The alarm clock goes off 30 minutes before it’s time to go; not much time to get ready for class. Then, it’s running down the four flights of stairs and saying a rushed “Bonjour!” to the landlord before shutting the front door. There is a certain feeling that overcomes the senses while walking through the streets of the South of France; shoes slipping on loose cobblestones, conversations in a language so different than your own, the trees rustling from “Le Mistral” (the wind that blows through Provence). Charming would be an understatement to describe the experience. Past this morning’s clothing market on the main street, and just before the post office, is the vegetable market in the square. You wouldn’t dare buy produce from the store while the market is open. Tight on time, I grab a piece of bread smeared with Nutella from the bakery on the way to school, eating it quickly the rest of the way.
The building that holds most of my classes is down an unassuming street that takes a few wrong turns to finally find. French class is on the second floor and, while it is a requirement to study the language of the country, the course is helpful to prepare for situations during the semester. After French class, it is usually time for my friends and me to go to the market by La Rotonde (a huge fountain at the end of the main street). Today, there is freshly cooked Pad Thai and crêpes. After lunchtime, it's nap time. Not for too long, though, because the second class of the day is just a few hours away. In the short hours between classes, the scene changes in the city. Late afternoon in Aix means the markets are packed up and restaurants are setting up tables outside to be ready for 7 p.m. dinner. Walking to class requires a certain type of skill to avoid getting in the way. After class, the nightly ritual includes a quick video call with my parents and dinner before the day ends with the closing of a window and the click of a light switch.
Ashleigh Litcofsky is the Spring 2019 CEA Content Creator in Aix-en-Provence, France, and is currently studying at Emmanuel College - Boston.