I rode on a mini bus, which took me to where Millais students were waiting with great expectations. I looked up to see the familiar broad blue sky, and vast grassland, and overgrown trees through the window with hope for new experience in mind.
At the meeting point, there were faces which we hadn’t seen for a while. We hugged each other in delight. Then each of us went to our home for the week. My partner, Phoebe, and I were quiet in a car. I felt somewhat strange and nervous because we hadn’t met each other for a while. Her mother, Sally talked to us to fill the silence. We drove through a beautiful colonnade to get to their house. It was a warm, sunny day, and trees cast a light shadow on the road.
This experience during my one-week exchange felt so short. I can remember all events clearly. They are amazing. I can’t write about all the events because there were too many amazing events. So I will write about some of the great experiences during my exchange.
First, about Millais School. I felt time went so fast when I was at Millais School. Everything in that school was new and surprised me. This is the reason why time spent in Millais school was so precious for me. I wanted to feel and understand different culture, and therefore I entered this Rikkyo School in England, and applied for this student exchange with Millais. But the time spent at Millais School made me realize how difficult it is to understand another culture. There are not only good things but also some bad things. We were introduced to our partners’ homeroom classes. However, the people in the classroom were not so excited to see us. I thought the school did a lot of student exchange in many languages, so we were not special visitors for them.
During the lunchtime in the homeroom class, I found a lot of surprising things for me! They usually had sandwiches and yoghurt for lunch. In Japan, our lunch box at school called bento was prepared by our mums. But in this school, they ate raw vegetables like celery, carrots, cabbage and so on. And most surprising thing was they ate a lot of crisps for their lunch. Usually in Japan, we think crisps are snacks. So I understand Japanese “bento” is unacceptable in England.
Most exciting thing in this exchange was staying with Phoebe. We baked bread with her father Andrew on Sunday. Sally gave Phoebe and me little gifts as “Happy Wednesday present.” On Thursday morning, suddenly they said “Porridge Thursday!” and we all ate porridge. After school, we watched cooking TV program “British Bake Off” many times, and we baked a cake. And we brought the cake to the school to share. While Sally was preparing our supper, I sat by her, and she taught me English. She is a primary school teacher. We watched a lot of films in the evening.
On the day we said good-by, I couldn’t see Phoebe’s face. I didn’t want to say good-bye with my tearful eyes. We promised to meet again someday. All Millais students wanted to go to Japan, so we decided to meet again in Japan someday. From the window of our school mini-bus, I continued to wave my hand until I could not see them anymore. Rikkyo students talked about their precious memories on the mini bus. I looked up at the familiar broad blue sky, vast grassland, and overgrown trees through the window again, and dreamed of the day we will meet again in Japan.
(High School 1 Girl)