The Japanese Version of This Article is Here
At the end of my high school years (in Japan), I went and stayed in Canada for two weeks by myself. The stay was for only ten days but I studied English at a language school in Vancouver and also visited a university that I was interested in applying to. I was quite nervous because it was my first trip alone; however, I left Japan cheerfully because I was confident with my English which I had been practicing at an English conversation school in Ohtsu, Shiga (大津、滋賀). My mother seemed to be more nervous than me when she saw me off at Kansai International airport (関西国際空港).
This was a strange experience I had during my stay in Canada.
It was my first time staying at a hotel alone but I was very excited about keeping the room all to myself. That night, I ate dinner in my room (I didn’t have enough courage to go into a restaurant by myself and also didn’t know where to go, so I bought a piece of bread…). Then, I put away my clothes in drawers, watched TV, and then suddenly I heard a sound.
Knock, Knock, Knock
Someone was knocking on my door very loudly.
Through the peephole, I could see two big men standing outside my door.
“Excuse me Miss. Please open the door.”
Since they looked like hotel staff or security guards, I opened the door. (With hindsight, I should not have opened it.) They told me that a water pipe broke somewhere due to the cold weather and that water was leaking downstairs. They were checking which room had this broken pipe. I was very impressed with myself being able to understand what they said then. My efforts in practicing English conversation in Japan paid off.
These men (security guards??) entered my room, heard the sound of water running, vigorously smashed a hole in the wall of my room, and checked the pipe.
My room was the origin.
Security guard:”I am really sorry but we need to ask you to move to another room.”
It was already past midnight but I had to put my clothes back into my suitcase and move to another room.
The room they got me was a big suite with a kitchen and a fridge. The size of the room was twice as big as the last one. Also, there were two beds! “A suite” sounded fancy; however, the room was too big for only me and I felt lonelier than ever. It was already past 1 am when I finally fell asleep on my first night in Canada.
My English was not very good at first but my conversation practice at the English conversation school in Ohtsu made it possible to travel to Canada and stay there alone for two weeks. I could even face the challenges described above. At Smith’s School of English Ohtsu, keeping my own experiences in mind, I have been enjoying helping our students improve their English so that they can survive any challenges they might face, enjoy communication with English speakers and make their dreams come true.
Chiharu, Smith’s School of English Ohtsu