On Thursday, we started our day with class and followed that by being given our choice of going to the pool or a museum as our afternoon activity. I chose to go to the pool with some friends, because we felt like we needed a cold dip to cool off. Unfortunately for us, it started raining. We would have never expected that the day we chose to go to the pool would be the first time in our entire stay here that it would rain cats and dogs. After that short trip to the pool, we had dinner out at a restaurant specializing in food from Normandy. It was great to be able to try food from a different region of France. When we returned to the residence, we found that our counselors had planned a movie night for us. It was a classic French movie titled 8 Femmes.
Friday was a very regular day in the Aix residence. We had class in the morning and in the afternoon, followed by cooking groups and swing dancing. Our recipe on Friday, however, had Romanian influence because Monica, a girl in the program, is from there. Our counselors decided it would be fun to enjoy some of her culture instead of only French and American traditions. It was quite a different experience making mămăligă from scratch. I’m glad we could enjoy something special with Monica.
Today, we had a free morning. Some people chose to go out shopping or explore the markets, but my roommates and I decided to just stay in and rest. At around two o’clock, we left Aix to spend the day in Marseille. Once we were there, we had a tour of a soap factory. The factory was very small and genuine. The machines were almost a hundred years old, and the tour guide said that they liked to preserve the old methods of soap making. The smell was so strong, but I enjoyed it so much that I bought two soaps. Afterward, we walked around Marseille for a while and then went to a contemporary museum. One of the artists used a lot of nails in his art, while another made an intricate design out of cereal. It was very fascinating. Then the museum prepared a workshop for us in which we were allowed to create our own paintings. Lastly, because we were all a little homesick, we decided to stop at McDonald’s on our way back to the train station. It wasn’t the same as American McDonald’s; it was better!