So I arrived in Aix en Provence on Sunday afternoon, in time for dinner. It’s now Wednesday the 22nd. I think overwhelming might describe my feelings the first day or two, and still a bit even now. Being surrounded by French people who speak at about the speak of sound can be challenging. To say the least. They speak to you and when you give them the blank “I have no clue what you just said except for one verb/I am still processing what you said” look they give that small little laugh and either speak in English for you (which is rare) or they speak super slow and treat you like a child. Needless to say I’ve been spoken to like a child this entire time.
5+ years of French does not prepare you for this. Not at all. But it’s alright cause there is only one way for this to go: up. I’m super excited to become good at French so I don’t have to translate everything, think of response, then think of how to say the response. The lags in some of my conversations are incredible; sometimes I forget what I’m trying to say midsentence because I’m concentrating so hard on thinking of the verb, how to conjugate it and whatnot.
Other than that, life is great. I can gladly accept wine with my cheese. Which is quite often, at least every night because instead of a cookie for dessert, there is cheese and bread for dessert. Good cheese and good bread. I definitely miss my mom’s cookies, but this is certainly an acceptable replacement. There are TWO big farmer’s market style sales in Aix downtown everyday, so I plan on imbibing fully every morning so I don’t need to spend $15 a day on lunch at a café around town. Pam, the Abroadco director onsite, told me that there are 200 cafés in Aix, which is an obscenely large number for the town’s size. And each plate costs around 11 to 15 euros, so costs could add up quick for a pauper like me.
For now that’s probably enough. My only other Abroadco student/buddy comes in on Thursday so that’ll be nice to have some company finally. Until then it’s all exploring on my own or with my extremely nice and active and helpful host Mme Blestel. She does everything from show me every park in Aix to point out and explain historical landmarks (most of the time spouting off paragraphs I only understand a sentence or two of) to walk around a sports complex asking everyone she sees how to get me signed up for the basketball and soccer leagues. She’s a pretty good person to have on my team. Til next time, when hopefully I can say I’m totally fluent in French and have integrated into their society fully. Keep your fingers crossed.