Thursday, January 31, 2013

Week 1

Hey there,

Life is getting a lot busier here, the daily routine is starting to sink in. Although I still can't sleep very well due to jet lag, I don't feel tired. My classes seem like they are going to be great, lots of writing unfortunately. I have two English classes, one on literature and one on creative writing. I have a french class (très difficle) and a class in French called French Civilization, which is very fun and interesting. There is a lot I don't know about French food, politics and history. Plus, my teacher is extremely enthusiastic in the manor of his speech and hand gestures. Stereotypical Frenchman, I love it.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a local doctor for my stupid reoccurring ear infection thing (it's very hard to speak French if you cannot hear yourself talk). The appointment was very engaging and informative, and kinda fun. I went to the office and said my name and that I was here to see Dr. Guyard. I was asked to sit and 30 seconds later the doctor came out (himself), greeted me, and led me to his office. He asked if I would like to speak French or English and I told him both. He was very excited and said that he loves an opportunity to practice English. The appointment took no longer than 20 minutes and would have been a lot shorter if I hadn't asked so many questions about medical school and hospitals in France. I learned the French words for eardrum, nasal cavity and cough. Also, Dr. Guyard said that once you obtain your medical degree in any country in Europe, you can practice in all of Europe. The appointment itself cost 23 euro but as a French citizen you are given back much of that amount. I have been inspired to look into shadowing a doctor in a local hospital, luckily located on the same road as my home stay.

Well I hope everyone is having a great day, I should probably dive into my Study abroad homework is really its own special type of hell.


P.S. here are some more pictures of life in Aix

A court yard in Aix near my school (IAU)

The long plaza where many restaurants put up there serving areas while the restaurants surround the square

Pastries at the Paul boulangerie (bakery)

A very old part of town dating back to the 1300's I think

Fountain of Provence next to one of my classes

One of the theaters in Aix

My little terrace at my home stay

The flower market in Aix

Monday, January 28, 2013

First Impressions

Mes amis,

After the meet and greet yesterday, my friend from UNH and I went to Les Deux Garçons for drinks (It's famous, google it). I ordered my first glass of wine in French. I felt so proud. "Je voudrais un verre de Bagrau rosé s'il vous plaît". Probably wasn't even completely grammatically correct but I was far too happy that the waiter actually understood to care.

Today during orientation we learned a little bit about the culture of France. It's an important subject because we have a whole mandatory lecture on it Wednesday. This morning was really about the basics. The dean of our college started by introducing the golden rule of France. When you walk into an establishment, you say "Bonjour" to the appropriate persons and when you leave "Au revoir". If you do not, it is considered extremely rude and you should not expect to get what you want. Also, he pointed out that the locals will not try to get to know you, it's just their way. They aren't interested in you and you need to figure out how to approach them. Great. He explained that the French are perceived as "standoffish" by many other cultures, but the attitude is better described as a dislike for superficial relationships. The French do not want the have 200 friends they have to say hello to on the street. They want just a few genuine people around them who they will actually stop and talk to.

I'm also starting to realize the kind of person I want to be while I spend my time here. I've observed some of the attitudes and attire of my fellow American IAU students and I must say, I'm worried about our reputation here. They're pretty obnoxious and most of them do not speak a lot of French, or any really. But I'll hold judgement for a while longer and I'll try to get to know more of them in class tomorrow and on our trip to Nice and Monaco this weekend.

à plus tard

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Here are a few pictures of my walk around Aix this morning and later on today I have my open house for IAU The Aix Center.

Toute à l'heure


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Adventure Begins


I hope you are all enjoying 8am right now! It's 2:30 here now and I arrived in Marseille around noon (France time). After exchanging flights twice, having lots of delays, and experiencing some sassy flight attendants, I'm in Aix with my host family. Oh and of course, my luggage did not arrive in Marseille with me so hopefully I'll have it soon! I'm not stressed though, just glad to be done with flying for a while. So far, my host family is great, just Arlette and I, although her granddaughter (Elise age 10ish) and some friends came over today. We bonded over a mutual love of Beyonce and their new favorite game is try to guess the word Audrey is acting out and trying to say. My vocabulary has been very limited but I understand quite a bit of what Arlette tells me and it's only day 1 so I'm doing okay (kinda).

After I unpack a little more, we are going to take a stroll around Aix! I'm going to bring my camera so that I have something to show everyone on here! And Mom, THEY HAVE PALM TREES. The dirt kinda looks like Arizona actually and it's a lovely 50 degrees F here, which they think is chilly but I'm in heaven.

More to come very soon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

48 Hours

Hello friends,

Welcome to the blog of my adventures in Aix and Europe! I'll try to write and post as much as I can through out the semester but as many of you already know, I'm not much of a writer. This will probably be a quantity over quality situation.

I have about 48 hours left in America until the end of May. I'm ready to leave, everyone is either back in school or already abroad and I'm still here at home. All day. With just the cats. So I think I'm ready. Except for my lack of practice with the french language and this false sense of security I have about having packed everything I need but c'est la vie. At least I'm not alone in this feeling.

À plus tard,