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From the top to the bottom and all the crazy hills in between, Lacoste is by far the most beautiful city I have ever explored. Still can’t believe I get to call this place home.

It is currently 9 PM but still bright as day; while I lay here writing, the window next to me serves as the only means of illumination and ventilation in this space I now call home. I am spread across my bed and wearing the bikini which served as my underwear for the day, since my carry-on suitcase of all essentials—underwear, makeup, toiletries, chargers—did not want to fly overseas as badly as I did. Luckily, the bag has now arrived on campus a day later and you can bet I’m writing this post to avoid unpacking its overly stuffed contents. I haven’t put on real clothes yet because the warm breeze feels great, but I did finally get to put on deodorant after a long day of traveling and smelling not so great without it. (Too much information?)

I don’t even know where to begin with describing this experience and I’ll warn you right now, these text updates won’t happen often because I want to take every second of my next two months here to soak it all in. I’ll try to post as many pictures as possible but even those will hardly suffice—Lacoste is so vast, so breathtakingly beautiful and so far from anything I have ever imagined that its essence can only be felt in the moment. The same is true about the pain: Lacoste’s beauty is almost as underrated as all of its hills. These practically 90-degree cobblestone paths are absolutely treacherous, but while my legs have never been so angry with me, I look around and my eyes remind my brain why it’s so worth it to be here and to get where I am going.

On Monday, the destination will be my printmaking class, and on Tuesday, I’ll be going to learn about the Treasures of Provence in an ancient cave-castle-classroom that sits right in my backyard just like the artwork I’ll be studying. Wednesday I go back to printmaking, and then Friday is reserved for art history excursions that require slightly longer treks than the living history all around campus. Today, we visited a bridge that was built by Romans well over 2,000 years ago, and until recently it remained perfectly functional. Let me emphasize that again: today I walked on a bridge that predates the birth of Jesus.

I’m not sure yet where tomorrow will take me, but after three days of nonstop traveling I am looking forward to finally sleeping in before classes start the next morning. I’ll wake up in time for brunch before 11, which will be nicely prepared by our amazing French café staff, and then I think I’ll find somewhere to begin filling the far too empty pages of my new sketchbook with my new watercolor pencils. It’s time to let Lacoste work its magic and I’ll do my best to document the process along the way. Until then, au revoir! (I just had to Google the translation for goodbye…)