Thursday, September 10, 2015

aix marks the spot

Wow. So I am officially in France. It feels unbelievable to think that I have been looking forward to this my whole life, and now I am finally here.

I’ve had a whirlwind of a year. Sophomore spring to Dublin to Aix… I don’t even feel like the same person anymore.

On the plane over here, I had so many expectations, anxieties, hopes. What would it be like? Would I love France and want to stay? Would I feel at home here? I had no idea.

I’ve only been here a week, so I can’t say for sure, but it is both much better, and also different, than I expected.

My program is through Vanderbilt, and the classes are taught in French with Vanderbilt-hired teachers. However, they are all actually French, so we really are taking college classes in quick, dizzying French. I am taking the History of Provence, Art and Literature in the 19th and 20th centuries, Advanced Conversational French, and French Cinema. They all seem awesome and I love the teachers.

It is very exhausting speaking French all day! I’ve definitely improved a TON but it is hard to keep up and concentrate all day. Sometimes I just want to lie down with a pillow over my head and not talk to anyone. But now I can understand basically everything that anyone says, and I can actually speak back, even if I stumble through words.

I really like the girls in the program! It’s interesting seeing what Vanderbilt students are like. Some are super Southern and confirm all the adorable stereotypes. They have monograms, wear Jack Rogers, carry Longchamp bags, and have similar styles.  I also have a roommate from Monaco who is 17 and is preparing to apply to the French version of the Ivy Leagues. She is awesome!

The best part of this program so far (besides the amazing markets and the food) is our host-dinner mom, Manuela. Each night, Monday through Thursday, we eat dinner at this little 60 year old woman’s house. She cooks a 4 course dinner for us every night! And it is so fantastic. Tonight, we had a tomato salad with sea salt from her garden, then les moules frites, mussels with French fries (which were incredible! I had no idea I loved mussels!) then the cheese course, which is always le pain et le brie et le gruyere et le brebis, and then fruit. Figs and nectarines. Yum.

This city is so beautiful and so charming. There is so much history and everyone is so happy all the time. It is always sunny and warm. Always. I love it.

à bientot!

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Hi! I blog at Brunch and Bijoux. Celebrating les belles petites choses in life.
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