Torontonians’ warmth inspires foreign student

Toronto Inspires when kindness abounds.

Story by Fangying Liao, a foreign student who when studying in Toronto goes by her English name Doris.

Fangying and friends visiting Toronto to study English

Fangying (right) and friends visiting Toronto to study English

I stayed in Toronto for 4 weeks in August, 2013 to attend a summer session at U of T. If you asked me what was the most special experience during my one-month stay, I would answer that it was the strangers who warmed me anytime, everywhere.

My first experience happened during my flight transfer in Vancouver. It was 11 p.m. when I landed at the airport, waiting for another plane to take me to Toronto. I was feeling crazy over the delayed flight, thinking that my life could not be worse. Then an overturned orange juice proved that my life could get even worse. You know like when a shabby house is loaded with a huge amount of things, and adding a straw can make it collapse. In the lounge, there was only one old lady. She walked over to me, smiling, and asking, “Do you need some napkins?”. At that moment, my heart was melting. Though I had experienced strangers’ helpfulness for twenty years, she was totally different to me for it was my first time encountering an unfamiliar country, full of unfamiliar language and unfamiliar faces. All of the experiences were different. Her small act of caring meant a lot.

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