I spent the night before flying to France lying awake in my bed, listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album on repeat. Not because Christmas was the week before, but because it’s my go-to “goodness gracious Sarah, calm down” music. In 24 hours, my life would completely change. I was consumed with not knowing: what would my surroundings be? What would my host mother be like? On what level is her apartment? Would the other students be nice? Would I have to speak French from the moment I stepped off…

My host mother stopped in the middle of dinner tonight to take me on a tour of her backyard garden.  Daylight savings time just began yesterday; we’re sitting on the couch where we eat, marveling at the evening glow outside and the flowers blooming in the backyard. “I love having that high wall over there, it gives me a microclimate so can grow all sorts of species that aren’t native to Provence. I call it my English garden,” she says with a small laugh. I twist back around…

When I first arrived in Aix-en-Provence three months ago, I spent the first weeks wandering these streets in the city that you all already know has my heart forever. I eventually fell into a rhythm of winding through a sequence of streets to get to my favorite bakery, the fruits and vegetables market, the flower market, the big open squares filled with outdoor cafés, and everything else that goes along with it. Here, you can take an *accelerated* walk with me through some of center-city Aix and get…

This one’s for the bakery window-shoppers, teasing those madeleines from the street. It’s for the ones like me, for whom biting into a mystery food could be like opening pandora’s box. I wish I could be one of those people who will pop anything into their mouth without a second thought, but I will never be that person. Suffering from Living with allergies can be a setback (this semester abroad had brought an entire new set of them) but I am refusing to let my allergies take anything away from the richness of…

If you ever find yourself in Aix-en-Provence, I suggest that you  have a celebratory dance party because this city is a babe and treat yo’self. I’ve compiled a little list below if my absolute favorite places to do just that. Book Bar This is a bookstore + café that feels like coming home. It has books in more than twenty different languages lining the small walls, plates of fresh English scones, and about once a week, a very content me. From my seat at a small wooden table…

One of my absolute favorite weekends here was our CEA excursion to Nice and Monte Carlo. Picturesque beaches, the famed Nice Carnival, and a night out in Monte Carlo that lived up to my wildest dreams. But the part of this trip that stands out most in my memory, one of the most stunning landscapes I’ve ever experienced, was our short stop in Èze on the way home. I had no idea that this town existed. Writing about it almost feels like I’m whispering a secret. This little village,…

Anything can be cause for celebration. You don’t have to graduate from law school or land a business deal to blow up balloons. If you want to pump your fists in the air for no reason other than that it’s Tuesday at 4pm and you made it through the day, know that you have my full support. Do the dance, I sure am.  Here are the small moments of life in Aix — snippets that deserve to be celebrated. And I’m willing to bet that you, wherever you are, you…

You know the ones who always seem to know what’s going on? They don’t need to screenshot Google Maps before leaving or ask for directions in between blank stares. They already know what they’re looking for, and they know where to find it. They see and they know. This morning, I met some sweet souls who embody what it means to know so, so well. Before coming to Aix-en-Provence, I didn’t spend much time thinking about volunteering while I would be here — I was pretty well occupied…

“We decided that once school begins we’ll start speaking it most of the time,” I said to my host mother over dinner with my roommate on one of our first nights in Aix-en-Provence.  “Oh that won’t happen,” she said. “After a full day of classes, the last thing you’re going to want to do is go out with your friends and keep speaking French.” Ouch. A former American resident and current Aixois of 30 years, she’s a no-nonsense woman who managed to pop my romantic balloon of an…

Here in Barcelona, I live in Eixample, the “expansion” from Barcelona’s original city center. Since being here for the past few months, I’ve discovered some local gems hosting my favorite places to eat. In the video you can catch a glimpse of the Italian “take away” deli, “churreria”, “rotiserria”, and fruit stall that I frequent. Jennifer S. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a sophmore studying Professional Writing at Miami University.