Bonjour and Blank Stares

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Our trip to France took longer than anticipated due to flight delays and ultimately missed flights, but we made it safely to our AirBnB that we are staying at for a couple of months on Thursday night.

We have been getting by with our currently-limited French knowledge and a lot of hand signals. While we are trying to pass as French locals (Jordan has not worn his Clemson hat yet… and that is a huge deal), the blank stare that both of us give as soon as someone speaks to us in French is a dead give-away. My current struggle is that I know how to say the words I want to say, but in Spanish, not French!

Myth: Just because we are in a city, does not mean anyone speaks English. We have not met many Lyon locals who speak English, and have struggled at times… like when the police come through the park to make an announcement on a speakerphone or at the grocery store trying to buy fresh items. We still aren’t sure what the police said, and I have no idea what type of yogurt I bought.

I’m currently using Babble to learn basics, but we can’t wait to start our French language classes soon through Jordan’s employer so that we can start communicating with people better.

On Friday, Jordan’s company set us up with a relocation company to help get us oriented with our new city. We spent the entire day driving through the different areas of Lyon to help us narrow the search for when we look for an apartment for the next two years. Both of us fell asleep at some point in the car, but luckily our guide for the day was very understanding!

The relocation company also helped us set up some necessities, like attending an appointment at a bank to get our bank account set up, and helping schedule an appointment to get a French phone plan. It’s a catch-22 where in order to get an apartment, you need a bank account, and in order to get a bank account, you need to have an apartment. Since Jordan’s company is sponsoring us as expats, we were able to use his company’s address as our “apartment” in order to get our bank account.

We had previously shared information with the relocation company on what we may like in an apartment – close to all the shops and restaurants, two bedrooms (for guests!), a kitchen where we don’t have to buy cabinets (yes, that’s a thing), and close to the metro. Our guide took us to four different apartments in our price range and we were surprised how much space we would be able to have if we lived in the city. Some of the older buildings had so much character and charm. We will go on an official apartment search in early April to find something permanent for the next two years.

On Saturday and Sunday we were a little bit more refreshed and took the time to check out different areas of Lyon on our own. We went to the park by our current apartment, Parc de la Tête d’or, that has a botanical garden and zoo. Both are free to enjoy year-round!

Below are some photos from our first weekend in Lyon. Enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Bonjour and Blank Stares

  1. Wow. That all sounds so exciting and exhausting. Good for you! And glad you are young and doing something big out of your comfort zone. Love the puxs and you both!

  2. I have been to France several times and remember that once you are out of Paris it’s hard to find English speaking people! Good luck!

      1. I loved Chartres! The cathedral there is breathtaking! It’s outside of Paris. It was exactly what you would expect a French town to be. It had pastry shops, chocolate shops, cheese shops etc! No one spoke English though but it’s still worth a look. The train stops right there. I stayed at le grand monarque. I was there for work. There was another inn that I stayed at another time I was there and I could look out my window and see the Chartres cathedral. I just can’t remember it’s name. Enjoy your time in France! It’s a beautiful country!

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