early fall in aix en provence

well it’s been a few days now. a few more days of settling in. a few more days of observations about france and french culture, and a few more new friends.

i now have a little family here. we’re pretty cool i think. there’s caitlin and monica from australia, claire from michigan, and ben(aka benji or benjamina) from london. that’s the family. then josh joins us from time to time, he’s from australia. and then there’s freddy and carianna from quebec and ottawa, sebastian (sebby) from england, and adrianna from…. somewhere that speaks spanish. i forget at the moment. problem: when we are together we always speak english. other than that though it’s awesome. we’ve been making dinner together (just the first four plus me) every night and just pitch in for what the groceries cost. it’s been super fun. and we’re all in political science too so we’ll have a lot of classes together which is really great.

have i mentioned that they sell sparkling water in the vending machines for the same price as everything else? evian – 1 euro. san pellegrino – 1 euro. coke – 1 euro. have i mentioned that i’m never leaving?

have i also mentioned that there are palm trees in the school courtyard?

i think it’s impossible to get lost here. every day i find myself down a new street (alley? sidewalk? they’re not very wide that’s for sure) and i still manage to end up at some square that i recognize and from there can find another street vaguely in the direction i want and, eventually, i’m where i meant to go. along the way i’ve probably found three new restaurants i’d like to at least get a coffee at and five new shops i should browse at some point.

there are fountains…EVERYWHERE. it’s gorgeous. i find a new one every day. all the streets are cobblestone. cars park…anywhere. smart cars park horizontally. i’ve seen one fender-bender occur, numerous nearly occur, and every vehicle i’ve seen is full of scratches and dents. bumpers live up to their name here? on the bus sometimes i have to not look down out the window because we are that close to other immovable objects.

yes, everything here in town is largely expensive. no, it’s not all worth it.
yes, i do feel like buying an entire new wardrobe. no, don’t worry (dad), i won’t.
yes, i have already purchased a pair of shoes (sandals). no comment.
BUT there IS this fanTAStic market, tuesdays thursdays and sundays (actually it’s every day but way bigger on those days) and it’s like a north american flea market or independent market except a hundred times better. me and the fam are going to walk through it tomorrow morning. there’s everything from lavender honey, soaps, and flowers, to spices, to fresh seafood, to fresh fruits, to clothing, to jewelry, to home supplies…

the hôtel de ville is not a hotel. don’t try to book a room there, or you’ll be sleeping in the mayor’s office. it IS, however, a really, really beautiful building in a really, really beautiful square that is filled with patio tables from various cafes and restaurants.

also, un petit word of advice: when attending a “bienvenue à france” seminar and asking your professor whether the french eat cheese as a dessert like we do at some restaurants in canada, be sure to pronounce it “deh-ss-ehr” (dessert) rather than “day-zehr” (désert) lest the prof and the class laugh at you and make a joke about eating cheese in the desert. this is especially important when one finds oneself curiously (and inexplicably) in the more advanced-french portion of the international student body.

bienvenue à france?


6 thoughts on “early fall in aix en provence

  1. It's always amusing to me the similarities between languages. I did the exact same thing when I was learning to speak english, pronunciation is hard :(Don't get me started on the blatant abuse of the word 'cool'

  2. hey. didn't you get a brand-spankin' fancy new lens for your camera? so why oh WHY aren't there any photos of the so-called "beautiful" (so YOU say) places you frequent each day? huh?loveps. of COurse your pseudo family must be cool. they are taking the place of your REAL and SUPER cool family back "home". cool cool cool.

  3. The Ontario Ministry of Education stamped 'bi-lingual' on my high school diploma. Little do they know that I could not decipher the difference between those two pronunciations of 'dessert'. What I am saying is that if I were with you, in a restaurant, wanting dessert, I would inevitably wind up yelling at some random French waiter, 'Just bring me the damn cheese!!!' And THAT is why you miss me….

  4. yasir – was that a jab at me for using the word cool? you jerk. bri – put photos up today! ❤ jeeze get off my back!claire – i nearly forgot to wear deoderant today, is this a sign that i am becoming french-isized?leah – that IS why i miss you. terribly.

  5. I am so proud of you. You are settling in and by the sounds of it… doing it quite well. AND having fun at the same time, but the big thing is you are blogging about it. I live vicariously through you and your adventures so keep it up. My life needs all the excitement you can muster up.

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