The Christmas season is quickly settling in here in Aix-en-Provence. All over town, signs on the holidays have been popping up. Lights have been strung from all the trees, storefront displays have changed out their themes, and the Cours Mirabeau has turned into a mini Christmas village. The Christmas market is very cute; little huts line the sidewalk where vendors sell crafts, food, and spiced wine. It’s very quaint, but I think I’m slightly jaded after living in Germany and seeing their Weihnachtsmarkt extravaganzas. Jenna and I took advantage of the festivities on Saturday and did some light shopping for gifts to bring home.
The English Church in Aix hosted a Christmas service Sunday afternoon in St. Sauveur, the cathedral near the school, to sing Christmas carols. Despite the white lights all over the city, the Christmas season hasn’t really set in for me. Maybe it’s because I missed Thanksgiving while in Morocco. Jenna and I decided to go sing some carols in order to try to get us more in the spirit.
It was wonderful to go to a service in Saint Sauveur. I’ve only ever walked through in the day taking pictures, so it was really neat to see it filled for a service. The acoustics were great, so it amplified and projected the voices of the choir. We sang all the traditional Christmas hymns and also “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Everyone was told to stand up and sing the number corresponding to their birth month. It was a lot of fun with the congregation constantly popping up and down to sing their line. The children’s choir was also adorable during their lively rendition of “Jingle Bells,” which of course would not have been complete without the kids violently shaking strings of bells and wearing Santa hats.
The service ended by singing “Silent Night” by candlelight. It reminded me a lot of the typical service at home which was nice and nostalgic. It’s always beautiful to see the dark church lit up by hundreds of tiny, flickering flames.
After the service, we came home to a surprise. Patricia, Pierre, and his daughter were ready to decorate the Christmas tree. It was the most haphazard decorating job I’ve ever seen. Jenna and I suddenly got really OCD watching they way the threw lights and tinsel all over the tree. The lights are strung in big crisscrosses all over the place instead of wrapping in nice spirals. We could tell Patricia was slightly perturbed as well, but she let them go to town anyway. I’ll snap a picture soon!
It’s hard to believe that we only have 2 more weeks in Aix! The semester has gone by more quickly than I ever imagined it would. I feel like I’ve finally gotten really settled into a groove here, and now it’s suddenly time to return home. But for now, I’ll just focus on enjoying the bit of time I have left!