ode to aix-en-provence

i’m sitting at my desk, drinking a delicious coffee, and listening to the sound of rain out my partially open window… church bells are going off in the distance. funeral, or wedding…either way it’s amazing. it’s otherwise quiet here, and nearly noon, which is sort of strange for a friday but i’m not complaining.

i was thinking this past week about things i will miss when i go home. because, i’m very excited to come home (less than 3 months now! – june 23!), but let’s face it: niagara is not the south of france, and st. catharines is certainly not aix-en-provence.

aside from the obvious (ex. it’s europe. i can take the train or fly to any number of extremely cool, history soaked and famous places for less than the price of gas to drive up north), i will miss the idiosyncratic quirks, whims and benefits of living here, in aix. for example, i will miss riding in to school in the mornings and listening to the ever french accordion music being played by one of a few characters here. i will miss my bike, pepe, and i will miss just being able to ride in to school – and i might even miss the uncomfortable cobblestone streets (but not likely the terrible drivers). i’ll miss my richelme square, with the coffee roaster, my favourite bakery, l’unic and the patio culture, pizza capri (a hotspot at lunch hour), and that one convenience store with the weird owner. i’ll probably miss having all these fabulous boutique shops around, but my bank account (and father) will be happy. i will definitely miss the market… oh the market. with my honey guy, who gives me a discount now, every kind of fruit and vegetable and fungi, olives, tapenades, cured meats and cheeses…. i don’t need to go on, i’ve gushed about the market enough times before. although, having to dodge the stinky fish water as the seafood stand is closing up is not likely something i will miss.

i think it goes without saying how much i will miss my fabulous friends; cooking with them every night in our seriously under-equipped kitchen and complaining about everyone else’s pigsty-ish ways in residence – or bugging each other about various disparities in our country-specific terminology. i will miss being in town and just knowing that any one of my friends are around somewhere, a text away, and can meet me for apéros on a café or brasserie terrace – at any time of the year, patio heaters or not. i will miss my lavender plant on my desk that i got for my birthday. i will miss getting all my meat at the butcher in the place de prêcheurs across from the palais de justice, and the fabulous greek feta that we always get at corbeille d’orient. i’ll miss having a fountain at every corner! i will miss being able to purchase wine anywhere, not just a governmentally designated and controlled store, and i’ll miss 4€ wine! (actually no, probably not). i’ll miss the task of restaurant searching, as there are so many fabulous ones here and we’re always trying to work within a student budget, and i’ll miss the other task of deciding what movie to see at one of three small cinemas in town; do we see one in french at le cézanne? do we see one in english with french subs at renoir or mazarin? do we see one in arabic with french subs?? oh the decisions! and after deciding, i will definitely miss grabbing a crèpe from the street-side stand before heading in to the theatre.

in any case, a piece of me will definitely be left here, as pieces of me have been only recently discovered here, and some pieces created here. i know i have still almost 3 months. why would i jump the gun and get all nostalgic already, you might ask? i just needed the reminder, i think, to really soak it up in the remaining time. to appreciate how blessed i am, and how fortunate. and to not wish the time away. i certainly did not miss having a canadian winter and the sooner i leave here the sooner that looms…

and look! the sun has come out. aix-en-provence’s own shade of blue sky is again visible from my window. now i can go pick up my bike from the repair man and ride it home with brakes that work! maybe i’ll pass the accordion man. and then perhaps i will go sit in the park and read.

c’est bonne, la vie, n’est pas?


4 thoughts on “ode to aix-en-provence

  1. …this makes me feel selfish for wanting you back. and discontented at the lack of accordion music in st. catharines. you'd think ostanek's would have strange musicians polka-ing in front.. not to be.either way, your prose reaches the soul.

  2. Enjoy every moment. Home,jobs,or school will come soon enough. Just remember it wasn't that long ago that if someone said they were going away to school it meant t.o. or perhaps even Winnipeg. OOO!! And a trip shopping was St. Cath. not IKEA in Sweden. I'm ever so envious. Love you Aunt Bev. xoxoDo you think the word verification "plagatio" is Italian for patio. LoL

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