D'où j'assis & inspiration

On day one, I arrived in Aix at approximately 15:00 (3:00 PM) local time after about 14 hours of traveling. Fortunately, my host mother and housemate greeted me at the Marseilles airport! Immediately, I was bombarded with French phrases and questions.  It’s been a while since I’ve spoken or heard much French to say the least…

If I’m not experiencing culture shock now, I probably did just during that first dinner in Aix… We were first called for les aperitifs, which included bread, cheese, wine, and other delicious morsels. I’m pretty sure there were close five scrumptious courses laid out in front of us over the timeframe of two hours – each one less expected than the one it followed.  I was asked if my mother was a good cook, and I had to honestly respond with pas du tout (not at all) – this meal knocked hers out of the park (no offense mom, but you burn frozen pizza).

My housemate and I have discussed plans of renting bikes to explore further – something I’m very excited to do.  We then met up with other IAU students at the Aix center in order to get to know each other better. If anyone currently involved in the program reading this is interested, let me know! We'll make a great group adventure out of it.

I hail from a small town. I am what most people would call a polite driver, and often speak only when spoken to.  Many people interpret this as being shy, and at times, I can be.  However, I defend this characteristic as a humble respect for others’ attention to their own business and lives.  I do not believe that many people have the time or patience to listen to my small talk so I often avoid it. Upon arriving here however, I’ve found I do have things to say that people will find of interest.  I've learned a lot by sharing parts of myself with others, as well as by listening to what they have to share.  It is important not to impose one’s views, but also to be willing to discuss them and be open to others.  Reading them in a book or seeing them portrayed in a paper or television program will not do the intricacies justice – We all need a personal touch in our lives and you simply can never know what you will learn or what aspects of your life will be enhanced or changed by sharing and listening to one another’s stories.

My host mother has a 12-year-old granddaughter that is interested in a lot of similar things as I so I’ve learned a great deal from her.  For example, one night we watched X-Men in French.  They spoke très vite and it was very hard for me to understand, but she was very excited to share that interest with me.  It’s also amusing to hear her get excited about other French films and sing commercials – I mean, I’m an Integrated Marketing Communications major, how could I not take notice of that!

It's a small group at the Marchutz School of Art, but this allows us all the chance to get to know each other very well.  We did interviews and presented one another to the rest of the group. This summer I am very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people.  These include two women studying to become art therapists, although there is much more to them than that.  One is a mother, and the other lives in California and loves to surf!  There is another woman who is a member of the Art Student’s League in New York.  We also have a few fine art majors, architects, philosophy enthusiasts, comedians, musicians, and more.  Another girl from China has been studying in New York for the past year.  She hasn’t been home since beginning her college career – essentially she’s studying abroad after studying abroad! She hasn’t perfected her English, yet is courageous enough to tackle the French language. C’est phenomenal.  I am so excited to work and explore alongside these people for the remainder of my six weeks here in Aix.

I hope you all are enjoying your own adventures!

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