I feel like I've written this entry in my head many times before. With a little over a month to go, I figured I should get started on this whole "saying goodbye to Aix" thing. I think my peers have already started the process - I've heard a couple of people sprinkle "that's what I'm going to miss most about France" at the beginning or end of their sentences.

I understand the idea of not wanting to talk about the end, but it's so easy to get swept up in the rendez-vous and the traveling and the projects that the end will end up hitting you like a semi if you don't take care to look before crossing, you know? So this is me looking both ways - side to side, behind and beyond - and trying my best not to get run over.
To be honest, I'm still not sure how much my French has improved. There have been highs and lows. Maybe I'm just too hard on myself. Actually, yeah, I probably am being hard on myself. I've been thinking a lot about this concept of fluency (which I really wasn't aiming to achieve in a few short months, but still, it's an important thing to think about as someone studying language!). If fluency is accuracy and speed, I can tell you that I've definitely become more accurate... but I need to work on my speed. And that comes with practice. And uh, as it turns out, it's really hard making schedules work out as a student, so yeah, language partners? Still haven't met yet. But I do treasure the relationships I've built - especially with my host family. And they often say "tu parles bien" so I should probably just accept it instead of saying the traditional "non, non." Because "bien" can mean many things. And I will take it.

There are many things I've gotten used to (the W.C.) and many things I haven't (starting with your thumb to count). There are things I forget ("Si" as an affirmative response to a negation), and things I've incorporated into my regular vocabulary ("Coucou!"). I think it makes sense to have anything under 2 euros and under in coin form. I feel the need to apologize for cultural imperialism every time I see English-anything. And really, it's one thing to be aware of cultural differences - but it's a completely different thing to encounter it in your daily life.

Fun fact: I finally bought my ticket back to the Bay Area. It's bittersweet, and as much as I'd like to extend my stay here, my (lack of) funds and my (desire to be with) family are calling me back. But I have to say, I really did gain another home out of this. Aix is wonderful, and I hope I return sometime in the future.

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