Avant de commencer, je vais répondre aux questions des cours de français!

Mon magasin préféré n'est pas <<un magasin>> exactement, mais les grands marchés! Tous les matins, il y a deux marchés, juste sur mon chemin à l'école, de nourritures fraîches, des fruits et des légumes de la compagne. J'adore les brugnons blanches!! Ma camarade de maison me taquine que je ne choisi jamais une autre fruit, mais je pense qu'un mieux fruit n'existe pas. 

I saw people peeing outside just twice, both on very small and dark side streets when my housemate and I were walking home late at night after going out (we weren't walking down the side streets, apparently it's a very bad idea, we have been warned! We just happened to look over and see them).

La cuisine n'est pas très étrange, comme je pensais. On mange beaucoup de tomates et raisins fraîches, de notre jardin. Ce soir, ma mère d'accueil a cuit une soupe des <<raviolis chinois>> (dumplings), des legumes (endives) avec du jambon et de la sauce au crème. 

I'm getting tired and need to finish this blog before I go to bed! Sorry it took me so long to get these last two out.

I am taking four classes: French grammar, Provençale History (we get to go on excursions to ancient-ruin sites), French honors seminar (culture/literature/art), and French linguistics (it's very difficult). Plus, I am also doing an internship at a local bookstore for school credit!

I just started the internship Saturday, my boss is named Rita and very nice/funny. So far my job consists of me hanging out with her, and chatting casually with her friends who come in (she has a lot!). I have been there three days, and already two different authors have given me a copy of their books. We keep joking that by the end of the semester, I will have to buy a new suitcase to take home all the books I am likely to receive :) Today, we bonded over a mutual love of classic rock, particularly "Led Zepp" as she calls it, and I told her I didn't know of any French music, because they seem to only listen to American music here (it's kind of annoying actually :) ). She told me she would go home and make a list of musicians she thinks I would like.

I had kind of a hard weekend last week, I got very homesick and stayed home most of the weekend, leaving only once aside from going to the bookstore Saturday to relax with a book in the park. I downloaded and watched a lot of the BBC television show "Life" and became very jealous of my friend in South America (Buenos Aires) who just went whale watching, and my friend in Capetown, South Africa who got to go on a safari in Botswana. When I woke up to my first French rain (and apparently the first rain here in 4 months!) Monday morning, I felt calm and renewed and ready to explore what MY country has to offer...I am going to climb Mont St Victoire tomorrow, and I decided to stay in France for my fall break to do some exploring around here. I was having a difficult time because a lot of the students here are planning trips every weekend--Brussels, Croatia, Prague, Barcelona, Switzerland, London.... and although I have enough to do a lot of fun things, it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I can't do everything. But, I do have enough to see A LOT in France, and I made myself feel better by planning a trip to Lyon at the end of November, and a Paris getaway at the beginning of November. Even if I have to go by myself...I am a big girl! I came to a whole new continent by myself, I can handle visiting a city alone; plus I have my handy dandy pepper spray, courtesy of my boyfriend, and a rape whistle, courtesy of freshman orientation at DU...I hope I never have to use these but it makes me feel a lot better knowing that I have the option!
This is an alley I walk through on the way to school every day, I thought it was appropriate for this blog :)
Some random things I have been meaning to tell you...

The streets are dirty! There is a lot of broken glass, particularly on this one street where all the bars are. You are allowed to purchase a drink and go outside with it, and they are even served in glasses (I don't even need to tell you that's a bad idea). Just last night, some boys bought a group of my friends nice champagne because we said we had never had any, and the bar served them in real glass. When I finished, I asked what I was supposed to do with the flute, and one of the boys pointed at a trash can. I gave him a crazy look, and made the effort to go back inside and drop it off at the bar.

There is no law that says people have to pick up after their dogs, so they are allowed to poop wherever the urge strikes. Plus, there are a lot of pigeons, particularly on the Cours Mirabeau (the main street in town), so they poop everywhere too. This problem is served by the teams of government paid workers who drive around in big trucks at seemingly random intervals throughout the week and power wash the streets with huge hoses. 

Once I also saw one of these workers scraping a dead bird (it must have been run over, it was pretty squished and gross) off the ground with a shovel, and I thought....god, what a sucky job! Plus, I hope I never have to see bird guts ever again.

My brother asked me once if it smells like urine here, because he had heard that was true. I told him no, but sure enough the next night I was walking around and one entire street smelled so strongly of pee that I had to turn around and take another route.

About 35 girls in my program went to a wine tasting Tuesday night, put on by a just-under-30 year old American woman who first travelled to Aix 6 years ago and liked it so much she decided to stay. She told us lots of "insider information," such as...she confirmed the presence of the Italian mafia in town! She said their presence is very strong all over the Mediterranean, and particularly in Marseille, which is very dangerous and we have been told not to visit too often, and never alone, and never at night! Hilary (wine lady) said most of the local businesses have to pay a "tax" to the mafia, and people come by in suits every so often with an empty suitcase that they want to be filled up with money. She also told the story of an Irish businessman who came to town with his family just after she moved here, and refused to buy into their game. They fire-bombed his building! He decided to stand his ground, rebuilt the place from the ground up with his life savings, and the night before it was scheduled to re-open, it was fire-bombed again! After that, he fled, and she stopped doubting the rumors. She also said the locals don't like to talk about it, especially the business owners, but she is friends with many of them and managed to eke out this information over her years here.

I have been keeping a mental list of noteworthy things to share, but it's after one a.m. and since I'm hiking up a mountain tomorrow, I should probably get some sleep (life would be so much easier here if sleeping weren't a necessity!). I hope you appreciate a double dose of new blogs tonight, because I chose to write these rather than do my homework! Just kidding, 



vanessa lamb
10/02/2012 12:12pm

Wow...it sounds like a different world over there....what an experience. At least it isn't like where I was in Canada where it was hard to tell you weren't in a different country!! Don't go barefoot! :):):)xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

10/02/2012 3:02pm

AW! love it. I'm going to take a picture of this graffit that says AMOR here and send it to you, it reminds me of the 'army of me'. I'm really happy you're enjoying your time there now. And if it makes you feel better, i think the whole "pick up after your dog" law only applies in American because Buenos Aires is the same. Sometimes its really bad, sometimes its really clean. Also. I've seen people peeing here too, but only near china town. I'm glad to be able to read your blogs and keep up with you. I'm hoping to write a better one about the nuances of buenos aires soon as well. but i had to cover my whale trip first. Please write one about your hiking trip okay! take a lot of pictures! i love you!

French class at Lyons
10/10/2012 1:21pm

Je croit qu'ils sont en choque avec tout ce que vous avez dit! Meric et bientot! Bois un "kir" et quand tu voyage seule, il faut retourner a l'hotel ou auberge de jeunesse avant le coucher de soleil.

Mead High School
11/05/2012 10:38am

Quelle est la chose la plus bizarre qui t'est arrivee, a ce point?
Tu peux nous faire des photos de ta maison?
Est-ce que tu as rencontree quelqu'un tres connu au casino?


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