Tea & Sympathy


This area in the northwest section of the city is characterized by a large number of Korean-owned businesses, serving a primarily Korean community despite signs which simply label this as the "Asian Trade District." The streets are clean, the storefronts barely containing any English to them at all. Several of the more prominent businesses in the area do have English signs, but they are always below those that name the establishment in Korean. Restaurants, cafes, noraebang bars, grocery stores, and gift shops are among the businesses found here.

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Koreatown is vibrant, active, noisy and frenetic. The streets are full, the people boisterous, the atmosphere hectic, filled with tourists as well as those who live and work in the local area. But sometimes there is quiet to be found, a bastion of quiet and calm. One such place is the storefront of Miyaka Nakamura, seller of decorative items and knick knacks. A small shop, a little off the path, but warm and inviting. Peaceful. On most days. Today … not so much. The elder woman's voice is bright, filled with laughter, as she wanders back over to the young woman set up at one of the tables. "People will not be buying a scroll with goat written on it, girl. You have forgotten again."

Xiu Mei looks down, a frown on her face as she lifts the brush away from white paper. "I forgot the sweep again, didn't I?" See? This is what happens when you ask a Chinese girl to help you paint Japanese Kanji. "Maybe someone might like to have a scroll that says goat. We could sell them as astrology decorations." Miyaka, for her part, just laughs, "Come, come, you try again." A fresh piece of paper and a refill of the ink. "Sweep, not tic."


Mia finds herself immersed in the jumble of Asian markets, noodle stands, small shops and people or all races. It reminds her a great deal of Chinatown in San Francisco, but a little newer and not quite as large. Still there are the requisite antique stores, Oriental import emporiums and tons of small, individually owned and operated stores which sell everything from dried fish to rare jade. It's a shopper's paradise, and Mia loves going there. True, it's called "Koreatown," but the other Asian countries are more than equally represented.

It's to one particular shop Mia heads. Run by a distant cousin, the store sells all kinds of decorative items for the home. Mia doesn't care much for elaborate screens, or carved teak furniture, but she does like Japanese watercolors, especially those of lilacs, wisteria or irises. So, today she makes the trek to find Nakamura Miyaka's small shop in hopes of finding a treasure.

When she enters, she sees the Miyaka with a younger woman, the ink and brush of a calligrapher's trade on the table. "Komban-wa, Miyaka'san," she says, greeting the older woman in her own language and with a proper bow. "How are you?" Switching to English now, which Mia speaks better than Japanese. "I hope the day has been a prosperous one for you."


Miyaka, having set Xiu Mei to her task, has since returned to puttering around her little shop, rearranging items for sale, and pulling things out of boxes recently arrived from Taiwan. Such a diligent worker, her son. Always sending her new things. She's elbows deep in packing straw, when she hears the greeting, and the familiar voice, her face alight with a smile as she turns to greet the newly arrived young woman, "Mia'san, hello!" Miyaka does love to use her English, yes she does, "You have come to visit. I am well. The shop is well. Come, come, you must have some food." She digs her hands out of the box, waving the young woman inside.

Xiu Mei is still hard at work, clearly needing to focus on writing a foreign language rather than her own. It really is surprising, as skilled as she is with numbers, and problems and connecting point A to point B, how tough that can be, when you have to shift into a different gear. But she does lift the brush away, looking over towards the woman who's just arrived, offering a polite smile, but clearly not wanting to interrupt the two women meeting.


"Oh, no … I just ate at Happy Noodle," Mia protests, gesturing to one of the small yakatori stands not far away. "I'm stuffed full of chicken and noodles," she tells Miyaka. "But I'd love some tea," Mia adds, knowing to refuse everything would insult the older woman. "I've come to see if you have a Japanese watercolor of hyacinths. Hiyashinsu, Mia repeats in Japanese. "I need one to complete the decor in my apartment."

Mia can't help but notice the younger woman seated at the table doing Japanese kanji. "Miyaka'san, who are you coercing into doing kanji?" she asks, her tone teasing. Personally, Mia has never mastered Japanese calligraphy, though two of her older brothers tried to help her. It was just not her forte. She moves closer, peering over the girl's shoulder. "What are you trying to write, if I may ask? I don't read kanji." She smiles at the other girl, but it's the reserved, polite smile of one stranger to the other.


"You must eat more. The wind will blow…" Miyaka tsks, though, as she heads back to the door at the back of the store, back into the private area, "Foof, you blow away." But she does seem to be at least doing as Mia asks. But such is family, and older female family, always trying to fatten up the younger generation. "I see what we have after I come back. Xiu Mei will be your company."

Xui Mei, for her part, only seems amused. Clearly, this is not a situation she's unfamiliar with. Once again, she sets aside the brush, as she sees Mia walk over. "I'm supposed to be writing 'Good Fortune, Happiness, Long Life and Prosperity.'" She reaches over for a pile, well, a small pile, but still a pile, "Not all at the same time, of course." She seems to be working on scrolls to be framed for decorative arts. "Miyaka seems to think I can do it. Only I don't read kanji either, well, not her kanji, in fact, I don't even speak Japanese." Which is not unusual. Although Chinese and Japanese both use a form of kanji, none of the words really translate, even when the kanji to untrained eyes, looks very similar.

She flips through the list, showing the perfect drawn letters, tapping a finger on one, "Apparently, I called someone an ugly sister." She does, once she places the brush back into the well, offer her hand, "Sun Xiu Mei."


"Thank you, Miyaka'san." Truly Mia knows this ritual. It happens every time she comes to the shop, which is at least once or twice a month. She likes the older woman, but doesn't need 'fattening up.' Nor does she need a husband; Miyaka keeps telling her about this or that young, wealthy bachelor, but Mia puts her off. "I'm glad the shop's doing well. I've told a few of my co-workers about it, and suggested they come check it out. You do have some really unique things."

To Xiu Mei, she says, "Mia Nakamura — or, if you to be formal, Nakamura Mia Yukiko." Mia accepts the offered hand, not even stopping to look for ink stains. "It looks fine to me," she adds, watching Xiu Mei flip through the pile of papers. "Most people won't know what it says anyway. You could write 'Stupid Dork' on a scroll, and they'd think it was a work of art."

She laughs, sitting down in one of the chairs. "Does Miyaka try to fatten you up, too? Or keep mentioning you need a husband?" she asks, shaking her head. "I've given up telling her I'm not interested."


"You see? That's exactly what I've been trying to tell her. Most of the people who come in here, even locals, they won't know. Heck, I wouldn't know, if she didn't come by to see what new atrocity I put down on paper. I've been asking her to do some in things other than Japanese, I can write in four different languages, not including English, but she hasn't come around to my way of thinking yet. But I'm wearing her down." A quick smile flashes across Xiu Mei's features. "But it is nice to meet you, Mia."

Thankfully, Miyaka is still bustling around in the back, but the scene of jasmine tea is a subtle thing, as it wafts out from the back room, "Oh, goodness yes. Actually, she keeps insisting I go out to lunch with Aito, do you know him? He's her son, lives in town. I keep telling her I would love to, only I'd have to ask his boyfriend first. I don't think she quite understands."

Still, Miyaka is soon returning, carrying out a tray of tea complete with four cups, an extra for unexpected friends, as she always likes to do, "Come, come, have something. Very hot today." She does give Mia a piercing look, "You are not working very hard at your work? You are happy?"


"Why don't you just write some of them anyway? If they sell, Miyaka's not going to complain." Mia laughs softly, knowing her cousin all too well. "Do you do any other kind of calligraphy? Chinese, perhaps?" She taps her finger on the table a moment, then says, "A lot of people would eat that right up, you know? Tourists, especially. You could write 'Dallas, Texas. July 2010,' and I think they'd sell."

Both girls can commiserate over Miyaka's matchmaking schemes. "I know him, and I've met his significant other, as well. Very nice … men." There's just a slight hesitation before the "men." Mia's eyes dance with humor. "I went to the movies with them. Miyaka set it up. Asked me to bring along a friend for Aito's friend. I had no clue about their relationship at that time. It was so embarrassing." Mia shakes her head, smiling. "Now, I just nod and smile. Aito's a nice guy, but— " She shrugs.

And then Miyaka's joining them. Mia nods to her cousin, helping Xiu Mei move the completed scrolls out of the way. "The tea smells wonderful, Miyaka'san," Mia says, sniffing the air. "Jasmine's my favorite tea. You remembered. Arigato." Then comes the interrogation. "Oh, but I am working very hard at my job. We have a new exhibition opening on the first, so everything's all rushed at the last minute." A pause. "Happy? — of course I'm happy, Miyaka'san. I have a good job, enough to eat, and family near. Who could ask for more?"


"Well, I don't know how to say anything in Japanese, except what she tells me. I'd have to have someone else show me, like she does. And she goes over everything. But I might. We have a large population here, so varied. Especially the Thai, I think, would go over well. Maybe the Vietnamese, though they aren't so fond of calligraphy. But the Chinese I could definitely do. I will buy some paper and see what I can do. She does like to make a good profit."

And that has everything to do with wanting to support her family, and not at all to do with just wanting money. Miyaka might be a business woman, but she isn't cutthroat … much.

"I know, he was terribly embarrassed, the first time she had him over when I was here. But he's very happy, and I do like his company, but yeah. It's not really going to work out. Sometimes, though, we go out, say goodbye to Miyaka, and then we go off and do our own thing once we're out of eye sight." Tricky, tricky. "Oh, let me help with that." Xiu Mei, with Mia's help, clears away the paper, leaving out so that it can dry, the good ones at least.

"Doitashi mashite. I always remember, Mia'san. You are like your father." And then, the older woman is quiet, giving Mia a piercing look, as the young woman defends her work and her current state of health. "I worry you work too hard. Not have enough fun." But Miyaka is a multi-tasker and she can serve tea and busybody with the best of them, "I do not have milk." That said with a pointed look towards Xui Mei.


There's a gentle smile aimed toward Miyaka, a fond smile. Not many get that from Mia. Certainly not all of her family. Her brothers, perhaps, but not her father. He's grown too much like her grandfather, and that's not a good thing in Mia's eyes. "Don't worry about me, Miyaka'san. I do have fun. I just don't talk about it, is all." She gives the older woman a nod of thanks when the tea is served. "I'm happy to see you, as always. It's good to see you doing so well."

What Xiu Mei said about Aito is not commented upon now that Miyaka is at the table. Instead, Mia focuses on the girl's remarks about calligraphy. "Xiu Mei and I were talking just now. She's having some trouble with the Japanese calligraphy, but there are lots of Asian folks around here. Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese. I think you should do some scrolls up in Chinese, since most of your stock comes from Taiwan. Chinese calligraphy should sell as well as Japanese. Most Americans aren't going to be able to tell the difference."


"Yes, and you are very like your mother." Reserved, but not in the American way. Miyaka, however, unlike most of Mia's Japanese family, quite likes Shelby Nakamura. But then, despite her traditional Japanese ways, Miyaka very much enjoys being 'American'. Of course, the fact that she spent most of her life before America, not in Japan, but in Taiwan might have something to do with that. "I like to hear stories about your days." Miyaka, making certain that the two younger women are settled, excuses herself before wandering off to see to a small group of customers who have come in. Before she goes, she points to the papers, "Write for me. Then we will see." The fact that Mia's suggestion succeeds where Xiu Mei's has failed, says something about how much the older woman dotes on her much younger cousin.

"Of course, Miyaka." Xiu Mei doesn't turn to her tea, but instead, retrieves some of the papers, "You must have the Midas touch. I won't lie." Again, that quick smile, "So what do you do then? You said something about starting a new exhibition? You work at a museum? That sounds rather exciting." A paper is set out, and Xiu Mei picks back up the brush, the strokes looking quite like Japanese, but clearly not having direction, they must be Chinese.


"When you come back, I'll tell you about the dignitaries we had come through the other day, then," Mia promises. She knows Miyaka loves hearing stories — and gossip — from her family and friends. Problem is, Mia rarely has any juicy tidbits to tell her cousin. "She's a sweet person at heart," Mia says, sipping the fragrant tea. "She's really the only family I have who accepts me for what I am." This seems important to Mia. "My four older brothers could do no wrong. I, on the other hand, could do no right — at least to the Japanese side. My mother and maternal grandmother, on the other hand— "

Mia stops, as if she realizes she's talking about her family to a virtual stranger. "I'm sorry. I'm not usually so … gabby." A pause. "Must be Miyaka'san rubbing off on me." She laughs at her joke, then says, "Exciting? — not really. I love the research, and getting to help set up the displays, but it can be boring, too. I work down in Dealey Plaza, the 6th Floor Museum," Mia finally says. "You know, where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963? They turned the entire 6th and 7th floor into a museum about it," she explains. "Ever been there?"


"Yes she is. She took me in as soon as she met me. I think she has a sixth sense for people who need a friend." Not that XIu Mei necessarily seems to, but then, neither does Mia. Looks are sometimes deceiving, "I can imagine how difficult it is. Being hapa." She uses the polite Hawaiian term, one that's used rather a lot in San Francisco, and through most of California where there are a rather large number of Polynesian communities. "I am not. Both of my parents are Chinese, but we grew up in Laos, and I remember not always being accepted, because of what race I was, even though I never knew anything but being Laotian. I had to learn the Chinese culture from my parents. But there were people I grew up and lived with that would never give me a chance, because of what my parents were."

"Oh, I don't mind. I suppose Miyaka and I have that in common. I love to learn about new people and new places. See how other people view the world. The experiences they've had." For Xiu Mei's part, she doesn't sound like anything but an American, despite stating that she grew up in SE Asia. "I don't imagine it's anymore boring than what I do. I'm a cryptologist. Try getting anyone to believe that can be fun and exciting. But it can be. And no, I haven't. I only moved to Dallas a few months ago. I haven't really been to many places."


Mia nods, understanding fully what Xiu Mei means. "I didn't really find acceptance until I was in college. There it was all right to sit in your room and study, or research online. No one thought I was weird, or strange for wanting a career instead of marriage." She takes a sip of her tea, glancing over to where Miyaka is happily gossiping with her customers. When she looks back at her companion, Mia again nods. "They call me hafu, too, which just means half and is better than some things I was called while growing up."

One shoulder lifts. "It was mostly my father's parents who treated me as second best. Grandfather was very traditional, despite being born and raised in the States. Aunt Yukiko — that's my father's oldest sister — said their father changed after they were incarcerated during WWII. I guess I can see why that would change anyone. It must've been horrible. We visited one of the interment camps that's been restored, and it was like looking at Auschwitz."

"Ah. Welcome to Dallas, then. I've only been here three years, myself. I know where most things are, but I still get lost. They're always re-working the interstates Gets confusing." She sips tea again, casually watching Xiu Mei working. "If you ever come to the museum, ask for me. I'll give you the VIP tour." She grins, and begins to loosen up a little. "Miyaka'san is a good person to know. She'll never let you down. My grandmother told me to find her when I got to Dallas. She's been a real friend."


"I didn't either. When we first came, I was in high school, and my accent was quite thick. It was surprising, you know, living in San Francisco. People are supposed to be so open there and welcoming, but it was difficult. People assuming I was stupid, or talking about me when I was standing right there, as if they thought I couldn't understand their English. My parents finally sent me to speech therapy, to get rid of my accent. My parents still get it, even after living here for so long."

Xiu Mei finishes with the scroll she was working on, setting it aside to dry, before she picks up her tea, sipping carefully, "I have only seen pictures, but I can imagine it must have been terrible. Being forced to leave your homes, your lives, being made to feel like criminals. To have your freedoms taken away, in a country that is supposed to be built on freedom. My parents escaped China during the cultural revolution. When they first made it to Laos, they lived in refugee camps. By the time I was born, they were living in Vientiane, so I don't remember that at all. But I think it always haunted my parents." Xiu Mei picks up another scroll, indicating the one she left to dry, "That one is your name. But I had better work on a few Miyaka will want to sell."

This time, when she starts to work, it's in the curling cursive khmer script used for Thai, Cambodian and Laotian languages. Though it would take a familiar eye to catch which language exactly. "I'd like that very much. I don't drive much, so I don't know how to get anywhere, if it isn't on a bus route. And if it is a bus route, I only know how to get there on the bus. But it sounds like a fascinating museum." A nod, as she works, looking over with a fondness at the older woman, "She has been very good to me. I have been lucky to have her as a friend."


Mia watches the brush as Xiu Mei makes the scroll of her name. Not that she recognizes it in kanji of either Chinese or Japanese. "Oh, well, I'm flattered," she says, her cheeks turning a burnished gold with a blush. "It's very nicely done. I like that calligraphy better than Japanese," she remarks about the current project. "Is that … Korean — no, wait. Cambodian? Laotian?" She's not sure which southeast Asian country it comes from, but it's very cursive and prettier than Japanese kanji. "How about 'Good Fortune to Whomever Buys This Scroll'?" she suggests with a grin. "Miyaka'san would get a kick out of that one, and I doubt seriously any American will know what it says."

There's a twinkle in her eyes, now, but it begins to fade as Xiu Mei tells her story. "That's so sad," she says, setting her teacup down on the table, empty. "I can't imagine being torn away from everything you know and love. I mean, sure, I went to college in Seattle, and then came to Dallas, but it was of my choosing. Being forced to leave your home for political reasons — that's just horrible. I'm so sorry you had to go through that."

And then comes the story of Xiu Mei's arrival in the U.S. "I'm afraid we Americans are sometimes insensitive to the hardships of others. We've got it made here, and we don't know what it's like to live without freedom. The prejudice is … disappointing. I mean, my grandparents were Niesi Japanese. The Nakamuras have been in the States since the mid-1800s, but sometimes even my father gets hassled. He doesn't have any kind of accent, either, just a foreign looking face. That's enough for some idiots to dislike."


"It's Thai. But you can't really tell except if you can read it yourself. Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, they all use the same script, khmer. And there are a number of different styles as well, not very different from say … katakana or hiragana, so it's more knowing how the letters are put together and where the accents go. And you're welcome. Figured you might want something to remind you of the day." Xiu Mei, apparently, is a bit of a memento aficionado. "Or, or … 'Death will come on swift wings to whomsoever opens this chest …'" The woman giggles to herself, as she starts to write. "I loved that movie."

"Oh, it's all right. I mean, I was only a child. I don't really recall that it bothered me so much, except for the kids, you know? But I just tried to persevere. I didn't know any other way to be, and eventually, we ended up moving to Bangkok, and everyone is so mixed there, it was much easier. I think it was just harder in Laos, because they were already so unhappy about the Vietnamese being around, that we sort of got the brunt of that, too. And, I think my parents would have happily gone through anything if it got them out from Mao's control."

"We moved to San Francisco. But I went to college up in Stanford. I've never had the chance to go up to anywhere in the Pacific Northwest." Xiu Mei pauses between writing to finish her cup of tea, "Yes, there's always going to be some of that. And it's so odd to me, because I know I am Chinese, but I don't spend every waking moment thinking about it. I mean, you know? I certainly don't make it a point to walk around and look at everyone and think, 'Oh, he's Mexican' or 'oh, she's Swedish,' or 'oh, he's black.' I don't even think about what color or race people are, and so it's so strange to me to run into someone who does. All the time."


"People like to pigeon-hole others," Mia says, relaxing in her chair. "It makes it easier for them to deal with xenophobia. I mean, what I know about Chinese people could be written on the head of a pin and leave room for the Declaration of Independence. But, by looking at you, it's easy for some folks to pigeon-hole you as 'Asian.' They haven't the slightest idea what you really are. All Orientals look alike to them." She pauses, pouring another cup of tea for them both. "Unless it's the old guys. The ones who went through WWII? — they have no problem knowing I'm half-Japanese. I guess when you've faced someone on a battlefield, you don't forget what they look like."

Again Mia listens to Xiu Mei's story. "An only child. How lucky!" she exclaims. "I had four older brothers. Let me tell you, there were times I would have literally killed to be an only child." She shakes her head. "The guys were okay, I guess, but they were guys, you know? And we all went to the same school, so I was always getting compared to them, good and bad. It was … frustrating. I just wanted to be accepted for being me, not the younger sister of a quarterback, a geek or a gay man. And we won't mention my youngest older brother who's in jail."

Mia shrugs. "I don't think of friends as being 'my Mexican friend,' my Negro friend, or my Chinese friend. Friend is a rather nebulous category for people. You don't notice your friend's race. They're just … friends. Ageless, sexless, race-less." A pause. "At least that's how I've always felt. Anthropologists and psychologists might think I'm a little nuts for feeling that way, but what do I care?" She takes more tea, glancing over at Miyaka, who is now deeply involved with her conversation. Two other store proprietors have joined her, now that the customers have departed. They appear to be discussing … fruit?


"Well, it depends on familiarity, I think. I mean, I can look at people around here, and I can tell what ethnicity someone is. Vietnamese, Burmese, Korean, Chinese or Japanese. Any of the Asian races. But I grew in southeast Asia. I learned how to tell the difference. But I still have trouble telling people of other races apart. I can't look at a Caucasian and say, 'Oh, they're Irish or Scandinavian or English. And don't even ask me to tell someone Middle Eastern apart, or someone who's black. But someone who grew up here could probably tell, because they have learned all of the little facial and body markers that distinguish one from the other.

Xiu Mei finishes working on the second scroll, her familiarity with language and text making the work much faster and easier than what she was doing before, "How did you survive it? All those people in the house, all around you in age? I mean, I always wondered what it would be like to actually have a sibling, but not four, and not all boys. "I don't think there's anything wrong with not looking at race. Seems as though, while it's not necessarily a new idea, it's certainly much more strident now than it was in the past. Well, no, maybe that's not true either. Maybe it's because the world is changing so much, technology and such, that we're losing boundaries. It's so easy to connect with people from other countries, to lose the stability of knowing exactly who you are, people cling to one thing that can't be changed."

Xiu Mei's head tilts, as she looks over towards the trio, "She'd better not be convincing them to try that durian again. Have you ever had it? Now, I eat a lot of strange things. A lot. But even I won't eat that."


"A lot of prejudice goes away when you get to know someone," Mia says, nodding at what her companion states. "It's making that first move which is hard for most people. I learned in high school psychology that people fear what they don't know, and since they don't like to be afraid, they get angry. Who better to take their anger out on than what makes them afraid?" She shrugs a shoulder. "It's easier to hate something when it's not familiar." A pause. "Well, I guess there are exceptions to every rule, but I pretty well figured out that was the way of the world. Race is about the last boundary we have to cross."

The tea has relaxed Mia. That's evident in her posture and demeanor. "That's beautiful. Very decorative. I'd buy something like that for my walls. I'll have to encourage Miyaka'san to let you do this instead of Japanese. Your work will be much better, I'm sure."

"Oh, Lord," Mia says, shaking her head. "I can't get past the smell. It's … disgusting." She makes a sour face. "One of our neighbors got a bunch of that stuff, and it stunk up the halls forever," she says, closing her eyes. "I've eaten some weird things, too, but I'll never touch that stuff."

Mia glances at her watch. "I hate to do this, but I need to run. I've got to drop by the museum and make sure the flats were delivered. I had yesterday off, and they were supposed to call me if they came in, but —" Another shrug. "Anyway, having four brothers was a pain, but two of them were already moving out when I was a child, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds. It's holidays when everyone is visiting that I went nuts."


"I think you're right. I have seen it before. People who claim to be prejudice, but they'll have a good friend in the race they supposedly hate. And then you call them on it, and they're like, 'Oh, but they're different.' And I'm all like, 'why? Because you actually bothered to talk to them?'" Xiu Mei looks down at her handiwork, the lettering smooth and delicate, as much from her hand as from the use of the calligraphy brush, "Thank you for the compliment."

Her nose wrinkles at the thought of the fruit, "And if you think it smells bad, tasting it is…oh my god. Like spoiled rotten onions. And it just lingers. You cannot get the taste out of your mouth."

A shake of her head as Mia makes her excuses, "Oh, it's no trouble, believe me. I know exactly what it's like to have a schedule that keeps you from having a full day off. It really was wonderful to meet you, Mia. I'll come look for you at the Museum. And you can usually find me over at the math department at SMU. I rent out a lab room there to work out of." Xiu Mei slips down from her stool, to see the guest off, even if she's a guest too, "Be well, Mia. I'll make your excuses with Miyaka." And with that, Xiu Mei will head off towards the older woman and her friends, to keep them at bay while Mia makes her escape.


"It was nice meeting you, too," Mia says as she slips out of the shop. "Thanks for letting Miyaka know I'm gone. She'll keep me here for hours longer if she has a chance, and I don't have the heart to hurt her feelings."

A smile and Mia's opening her purse. "Here's my phone number and cell. Call me sometime, and we'll get together. I'm a post-grad student at the University of North Texas, myself. Working on my Masters and then my PhD in History. Math is not my forte." She grins, waving her fingers at the Chinese girl. "I'll see you soon. Promise."

With those words, Mia disappears into the crowds thronging the Asian sector. As small as she is, it doesn't take much to lose sight of her.


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