One minute I was searching for a weights gym with a fellow study abroad student, and ended up peering in on fencing practice. The next moment we were asked if we’d like to join the practice, an invitation that of course we accepted, and within 5 minutes of being there we were invited to compete 3 days from then! And within the span of a 2 hour practice, my prayers had been answered. The past few days I had really started to become quite disappointed I had not made any local friends outside of my program, and look at me, I had a whole fencing club full!
While I haven’t competed since then (I didn’t do so hot even in the Freshman competition) it’s not the activity that matters one bit, its that I have started to become apart of CMU’s community. It makes me so happy when I happen to run into another Thai student I know walking around campus (there’s over 40,000 students here, so just about as hard to do as at Alabama) and can just wave hello or catch up for a minute in broken English (and maybe a lick of Thai…). And it’s about building a community that I will be sad to leave come December 10th. So, even though I suck at fencing, ‘En garde!’