This semester, I live in a six-bedroom house, one of which is occupied by a German foreign-exchange student. Having been an international student myself, I know how it feels to be the foreigner in a new place. But observing her attempts to mesh her own culture with American culture is a new view — one that comes with plenty of interesting anecdotes and realizations about our culture.
For starters, she walks everywhere, at all hours of the night. All of a sudden it is midnight, and she leaves to meet up with friends, disappearing into the darkness with no trepidation. Perhaps we drive too much, but perhaps safety should be a larger portion of the international students’ orientation.
Her sleep schedule is wacko. A large majority of the week she returns from dancing at the O.B. by 2 a.m. and then wakes up to bake a cake, cookies, or brownies around 5 or 6 a.m. Outside of these baked goods, I barely see her eat. And when I do, it is a tiny amount of vegetables. She makes me rethink my American portions and also wonder what the O.B. is like on a Monday.
Unlike Americans who love our canned air, she leaves her window open almost always, despite temperatures dropping into the low 30s at night. Earlier this year when it was still warm, she had a window air conditioner, but she asked the landlord to remove it so that she could have fresh air.
Finally, she does not really like peanut butter, much preferring Nutella. And while you really cannot get more European than that, I will continue eating Jif like it is going out of style.
Because she is only here for a limited amount of time, she is truly taking advantage of every opportunity she can find, trying new coffee shops, attending random events and testing out everything Fargo has to offer. It makes me consider what the world would be like if we all lived like tourists in our own city and inspires me to go out and explore.