I look up from my book as someone knocks on the door.
“Come in,” I call, and the door swings open to reveal a girl. “Hello! I’m so glad you could meet me here today,” I say, standing up now to greet her. “Come, take a seat.” She complies, sitting across from me. I pull out her file. “Katie Zhong, aged fifteen, grade nine. Is this correct?”
She responds in the affirmative.
“Alright. First question. Where do you live?”
“Fremont, California,” she tells me. “The United States, obviously,” she adds.
“Oh, I’ve been there! It’s a really lovely place. Okay, do you have any siblings?”
“Oh, yes. One brother, he’s thirteen.”
Alright, if you know your personality type, what is it? And… can you give me three words to describe yourself?”
She pauses and thinks for a moment. “So, I’m ISFP-T on the Myers-Briggs… fairly introverted and pretty emotion based. I can be super quiet when I don’t know people and really loud when I’m comfortable around them. And I’m crazy, lazy, and persistent.”
“Nice! So, here at TPS, which class or classes do you take?”
“I’m currently only taking one, English 4/5 Literature Survey and Composition with Mrs. Gray.” She glances at me and then says, “By the way! Shoutout to that class, because Mrs. Gray is the best English teacher I’ve ever had, and to my class because they are all super nice, humorous, and make the class even more interesting.”
“Alright, thank you. Hmm, what are some of your favorites? You can name anything.” I tap my pen idly against my leg as Katie thinks, then she speaks.
“My favorite color is navy blue… my favorite ice cream is vanilla. I love horses and classical music. My favorite musical piece is probably Schumann’s A Minor piano concerto, but honestly, there are too many good pieces out there. My favorite school subject is English or history, and my least favorite is math. And I like brie, a type of cheese that’s very good in my not-so-humble opinion.”
I raise an eyebrow. “A very interesting choice. Brie is good, though. And Schumann. What’s something that’s not obvious about you? Or any hidden talents you might have?”
“Well, I’m Eurasian; Chinese and some sort of European… and I can run fast miles, I guess. My best time was six minutes and thirty-two seconds.”
“Very nice! I wish I could run fast,” I say, ruefully. “Building on that, what are your hobbies and/or talents?”
“My hobbies are reading, writing, doodling, fangirling over Harry Potter, watching YouTube, and reading Webtoons. I’m talented in… well, music, writing, running, and drawing.”
“Webtoons are great. Do you speak any languages aside from English? And do you play any sports or instruments?”
“I speak Mandarin Chinese, and I play piano.”
“Piano is awesome. Do you have any goals you’re working toward?”
“Hm. I’d love to be a professional musician, chef, and artist.”
I am impressed, and I suitably show it. “Okay… where have you travelled to before?”
“I’ve been to China – the last time was when I was six – Lake Tahoe, and Washington State.”
“Nice! Okay, if you’re comfortable with it, could you share an embarrassing memory with us?”
Katie thinks, then comes up with one. “So, I was playing in a small piano recital when I started coughing uncontrollably, making my hands shake so badly that I had to stop playing. I was just sitting there, coughing on the bench, and trying to resume playing when my teacher was like, ‘Do you need some water?’ I could only nod, and I was coughing in the back for the rest of the recital…” She trails off and laughs. “Yeah.”
“Honestly, that sounds like something I would do.” I flip awkwardly through my papers, looking for my last questions. “Ah! Here. What’s some advice you’d give your younger self?”
“Be honest and don’t be lazy,” she says with a small smile.
“And… what’s your favorite Bible verse? We’ll end on that note, I think.”
“Ah, there are too many! But that would be Ephesians 2:8. ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.’”
“Thank you!” I say, standing up. “That was wonderful.”