At the beginning of this month, our program director told us all that November would be the best month of our entire semester. She said that at this point our relationships with people have gotten deeper, our French has improved enormously, and we aren’t busy studying for finals yet. At the time I was skeptical but, in retrospect, she was absolutely right. November is where everything started to come together. I have settled comfortably into French everyday life; I have my own habits now: I know where to go to eat, I’m comfortable in my classes, I’ve made some good friends, gotten used to living with a host family, and I no longer get lost in town. In short, November has been the most agreeable month of my time in France so far. Now, at the end of November, I really feel like a part of the Aix community.
November also brings in the holiday season and I was initially very worried that I might get homesick around Thanksgiving. I was pleasantly surprised when Thanksgiving turned into one of the best nights I’ve spent in France. Every year the AUCP has a Thanksgiving feast for the students and their host families and preparations kept me so busy I didn’t have time to realize I wouldn’t be at home for the holiday. The celebration itself was wonderful; I had been very busy the week before because I was organizing a show so that some of the other students and I could perform at the party and the show was a great way to start things off for the evening. At this party I realized how connected to these people I have become, my friends, my host family, my professors, and everyone involved with the AUCP program—I had built my own little family while abroad. On Thanksgiving there was an incredible sense of community; for the show I played “Tous les Garçons et les Filles” by Françoise Hardy and all of the host families and many of the students sang along with me. This was a very powerful moment for me--I felt connected to everyone in the room across languages and cultures through a song that I love. It was at this moment that I realized that I feel truly connected to France.