Bonjour tout le monde!
What an exciting three days it has been! Starting off my Wednesday morning at three-thirty, I woke up and headed for the airport. After flying from Bismarck to Dallas, Dallas to London, and London to Marseille; with a total of three cups of coffee and four hours of sleep, I made it to Aix! However, I was in quite a unique state of mind. First of all, obviously, I was tired. Yet, flying from London to Marseille, the entire flight felt like some sort of dream. All along, I’ve had my destination of Aix ready, and did the steps I needed. However, when arriving, a small panic kicks in questioning whether or not I was ready, and if it was real, which I can inform you, it is. The landscape is quite different from North Dakota, which in reality just means it lacked open prairie, or in other words, it was not flat. Going through the airport was so simple, and our lady from our program picked up us right away and we got onto a bus to Aix!
Along our thirty-minute bus ride, all eight of us made quick introductions and were in amazement of the new reality we were about to face! Luckily I have been abroad before, but it also changed my initial experience. I can never get used to how strange and similar everything looks. I expected, as I did last time, that everything would look completely different. As if I would get out of the airport and say, “oh yeah, this is France.” However, I was quickly reminded that is not the case. The similarities of North Dakota are prevalent, however, the different language, architect, and transportation are the common difference from my experience, especially from my hometown and home college. However, at least this time I was prepared for subtle and exciting change I was faced with.
The first thing I did when arriving in Aix, was just trying to take note of everything in my brain. Everything is so new, exciting, and breath-taking, immediately I just went to mentally remember everything and anything. However, I forget that I am going to be here for around four months (not four days), and that getting accustomed to this town and culture can and will take time. After getting of the bus station, two others students and myself were taken to our residence, which is best described as a hybrid between a dorm room and apartment. It is all student living, yet it is way more spacious and has more individual facilities that were not available in my freshman dorm. My roommate and I share many things, except for a room, each with plenty of space considering that we packed our entire life into two-three bags.
La villeFor those of your who don’t know much about Aix, officially Aix-en-Provence, its population is around 150,000 people, and I would approximate that a third are students. It was founded in 122 BC by the Romans, with the organization of the town nearly split in two. Half of it is organized, as I can best describe, like spaghetti, because in older times, the cities were not organized as they as today. Whereas the other half has nice blocks that I am more familiarized with. It is organized well, and the furthest I will walk is fifteen minutes, making my apartment in a superb location. The first night upon arrival the IAU/CEA students met up for a hot drink at a café, followed by ordering a margarita pizza in another restaurant. The following day we had our orientation, accompanied by café au lait, au thé, ou au café américain (coffee with milk, tea, or black coffee) and a croissant. We were given a walking, historical overview of the town throughout the afternoon, and finished of our Friday with spaghetti and wine at other students’ apartments.
À la semaine prochaine!
This is a view from my friend's terrace.
Saint Jean de Malte
A popular street in Aix
Another view from someone apartment
An advertisement for shoe oil that was kept on the building.
And of course, me eating a nutella crepe!