here we are

I know that all four people who still occasionally check this blog have already seen the sorry everybody website, but I'm linking it anyway, because it is why I love the internet. I love the fact that so many people from all over the world can communicate their feelings to each other so clearly and creatively. I love the support shown from people everywhere.

I'm heading toward the end of the term at my school, and so will soon have some much-looked-forward-to down time. Next week is a short week, and after that finals. I want to see some more of this country we're in. So far, we've seen the shopping malls because they're conveniently located near the train stations. Next task is to find - well, anything else. And to purchase a heater because it's getting darn chilly. Before I came here, I thought I'd have a lot to say about experiencing a foreign country, but I find that I cannot figure out how to say anything about it at all. I don't understand it, I am not a part of it, and all my observations are superficial because I can't get any deeper than that with no language and no connections to any people here. I haven't done much reading or writing since coming here, and since that is what tends to push my analytical (and lyrical) brain into gear, it's been idling instead. Perhaps that is part of what they call "culture shock" and perhaps it is because we're heading into the holiday season really far from anyone we know and care about, and you always become more aware of that sort of thing during the holidays. Perhaps it is also because I become really mentally unsettled when I cannot plan out exactly what the future holds, and here I have no idea. No idea what will come of this year, and no idea what will come after. Maybe I need to stop trying to think so much and just let it flow.

One aspect of being here I really appreciate is that, while this country can feel pretty insular, especially when I'm being stared at constantly, I am much more aware of the existance of all the other countries in the world than I was in the US. Here there is French language everywhere (granted much of it as bastardized as the Engrish, but still, it's a start) there are European pastries, Italian gelato, a store near our house with everything in German, television shows featuring travel to places all over the world. In America it was terribly easy to ignore the fact that any other countries existed at all, and often you just don't think about it. Perhaps it is just because I am out of my home country, so my awareness of other places is heightened, but I'm not sure about that.