‘Last Day’ and Thoughts from Lyon

Day Five in Lyon:

Today was our last day in the wonderful city of Lyon. The trip as a whole has been absolutely incredible and the memories of it will be held in my heart very dearly for a long time. The experience of being completely immersed in a different culture is challenging but worthwhile and it is something I would recommend to anyone who is given the chance. The trip has given me more confidence to pursue languages in the future. I love studying French but before the trip I felt so deeply embarrassed to admit that I would like to study it further at university because ‘I’m not good enough’. I still don’t know if I am or not, but now I know that one day I will be. I am determined. The group has become so close during the week that it will be strange to go our separate ways when we get back to England. We have also made friends who are students here and we will hopefully stay in contact with them in the future.

View of the school from the accomodation winow

This morning we went to the primary school on campus and joined in with an English lesson. They were doing a listening exercise like the one I had seen earlier in the week, except this one was about the school day. These students were about ten years old and they were fascinated by the differences between French and English schools. The audio was a series of statements about school life and after each one the teacher asked us whether it was accurately describing English schools. We confirmed that yes it is true that the typical lunch involves sandwiches, crisps and fruit but no not every school has prayer time. At the end of the lesson we were treated to a little song from the pupils which went: “Hello, hello, my name is…”. At the end of the lesson my little friend from Wednesday came running up to me and gave me a big hug. We walked out together and C asked her jokingly whether she would like me to stay and be her English teacher and I was amazed to hear her reply of: “Oui oui oui!” accompanied with: “You stay here!“. It was very heart warming.

Me and the little girl

But sadly it was time to go and we were soon packed up and in cars travelling to the airport. It was a lovely hot day and we were all very sad to be going. We had been saying to French teacher C all day how much we had enjoyed the trip and how we didn’t want to leave. However they may have a point when they say ‘be careful what you wish for’ because our first problem occurred at the very beginning when the check in desk couldn’t find our luggage booking and therefore didn’t want to take our communal cases which were holding all of our belongings. Whilst we were waiting for this to be resolved we had a very make-shift picnic composing of: cake, oranges, chocolate mousse with no spoons and apple juice. We were all absolutely exhausted now that the adrenaline of the week’s adventures had left our systems and I found myself cat napping with my head resting on a packet of baby wipes. Eventually C and J returned without our bags and we were able to go through security. Staff member CH had placed a large soft cheese in her hand luggage which she had rescued from going in the bin after being uneaten during our picnic. It was at the security scanners that I learnt my fact of the day: a large brie cheese is actually classed as a liquid. So, alas, fate got its way and the cheese went in the bin.

Once we were all in the departures lounge we settled down, though it wasn’t long until we learnt that our flight had been delayed. At frist we were not sure as to how long for, though there were rumours that our 12:30pm flight would be departing sometime after five in the evening. We decided to live up to our previously discussed British stereotype and get some sandwiches for lunch and wait and see. It was after I had eaten a very nice mozzarella baguette that I fell asleep on an airport bench and when I woke up I was told that the flight had been cancelled. Everyone was now slightly bemused as we had to go and collect our luggage (which we had to fight hard to be taken in the first place) from the arrivals carousel. Then C and J joined a large queue of passengers at the information desk to try and find out what would happen next. This was a long wait so CH entertained us with an incredibly difficult crossword from the back of a newspaper and R took us out to sit in the sunshine on the tarmac outside. On finding out that our flight was cancelled a member of airport staff said: “It must be destiny”. I thought this was a slightly odd thing to say. Eventually we got the news that we would have to stay in a hotel in Lyon over night and then fly to Munich, Germany, tomorrow afternoon. From there we could fly to Birmingham. The brief trip to Germany would almost double our flight time as it was an hour in the wrong direction, but it was the only way of getting back.

Welcome airport sign

Myself, J and P looking sleepy on an airport bench

The hotel we stayed in was very nice and the food was lovely. We joked about how we had probably been given a favour by the airline! The hotel even had wifi, something which we had all had to live without for the last five days. I discovered a good French immersion exercise:

  1. Lock your key card in your room.
  2. Go down to reception and explain this in French to the receptionist and ask for another key to a room which you think you remember as being yours.
  3. Go to the room and open the door.
  4. Find surprised staff member J in there.
  5. Go to reception and explain in French that you got the wrong room number and yes, there was someone in there.
  6. Go to the correct room and try to deal with the weight of the responsibility that having two keys brings.

All key chaos aside, keys seemed to be a running theme in this trip, we had a very nice time. We had time to socialise together because there was nothing timetabled, so a few of us stayed up until late in the dinning room talking. We are also all excited because in our rooms rectangular pillows await. Tomorrow will bring three countries in one day… well lets hope so anyway!

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