After the catastrophe in Japan, our Japanese students set up a table in the lobby of Bazin to sell origami and orange cakes for charity. This disaster feels so present here, because the majority of the students are Asian, and I have several Japanese students in my classes. I get chills when I imagine how horrified they must feel being so far from home. Or how relieved.
And there's such a sense of community here. Despite the fact that my school represents 23 countries, I've found that we've all bonded to assist the Japanese. Even the faculty has voiced their condolences and offered words of encouragement. It's so inspiring. I see the Americans, the Chinese, the Koreans, and the French students gather around the Japanese and giving donations; it makes me want to cry. Despite the language barrier, we're family.
In other news, I went to London this weekend and experienced nothing less than culture shock. Everyone spoke English (obviously) and I found it difficult to feel guiltless when saying "thank you" instead of "merci." Sometimes we answered servers in French and they looked at us funny. We ate fish and chips and incredible Indian food and we stocked up on things we missed, like Starbucks and magazines in English. But all the while Lien and I missed France. We missed spending hours in a café and how the servers wouldn't rush you. We missed the baguettes, our own beds, and the language barriers.
We had slept an average of three hours each night since Thursday, so we all passed out on the train home. I fell asleep in my own drool, so that was cute. Once we got to Angers, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. It was warm. A friendly cab driver took me home and I greeted my family before hurrying into the shower and Skyping my boyfriend. Then they called me downstairs so they could talk to me about my weekend. I told them I had tons of fun in London, but I missed Angers.
Traveling away from Angers makes me realize how this little town has become home. And if I experienced culture shock in England, I can't imagine what it will be like when I go back to the States. No macaroons?!