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Was kind of my thought process (or a general compilation of the multitude of thoughts and emotions running through me, some more appropriate than others) as I sat waiting for the bus to take me back into the center of Aix. It’s just that feeling of :
And it just goes on and on and on.

It’s very surreal that I’m actually here, doing this. Even though that’s clearly what’s happening.

So I’m trying to focus on a thought I had on the plane earlier today. Yes, there’s a lot to do. Yes, it’s very overwhelming. But there’s nothing to help that except get things done. And to do that I need to just pause, take a deep breath. And take things one step at a time. If I focus on all the crazy difficult things I need to get done at once I’ll just get stressed and nothing will happen. Instead, I need to put my attention towards one thing at a time and slowly the list will get smaller until I look up and suddenly I’m all done.

It’s like running down the hill. If I focus on how far away the bottom is and how scared I am of tripping on my way then I only increase my chances of that happening. I will become intimated by how far off and daunting it is and all the possibilities of falling that could arise on my mad dash down and thus less sure of myself and more likely to fail.
Instead, I need to focus on my feet, and my next step. I need to look at where I’m going next, focus on the obstacles in the way of each step as I take it, the little rocks that could trip me up. If I’m busy focusing on the bottom of the hill I’ll miss them and be more likely to trip. I need to take a deep breath, trust that I’ll reach the bottom when I do and that I will be in one piece and standing strong and proud when I get there.
And that is how I will also get the most joy out of this exhilarating jog, this exciting new adventure I’m on.

Yes. I’m finally here. It’s finally happening. It’s no longer some distant possibility, some trip that’s happening in a few weeks that feel like a million years away. And yes it’s amazing. And exciting. And unbelievable. And I am going to do my best to keep you all updated on every step I take, from the giant leaps to the little stumbles that I know I will recover from. And I know that you are all rooting for me every moment.

So now that I’m done rambling, I’m sure some would like an actual update on my life. After about 20 hours of travel, I made it to Aix en Provence (obviously). I checked into my hostel which seems nice enough (I mean it’s a hostel). The people are nice. There was a free dinner tonight which was very good. I got to meet some of the other people staying here. A lot of students, so maybe some future roommate opportunities? We’ll see.
I did not have enough time today to get my phone working or start calling people about apartments. After I got to the hostel I had to go back into town (we have to be out of the rooms from 10-3 so they can clean and such). I wandered a bit, found a couple real estate agencies, found the phone store and the bank. So I know where things are now. The lines were too long for me to get working though. Instead, I met two other assistants living in Aix for coffee and we spent a couple hours wandering and chatting. I’m really excited, so far everyone else on the program seems really nice.
I got to see, not even intentionally, the area that some of the apartments I have been looking at online are in and I have to say that this city is amazing. It’s everything I wanted with brasseries and stores and markets. I am already falling in love with this whole town. It seems like almost everything is within walking distance which is great. And for those few things that aren’t (my hostel) the bus is cheap and a short ride.
I’m excited to meet more people. Supposed to get together with the girls I saw today again tomorrow along with some others. Plus now I’m getting to know people here at the hostel as well which is great. Looking forward to getting some actual things done tomorrow too. The apartment hunt is on!

But Now what I am most looking forward to getting my first full night’s sleep (I hope) in about three nights. (Although I slept unusually well on the plane – the seat next to me was empty too!). So with that not I shall say goodnight and hopefully have more to share with you all tomorrow.

À demain!

The apple store picture is because it is thanks to them that I got the wifi access to update my family that I was safely in Aix (and I thought it was funny that it was one of the first things I saw when I got to the center of town). The wine glass picture is in a toast to my first night here in France!