“You guys are purple people from now on.”
My teacher told us this phrase in my first English as a Second Language class at Oklahoma Christian University.
“If American people are red people, and Japanese people are blue people, you guys are purple,” my teacher said. “You will never be able to be the red, but you can’t go back to the blue either.”
I did not understand what it actually meant then, but what he told us stuck in my head.
It was not easy for 18-year-old me to say goodbye to my family and friends when I left Japan to come to Oklahoma Christian. I was a little bit nervous on the airplane, but the nervousness was gone when I stepped out from the airport in Oklahoma City for the first time. I was excited for the new chapter of my life.
However, despite wanting to study English in another country, it was not easy to live in the U.S. without my family and in a different culture in my second language. I barely kept up with the work I had to do every day to fit in with the culture in my freshman and sophomore year, years that went by so fast.
When I got used to taking classes here, I realized I kind of lost my identity while living in two different cultures. I felt like I was a stranger on campus, but at the same time, I had the same feeling when I went back home during summer. I wondered “who am I?” and “where can I have my voice?” Then, I understood the true meaning of the purple people.
I dealt with many struggles living between two cultures, and I did not know where I belonged. Then, I found writing was the way I could express myself.
In January 2021, I joined the Talon. It was not easy to survive in the Talon, since I liked writing but did not have much experience interviewing. I was not good at it at first. I was nervous to talk to someone in English, but those interviews have given me opportunities to get to know people on campus and be a part of Oklahoma Christian.
When I write a story and the story is published, I feel like I have my voice on campus. I have enjoyed writing a story every week and meeting with the Talon staff every Wednesday. I am glad I have found a place on campus where I feel I am a part of something.
I would like to thank all of the Talon staff; I loved working with you all. Although we write our own stories, I loved working together to deliver news as the Talon. I appreciate the Talon staff, especially my editors. Thank you for always editing and making my stories better. I could not have survived this crazy journey without you guys.
Dr. Patterson, thank you for always challenging me and supporting me with your kindness. You inspired me to work harder and taught me how to be a good journalist. My college life would have been harder if not for your help.
Lastly, I would like to say thank you to all the people who have read my stories. You have made me continue writing even when I struggled. I have worked on the Talon for just two semesters, and I have not written many stories, but when I heard some of you tell me, “I read your article,” or when I saw you shared my story on your Instagram story, I found meaning in being a writer. Especially when I wrote about Asian racism, I saw myself as a journalist.
The Talon has been where I can be who I am, I can have my voice, and I can be a part of the campus.
I cannot believe I am writing my last Talon story now. There have been many “not easy” things in my college life, but I’m proud of myself and how I went through and made it as a purple person.
I thought I would be ready to say goodbye to the Talon, Oklahoma Christian and the U.S., but I am not. It is not easy to say goodbye to my second home, but I have to. The next chapter of my life is just about to begin, but I will never forget all of the memories of my college life and I will be a reader of the Talon from now on. Thank you to all of the people who have helped me to survive my college life.