First semester, Cousins was a full success. It went as planned (by them, not as I had anticipated) and nothing really out of character seemed to happen.
Second semester was a different story. As usual, 18 hours of classes plus who-knows-what-else caught up to me and I entirely missed out on the Cousins matching. But I ended up getting involved anyway.
I was taking a class, Understanding the Global Community (which I would highly recommend, personally), and sat next to a guy pretty regularly who later introduced himself as Sung-Chan (but wanted me just to call him Sung).
At one point he came into class with a box of chocolates. They were of a brand called Ritter Sport, which, as a rule, is sparse yet existent in America, but prominent in Germany. I hadn’t really noticed at the time that he had been gone for a couple of weeks (I didn’t know him well at all), and had been travelling in Germany. He offered me one.
And let me say, Ritter Sport is one of my favorites. I think he was surprised that I recognized it, and we talked about it. I told him of my family in Germany, he told me about his trip there and his studies here.
Sung-Chan was from Taiwan, studying in America for a semester, but not really for the credit as much as the experience. This allowed him, I suppose, to take Understanding the Global Community, and thus for me to meet him.
A little about Sung personally: He’s constantly smiling. I don’t know a time that he didn’t greet me with a bright, wide grin. And he’s always thanking, even for the littlest things.
We greeted each other and talked often thereafter. I soon learned that he too was involved in Cousins, and that his Cousin had lost contact or fallen out, or I don’t know what. We thought, this can work. (comment: when I say Cousin, I mean OU Cousin. A little weird)
We ended up doing many things together over the semester, most of which involved us just chatting for a while, but also included events, Cousins or otherwise. At one point I showed him my humble dorm, and he invited me for dinner at his apartment in traditions. There I met again George, from France, the Cousin of my friend Gary whom I’d met the last semester at a Cousins board game night, and Sung’s roommate.
I’ll say: Sung is an excellent cook. He made Miso soup (my first experience with that) and fried dumplings. Then he had me try these strange sour dried fruits. The packaging was all in Chinese, so I had no clue what they were, and he didn’t know their name in English. But the distinctive feel of the hard seed pit inside quickly tipped me off that they were a variety of plum. He told me about how his family worshipped (if that’s the right word?) their ancestors; this really had me captivated, and was my first direct and personal exposure to this kind of belief, among other things. I really enjoyed my time with him (and several of his friends), and I think we learned and grew a lot from each other.
Just to further advertise for Ritter Sport (no, I don’t work for them), they have a really nice website: http://www.ritter-sport.de/en/