Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bonjour tout le monde!

I apologize for slacking a bit, and totally missing the month of March. It was a little bit stressful to say the least- what with my lap top crashing, purchasing (and learning to use) an iPad, and dealing with all my registration things for next semester!

With the semester nearing its end I have started realizing more and more how at home I feel here, and I know it's going to be a difficult transition back into American culture this summer- but that realization is sort of a blessing in disguise. I am making more of an effort to truly enjoy these last few weeks and get as much out of this experience as I can.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fellow blogger and friend, Madison, in London to attend the wedding of our former professor and mentor, Rel (Jennings) Heal! This has been without a doubt one of my most memorable experiences abroad. We traipsed around London for a day seeing all the famous sights (and of course quoting one of my favorite Mary Kate & Ashley movies), and were able to spend a few hours at the National Gallery discussing some of our favorite Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh paintings. We then made our way to Crowthorne for Rel's wedding -where we were the first guests to randomly bump into the groom prior to the wedding. Seeing these two amazing people exchange vows in a way very true to themselves reminded me to continue to live intentionally and to always remember perspective.

It was amazing to also spend some time with a friend from home and to be able to talk about what we had been feeling and experiencing while abroad, and to have that MC support system even though we are thousands of miles away from Marietta. Unfortunately we had to say our goodbyes in the Tube station, and go our separate ways back to our respective countries.

A few days ago I attended a student-led conference session on Recycling in Aix, France, the EU, and the world.  Unfortunately this conference confirmed what I had been feeling all semester- recycling is not a wide-spread activity here. In fact, Aix-en-Provence, one of the most bourgeois cities in France, has the worst recycling in France. How does France compare to the EU? It has one of the worst recycling rates in the EU. Having traveled to third world countries and seen the devastation and the need to conserve resources has made me more aware of my own consumption habits, and of the necessity of recycling anything and everything that can be recycled.

Waste is a major problem here, though, and it doesn't seem like it will be improving much anytime soon. When we are finished dinner at my host house, my host mother throws away all the leftover food- there are never any leftovers in the fridge to eat for lunch the next day. And I have never seen any sign that my host mom recycles- everything gets put in the same trashcan. This is something that myself and other students have had to come to terms with- it is bothersome, but it is part of the culture. And while they may not conserve certain resources such as food, they are definitely more aware of resources such as electricity and water which are very expensive.

In a week I will be heading to Morocco, Spain, and Portugal for Spring break and trying to take in those very different cultures. In the meantime I will continue to explore Aix and discover more of what this city has to offer!

P.s. Sorry about the lack of pictures-I am still trying to work out everything with this dang iPad! Feel free to check out my Facebook for all my abroad pictures!


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