The first couple days
Well, it’s been less than three days in Lille, and I love it here. Our first day was exhausting going on very little sleep, but walking around gave me some reassuring initial thoughts...
1. It’s beautiful. We'd never been here before, but the pictures online did not lead us astray. The mix of Belgian and French influences on the architecture is really the best of both worlds. I’ll eventually stop taking pictures of quaint alleyways and adorable windows and doors, but not yet.
2. We’re not in Kansas anymore. And by Kansas I mean America. Yes, there are some places we’ve seen already with English translations, but for the most part, everything is in French. I would say my French is beginner level, and that’s hard for me. I don’t like when I don’t know things, but I’m trying to be patient with myself and use it as an excuse to slow down. Every street sign gives me a new word to learn, and don’t even get me started on the grocery stores. We’ve stopped in a couple already, and I could spend hours in there. Attempting to read ingredient lists and figure out milk and yogurt descriptions is surprisingly fun(?)
3. I need to get my city feet back. Walking everywhere has been great, but that also means covering a lot of ground on cobblestone streets and sidewalks, and wowza do my feet and legs hurt. On our first day I did a quick yoga practice, and it was delightful. If you’re not into stretching, I would highly recommend working some yoga into your life, especially when travelling. Over the years, I’ve tried to do daily practices, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes, and I want to continue that here. Call me basic, but I will be getting a yoga mat very soon. The hardwood floors in our Airbnb are nice, but not ideal for yoga.
4. Life is going to be different, and that’s really refreshing. I’m trying to avoid being like those people on episodes of House Hunters International that whine and say, “The kitchen is nice, but the fridge is really small and I wish the appliances were more updated.” C’mon people, get over it. I feel like I’m constantly adjusting what I would normally do, with my mind working in a combo of vacation, survival, and dream mode. Yes the fridge is small, but we have a fridge! We wanted to take this sabbatical for the experiences, not to replicate our life in the US.
So, if the charm wears off, I’ll let you know, but for now I’m loving every jet-lagged minute.