It's almost a month now since I arrived in France and I wanted to allow myself to feel the benefits of getting and the extra week to adjust to my new home in Aix-en-Provence.

It didn't take me very long to start tallying up the amount of benefits I received but here is a few that I immediately noticed after a few days: 

1. Practicing French

I knew long before I landed in France that speaking French after not practicing it for a while would be difficult but I think I underestimated how difficult it would be. The morning classes we had during the Early Start Program allowed me to delve into what I had been missing out on in an American classroom...... colloquial French. 

After a week of revision with  a French professor who was...... well French I definitely picked up a lot of useful terms as well the best way to order lunch without coming of as the rude American. The best part of it all is having a bunch of people in the same boat as you, c'etait vraiment top

2. Becoming a true Aixoise.... or at least learning my way around town.

I think I hate getting lost as much as..... everyone actually. As a native New Yorker I am used to streets looking like a grid and being number. I realized how much I took it for granted when I tried to navigate the first time I got lost and I realized that a lot of streets in between the Cours Mirabeau and 2 Bis (IAU building) are pretty curvy and not grid-ish. It wasn't at all distressing though, because the first day I got lost and every time after that I found something new and exciting to love about Aix.... like savory crepes at Crepe-a-Go-Go and Baguettes with Tapenades at the market. 

I enjoyed getting lost because I had the time too, but I couldn't imagine having this much love for getting lost if it had been the first week of classes.

3. Aix-cursions (haha funny right?)

Part of the fun of being in a new place is doing new things. There was so many new things to do during the first week, like visiting the different markets in town, hiking up Mt. Sainte Victoire, Wine tasting at Chateau la Coste and visiting Chateau Picasso (Picture above).

4. Building a Relationship with ma mère d'accueil

Maybe I'm alone in this, and I doubt that I am, but moving in with a family after living on my own at college worried me a little. Having a week to figure out the appropriate way to interact with my host mother was a gift. What was also nice about this was having people to talk to about the initial weirdness and mis-translations. Throughout it all I built a really great relationship with my Madame.

Pro Tip: If you want to say that you're going off to bed it's "Je vais me coucher".... don't forget the "me", trust me I've been there.

These are only four of the things I felt like I received from getting to Aix a week early but there is really so much more. I've finally settled in and all the jet-lag is gone, so I'm ready to start my adventure.....

.... à plus tard...... xoxo Kay 
I guess it would be an understatement to say that I am excited to be studying in the south of France. I’m glad that my initial nervousness gave way to excitement. I’m really glad that all of my feelings about going to France have been positive. I wake up every morning and say “In 4 weeks I will be on a plane to France”. The only thing I feel nervous about now is fitting everything I need into my suitcasesJ. I feel the need to pack my entire life, which is a bad idea because I love to shop.

To live with the beautiful weather and regional culture of Aix-en-Provence will be a dream come true. The South of France culture is the major reason that I chose to study abroad in Aix this fall. I wanted something a little different and a little exciting that would also be a major contrast from Cameroon, where I will be studying abroad in the spring.

A major part of any culture is…. FOOD! As a native New Yorker and foodie I can definitely say that I am eager to try the different restaurants and types of cuisines that France has to offer. I anticipate the cuisine being my favorite part and memories of this journey. The bakery that I have been working at over the summer has been putting out more and more French in Italian style soups, sandwiches and baked goods as time gets closer for me to leave. I want to learn as many recipes as I can during the fall.

Although I am not an artiste, I want to experience Aix the way that Cezanne and many other artist did. I have been scrolling through everything possible on Google images. I feel like I will have a million and one pictures to share with my eager friends and family back home.

I am also very motivated to improve my French as well because I have definitely lost a lot of my vous and nous over the summer. I wonder how communication with my host family will work out…. Should be fun. I have been giving a lot of thought about the appropriate gift for my host family but since I know nothing about them it’s a little tricky. I guess I will be impatiently waiting for two weeks to get more information on who they are ^_^.

À plus tard,