Know that I’m terrible with directions and that I get lost everywhere I go (thank goodness for the signs which point out the way to where I’m staying), and so it’s a pretty big achievement that I’m now starting to be able to find my way around (kind of)! I’m still very shy about talking to the locals in French, but that’s something that I hope to (and that I’ll have to) get over.
The weather has been very consistently hot for the duration of our stay so far: hardly a cloud in the sky, save for some light drizzling the day that we arrived. In light of this, in addition to the fact that we’ve been walking around outside quite often (Aix is small enough to walk everywhere, really), I don’t know if the strange foot tan that I’ve been developing is going to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The first few days were really nice: purely discovering Aix, going to the beach, getting to know people, staying out at night, … it was fun! I’ve been eating a lot of delicious food (of which I should have been taking pictures; darn!). Rice has been kind of rare for me lately (Tant pis!), but I’ll manage.
Actually they were serving some rice at the cafeteria of la fac today, so I was happy to pick that up for lunch, along with some beef! I’m not sure what kind of rice it was (it was yellow), but it was delicious, and I ate almost every last grain of it. Speaking of the cafeteria, classes have officially started! I was pleased and also nervous to discover that I’ve placed into the 5ème level of classes, out of 6. Ma prof (Lucie) is the cute, soft-spoken woman who interviewed me for the oral part of the placement exam.
I feel… okay about the class so far. I think I’m keeping up, and that I’m more or less at le niveau of the other students in the class. I really think that some of my classmates ought to be in the 6th level, though, because they’re decidedly much more advanced than I am. I don’t know why some people who have been taking French from 6-8 years are in the same class as myself, but maybe it’ll all be sorted out in the coming days. A lot of the vocabulary is new to me (but not new to some of my classmates, apparently), and listening comprehension/speaking articulately is always a bit of a challenge, but I think I’m at least keeping afloat. If I pay attention, I don’t completely flounder. We’ll see if tomorrow’s better. I think I really just need to review things and remind myself of what I already know.
De toute façon, I’m learning a good amount every day, and I hope to be able to improve a lot during my stay here, even if I have to overcome some growing pains. I’ve really got to look over food, shopping, and directional vocabulary, as well as grammar (!). I’m sure that once I start really speaking with people, I’ll start improving even more exponentially. It’s just a matter of starting… and soon.
On another note, I really like the group of students who are on this trip; people are quite friendly, interesting, funny, and easy enough to get along with! I hope I can get to know people better as the trip goes on. Again, it’s just a matter of talking to people! I know, I know. I will have to see about working on that.