With less than one week left here in dear Aix-en-Provence, my Facebook and Twitter feeds are blowing up with posts about "Can't believe there are only [number] days left!!!!" "I'll be home in [number] days!!!" "France and I only have [number] days left together! Ahhh!" and all of this makes me so sad!!! I'd rather think about how much I can do in these [number] days left rather than fast-forward to the end and picture myself in the USA. When I do fast-forward, I usually imagine myself handing my boarding pass or passport to a guy at the airport, leaving Aix and all my other European adventure cities behind - literally the saddest image I can picture right now!!!!

So this post is not going to reflect on "all the things I'll miss about Aix." Not right now, at least. That will come later, for sure. For now, I want to reflect on some of the really funny, really awesome moments of the past few weeks...

This Monday, my housemate brought souvenirs of her weekend trip to Lourdes back for our hostmom and hostsister. They had asked, if it wasn't too much trouble, for some holy water from that special place and my housemate very gladly agreed. So after dinner she went to her room to get the gifts... and came back to the dinner table carrying two HUGE plastic jugs (I'm guessing about three gallons) of holy water! My hostmom and hostsister were dumbfounded, as was I. At first, they weren't sure if it was a joke or not. "C'est l'eau de Lourdes?" "Est-ce que c'est l'eau potable?" And then once my housemate assured them that yes, this was in fact THREE GALLONS OF holy water from Lourdes and she herself had filled the jugs at the fountain there, we all found it unbelievably hilarious and couldn't stop laughing for a good ten minutes; one of the best laughs I've had in Aix. Love my homestay :)

Last night was the IAU talent show after the dinner and closing ceremony (earlier in the day). While I knew beforehand that there would be a few acts, I hadn't imagined how many people would make the last-minute decision to participate too! There were such good vibes in the Main Hall (which I usually think of as reserved for long lecture classes) with professors, families, and of course, all the students gathered to watch music, literature, and dance acts.
The French Honours Program (moi!) started off with our rendition of the classic song "Les Champs Élysées" as accompanied by our wonderful leader in blind faith towards advanced French skills, Professor Muriel Cros on guitar! ("avec une guitare à la main du soir au matin" as the song goes.) While it was silly, it was a nice way to bring our time as the FHP group to an end.
Other talented acts included a (surprisingly well-rehearsed) Gangnam Style dance; poetry and guitar; singing and guitar; comedic poetry; more singing; singing and a Leigh Smith cameo; singing and dancing.... almost everything you can imagine!

On Tuesday, the FHP went to a cute café in town to have a fête des pâtisseries and we all received personalized gifts from the one and only Professor Muriel! She announced that she had picked out each of our books based on the conversations and personal interactions she'd had in getting to know all of us throughout the semester. I received a book of poetry by the great Verlaine - dawwwwww! We also go to hear her speak English (for me, it was the first time!) and she told us that we would always be special because we were her first FHP group :) Cue more adorable "aww-ing!"

To wrap up with a personal tidbit/brag moment, I received an award at the closing ceremony yesterday! It was for avancé et honneurs French (presented by, my fave, Muriel) and I have to say I was actually shocked! (Aside from the mini spoiler-alert email) I had seriously gone about this semester doing work as I would any other time, but the atmosphere of Aix and excitement of being abroad must have seriously rubbed off on me and shone (as in shining) in my work. Truly touched by the professors who felt I deserved this award - MERCI! :)
And what did I receive, you ask? Well, being from Muriel, it was a book, Romans Cinéma Théâtre: Un parcours 1943-1993 by Marguerite Dumas. After the ceremony I jokingly informed my professor how très lourd (very heavy) the book was and she laughed back that my tiny poetry book from the pastry party the day before had been "too tiny" for me. So now I have two very special books to commemorate my time in Aix!
Now, I'm off to wrap up my final schoolwork of the year! Writing more poetry in French .. printing off original b&w photos .. making astute observations of French films .. composing articulated opinions about world events .. and of course memorizing endless verb endings!

Even though I promised I wouldn't do this: T -6 days left in France :(

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