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How I Fell in Love with Aix

Ello. I’ve been in France for about a week now. I’d like to tell you my first impressions of Aix-en-Provence and how they developed. I like to believe I have good advice, but take what I say with caution, because everyone has their own experiences and no two experiences are the same. But what I say is true to my heart and maybe we have similar hearts.

I arrived in France really in a daze. What I mean by daze is, knowing that it’s happening (like being in France) but not really having any emotions about it.

 This daze phase ended probably the second day to third day and everything started coming to life in me. I started to realize this is beyond the best decision I have ever made. I have begun my journey that will not end until the day I die. My journey will consist of learning new languages and immersing myself in their culture and meeting new beautiful people. Aix-en-Provence is the first stop in my journey and I couldn’t be more in love and more happy with my destination.

Here are some reasons why I have just fallen in love and will keep falling in love with Aix-en-Provence.

1.  First off I have to give a huge thanks to CEA because without their help, I don’t think I could have created such a good first experience. My two leaders, Vivienne and Nancy, are just wonderful and very helpful. Also the other American students are amazing. Everyone is so nice, so welcoming, so beautiful. I cannot wait to experience Aix with them and to grow with them.

 Hiking around the bottom of Sainte Victoire
with the beautiful Megan Simms

2.  Next the people of Aix are just wonderful. Now, of course you’re going to run into some people who are not having the best day. Don’t let that discourage you.  I have had nothing but good encounters with French people who live in Aix. I believe that’s because of 3 reasons: 1. I try to speak their language, 2. I ask for help, and 3. I smile and stay positive.   The people of Aix are very grateful that you are trying to learn their language, so try to speak and it’s okay if you mess up. Another thing I like to do is ask them how to say something because I have horrible pronunciation and can’t pronounce food. This shows them that I want to learn as well. Lastly, I stay positive and smile, which is good thing to do for everything.

3.  Next, we had the privilege of meeting a lot of French students and spending the week with them. Through this, I was able to become friends with local French students. I’m in love. They are so nice, so welcoming and so helpful. I’m just in love.

 Delicious French food and wonderful French company

4.  Lastly, I love their culture and immersing myself in it. I’m in love with the faire la bise when you brush cheeks and make kissy noises. It's very romantic (not in a sexual way)  in a loving and endearing way. I’m in love with their culture and can’t wait to learn way more about it.

My big advice to you is to step out of your comfort zone and to indulge in the culture. Do what they do even if it feels a little weird. Also don’t judge their culture but look on it with amazement.

Brooke Begich is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Aix En Provence, France. She is currently a Junior at Iowa State University.

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