Bonjour à tous

Bonjour à tous….and welcome to my blog! I’ll be spending the upcoming spring semester studying in Aix-en-Provence, France, a land of mild Mediterranean temperatures and sunshine—in other words, a far cry from Madison, Wisconsin at the same time of year. Now that the dawn of my great adventure is drawing near, I wanted to set aside some time to reflect on my goals for this experience, the things I’ll miss most about Madison, and the things I’m most looking forward to in Aix. Allons-y.

Above all else, I think I’m most excited by the prospect of totally absorbing French culture—the language, the pace of life, the fashion, the food. While my life in Madison is hectic but comfortable, I’m hoping for my life in Aix to be slow, deliberate, and uncomfortable—at least at first. I want to be intentional about experiencing as many new things as I can, no matter how intimidating they may seem. It seems to me that if you move thousands of miles from home to a new country and culture, and you don’t feel uncomfortable, you’re probably not getting out of your bedroom much.

Of course, while the francophile part of my heart has been in France since I started studying the language nearly ten years ago, the rest of my heart is aching at the thought of leaving Madison behind. I’ll miss my roommates, my family, Lake Mendota, my favorite coffee shops, and Badger basketball season (!!) more than I can say, but I know they’ll be waiting for me when I return. (Well, maybe not the basketball season. But hopefully they’ll have an NCAA victory when I get back.)

As for my time in southern France, I’m hoping to experience the French wine, cheese and baguettes that get so much attention, the rich architectural history of Aix-en-Provence, impeccable European “style”, a higher level of French fluency, and travel. Yes, as much as I’m looking forward to living in Aix, I do have my eye on a few other European destinations—Paris, Milan, Barcelona, and Geneva, to name a few. But I’m also looking forward to exploring the many diverse regions of France, and my own region, Provence!

That’s all for now, my friends. Since I haven’t actually left the States yet, I don’t have much else to report. But armed with my plane ticket and French visa, I’m already counting down the days until décollage!