Family, Friends, & Strangers

(Saint-Etienne, France)

September 27


We arrived Tuesday night, hopped out of the car in the middle of the road, dragged our large suitcases down the street, threw them into my cousin’s apartment and ran over to the restaurant we would be having dinner at. Everyone was waiting for us and we did a round of introductions for Ava. My aunt, Laurence, my uncle, Michel, my cousins, Lisa and Florent, Florent’s girlfriend, Tiphaine, and Laurence’s niece who is living with them while she goes to school in Saint-Etienne. Drinks, Italian dinner, desserts and shots and then we went back to Florent’s apartment and crashed.

September 28


Tiphaine is leaving for several days to go work in Lyon, Florent left to work right the street and Ava and I woke up late for the event we told Lisa we would go to with her today.

It was a NY exhibit, not particularly amazing but it was free so we didn’t lose much. We bused back into downtown, bought a gift in a gift store, quickly peaked into their apartment and said goodbye.

Ava and I split up planning to meet back at 4:00, she found a cemetery, drew some graves, accidentally told a man she was Japanese, got lost a few times and found her way back. I walked up a lot of stairs, walked down a hill, up another, ended up at a train station, saw some abandoned trains that were graffitied, got lost momentarily, sat on some stairs, walked down a hill, up a hill, ate a croissant (and bought Ava some french chocolate), walked down a lot of stairs, ate some of said chocolate, and found my way back to Florent’s apartment.

A few of the many stairs I walked up

We had dinner with my family and celebrated my uncle’s birthday.

September 29


More wandering was successfully completed followed by a trip to the store to buy snacks and alcohol (mom — and maybe Lori, please read that word as juice in all future posts) and it was a hilarious night.

New and old buildings mixed
A classic

September 30


Lisa and Julie had school and Florent had to work but Ava and I are on vacation forever so we slept in, and split up again. I did laundry for the first time since we got here and hung it up to dry. I wandered the city a bit, bought lunch and sat in a park for a while and Lisa texted me inviting me to her English class. I hopped on the tram and went to her class but unfortunately, they had a test, so I read in the back for the first half of class and then we got to talk. After the class, we went back to Florent’s apartment to find Ava and went out for drinks and a crepe with a bunch of their classmates. We made a salad dinner for Florent as a “thank you for letting us stay in your apartment, eat your food, drink your alcohol (juice, mom), and pet your cat.”

October 1


Florent left for work but Tiphaine came back late the night before and so we spent the day walking around, getting a SIM card for Ava, shopping, getting me some jeans, stopping for a pastry and tea. Back at the apartment, Tiphaine taught us how to make friendship bracelets with embroidery thread until Florent got home. They left for Lyon for a family dinner and were spending the night. Ava and I packed our backpacks and one of our two suitcases to bring with us to Mirabel. We went to Lisa’s apartment and helped her get rid of unnecessary clothes in her room (they’re moving soon.) Mac&cheese was made, and we watched some TV.

A street, you’re welcome

October 2


I woke up early and went out to buy a des croissants, des pain au chocolat, and the makings of a sandwich. We stayed in and hung out until Florent and Tiphaine got back. They then drove us to the pick up location for our BlaBlaCar ride. Our driver’s name was Vincent and he had some pretty dope music playing the whole time so no complaints on my part. He dropped us off in Orange and my aunt picked us up to bring us the rest of the way.

Thought this was hilarious