My time in France has been twinkle time, to quote the sweet note of a friend. At times, the light has shone brightly, the sun has been out, the days have been easy, and the smiles were abundant. Other days, just like the twinkling of a star, the shining stopped momentarily. I wanted to go home, I missed my family, I missed the ease that was my comfortable life. I detested the differences that surrounded me and felt I would never be able to overcome this feeling of despair. Yet, just as easily, the light comes back, and I can see the goodness and am filled with happiness.
This past week was one especially filled with twinkle-time! It was mon anniversaire (birthday)! My family sneakily smuggled gifts to France and into the hands of my host family without my knowledge (through my friend who visited a couple weeks ago), and I was completely shocked! I was completely showered with love the entire week, from chocolates (of which I have eaten way too much of, and currently on a hiatus from), to presents, and many hugs!!
Even with finals looming in the near (or current) future, the Christmas season and all its wonderful happenings must go on! This weekend was La Fête des Lumières in Lyon. The city where I live is only 40 minutes away from Lyon, the third largest city in France and considered the hub of gastronomy in France. This festival of lights is something original to Lyon and has been happening for decades, all beginning with candles in the windows around the city thanking Mary from saving them from the black plague. It has now transformed into a citywide affair!
Being the third largest city in France, Lyon is immense! And the tour of the lighted plazas and rues is done solely on feet. Many miles were walked, and much hot wine was consumed. If you have never had hot wine, it is a German Christmas tradition, that thankfully has spread across Europe, as it is amazing! Tangy red wine, mixed with spices and fruit, extremely hot to warm the body from the fingers to the toes.
The festival goes on for three nights, so anyone who is brave and strong-willed enough might be able to see all the light expositions. I went two nights and somehow ended up seeing almost all the same things both nights… The expositions are not the usual twinkle Christmas lights that are tacked onto anything and everything in the States during Christmas. Instead, many of the expositions are centered in squares and light projections are shone on the buildings, shining detailed designs and caricatures that are themed to each area. It is so cool! And something one must see if staying in France during December!
The twinkle-time is shining bright and all over the cities. Christmas music is in all the shops, and there is an outdoor ice skating rink at the centre-ville plaza in my city. Christmas trees dot the sidewalks, and lights drape across the top of streets. It’s a very twinkly-time!