Life in Lyon

 

During my time in this French city, I really enjoyed the little things. I was extremely happy every time I went to the market on the square behind my building, where I bought large amounts of fruits and was always greeted with a smile and sometimes even free stuff! I also really enjoyed an evening at home with a good book, a walk along the Rhône, taking a bath, drinking my morning smoothie, talking to my friends, writing, improving my French… I have not done a lot of big things and I actually haven’t really traveled outside of the city during these months, but I don’t regret that. I needed it like this and it was great.

Every week there was an event from Couchsurfing; a boardgame night in the center of Lyon. It was in one of my first weeks there that I went to one of those evenings and I became a regular instantly. We played all sorts of games with people from all kinds of different countries and it was such a blast, again and again, every week. I’m still sort of amazed by how much fun I’ve had there every week. The people who showed up were very nice and I spend a lot of time with the ones who were also regulars outside of these nights too. I’m very happy with my group of Lyonnais friends, even though I did betray one of them in a spy game and they didn’t feel like they knew me well enough until we played a game of two truths and a lie. I would have thought inventing lava sharks and mushroom cacti were ingredients for a lifelong friendship, but I guess it takes more than that ;)

I actually didn’t take many pictures throughout the summer, so in my last week in Lyon I went crazy with my camera to capture all the great memories. You may not enjoy watching them as much as I do, but I hope they are at least a little entertaining :)

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How about them resolutions?

As you may remember I had some plans for the time I would spend here. At first I was very optimistic, but when I arrived in Jakarta, things were a little different than I expected. Even though I googled intensely, I still found some things I didn’t prepare for (shocker…).

The first thing I wanted to do was walk to work everyday. Well, when I worked in the hotel I did it two times, but it was more like a hike than a walk and it was much further than I predicted. Furthermore, the area that I lived in did not have a sidewalk. Soon I discovered the amazing go-jek, which is like a taxi service but for motorbikes and it was so cheap and fast that I caved and stopped walking to work.

The second thing I wanted to do was eating a lot of fruit and rice with vegetables. Well… It was harder to find the food I wanted than I thought. So in the very first days that I stayed here, I ate way too little, because I didn’t know where to look for it (and secretly I was a little scared to go outside because everyone stares at me… all the time). But finally I found a good place to eat dinner, lunch was covered because I ate with my colleagues and I bought fruit at the supermarket (which was really cheap).

The third thing was learning yoga and creating a morning routine. Up until now, my bed is so good to me, but then in the morning it will not let me go. We’ve got a bit of a love/hate relationship going on (but mostly love). As you may have guessed, the yoga thing is not yet happening.

But now that I moved to a new house, things already feel so much different. Even though the current bed is even more comfortable than the last one, I am confident that I can start my morning routine here. I can walk to my new internship. I did it today, while listening to music, and it was great. There are sidewalks, there are less people staring at me and when I take the time to look up it is into a smiling face. Finally, there is just one road I need to cross like I don’t care about my own life.

Also, even though I already figured out the food, still it becomes easier and easier to find places and things to eat. Every time I order something I will look at it skeptically, because I am sure that this will be the time it is something I will not like. Statistics tells me it must be coming up, because it is impossible to like everything the Indonesian kitchen has to offer. But three weeks in and I still haven’t eaten one single thing I didn’t like. Obviously, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I am a little surprised by how much I like it here. I was so sure I was someone who would miss the luxury of my own house, I thought it would be so hard to make real new friends here and I thought I would have a lot of moments where I just wanted to stay in and not make an effort. But none of this happened. Sure, I would miss luxury, but there is luxury here. They clean my room every day and do my laundry and I pay less than half of what I did before. Making friends is easier than ever with couchsurfing, not to mention the great colleagues that come along. I have met so many amazing people already, and I want to hang out with them all the time (which makes that I don’t want to stay in, but I want to take a freaking go-jek and go out)!

So far, so good. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here has to offer.

Taman Mini

Last Sunday I went to Taman Mini in Jakarta. Everybody said it was ‘miniature’ Jakarta, so I expected Madurodam. That was not what I got. It is a place where you can drive around and they replicated different areas of Indonesia. And in the middle was a lake, with little Islands so that it looked like Indonesia from the sky.

So the joke of the day was that I did not have to travel anymore, because I have already seen it all.

There were a lot of children dancing and making music, which was awesome. I filmed some of this, and will edit it later. It made me really happy. Jane, one of the people from couchsurfing that took me there, said that maybe we could take dance classes to learn the traditional Balinese dance (because it is the easiest). I would love that, so I hope that will be in my near future!

I took some pictures but honestly I forgot what picture was what kind of area. I guess I will need to travel to all of them after all =)

How I already gained 11 friends in Jakarta before I even got there

So there is this thing called couchsurfing

For those of you who don’t know it: where have you been? Surely it wasn’t planet earth.

I posted a message there with my plans for the next five months and it was nice to see all kinds of people sending me messages in response. Some were expats wanting to make friends, others were locals wanting to show me the city and I even have some offers to travel together already.

The hospitality is overwhelming. It’s good to know I won’t have to be lonely while I’m in Jakarta.

On the other hand, how am I gonna make time to meet everyone?

I really like that there is this kind of medium where you can just post a random message and people respond and want to meet up. It makes traveling to a completely new city much easier, just knowing that there are likeminded people out there (and that there is apparantly internet in Indonesia – just kidding ;) )

I’m curious about the culture and I read everywhere that people in Indonesia are also very curious about Westeners. I read on someones blog that he felt like a total celebrity because everyone was staring at him on the streets. I guess this will make it easier to connect to locals and get to know them.

I hope I will learn some Bahasa Indonesia soon, and I am working on it. I actually found this site, where you can sign up and get more than a hundred actual digital lessons for free! I have finished lesson 1, so now I know: Selamat pagi! Apa kabar? Baik-baik saja. Apa nama anda? Saya Sanne. Terima kasih. And… Some other things I have already forgotten. But I will learn and eventually I’ll remember. And if there is one thing my travel experienced have taught me, it is that hand gestures go a long way.