After just about two months in France, I am sad to report that I am now no longer in France, but instead at home in Germany, where I plan to spend the next two months before returning to Lyon. I’ll explain why, but for those of you who just enjoy looking at pictures, I am including some here as well.
Below you can find the view from my window in France at nighttime – the sound from the generators of the research lab was bothersome for the first few days, but now I do not notice it. I took this picture because it reminds me of those children’s books where you can see a house or building „cut open“ and watch what is going on inside. I realize that might seem creepy, but it was not my decision to brightly light a building with floor-to-ceiling windows at night.
I also couldn’t resist having a melancholic photo-shoot with my cup of tea on the morning I left.
Finally, a picture of the train station – and a sign in the ‚tramway‘ on the way there that caught my eye: I never even thought of wearing my roller skates while on my scooter! 😉
So why did I leave France? First, I want to clarify that I didn’t have to leave – I could have stayed in my apartment as the university residences have remained open and the school has been working on providing meals to the students (in addition to anything I could have cooked in my kitchen at home). But after the strict lock-down put in place in France until Dec. 1st was announced, I started considering going back home.
It took about one-and-a-half weeks after the announcement for my department (not the entire university, that is) to put a plan into place regarding classes. It became clear that nothing would be taking place in person – my sport class and research are canceled until January – and lectures moved to a strictly-over-Zoom format. Even with all this, I considered staying in France, as I feel I have made remarkably many friends considering the circumstances, but in the end, spending time with just even a single person would be breaking the rules which prevent any gatherings outside of the family unit. Finally, it felt strange and unnecessary to fill out paperwork (even if it was available online) every time I wanted just a breath of fresh air, and I never did grasp the rule of having to stay within one kilometer of my house (as there seemed to be plenty of exceptions to this as well).
In the end, I decided to make the trip back home to Germany – I spent 10 hours on a train, which went well except that it was difficult to book the ticket in the first place. Now I am staying with family here. While in theory I would love to go back to France in the beginning of December for the last 2-3 weeks of classes before Christmas, it is just too complicated given the mandatory testing and quarantines on either end of the trip. As we speak, I am in quarantine in Germany but I look forward to (hopefully) testing negatively for the virus tomorrow (after all, I have been living alone and isolated for almost two weeks now) and being able to enjoy some things that are still allowed on this side of the border, like going to church and visiting my grandparents.