We have been in Lyon for two months! Six weeks of this has been in strict lockdown situations, but we are thankful for what we have and are staying positive. The government is proposing a lift to the restrictions on May 11th and we will post an update once we know more!
We are using our one hour of time allowed outside per day for exercise within 1 kilometer from our apartment. A year ago last April, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my knee that left me on crutches for 3+ months, and in physical therapy until the end of October. It was very hard to imagine going on walks for leisure and I never thought I would be pain-free in my knee again. We tried taking advantage of the full hour and walking 3+ miles within the allotted time, but I would have to take 2-3 days off after each walk due to my knee pain. We changed up our strategy a bit and are now taking shorter walks on a daily basis and are increasing the distance each week. While we aren’t staying outside for the full hour, this is helping me build strength in my knee so that hopefully I can get up to the 3+ mile mark without being in a lot of pain. We are up to 2.5 miles a day and are close to the goal!
Each day that we go outside, we start to see more and more people out for “non-approved” reasons. People are starting to get stir-crazy in their apartments and go outside to enjoy the beautiful weather that we are having in Lyon. We are keeping our distance from others during our walks as much as possible, but it can be difficult on the city streets where there is not much space to spread out. There are also a ton of very small kids on scooters and they don’t have much control over where they go! Jordan has almost been hit about five times from these kids. We joke whenever we see them that we need to move away as far as possible… but they still find their way to get very close to us!
We have started French classes! Jordan and I are currently doing group classes with an instructor in Lyon three days a week. Our lessons are over Skype and last an hour. Speaking with a native French speaker is 100x better than trying to learn French on an app, like Babble, that I was using. Our instructor will have a conversation with us in French, and will then ask Jordan and myself to have a conversation with each other while she listens and critiques us. We have learned a lot of basics over the past few weeks: French etiquette, all of our fruits and vegetables, how to talk about the weather (a courtesy that many start a conversation with in Lyon, just like at home), how to talk about our family and jobs, and general grammar rules. Jordan has been able to use our new vocabulary at the local bakery to ask them if they have any baguettes (vous avez une baguette traditionnelle?) and he has scored some fresh baguettes right out of the oven!
I also started a book that my co-workers gave me before I left, “Short Stories in French”, that is completely in French. I have made it through two chapters so far and actually feel confident that I know what is going on. The book provides an introduction and gives tips on how to read the book. One tip it lists is “you must accept that you won’t understand everything you read in the story”. It encourages you to continue reading and then look up any words you can’t figure out after each chapter. The book also has a summary at the end of each chapter, along with the translations for some words, and a multiple choice quiz about what happened in each chapter. Reading this book has been a huge confidence booster! I’ve also been able to directly apply a lot of what I’ve learned in French class to help read the book.
Jordan is still furloughed and we expect that he will be able to go back to work by the end of May. As of last week, I officially moved to a part-time schedule. Needless to say, we both have a lot of free time right now! We’ve been occupying our free time by watching a lot of movies. We most recently watched The Big Short, Blues Brothers, and In The Heat of The Night. I’ve never been one to watch a lot of movies, so at least there are plenty of new options for me to choose from!
With the lockdown, we still aren’t able to rent an apartment and have extended our AirBnB stay through mid-May. Our shipping container with our furniture/clothes has arrived, but we can’t access it until we have an apartment. Our number one requirement for an apartment is now a balcony so that we can still enjoy being “outdoors” in the case of another lockdown at a later time.
We are currently very cozy in 600 square feet of space! We spend most of our time each day on our couch, but sometimes I go on “vacation” and hang out in our bedroom. The kitchen is only big enough for one person to cook in and we trade off each night on which one of us will do the cooking. The owner of the apartment has a lot of really cool travel items as decor. On one shelf, there are vials of sand from all over the globe, and on another shelf there is a collection of various shells.
We keep our windows open most of the day and into the evening since we don’t have any air conditioning. The French do not use screens on their windows, and we are having to get used to all the pesky gnats and flies that find their way in our apartment. We can’t hear any neighbors next to us or below us, but we can definitely see our neighbors in the building right across from us!
Enjoy some photos of our cozy AirBnB, and please go enjoy your backyard for us!