The Tales of My Partly International Roommate

By Matthew Payton

Let me start off by saying my title is a partial fabrication. Technically, my roommate Daniel barely falls into the international student category; he was born in America and has lived here for almost half his life. More specifically, Daniel grew up in beautiful Simi Valley, CA, but he moved to Shanghai when he was 9 and stayed there until the ripe age of 18. Daniel is half white and half Japanese, so he already knew the struggles of not looking like everyone else. This was nothing  though compared to the culture shock he would receive in Shanghai, a place halfway across the world where absolutely no one looked like him. However, the surprising realization to which he eventually came was that those 9 years in Shanghai were the greatest of his life (besides living with me, of course).

This fall semester he is back in Shanghai, experiencing an amazing internship at the prestigious Deloitte Consulting Firm. Anyone would be ecstatic to be employed at this high-profiled company, but Daniel is more focused on the happiness of being back in a little place he likes to call home. I messaged him during his first week of the internship and he talked my ear off about how much he loves being in Shanghai. Only a couple days in, he had already bought seven knock-off but well-made items and had indulged in endless amounts of Yangchun noodles and Sheng Jian.

“And what about the job??” I asked, expecting more gloating about the amazing life he now has.

To my surprise, he explained how much he dislikes it and how it is completely draining. This was eye-opening to me. From his overpowering joy, I thought for sure he was having a great time at his internship. It was then that I realized the power of a person’s home.

Though hating his job, his surroundings inject him with so much positivity that all the negative aspects of his new life just slide right off his back. He doesn’t care about the routine 9am to 5pm at his internship at Deloitte or even the lack of Facebook, Snapchat, or any social media in all of China. Since we were chatting through text, I could not hear the inflection of his voice or see the expression of his face, but I could tell the utter joy he was experiencing in Shanghai. The passion he has for this city across the world has convinced me to one day visit so that I too can experience its powerful glory.

Featured image from Needpix

Matthew is a senior majoring in economics, with a minor in accounting. He was born and raised in Pasadena and has lived in Southern California all of his life. Matthew hopes to be an economic consultant, investment banker, or just anything that pertains to money. He is a certified basketball referee, an avid admirer of 90’s R&B love songs, loves to write poetry, and is obsessed with anything dealing with the Walking Dead. He also has a passion for sports particularly football and basketball, and loves eating Mexican food and will go on crazy adventures with his friends looking for amazing new taco trucks in the area.