Hot in the city– and loving it

28 August 2009

It’s time for a quick catch up on what’s happening from my (Birgit’s) perspective!! 🙂 Now that we are connected again with the whole wide world via the internet, I actually feel like contributing to our blog. Where shall I start? As you all know from reading Rolf’s entries, we have had a busy time and we are in fact still surrounded by cardboard boxes, but I see light at the end of the tunnel and French life has so far been wonderful. The weather here is great, we’ve had about 30 degrees celsius pretty much every day, with the hottest day last week pushing the mercury up to 38 degrees. We do get thunderstorms every now and then, which cool the air and are always a  spectular display of flashes of lightning. Our plants enjoy the climate too, particularly the little lemon tree we were given by Sandra and Wolfgang. The poor thing was wasting away in the damp English climate, but is now sprouting healthy and  shiny dark green leaves and flowering. It’s probably a bit confused about the season thinking it’s spring, or maybe it’s just so happy to be here that it can’t wait to grow little lemons. I don’t care, I am so pleased it’s doing well now.

We are in such an urban location here, quite a change from rural Ascot! I love that fact that I can cycle everywhere and so many things are on our doorstep. I can do most of my shopping at the local markets, the produce is so tasty, we can’t get enough of the French peaches and nectarines at the moment. They are so ripe, juicy  and sweet, to die for :). The lettuces are so varied, the tomatoes so lovely, I have to stop myself not to buy too much in one go, things seem to perish quite quickly in this climate. And I love the expert advice your are getting: This morning I bought some avocados and was told that they are still a bit firm, that I MUST UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES put them in the fridge but leave them on the worktop for 48 hours until they are perfect for consumption. I am looking forward to putting them into our salad on Sunday. I also bought some trout from the Ardeche and some wonderful figs and goats cheese, we will have those tonight.

But  there is so much more to Lyon than food… The culture for example. Quite different from English culture, very distinct from German culture. Take the traffic, for instance. The other day we saw to guys inlineskating along the slip road onto the Motorway. I thought this was dangerous in itself, but to add some excitement, they were also going against the traffic. May be it’s something I just don’t understand… Another thing is crossing the road. As a pedestrian, you cross a road when the lights are green, but it’s also okay to do this when they are red, in fact most people do. On the other hand, when the lights show green for pedestrians, it doesn’t necessarily mean that cars stop for you, particularly when they are taking a left turn. Despite this, I feel quite safe here, and it’s great for cyclists, because no one bats an eyelid  if you cycle on the footpath. In Britain you get disapproving looks, in Germany people start complaining loudly. So the French way is perfect for me :). Apart from the traffic, I am still finding my way round the French culture. My strategy at the moment is to watch closely and copy what I see. This has worked very well for me so far. I am learning new things everyday, it’s great.

Yesterday we went swimming. This was lovely as it was another hot day and the water was so refreshing. The pool is fab, it’s right on the Rhone and you have a wonderful view of the Presqu’île from the poolside, while you are basking in the sun after the swim. Perfect happiness for me!

Today is a big day for us, we will find out whether the children have a place at the international school. They sat their exams on Wednesday and both felt it went well for them, so we are very hopeful. They start school next Thursday and are quite excited about it. Linus really liked the teacher who tested him during his oral exam, she reminded him a lot of his first English teacher at Charters. Lucy also came of the exam beaming and happy, she is very keen to start at the school. During the various tests they had to sit, I had lots of opportunity to speak to other parents. They were all in the same boat: new to France, a bit anxious and at the same time so excited to start a new life,  it was  great for me to meet some people who share our experience.

Anyway, I have to see the estate agents today to get something sorted, another challenge and all in French :), I am looking forward to the day when I can make myself understood!!!

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