I loved it. It sounds like you're really settling down there. That is so awesome. LIke i told you during our little chat the other day, don't think about when you have to come home and don't countdown the days you have left there! We're not going anywhere, just enjoy it while you're there. =] I can't wait to hear stories though! Actually, I can wait. I'm glad you're having a great experience...and like I have said many times before, I am so jealous. lol

Susan said...

Great photos and fun reading. Glad you're having so much fun with your old and new friends. With so many visitors and fun activities planned the remainder of the time is just a blink or two away. I'm sure you're sad to think about leaving Lyon but we're glad to think about you coming home. I love you. Mom