I met a girl on a bus. We were seated on the first seat facing the stairs. Glancing at her, I thought she was from Japan, but void of physical and linguistic evidence. I just insisted in my head: hmm… she ought to be Japanese.
She’s far from me; a child could literally fill the space between us. So, summoning a possibility for a chat, I asked her to move closer. She did.
I knew she was foreign – in all the good ways. She knew I was Filipino. Good guess. She’s been here for 10 months, and she’ll be filling up the 2 years to finish her Master’s. She taught me her country has three seasons. Their given names, I learned, are usually three characters. But two, I confirmed, is okay (I didn’t ask the case with their surnames, though).
She’s lean and bespectacled. Smiling and confident, I told her she must be living in quite a small country (Myanmar, I was reminded, is twice the land area of the Philippines).
I learned it’s best to ask questions. And genuinely put an effort to listen with full attention.