Is happiness a matter of choice?

20 January 2010

Quite possibly. I think I have found one way to achieve happiness here. The last few days have been very good here in Lyon, I suppose  because I

a: have decided to be as happy as possible here.

b: surrounded myself with positive people and stayed away from gossip.

c: the weather has been lovely.

For now, my ‘happiness programme’ is working for me and, as a positive side effect, I feel like I am starting to achieve things: I have hopefully found a Yoga class that is  right for me. I still have to trial the class, but I left a message with the instructor today. Obviously this was in French, because the teacher is French. She hasn’t called back yet, I don’t know whether this is due to my message or because she is a busy bee….I guess it’s the latter.

Iris and I have also decided to mix with the ‘natives’ more in our quest to become somehow fluent in French. We both need to move on  from  the French class at the language school now (Argh, there is too much passe compose going on there) and will discontinue the lessons once the next block of sessions has finished: Hoorah, only 4 sessions left! Instead, I might join a drawing class. I was very passionate about sketching and drawing about 30 years ago (wow, don’t I sound old?) and I have always wanted to study drawing. Maybe now is the perfect time to revive any dormant skills. So I am on the look out for a class now.

Last week, I also  started a  French conversation class and that was really good fun. These classes are offered by an institution called Accueil Villes Francaises (AVF) which offers support to foreigners coming or expats returning to France. They are basically a social network group and offer a variety of activities for a minor annual subscription fee. What a brilliant institution! In the last couple of months I have been going to the coffee mornings a few times and met really nice people there. At our conversation class, I met women from all over the world, plus a French teacher who had no pre planned class, but just went with the flow and left the course of the session completely up to us girls. So we ended up talking about cinema. I learned  a lot of typical French expression and found the whole class very relaxed and inspiring. I am looking forward to the next one, and I hope I can go this week. I am not sure at this point, because the teachers at our children’s school go on strike once again. This means that Linus and Lucy will be at home on Thursday, possibly also on Friday. Lucy came running out of school this afternoon looking like she’d won the lottery, and announcing she had VERY GOOD NEWS for me: she is extremely pleased about the extra time off. Much more than me in fact….

I wonder if I will ever be able to work in France while they are at school if there are either public transport strikes, teacher strikes or oh, I don’t know, may be the staff in the canteen have strikes too?

Just so I don’t lose count (and to shock people from countries where employees don’t tend to strike):  This is the second time the teachers are on strike since we arrived and we also had three  public transport strikes during this time. We have almost been living here for 6 months now, so we have had one strike every five weeks… That is amazing. can you imagine something like that happening in Britain?


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