I am a paradox, mathematician, graduate student, scholar, gamer, brother, son, grandson, father, cousin, nephew, step-son, entertainer, dungeon master, heterosexual, pink, tutor, teacher, valedictorian, friend, observer, wallflower, misfit of misfits, nontrovert, Christian, dancer, pianist, role-player, correctionalist, officer, leader, peer, encyclopedia, goal post, traveler, thinker, otaku (American), global citizen, but first and foremost, I am a human being.
By definition, a paradox is a contradictory statement. The plethora of examples are too numerous to place here, so a truncated list shall have to suffice. Some of my friends call me “old man,” despite being older than I am. I work hard, but am lazy. I am considered a scientist through my study of mathematics, and yet I don’t believe in science. This last statement is likely to lead to confusion, so allow me to explicate. The way I see it, science is a tool that has gained general acceptance as a means of testing the validity of statements made about the world we experience. It provides a means in which to communicate shared phenomenon. So, to me, it is not something to “believe in” per se. But I digress…
A mathematician is one who lives mathematics, more or less. The expectation is that mathematicians are some of the most logical beings ever. This may be farthest from the truth, for many mathematicians are known for some of the craziest things. “If memory serves me right” there was a mathematician who locked himself in his room for 11 years, refusing to even see his wife, while he worked on a problem. Another story goes that a mathematician known for producing many works was addicted to a drug commonly known as speed. A friend of his told him he was addicted, so they made a bet and he stopped taking it for a day or a week (I forget which) and afterwards his friend asked how he felt. He said mathematics just fell back a whole month. The funniest thing is, even mathematicians don’t know what a mathematician does. And I still hope to be one.
Further on mathematics, most people I come across are impressed I study such a ‘scary’ subject. It is not scary at all. What I think causes people to run away from math is the tedious aspect of it. I agree, it is not always easy to grasp new concepts, but most of the hurdles are just making the necessary observations to see the conclusions that are being drawn. That and how tedious and repetitive the beginning of math is. That is my opinion on the matter at least.
A graduate student is an easy enough label; you just need a Bachelor’s and be in school for the purpose of obtaining either a Master’s or Doctorate. The view of such people are lifeless individuals staring into books every spare moment they have. This is far from true, at least for me. Those who know me tend to wonder when I do my work because it appears to them that I spend most of my time on games and puzzles. They also question my sleep-cycle. I remember back in undergrad, people would ask if I ever slept. The truth is, I spend quite a bit of time working on school work. I also spend a good deal of time puzzling and gaming as well. This implies that I don’t sleep, but I do. So how do I do it? The sad truth is I don’t get much actual human interaction. Most of the observed time, I’m not working. When I’m not observed, I tend to make more progress. This creates an illusion that isn’t too hard to maintain if desired. It is well known that I’ve left the office well past building lock-up time.
A scholar is seen as the epitome of academia. At least for me. A professional student is the modern equivalent. Scholars do little more than learn and teach. I just need to be paid and I’m there. It is a dream from a bygone era. Modern society says they want more scholars, but the truth is that they only want to take the top minds, squeeze them for all they’re worth, and then toss them aside. I enjoy learning very much; it is one of those tasks that can be done by anyone. There is absolutely no reason a person cannot learn. Unless they are dead. Then I couldn’t tell you either way.
I am a gamer. When I say game, I feel like most people assume video games (console, such as PlayStation and Xbox, or pc, aka computer). That is not what I intend for I also include card games and board games. Even puzzles. I also do not consider myself “hardcore” or “professional.” I find it silly that one would practice the same move over and over again on a game just for a tournament. I’ve been able to play at the same skill level as such players without spending hours on it. I’m not very athletic, but I would even play those games. Games are literally my primary human interaction. It is sad, but true. Even more depressing for me is that I’m usually staring at a screen, interacting with people from around the world, never seeing actual people.
The list of familial relationships are self-explanatory for the most part. I must admit that I am not a biological father at this time. However, there was a time when my sister called me daddy. I attribute that to half raising her for the first few years of her life. I was also called daddy by a 1st and 2nd grader on the bus back when I was in 4th grade. It was cute, and it stuck. Also, my brother status extends to a more general definition that includes friends. It is not uncommon for non-blood related individuals to recognize each other as siblings. Such an extended family exists for me. Honestly, I feel like I have a tighter kinship with those friends I call brother and sister than my actual family.
Yes, my parents got divorced and both remarried. It happens. I think the biggest repercussions of that have to be how much larger a family I deal with, and the complications of describing such relations in a foreign language that culturally lacks such a concept. The former has brought many individuals into my life I am thankful for. The latter has just made me twinge on the inside when I have no means of expressing the situation properly other than literally saying “I have two dads and two moms.” That statement is so awkward in English.
I like entertaining people. Entertainment covers a wide spectrum of activities. I play piano, I tell stories, I do stupid things, I act, I dance, I hum/sing. I could tell jokes, but I feel like I’d have to explain at least half of them half of the time. The stage calls me, even when the audience doesn’t. The sensation of having all the attention is amazing, and frightening. It isn’t always easy or fun. I’ve left the stage with my heart tied in a knot. Funny it was my heart, considering most people tend to find the discomfort in their stomach. Speaking of which, I don’t recommend attempting to forcibly laugh for an extended period of time. I almost tossed some bile with such an act that lasted between 3 and 4 minutes. TMI (too much information), but such is life. Or as my friend says in French, ce la vie. I didn’t take French, so I hope my spelling is right.
Dungeon master (DM) is one of my favorites. It is a blend of storytelling and refereeing a game. I play dungeons and dragons and have recently been placed as DM for a relatively large group for the first time this past academic year. Now, the game is designed for a standard group of four player characters, but I’m running a game with about ten players. I normally DM one-session games, so this has been an interesting experience for me. I am proud to have such a supportive group of players willing to explore a world I am still putting together at the table. I usually come with a small idea of what I want done, and then manage to get the players through said idea. Other DMs have their own style. I have to admit, I do enjoy abusing some of my old characters. They lend themselves extremely well to be NPCs (Non-Player Characters). Especially “Old Man” as most of my friends know him as. He literally is the most useless character I have ever had. The problem is he was purposely broken to begin with by multi-classing into almost all the basic classes. His back story is quite intensive, especially now that he has been incorporated into NPC status. He cannot really fight, and he is not optimized for anything. However, he is crazy. His signature move is summoning a fire-breathing squirrel. My friends are usually okay with him. The one that gives the players nightmares is his companion, “Little Girl.” She is considered broken in a different sense. She is easily capable of defeating a level 10 character in a one-on-one match and she is only level one. To put that into perspective, a character should not be fighting baby dragons until level 6 at the earliest. I must stop here on this subject before I ramble along this tangent.
Many people seem to be interested in sex. I would be a heterosexual individual for all intents and purposes. However, I’m closer to nonsexual since I don’t actually partake of such activities. Yes, I am a virgin. I don’t really see the necessity of knowing one’s preferences unless one is actively seeking to engage another in such activities. I am aware there is a difference between one’s sex and gender, but I don’t perceive them making the whole subject matter even trickier. Before anyone says I may not consciously make the connections, but do so subconsciously, let me take a moment to go on a tangent and describe how I view the world. I do not use pronouns unless I have no option. When writing (and speaking), my generic go to term is “they” even in the singular case. My speech pattern lacks specificity (contradicting mathematical needs) and I tend to refer to people as “a friend of mine” in most situations. I do not have a concept of it. When I see a person, my first observation is “human.” That all said, I’d like to return to sex. I’ve seen porn and hentai, which may shock some people. I will never admit it. I find a penis disgusting, and I hate the cultural focus on it. I don’t actually watch porn and hentai to “get off” on it, I usually find myself critiquing it instead for artistic value. And I’m going to stop here with this because, I don’t know about you but it just got really awkward for me.
I am pink. It is funny that I say this since my acne lends somewhat of a more factual aspect to this statement. What I mean by pink is that I am, in politically correct terminology, “caucasian” or white. Looking at my heritage, I have an ancestor that is classified as “native american.” Back in the day, they were called “red” and so I am a mix of red and white. Mixing these colors gives “pink,” which is how I use the term. It is politically correct? Probably not, but I don’t care. That is how I see myself, even if “legally” my “native american” status is non-existent. Technicalities are still technical.
Tutors assist students with their studies. For me, it is my actual job. I am a tutor for the mathematics department. I enjoy helping others, especially when they are trying to help themselves. There are times where it feels like they aren’t trying, and I have had a student I questioned how they not only got into this institution, but how they got into the previous institution they transferred from in the first place. This individual had no idea what a long division symbol even looked like. They came in with a pissy attitude and were quite upset when I told them the calculator could not do the problem at hand. Fortunately, that was the one and only time that person came in. There are some students that get classified as “usuals” for consistently showing up. I enjoy most of them. They appreciate the work we tutors do. There are also some students who act really silly with me. Part of that may come from some of the theatrics I go through, but I think that came about because they seemed to be silly first. Chicken and egg routine.
A teacher is a wonderful thing to be. I teach as a tutor. I teach as a friend. I teach as a fellow player. I teach my brother and my sister. I teach my parents and grandparents. I teach a lot. You know what else goes well with teaching? Learning. Yeah, it is the other side of the coin. They go together. One of my favorite teaching moments was back in high school, math class of ninth grade. We had a substitute teacher, and our actual teacher left notes for us to go over so learning continued. My classmates, most of which were older than me, asked me to teach the class as I was the only one who seemed to understand the notes. That memory shall always stick with me.
I feel like I’m getting a bit of a bragging mood at this point. We all deserve to brag from time to time. However, one should also be humble, and I hope to do this with the explanation I provide here. One of my various accomplishments is graduating as the valedictorian. As proud an achievement as that is, it does not feel so impressive considering the circumstances. I was rank one in my class since the beginning of the GPA (grade point average) calculations. I was not trying to be number one, honest. I recognize that if I was at any other high school in town, I would not have had such luxury. As a matter of fact, my friend, the salutatorian, was number two the whole time and wasn’t trying either. The first person who was even trying was ranked fourth in the class. All I did was I did my work. It was that simple. A fine case that demonstrates this was grades in honors world history class. I had a nearly 100% average in the class until projects came around. I tended to mess up on one aspect of it or another. I still got an A, but the rest of my class had no idea how I did it. They asked me and I said I just read the book. Everything in the class came straight from the book. Then it was a matter of just doing all the tasks asked of us. I was probably the only one who actually read every page assigned to us.
However, this following story is not really humbling, but relative. During calculus, we got tests back and I got a score of 141. Going over the test in class, I noticed the teacher had made a grading error on my test. When I pointed it out, the teacher responded with, “Anonymous, you’re so greedy!” The teacher was teasing, but the class went into an uproar with pleadings for me to share my extra credit. The defense I provided was I needed all the points I earned because I never did my homework for that class. At the end of the third quarter, the teacher talked with us about our grades. When she took me out, she said I got my A, but that I’d have to start doing my homework, otherwise I would not get an A for the fourth quarter. I understood and did all my homework from then on for that class. It still goes to show that in the end, labor is required.
I consider many people my friend. More than I should consider, culturally speaking. I find I get along with many people. It isn’t hard to just talk with a person, even if it starts off really awkward at first. Friend is such a fickle word. Nonetheless I use it often. I like thinking most people are my friend. What other label could I apply? It is also a wonderfully “vaguely specific” term. I quote that phrase because it was an amusing description a former friend gave to my response to a question while playing dungeons and dragons. I say former because they took me aside one day and said they no longer wished to associate with me since they felt I was too immature. That moment hurt immensely, but they had a valid point from their perspective, and I respect the decisions of others.
Moving on, observation is a task that happens naturally for me. The label of observer I gladly accepted from a friend of mine. It fits. I see many things. When I’m with a large group of people, my quiet nature overtakes and I just take in the people around me. I do like contributing from time to time, but I tend not to be heard when I do add my two cents to the penny jar. I spent much of undergrad in neutral, just observing those around me. There were times where I was thoroughly amused and times where I was utterly disgusted by what was happening. One of the unfortunate side-effects of frequently zoning and taking in the surrounding conversation is my lack of blinking combined with a lack of eye movement is commonly mistaken as staring. I actually do blink less frequently than the average person. I call it “gamer eyes” while my dad calls it “sniper eyes.” I actually freaked a friend out this one time in the dining hall. “Anonymous, are you okay? You aren’t blinking.” It was actually kind of sad from my perspective when I said, “No, I’m fine. It’s normal for me to not blink. I just zoned out.” Maybe it is sad to me in retrospect. I actually can’t remember. Memory is also a fickle thing.
I have been called a wallflower. As the previous paragraph states, I naturally observe. I prefer my interactions on a more personable basis. I tend to be quiet. Large groups are not my specialty. However, this is another of those paradoxical matters. How could I perform on stage as a wallflower after all? I may be one of the few who can truly claim to not be socialized, or socially (culturally) backwards. There isn’t a person I have come across that I have failed to dumbfound them in not knowing one thing or another despite my multi-faceted background and variety of interests. There isn’t a person I have come across that I have not made cringe for one reason or another. It happens to be a quirk of mine.
Many people are misfits. I feel like I am the misfit of misfits. The multitude of cultural divisions and subdivisions still don’t quite cover all the ground. One of the prime examples of this is of my intellectual status. When I am with people who would not be classified as “smart” I am top of the list. When I am placed with intelligent human beings, I am the last on the list. This comes to the best oxymoron I have about myself: I am both the smartest dumb person and the dumbest smart person. I find I fit only on the looser definitions, the generalizations, the less rigorist of classifications. When one starts getting into the nitty-gritty details of what it is to be “truly” one label or another, I fail on half the requirements. I don’t even fit with the misfits because I qualify on some basic level for most labels out there. On an equal footing, I see myself a bit like a mime. Not the mute clown mime, but the monster that is commonly referred to as a mimic that has the ability to take the shape of whatever object it wants. There was a time when I would claim that as long as a professional isn’t around, I’m the best at whatever it is. Such a claim is far from valid, but I have come to realize that was a very naive claim to make. But it rings true for all the activities I dabble in as far as I have perceived.
A common dichotomy that has appeared in online discussion is the introvert and extrovert. I am nontroverted. I experience a lot of traits from both classifications. This again supports my paradoxical nature. I want to spend more time with people; I like going out and meeting new people. I actually don’t like how much time I spend alone. I have felt lonely even when amongst a group of friends. I find my preference for smaller groups to be counter to my desire to be outgoing. I enjoy a lot of activities that are done alone, but I also desire to share many of those moments with another. My life seems out of cycle to fit with the cycles of others. As I continue writing, it becomes more and more apparent that the various labels I claim easily and increasingly crossover and reference each other.
I am a Christian. My faith in Christ is unquestionable and between me and God. I do not go to church. I do not recognize “denominations” (it is almost ironic, since a simple switch of letters gives you the word “demon” there). I am not “non-denominational” because I don’t recognize it. What maybe even crazier sounding than the lack of my belief in science despite being a mathematician is that I believe Muslims and Jews believe in the same God I do. They are brethren to me. The Jews are God’s chosen people. Muslims got their message from Muhammad. I got mine from Jesus. It really is that simple. Also, as a stubborn individual, you are not going to change my views. That is my spiel on religion.
Dancing is so much fun! I enjoy the expressive nature, the movement, and the variety. I also like having space to move in. I prefer the high energy work we did in class. I prefer modern over ballet. I tried ballet for a semester. As helpful as it was, I felt it was too structured and not something I could maintain. Repetition is okay, but I just couldn’t “hack it.” If I have the time and space, I can dance to anything. I also loved performing in the dance concerts in undergrad. It helped me a lot. One of the best compliments I ever had was when I was having a moment of frustration and the visiting artist pointed out I was in a class filled with people who had been dancing for a minimum of six years and I was managing with less than two years under my belt. I feel really bad about how I haven’t kept up with being an active dancer. I have a belly now, and I should stop before this diverges into a self-body shaming rant.
Pianos are nice. I am a mostly self-taught pianist. Technically, a keyboardist, but I don’t differentiate. I derive much pleasure in the making of the music. Many people have found my playing pleasurable, unique, and of some quality. I have also had people tell me to stop because it was too depressing or they had a headache. I have fooled around for almost ten years now. I suck. I am barely capable of getting one hand to do something slightly different from the other hand. I could not sit and play straight from sheet music. I have moments of “pianosmashing.” I recently got a smart phone, and used the recording capabilities it has. After listening to some of the recordings, I could only say that it sounded like I have existential issues. Sharing this with a friend, they asked me if I do. I had no response, in which they concluded that I do. That aside, I am thankful for the gift, because there are people who have never seen a piano, much less had the opportunity to play one. I just hope to get a chance to mess around on a pipe organ because those things sound so amazing!
Roleplaying is the amazing ability to engage as a person who is not you. Or an aspect of yourself that you hide because it is truly monstrous in society. Roleplaying is a large part of dungeons and dragons. One of my favorites to do is the idiot. Being dumb as rocks is tiresome though. I can only do it for so long before it gets boring. I also tend to be an absent-minded character or an angry character. My characters tend to come into their own epicness. I have a rogue character who quickly multiclassed into a cleric because of doing the most un-rogue-like thing ever: attacking the boss head on alone. She almost died from the encounter, and had help from the deity of the temple the fight took place in. Another character of mine became the party translator, another common trait for my characters. She also has other quirks, like being a fragment of another plane of existence that shattered. The party was in a room with magic mirrors, and one mirror showed the character a baby version of theirself. Human walks by, they see a baby human. Dwarf walks by, they see a baby dwarf. When my character looked, she saw a universe. Roleplaying does have consequences. Playing an MMO (Massive-Multiplayer Online) game, I have had super awkward experiences playing girl characters. I have been asked if I have a boyfriend, and eventually I have to explain to the poor boy that I’m not interested in him because I’m not homosexual. I’ve been asked why I’m a trap. I do not understand what the big deal is. For starters, it is generally a bad idea to assume anything about the player behind the character to begin with. Further, these are games, not dating sites. I am playing for entertainment, not to be harassed about how I’m playing the wrong character. I witnessed a player rage quit simply on grounds that I admitted that I was not a girl behind the girl character. I have also caused disappointment in girl players as well. “Oh, I see you are a strong independent woman.” That was a statement that came across as a sigh when I rejected a boy. The girl player was only too happy to hear I was independent. Alas, one of my pitfalls for being such an honest person was to break her heart as well as his. She had come to see me as a sister in a sense. The situations tend to be very awkward. She reconciled with the fact that I am a boy playing a girl and we are still good friends.
Being a correctionalist is a pain in the butt. I was raised on being correct. Nothing else mattered when it came to school work. The only positive of being correctionalist is that I am very honest with everything. However, I end up in plenty of dumb arguments due to this trait. It is happenstance that I have made correct statements for a majority of my meager lifespan. It has given me good grades in most of my classes and it has prevented me from making a lot of dumb remarks. It hasn’t kept me from the wrath of some people, however. It also makes answering daily questions such as “how are you?” such a task for me. For a while I managed to reply consistently with “I’m alive.” In the end though, it is an unpleasant trait to have in my opinion. Being compelled to be correct all the time is problematic. It makes being wrong that much harder to accept, that much more embarrassing, that much more complicated.
Officers are very helpful people. I hold this title in a guild in the MMO I was talking about earlier. The responsibilities it holds can be wearisome, but I enjoy the recognition as a devoted individual. I may not be the best person for the job, but I have earned it. Not every guild is as rigorously defined in structure as ours is, and becoming an officer in our guild, while not the most difficult of tasks, does require some degree of compatibility. I have also been an officer in other organizations; I only mention the MMO status because that is the title of the position. My experience as an officer is typically in the capacity of Vice President, but I have had other titles as well, including secretary, co-president, guildmaster, co-founder, and even junior executive. Junior executive happens to be a position I carved out for myself in my high school anime club, a group I kind of took over with the variety of anime I brought in to watch. Being informative and passionate are great traits, but I have been part of organizations that fell apart as well. Not pleasant to see a group go by the wayside.
Leading is not my specialty. Just ask those who worked under me when I was master electrician for a show. I have not had much success with getting an organization on campus to maintain itself, either. As the DM of a group, my players are willing to follow with many of my ideas. I am also a handy assistant to a leader. I did manage a small task force for some important construction work. I have brought people together who normally would not have met. As a tutor and teacher I have lead minds through many tasks. I have gotten people together to have a good time. “I don’t always lead, but when I do…” No, I’m not the most interesting man in the world. Far from it, I find my daily life to be quite pathetic.
A peer is self-explanatory. I have a strong academic footing easily recognized by my fellows. We help each other out through those beyond difficult assignments. We share and exchange ideas. We respect each other. It is simple. And we have gone out drinking a few times. I don’t drink often.
An encyclopedia may be an artifact lost on the generation(s) after mine. When going through grade school, I remember learning how to start my research from an encyclopedia. The series of thick texts that held a variety of knowledge on a multitude of subjects still stands on the bookshelf at home. I still hope to read that from end to end one of these days. The modern equivalent is Wikipedia, the source that is not allowed to be cited, and yet is the go to for starting any research. I am a walking encyclopedia of sorts from the multitude of knowledge that I have kept in my head. Even now, a friend will ask me about something, and I will usually have some information that is pertinent. There have been moments where I feel it is odd the friend is asking me to provide the details. There was a moment when a friend said they were a bunny, and another friend asked me to explain why being a bunny was questionable. I have no idea why I was asked to do so, but I answered. It was kind of awkward. Many things are awkward from my perspective…almost too many…
I am a goal post for others. I have no idea why I am the record to beat. It is nice to know there are people who think highly of me. I hope I’m not too easy of a goal to beat. I just have been used as a point of reference rather frequently. I do feel a bit empowered by it. At the same time, it makes me sad because I know I am not the best person to be comparing to. I know my flaws. I am smart, but I don’t always do my homework, ergo not the best student. I must have done something impressively impressionable to deserve such attention, and I hope that I am truly worthy of it. Being a role model is possibly a better label, but that doesn’t work as well when it is your peers comparing their grades to yours. A little competition is nice, but it does make me a little flustered.
A traveler am I, until I die, I shall meet the world with mine eye. I have been up and down the east coast. I have seen much to boast. To far Japan I went, and still I was on the east coast. Through books other worlds I have been, through books, and shows, and games. Even to a theater with no shames. I like to meet people, mix cultures, and see sights. Even when the weather bites. I hope this bit of rhyme is seen in good time. Okay, I’ll stop now. But seriously, I have had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan, and I was still on the east coast there. I enjoy riding in a car for several hours, watching the changing landscape. Or unchanging landscape. I find new places to be invigorating. Hiking up a mountain, taking a train to miles away, or just walking down a street to check out a tea shop. Traveling is fun, even if it is tedious to plan out. The hardest part is that most of my traveling is on foot unless somebody can give me a lift. And I don’t like asking.
I am a thinker. I have thought about all these things many times before. I spend a great deal of time thinking. It is what keeps me up late at night when I try to sleep. I am into mathematics more for the thinking than anything else, really. I think and think and think…I’ve been told I think too much. A person I see as the closest thing to an official mentor in my life once took me aside and said “Now I’m going to ask you a question, and you are not going to think about it. You are going to respond within less than 5 seconds.” I said okay. “How are you?” Maybe one second goes by before I’m derailed, “There you go again! You’ve got that look on your face! You’re thinking too much. You got to stop thinking so much. I know it is what you do, but you shouldn’t take that long to respond!” Honestly, I was about to stutter an “I’m good.” but my thinking face beat me to it. Ah, such moments I miss greatly. I still have issues formulating the words that I want to employ. But thinking is what I truly want to be paid for.
The term “otaku” originates from Japan and has a negative connotation in its land of origin. I happen to fit several characteristics of the original meaning of the word. However, I disagree with the negative connotation, so I take on the Americanized definition of it. It is more appealing than the equivalent term, “fan boy.” I still don’t fit the bill, though. I could not give precise quotes, providing the episode name and number of the series from which it comes. I do enjoy making references, such as my quote in the paragraph on mathematicians. Those who have seen the original “Iron Chef” series should recognize it. I enjoy anime a lot. The recent cosplay culture is something I do not find appealing. It is an art form that should not have a professional status in my opinion, but who am I to make such a call? I have my voluminous collections of manga, spent many an hour watching anime, and spent just as many if not more time on games of various sorts. I studied Japanese and went to Japan (and even took a class on anime while over there!). However, I interact with people (or I at least try to). I am not beyond reading a normal book. I am not a sick hentai freak. I am not a sociopath. I know reality. I am a contributing member of society. I am getting my education at the very least.
I come at last to what may be the hardest label to describe. After all, we all physically live on the same planet (for now). However, a vast majority of people do not travel far from their place of birth. I clearly am not such an individual. Traveling outside of one’s own country is spectacular! However, there is more than just travel. There is a cultural acknowledgement and respect that is necessitated. Knowing about various European cultures is still not enough. Having friends from around the world has helped me see how varied people can be. I didn’t experience culture shock, in either direction. I do find some observations I have made amusing. For example, American janitors are required to announce their intent to clean the restroom to make sure nobody is in there. In Japan, the janitors will go in and clean regardless of if it is occupied or not. A friend of mine from Russia enjoys “In Soviet Russia” jokes as much as we do. I heard those jokes coming from my Argentinian friend and a bloke from England. My friend from Portugal that I met in Japan was really cool and a good cook too. I’m not saying French people are bad in general, but a vast majority of my experience with them has been less than pleasant. But I did meet somebody from France who was a pleasure. Being a global citizen has more to do with perspective then anything. I applauded the Chinese for the amazing opening ceremony they had for the Olympics a few years ago. While in Japan, my speaking partner took me to a German Christmas market in Osaka. I never thought I would have the opportunity to use my German in real life to assist some lost travelers.
I am not a linguist by the way. A friend thought I was because I was learning a third foreign language at the time. I am hardly proficient with them for more than bare bone survival and cultural understanding. One thing I still don’t have down is this thing called formalities. I also have little concept of time. I mean I understand it, but I have a tendency to be too early my magnitudes of culturally unacceptable measures. A Japanese student said I should be called Mr. Patient because I was willing to wait for over an hour to assist another student in setting up a Facebook account. I have sat in a park waiting for a friend for almost three hours before because I had nothing else to do. I have been given various titles that I carry proudly, and there are other names given I refuse to acknowledge. I know I am not alone in the variety of sensations I have experienced because we’re human after all. It is my hope that this is enlightening and thought provoking. I also hope it isn’t too laborious a text, as my essence is in these words, and I wouldn’t share these under normal circumstances.
What is The Human Experience? It is the validity in your story and the story of 7,000,000,000 other people in this world. How do you put a label on being human? You don’t. You open your heart and listen. This is the foundation of our publication, The Human Experience, and we want to hear your story. Join us in spreading the diversity of the human experience with the world by sharing your story.