by Ella Russell, Greenheart Travel high school student in France
Although the week we visited Lyon was also the week that school started up again (the school vacation weeks are shifted depending on which region in France you are in), we still managed to go on several expeditions into the city. During the weekend, we went to the main soccer stadium that just opened this year, we visited Mickael’s (Laotian) family, and we went to a zoo.
The zoo was disappointing because most of the animals were hiding, or inside because of the cold, but we also saw the Guignol puppet show. I later learned that Guignol, the main character of the same name, is famous throughout France, but his creator came from Lyon. Although I couldn’t understand all of the conversations, it was nice to find that I could understand a lot of the humor.
In the beginning, there was a duck who started conversing directly with the audience. He asked if we liked ducks, and when we answered yes, he mentioned that we definitely like to eat them. Was that very funny, or just one of those things you laugh at in the moment when it is delivered well? I can’t decide, but the deep, grumpy sounding voice and fact that I could actually understand what to laugh at made it funnier.
After the zoo, we had barbe a papa, also known as cotton candy. Personally, I think the French name (basically Papa’s beard) is better.
During my second week in Paris, I attempted to add math (my favorite subject) to my schedule, but the logistics were too complicated, and they said it would be too hard for me, but I didn’t believe them, and after this week, I am almost sure that I could have taken the course! Near the beginning of the week, Irwan lent me his math textbook. It was composed of subject material that I did in seventh, eighth and ninth grade, and as Irwan is in the equivalent of ninth grade, the math for my year, the equivalent of 11th grade, should be right at my level.
On Monday, we went to the cinema to see Deadpool, which was English with French subtitles. From what I understood and which was later confirmed by Irwan, the subtitles did not translate the humor very well, which consisted of a lot of cursing, slang, and obscure references.
On Tuesday, we celebrated Irwan’s birthday at an Italian restaurant, and I saw the Lyon part dieu mall.
Wednesday was the most eventful day. During the morning and the early afternoon, Mourad showed me around Lyon. Mourad is something like a manger of the Lyon tramway, which allows him to have a free pass for all forms of public transportation, along with his family, so since we never went out all at once, I could take a spare pass. It was a good chance to be able to compare the cities of Paris and Lyon. Paris has long white apartment blocks and wide roads, while the roofs of Lyon are red and tiled, and the roads are more varied.
After Lunch, we met up with Irwan, Ines, Nahel (my host brother), and Mickael (my host dad), to go ice skating (le patinoire), where for some reason, there were several English speaking people. I did not do very well, falling three times, but it was fun. I don’t get to do ice skating as often as I would like (considering that I come from Florida). I slowly got better, but we left too soon.
After ice skating, we had a proper cake for Irwan, and then we went out to go to soccer game in Saint-Etienne (Saint-Etienne vs Paris SG). My first soccer game! I know that my brother, a big soccer fan, is very jealous.
On Saturday morning, my host family drove back to Paris. As there wasn’t enough room in the car, I took the train the next day. Mourad, Ines, and I went to the museum of confluences, a bizarre looking building, as you can see.
It also seems to have two meanings. It is near the meeting point of the Rhone and the Saone, the two rivers of Lyon, and every room was about something different, from sand, to the beginning of the universe.
In the evening, we went to a bingo lottery organized by Ines’s school. Unfortunately, we didn’t win anything.
And finally, on Sunday morning, I left in the morning to go to Paris. I had mixed feelings about returning. Lyon was cool, but I was also looking forward to seeing my friends from school, and steadily improving my comprehension of the teachers lectures. It was starting to get a little boring, as there is hardly any homework, except from the occasional long essay (practice for the BAC Blanc) which I was exempt from. Now the BAC Blanc over, I hope that things will be different. But I will miss Lyon. It was a fun vacation.