I think it's possible to get lost in more than just a place - you can get lost in a language, in a dance, in your daily routine, in an entire culture. And through all of the confusion and mix-ups and misunderstandings, you eventually find yourself oriented. Coming up on my fourth week, I can't say I feel completely oriented, but I'm slowly figuring out what works and what doesn't, in addition to a bunch of smaller things that can be added to the ongoing manual with the (tentative) title How to Look Aixois.
However, because I hardly think I'm qualified to publish a manual after only a few weeks here, I have no such guide for you. Instead, below are some of the things I've learned after nearly a month in Aix - many of which are the result of feeling pretty lost.
1. Food is worth the €. Do not skimp on food evereverever because you are in France and you must vivre pour manger, d'accord?
2. Dog poop is a part of life.
3. If you cross the street like you mean it, nobody will honk at you. Actually, people rarely honk at pedestrians, so feel free to cross the street when it feels right, even if you don't see the man in green cheering you on in safety. But (!) if you have doubts... don't do it.
4. It's "glug" not "chug."
5. If you pet your host family's cat too many times, she will see you an endless petting machine and will never leave you alone.
6. Being corrected regularly is very good for improving your French. Other good activities for improving French: eavesdropping on conversations and actually speaking French with your peers.
7. Do not leave your homework for the last minute because while doing so is horrible in the States, it is hyper-horrible en France.
8. It takes two weeks to be able to walk down a sidewalk like you own it.
9. Nothing says you blend in (and that you look really non-threatening) like being asked for directions. I should know, I've been asked four times already.
10. That being said, if you look vaguely Asian, there's a good chance someone will ask if you're chinois(e).
11. Do things with a sense of purpose, but be open to having your plans change.
12. Write everything down because if you don't, weeks will fly by and you will forget it.