Bonjour tout le monde!
Today I’m writing from my cozy room in the hamlet of Palette, just outside of the French city of Aix-en-Provence where I’ve spent the past two and a half months studying. It all seems like a whirlwind, especially considering how long I’ve been here already.
The beginning of the trip was probably the most challenging part; adapting to living with my (fantastic) host family, making incredible new friends (both French and American), and getting used to five different classes in French. But in French there’s a word for figuring it all out–“se débrouiller”– and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
My program, the American University Center of Provence, AUCP as we call it affectionately, is pretty challenging but puts a lot of emphasis on plopping les Américains right in the middle of French society. Between daily interaction with my host family, meeting with my language partners, regularly participating in a French association (in my case, a pottery studio), and doing community service with local middle schoolers, I get dynamic French practice and also make some awesome friends. There is of course, also that thing called class…
A typical week here looks like this:
Monday– Translation class (my favorite!) from 9-10:30; French Cultural Patterns course from 10:45-12:15; eat delicious French things (or packaged turkey and yogurt) for lunch and hang out with friends and the American Center;then Provençal Lit and Film class from 3:15-4:45. Ensuite, high tail it to the bus stop for a 4:55 bus that takes me back to my village, where from 5:30-7 I hang out with and tutor a middle school student who really likes Linkin Park. After that, walk home to the other side of the village, check in with the host fam and then we eat around 8. After that, homework and skype.
And since that was so long, I’ll condense the rest:
Tuesday– no class all day, noon head over to the Fac, the French university, to hang out with French college students; 5pm movie screening for my film class; 7:30pm pottery studio time; 10pm le dîner
Wednesday– 9am (bleh) Translation (yay!); 1:15 Painting and drawing class–woohoo!; 5pmish bus back to the village, host family time and then dinner
Thursday– 9am (bleh) Identity of Immigrants class until 12:15 (argh…it’s mostly lecture, unlike CC classes); lunch slash catch up on homework for; Provençal Lit and Film at 3:15. Thursday after class, two friends and I get a glass of wine and then walk an hour home to our villages.
Friday– 10:45am French Cultural Patterns, 5pm cooking class with one of the city’s top chefs (so awesome…this will be my next blog topic!); after that, digestion and hanging out with my friends.
On the weekends, I generally spend a lot of time with my host family around the house, going to dinner at their friends’ houses, or going on school outings around Provence. Saturday night is usually dedicated to hanging out with my language partner, Christophe, and friends, practicing French and getting into general shenanigans.
I’m loving my experience here so far, and am glad to have two months to go! More blog entries to come soon. À bientôt!
And as for the namesake of this entry, here’s a song I love by Tété–“À la faveur de l’automne”
[youtube width=”444″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiDcL0-Gd44[/youtube]