Archive for the ‘marseille’ Category

Marseille is the New Jersey of France…

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Something most of us discovered at the beginning of our semester, is that most French people who are not Marseillais, do not like Marseille.  It smells bad.  It’s full of immigrants.  There’s no class.  There’s dog sh*t EVERYWHERE (Ok, I have to agree, I hate that too. Is there really nothing we can do about that??).  Their accent is weird.  They love to exaggerate .  It may be the oldest and second-biggest city in the country, but who cares.  It doesn’t have the classical power and sophistication of Paris. It’s not as quiet and quaint as the rest of Provence.  It’s just, “ugh. Mar-say-yeuh." *eye roll*

Well, I am not ashamed to admit: I LOVE MARSEILLE.  It is MY city.  It is my home away from home away from home.  I know the streets, the neighborhoods, I know the restaurants and stores, I know the metro lines, I know the bars and clubs, I know the history, I know the languages, I know the Calanques.  I have lived this city, and I have grown quite fond of it. I may sound like a foreigner, but I no longer feel like one.  I belong here. I am proud to be here.

I love hearing the Marseille accent (like a southern twang), from my host dad to the cashier at Carrefour to random people in the street.  I love turning a corner in Noailles and feeling like I’m in North Africa.  I love being able to look down from my house on top of the hill and seeing all the red tile rooftops against the blue blue sky (there are never clouds in Marseille, the wind chases them away).  I love walking around Vieux Port, seeing the heart, the birthplace, of the city.  I love when I am able to give people directions, or when I successfully interact with a cashier or a waiter.  I love having established a routine, yet at the same time always experiencing something new.  I love the food, pastis, the tiny expressos  the fruit and vegetable markets, that random brass band that shows up around town and covers pop songs. I love the noise. I love the diversity. I love how you can walk for a few minutes and suddenly find yourself on the corniche on the cliffs around the sea.  

So, judge away. I won’t hear you because I’ll be busy speaking “Frarabic” and making cultural observations and swimming in the Mediterranean.  

Exposition d’Art Contemporain!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Saturday, my language partner and her mother invited me to a convemporary art exhibit. It was so cool! The bulding is a renovated cigarette factory, so it has a very open, industrial feel. The exhibit is part of Marseille 2013, a series of cultural events happening in and around the city. The exhibit, Ici, Ailleurs, (meaning Here, Elsewhere) showcased the works of many artists— most of whom were born in the Mediterranean region— examining themes such as journey, displacement, exhile, immigration, citizenship, identity, and gender. Some of my favorite pieces were:

A series of large inkjet photographs playing with light and dark that depicted the lonliness and otherness felt by many Algerian immigrants, haunted by their country’s history with France.

A gigantic (easily 8 ft tall) bronze and leather chastity belt protesting the situation of women in Egypt.

Furniture from a courtroom that was cut diagonally and spread in a line. The artist wanted to portray how law can divide us and question whether we are truly equal under the law.

Home-like videos from a wedding in Algeria(?), focusing on the greeting line, and slowed way down to create a very solemn atmosphere.

A life-size figure of the pregnant Virgin Mary, draped in a cloak of dried pig intestines. The artist wanted to create a more raw and haunting representation of the mother of Jesus, completely distorting the typical images of beauty and sweetness associated with her.

A video project where a woman put children in different environments without scripts and documented how that affected their behavoir and speech.

A very moving silent film depicting the complexities of desire between homosexual men. 

Here is a link to photos of the exhibit on Flickr

Marseille at midday, and at dusk.

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Marseille at midday, and at dusk.

Ma Semaine

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Bonjour tout le monde! (Ou, Bonsoir, si vous êtes en France)

Cette semaine était la première semaine des cours. Heureusement, je n’ai pas de cours au matin, sauf vendredi. Je suis ces cours:

-"Cultural Patterns," qui nous enseigne comment s’adapter dans un autre culture et comment comprendre/éviter les malentendus interculturels. Il est très introspectif.

-"Linguistic Strategies," grammaire, expression, etc. TRÈS utile.

-Arabe 309. Ce n’est que moi et une autre fille avec la prof… beaucoup d’attention individuelle!

-La Politique du Moyen Orient, évidemment.

-Comprendre l’Islam. Ce prof est très sympa et interactif avec nous.

Jusqu’ici, j’aime bien tous les cours et j’ai hâte d’apprendre dans cet environnement! Le style est à la fois un cours magistral (le prof parle, nous prenons des notes), et très personnalisé (parce qu’il y a au plus 10 personnes dans chaque cours).

En plus, j’ai passé plus de temps avec ma partenaire de langue. Elle est très sympa! Nous avons comparé l’éducation aux Etats Unis et celle de France. Ici, les Français décident un métier beaucoup plus tôt que nous. Si vous êtes a l’université et ne savez pas ce que vous voulez faire dans votre vie, c’est pas bon. Les jeunes français écoutent à la musique anglais, mais ils m’ont donné quelques groupes français à rechercher.  

Hier, j’ai mangé des crêpes. C’est une tradition pour la fête de la Chandeleur. Délicieux!

Enfin, ce weekend j’ai goûté (peut être trop) la vie nocturne a Marseille. J’ai visité nombreux de restos et de bars, et j’ai fait la connaissance des amis français de Suzie et Katherine, deux étudiantes ici pour toute l’année.

bientôt mes choux, il faut que j’écrive une composition d’une page pour demain!

y’a du graffiti partout! je l’aime!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

y’a du graffiti partout! je l’aime!

Il a plu hier

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Il a plu hier

Les escaliers qui montent jusqu’à la porte… The…

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Les escaliers qui montent jusqu’à la porte… The stairs to the front door…

Le point de vue de la maison! View from the top of the house!

Ma chambre! My room!


Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Après presque 27 heurs de voyage et des haltes, je suis arrivé à l’aéroport Marseille-Provence à l’heure et intacte. 

Voici l’aurore que j’ai vu en route d’Amsterdam.  Watching the sun rise on my flight to Amsterdam… in total, I traveled for about 27 hours!

Michelle m’a retrouvée.  Elle et son mari, Jean-Marc, ils sont ma famille d’accueil.  Ils ont trois enfants grandis et éloignes, mais Michelle et Jean-Marc avait accueilli des étudiants Américains pendant plusieurs années.  Ils ont aussi trois chats :) Leur maison se trouve sur une colline (y en a beaucoup à Marseille alors) à la fin du boulevard Vauben.  On se trouve près d’AUCP, de l’église Notre Dame de la Garde, et de la mer— 15-25 minutes à pied chacun.  Michelle est très sympa et je n’ai déjà pas trop de problèmes à lui parler; en fait, elle m’a dit que j’ai un savoir-faire! Mais souvent je ne sais pas ceci ou cela mot de vocabulaire.

Voici la maison de ma famille d’accueil. La porte à droite, c’est ma chambre! My host family’s house. The door to the right is my room!

I am living with Michelle and Jean-Marc. They have three adult children who have moved out, but they have three cats and have been hosting students with AUCP for several years. Michelle is really nice and welcoming, but I haven’t met Jean-Marc yet (he’s away on business). Their house is up the side of a hill (Marseille is full of hills) at the end of boulevard Vauben. It is within 15-25 minutes walking distance of AUCP, Notre Dame de la Garde, and the beach. So far, I haven’t had much trouble talking to Michelle; in fact, she says I speak very well. But often I can’t think of a certain word or don’t understand a few things.