The first person Jerry met after moving in was Paolo, an young Italian man who was doing his master's in the same school.

Jerry woke up with a headache, a running nose, and tears--signs of an allergy possibly caused by lack of sleep. That was his very first jet lag. Not a very pleasant experience.
The smell woke him up. The room was filled with sensual smells of coffee and toast. He got up, walked to the kitchen, and saw Paolo preparing breakfast.

“Good morrrning, my friend,” the curly-haired Italian greeted him with a smile and came over to kiss him on the cheek.  “My name is Paolo. Nice to meet you!”

Jerry was shocked by this very intimate gesture--he barely knew this man! Paolo looked at him like he was waiting for something.

“Ye...yes. I’m Jerry. Jerry Ho,” Jerry finally reacted.
“Come. Come eat breakfast wit me. You want café wit latte?”
“Coffee with what?” Jerry was very confused.
“Oh. Yes, yes. Coffee. Coffee wit milk. You want coffee wit milk?” Paolo had a somewhat amusing but warm Italian accent. It sounded almost like singing.

Later Jerry learned that Paolo did like operas. Maybe he really was singing when he talked.


Paolo invited Jerry to join him for breakfast. Jerry did despite his lack of appetite. The Italian man prepared coffee with milk, and some round, brown cookies. “It’s Turkish,” he explained.
Jerry learned that his new friend was from Naples, an ancient city situated at the Gulf of Naples. The Latin man talked and talked with both hands waving in the air. Jerry felt a bit dizzy just looking at how Paolo spoke with not just his mouth but his whole body. He couldn’t really concentrated on what his new friend was saying. Or maybe it was just the Italian accent.

“So what brought you here?” Paolo finally ended his dramatic monologue and showed his some curiosity about his new neighbor.
“I...I am an exchange student,” Jerry replied.
“And?”
“I study history,” the Taiwanese boy added.
“Why do you study history? Why are you an exchange student? Why did you choose to come here?” the Italian man was as curious as a cat.

I study history because that was the result of my college entrance exam. I entered this exchange program because I wanted to run away. I chose here because it’s the farthest away from home, Jerry thought to himself. He, of course, did not reveal such intimate details in front of this Latin man he barely met.

“I...like history. I like Holland. Do you know Dutch people once controlled part of Taiwan? It was 1624 when...”

As little as Jerry was interested in his own major, he’d been a good student who took notes diligently and tried to crammed in everything from the textbooks. This, though, was the first time he retrieved his knowledge of history outside the classroom. Just to talk about it, and talk with a friend. Not to score in a test.
 
Right before Jerry got to the point where the VOC (Dutch East India Company) was defeated by Koxinga, the doorbell rang.




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