La Bise, that’s what the French call that whole kissing on the cheek greeting thing. Instead of going in for the hug, they pop two on your cheeks and call it a day. Although I first found this gesture a little awk- ward to initiate, this form of greeting has grown on me and become something incredibly endearing.

This past week has been a continuation of IEP language classes which essentially just translate to another week of me not understanding French and showing up solely for the experience. I was extremely fortu- nate to have amazing professors who found my lack of French endear- ing and comedic. The school even found me an aide (thank you Marisol) who attended every class with me and helped me through the language classes. Despite the aide, the level of French you need to un- derstand these classes is probably something I won’t achieve within the next decade. Thank the Lord we begin regular classes next week which will finally be in English. I can soon finally prove to the French people that I’m not completely useless.

Madame Santos and Christine Ebnother our favorite teachers.

While Lyon is renowned as the center of gastronomy, I will not lie and say that I am getting a little tired of French cuisine. It is not so much the food, as the food decorum. Let me explain. While the food is deli- cious and invigorating to the palate, the portion sizes are usually horri- bly small. As a growing young boy with the appetite of multiple French men, eating at French restaurants is not really conducive for the wallet or the health.

The boys Cian and Cameron enjoying a nice wine.

Bread and butter are literally the bread and butter of meals, and I’ve found myself eating a lot of carbohydrates to compensate for the small portion sizes. Albeit, the bread here is so delicious and baked fresh dai- ly. The butter is also derived from organic cows that have not been adulterated by hormones. The fresh bread and natural butter really is a killer combo and very good. Throw on one or two cheeses from literally

the hundreds of options and its very very c’est bon. Wine is also cheaper than the sparkling water they serve. You can get very nice bottles of red and white wines in supermarkets for literally 4–5 euros. Baguettes are about one euro. Pancetta another 2–3 euros. A nice block of cheese for 5–10 euros. Combine all of this and you can have wonderful lunches and dinners for multiple days.

The ethnic foods in Lyon (Indian, Chinese, Thai, etc.) are also moder- ately disappointing…It is amazing that these foods even exist in Lyon but their essence and soul have been diluted to appease the French palate and as a result become unauthentic. Ethnic foods are also quite expensive. A big plate of Pad Thai will run about 8–9 dollars in the US, but here in Lyon the price is more like 14–17 Euros. At almost double the price and half the flavor, I’ve committed myself to only eat French cuisine (we will see how long this holds out though given how many of the other Americans in the group enjoy and miss ethic foods).

Besides French food, the most commonplace cuisine is the Kebab. Be- cause of its large Middle Eastern population, Lyon is filled with Kebab shops. You can’t really walk 5 minutes without seeing a Kebab shop. Filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and French fries, these Middle Eastern California burritos are very cheap and fairly tasty. Al- though probably not the healthiest, they’ve been a great food for when time is short or when the wine proves to be a little too strong.

This weekend I got the opportunity to go to Geneva, Switzerland. Boy oh boy do I NOT recommend going there. Firstly, they would not let me on the bus because I forgot my passport. I then had to book a different train ticket after getting my passport only to have no one check or ask for my passport. Upon arriving in Geneva, I couldn’t even tell that we were in a different county. I had to confirm with Google Maps to make sure that I had actually taken the correct train and left France. The city was incredibly cold and non-english speaking. I felt a strong sense of pompous superiority in the shops we went to and did not feel a lot of loving vibes. The lake in Geneva is fairly beautiful, but nothing spectac- ular. If you really want to see a lake, just drive up to Big Bear and you will have gotten essentially the same thing. Things are also incredibly expensive in Geneva. For dinner my friend and I shared some “buffalo chicken wings” and a pasta called the “San Diego.” These toddler sized dishes came out to more than 35 euros. The buffalo chicken wings came with 3 wings and some sauce that was everything but buffalo. The “San

Diego” pasta tasted just like Heinz ketchup mixed with undercooked pasta and zucchini. I could not have been more disappointed with Geneva. I do want to return to Switzerland in the future and see Lugano and other cities, but thus far, Geneva has been very very under- whelming 0.6/10 would not recommend.

This past week I also attended a party my host family put together. There were oysters, Galette (a delicious French cake), lots of cham- pagne, French whiskey, and great times. They invited their friends from Interpol and we had some great conversations about how much travel intensive the job is and the different things they get to encounter on an international level. Definitely looking to potentially working there in the future.

I am thoroughly enjoying my host family. I had the pleasure of making them Peruvian food on Wednesday, and although it came out a little too spicy, they were very receptive and we all had an amazing time.

Week two in France has been an absolute pleasure minus that one day in Geneva. Looking very much forward to when classes actually start and all the places I’ll get to see and learn about.

Barry Yang studied abroad in Lyon, France, in Spring 2017: