I am spending my summer in Annecy and Talloires, France with the Tufts in Talloires program. During these 6 weeks, I will be taking two classes and soaking up as much French culture (food, wine, etc) as possible! I will be writing once a week or so about a small aspect of my study abroad experience.
As of tomorrow, I will have been in Annecy for five weeks. Five whole weeks! And the worst part is that I only have a week and half left here to profiter, or take advantage of my time here. It’s that time when everyone starts to panic and say, “Where did the time go?” and “I thought I would have done this by now.”
Doing this short study abroad has definitely taught me the meaning of profiter. To digress for a second, profiter is one of my favorite French words that has no real translation in English. It means “to take advantage of” or to “squeeze every last ounce of goodness out of” but we really don’t have a word equivalent that is as strong or meaningful. My roommate Julie and I have dedicated an entire facebook album to “profiter-ing.” It is documenting all of the things that we are not waiting to do, but are doing now. Like going to the market Sunday morning or experiencing a French mass in a large cathedral. It records all of the day and overnight hikes I’ve gone on, regardless of whether it’s raining or not. I have pictures of the nights I went out even though I was too tired, but I knew that being with good friends in a country that allows me to drink with them was too good to pass up. I have pictures of me jumping in the lake even though sometimes it’s FRIGID cold. But when again in my life will I be able to just jump in? I profiter-ed when I took that hour between classes to run down to the lake and go cliff jumping. Being wet and cold in class afterwards? Totally worth it.
My only regret so far is that I keep putting off renting a road bike and biking around the lake. Biking is huge here (the Tour de France passes through Annecy or near by every year) and the terrain is just magnificent. I keep saying that I will do it next week, or that the weather is too bad, or that it’s too expensive (even though I haven’t even looked up the prices) or that I forgot to drop by the rental place and ask them about pricing. My goal is to get a bike this week, and at least go for a decent ride, whether or not it be around the lake.
But I have a week and a half to spend time with my new, amazing friends, finish my final project, go for a bike ride, go to the market again, buy presents, swim and play in the lake, try new cheeses, hike up to the cave above my house, and have a dinner/picnic on the beach and watch the sunset.
One of my ways of coping with the time flying by, and this might seem anti-intuitive, is by not taking many pictures. I find that if I’m worried about catching the moment in a picture, I’m not experiencing it myself. Life is so much better when it’s not seen through a tiny lens. So my pictures of my weekend in Geneva are a little thin but I’ve burned into my memory the pianos that were all over the city and beautiful fountains with “eau potable.” I take just enough photos, maybe half a dozen, to be able to bring back the memory, but I’m practicing the art of living in the moment, and it seems to be working.