W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

There’s no better way to spend a scorching summer day…

than wandering the streets at La Fête Les Médiévales in Brignoles.

This fête offers a mélange of médiévale inspired musiciens…

and street vendeurs selling anything from cornes

to fromage, or cheese…

to herbs and spices…

to quill pens…

and wooden pencils…

to jewelry (that has absolutely nothing to do with the Middle Ages, but is pretty anyway)…

and médiévale inspired dress…

 

to elfe feathers…

to pictures made of bois, or wood…

to beverages such as L’Elixir de la Sorcière, or Witch’s Brew (wine).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Hydromel (aka Mead), which is available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle…

This fête also offers spectacles on médiévale weaponry…

and présentations on médiévale archery

Games…

and patrons dressed in Medieval inspired costumes can also be seen.

Even the food has a médiévale touch!

This fete isn’t just for adults; even kids can participate!

The best part about this fête is the flood of médiévale musique that consumes you as you turn down every street.

Even 8 months pregnant, I happily wandered down every street to see what each vendeur had to offer!

If you missed the fête this past Août, don’t worry because it’s held annually! ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

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V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

It was 2013, mon chéri was talking to me and mon neveu. It was a conversation innocente about Minecraft – one of the games the two really enjoyed. I don’t remember how this word came into the conversation, (they were probably in the middle of a fight with the Creepers and his personnage was killed) but it did: damn. Mon neveu didn’t flinch or show any sign that he heard this word (thankfully), but it sparked a later conversation between mon chéri and I about what’s considered too vulgaire to say in front of kids and certain adultes (my famille is not one in which swearing is a thing).

Vulgarité has been a touchy sujet since the Puritans arrived in North America. In fact, Américains are taught from a very young age that certain things are just off limits in some situations. What things? Vulgarité. Which situations? All of them except when you’re with your friends who use profanity. This éducation has created an uncomfortable sensation any time we encounter someone who steps out of the norm and uses a vulgaire word when he/she should not. Even today, in my 30s, I get uncomfortable when my French friends throw English swear words around (my réaction is often: “Wow slow down there – save some for when you’ll really need them!”); however, I’ve no problème using the French équivalent. Why is that?

Well, in France, vulgaire words are not seen in the same light as in the US. For exemple, when someone uses a vulgaire word during a conversation among adultes or even older kids (high school age) with a 10 year old in earshot, Américains tend to cringe. This réaction causes the child to either say, “That’s a bad word! I’m telling mommy!” or to be a rebel and répète the word. In France, there is no “cringe” effect. In fact, no one really cares. I’ve also never heard a French child use profanity (and I’ve encountered quite a few kids being a teacher and all).

Let’s get something straight: In général, the French don’t use profanity when directly facing kids (and, bien-sûr, children are taught proper French in schools); but, they will use profanity while talking with other adultes when there are kids within earshot. Another différence culturelle: In France, swear words are generally not used to call people names. They are mostly used as gap fillers or part of an expression (positive ou négative)

For exemple, you’re explaining a story to your père about how someone in your appartement complexe stole one of the tires off of your car. His réaction: “Putain!” If you look up this word as an expression (a word as a word and a word as an expression are not always the same) in WordReference, you will find that it means “Shit!” or “Fuck!” However, they aren’t viewed as bad as those words in English.

However, this norm no longer applies when you’re driving. Driving really brings out the connards

Of course, there are some people who use words like “pute” to describe someone (usually a female), but this is rare and mostly used by a spécifique personality type. For exemple, someone who’s trying pickup/harasse women…Spécialement if he has just been jaded/blocked.

The use of profanity can be a bit difficile for Américains expats and travelers to get used to. The way that profanity is used in France is a vast and voluptuous différence culturelle than that in the USA. If you’re not préparé(e) in avance, you will be in for quite the révélation. Just keep an open mind and understand that profanity is not put on a pedestal apart from everything else, which is one raison why no one really cares. Éventuellement, expats often find themselves using vulgaire words in French when they would not use them in the same sentence translated into English. Sometimes, expats even end up supplementing vulgaire words in French while speaking in English (yes, this has happened to me)! It’s funny to think about, but it’s réalité.

While profanity is still more accepted (and thus not really seen as “bad”) in France, the use of profanity is increasing in the US.

Perhaps this is due to shows like South Park or perhaps we are just swaying further away from our Puritan ancestors…Whatever be the case, vulgarité is on the rise, though US société is still far from being anywhere near France’s. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

We are all subjected to influence – good and bad; positif and négatif.

But, how we handle these influences is what turns us into a “good” personne or a “bad” personne or even a personne somewhere in-between good and bad. After all, la vie is not always black and white.

I will also go as far as to say: Sometimes, the bad influences can shape us into a good personne. However, once the hole has been dug – even if it’s not so deep – it becomes quite the challenge to climb out. After all, there aren’t any ladders, stairs, steps…elevators…in a hole.

Non, it’s up to your own individual strength to get you out. Though, there are some influences positifs that offrent to help you out. Sometimes, this works and their help is much appreciated; other times, it doesn’t work out and you find yourself even further in the hole.

But, what about those influences positifs?

There are several people in ma vie who have, for one raison or other, ignored or disregarded those influences positifs.

They found more confort in the bad influences; therefore, they stayed glued to them. It’s important to show your support and offre positifs, but, sometimes, no matter how much help you offre, there comes a time when you have to stop.

It’s difficile – you feel like you’re letting someone you love down. But, in the end, you’ve done everything humanly possible. Now, it’s up to his/her own strength. Thus, giving new meaning to the term: Rock bottom.

Now, what about those influences négatifs that causes people to reach rock bottom?

I could go on for days about these influences négatifs: drogues, the jihad, gangs, peer pressure, etc… But, instead, I’d rather discuss bullying. Bullying is the epitome of influences négatifs and can even lead to the aforementioned négatifs.

Bullying is the négatif path of the bully, but it can also open up a négatif path for the victim: Victims can turn to drogues, body mutilation, dépression, and even suicide. The réalité can be shocking at first, but it’s really not at all surprenant. However, with influences positifs, these négatifs can be avoided.

Bullying has appeared quite a bit in the media within the last few years, but it’s been around since before our great grandparents were bébés. We all know the idée générale that encompasses bullying – power, exception, learned behavior – and the harmful affects it leaves on its victims. So, why is bullying still a problème? According to Richard Gray for the UK Telegraph, one raison that bullying still existe is that people are afraid to stop it when they see it happening because they don’t “want to risk being attacked violently themselves.” On the one hand, this makes sense. But, on the other hand, there are other ways to intervene on the spot than jumping into a physical attack (think: call the police or the directeur or the personne in charge). It becomes much more difficile when the personne in charge is doing the bullying or being bullied. This is why there are protestations and the choix to change/transfer jobs/schools.

Yousef Erakat for fouseyTUBE created a social expérimentation on bullying:

This vidéo was meant to highlight the amount of people who simply walk away or ignore the bullying that’s happening right beneath their eyes; however, I discovered the good in this world from this expérimentation. I expected no one to help the victim at all, but, to my surprise, there were several people who jumped in. I think this vidéo is a parfait tool to motivate others to jump in, too. If you’re afraid to intervene physiquement, then all it takes is to press record on your phone: You tell the bully to stop bullying and then explique that you are recording his actions to use as evidence.

As the victim of bullying, what can you do to put an end to bullying? This is a tough question to answer. Especially if the bully is yourself – self bullying is so much more common than société lets on.

There are tons of speeches given by the victims of bullies – we identifions or feel sympathy/empathy for them, yet bullying is still a problème. However, these motivational speakers offrent a bit of hope for victims as well as motivation for bystanders to speak up.

Lizzie Velasquez fell victim to internet bullying, yet she was able to channel this énergie négative into becoming a successful motivational speaker and auteur.

It’s difficile to climb out of the hole that a bully has dug and then thrown you in, but it is possible. The climb is tough, but as Lizzie Velasquez experienced, it’s important to see the “blessing [instead of the] curse.” Rising above the bully makes you much stronger and more successful than the bully. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

Hans Christian Andersen is right: “To travel is to live.” I préfère to take Andersen’s quotation as it is:  You aren’t really living unless you’re traveling the world.

Why is this the cas? Well, Batutta couldn’t have answered it better:

When I took a trip to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in 2008, I witnessed exactly what Battuda expressed: “Traveling [. . .] leaves you speechless“…

…”then turns you into a storyteller.”

You see, I’m from Chicago. The plains. The flatlands. The Midwest. Visiting a city on the Pacific coast…on an island…with mountains was, well, breathtaking.

Diamond Head.

I had stories to go with every photo I took!

I couldn’t agree more (see my series on the chapitres I’ve read).

From Jacksonville Beach to Savannah to Memphis to San Diego to National City (CA) to Anaheim to Hollywood to Las Vegas to Honolulu to New Orleans to Panama City Beach to Knoxville to Tybee Island to Savannah (during St. Patrick’s Day!) to Memphis (to see ma chère amie graduate from Pharmacy School) to Aix-en-Provence (to study abroad) to Nice to Monte-Carlo to Eze to Saint-Tropez to Marseille to Les Gorges du Verdon to Paris to Venice to Rome to Florence to Barcelone to Tours to Briançon and back again…I continue to read this earth and I don’t plan on stopping any time  soon.

5 Raisons How Traveling is Living:

  • It opens up the mind to other cultures.
  • It expands géographique knowledge.
  • It teaches you about yourself.
  • It forces you out of your comfort zone.
  • It enables you to meet and even make friends with a variété of faces.

This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

Where’s the…Renard?

Some pretty awful graffiti can be found in Aix; however, there’s one style that m’intrigue: Le renard, or fox. 

Rue des Tanneurs**

He’s (ou she’s) everywhere!

Rue Marechal Foch

Rue Marechal Foch*

He (ou she) comes in noir

Rue Entrecasteaux*

…and in blanc.

Rue Fabrot

Rue Fabrot*

With a crow (see: Les Fables de la Fontaine: Le Corbeau et le Renard (in both English and Français))…

La place de l’avenue Georges Pompidou (This photo was taken in Février 2016.)

or without a crow.

Le Cours Sextius*

Some streets even have multiple renards!

Rue Thiers*

Rue Thiers*

He’s (ou she’s) usually on the same side of the street…

Rue Fernand DOL*

…however, every now-and-then, he (ou she) appears on the opposite side!

Rue d’Italie*

He (ou she) not only appears on the sides of streets and allées,

Allée Jean de la Fontaine**

but also inside condo complexes!

Les Terrasses du Roy (the side on Rue Irma Moreau)**

I don’t know if it’s a student initiation prank…

Rue Victor Leydet**

…or a gang…

Rue Mejanes**

…or the ville itself…

Rue de Montigny**

but whatever the cas,

Place des Chapeliers**

I’m on the “Where’s Waldo the renard?” fad. ♦

*These photos were taken in Mars 2016

**These photos were taken in Avril 2016.

Understanding Each Other: How a Child Thinks

Child développement is a topic much discussed in the realm of psychologie. We (Américains and other ethnicités) take child développement so sérieusement that the discussion even extends into the teaching field…and rightfully so. But, I can’t help but wonder: Why are psychologists, épistémologistes, behaviorists, and anyone in the teaching realm intrigued by how children développent?

In one université classe during my teaching license studies, I wrote a short essay exploring raisons why we are so infatuated with child développement. Several years later, I found this essay on my laptop and I realized that the sujet still intrigue me.

Perhaps, we are fascinated by the vast différences between how adultes and children process information. Adultes were children at one point; therefore, they did not always process information in the same fashion their entire lives. This concept leads to the fact that there are stages of développement for processing information. But, what are these stages? What happens to the child throughout each stage? Answers to these questions may explique why some adultes do not understand adolescents and why some adolescents do not understand adultes.

In order to touch upon the idea of understanding how a child thinks (obviously, from the mind of an adulte who analyzes children), one must consider Jean Piaget.

Jean Piaget coined the 4 stages of child développement; these stages determine the âges in which children process information. By analyzing children during each stage, one can understand why children act and think the way they do. Piaget’s théories are illustrated in many texts; however, How A Child Thinks, by Dorothy G. Singer and Tracey A. Revenson, lays out each stage and offre a more in-depth analysis at the same time.

According to Revenson and Singer, Piaget focused on the qualitative characteristics of child développement. Instead of researching how much children can memorize, as did many of his collègues, he conducted expérimentations to discover “how [children have] come to learn” what they know (3). This concept is important not only to professionnels in the field of psycho-social sciences, but also to teachers, teachers-in-training, child-care professionnels, and parents.

Why is this concept so important for these professionnels (yes, parents are included here)?

Understanding Piaget’s théories will help educators and child-care professionnels be better at their jobs. It will also help parents better understand their children, thus helping make them better parents.

[I can réponds to this question better (and personally) as an educator than a parent because I’m a new parent. My daughter is only 6 mois old, so, I’ve yet to encounter the stages above sensory-motor.]

Understanding Piaget’s théories enable educators to modifié leçons to fit the développemental stage of the student. This is important because students understand différent concepts around certains âges. Teaching at a level higher than what the student is capable of comprehending will inhibit the student from acquiring the materiel. For exemple, instructing a five-year old to make a map of the route he/she takes to/from school (1). This task would be difficile for most five-year olds because their développement cognitif has not yet reached this concept. At the same time, teaching at a level lower than what the student is capable of learning will prevent the student from acquiring more knowledge. The student may even cause problèmes in classe because the materiel is too easy.

This théorie goes hand-in-hand with my philosophie of éducation. In order to make sure that students don’t put up their affective filters (and aren’t sleeping in classe), foreign language teachers must teach at an input level of +1 (See: Steven Krashen). C’est à dire that we must teach at the students’ current level and then boost the level up 1. For exemple, during week 1 in English level 1, I don’t expect students to form complexe sentences using conjunctions. Instead, I add to what the students already know. On day 2, they all know how to say, “My name is…” So, I add to that by teaching, “Her/his name is…”, “My teacher’s name is…”, …ect… Here, they learn “his/her” and several vocabulary words (such as teacher, student, dog, cat…). So, this concept works with Piaget in that teachers must know the développemental stage of their students (whether its ages or level) in order for students to acquire the materiel.

Through Piaget’s recherche, it is évident that as children age, their habilités cognitives grow – a growth, which occurs in stages. To better illustrate Piaget’s théories, Revenson and Singer use several children’s books. The most appropriate being: Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I have read an analyzed the version français of this book, and although it’s a “children’s” book, it’s full of morals, concepts, and life-leçons that are not just for children, but also for adultes. 

It is évident that this book répond to the same question that Piaget pose: “How do children learn the things they know?” (3). For exemple, the book follows Le Petit Prince as he encounters several adultes who seem pre-occupied or overwhelmed with following societal norms that dictate how they should act as adultes. He asks a lot of questions in order to better understand the adultes; however, in the end, he thinks that most of the adultes are weird because they waste their time on boring, useless, or pointless things, and that they have no imagination. But, how does Le Petit Prince know that the adultes are wasting their time? It is intéressant that most children feel the same way as Le Petit Prince. But, why do children find adultes weird? Why do adultes lack an imagination? The answers to these questions may be the clef (key) to understanding each other. Thankfully, Piaget’s théories may help us find these answers.

Piaget conducted expérimentations using the “technique of free conversation” in order to découvrir how children process information (6). He thought that this méthode would benefit his recherche the most because he could “[follow] the child’s train of thought and [allow] the questioning to be flexible” (6). He was able to observe how children think and répondent. Although he studied several children, he focused a lot on his own children, which may lead to flaws in his recherche since not all kids are like his own. However, as a résultat of his expérimentations, Piaget coined 4 main stages of child développement: Sensory-Motor (birth-age 2), Preoperational (ages 2-7), Concrete Operations (ages 7-11), and Formal Operations (ages 11-16). These stages of développement changed the way in which child développement was viewed.

Piaget also added a stage that appears after childhood.

Although Piaget changed the way in which professionnels and the like view child development, there are “flaws” in his théories. According to Revenson and Singer, Piaget did not account for children with développemental disorders/problems. Knowledge of these children is necessary because without it, the child could be taught at a level above or below the child’s actual développemental stage, which could differ from the standard stage at the child’s âge. En plus, there are cases where the child has no développemental disabilities, but still does not follow the exact âges of each stage in Piaget’s théorie. Piaget fails to account for these scenarios.

Nevertheless, Piaget still manages to shed light on why adultes and children don’t understand each other. According to Piaget’s théories, adultes may not understand children because adultes process information logically. En générale, adultes fail to understand anything other than what’s logical, here-and-now, and fits into societal norms. Children, however, fail to understand adultes because they think imaginatively and use inductive reasoning.

Through his expérimentations, Piaget paved the way for professionnels to study child développement despite some flaws in his théories. Revenson and Singer note that due to Piaget’s experimental style, Piaget is best looked at for his idées, rather than for accurate data, thus enabling other professionnels to take Piaget’s idées to form more concrete idées of their own. Perhaps, the more publicized théories on child développement that exist, the more likely adultes and children will come to a mutual understanding…one can hope. ♦

*This post is an adaption and addition to my université essay.

**Information on the texte used: Singer, Dorothy G., Revenson, Tracey A. (1996). How A Child Thinks. New York: International Universities Press, Inc.

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

As my French studies were coming to an end, I had to make a décision: finish my degree without studying abroad or study abroad. I knew I owed it to my future French students to experience French first-hand, so, after months of debating the pros and cons, I made the décision to study abroad in France. It was the best décision I could have ever made in my life (and one of the most expensive décision, too)! There are two major characteristics that sum up my experience: smiles and sadness.

When I stepped onto the KLM flight, I had no idée what I was in for. I was nervous, excited, sad.

It’s true what they say after you return home: no one understands you (and you feel lonely as a result of this) and you are no longer the same person you were before you left home. Somewhere between the pain au chocolat, the hardcore French classes, meeting mon chéri, and traveling with my study abroad friends (SAFF), I became a changed woman. But, how did this happen?

I arrived in Aix in Septembre 2012.

It took me about a month and a half before I truly warmed up to the city.*

Why did it take this long? Well, for starters: I was alone for the first time Ever.

My boyfriend (of 7 years) at the time was hardly responding to my calls and texts. All of my family and friends were in the U.S. Needless to say, I felt like my life as I knew it was slipping through my fingers.

How did I overcome this feeling?

  • I made friends.

Chipotle in Paris. We. Just. Had. To.

  • I traveled with these friends.

Firenze, Italie.

  • I made progress in speaking, understanding, and communicating in a foreign language, so, ordering a baguette, a crêpe, a sandwich became easier.

  • I met mon chéri.

Traveling in Barcelone, Espagne.

  • I embraced the culture.

Making the French version of Christmas cookies.

  • I decided to take risques – in the sense that I would not miss out on experiences just because I was nerveuse, homesick, or whatever…

I tutored French with mon chéri (of course, this was before he became mon chéri). I said, “Oui” to mon chéri‘s (before he became mon chéri, of course) offer to show me les jardins d’Albertas, which was a brisk car ride away from Aix. (I went alone! But, I told my host mom where I was going because you never know…)

I traveled in France to Paris (with my SAFF)…

Climbing up to Sacré Cœur.

and to Lyon (with my two favorite mecs)…

as well as outside of France to Italie:

Venezia

Roma

and Firenze (with SA

FF)…

& Barcelone, Espagne (with mon chéri and 2 SAFF).

We drove to Barcelone.

  • I decided to accept that some things just weren’t meant to last. It was time for a change – time to move on. I was libérée.

When it came time to leave, there were tears. Back in Septembre 2012, I never would have thought that in Décembre, I’d never want to leave Aix. Even today (2015), I find myself reminiscing about the times I shared with my SAFF. I miss it; I miss them.

I miss the feeling of excitement and anxiousness of exploring a city that I didn’t know would become my permanent home.

And, of course the traveling with fresh eyes.

Firenze, Italie.

When you miss something so badly that you want to scream, you also want to talk about it.

Eventually, people back home begin to tire of your stories. They no longer know where their place is in your life (even though you know that you secretly wished they took part with you in your adventures). It becomes very difficile for them, for you! What can you do? You keep in contact with your SAFF so that you can still share stories and talk about the “good ol’ days” without offending anyone. At the same time, you learn who’s really important in your life and you “glue” them to your hip. And, sometime after you’ve returned/moved abroad, they will find a way to come visit you…And you can share your experience with them. ♦

*When you find yourself feeling all alone in a foreign land, don’t worry. Give yourself at least a month to get used to the culture différente and to make friends. It takes time, but by the end of this experience you won’t want to get on that return flight.


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France