Just like in March earlier this year when I had to cancel my weekend trip to Paris, days before I was supposed to visit a friend in Bordeaux, a second lockdown in France was announced. I quickly cancelled my train tickets and hotel reservation and prepared for a month at home. After the first lockdown, things slowly went back to “normal” and I was lucky to have had a relaxing Summer in France. Even though I didn’t fo back to the U.S. due to the pandemic got to do a little bit of traveling in the South of France to visit the lavender fields in Provence, Avignon, and little mountain towns in the Pyrénées like Font Romeu, Mont-Louis, and Villefranche-de-Conflent. Even though I won’t be traveling anytime soon, I thought I’d give you an update about what I’ve been up to this Fall and how the lockdown is going so far.
After teaching online in the Spring, COVID-19 numbers had finally gone down in France, and we were able to go back to teaching in person this Fall. In some bigger cities with more risk, I believe that they went back to teaching all online or adopted a hybrid half in person half online system. At the University where I work, we taught in person up until the lockdown, but were planning to do the hybrid system until it was announced that all universities would have to do online teaching. This time around teaching online has been a little easier, but it’s still not as enjoyable as teaching in person. If you want to know how teaching in person was like earlier in the semester, check out my Back to School vlog below:
Adopting a Cat
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was looking for someone to foster her cat while she went back home to Scotland for a few months before coming back to France next Spring. By the time my boyfriend and I considered fostering the French cat, my friend had already found someone else to watch her. We then talked about looking for other cats to foster, but I reasoned that if I fostered a cat, I would just end up wanting to adopt it. One weekend, we decided to visit the local SPA animal shelter and see what kind of cats they had. When we visited there we so many lovely cats and dogs that needed homes. I wished I had the space and money to adopt them all! Although I am a dog person having grown up with them rather than cats, right now a cat is more of an ideal pet; we live in a city apartment with no yard/garden.
When we went into the cat room at the SPA there were a wide variety of kitties. There were some sweet old black cats, some shy and sleepy cats, and some beautiful long haired cats as well. One of the first cats that came up to us what a pretty ginger tabby cat with a fluffy tail. She immediately stared purring when we pet her and followed us around when we went to different parts of the room. We instantly knew we wanted to take her home and had even picked out the name Gingembre. We couldn’t adopt her that evening because we didn’t have any cash on us, but we went back the next morning and brought her home!
I’ve missed having a pet while living in France and little Gingembre has filled that void! We really lucked out because she is such a sweet and cuddly cat. It’s also been fun learning how to take care of her and watching all of the silly things she does when she plays! I’m even more thankful to have her during the lockdown and during the colder months.
Also before the second lockdown in France, I enjoyed going on long bike rides with my boyfriend and seeing the changing leaves in the vineyards. There isn’t much Fall foliage here as in other parts of France, so seeing the colorful grape leaves was the highlight of my Autumn in France!
With the cooler temperatures, I didn’t have to wake up super early to cycle. It was also a nice way to destress, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of the region. Here is some footage of my last ride before the lockdown:
First Week of Lockdown
Although this second lockdown in France is somewhat less restrictive than the first one, it doesn’t seem that different for me since I have to work from home. All other schools are doing in person classes, except for universities. I stay most of my days inside and go out only for exercise or to buy groceries/other essential items. One of the hardest parts of the lockdown is the 1 km radius we have to stay in for exercise. I live in the center of my city, which is not ideal for running/cycling. There are no big parks close to where I live and I feel like I can’t get a breath of fresh air like I can when I’m somewhere more natural/rural. However, I’m still thankful for my health and my job.
This past week has been very stressful with the adjustment into lockdown, going back to online teaching, and the U.S. Presidential election!Although I don’t use my blog to share my political views, I will say I am received about the results of the election and elated that we will have the first woman of color Vice President! Of course there is so much more to be done to help American citizens and unite the country, but this result has restored my hope. I also hope that the French people I meet will make less jokes about me being American now.
These next few weeks in lockdown will not be easy, but I hope to finish the semester smoothly, exercise regularly, and take time to enjoy hobbies I love like reading, painting, and of course, blogging!
À la prochaine,