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Journals from 2012-AUCP, Aix-en-Provence, France

2012-11-13 Vacation over...travels not

 Bonjour !

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.

 I managed to squeeze in a weekend trip to the French Riviera and Nice this past weekend with some of my classmates.  It was my second trip to Nice (I stayed there for a few days in high school), and although it rained all day Saturday, it was amazing to see all the big sights in Nice. We started off at the biggest flower market in France, and from there explored the ruins of old Nice complete with panoramic views of the Mediterranean and a waterfall. We also visited one of the nicest hotels in southern France called Le Negresco. The inside is basically a beautiful museum, and I returned that night with one of my friends to splurge on a glass of wine and pretend we were rich for an evening.

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!



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