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Wayfaring Stranger

by Riley H. To kick off this blog, shall we start with something sweet? This week our group took a trip to the Puyricard Chocolate factory. It was beautiful. Watching how they delicately craft each individual chocolate would make the task seem tedious but is surprisingly calm and relaxing. Of course, a benefit of visiting a chocolate factory, besides figuring out how they craft it, is getting to taste it! We tried delicious creations, ranging from sheets of marshmallow to almond paste coated in a cherry topping to simple cubes of milk chocolate. It was extremely hot that day so walking into the chocolate factory that was chilled felt like an amazing reprieve. After the tour, we got to relax with some juice and I even got to test out my French skills when some women struck up a conversation with me. Needless to say the day was very fulfilling. Riley H. chocolate At night, it got even better. Our group had plans to see a live theatre production here in Aix. In an unassuming little shop, you actually have to go to the back of the store and down some stairs into a cool basement where the water in the air is almost tangible. However it’s not just a basement, with stones lining the wall and the faint smell of moss; it was literally an underground theatre – something that seemed worthy of a book or movie. In all honesty, I could barely understand half of the words in the play, which is okay, because I felt like I was having this surreal experience. I felt like I was in a book – what an evening. The next day, our little group made our way over to the beach. The sun was beating down on all of us and there was not a single cloud in the sky. However, the water was cold and felt amazing on our skin. It felt like another dream to lie out on the beach with my new friends, a place that is extremely calm and I could just listen to music or read a good book. In addition, before we left, we had the opportunity to get ice cream. Ice cream…on the beach…in France. Riley H. beach Today in photography class we were just roaming around and playing with perspective. I love photography and it’s also a special time to discover the city! That’s what makes me really happy. We were just strolling around with our cameras when we came across a few shops we had never seen before and even a lovely art gallery. I absolutely adored the art inside of this gallery and I loved one artists paintings so much that I was sure to take her card to research her later. The simple little discoveries are the best ones. Riley H. narrow street This evening, after we made ourselves dinner in our cooking groups, we took to the first floor to watch a movie together: The Intouchables. It was a very comical film about a man that’s living in the projects coming to care for an extremely wealthy quadriplegic. Besides the immense comical element, there are many profound and touching moments in the film. Because of the clash of their two worlds, they discover things they never knew before. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend this film. It was wonderful. In my free time on this trip, I am relaxing, reading or writing for pleasure. I brought along The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and literature has been on my mind. Particularly so because we just hit the halfway mark in our trip and it’s begun to set in that this is only temporary. So I don’t exactly have my own masterpiece of poetry yet but I’ve found myself going back to an E.E. Cummings poem that is resonating with me. It’s called [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]. It’s about a loved one but I’ve been alluding it to the beautiful city that I’m staying in. I have developed an immense love for the beauty around me and it will stay with me forever. So I will close with an excerpt from the end of this poem. here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)