HOLY BAJEEZUS! Can you believe I've just finished up week four of being in Aix??? Because it is blowing my mind right now!

Anyway, some thoughts from this week that I've been saving up just for you:

1) When French people hold cigarettes it's like it's just an extension of their hand. Almost like it isn't even there, just lightly resting between two fingers. If a strong enough wind blew by, the cigarette could just fly right out of their hand. But they keep a surprisingly strong yet dainty grip and drag on that thing 'til it's all gone. That is why Americans think the French look so cool when they smoke; the elegance and grace and sheer carelessness of it. Like, "Yeah I'm smoking a cigarette that is slowly burning away my insides, but I'm holding it like it's no big deal, and in fact I didn't even realize I was doing it, so whatever, it's cool." It's official: if I were a real Frenchie, I'd take up smoking. Sorry family, it's true. So for the sake of my lungs, you all better hope I never decide to move here!

2) Passing people on the skinny sidewalks of Aix is pretty strange. At first, I thought I was being rude to them by not getting out of the way. Then I realized, someone in this city has to let me pass someday, right? False. But I think I figured out what the mindset is. Since the sidewalks are so narrow, it's safer to be on the inside, closer to the buildings and away from the street. Forcing someone to pass you on the outside is rude, so either step aside, or you pass on the outside.

I could be wrong, but this is what I've decided is a possible answer to the weird phenomenon.

3) When I order a café allongé and sit at a cafe for a while, it's too small of a drink; but when I'm in a rush and order one, it's too much.

4) Cars who drive in the streets of Aix are crazy. Stick shift doesn't make French drivers any better. Is it because they learn how to drive so late (eighteen years old) that they basically suck at driving? No one can parallel park. And why on earth would you drive through the city streets if you can help it??? People walk in the middle of the street all the time and are so not moving for you. Bizarre.

5) For a project, I have to sit at a cafe and observe its "micocosme of life." I told my professor which cafe I had chosen - the Brasserie de la Mairie at Place de l'Hotel de Ville - and she told me it is un café très aixois! A very "Aix" cafe!!! And it's my favourite cafe in Aix! So I'm very "Aix" too!!!

6) In my French class on Friday, I learned about a growing trend in France. Families are moving to the South where the weather is more agreeable year-round; then the dad/mom travels for work to Paris, Lyon, Milan, Genoa, wherever for several days during the week; and comes home for the weekend. Because of the advancements of the TGV (train system) in the past ten years, it has become easier to travel for work - and people can live in a sunnier place when they aren't working!

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