If food is any indication of how I feel, I’ve just been very hungry all the time. I have, however, shockingly (and for those of you who cared to remember, I already spoiled it because I was so anxious to make sure it was known that I do, in fact, have other human beings around me), have friends! My friends consist of:
(meet Geneva, Olivia, and Caroline; they’re pretty cool, or something.)
Our first week consisted of orientation and classes on French, how to speak French (contextually more than content-wise), how to eat French, how to dress French, and how to dress French. Basically it as just a lot of French, despite being in a group of all (or, almost all) Americans in the program. So, naturally, being in school 9h to 17h30 everyday, we had to spend our lunch breaks eating our lack of liberty and sanity, and by eat, I mean eat and drink. We went through the markets that are in Aix everyday, and the bigger one that appears magically every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and sat outside for our two hour lunch breaks to eat, speak too loudly, and smile too widely, as us tourist-wannabe-citizens do.
(also meet Tabong, the one and only person who can get to class at (9 am and be asleep by 9:12 am in our nine-hour class day, wine, or otherwise)
On Thursday we were finally set free like the American Eagles that we are and walked around the town to see the beautiful monuments, and of course passed by fresh fruit stands that had amazingly colorful and fresh fruits, which I wanted to eat but was already too full and flushed off of the wine from lunch to consume (also was not walking fast enough to be able to catch up to the group).
Here is another yellow house, not to be mistaken as AUCP, but is actually a thermal bath. We were told that back in the day, people used to get prescribed “thermal springs” as their needed medication for illnesses, so why can’t we do that now?! All I have is advil, and for y’all girls, my precious midol (which we all know is just Advil advertised as some special thing that will make mother nature go away, but she’s like, pain meds are artificial and I’m natural af, and you’re just going to have to put up with me whether you want to or not)
Here is a pretty picture of a museum-esque building that I was too busy taking a picture of to recall what exactly about it was specifically special. Just know that it is, and look how pretty it is.
One of the best things about Aix, though, is how small it is, and how many weddings there are! The City Hall is a gorgeous monument, in which lots of marriage announcements are made, and the sun hits the center of the square right in the middle of the day.
We spent all day walking around like
And standing (or Tabong sitting) around like
I’ll spare you the details of our classes (and for those of you who would like to know, basically the rules are: smile less, talk less, be less, and you’ll be French. Just kidding, it’s just a different culture, duh.) But we did start learning this the hard (or easy) way on Friday night, when we met our language partners! We each have someone as a partner to help ourselves with speaking French, and being in the city, doing things with people our age. And, in return, these language partners learn English as well. As the typical French gathering goes, we had aperatifs after class with our partners against the sunset. It was like speed dating! Or more like, you sit the stool at the amusement park right above a tank of water and people hit the board behind you until you fall. My language partner showed up with a picture of my face that doesn’t even really look like my face and it was one of the funniest conversations consisting of me speaking in French and him speaking in English, and neither of us fully understanding what was being said.
My language partner had to leave early for an initiation at the beach the next day though, so he ended up leaving early, and I stayed with a large group of other peeps to get dinner (moules frites was the demand of the day), and drinks after as well. Dinner was delish, also because mentally stimulating days are very famishing. So I ate my salmon tartare. And then half of Olivia’s pizza. Because food cannot be doggy-bagged in France, and I am the world’s physically largest doggy-bag.
This here is a giraffe. Of beer. I’m not a huge beer fan, so it just looks like I’m being a part of the group, but in reality I was drinking a solo glass of wine, which makes me look like a snob (the word snob comes from French, “sans noblesse!!!” I found this very cool), and I probably am. But it was still pretty cool, and finished within ten minutes by all of us.
The next day, Catherine (my host mama) and I took Lulu on a little hike at Le Thonolet, which was gorgeous, and you can see the top of Mount Saint Victoire, which is a two hour hike I would love to do someday with some people here! Olives are huge in Provence, and they are still not ripe and green right now, but when fall fully arrives and they turn black, they’re exactly the same olives we eat, and press to get olive oil.
I spent the afternoon with half of AUCP friends at chez Ryan’s, which is about a half hour away, but Ryan’s host family has an amazing house with a pool, and two floors, and just a breathtaking view of the city. We ate cheese and olives and tons and tons of chips (because everyone’s peace-offering gift is a bag of chips), and swam in perfectly cool water while having a conversation for the first time in English with each other (don’t tell anyone at AUCP!! It was very strange hearing the different personalities that came out of another language). And that evening, I met up with Geneva and Caroline (while Olivia was jamming it up at a French wedding) to get some Italian food and more vino.
We ended up going to a few bars, getting extraordinarily lost, and later today, after going to the overwhelmingly large club fair, we found a pirate candy shop with lots of non-pirate related candy. And it was awesome. Even though I don’t like sugar, I’m a fan of large-scale gimmicks as such.
And ah, that marks the end of week one. I am sitting home alone with Lily, who hasn’t moved in the past hour, watching French TV, and waiting for my host mom to come back from sending Marion to Marseille for school for the week, and trying to debate if I want to eat another piece of this spinach quiche she made for dinner! (Oh, Lily just woke up. She’s gonna have to fight me for the food)