Sunday, January 25, 2009

Take these chances, place them in a box until a quieter time

This past week or so we have been very busy sitting in on Political Institute classes. I think I am taking at least two (Political History of France and Globalization and Sovereignty) and possibly two more after I sit them on Tuesday (Image and Event and Philosophy, Social Science, and Cinema). Last Tuesday we had a grève, a strike, of the professors, so there were no classes that day. Apparently there is another one on Thursday. They are protesting the implementation of changes in the teaching process that they feel are not sound/productive/in agreement with how material should be taught.

I am also going to be looking into the literature courses that I will be taking. I probably only need one or two but I circled four. I have to go to the department office tomorrow to establish what times the courses might be at.

In other news, the internet has returned (hopefully for good), the television is streaming French digital cable, and the fixed phone line is free outgoing calls to the States / French fixed lines and free incoming calls. Email me (asl3w at virginia) if you would like the new phone number, or we can just Skype.

Now, pictures. I just discovered that if you click on a thumbnail, it takes you to a full size view of the image. Try that!

Screenshot of the crowds in DC for inauguration, and CNN telling us the wind chill is 17 Fahrenheit.

Random window display along the Saône river.

Passerelle (I forget which one) over the Saône.

You can see the Alps on a clear day! We posited that the big one might be Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe (excluding the Ural Mountains).

A trompe à l'oeil, or trick of the eye (mirage) in Presqu'île. The whole block was covered in these realistic paintings -- I chose this one because the lion is one of the symbols of Lyon.

Graffiti reading "love our children," and me being excited about it.

Galette au fromage et tomate, a cheese and tomato buckwheat crêpe for Saturday lunch.

Crêpe beurre-sucre (butter and sugar) for a lunchtime dessert.

Pont de Lafayette at night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

warm apartment > rainy lyonnais night

Squid's got internet at home (although it didn't come without a fight), and a pretty boring night ahead of her, so how about some pictures? As one of my roommates just said, I'm on the struggle bus, meaning that things are actually kind of difficult right now. But on to the pictures!

View of our apartment from the front door.

Apartment detail: we call it the sea urchin light.

View of the same room, this time from the door to my room.

View of our comparatively huge kitchen. Note the washing machine instead of a dishwasher! We don't have a microwave, either.

Rue de la Fromagerie (this one's for you, B)!

Schedule of the Coemedia Cinema with me in the background taking the picture.

The Olly Boutique, a sex toy store (oh France, how I love you).

Lying in bed reading during a beautiful afternoon. I put the camera down on my chest to take this one.

Well, that's it for now. My two roommates are supposedly going to a costume party later, which I politely declined, because I hate costume parties and I also hate paying ten euros for a party that I probably won't enjoy. I guess you could say I'm not your typical college student.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I think everything is gonna be all right

Hey there!

Squid's been a little bit remiss on the updates recently (although check out those sweet photos just below this post), mostly because honestly not much has been going on. A confluence of three factors seems to be at play:

1) We have PRUNE (stage de Pre-Réntrée UNiversitairÉ, or Orientation) classes from late morning until late afternoon

2) The freezing cold / rain / ice outside does not really induce us to explore during the morning / night hours when we don't have class, especially since dusk is around 4:30 pm

3) We are poor, lazy students who would rather sit in our warm apartment and talk to each other in the evening than brave a henceforth unknown nightlife (of which there isn't much until it warms up).

So Mary and I are sitting at the kitchen table, I'm listening to Amos Lee's self-titled album, and other Mary is moving some things into the room that will be hers when Chelsea leaves tomorrow.

It's been kind of a difficult few days -- this morning I was left to deal with our landlords, who triple-teamed me before I had had a chance to eat anything or to count the huge pile of cash we accumulated for the security deposit (900 euros each). This resulted in me overpaying by 490 euros, which luckily got sorted out later and ended in me being credited for February rent. And me apologizing profusely for being a stupid American.

Who doesn't count the cash? Me, that's who. Luckily the landlords have been very nice to us so far. I think they see us as a better alternative to the hardcore partiers who lived here last semester. Too bad we're hated by the majority of the building.

Here's what's forthcoming in squidlife:
-pictures of the yarn squid out and about in the city
-this week I am going to learn how to use the tram and the metro
-end of the PRUNE classes on Friday
-signing up for IEP classes, which start on Monday (!!!)
-possible debates about traveling to other places during February break

Tomorrow I have to give a four-minute oral presentation on the topic of my choice. Any ideas as to what I should speak on? The only things I really know about are various aspects of life stateside; third wave feminism, ponies, myo sim, university at home, writing, history. I feel like those would be boring for other people. I guess I'll think of something.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bon Dimanche, part 2

Things to know about this room: it is very long and rather skinny, it has one big window, and the twine tied between the bookshelf and the desk is for drying clothes.

view into the room from the door

view into the room from the window

view of the desk area (hello macbook!)

view out the window at night -- quai sarrail and the river covered in fog

Apartment pictures, as promised! I only updated with my room because we haven't really had a chance to clean the kitchen / dining area and there is a lot of stuff that the girl who's still here owns, so that will be forthcoming. Amusez-vous bien!

Bon Dimanche, part 1

Ruins of the Roman Ampitheatre with me looking very chilly

Detail of the charging horse fountain in front of Musée des Beaux Arts, Presqu'île. Those are icicles as it's below 0 Celsius right now.

Steps of the Roman Ampitheatre at the top of Fouvrière hill

Terre cuite (terra cotta) rooftops in Vieux Lyon, looking down

Crossing the Saône river in the late morning

Rose window in the Cathedral Saint-Jean, Vieux Lyon

Crossing Pont de l'Université at dusk

Since it's Sunday (or dimanche, as the French call it), very few stores and restaurants are open today. Sunday is much more a day of rest and relaxation, at least for the relatively un-preoccupied student, in France than in the States. Thus, I've managed to get the first batch of photos off of my ancient camera and onto the wide interwebs.

Enjoy! I'll try to caption each. Look for part 2 - pictures of my room on Quai Serrail, overlooking the Rhône river, later this evening.

Bisous à tous!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Squids alive!

Lyon is good so far. Still feeling like an American tourist because we speak English to each other, but classes have started already.

Just wanted to check in. Now it's bedtime -- my body is finally on Lyon time. Look for:

-details about moving into my apartment (with pictures!) as soon as we get internet there again
-Vieux Lyon
-pictures from the river at night
-descriptions of delicious food
-personal anecdotes of all sorts.

Peace it for now, kiddos!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Travel Saga pt. 1

Hello all!

The squid is broadcasting to you from Heathrow Airport in London. The sun's just come up here and it promises to be a pretty day -- made slightly less pretty by the fact that I haven't slept at all, of course.

Flight from Dulles was fine, slightly emotional departure of course, but goodbyes were said in private to my two favorite gentlemen earlier in the day so all went fairly well. Then the connection time just proved to be no match for Heathrow's maze of tunnels, shuttles, escalators (they really like the last one), and security. Despite mad hustling, I arrived at the gate only to find the flight to Lyon I was supposed to be catching had already departed.

Fie! Was immediately transferred to the next flight, which unfortunately doesn't leave here until 2:55 pm local time. As right now it's about 8:30, we've got awhile.

Spirits are decidedly low due to lack of sleep, food, and general creature comforts. The recent sadnesses of saying goodbye are weighing rather heavily on me and therefore I have spend the last hour wondering why on earth I thought leaving home for five months would be a good idea.

But the sun's coming up, and I'll get on a plane eventually, and I have some money for food, and everyone does have nice accents. I'm still only about two degrees away from a full-on panic attack, but I think instead I might walk the terminal to see when food spots open and perhaps find a semi-comfortable chair to take a nap in.

Here's hoping that the next squidland dispatch has better news to report. For now, this is squidgirl dutifully trooping through the airport all alone.