From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!
I was so nervous getting on and off that plane. Most of the people on the plane were only speaking in French, and they made some announcements over the intercom that were only in French. I got the gist of it, but it sure made me reaaaallllly anxious about this year!
Once I finally deplaned, I had to get my bags. There was a very upright French man with a doggie that was sniffing for drugs. Everyone was smiling and laughing at the dog; from my experience, Americans don’t typically coo and smile at drug sniffing doggies. But everyone thought that it was super cute here! It’s nice to see people crack a smile.
Needless to say, my stomach was twisting and turning into knots the whole 2 hours of my final flight. I’m still a little woozy! I haven’t had anxiety this bad since last summer. Even though I’m not very good with dealing with change, I have to deal with it all the time. Especially now in college. Every year–even every quarter–is different. I like routine! I like the structure and the comfort of knowing what’s coming next. But I guess I’ll just have to be pretty spontaneous for this trip.
I was able to get a taxi, but I was so nervous that I didn’t talk to him for halfway through the trip. When I finally mustered up the courage, I commented on how much nicer his taxi is from taxis in California (which is really true. They look like luxury cars with a “taxi” sign stuck on the top. They have cushy, clean seats, good air conditioning, a nice GPS, and a new-looking meter). That compliment really got him going! He was very proud and wanted to know more, but I just didn’t have the French vocabulary to say everything I wanted to say.
He was super friendly and he apologized for assuming I didn’t know French (which made sense to me since I did hand him a paper with an address on it!); he said that he didn’t say anything because he doesn’t speak English. Then he proceeded to tell me lots about Lyon and the French. Really nice and encouraging, and I understood almost everything he said. I can understand more than I can speak–hopefully that gap will close soon. I hope I get to meet more people like him! He kept trying to encourage me to speak French, even though I was so nervous and tired that I’m sure it was pretty bad. He got really excited when I told him I was from California.
The same thing happened with the hotel staff. When I told them that I’m from America, they instantly raised their eyebrows and smiled. I became a lot more interesting that a random tourist, I guess! I wonder how other people will react?
It’s only about 3:00 PM here, and I still have the rest of the day to myself. Not really sure what I want to do, especially since I’m here by myself right now. From my window, it looks like a lot of families and tourists in this particular area. I think I’ll go ask the concierge for some help. I think I’ll be asking for a lot of help over the next year!