Saturday, June 6, 2009

Do I Intimidate You?

Upon returning from my trip to the south, I dropped my bags off at home, scrounged up any change that I could find because I was out of cash and in possession of a useless carte bleue and headed out to have a celebratory drink for my friend KD's birthday.

During the evening, as I was chatting with one of our mutual French friends he made an interesting confession to me which left me scratching my head. He told me that he was intimidated by me during our first meeting which is why he spoke less than 5 words to me or anyone except the host for the entire evening. In case you didn't know I'm a petite girl. I'm also shy and have questionable social skills, how someone can find me intimidating is beyond me.

However, I must confess that because almost everyone in Paris speaks English I make an automatic assumption when I meet people for the first time and start speaking to them in English. I know how bad it sounds especially considering how long I've been in France and my level of French and I can understand how it can be somewhat intimidating to a Frenchie who may speak English but may not be all that comfortable with his mastery of the language.

So my goal for any future social interactions with Frenchies is to try to be less intimidating to the by at least putting forth an effort to speak to them in their language.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aix and Marseille in Photos

First Aix-en-Provence (click to enlarge)

Then Marseille (click to enlarge)

Aix-en-Provence and Marseille Visit

I have a friend in town from NYC that was also an assistant in Paris last year. Since it was another long weekend we decided to pack our bags and head south to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille for a short getaway. Aix-en-Provence was a deliriously quaint city with bright colors, friendly people and perfect weather.

My only complaint about Aix are the allergy causing cypress trees that could be found everywhere. My Flonase (Flixonase as it's called here) was no defense against those trees but like a good sport I modeled through it. Despite the allergies I would love to return and even take some time out to visit the countryside in the area.

Marseille on the other hand was a completely different experience with my friend almost being mugged within minutes of arriving in the city. Needless to say the experience made us feel a little uneasy about the city and we kept our guard up at all times. Marseille has its charms such as the Calanques, easy access to the Mediterranean, and the amazing neo-Byzantine architecture of its main cathedrals, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a charming city.

I would probably go back but only on the condition that I visited with someone from the area or that knows the city very well.

Being gone from Paris for two weekends in a row was just too much for me so I plan to stay put for while.