I think I just reached the moment where I feel abroad. Yes, I have been here officially for over 2 months now and haven’t felt like I’m in America, yet today it really hit me that I’m on the other side of the world.

No, a meteor didn’t fall out of the sky, or the toilets flush in the other direction. It was something that I didn’t think would make me think about culture as much as it already has. I woke up early to meet a group for a project we are working on together. We have only met really one other time outside of class, but while waiting for our third group member I talked with the other girl in our group. I found out she is from China and is here on exchange as well.

Her English is wonderful. Just the fact that she is able to take class in English impresses me, but she gets embarrassed when she messes up or when I can’t understand her. She taught me a few words/ phrases in Chinese. The only one I remember is Hello ~ 您好 Which sounds like “knee how”. She also told me how she would love to study in America but needs to improve on her English first. 

Today was our second group meeting. We all worked on our project for quite a while and when it was time to pack up and part our ways the same girl asked me what year I was born. She had to take out her translation dictionary to explain that she was asking so she could find out what my Chinese zodiac sign was. I think she was expecting me to be her age, but I’m a few years older. She then pulled out a charm bracelet with (I think she said) a goat on it. She said even though it isn’t my sign she wanted to give it to me. The bracelet is red, which she told me is the color of China and also the color of luck, and gives me the bracelet to wish me the best of luck.

This absolutely made my day. It was so sincere and meaningful. It makes you realize how such a simple gesture can make someone feel so nice.