When I was in France this summer, I planned on blogging as often as possible so that I could record all of my impressions and experiences. Unfortunately, life in France tended to be a little bit distracting. However, I did journal a bit and managed to record some memories and impressions. Those notes, along with the copious amounts of photos that I took, have kept the experience very fresh in my mind. I will be receiving my Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French by December of 2012 and so my schedule this semester is loaded with french courses. The one downside to this is that all of the photos we look at are making the longing to return to France close to unbearable. However, I simply have to look back on some of my journal entries to take me back to Aix-en-Provence
“It’s interesting how the same city can be so loud at times and so quiet at others. In French, the word for noise is bruit. It may not be an onomatopoeia, but it almost could be. At the school they are holding a music festival so you get to hear opera while sitting in the courtyard. I’m enjoying my first croque monsieur et il est parfait! Even the Coke tastes better here. The “honey” thing followed me to france. (People are always calling me honey, sweetie, and darling probably due to my short stature, but at the age of 21, it starts to get slightly absurd). I’m fairly certain that the man from whom I bought my delicious sandwich called me “petite” when I ordered, basically calling me “little one.””
As I wrote this, I was sitting in the sunshine on a bench in the courtyard of my school — L’Université Paul Cézanne — in Aix. School had not begun yet and I’m not sure where my keepers were at the moment for I was alone. The air had a hint of chill but the sunlight was pleasant and shone down out of the clearest blue sky. The school is located in an old building next to the Hôtel de Ville, which is loosely the city hall. It was so amazingly peaceful sitting there with the cold iron of the bench pressing against my legs and the sweet smelling sun caressing my face. A croque monsieur is somewhat similar to a grilled ham and cheese but, being french, it is so much better. I could write an entire post simply about the sandwiches in France. They’re so simple and yet the ingredients are so fresh it’s unlike anything you could ever buy from a sidewalk vendor in the United States. The heat of the sandwich washed down with the cold, fizzing Coke was just the thing I needed to sate my hunger. As I said, the performers from the Music Festival shared use of the building and the silence would be broken by burst of opera floating out of an open window or the melodies of a violin that wafted along the summer air.
No classroom will ever compare after that.