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Journals from American University Center of Provence, France

2010-09-16 Aix at night

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Aix, September 14th 2010

 

Alors, I made it through two weeks in Aix-en- Provence. It was a crazy week with the orientation in a completely new place. I miss the big hug of America, the green carpet of grass wherever I go, and especially all the people I have just got closed to throughout the last two years. I bet they are busy with their student life as much as I am here. On one hand I hope everything is great for them, I still wonder if I have ever come across their mind as much as they came through mine. Tout va très bien is how they say for everything will be fine in French.

 

I get to learn so many things. At AUCP, we not only learn how to speak French, but also how to dress, to eat, and to live in a good manner. They even match a French student with each of us so we can each have at least a language partner. The one I was assigned to is a girl from the engineering university across campus.

 

She sounded really nice. She said she wanted to do many things with me including coming to her house in Avignon. We went out together right on the Monday after our first met. She took me to a bar for students called Le Woohoo to play some kinds of games with alcohol.

 

I guess I could have got out of my box and tried to get drunk like everyone else but I did not. Instead, I had some interesting conversations with other French students around me at that time. It was hard to talk when the loud music was running though a hundred students in such a little cave. Yes, it is literally a cave with a rocky gray ceiling that I was able to reach. By the time I turned around, I could not see my language partner anywhere so I went back alone.      

 

I could not remember how I got there. I let myself get lost hoping to be found, and actually enjoying myself walking through the little corners. According to my director, it is perfectly safe to do that at night in Aix.

 

I think I love Aix at night no less than in the morning but in a different sense. At night, you can hear the sound of the running fountain better. The sound of cheering wine glasses joining the water harmony makes your heart beat stronger, especially if you are on the side of the streets waiting for someone. It is not full of light but enough for you to see your reflection in that person’s eyes when you are found. Then you find the color of your lipstick on his cheek as you start turning away from him.

 

Actually, it was not the first time I walked around in Aix from 9:30 to midnight. I could not help being attracted by the little fountains, the dazzling lights, the wavering streets which keep making two people walking side by side fall into each other. The smoke from the cigarette mingling with the smell of the strong perfume keeps me from breathing normally. But I know the more I try to run away, the closer it comes to me. Suddenly, the bitter taste in my hot chocolate at the Haagen Dazs store in the main street turned sweet when I heard the message of the wind saying tu es belle, you are beautiful.

 

The way I put it might not make any sense, but I have no other explanation for all of these feelings. There is no way I can resist the looks, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, and the touch on the lips whether it is just a traditional kiss or you really mean it. I am in love with Aix with all my senses.

Mai Doan

mdoan@linfield.edu

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