Tuesday, May 12, 2009


(my mommy took this lovely photo at the market in Lyon)

I am so happy today. 

Perhaps it is because I have loads of work to avoid, perhaps it is because I started the day with a giant bowl of lemon tea with lavender honey, perhaps it is because it is the perfect temperature outside and I am wearing my new sandals with the big green fabric flowers on them. 
Perhaps there is something in the water.

Nonetheless, I have made quite a day of it. I bought chocolate chip cookies at the corner bakery and handed them out to friends and staff at the American Center. I bought cheery yellow flowers to go on my bureau. I bought three tiny macarons from a woman named Caroline who told me I spoke lovely French, and a hunk of strong cheese wrapped in paper from a pretty girl with tangled blond hair at the market. I have a sack of olives in a spicy pepper oil waiting to be snacked on in the fridge. I have walked (and occasionally skipped) around town today smiling at strangers, which is like shouting to the world that I'm an American. I could not be happier.

Last night I went out with friends to a smoky hookah bar on a side street where you take your shoes off and lounge around on giant floor pillows. We drank caramel vanilla tea and had chocolate fondue, and I had real conversations with some of the kids in my program for the first time, which made me a bit sad to be leaving so soon. Afterward a few of us went to Pizza Capri for melty mozzarella pizza with spicy oil on top, and ate them sitting on a bench along the Cours Mirabeau. 

Spring has sprung and I don't know whether this explosion of glee is because the air smells like jasmine or because I'm excited to see everyone I love again. Either way, it should be a lovely final two weeks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm alive, I swear.

Hello darling family and friends, 

I'm back! I had a wonderful two weeks of vacation, and arrived back at home late Saturday night to discover the internet was broken and I had no way of telling anyone of my lovely vacation. Right now I am sitting in Quick, which is a sketchy French burger chain, taking advantage of their free wifi and trying to avoid the eyes of the creepy guys sitting one table over. 

I only have about two weeks left here in France, which is pretty weird but really nice. For awhile, especially right after Matt left, I was so homesick and my time here seemed interminable. Having only two weeks left is really nice, since I can really enjoy the town and the last few days of living in France and then go home to my family. It helps that I came back to sun and flowers and greenery, and so I've been throwing caution and cultural assimilation to the wind and strolling around town smiling at strangers all week. 

As for my vacation, I could not have asked for a better two weeks, and it was really nice to get out of Aix. The first week I spent with my mom, and we went to Lyon, Amsterdam, and Brussels, ate delicious food, shopped, and had a lovely time. The second week I spent in Sorrento with friends, and made day trips to Positano, Pompei, and Capri. It was an amazing and lovely and pasta-filled week, and I will post more eventually, promise. 

Tonight I am having friends over for dinner, since my host mom is gone, and tomorrow I'm going to a BALL!


I am trying to save money, since I have a non-paying internship this summer and will be poor for awhile (Greenpeace, though! I'm so excited!). I just transferred some of my savings over to checking because I had exactly $5.03 in my account (pretty sad), and the tickets are 22 euros, so I hesitated at first...but then I realized that it would be really really dumb to waste my second to last weekend in France sitting in bed watching The Office (sooo good though) and that perhaps going to a ball in France is well worth the extra babysitting hours. 

Anyway, I must dash home to meet my friends, but I would LOVE to hear from you all. My inbox is full of requests from deposed Nigerian kings and updates on the NHL (yay Hurricanes!), but sadly empty of updates from the US. Pretty please?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Evening Well-Spent?

My mom is coming to visit tomorrow, so I busied myself this afternoon with various chores & whatnot. I folded and put away my laundry, washed my sheets, organized my dresser so as to appear I do not live with makeup constantly scattered across my room. 

This evening I sent résumés and cover letters to various organizations in search of a summer internship (know anyone?). I took a measly hour to have tomato and feta salad and a glass of rosé with my host mom. 

I dabbled in homework, sent some emails, finally buckled down around midnight and got some work done. The cat played with a lilac petal on the floor, dashed around the bed a bit, purred. 

Then I smelled something horrible, and searched the room for a bit until I found that he had pooped in the freshly-cleaned sheets of my bed. I ran to the bathroom to grab some toilet paper, and as I reached for the doorknob I heard retching sounds from across the room, and turned just in time to watch Vanille the Calico vomit all over the freshly cleaned floor. 

Catherine was still up in the living room, heard me laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, and came to survey the scene. That is how we ended up giggling in my room at four AM, unsuccessfully trying to find another set of sheets to fit my bed, while Capucine yelled at us from the next room to shut up.

And I still haven't finished my homework. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The (sometimes risqué) wisdom of French women

Tonight at dinner I learned the following things from my French mom:

1. I need to buy more sexy underwear. I guess she does my laundry, so she's allowed to have an opinion on it, but I worked at Victoria's Secret & had a killer discount for awhile, so I'm hardly wearing Bridget Jones-style control top underthings all the time. (NB: When you work at VS, you are not allowed to say "underwear." True story.) Nonetheless, apparently that je ne sais quoi starts at the very bottom, with satin and lace.

2. I should wear my hair down all the time. Instead of thinking "I look like I just dug my way out of prison with a spork" when I look in the mirror, I should think "I look like Brigitte Bardot in 'And God Created Woman,' and am equally sexy if not more." Also, should not part hair. Instead, let it flop casually over to one side.

3. I should wear a tiny bit of makeup every day. 

4. Live it up while you're young. You will never be this pretty or um, perky, again. 

5. Talk often about the person you love, it gives you a glow and makes your eyes light up. 

6. Seriously, real men just don't do telephones. Give it up. 

7. Also, boys who buy you flowers in a country whose language they don't speak, or for that matter, who fly halfway around the world to see you, should be kept around. These are the good ones. (Needless to say, she really liked Matt.)

8. You will remember three hour dinners and cafés and conversation in twenty years. You will not remember your grades, or the homework you didn't do. Just let it go once in awhile. 

Tonight was lovely, and just what I needed. 

Friday, April 3, 2009


It was lovely. Our favorite part was lounging around in the gardens of Versailles. Also good was eating an entire box of 18 Ladurée macarons. Worth it. I am sleepy, so this will have to suffice for today. I *promise* to write more later. 
In other news, my mom is coming to visit for spring break! I cannot wait. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Caramel Tea and Oscar Wilde.

I wrote a friend an email today, and realized just how full of complaints I have been lately. I am homesick, they have no Mexican food here (please: if you love me, you will send me salsa. Or even better, a burrito, packed in dry ice.), no one sends me letters.*

And then I realized...I am in Provence, studying nothing remotely related to science, surrounded by cafés and cobblestones and living in a town with more than one papeterie. 
I have nothing to complain about. 

So I decided to have a Lovely Day. I slept in, made pesto for lunch, went to the library with Arielle, and got fries from a sidewalk stand. 

There is a bookstore in Aix, Book in Bar, that has become a little haven for all us English speakers. So today, in pursuit of my Lovely Day, I went to Book in Bar, ordered a pot of Caramel Tea (delicious), and did all my homework before 3pm. I have pretty significant ADD, so even doing my homework is a triumph, but completing it during daylight hours? Unheard of. 

I walked out around five with a book of Oscar Wilde quotations and a bit of a stomachache. Four cups of tea will do that to you. 

*This is a genuine complaint. I share a mailbox with A. Adams, who has gotten three packages and six letters in the past three weeks. Every time I look in the mailbox, my heart does a little flutter to see that it's full, and then a horrible plummet when I realize it's, yet again, for Ashlee. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back soon...

I promise. At which point I will have updates on Paris, Matt's visit, and the tragic goodbye when I got all weepy and runny nosed in the Marseilles airport. And the bus. And my Société Française class. 

Homesickness has been quietly settling in lately, but it hit me like a wall of bricks when Matt left.

Also, they don't have real tortilla chips and salsa. How am I supposed to fill the void created by my absent boyfriend without the most delicious of all food pairings?!