Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Things To Miss and Giving Directions
Sometimes, being an expatriate is thrilling and exotic. Today, en route to my flat from DIS, I passed by an Indian couple speaking in perfect, lightly accented English, arguing about which way to go. I stopped and asked if I could help, and pointed them towards the pedestrian street Stroget (pronounced Stroh-gill). It felt really good to help people who are probably not my fellow Americans but with whom I share a linguistic identity. I'm making a point to help as many confused English-speaking tourists as I can. They don't have to know that I've only lived here 16 days, as long as my directions are right.
But today also marks the first day of public school back home, a day I was a part of for thirteen Augusts and Septembers. To recognize the start of the year, President Obama is giving a speech to American students today. It's the first time in my life I'm not one of them. Even though it's been three years since I attended Chicago Public Schools, I'll always be a product of them.* Maybe that means that every fall, I'll miss those years, but the feeling was definitely underscored today by being altogether on a different continent. It's also the first time in my life I'm homesick for a president!
*Whitney Young High School and LaSalle Language Academy shaped my life in ways that would be hard to summarize in a short blog post, especially one that's focused on my college travels.