Je te salue, ma belle Dijon

OH BOY do we have some catching up to do!!!  I have neglected this poor blog for over a month, because honestly it is just easier to be lazy.  But no longer!  Seeing as it is now almost April, I have made a quarter-year resolution to actually pay attention to this blog.  So here goes.

Our last two-week vacation was in the middle of March, and the first thing I did was long overdue: I visited my old host family in Dijon!  In the Spring of 2011, I studied abroad there and attended  classes at the Université de Bourgogne and Sciences Po Dijon, while living with the Delespierre family, who are, simply put, amazing.  They welcomed me as one of their own and embraced my quirks and embarrassing French mistakes (instead of saying my parents and I like to joke around with each other, I once said we like to flirt with each other).  They also have two sons, Louis and Adrien.  Louis is my age, and we got along just like I always thought I would with a brother.  We had this thing going on where one week we would watch a movie I wanted to watch, and the next we would watch one of his choosing.  My first pick was A Walk to Remember (in French, Le Temps d’un Automne) and his was Full Metal Jacket.  Needless to say, we got along swimmingly.  He is studying both history and art history in Paris now, at La Sorbonne, and whenever I make it to Paris we make a point of seeing each other.  Adrien is older, but I did see him a couple times when I was studying abroad, and he was equally as fun and nice.  Unfortunately, neither of them were when I went in March, but even just the thought of seeing my host parents was beyond exciting.

I arrived on a Monday night and left on a Saturday morning, and I had an absolutely amazing time.  On Tuesday, my first full day, I spent my time walking around the city and getting re-oriented (and eating at my favorite kebab place of all time, Chez Babylone.  It was there that I ate the first kebab of my life, and I will remain forever loyal).  What surprised me is that Dijon is really different. Granted, it has been two years, but a lot has changed!  When I studied there, the only public transportation was the bus system.  Now there’s an established and efficient tram, and its lines have replaced a fair amount of the streets in Dijon.  Place Darcy, the main downtown area of Dijon, used to be a big pick-up and drop-off place for cars and buses, and is now completely pedestrian.  Also, rue de la Liberté, which is literally the main street to take you through Dijon, is now completely under construction to also become a pedestrian area.  I honestly don’t know how anyone will be able to drive through Dijon anymore!

There used to be a street, and a huge bus stop, in front of Le Darcy, Dijon's movie theater.

There used to be a street, and a huge bus stop, in front of Le Darcy, Dijon’s movie theater.  You can also see the tram passing by!

Rue de la Liberté, an extremely important street in terms of transportation, is in the process of becoming a completely pedestrian area.

Rue de la Liberté, an extremely important street in terms of transportation, is in the process of becoming a completely pedestrian area.

My host mom was also on vacation, so she and I were able to spend some real quality time together.  On one of my days in Dijon, she took me to see Les Sources de la Seine, or in other words, the starting point of the Seine river (the one that goes straight through Paris).  It’s pretty incredible to think that a tiny trickle of water can somehow turn into an enormous river, and yet there it was.  There’s even a tiny little footbridge that technically counts as the first bridge to cross the Seine.  The funniest thing about it was that even though the Seine starts in the Côte d’Or region, the region that Dijon is in, the site actually belongs to the city of Paris.

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My host mom also took me to two gorgeous little villages called Salmaise and Semur-en-Auxois, both of which had absolutely stunning views of the French countryside.  Even though it was a bit chilly (aka freeeeezing), I had a great time bonding with my host mom.

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This picture is from Salmaise, the first village we visited.

And, even though it was late February when I visited, my host parents made a point to celebrate my birthday.  How sweet is that?!  My host mom surprised me with a chocolate cake from her favorite bakery, and they set the table with the candlesticks that my parents gave them when they came to visit in 2011. I was so lucky to have such a great host family when I studied abroad, and I definitely look forward to keeping in touch with them for years to come.

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