Bon appétit!

Bonjour!

First regarding the title. I’m a little (okay a lot) embarrassed to admit this, but I think all my life I had thought that bon appétit was Italian and my mind was blown last night at dinner when I learned it was french. Super awkward and embarrassing…but I’m not sure I knew that! Anyways…

It’s been a whirlwind the past few days! We finished our week of orientation with a petit soiree (little party) to meet our french language partners and have some before dinner drinks and snacks. My partner is a 19 year old law student named Arno and he is very nice although a little shy. He already had plans to have dinner at home with his family so he did not join me and our group of about 7 American students and their language partners for dinner in the city center. Regardless, we all had a lovely italian dinner and I met several other language partners (two from Senegal!) who were very nice and we were able to have some really good conversations in English and French. It was very fun and rewarding to be able to relax with so many new friends and enjoy conversation after a long week.

My first dinner at a restaurant in Aix!
Aix’s signature red wine and a 3 cheese and ham mini calzone

This morning Cathy and I went to what is basically a giant fair in Aix for all of the different sports and activities that are available. It is a requirement of the AUCP to join basically and “after school activity” and I was surprised by just how many options there were. There were tons of French people there with their kids looking at everything. I got some information on yoga, rock climbing, swimming, and tennis but there was also dance studios, martial arts, squash, and pretty much everything you could imagine.

This afternoon I met some classmates for a picnic in the park. Except we didn’t realize the park we wanted to go to wasn’t really a park, and was really just some trees and dirt surrounding the Grand Rotund. We still had fun and shared bread and cheese and cookies and a bottle of wine. I bought a baguette, a goat cheese, and a carton of cherry tomatoes (which were probably the best I’ve ever eaten) and also tried a fig for the first time.

I also got a cafe with my friend Amanda and we saw the UGLIEST dog. I tried to get a picture because we decided it should be the winner of the world’s ugliest dog but couldn’t. It was partially hairless, and grayish brown with hair on part of its head and its feet and some of its tail. And I’m pretty sure it was groomed to look like that…it was…interesting…

I think I am starting to settle into the life in Aix pretty well. I still need to use my map to find new places and carry around the bus table with me, but I’ve used to to take a different bus than I normally do and I haven’t gotten lost so to me that is improvement! I don’t think the French sleep though…because people stay out late but they don’t seem to sleep in, and unlike Spain they don’t take naps…so that might be a challenge. I can definitely get used to delicious cups of espresso all the time and fresh bread and cheese and produce. And the wine. My mom has only offered it to me twice at home, but I could definitely get used to being able to order it at dinner, and lunch for that matter.

Mon pique-nique!

Le Rotund!

Yesterday we also went on a two hour walking tour of the old city and I got lots of pictures of the architecture and old buildings. It was tiring and hot, but I liked being able to feel like a tourist and take pictures in a group because taking pictures individually is a little awkward.

Cathedral

The smallest street in Aix. Part of the Medieval construction.

Le Court Mirabeau also known as the Champs-Élysées of the south. Basically the main avenue in Aix with lots of cafes and shops and restaurants.

The other end of the Court Mirabeau with a statue of the first king of Aix

 

Pretty much all the streets look like this in the northern part of Aix. My friends said I was an “artsy Barney” because I had on a green dress and purple purse, so she took a picture. Proof I’m actually here 🙂 My friend Alex is on my left.

 

 

That is all for now. Can’t believe I’ve been here for a whole week. Seems like forever since I left Seattle.

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