I have a crush. On a Japanese girl in my night class.

I really try not to do this, but I am the person who treats someone who can’t speak English fluently like a confused five year old. It doesn’t matter that the person could be 16 or 60; I feel like I have to talk extremely slow and extremely loud and keep my eyes freakishly wide and my eyebrows lifted up over my head in order for them to understand me. Which they won’t, no matter how deliberately I spell out, “DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR MOMMY IS?”

This helps explain why I am smitten. Next week is the last week of one of my classes, and last night we started doing individual presentations. The fourth presenter was a tiny Japanese girl I’d never spoken to and only knew by the simple fact that she often comes in 15 minutes late to class and wears cute J-Crewish outfits. But, oh, how the tardiness was forgiven when she began her PowerPoint presentation with quiet, broken English. First of all, it was about why Americans should start recycling. That speech could have been given by an obese walrus and I would have fallen in love. Not to mention it was so obvious that she had rehearsed this five-minute speech, especially tough words like “the global warming” and “fuel emissions,” a million times. I couldn’t stop my mouth from forming a creepy, motherly smile and I’m pretty sure I started nodding encouragingly at one point. She must think I’m a total spaz.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t want to share something like this because I know it’s completely unfair and infantalizing for her. But I saw the rest of the class internally gushing just as much as I was, and, as decent as her presentation was, it did not merit the overwhelming applause that followed it. The guy sitting next to me (who I believe was half asleep for the first three presentations) clapped so loudly my ears were ringing well into the next speech. Needless to say, I’ve got some competition. We only have two more classes next week, which is not much time to make sure we become BFF forever and ever. I’m already trying to plan my outfit for my presentation on the last day of class. I’m pretty sure the only thing I own from J. Crew is a bridesmaid dress.

I have a funny feeling that “restraining order” might sound the same in Japanese and English.

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