Tag Archives: Lyon

Lyon museum blue curtain

Sj’s Take Away from Lyon

Hmmm . . . what to write?

Number 1.

I really enjoyed my time in Lyon.

Number 2.

It was exactly the right length of time to be there (3 weeks).

Number 3.

I’m still amazed that I can converse in French at all!


The school I attended, Alpadia, is really a great school for folks like me wanting to get some input after learning on their own. The variety of ages and nationalities attending the school made it interesting. Bottom line. We were all there to learn French. Some because they had to (for school or work), but most (it seemed to me) because they wanted to (be there).

And this time around, I really got how spoken French is so very different from written French. I don’t mean the absence of sounds, like the s at the end of many words, but rather that they just don’t say what they write. They leave so many things out. And it seems that there’s an *unofficial way of talking that has nothing to do with what one reads, a spoken vocabulary that a non-native like me really has to search for. (Unlike spoken German which matches what we’re taught in school.)

So . . . my biggest take away is that I have to continue listening to French, spoken French, like in movies. This Harry Potter fan will continue to listen to JK Rowling’s books in French, BUT I’ll make sure to add a heaping dose of actual French conversations.

At times learning a new language seems insurmountable, with two steps forward and three steps back. BUT this gal, moi, has a tenacity that surprises even me.

I will continue.

One step at a time.

Both the forward ones.

And the backward ones.

This includes the next four weeks, which I’ll spend in San Sebastian, Spain attending another small language school (this time for Spanish) while residing with a Spanish family.

Where am I at the moment?

In Germany, not too far from Heidelberg, spending a most wonderfully relaxing week with dear, dear friends.

And . . . believe it or not, speaking in German is actually giving me a most welcome rest from intense mental activity. My girlfriend, who I call a walking dictionary and grammar guide, corrects me when I say something a little wacky. I welcome each correction and celebrate as I also recognize that they’re coming less and less frequently.

Meanwhile, here are some photos I took while in Lyon.


✫ Sj✫

 *Dear Non-native English Speakers,

I’d love to know about some of your experiences in learning English. What are some specific challenges?

Thank you very much in advance for your replies.

Artist Clyv

Parc de la Tête d’Or

Pedrata Lyon view 3

Pedrata’s Take on Lyon

Pedrata portraitThat’s me, Pedrata. I’m a rat. A Mexican rat.

Why Mexican?

Because I came from Mexico. On a boat.

All the way to Hawaii from Mexico. On a boat.

Darn tootin’ that was fun!!!

But I’m not just any rat. I’m a rat who loves to travel, a bit like my gal pal, Sj. We two females love to travel. Si!, I’m female. If I were male, I’d be PedratO, but I’m not, I’m PedratA.

I enjoyed Lyon. To da max. Here are some of my fav memories.


✷ Pedrata ✷

p.s. for whatever reason, these 4 pix didn’t want to be part of they gallery . . . so they’re here all by their lonesome. : )

And especially a concert . . .

And especially a concert . . .

Pedrata at flea market

I’m not sure why Sj bought this old briefcase for all of 4 Euros.

Pedrata Penguin 2

had so much fun together !!!

Pedrata wall art 1

Hmm . . .

Lyon lightning

School’s pau …

for the moment.

Leaving Lyon tomorrow for Germany. Gonna hang with good friends and change the channel on the language network.

Time to really mess with my brain. ;-)

Coming soon:

Pedrata’s Take on Lyon

✫ Sj ✫

pau = finished

wild flowers in Lyon

Summer arrived today in Lyon.

Just like that.

Without nary an announcement that this non-native could decipher, summer arrived and set up camp in every corner of the city.

Just two days ago, I was wearing the silk long underwear that my mom lent me as PJs; it was that cool at night. Now, I’ve taken the comforter out of the duvet cover. And I may not even need that (the duvet cover, that is).

Earlier today, sweat was running down my arms rivalling that of my experience in Cambodia five years ago.

Summer has arrived.

And with it are some of the most magnificent flowers. They can be seen all over the city in various public gardens.

And smelt . . . at the Parc de la Tête d’Or, next to the roman theatre, and in the rose garden near the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. All over the city, the sweet odour of roses has been catching my attention.

Here are a few of my favs.


✫ Sj ✫


She caught my eye. 

Last week Saturday

around 2 p.m., after wandering around Lyon and ending up in Croix Rousse (one of two collines in Lyon, the one where people work btw), I realized I was hungry. Just then I saw a pizza joint and decided to check it out.

Below you can see what I ordered.

What I ate.

What I enjoyed completely. : )

I sat next to the window at a high two-top where I happily chomped on my pizza while observing the world outside.

That’s when she caught my eye.

Sitting alone. Also watching. Observing. Looking like a force of nature itself. Confident. Comfortable. Curious.

Three awesome Cs of uniqueness.

A woman with a presence.

In our world, youth and vitality is most often idolized. The absence of wrinkles. The presence of chic clothing. An air of not caring. And yet, in my experience, that very persona revolves around caring so very much what others think. Caring so very much that their very presence mirrors everyone else.

But here she sat with her hat and fluorescent sun glasses, looking like she didn’t have a care in the world. And looking like no one else. Uniquely herself.

When I left the restaurant, I started to walk past where she sat when something inside me called me to stop. To turn around. Approach her. And say hello.

In much less time than it takes to spill ones coffee and then clean it up, I was sitting with her at her table having a lively conversation.

Was she confident? Curious? Comfortable?

She seemed to be. She certainly wanted to know all about me and why I was in Lyon.

Each one of us is so very important. To ourselves. To our families. To our friends. But mostly, to the world.

Because each of us creates a ripple in the world. Whether we realize it or not. Whether we want to or not. We do.

Last week Saturday, Josephine sent a ripple my way. A tap on my heart to stop and say hello. To listen. To simply be present with someone who an hour before I didn’t even know existed.

Josephine et Sj

She reminded me of the protagonist in The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’élégance du hérisson) by Muriel Barbary. Someone who’s enigmatic. Not at all as they appear. Someone who is completely oneself.

And yet, isn’t that who each of us really is? At our core? Uniquely ourself?

I think the answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding, “Yes.”

And so for perhaps the millionth time, I feel the need to throw out the call to BE YOURself. In whatever way feels right to you. For no one but you can possibly know how it feels to be you.

So please, wear it proudly, that skin of yours. And if not for YOU, then for the rest of the world.

We need you.

Exactly as you are.

✫ Sj ✫

Lyon red blue white lingere

Soccer on the brain

Practically ALL of Europe has travelled to France for the soccer competition. 

Red, blue, and white can be seen everywhere . . . 

Soccer logo 2016

This logo is EVERYwhere. Even on the toilet paper.

French candles

. . . in the cathedrals . . .

A French lei ala le fut

. . . and in store windows.

On a side note, I decided to stop at Starbucks today to have a real coffee. It seems that instant coffee with chicory is the café prefèré these days at French houses. In the way of going with the flow, I’m drinking it and also adding the cocoa meant for the 16-year-old Swiss girl who is also staying at this house. What I discovered this morning at Starbucks is that they actually have a separate reading room with complementary books to read. There was even a Harry Potter there en francais. Pretty cool for this Harry Potter fan/nerd. ;-)


We’re going to see Moondog. 

I’m not exactly sure what it will be, but I expect that it will be spectacular. 

It takes place in an actual Roman amphitheater. For real. 

Yesterday we went to check it out. The percussionist was amazing; yes, we eavesdropped on a rehearsal. Incroyable!

Pedrata at Roman  ampitheatre

I think they’ve done this before.

the 4 rats won

Les quatres rats a gagné!

Yesterday marked the completion of week one at ALPADIA in Lyon.

What does that mean exactly?

  1. That we each got to have a complimentary croissant.
  2. That we were to take a test covering this past week’s topic: le subjonctif.
  3. And that we were to play a game of guessing WHO or WHAT someone or something was.

“Such as?” you ask.

Name at least 3 French présidents. I wrote Charles de Gaulle and Mitterand. A teammate wrote Sarcozi. (Must have been right because we got a point : )

Who is this French singer? Someone one of my teammates knew. Pas moi.

Who’s playing the guitar? Jimmy Henrix


We were to give our team a name. Three guesses what our team was called.

And on a side note: the French verb rater is a clue, BUT it didn’t really apply because in French rater means to miss or to fail . . . ;-)

So . . . with that I shall sign off. Enjoy les photos!

p.s. I zqs qble to uploqd the photos to ,y zebsite using ,y iPhone; but then the co,puter qt the school just decided it zqs ti,e for q lunch breqk: So : : : I too stopped qnd figured it knez best: I hqd the ,ost a,qwing rest of ,y dqy in Lyon : : : zqlking : : : tqking pictures : : : riding q bike : : : hqving q glqss of zine zith ,y hostess qnd q French of herùs : : : qnd then todqy; Sqturdqy; I found qn internet cqfe so thqt I could post it; ,qke chqnges thqt I cqnùt do zith ,y iPhone; etceterq : : : qnd; qs you see; the keyboqrd is q little different thqn ours: M  ° ?qde it ,e q little chqllenging: M 0

Qlohq tous1

Pedrata makes a great study companion. 

Not sure how much she’s learning; she may be waiting until we get to Spain since Spanish is her native language, but she definitely helps keep me on track. 

For example, she just reminded me to set the timer on my iPhone so I don’t forget to stop and go for a bike ride. 

Merci beaucoup, Pedrata! 

Will do!
Sj et P out. 

Ricardo, Anglica & Hugo--the 3 Brazilians. I LOVE this shot!

Random shots of Lyon from my six-week stay in January and February 2009

Lyon is such a beautiful (and to quote from my high school friend, Brenda : ) VIBRANT city.
Here are some random shots from my six-week stay there in 2009.




Au revoir Lyon!