Things I learned yesterday in Michigan

From July 8-11, I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at a Rotary conference, wherein I am meeting students involved with Rotary who are studying abroad, have studied abroad, and (like me) will be studying abroad. Enjoy!


Michigan is a beautiful state that is densely packed with deciduous green trees.

Calvin College has an easy to navigate campus, and a touch of small-campus charm.

However, the dorms are not air-conditioned.

Dorm food is the same everywhere.

There is a very good chance that the first time you go to this Rotary conference, you will not know anyone there.

There is a very good chance that the first time you go to this Rotary conference, you will be disoriented.

There is absolutely no way that you will leave this Rotary conference not knowing anyone.

If you go 10 minutes without meeting someone new, you’re doing something wrong.

There are many large, fluid, groups of friends at the conference, and there is no exclusion from them.

There is a very good chance that the second time you go to this Rotary conference, you will know many of the people there.

Joe Chang is a really cool dude.

I met a lot of cool dudes today, I just don’t remember all their names.

Everyone here actually is everyone else’s friend.

See the third subhead. I was right.

It is quite normal for people at this conference to stare at your abdomen.

It is quite normal for you to stare at other people’s abdomens at this conference.

Around each person’s neck is a nametag which shows your name, your country, and whether or not you have been to that country yet.

The nametag rests on top of each person’s abdomen.

If the country on your nametag matches the country on another person’s nametag, you instantly forge a connection with that person.

“Antisocial” and “Rotary” are adjectives that will rarely be used together in the same sentence.

I met four people whose nametags read “India”.

I talked with those four people for approximately two hours about India alone.

Among the topics conversed about on India with those four people were food, food manners, schooling, the lack of schooling, swimming pools, pool halls, internet hotspots, hot spots to hang out, bartering, bartending, dogs, cows, airports, trains, buses, motorcycles, and, of course, cricket.

This conference makes me happy to be going on this exchange through Rotary.

I’m glad I’m writing all this down, because I don’t ever want to forget today.


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