I recognised the person who was shouting from the bike racks next to the international student centre. He was an Indonesian student in my Japanese communication class along with (among others) a woman named Eleanor. I therefore did not take much notice until he jumped in front of me.
"You are from England!"
I struggle with my surprise while trying to compose an answer that consisted of something other than 'I know'.
"Um, I …. yes."
"I know someone there. Laura. Do you know Laura?"
In my imagination, I freeze the scene and turn to the camera that I know is making my life into a prime-time TV drama. I lift an eyebrow in disbelief.
"Ahhh." Back in reality, my accoster was nodding wisely. "There are many Lauras in England."
"It is a country of … millions ... of people," I say weakly.
"I assumed you were studying Earth Sciences! In my country, we have an exchange with England for Earth Science!"
... and therefore every British person does Earth Science? I suppose that would make them the number one country to do a study exchange with but rather harder to find anyone to feed you upon arrival.
"I'm actually faculty in Physics," I reply. "What are you working on here?"
"In my own country, I am an assistant professor!" came the declared answer. "Here I am working on my PhD!"
Did that mean he was a professor without a PhD?
Thursdays. Arthur Dent was right; you just can't get the hang of Thursdays.
I escaped to have lunch.