Listening to the waves crash along the shore, surrounded by beauty on the beach at St. Tropez, all I can do is think of is how lucky I am and how thankful I am to have this amazing opportunity to study in France!Each day is like living in a dream, not in the sense that it is unbelievable or that nothing bad ever happens but in the sense that everything is magical. Even the days on which I get up at 7am for class at 8:30. Getting up isn’t magical but once I hit the bottom of the hill and see the edge of the city, alive with people off to work, little kids on their way to school, bakers making fresh baguettes, and venders setting up for the market, I can’t help but SMILE! I forget how early it is and all I can think about is how wonderful this experience is!
So THANK YOU to everyone who convinced me to go, told me I could do it, shared their fantastic stories with me, wished me well, and a special THANK YOU to my PARENTS for sending me to France!
It’s like being in a dream,
floating in La Côte d’Azur.
The sounds of stones tumbling with the tide
the waves crashing on the shore.
I now understand the name.
I am literally surrounded by blue.
The blue sky without a cloud to be seen,
and the blue water
that is a sharper, deeper, clearer blue than I have ever seen.
The water is crisp, cool, and calming.
It beacons you to just dive in,
embrace the cold,
and become one with the sea!
Yes, we all knew this was coming…so here it is!
T-R’Aix is a really fun and laid back Ultimate team. Ultimate players in France are not very different from those in the US! They are always late, really friendly, love to heckle, and have a ton of spirit, and carpool (thank goodness because the bus stops running before practice is over). Many of them also know a bit of English. Everyone is fortunately really patient with my french and willing to help. I think they find it funny, along with most French people. My American accent gives me away in a second ha ha.
It’s really interesting trying to figure out the Ultimate lingo in French! For some things like “up,” they use English. Sometimes they switch between the two. I’ve heard them say “home” and “away”, other times they use “maison” and “terrain.” Most directions they give are in French. They call a forehand un coup droit and a backhand un revers and a hammer an upside (that’s one of my favorites and a bit franglish).
I am really glad I know how to play ultimate though. I would be so lost if they where trying to teach me how to play in French. Besides Lancer-to throw, they never taught me any Ultimate related words in French class! Hopefully by the end of the semester I will be fluent in Ultimate, both in French and English!
First class 8am…French. Fortunately other than the fact that it was early it wasn’t too bad. I have a friend from the early start program and my teacher seems very nice and she let us out a 30min early. Not bad.
Then I had a 2hr gap between class. Hmm…What to do? Go shopping of course! Today was la grande marché, a giant market on the main street, and to my surprise a great shopping success! It started with a simple, delicious, and French lunch of a baguette and cheese, and ended with the successful purchase of a pair of really comfy flat, a cute top, and a birthday present for Chelsea! Quelle chance! All just in time for Conflict and Media which looks like it will be an interesting class.
Now it’s time for dinner, then off to the Wohoo, yes that is really the name of a bar here. It is geared towards exchange students and has a lot of themed nights. Tonight is French cliches. It should be fun, and we are meeting up with some of the Swedish student we met on our trip to Cassis!
I can not even begin to describe the beauty of both La Cioat and Cassis! The pictures don’t even do them justice. I have never seen such clear and blue green water. Although it was really deep I could see all the way to the bottom!
I have to say La Ciotat was my favorite. The rock cliffs and deep water were breathtaking! I also appreciated the lack of people there and made some new Swedish friends! They are studying at IS in Aix this semester so hopefully we will get to hang out again.
After a little trouble in the airport (what is travel without some delays?) Je suis arrivée! I arrived in Aix-en-Provence and was met by 2 staff members from IAU and then my host mother! It is a blur of bisoux, French, English, and a lot of bags. Finally everything is in the car and I am on my way to my home in Aix with my host mother who does not speak English. It’s not too bad. She is really sweet and likes to talk. So she asks all the question and I reply “oui” or “non”. It works for now. Hopefully by the end of the semester I will lose my my American accent or she will begin to understand !
We live in a little apartment building. My room is so cute and has a balcony! I love it. For dinner we ate a quiche Lorraine (Ham and egg). It was so good. Tomorrow she is going to take me on a tour of the city. I think I am going to like living in Aix!
A word of advice. Do not wait to pack the day before you leave! I am a professional procrastinator and work well under presser, but trying to pack 4 months worth of clothing into 2 bags, keeping in mind the change of seasons and the chic style of the French, is very difficult.
Clothes everywhere, shoes, bags, sweaters, jewelry (have to use those accessories and layers when you can not bring a ton of different clothes). Rachele plays DJ, perched on my bed amongst the paperwork, while I show her shirts and outfits trying to bring the largest variety with as little as possible. Many house later we finally make it to bed for a few hours before the departure adventure begin!