The four walls I live in serve the purpose of allowing me to shower, cook and sleep for however many months, years, or decades I choose to stay in France. Moving is not an option. Mining my way through the nightmarish French housing bureaucracy in order to secure this tiniest of places, had me gasping for air. The file I had to give to the landlord was the width of a doctorate’s thesis, complete with contents and appendix. You could piece together my entire life history from the information I had to give them. They even wanted half a finger as a guarantee. ‘We’ll freeze it and when you leave, we’ll give you it back.’ Continue reading “2 – Lyon Flats”
I’m in Lyon teaching English. It’s a job I didn’t really want, but ended up doing all the same. I live in Guillotiere, a heady mix of Arabs, Africans, Vietnamese, Chinese and me, crammed into a couple of blocks south of the Rhône. At the moment I’m standing in my tiny third floor apartment looking at some Senegalese kids watching a football match on TV through the window of the bar opposite. I like it here.
The city itself is built on the Rhône and the Saône rivers that join each other 1km from where I’m standing looking out of the window. The peninsular they form is imaginatively called The Peninsular and forms the area known as the city centre. But it’s mainly just fancy shops and restaurants. The real city is south of the river where I live. Run down shops, cheap bars, stinking drains and cars left haphazardly in the streets as though someone had shouted BOMB at the moment of parking.
As a young man, I’d have been nervous living in this part of town. But I’m older now and bolder, so we’ll see what happens over the next few months, maybe years…I’ll keep you posted.