Sophomore year I met a foreign exchange student from China. She sat behind me in English class and I befriended her very quickly. I loved her energy and we got along and helped each other out in class. She would gift me pens, highlighters, candy and snacks from China (HONESTLY THE NICEST PERSON I HAVE EVER MET) Like who shares food in High school?! I remember I asked a kid for one Cheez-it and he scoffed and passed me one with a dirty look on his face. LIKE FUCK it’s one Cheez-it. Most of the foreign exchange students loved sharing food and I high-key admired it.
Her niceness is what made me want to learn about Asian culture and learn Mandarin. I love Asian culture because it’s so different and the Chinese alphabet is so beautiful (its honestly a work of art). But what really sold me on learning about Asian culture was kawaii.
Kawaii is the culture of cuteness in Japan.
Just the whole aesthetic of kawaii makes me happy. Reminds me of shit my friend Gigi and I use to draw in Elementary School .
Not only did I want to learn Mandarin for fun but I also thought it would be great to learn for business purposes. Business in China has been BOOMing and I totally want to do something business related down there. Maybe open my cafe!
If I learn Mandarin then I would know English,Spanish and Mandarin…… like that just might be the best language trio ever. It was perfect because she needed to learn English and I wanted to learn Mandarin, so she introduced me to WeChat and we sent each other an English/Mandarin word a day. We did that for a month or two but school got busy and we stopped. We haven’t spoke in a 2 years but she let me know that if I ever needed a place to stay, I could stay in her home in Beijing.
Life is all about making connections with people because you never know.. they could open up new opportunities for you. *Not going to say her name for privacy reasons but if she’s reading this… I would like to thank you for being so kind and generous. You have inspired me to be kind and generous to others and be open to new connections with people.*
4 years later and I’m now taking learning Mandarin seriously soooo I literally just reached out to her again and hopefully I can plan a trip to Beijing soon!
What language have you always wanted to learn? (✿◠‿◠)