Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clare and I

This is my roommate and I in Marseille

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Weekend

So, I've finally found some decent internet. The trick is sitting on the left side of the apartment as opposed to the right. No joke, it makes all the difference!

This weekend was pretty awesome. After Marseille on Saturday we did a tour of the Luberon on Sunday. We started at Ile sur la Sorgue, where there was a beautiful market that had everything. Olives, cheese, bread, meats, fruit, lavender, clothes, etc. It was really beautiful, and we had a fun time wandering around. I bought some lavender and had a great lunch!

After Il sur la Sorgue we went to a little village called Roussillon. It's famous for the ocre, which is the red dirt that was everywhere. Everything in the town was red. We went on a little hike, and there were some amazing views. The town was completely deserted, so it was really quiet, but the place was stunning.

Finally, we stopped at Gordes, which is on a hill and made entirely out of stone. Again, the views were beautiful and the town was deserted. Once we got back to Aix we just had a quiet night, gearing up for the first day of classes.

BUT I DON'T HAVE ANY!!! I got my schedule today and it looks like I won't have any Monday classes, which I am very excited about! It will be really nice to have 3 day weekends. So tomorrow is the first day of classes. I have 4 hours of French Language and the 2 hours of Translation. I'm going to have about 20 hours of class a week, but at least my French will get really good!!

Today we spent just relaxing and running some errands. Clare and I booked tickets to go to Amsterdam next weekend! I can't wait. Let the traveling begin!

A bientot!


Red Dirt of Roussillon

Market at Ile sur la Sorgue

Pizza and Mafia night!

Aix: City of Fountains!

Flower Market

Some Pics!

This is the church in Aix-en Provence

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm here and I'm never coming back!

Alright, time for an update. I don’t have internet in my apartment yet, so this has been challenging! Anyways, I got into Aix late on Monday night, and was brought to my apartment. We’re on the top floor, which means every time I come home I have to go up four flights of stairs. I am going to have some awesome legs by the time I come home. My apartment is pretty nice. There’s a big living space, with a kitchenette on one side and a bedroom/bathroom on the other. The kitchenette is really just a nook in room with a sink, hot plate, and mini fridge, but it works. The bathroom is also tiny, and learning to shower with the 5 minutes of hot water we get has been interesting. For the first day I had to just keep telling myself, “It’s all part of the adventure!”. My roommate Clare is awesome! Abroadco did an amazing job matching us, because we get along great. I can already tell we’re going to have a really great time together.
So Tuesday morning I got to meet the rest of the people in my program. There are 8 other girls and 1 boy. We spent the morning walking around Aix a bit, all got lunch, and then had our orientation. We then went to Monoprix, which is the closest thing to Target, to gets sheets and towels and such. The first night I spent laying on a mattress with a light blanket thrown over me, so sheets felt like a huge luxury! I also got my cell phone, which is BIC brand… like the pens! That night Clare and I wandered the town, went into a Fromagerie and learned a little about cheese, and then sat in our apartment and chatted while enjoying our French wine, fresh baguette, and stinky delicious cheese. We had hot chocolates at a café, and then called in a night.
Wednesday was the placement test, and started out really not so great. I was feeling really sick, but after a little nap I got the day going, and we ended up wandering around a bit and doing some errands we had to get done. I had my oral exam, which went really well, and I think I’m going to be placed in the highest level, which would be awesome! We had a free afternoon on Wednesday, so Clare, Mike (the only boy in the program! Lucky guy!) and I wandered into an internet café/bar called Hub Lot, and it was pretty empty, but we had a great time talking to the owner and some of the people there. At one point Clare and I were both on the computers (we still don’t have internet in our apartment) and the owner of the place asked Mike if he knew how to play guitar. Mike did, and the owner pulled out a guitar and an amp, and Mike started playing. A while later an older French bar patron came in and asked if he could jam with Mike, and so they started to play together. Then the owner grabbed a microphone and got Mike to start singing, so he made up words and sang about our trip. Everyone in the bar was listening to them, and when we were leaving, one lady wanted to know when he would be playing here again. It was insane! It was one of those “I can’t believe this is actually happening right now” moments, and we loved it. I think we’ll become regulars there! Wednesday night we had our official Welcome dinner, and we went to a cute little place and had a very French meal. It was delicious, and I’ve had a great time just getting to know everyone in the program better.
Thursday started with a walking tour of the city. Pam, the program director, showed us around and had a lot of great info about the city to share. It’s very old, and there is a lot of old Roman influence and ruins still around, and I just love all the history there is. I swear this is the most beautiful city I have ever been in. It’s very quaint, and I just want to stick my head out the window and yell Bonjour every morning, Beauty and the Beast style (although I don’t think that would go over too well). Anyways, after our tour on Thursday, and bunch of us went to a restaurant called The Olde Bulldogge, and when we walked in there was actually a little bulldog on a leash tied to our table! He sat under our table for the whole meal, and was super sweet. Sarah, I immediately thought of you! The rest of the day was very relaxed. We went to a café and spent a couple hours just sitting, and then Clare and I had dinner on Cours Mirabeau, which is the well known street here. Last night we experienced the French bar scene, and that was pretty interesting. I’m pretty sure half of the people were American everywhere we went, but we had a great time! My favorite part was probably the fact that there was a drink called a Sexy Zombie.
Friday was pretty relaxed. We didn’t have any activities planned, so we’re just took it easy. We got the results of our placement test, and I placed in a pretty high level, which I’m happy about!
Today we took the bus to Marseille, and Pam gave us a tour of the city. We went to a beautiful church, Notre Dame de la garde, which sat on top of a hill that over looked the city and the Mediterranean. We also walked along a fish market that had a ton of fish fresh off the boats, and even a live octopus or two up for sale! It was a really great day! When we got back, a couple of us went shopping to get some more weather appropriate clothing. The California girl was soooo not properly prepared! Then everyone in the program came over, we got pizza from the bakery next to our apartment, and played mafia. It was really great fun. Tomorrow we’re touring the Luberon, which I am very excited about!
I promise there will be more updates once I get internet in the apartment! I am having the time of my life, and there are so many times that I just stop to take it all in, and think, “Oh my Gosh! I am actually in France, doing this right now! I am actually here having this amazing experience!” Don’t want to worry anyone, but I just might not ever come home!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I leave tomorrow!!!

Well, I'm about to go to bed, but I don't think I'm going to get much sleep tonight. I'm way too excited!! I can't believe I actually leave for France tomorrow. My flight is at 2:20, then I have a nice 12 hour flight to Frankfurt, followed by a 6 hour layover, and then a 2 hour flight to Marseille. Luckily the little cold I caught a couple days ago seems to be slowly going away. I'll just have to take a lot of Tylenol PM. Thanks to everyone for seeing me off, and I'll see you all in June!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Practicing my French

The closer I get to leaving, the more I realize that I really need to be practicing my French!! So, today I am watching Batman Begins and the Dark Knight in French. Yes, Batman seems a little less threatening when he's speaking in French, but it's a fun way to get ready. Sarah's also been a big help. She has her French 5 final next week, so she's been walking around the house speaking French and had me quiz her on her French vocabulary. It's been a great help.

I keep finding little things I have to do, and although my To Do list is making me a little nervous, I love doing it because it means I'm getting even closer to leaving. I can't wait!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Getting Ready

Alright, it's starting to feel real! My room is a mess of piles trying to figure out how much I can bring with me. I feel like I'm adding things on my To Do list faster than I can get them done. But I have a passport with a Visa and Euros in my wallet, and I am so ready to start this adventure. Just one more week!!!!

I got my schedule of activities today from our program director in France. It looks very cool, and almost every weekend there's an optional excursion. I don't think I'll be spending a single weekend at my own apartment! I'm particularly looking forward to going to the Luberon because I just finished reading Peter Mayle's book, A Year in Provence, and it makes Provence just sound like the most amazing place ever. I'm also excited about the wine tasting and cooking classes. I'm going to be a pro with French cuisine when I get back.

Hopefully I'll get to see some of you in the week before I leave, but if not, I'll see you when I get back!!!