Back in college, I had a roommate from China that I spent four years with. It was hard at the start as Cheng didn’t speak a word of English, but over time we were able to start understanding each other. By working together, he was able to learn English and we were finally able to speak to each other.
One of the hardest things was to try and find common ground when it came to comedy. My sense of humor didn’t translate very well for Cheng, and most of the time that I tried to crack a joke he had a blank face. But that changed over time as he had a better grasp of the language.
If you met him in his fourth year of college, you would have never guessed that he didn’t speak English in his freshman year. In fact, in many respects he spoke the language better than I did.
I was really proud of him.
While Cheng and I don’t speak very often, I am always excited to chat with him whenever I can. I feel very honored that I was a big part of helping him become proficient with English as a second language.