Busting Boredom

For better or for worse, my job is only 12 hours of work each week. This definitely has its merits – I have lots of time to sleep in, workout, cook, and explore the place I am living.

As seen on an afternoon bike ride
As seen on an afternoon bike ride (forgive the glare!)

I’m not sure exactly how to put into words just how measly 12 hours a week is. At home, it might feel a little bit more substantial, because you have friends, and activities, and projects that you are working on. In a city where you have just arrived, don’t have language mastery, know very few people, and don’t know what is around to do in the first place, 12 hours is NOT a big enough time commitment. I am not made to sit around and watch Netflix all day, I just get sick of it.

Bike = best way to explore AND stay busy! Most worthwhile purchase ever
Bike = best way to explore AND stay busy! Most worthwhile purchase ever

When I first arrived, the time commitment didn’t feel so small because there is so much to do when you first get somewhere. Getting settled takes up a lot of your time. Between the bank, my cell phone, internet, IKEA, figuring out the bus system and the grocery store I was reasonably busy for the first two/two-and-a-half weeks. That time has ended. I have been killing a lot of time with activity, a workout in the morning, biking for around an hour during the day, and a yoga sesh at night. Unfortunately, my back started having spasms again and so I need to find some other way to use up my time.

Commence operation Bust Boredom!

Really, my number one priority with my free time is finishing my grad school applications. Honestly, I can only work on these for so long at a given time before I feel like I don’t even want to be a chemist anymore. So, I have been spending some time on them each day, and am slowly finishing them. This still leaves a lot of time. Thanks to the internet, I am in touch with other assistants in the region and have gone to a few things with some of them who live in the city (yayayaya speaking English and having a social life). Very very useful because all of the assistants also have not much to do and not many people to do them with, and are a similar age.

Lille 3000 is a cultural event happening throughout the Fall in Lille. I went to a parade/techno concert with some assistants outside the Opera House.
Lille 3000 is a cultural event happening throughout the Fall in Lille. I went to a parade/techno concert with some assistants outside the Opera House.
I went to the Lille Zoo (which is free!) with some British assistants
I went to the Lille Zoo (which is free!) with some British assistants
For a free zoo, I was impressed!
For a free zoo, I was impressed!

I also have enjoyed taking my bike out and seeing what I can find. Best done on a day with no rain and no plans, so when it takes 3 hours longer than you thought to find your way back, it doesn’t matter 😉 In Haubourdin, I found the cemetery. Off to the side, there is a German Military Cemetery from the German occupation in WWI.

“In this military cemetery lie 1000 German soldiers”
Individual graves
Individual graves
“September 8, 1984. For the Fortieth Anniversary of the liberation of Haubourdin, this Resistance Square is inaugurated in homage to all those who secretly fought for freedom.”

I have also explored various parts of Lille, researched restaurants, museums, attractions, etc. that I want to go to in Lille, and I have been going to lacrosse practices. Yes, there are lacrosse teams in France (who knew?!). There is only a men’s team in Lille, but they have a couple of women who practice with them so I have been going to that and enjoying having something to do. Fortunately the star drill doesn’t need translation.

Grand Place in Lille. Starting to see the grey skies.
Grand Place in Lille. Starting to see the grey skies.
Found a huge park (Parc de la Citadelle, Parc Zoologique) and then looked up and saw a large animal in the middle of it.
Found a huge park (Parc de la Citadelle, Parc Zoologique) and then looked up and saw a large animal in the middle of it.

Plans to stay busy:

  1. Take the train to a regional forest and hike!
  2. Take up knitting again
  3. Try to cook regional specialties at home
  4. Buy some French middle-reader books to practice reading at home
  5. See if any of the local colleges have chemistry/research seminars

A bientôt,

Amy

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8 thoughts on “Busting Boredom

  1. I am glad you have operation BUST BOREDOM underway. Wish I was there to go throw the lacrosse ball. You should work on your push ups….never have a better time! Now if you can make a $1000 per month for 12 hours per week, you need 4 jobs. Loved the post and I am glad we did not see Flat Jane resting in the graveyard.

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  2. Still laughing at your Dad’s comment. Loved your post. Another idea for you – can you volunteer at the grade school there or other gathering place to help people with English? Danny had success with that when he stayed in Spain. Also using your phone to listen to books can bust boredom too. When I first lived in Everett I didn’t have a job, didn’t know anyone and I can really sympathize with how that feels. I didn’t have the language barrier though. Loved seeing your pictures and hearing about what’s going on.

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  3. You should also see if there is a local….mmm not newspaper, but like a WillametteWeekly kind of paper. The ones that list fun/community event going on. At least state side they’re usually free and just hanging around in diners and coffee shops.

    also, this is Adri

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  4. I’m new in Indonesia, wanting to learn the language but for some reason can’t really get myself into it (I prefer to learn French as a matter of fact!) and at times I also feel bored. I like your stay-busy list and I’m definitely giving #s 3 & 4 a try 🙂

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