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Journals from AUCP, Aix-en-Provence

2013-09-18 C'est la Vie, mon Ami.

Oh, where to begin. I think I’ll start with the goodbyes. I said goodbye to my mom, brother and Oscar (my giant puffball of a dog) the afternoon of September 5th. My plane was scheduled to take off around 7 am Friday morning, so my dad and I wanted to get close to the airport Thursday night to avoid waking up in the wee hours of the morning. Now, there is one important thing to know about me: airports always make me cry. When I go to the airport, I’ll look around to see a man walking into his wife’s arms, children running into their grandparent’s arms, and people saying goodbye. Airports are filled with tears (of happiness and sadness). Well, I was the girl who said bye to her daddy that day. I gave him one last hug, said goodbye and walked through security, looking back one last time to see him wave. I have never been so sad and terrified as I had been that at that moment, but I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the journey I was about to have and the friendships I was about to make.

I travelled to France with three other girls who are in the same program as me. It was a very long journey filled with mechanical problems, many buses, walking through security over 3 times, and spending an extra night in England, but, that being said, the four of us arrived safely at our destination. My host mother picked me up at the airport, and I had to stop speaking English. It was very interesting.

Orientation week was hard; the entire class was jet-lagged and adjusting to the new language, but the experience was amazing. Before I arrived in Europe I had an idea of how beautiful Provence was, but I think one has to truly experience walking down the “Petit Champs-Elysees” to fully appreciate the beauty of this city. The immersion into the culture has been hard as well, but, so far, it has been very satisfying. I have learned so many things about the French culture: women aren’t allowed to smile at men (unless one wants them to talk to her), one must always say “Bonjour” when getting on a bus/buying something/greeting someone, and the French do not tip. I was also assigned a French language partner, Damien, who has been helping me immerse myself into  French culture. He is very kind, polite, and patient, so I am lucky to have him as partner.

Classes began this week, and the homework load has continued to grow. They are difficult, but I am definitely enjoying them so far. Other than that, I don’t have much more to report!

Au revoir,

Abigail Meckem

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