After I moved down to Tennessee, I finally got a job at a Timeshare Resort in a very small down.
I always joked that when I got to work, I would double the Asian population in this town.
THAT is how small it is.
We would in one weekend check in as many as 600 families and it was crazy. People would drive from all over the country, and some people even came internationally through their timeshare bankings. It was great, and of course I would get excited when anyone from my home state of New York would be there, or anyone from the Tri State area would come. I love New Jersey and Connecticut as well.
As I was helping with the check in process, an older couple stepped forward and they were an inter-racial couple. She was Japanese and he was White. Now, you’re wondering how I knew she was Japanese? Well her name was of the Japanese variety, I don’t remember exactly, but I knew she was and asked her if she was and she of course said yes. [And No, I did not ask her how long she had been in the country or if she was Taiwanese HAHA.]
Well after the 4 minute check in process and after I thanked them both for choosing to stay with us, she put her hand over mine and said
“It is so nice to see another Oriental person here.”
My eyes were the size of quarters. I could not believe what she just said. Now, I am not a fan of the word Oriental to describe Asian people. I just do not like the word, but that is not what got me. What got me was her statement. What was I supposed to say to that? You’re welcome? Thank you?
Well, that’s what I said “Thank you” because I did not know what to say. I put on a big uncomfortable smile and said Thank you. And then I got to thinking, I guess if you had been coming to that resort for over 20 years and you never saw someone that looked like you, someone who you think you could relate to, and finally THERE SHE IS! Then I guess I can understand where she is coming from.
I guess that is the same thing about how I get excited when I see Korean/Asian people at Tennessee football games because it is nice to know there is someone else that is here that looks like me. I guess I should just give her some credit for having the guts to say what was on her mind.
Now that I look back on the statement she made to me, it makes me realize how much I do enjoy seeing people that look like me whenever I am around East Tennessee.
So to the Japanese woman that I met a while back…It was nice to see you too!