Authentic Lyonnaise Family Dinner:
This past week I had the incredible opportunity of an authentic Lyonnaise dinner. This was such an honor because I got the insight about Lyonnaise culture while getting to know this family. When I first signed up for this I was nervous because my French is not very good but I am so thankful I had Courtney going through this with me and the patience of the family. When I first sat down at the table I saw three plates stacked on top of one another for each dinner guest. This is because each time you move on to the next course you are also suppose to change plates. I also saw three types of glasses aligned in front of the plates. One for l’apéritif (starting meal drink), another for water and the third for red wine (because we were having red meat that night).
We started the meal with an apéritif which is a small appetizer and a class of champagne with a mix of “Violet Sirop”. This is the part of the meal where we did the most talking. We got to know one another’s backgrounds and life history. We (meaning Courtney and I) were asked about our lives back in the states and why we were in Lyon. We also got to know them a little more. Such as, were they were born, how the found themselves living in Lyon, and why they continued to stay there. All of this took place during the first portion of the meal. I appreciated this time the most because of the talking. This was the first formal meal I have ever been to in my life and the amount of talking we did threw me off guard. I am use to a culture of sitting down at the table strictly to eat. Thus, I enjoyed this time the most. Afterwards, we moved on to the Entrée I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in this dish but there was cheese for sure. This course contained talking as well, but that slowly died down as we enjoyed the dish. After the Entrée, we started with the Plats Principaux which is what we would call in America the Main Dish. This was my favorite dish, because of how full of flavor it was. We eat potatoes and some kind of meat with gravy. I’ve learned here in France it’s best to not ask what kind of meat you’re eating, so I didn’t. I just know it tasted good, and that’s the only memory I want to keep of it. At this point I was full, but of course the dinner was not over. We then moved on to the Fromages (cheese) accompanied by red wine. This part of the dinner was interesting to me, because to my surprise we didn’t have all French cheese we had some Italian cheeses too. Courtney and I were also told my Mme. Kuntz exactly how the cheese was prepared, the process of washing the cheese and the process they went through to turn the chèvre from it’s natural creamy consistency into a more solid one. After the fromages, we moved on to dessert where we had meringue covered glace (ice cream). This ice cream changed my life, I am definitely going to find out where they got it, and help myself to some more. After the Desserts… (yes there’s more) we moved onto le friandises where we enjoyed sparkling water and le chocolat Courtney and I brought as a present to them. Then to complete the meal, we had expresso while we enjoyed some more chocolat and talk. I must say, by the end of this I was surprised by how much food by body could hold. I would not have traded this moment for anything. Experiencing a true Lyonnaise dîner was so eye opening because I was able to experience how the French interact at a formal dinner setting, I was able to experience the Lyonnaise culture in a different way, and to meet an incredible couple and be completely spoiled by them, they were my host family for the night and I am so thankful for them.
Coffee Date with Magali:
Another highlight of my week was my coffee date with Magali. I met her at a dance studio near by that I’ve been going to. This was a highlight because she told me some useful things for my time here in Lyon. Places to see, things to do, people to meet, and how long I should really stay. I had a great time with her. She was born in Provence, France where the lavender fields grow. She mentioned how wonderful it was to open the window to her home and feel a gust of lavender blow through her window. She also mentioned countless times she would ask her parents if they could go have picnics in the fields. Hearing her talk was so inspirational. She encouraged me to travel, which is a lot harder than it sounds, but I love that she gave me reasons why. She mentioned the beauty of Barcelona, where she lived for about three years, and the Spanish lifestyle; the way going out is a common thing for them. She talked about Lyon in June when the music festivals come, and there’s dancing in the streets. She encouraged me to enjoy my time here in Lyon. Though I am here for dance and studies, she encouraged me to enjoy the beauty around me, because it might not last forever. Talking to her was intriguing because she isn’t someone who has been in Lyon, or even France all of her life. She’s traveled. She’s been here and there and she’s seen what’s around her, and I apperciate that she takes it all in and see’s the beauty of it all. It’s a very european mindset and it’s definitely something I want to fully cling on to.
Snowshoeing in the French Alps:
Last Saturday the USAC gang and I went to the French Alps. Now I am from Las Vegas… where it does not snow but I wouldn’t mind living in the snow if it meant I got to wake up every morning and see the Alps. They were the most beautiful snow covered mountains I have ever seen. If you ever get the chance to go, I recommend taking ski classes (if you don’t know how) or skiing if you know how. I choose the snowshoeing route because I have never skied before and was unaware skiing classes were available. It was incredible. Like hiking, but in shoes meant for the snow. We all fell, that’s a part of the snowshoeing process but we all now have great stories to tell our grandchildren. Here are a few pictures from that day: