March 23rd, 2009
I have just returned from France and sadly returned to reality. It seems only moments ago that I was biking through the streets of Paris and avoiding oncoming traffic. Though I only got to spend a week abroad, I feel I have learned and experienced so much.
The first thing that I learned was that language barriers can be quite challenging, but are not insurmountable. When in a different country charades turns from a fun game to your main form of communication. I found that when ordering from a menu the best way was to smile and point at what you wanted to eat. Thankfully head nods are universal.
I also learned that driving in the U.S and driving in any other country is completely different. We were driven from the airport to our hotel by a local shuttle service. The trip was only twenty minutes, but I think we almost crashed forty times. At times the roads did not have any lanes and cars were inches apart. At one point we ran into a lot of traffic on the highway. I thought we would just wait it out, but instead our driver drove in reverse through oncoming traffic so he could get out on the last exit he had passed.
Finally I realized that even though Paris is over five thousand miles away from Texas A&M, it is still home to many Aggies. In fact we had received a free bike tour because the owner of the company was a Texas A&M graduate. On another occasion I was shopping at a souvenir stand when a man noticed my A&M hat and backpack and asked if I was a student. I said yes and discovered that he had been one too.
As usual all good things have to come to an end. I am now back on campus and have to catch up on all of the work I missed. Thankfully hard work has its rewards.