I arrived in Lyon, France on January 1, 2017. I had been in Italy the week before, and I was glad I was not leaving Europe just yet because I was not ready at all. I had just gotten a taste of what it is like outside of the United States and I was not ready to give that up. On January 2nd, my roommate and I moved into our apartment in-between Saxe Gambetta and Guilliotiere- which are places in Lyon. In my opinion, it was a prime location there was two metro stops and three different grocery stores all within five minutes walking distance. There was also a McDonald’s not so far away either. Guilliotiere is not the nicest or safest place to be, however, I never had issues living here I always felt safe in France no matter where I was. In Lyon, the residents do not speak hardly any English and I do not speak any French. People often ask me how I communicated there, I usually say well it was about five months of a whole lot of charades and pointing. Often whenever people would ask me questions I would respond with, “Oui,” just because I had no idea what they were saying. It was weird adjusting at first to not being able to speak to anyone on the street, but I grew to love it that way. It was really nice having a roommate because there was someone there when I first arrived that I knew, someone from home that I could talk to, someone to walk into orientation with, and someone who hated the neighbor’s loud cat just as such as me.
Once you give yourself about a week or two you become adjusted and you start to learn and embrace your new life. In France, life is slower than in the U.S. There are fewer hours of work in a day with longer lunch breaks and more vacation time. The French food and wine are amazing. It costs about ten dollars to get a slice of Brie cheese from the grocery store in the U.S. while in France you can buy a wheel for about two euros (with the conversion that makes it less than $2.50 USD). In France, they say if you pay over five euros for a bottle of wine you have over paid; a good bottle is between two and five euros. There are some things that you see in grocery stores you do not see in the U.S. like eggs that are not refrigerated or boxed milk that is not almond or coconut. Sunday markets are the best places to go to get food such as chicken, fancy cheeses, and fruits and veggies. The French life is amazing and joyful!