Mon Cœur est avec la Mer
My friend Melissa is much more social than I am. On a train back from Paris, she struck up a conversation with the girl next to her. The girl turned out to be a French-Tunisian student living in Aix. Melissa has been hanging out with her and her friends, but last Friday was the first time I met them. We had her and one of her friends over for dinner at our Friday friends cooking night. It was their first time trying stir fry! We had so much fun and the girls are amazing. It was so cool learning about their lives and the culture in Tunisia as well as France. Before this, I couldn't even tell ya where Tunisia was on a map. I love meeting new friends in such unexpected places!
Before last Friday, I used to consider myself a cheese enthusiast. But when CEA set up a stinky cheese tasting for us students, I realize I am about as basic as cheddar. Yes, I may sprinkle mass quantities of parmesan on top of my already three-cheese pizza and eat sharp off the block, but now I know just how ignorant I am when it comes to cheese. But hey, at least I tried (almost) every kind they offered. They taught us about the cheese regions of France, how it's made, and how to properly slice each cheese. Of course, they made me slice up the brie, just so they could make the joke (like I haven't heard that one before 😜). For those who don't know, I don't like brie cheese. Ironic, huh? I also discovered Roquefort is the nastiest thing on the planet and goat cheese tastes like how feet smell. And any cheese that comes in triangles is not for me. I'll just stick to my Babybel.
Many of you know how much I love the ocean. The ocean and I have a pretty deep connection (get it, deep?). If you were to read my journal, you'd notice half the things in there are about the ocean. To me, the ocean is a symbol of God and what it's like to live. Its vastness is incomprehensible. The waves are a tremendous expression that power and love can coexist. When I stand at the shore, I look out and see massive forces of water. Sometimes I get scared that they are going to knock me over, but then I remember that when they reach me, they will only be an inch tall. I like to think of this as a metaphor of the obstacles in life. When we look forward, we see these huge things that could destroy us in an instant. However, by the time they reach us, we often think why we were so worried in the first place. But sometimes still, the waves are big enough to toss us around a little bit, sometimes even start to drown us. Then also, when I just float, I feel the freedom of being in communion with God. He loves us so much. I feel this love when he carries me in the water. When I swim, it gets harder and harder to stay above the waves, but then once I get passed the break, all is calm. Even the act of swimming through it is freedom. I think my love for the ocean also was strengthened in 8th grade when I was baptized in the sea. I feel like I can be completely myself when I am there, and I don't need to hide anything from it, kind of like when I'm with God. I know this all seems super spiritual and maybe a little weird, but what's wrong with a little romantic thought?
Being right on the water is also one of the reasons I love Point Loma so much; obviously, who wouldn't? Going back to the water last weekend was much needed. My friends and I visited Calanques, which is near Cassis and Marseille. We hiked Mt. Puget, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. It was the most beautiful view I have ever seen in my entire life. We climbed to the top of a cliff and watched the beauty of the clear, teal water against the white, jagged mountains. Just take a look at the pictures below for yourself. Also, I have this weird thing about peninsulas, so I was going crazy looking at the dream-worthy one right in front of me. To make things even better, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, too. We also took a detour to see the water up close. (other photos from the fish market in Marseille)
Two weekends ago, we also visited the Orange Velodrome, aka the soccer stadium for the team Olympique de Marseille. I don't know anything about sports, much less soccer, but it was still awesome doing a tour and getting to sit in the stands. One stat I could remember is that OM has won the championships 10 times!
My cousin, Chloe, visited me in Aix this weekend. We ate so many crêpes... On Friday, we saw La La Land in theaters (English, French subtitles). I highly recommend seeing it if you haven't. We also took a day trip to Arles on Saturday to visit the locations where Vincent Van Gogh painted some of his most famous work! All around the city there are replicas of Van Gogh's paintings next to where they were painted. It was interesting to see how he portrayed each scene. Even the most normal places, like bridges, were made into works of art. When we returned from Arles, we waited until 1am to go to a Jazz club we found in Aix. We had to conform to the French culture of going out super late. The club was underground in what looked like an old wine cellar. The live band didn't play jazz; they played classic American rock! I was freaking out when they played Lynyrd Skynyrd. This isn't the first time I've heard Europeans playing classic rock; I guess America really does have an impact on the world in every way. Once, on a metro in Paris, my mom got a man to play "Sweet Home Alabama," and another time in Croatia a guy was singing "Hotel California" on the street.
The weather is warming up, finally! This California girl got to wear short sleeves and ditch the coat yesterday! Woohoo!
Prayer requests: going deeper with God, hope for the Land, my lovely roommate's mom who is in the hospital
"His love is deep, His love is wide
And it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong
It is furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild
And it's waking hearts to life"
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