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Journals from American University Center of Provence, France

2010-12-03 A day in Marseille

Aix, December 2nd, 2010

This morning was really cold. I saw the grey sky through my window and did not want to get up. Reason: I came up with the idea of putting the pictures of my host mom’s students on the map of United States. She has had seventeen of us. So I spent my evening cutting pictures and taping it for her.

My host mom was really happy. As knowing that I am writing a journal, she asked me to send her kisses to all my readers. I think my host mom is even sweeter than her delicious apple pie. One time I was super upset because she could not let my dear friend in Germany stay in the house over one weekend. Then I found out there is a cultural reason for that, so I understand and accept the fact that my friend could not come in the end since it is too troublesome to get here. Besides, I am painting two pictures of her grand children as she asked me to. It was fun painting at the beginning. Nevertheless, I decide that I will never become an artist who paints for other people, especially if all they want me to do is make my painting the way they want.

Anyway, I still think that she is wonderful. There is no way I let those little problems get in the way of our host mom- international student relationship. The last thing I want to do is to miss having dinner with her. She reminds me of my host mom in McMinnville a lot. She always has a solution for each thing, often has some kind of tips in the kitchen, and sometimes tells me to do things that my mom asks me not to do (including getting out of my comfort zone, doing whatever I want, and going out with boys). She knows perfectlyhow to cheer my day up. No matter if it was the windy day I randomly saw someone who I do not want to see on the street (the ice-cream jerk) or if it was the freezing rainy day when I fell on my butt on the street, everything seems fine again when I come home and tell her about it.

Anyway, back to my story for the day. I got up late. The bus came late. And there was a big traffic jam this morning. So I went to class fifteen minutes late and my professor told me that I could do my presentation next week because we have to do some other things in class today. Looking on the bright side, I have more time to prepare for it. The class today was awesome. We had a debate and watched a movie after that instead of taking so many lecture notes without a PowerPoint presentation like the beginning of the semester. Discussion in class is what I miss so much from Linfield. It makes me feel good.

In fact, today was kind of special for me because Romain, the nicest French guy who happened to be my language partner, took me to visit Marseille, one of the biggest cities in France. The sky was clear blue with plenty of sunshine by the time we started getting on the bus. But by the time we came to Marseille, there was a giant cloud right on top of my head. We walked all over the old Port of Marseille. I have never seen as many ships like that before. We took the ferry boat to go from one side to other and the climbed up to Notre-Dame de la Guarde. Up on top, the view is magnificent. There is some kind of decoration in every inch in the interior of the church. I have to admit that it is the most beautiful church I have ever visited. By the time we came outside, the sun came out as well and shined on the golden statue of the Virgin and Child. All of Marseille was under my feet. The whole city is a mix of red and yellow, the colors of so many big buildings and traditional houses. The Mediterranean was so blue and mysterious.

Although my friends warned me about the dirtiness and the danger of Marseille, I actually find it quite relaxing and romantic. It is also true that when you have a good companion, anything can be wonderful. He shared with me a delicious Navette which he bought in a particular bakery in Marseille. I might have to find my way back there to get it for myself. And once again, I was happy to come back to Aix. There are so many things about Aix that I just cannot get over with, especially the people I have met here.

Mai Doan

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