France, through her lens

    for more photos from ' trip to Paris.

    for photos of ' trip to Carcassonne, France.

    "Guess what? I spoke English most of the time since I've been in France," I said to my friend as we drove to Charles de Gaulle A&

    233;roport on my last morning in France.

    It was true, the people I stayed with in five different places in France for the months of August and September all spoke English with me, either because English was their first language as well or they were being nice and did not want to exclude me from their conversations. My trip started with attending the wedding of a friend who I had met during my second year at Southern Oregon University when she was an exchange student from Poland. During the week of the wedding, I met many people from all over the world, and I learned that people are the same no matter where they are from or what language they speak. We are all connected by the thoughts and feelings (and fashion sense) we share as a species.

    In particular, I noticed more similarities than differences between French people and people from home. In Carcassonne, a city known for a centuries-old castle called La Cit&

    233;, I felt almost transported back to the U.S., even though everyone was speaking French around me, because I saw people I would see in any community here: young couples hanging out together, adults working or meeting friends for lunch, individuals running errands or going to a caf&

    233; for coffee and chats with other regulars. Carcassonne particularly reminded me of Ashland as it had music and art festivals, tourists, and a grower's market.

    What interests me most about my trip to France is that I felt united with the people I met and the experiences I had because of music and photography. I collected and exchanged music with people I met, and now when I listen to the songs from them I am reminded of that time. Also, I captured moments with my camera (a digital Canon Rebel EOS) that struck me as beautiful or inspiring. I stayed for a month at the artist's and writer's retreat La Muse, a place with French, Irish and American charm, and photographed people, still-lifes, and landscapes. These images, songs, and experiences that I have brought home with me motivate me to return to France. In fact, in the car on the way to the airport for my return trip to Medford, I told my friend, "Guess what else? I'm coming back."

    La Muse has rooms for November! Apply through .

    For more photographs of ' trip to France, visit

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