Be me


When I studied in New York City, someone used to say, “Even if you wear your pajamas to walk on the street, New Yorkers won’t feel strange and might regard it as a fashion the next day.”


In the beginning, I thought it’s an exaggeration because the fashion business in New York City draws a lot of attention from the whole wide world. That could be why life here is gilded with unrealistic fantasy. 


However, after I got more familiar with local people here, I learned that their confidence may be the reason to show that they are so comfortable with being who they are, even in pajamas.

ニューヨークに留学していた頃、”パジャマで街を歩いても、ニューヨーカーは違和感を感じないし、翌日にはファッションとして見てくれるかもしれない “とある人が私に言っていた。






The next day after I moved into the student dormitory, I met Lisa, looking like a Latino, for the first time at the front desk working in my student dormitory. Lisa lifted up her head from her book when I walked into the lobby. I was shocked to see her face like the abstract painted by Pablo Picasso: one of her eyes was bulging, the other eye squinted, and her facial muscle drooped. I felt shocked and didn’t know how to react. She didn’t seem to smile or maybe she couldn’t move her facial muscles to smile. I didn’t speak much English at that time, so I felt more terrified like a kid doing something wrong, standing in front of her.




Everyday I walked by the frontdesk, starting to say “Hi and Bye” to her, trying to be polite. After a few times I needed to ask her about the things in the building, I became more comfortable to chat with her about what books she was reading or liked to read. I seemed to sense her gentle smile from within even though I didn’t see her moving her lips. 



In the second year of graduate school, I worked part time in the computer lab in my department. My supervisor Shannon is an African American. She often spoke in a loud and rude tone. Her eyes and nostrils seemed to open wide when she shouted at the top of her lungs. Her eyebrow was like the angry bird cartoon. You can imagine I was a typical timid Asian and was terrified by her sharp personality when I first met her. 



After a few months working with her, she often told jokes with a loud laughter or humorously teasing her husband. When she knew that my parents were coming to attend my graduation ceremony in summer, she bought two extra tickets for my parents when she treated all her employees with a boat cruise in NYC.


In this city of diversity, I learned that each person has his or her story and unique personality no matter where they are from. Therefore, when I don’t judge people by appearance or assumption, but take time to enjoy and appreciate them in heartfelt relationships, strangely, I seem to gain confidence to be myself too.