Have been in Lyon for five days. Jet lag is beginning to fade. It was awful the first few days. I got lost twice trying to get between the subway and the school and thus arrived 1/2 late when I should have been 40 minutes early. Very embarrassing. Befuddled is the best way to describe the feeling. I felt a lot better yesterday when I met up with a much younger Jesuit friend from Georgetown who lived here for four years. He had arrived two days earlier for a conference. He was as bad as I had been with misplacing things, being unable to find receipts, and getting disoriented on the street. It was very comforting. He helped me get a monthly unlimited ride subway pass. The good news is that as I am almost 65 it only cost 33 Euros for the month. I spent 17.50 Euro on tickets the first week. The SDB noted below, who is not yet 40, paid 68 Euro for the same service. Bring on Medicare!!!!
There have been a number of high points. There is another priest in my class, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) from Kenyan who is a nice guy. We are going to have lunch on Wednesday, the only day I don't have conversation class for almost two hours after the three hours of the other class. I crawl into the community some times.
Found a notice for two performances of Verdi's Requiem at a church somewhere in the area. Verdi's Requiem is the most important piece of music in my life. I will go to one performance and, if I like it, will go again. The cost is very low.
The Jesuit house is in the middle of Presqu'Il section of Lyon. It doesn't get any better than that. We are midway between the Rhone and Saone rivers and surrounded by shops, churches, restaurants and much else. Lots of tourists wandering around. So far, in two outings, one of which was this afternoon, I took over 500 photos. I'm trying to discipline myself to edit, or at least discard the real clunkers and duplicates early.
French is a challenging language. I have all the sounds in my throat and head as a result of speaking Portuguese (Brasilian no Continental). That is a bit of a problem because at the moment some of my answers come out in Portuguese rather than French. That should end soon. I will never be able to describe numbers higher than 69. To say someone is 93 in French, for example, one has to say four times 20 plus 13. Really.
Good food. I've taken all of my meals in the community thus far. Among one of the best revelations was the butter. Much better than U.S. I can now understand why foodies rave about European butter. It is better. Much. Of course the baguettes that appear in the dining room every morning are fantastic. Why or why do Americans eat soft styrofoam bread? I feel fuller after some bread, butter and jam than I do after twice as much in the U.S Bread. With gluten. And texture. And crust. And NO sugar (yech). I am a good bread baker and may have to resume when I return to the U.S. out of the need for something other than plastic bagged junk, the only way to describe American bread. Alas, I don't have much control in the community. Enough whining.
Attached are some of the photos I took this afternoon. All were within one mile or less of the house. Astounding setting.
The rose window in the Cathedral St. Jean de Baptiste (pretend the accent marks are in there). The Cathedral was a disappointment because the main altar and choir area are under construction. All is blocked from view.
I've never seen a rose window with such a rose-like appearance to the "petals." It looks a lot more like a flower.
Candles are great photographic subjects. And thus we have first, a few votive lights.
The long bank of lights is in front of a statue of Our Lady.
This is the neighborhood. If you walk from right to left on the small red suspension bridge and continue down the street for about 150 yards you will arrive at the Jesuit community.
A bread bakery sign in Vieux Lyon.
Puppets also in Vieux Lyon.
Two different cafe scenes in the late afternoon on a Friday.
No school on Monday since the Monday after Pentecost is a holiday. Nice. Will go out with the camera again. And again. And again.
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD