I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one-month anniversary of living in Aix than getting lost in the middle of a rain storm without a rain jacket or umbrella.
Actually, I could probably think of a few but it did remind me of my first visit to Aix five years ago with my french teacher when then too I got lost in a rain storm…some things never change.
This morning started out just lovely and a friend and I went to the market for some retail therapy. My first purchase was a chocolate croissant (surprise surprise) followed by a cafe while I waited for my friend (what can I say, I know what I like). After my friend Nicole arrived we walked around the market looking for some good deals on cute clothes. I found a lace skirt that is super cute and I can’t wait to wear once it stops raining. I also found a scarf for 5 euro! I am going to give it as a gift to someone, but I couldn’t pass up a 5 euro scarf. I may or may not have also gone to H&M for more shopping….BUT let me just say that H&M here is way better/crazier than the US. First, I’m pretty sure the styles are at least a little different, and there’s also an H&M children’s section, athletic clothes, and a huge men’s section. It was overwhelming, but I managed to find a few items. And then it started to rain…
I can’t complain to much because I actually love the rain, not just because it reminds me of Seattle, but just because I’ve always loved the rain. I was thoroughly soaked by the time I got home, but I did manage to catch a bus home, otherwise I would probably contract pneumonia, which might be a problem.
Regardless of the weather, it’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a month. I feel like I’ve been here forever. Except not because sometimes I still have no idea what’s going on. But at the end of the day when I reflect back on all the little “successes” of the day, I know that I’m making progress and enjoying my time here. For example, every time that I can give someone directions or have a real meaningful conversation reminds me that maybe I am doing something right after all. Yesterday morning my alarm went off, and I was first shocked because I was in the middle of a dream, and then I was annoyed because my dream had been in french and I was about to use the plus que parfait. The plus que parfait is a verb tense that uses two different past tense conjugations and is something that I have to pause and think about before using, but when you do you feel really smart (at least I do). So being the french minor nerd that I am becoming, I was disappointed that I did not get to conjugate a verb in my dream…(unfortunately, I’ve done weirder things)
My host mom and I are starting to get really close (I think anyways). We both had a challenging day thursday because I woke up to an email from my bank that there had been strange charges on my credit card- yes it would be strange for me to be buying plane and train tickets in Europe if I hadn’t already told them I would be living in France for three months and making exactly those types of purchases- but they don’t listen, so they called my house/mother saying I had been frauded, blah blah blah. That all happened while I was still in bed. So I got out of bed, and while I got ready I told my host mom the early-morning drama and we discussed the matter because her two kids have had issues with their flights getting cancelled when they’ve studied abroad. Bonding moment #1 of the day. After school I got home and my host mom was very upset. Her cell phone had stopped working because her cell phone company had changed the number on her cell phone. I didn’t know that was possible, but they had literally changed her number. And she was furious because that’s how she gets work and no one could reach her and she had already talked to 10 people and gotten nowhere. Clearly France and the US are more similar than you might think- customer service/ technology is terribly frustrating. Bonding moment #2. There’s the little moments too over dinner when we watch the news and she tells me which politicians she doesn’t like, and then they show some American news and I can tell her which politicians I don’t like. I just love the feeling after all the little moments can add up to something so great.
I think the same can be said for all my experiences in France. Big picture I can’t believe I’m actually in France (for 3 months!) but when there’s all the little things-talking to the sassy little old ladies on the bus, purchasing something at the market, meeting new french people, taking an extra moment to appreciate the old buildings- those are the things that add up to realizing where you are and remind you to slow down and take advantage, cause in the grand scheme of life, three months really isn’t that long. And one month has already passed.
I definitely can’t wait to be home because I miss my cat and my chipotle (and an infinite number more), but I have so much to do before I can leave. Including a trip to London to see my old roommate, and a trip to Copenhagen to see my best friend from high school. And a weekend in Nice to celebrate mine and at least 3 other november birthdays. Until then it’s time to get some studying done- this is a “study” abroad after all…