A Spanish major, and now a senior, Japanese Maki has been at the University of Long Island (ULI) for three years. Hoping to catch the hard to catch chairperson, this first Friday of the semester Maki pops into the Foreign Languages office. The department has by now become like a second home.
Waiting, she overhears a girl she has never seen before telling Sonia, the secretary, of her roommate troubles. Shortly after, the girl vanishes into her meeting with the chairperson, and, while she is in with him, Maki quizzes Sonia about her. Satisfied that she seems okay, as she emerges from the chair’s private office Maki greets her:
“Excuse me,” Maki accosted Isabelle. “You want a new roommate? I need one. Mine had to withdraw.”
Maki is one of those students who has well-learned the inner workings of the university. She knows “the game.” Thus she has also developed a nonchalant attitude toward its sometimes petty bureaucracy:
“Housing won’t care,” Maki shrugged knowledgeably. “You’re now one less problem for them,” she added as she led Isabelle to the suite door.
Later, as they chat further, she asks her French new roommate if she would be interested in joining her for a bit of Long Island’s perhaps most popular local pastime:
Maki suggested in her flavorful, Japanese-accented English, “Hey, how about we go to the mall on Sunday?”
Isabelle wondered, “Is that where Sonia got her top she was wearing?”
“Maybe. We’ve been there lots of times.” Pointing down at them, Maki noted, “These shoes? Got them shopping with Sonia in the spring. I’ll drive. We’ll have lunch.”
“You have a car?”
Maki loves Long Island. And she finds life in the US overall much less rigid than back in Japan. She has a variety of school friends of differing backgrounds.
Indeed she has an American long-term boyfriend: Peter. Moreover not only is Maki also uncommonly tall, but her mother is also Korea-born – both contributing to making Maki a decidedly less than typical Japanese. At one point, she surprises Isabelle with her view of her homeland as well:
“Japan is not so nice if you are not all Japanese,” Maki noted. “It is not like here where everyone is different.”
But she can shift gears from serious to humorous, and vice-versa, in seconds:
Maki noticed Isabelle’s history book. “Western Civilization was not my best class,” the Japanese pronounced. “Just before the final, Peter told me, if I’m not sure, just write that Austria lost.”
And she’s a bit of a jokester also….
And that’s not an “April Fool’s….” 🙂