Aix, November 14th, 2010
It is sometimes cloudy or windy, but we still have the sun almost every day. The weather changes so frequently that it is hard to know what to wear if you go out for a whole day. We have some quiet weekends just by hanging out in the center of Aix and Book in Bar, the English book store.
We all had a wonderful break in the end of last month. Kayla and Chelsea went to Italy, Neysa travelled with a new friend to Paris, and I ended up visiting Myriam, our French assistant from last year, for the whole week in the Centre Region of France. It was a blast. I got to visit her family in Saint-Christophe. We went to the Castle Chanonceaux, a wine museum, the house of Leonardo the Vinci, and the flower market in Tours with her friends. I had so much fun with Myriam and learned many things with her including the great history of French, how to pick chestnuts, making tarte aux pommes, and the different tastes of cheese. And I was happy to come back to Aix; somehow this place has taken a special place in my heart.
I love it, just walking around and around in Aix all weekend. The weather is so nice that you can sit on a bench and do as much people watching as you want because there are a million of them walking through the Cours Mirabeau every day. We have the Saturday market in the morning and all kinds of shops in every corner with giant windows and wonderful expensive fashions to look at.
Lately, I have met so many new French friends, which is super amazing, thanks to the language partner program at AUCP. We have had great conversations in exchanging our languages, cultures, different ideas about the world and food, of course. I totally want to keep in touch of them after this semester.
In general, the results for our midterm weren’t good. I find all my classes are very interesting, but their method of teaching is so different than what we have at Linfield. Every student at AUCP complains that classes are very different than what we expected at the beginning of the semester: The professors do not grade our opinions, and the language is still a giant obstacle. But only our Linfield students are stressed out worrying about the grades and how to survive the rest of the semester.
The situation does not give us hope to keep our grades up. All four of us only have been learning French for two or three years while the rest of the students at AUCP have at least six years. Some of them have even studied abroad in France before and still find many difficulties in following the program. The teaching method is absolutely different. We have plenty of things to do outside of school including having an activity, working at a volunteering job, doing things with our host family, and meeting a language partner every week. And on top of that, we are the only ones who will have our grade transferred, not just the credits. What else can we do but be worried?
To tell the truth, all of us were almost burst into tears when we got our grades back. We are the one who spend our weekend studying while others are travelling in other countries. And, we are the only ones who have to think about what is going to happen to our GPA after this semester, which is not a good way to encourage ourselves in learning French. And when I worry about something too much, I do not live well. I took my host mom’s house key by accident and went out for the whole day the other day, which means she went crazy looking for it.
Anyway, that is just a little report about how life has been. I have nothing to complain about in Aix and all the wonderful people I have met. My host Mom also taught me to make an apple pie today to cheer me up, so here is the recipe:
1 cup of cream
4 tbsp of sugar
4 golden apples
2 tbsp of vanilla sugar
A pie crust
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use the forks to poke holes for air on the bottom of the pie crust. Mix the first three ingredients. Cut the apples in thin slices and place them in the crust from outside in like the form of a rose. Pour the mix in. Sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top. Place it in the oven until it turns golden brown.
* This recipe base on my approximation because my host mom cooks by memory and experience. Good luck if you plan on trying to make it soon!!!