Trina, met.

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”

I met someone on the bus ride back from Westminster to Oakland today. She introduced herself a short time after we were on our way and we started talking.

Her name is Trina and she’s from Newport Beach. She’s a first year student intending to major in business at University of San Francisco. She recently turned 19 years old and is full Vietnamese. She’s 5’7″ tall and effectively used that height advantage to run cross-country distance events in high school.

She chose to go to school in northern California because she wanted to venture out of the SoCal bubble. She felt that many people, Asians in particular, enjoy the comfort in staying within limited communities – she on the other hand wanted to experience more of the outer world. She’s still getting used to the weather in the Bay Area, but she likes the people and the environment. She did get unlucky with housing in the dorms though; she lives in the smallest and oldest building.

She’s taking four classes this first semester –  an English class, a business class, a public speaking course, and a math class. Like everyone else I know, she wasn’t too productive in terms of school work this weekend and made it up on the bus by reading two articles on her iPad. She was hoping to do research on a speech she had to make regarding Asians, but the WiFi wasn’t working on the bus (it never does).

She’s been out of the country a couple times: to Europe with her junior high school and to Canada last spring break. We both agreed that Canada was perceptively safer relative to the US, and Vancouver had unequivocal beauty. She’s also been to DC before – it made me anticipate my spring break and subsequent summer even more.

She has two half brothers, Paul and Patrick at ages 25 and 27, respectively. The older one is a doctor who lives in Tennessee. The rest of her family, except perhaps one, lives in California.

Trina procrastinates when it comes to last minute packing. She ended up sleeping at 3:00am as a result, and was a bit exhausted on the bus ride. For those accustomed to NorCal lingo, she was “hella tired.”

Ready for the best part? She consciously eats healthy and makes an effort to exercise. Her friends and even family members tease her for trying to impose that lifestyle onto them. Whereas others are engulfing white breads, rice, and pastas, she on the other hand chooses the whole wheat, brown, and nutritious counterparts. Whereas her friends eat the oily, fatty, malnutritious foods in the dining commons, she avoids the freshman 15 and maintains discipline.

She’s an interesting person and I enjoyed her company – I got lucky this time compared to sitting by the woman who muttered an aggregate of <50 words in our 10 hour ride together.

Trina has been met, but I still wonder… how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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