I can’t believe it has been a month since I have last written! Everything has been pretty calm in my life, and I am starting to prepare to come home. I can’t wait to be back in Denver! I am so ready for snow, Christmas lights, and homemade cinnamon rolls. I’m a little bummed that I will only get to be there for a week, but at least I’ll be there for Christmas!
Well, the only truly interesting thing that has happened recently occurred about two weeks ago when I had the opportunity to go to Lyon, which was especially exciting for me because some of my ancestors were silk weavers from this area! I got to go to an interesting silk weaver museum where I learned some more about the history of Lyon. For example, did you know that the city was built on its silk industry, which was originally developed in order to cut out the competition coming from Italy? According to the museum, roughly half of population were silk weavers, and the city today is still riddled with narrow passageways that they used to transport their goods more quickly. In addition to this, we visited a fine arts museum, where I got to see a lot of really amazing pieces, including a few Monet, Courbet, and Van Gogh paintings. I studied art history for two years before changing my major to international relations, but I have forgotten most of what I learned. I did absolutely LOVE my art of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia class, though, so working my way through the ancient Egyptian artifacts display was really cool. And I still remembered a lot of the symbols and names of the gods! Then, on Sunday we walked up to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which was truly amazing. Inside, every surface contained beautiful paintings, stained glass, or tiled mosaics, and since it is situated on a cliff overlooking the city, the view of Lyon was incredible. It was cold outside but we still got a little steamy hiking up to the top of that hill. It was well worth it when we got there, though. I just wish that we could have gone back the next weekend for the annual festival of lights!
Speaking of lights, Montpellier has finally turned on all of the Christmas lights that they put up in town! There are strings of them stretching across the streets, and there is a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the main square. Still, my favorite decoration is the giant globe made of lights! It’s so cool and so funny at the same time! Why would a globe be Christmas-y? There is also a Christmas market on one of the main streets, where they set up these little log-cabin booths. They play “Christmas” music (which often is actually not Christmas themed at all) and sell cute little trinkets and treats. There are even choir groups and concerts on the weekends, which makes the atmosphere really lively and fun. We went for the first time last weekend, but it was cold and rainy. I swear, it had been raining for almost two weeks at that point, which is very unusual for this area, and even though it wasn’t raining too terribly that night, huge puddles covered the ground and there was a constant drizzle. My roommate and I went to meet some friends, but we only brought one umbrella, and due to the wind we couldn’t both fit under it without getting rain blown onto us anyway. Well, we are both extremely stubborn, and neither of us wanted to use the umbrella if the other was going to go without it and get wet. Therefore, the brightest solution, obviously, was for neither of us to use it. By the end of the night, we were both wet, cold, and had stepped in so many puddles that our shoes were basically pooling water inside rather than keeping it out. I’ve been sneezing and coughing all week.
Well, this was my last week of classes, and next week I will take all of my final language exams. I don’t feel nervous or apprehensive at all, but I don’t know whether that is confidence or stupidity. I’ll let you know after I take the tests! Wish me luck!