Monday, June 2, 2014

Lyon, France and Jet Lag

Arrived at the Jesuit community in Lyon, yesterday afternoon.  The house is in the center of Lyon with easy access to the subway and photographic opportunities that will be difficult to overly use.  The house was built by Franciscans, a fact that explains the monastic-like architecture.  I don't know how old it is but it ain't new.  The community has been most welcoming.  One of the men took me to the subway this morning and went as far as the school.  I can make the trip in about twenty minutes with the following: 1/4 mile on foot, one subway for one stop.  Change to another subway and go two stops.  Walk 1/4 miles.  In theory I could walk to and from, something I may try from later in the week but not first thing in the morning.  That simply won't happen.  

It will take a bit to get used to eating at 8:15 PM.  Things will probably be fine once I develop a routine.  Must find where to buy coffee near the school.  Found a small place for espresso but that wasn't quite enough.  

The first day of classes went well enough.  Feel a bit overwhelmed with it all but the background in Portuguese is coming in very handy, particularly in pronunciation.  Several Americans in my classes.  There is one Australian woman who, it turns out, lived very near Canisius College in Pymble, the same place where we were based as tertians.  She was very surprised.  

After classes were over I picked up the books and managed to get home on the subway without problems.  I remain grateful to Philadelphia, Boston, Taipei, and D.C. for their subway systems, all of which I learned to navigate on my own.  Indeed, when a low level of panic was setting in I recalled that this was a lot easier than getting around Taiwan on my own.  

Attached are some photos I took yesterday.  As there is a three-day weekend (no school on Monday and I feel like a 16 year-old) I hope to spend a significant part of one day with camera in hand.  Lyon is mostly very flat though there are some impressive hills as well.  Many churches.  Many churches.  

This is some of what is local. 

Walk out of the front door and look to the left to see this.

Same street, Rue Sala, in color though a bit farther up.  The sturdy appearing building on the left is the Jesuit residence and the novitiate.  The two are separate communities.

Exit the residence and begin walking to the right. 

It is less than 1/4 mile to the river.  The boat was named Chardonnay.  It appears to be a dinner cruise boat. 

The three photos below show a sculpture just up the road from the boat.  From a distance I expected an itinerant balloon salesman.  But nothing was moving.  It is a huge, at least ten feet in diameter, sculpture of metal flowers painted brilliant colors.  In front there are fountains that come on and off randomly with an equally random pattern of how high the water shoots etc.  With the wind it was an effort keeping spray off the lens even though I was rather far away. 

Coming back I crossed the bridge at the end of our street.  There are two churches.  Will eventually visit both.  Not sure how to get to the one on top but I will get there.  Perhaps over the weekend. 

Please excuse typos and agrammatical writing.  Am not going to do much rereading here.   The jet lag is quite harsh.  About midway through the conversation class, four hours into the day at the school, I was having a bizarre sense of derealization coupled with uncertainty about where I was at the moment.  Quite an afternoon.  Time to go for a short walk to clear the cobwebs.  

+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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