But then a strange thing happened: We met. And we talked. And we shared the epic tales of our pasts – of our victories and losses; of our nervous habits and favorite movies; of Guangzhou (pronounced “gwong-joe”) and Torrance. And how strange, how unexpected – we found that we truly liked each other! Needless to say, I feel completely ignoble now over my earlier mistaken assumptions. Because maybe she isn’t a religious follower of Vogue. And maybe she wasn’t the captain of a cheer team. But how many people can say their roommate is fluent in four languages? Or that their roommate comes from halfway around the world? Or that they shared in their roommate’s first experiences with assorted new American customs? One of my favorite “firsts” we experienced together was our trip to an amusement park. She had never been on a roller coaster and, at first, she refused to change that fact. But, with a little persuasion and reassurance, I finally coaxed her into “taking the plunge.” So to speak. After an hour of nearly unbearable, nerve- and anxiety-ridden waiting, we reached the boarding point. Once strapped in, I grabbed her hand and squeezed it in a gesture of support; she refused to let go. Heart palpitating and fist clutched firmly to the bar, stomach knotting more with each clink, clink, clink of the cart, I could sense the precipice was soon to be reached. I turned my head to the right – I could see the denim-hued dusk sky, vast trees and rolling hills, and my roommate’s eyes, firmly shut in a refusal to witness the insanity of what was about to happen. We reached the apex. The gut-wrenching, logic-defying drop was inevitable. In the moments following – the moments we were suspended in midair, hands clasped tightly together – I was overcome with a feeling of joy that my roommate was who she was, and not any fashion guru from Manhattan or the Champs Elysees. Sure, we are from completely different worlds. But it has been because of our differences that our relationship has become such an eye-opening adventure. Patti Sponaugle is a Torrance High School graduate writing about her freshman year at Kenyon College. She can be reached at email@example.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“You mean call China? Yeah. Right. What would we even talk about?” The day I found out my roommate was from China, I was pretty surprised. Of course, I have friends from every ethnic background imaginable, so it wasn’t like I was opposed to sharing my living space with an international student. It’s just that for the longest time, I had a fixed idea of what college should be, and having a roommate from the Asian mainland was definitely not part of those plans. For me, college meant daily intellectual conversations over Kafka and Socrates, followed by parties with live bands and free-flowing drinks. Most importantly, it meant having a roommate from somewhere fashionable, like New York or even Paris, to show me the ropes so I could become the charming and popular sophisticate that every college girl naturally should be. Or so I thought. It seemed to me, at the time, that having a roommate from China was the same as being sentenced to the opposite of all of my previous aspirations. I eagerly ripped open the envelope and withdrew the contents. Papers were thrown asunder; I vigorously paced the room – searching, searching. Then there was a pause. “Gwang-joo? Gong-joe? How do you even pronounce that? Gwain-choo?” I asked with breathless incredulity. “Well, why don’t you call her and ask?” my mom offered.