With only five days left in Arles, I find myself wishing for more time. Things have just started to feel like normal life, natural. Or maybe I’ve only recently realized how natural every day here is.
This morning I woke up at my usual time and as I ate my daily bowl of Musli and black coffee, I realized just how much I’m going to miss my daily bowl of Musli and black coffee. I’m going to miss seeing my host mom getting the twins ready for the day. I’ll miss saying, “À tout a l’heure,” as they leave. And as I walked my usual route to the IES Abroad Center, I realized it will only be my “usual route” for a few more days. I regarded the flower shop man arranging the cart of white roses in front of his shop with an intention to remember. I looked at the usual people taking their usual morning coffee at their usual café. I passed the man who is almost always in the same spot on the Rue de République playing his guitar, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. I walked through the Place de la République and tried to take in every detail. I arrived then at the IES Abroad door and waited to be buzzed in. I opened the iron gate and ascended the stairs that I’ve become so accustomed to and said the usual “Bonjour” to all in the office.
I’ve realized this summer that it’s the little things that you miss. It’s the pastel shutters, the walk by the Rhône. It’s your favorite glacier, it’s the faces you’ve become used to seeing. And we sometimes don’t realize how much we love something until it’s almost over. I think we spend too much time looking forward to the next thing and then what comes after that and so on. But no. We are here, now. What surrounds us in this moment is what we should try to absorb completely.
I think the moment this idea really struck me was last week when sitting in L’Espace Van Gogh during le Sud music festival. Everyday at 2:30 they had “siesta music” there . Everyone gathered and sat in chairs or stretched out on the ground. This day there was a duo of violin players. They sat on benches under the grand tree that makes the shade and the breeze whisked dried leaves off the branches and around the two musicians. They shared smiles and recounted to the crowd the stories of the songs they played. Some people closed their eyes, others shared a picnic. At the end a group of people got up and danced with such an immense joy I couldn’t help but smile. And with the breeze and the colors of the garden and the music and the laughs all mixed into one glorious moment, I thought to myself, “This. This is pretty darn incredible.”
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hello! My name is Hannah Jacobsma. I am a French and English double major at Hope College. I am studying abroad in Arles this summer for six weeks, and couldn't be more stoked! To explore and be immersed in this culture, meeting people of all kinds along the way, is what I look forward to the most. I'd love to share my journey with you all, and tell you stories along the way. ~Peace and Blessings</span></div>