by Kathryn K. For most people, the thought of living in Southern France would seem like an unattainable fantasy, but today I guess you could say I’m living the dream. I have now been living in the town of St. Laurent du Var, a suburb of Nice, for 5 days, and it has been quite an adventure. To start off with, I flew in from Istanbul, Turkey, expecting to find stunning views and white sand on the flight in, but was met only with an ominous cloud bank and rain. After making it through the airport security, I learned that a hurricane was ravaging the East Coast and many flights had been delayed; it seemed that the weather was just not cooperating worldwide. I met the program staff and my host mother, all who were incredibly welcoming and kind, and waited until my roommate arrived with the group from New York. Upon arriving at what would become our new home, we met the family’s dog and cat. My roommate and I have a wonderful couple who tries to help us learn as well as cook exorbitant amounts of delicious homemade food. We slept through France being ousted from the World Cup, which I was disappointed I missed, but our first day was a success. Over the weekend, we started the daunting task of getting to know everyone and continually asking for everyone’s names. Most of all, the time required a lot of walking as we walked around St. Laurent du Var and Antibes, a nearby town. We were able to go to a Picasso Museum, which was interesting, and then continued on to the beach, where we hung out, paddle boarded and kayaked. I had a lot of fun and paddle boarding was a new experience which proved to be a bit of a challenge, but amusing all the same. We got to go to a local festival for St. Pierre which involved fireworks and a DJ–it was a lot of fun. Monday started with a tour of the old town, which is quaint and gorgeous. We quickly realized the small size of the town and thoroughly explored it. We even got to go to the Hôtel D’Ville and meet the mayor, it made front page news! In the afternoon we started our electives; I did drawing, and I loved it. Spending two hours in the peaceful streets of the old town drawing was incredibly relaxing. My family decided to take us out to Nice for gelato after dinner and we got introduced to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Traversing the passages of Nice at dusk seemed like some type of movie set, with everything looking so perfectly stunning. I tried cactus ice cream, which was actually not bad at the famous Fennochio ice cream parlor. Our trip was cut short by yet another storm, but wet Nice reminded me of Paris and only added more to it’s charm. This morning we started classes and I was suprised to find myself in the intermediate class, and delighted to realize that I understood everything the professor said. Although it will be a challenge, I’m up for it, so I expect that I’ll learn a lot from the course. With some more time to explore, we split up and went out in the town. We spent the rest of the day in Nice exploring and shopping, while a lucky few made it to the beach. We tried our hand at pottery, and I think I’ll need a bit more practice before I can make anything recognizable. Arguably the most memorable moment of the day, however, was the end. Packed into a rush hour train, not everyone was able to get off before the train left the station. As the doors closed, we watched in shocked surprise as some friends and all our teachers were whisked away. Everything worked out, but it was still not something that we ever expected to happen–it was hilarious. Now five days into the program things seem almost normal, or as normal as life with frequent excursions to world famous destinations can be. I can already tell that my knowledge of French is increasing and we have been able to try so many new things so far. I can’t wait to see what else lies on the horizon!