I have been very busy the past few weeks with midterms and then a week of travelling followed by endless homework.
We had a week off from school so I travelled north to London, Nottingham, and Copenhagen. It was definitely an adventure- a few delays, some missed trains- to get there, but it was a wonderful experience exploring parts of Europe other than France. England and Copenhagen are both very different from France, although both extremely cold. With England first I had to deal with cars driving in the opposite direction, and even though they speak English, it was more different than I had imagined from “American” that I speak in the United States. Copenhagen was just altogether different- a language I couldn’t even begin to understand, but a very beautiful city with a very interesting culture. I found myself comparing my life in France to each city I visited more so than with the United States. I discovered that I had classified my life in France as pretty European, so I more or less expected everywhere to be at least recognizably similar- but that was definitely not the case. Yes, almost everywhere I went people are impeccably well dressed and beautiful and don’t really seem to work, but apart from that the similarities are surprisingly sparse. Not everyone in Europe eats dinner at 8 or 9 o’clock, drinks coffee for a few hours in the afternoon, or has a bounty of food to select from. In England, dinner is at 5 or 6. Coffee shops exist but without the “terrace” quality of French cafés. In Copenhagen, there is one choice of food in the grocery store; one brand of tomato sauce, one type of chocolate, for example. And they like it like that- as a culture they are happier because they don’t have to make choices (just one of several interesting cultural facts I learned in Copenhagen). My vacation was great- I needed a break from French, but I was definitely ready to return home where I spoke the language, and could sleep in my bed, and continue to think about the differences between France, the US, and all the other places I stopped at along the way.
This weekend I am off to Paris to meet up with one of my college friends. My birthday is this Thursday so the two trips have been more or less birthday celebrations. I am so excited to go to Paris, but I’m hoping it doesn’t rain the whole time I am there.
I realized today that I only have three more weeks of classes before finals week. Eeek!! First I’m stressed about all the work I still have to do, and then I realize that that means I’m only in France for one more month! I cannot believe it. Cannot. So I’m not going to finish my homework tonight- I’m going to go out with my friends and celebrate the birthday of one of my friends (today), and mine (in two days). Grades are important, but I want to make as many memories as I can during my last month in Aix.
A tout à l’heure!