Weird Stories from Abroad: My First Night

I have a confession to make. I did not participate in a study abroad program, but have technically been studying abroad for the past two years. As senior from Indonesia, I began my life at Sarah Lawrence with a bang. Do hurricanes make a bang?

My first night on campus was, thankfully, not representative of most evenings at SLC. Minutes after midnight, my roommate and I woke to a persistent alarm. Are you kidding me? The fire alarm echoed through the entire building as we jumped out of bed. That night I learned what roommates are for, as I forgot to grab my keys and she did not. Highlighted by the street lamps that line main campus, I felt as self-conscious as a mouse in a laboratory.

Once the fire engines came and left, we went back to bed. A few hours later, I could hear the tree branches outside banging on our windows. My new roommate, practically a stranger at that point, confessed not being able to sleep. We were both quite afraid of the possibility of losing power and having the windows shatter.

One would suspect that a girl from a third-world country—where floods come more often than your birthday, and some of the most memorable parts of your childhood are connected with power loss—would be resilient to these instances. Though I was not freaking out as much as I was expected to, it was unsettling to be in stuck in an unfamiliar bed in a stranger’s room, in a foreign country, miles away from home. Nevertheless, the terror that probed me until sunrise distracted me from feeling homesick.

Being abroad typically warrants for crazy tales such as this, but who would have known that it would start with such a surprise. With surprises at every turn, both man and nature were after us. Perhaps it is safe to say that being prepared is not the primary goal when abroad. Instead, we should all embark on this journey with a glass full of humor and an appetite for endless exhilaration.

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