January in France means Les Soldes. For those of you who don't speak French, this means Sales. Generally, things don't go on sale all the time in France like they do at home (from my understanding, at least). There are 2 months of sales in the year & one of them is January. The stores are crazy! They're packed & messy & you can find things for ridiculously cheap. They have listings for 20, 30, 40, 50...70% off. I'm not even kidding. & it's not just a few stores. It's every single store out there has at least some of their stuff on sale. My grandparents had sent me some money for Christmas so I did a little bit of shopping: boots, heels, a couple shirts...Usually I would have paid 150 euros just for the 2 pairs of shoes, but they only cost me 65 euros. Not bad. I was pretty excited about these sales, I'm not going to lie. Anyways, they're coming to an end, which is good news for me seeing as I am totally broke & it's way too tempting to go shopping when things are so cheap!
I am now working at the Starbucks in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon. It's WONDERFUL! I love it! It reminds me of the Starbucks by my house in Calgary...We actually have time to think & chat with customers & joke around. Plus we get to take home "les pertes" (the loses at the end of the night....muffins, cakes, sandwhiches mostly) which means I've gotten to try a lot of the Starbucks food, so I can actually give people my opinion on it. Another great thing- we almost always close on time! So I actually get off work when I'm supposed to now usually, as opposed to at least 30 min late. The partners are all really nice too (not that they weren't at République!). I have my Barista certification test on Friday, so i've been spending tons of time reviewing for that. There's lots to know & it's all oral & in French...talking about coffee & hygiene & policies in French...It should be interesting! Fingers crossed that I pass!!
The first week in January, I decided to do a day trip to Grenoble despite the freezing cold. It was fun despite having lingering flu symptoms, my feet going a bit numb & a lot of stuff being closed. There is an old cable car that takes you up to the top of the Bastille that overlooks all of Grenoble. Sadly, it was closed for yearly maintenance/upkeep for all of January. I arrived 2 days too late. It was also really foggy so I couldn't see the alps, but the city was still beautiful. I went to a museum that was all about the region & the history of ski, wandered around the pretty streets enjoying the architecture & had a few cafés to warm up. It was nice to get away from Lyon for the day & see somewhere new. I'll for sure be going back in the spring (hopefully with Alyssa) so I can ride the cable car & hopefully get a view of the alps!
Passerelle St Laurent
sad news for me
cold, snowy grenoble balades
view of the city
Kate got back halfway through January. We'd had plans to hang out, watch movies, eat popcorn & exchange stories, but I was sick (again). I've had no luck when it comes to being sick in January. I got the flu right at the beginning of the month (Happy New Year!) & then had a few days of being well before I came down with a fever which turned into an awful cold. I'm just getting over it now! How annoying. I absolutely hate being sick, especially when I've been taking good care of myself! Anyways, I've now seen a lot of Kate since she got back. She helped me dye my hair darker, we watched tons of movie (we found a great site that we can watch them on!), made sushi & miso soup (twice), hung out at my favourite café in Lyon, went dancing at Ayer's Rock (the Aussie bar where all the international kids go) & had a few velo'v adventures. It's been nice having her back & having someone to hang out with again. I haven't done anything with Karine in ages. I mean, we have dinner together sometimes (with her family too) & we're always at the apartment together, but we haven't gone out in ages.
making rice for sushi
preparing the veggies
the sushi we made
girls at Ayers Rock
gangsters: special K & a-dawgI am hoping on getting more hours at Starbucks seeing as I have once again arrived at the end of the month & have enough money for my metro tickets for the week & possibly a few emergency items. Luckily I have tons of pasta to keep me going this week or I dunno what I'd be doing for food. I'm also thinking of applying to this restaurant that's looking for a server at lunch time during the week. I'd just do it for a month or so to make some extra cash & then quit...or I'm thinking of tutoring or baby-sitting. We'll see. Taking on another job means working 7 days a week & not getting to do much travelling so I'm trying to avoid it at all costs.
I've arrived at the halfway point of my séjour, which is kind of scary for me. When I first arrived, 7 months seemed like an eternity. I felt like I had tons of time to do all the things I wanted to do, but now that I'm halfway, I'm realizing how little time I really do have here. & time seems to be flying by. There are so many day trips, weekend trips, visits coming up in the next few months that it's going to be super busy! I know I'll be home in no time so I've got to get some travelling in soon, see a lot more of the region as well as some other parts of Europe. So long as I get off work, Kate & I will be making a trip to Strasbourg, Munich & Prague at the beginning of April. I'm incredibly excited about the prospect of this but am trying not to get my hopes up too much in case I don't get the time off work. My list of day trips is also pretty sufficient. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying a train ticket to Geneva the moment I get paid this weekend.
a foggy day on the saône