A week from today I will arrive in Lyon to spend 4 weeks studying at the Universitie and enjoying the region. I’ve been so busy with summer classes and other plans that this trip has hardly seemed real. But I looked at my empty suitcase this morning and thought I’d better get on it!
People assume I’m worried about the unfamiliar: the language barrier, a foreign city. I’m not the least worried about that. I expect it to be discombobulating, and I’m fine with that. I’m worried about the familiar — the pains and weaknesses in my body that I know all too well and that are common to middle-aged academics: bad cervical spines, tired eyes, anxiety.
I’ve been working on my spoken French and am pleased to report that I can easily ask for wine and pay the proper amount. In fact, I hope that’s one of the very first conversations I get to have.
People ask what I’m looking forward to doing.
I want to become a regular at some cafe or bistro in my neighborhood. I want to become comfortable navigating on foot or bike. I want to hang out in the Old Town, attend the Jazz Festival at the old Roman theater and mingle among the people and the vendors. I want to go to the art museum and the museum commemorating the French Resistance, and I want to sink into a couple of those famous 3-hour French dinners. Mostly, I want to be open to the opportunities that will come with each day.