The next morning I arrived at the Lycee in the pre-dawn cold. I carried seven books, a sweat suit with sneakers and wore my new brown French shoes, which had a zipper on the top. After we bought the books the previous day, my father took me to a store "Chausettes Michel" and bought me the shoes.
"They'll make you fit in better," he said.
"It'll take more than shoes," I snapped, angry that the shoes were the most comfortable I'd ever worn.
The students formed a circle around me in the courtyard. They didn't ask questions; they just stared. They looked different from the kids back home. It went beyond their berets, scarves and pointed shoes and had more to do with the expressions on their faces as well as some of their features but I was too disoriented to notice what they were. I should have enjoyed the attention since at home my classmates ignored the foreign exchange students. My friends were mainly interested in fast cars, clothes, beer and sex.
I felt bad for those students because they were far from home and must have been lonely not realizing that one day I'd be one of them. But here I faced the opposite problem.