We returned to the dorms the day before yesterday. Very bitter, not much sweet about it. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the opportunity to do a home stay has been the best thing about studying abroad so far. Most people have plans to see their host families again, and they all are gong to come to the farewell party at the end of the semester...but re-adapting to dorm life is going to be a challenge after living with such wonderful, accepting people.
I waited until Monday to send this because I hadn't seen everyone until today, when we started classes again after our fall break. Unfortunately, the school festival was still going on while we, lucky students, were all in class. It made the transitions back into studying all the more difficult, but obviously we'll survive. On the plus side, the festival was a blast! One of the buddies, Asaki, danced in a performance, and she did amazing! Kelsi got to help out with the booth for archery club a little bit, and as we walked around we realized we'd met and been remembered by far more people than we'd realized. A fair warning to future exchange students: bring lots of money to the school festival. You will want to support your friends, you will want to try all the food, and it will all be delicious, leaving you ready to pay any price for more. Anything to satisfy those taste buds. And for a good cause, too: supporting people who supported you! It was truly incredible; I think it'd be awesome if Linfield implemented something like the Japanese school festivals. The main difference is that every club operates a tent/booth, usually selling some form of food made fresh there on portable burners, and they have separate displays for clubs doing artistic things (gallery display, manga display, sign language story performance, handmade planetarium), sports related things (aikido display, dance showcases, cheer performances), and more. It was really impressive!
I'm glad something so exciting was happening right as we came back from our host families. We all miss them quite a lot. Syndey, Nick, and I spent a lot of time with our host families over break, going to zoos, aquariums, malls, movies, etc. Kelsi and Caitlyn managed to visit Korea with one of the buddies, and they seem to have had an excellent time as well.
Classes are really picking up as we near the end of the semester, but I'm sure we'll all be able to cope. We're going on a field trip tomorrow to visit an elementary school! Very excited!
Over the next month the buddies have planned a few more activities for us, and we have at least one more field trip on the agenda. In between homework and classes we'l have to make sure to spend as much time with the buddies as we can, especially now that we have already realized the pain of having to leave people who mean so much after so little time.
Finishing on a note of love and appreciation for the immense hospitality we receive here. Couldn't be more appreciative. Hello Linfield, and we'll talk more next time!