When Things Aren't Aix-cellent

Holy canoli, this week has both flown by and moved at a snails pace. 

It feels like I’ve been in Aix for so long, that it scares me to imagine how long 3 months will feel. But it’s also weird to sit here and write about some of my struggles during this first week. 

Aix is absolutely beautiful and real real hot (why didn’t I pack more summer clothes), but that doesn’t mean it comes without struggles. I started the beginning of the week with a bout of homesickness. I missed my family, boyfriend, and just my normal friends so much. I wanted to be around something familiar while everything else felt so strange. But I was excited because it felt like after 2 days my homesickness was gone and I was having a blast taking photos of all the new sites and hearing unfamiliar sounds (sometimes I don’t even try to understand the language. #lazy). 

But then my host family said something that totally threw me off and injured my ego. At dinner one night, they said I just didn’t understand much. OKAY. I’m sure it’s just a cultural difference, but I found this to be so rude. They essentially just dismissed talking to me because I didn’t really understand. I’m sure they didn’t mean to offend me, but they did and that night I had a little relapse with homesickness. Since then, I’ve been feeling insecure about my language abilities and less like I’m willing to jump out there and make mistakes with my French. Then tonight, they said it again and I felt like crap. They’re right, I may not understand everything they’re saying, but by gosh I’m trying! I came here to improve my language skills, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do that if they plan to just dismiss me every time I don’t get it. But I’m just going to accept the process and try not to be offended if this happens again. A few tears during a transition period aren't that bad. 

Enough of my complaining for now though! The rest of the students have arrived in the city and we’ll get to meet a few of them tomorrow morning at orientation. We passed two girls on the street today (they were speaking English), though I decided not to go to the open house considering I almost fell asleep at a cafe. I have a lot of photos to share soon as well!

Until then… Au Revoir!

Regan Shorter

42000 Saint-Etienne

Regan is a freelance photographer and travel blogger.