I've been trying not to rub Benjamin's face in how good the life he might have had if he spoke Chinese can be, but let's face it - not only is it pretty fucking sweet at times, but if you were making a return visit to the Trading Post Inn, knew that your old life was gone, and could choose any room in the place without screwing over anybody else, you would probably choose someone like Lee Yuan-Wei, for three reasons.
First, she's young and hot, and all things being equal, that's better than the alternative. Maybe all things aren't equal - maybe you've got issues with changing ethnicity, and, fuck, I wouldn't exactly be down with giving up my dick if I hadn't had a year to get used to being without it. But within whatever bounds you set, it is nice to wake up and like the naked body that you see in the mirror. I like looking down and seeing good-sized boobs and nice legs whenever I want to. I am finding that I mostly like people talking to me rather than looking away. You deal with more assholes, but you have more choices.
(Her family being rich probably goes under this category - the fact is, the Inn's clientele probably tends to fall within a certain income bracket, with Yuan-wei being an outlier who was only there by accident. You're generally going to wind up "not poor, but not exactly wealthy" 99% of the time.)
Second, she's a college student. Practically, this is way better than having to dive into a job without any sort of training; you'll be expected to screw up and learn. If you know that this is for the long term, you can either point your new life at something familiar or whatever you've decided you should have done instead.
Plus, college itself is awesome. There are parties, clubs, an environment full of young people with similar interests, student days and discounts... If you've been through it before, you're probably remembering having more free time and figuring that will only increase with experience. Shit, I started missing college about a month into my first job and suspect that for a lot of us, the main thing that keeps us from going back for a masters/PhD within a couple of years is the student loans that need to be fed.
As for the last thing... Maybe she isn't officially one yet, but she's at least on the path to being an actor or actress. I'll bet a whole fuckton of people who have visited the Inn and wind up stuck in some other life wind up doing community theater or auditioning for something because, shit, everyone knows that there's good money in it if you make it to the top and we spend our whole lives pretending to be someone else - we obviously have a head up on all the normal people who we'd be auditioning against, right?
Well, most people have had practice pretending to be someone else. I stayed in and tried to be myself as much as circumstances would allow, and while I don't regret it much at all, it means that I don't have nearly the experience in finding ways to turn someone wanting something from me into a way to discover something about who "Lee Yuan-wei" is expected to be while simultaneously satisfying that expectation.
Which is a problem, because she has chosen the most painfully fucking social major possible.
Me, I majored in computer science, and while not all of the stereotypes were true about everyone, there were certainly a lot of us that lived like Morlocks, coding deep into the night, finishing off a two-liter of Mountain Dew, and maybe doing the same with World of Warcraft if there wasn't something due that week. Not everybody was like this, and there were some classes where they put you on teams to work on a larger assignment - some where that was the whole point - but you can get through a lot of a CS major by doing the reading, coding, and showing up for the final.
Theater? Not a fucking chance!
ALL of the courses Yuan-Wei signed up for are pretty much mandatory-attendance. Even if we're just watching a movie, they get stopped and we've got to discuss the scene, and one of the professors is old and absent-minded enough that he'll frequently wander back to his desk and make notes about who is participating and who isn't, and probably which ones of us are saying stupid shit that gets laughed at.
And that's before you get to the actual acting classes.
I'm only in one right now, and it's a really bizarre thing in that there aren't a lot of concrete things to learn - no "this is how you cry on cue" stuff, really - but a whole lot of talking, trying to relate what's in the text to something from your own life to try and bring some emotion out. tn don't suck at reading something and getting what it needs, but it sometimes feels like my classmates, who took similar courses with Yuan-wei last year, are suggesting things that I can't access and making me feel like I have to hold back because they know "me" better than I do and me trying to inject myself into it just makes me come off as insincere.
There is also not a whole lot of immediate, reliable feedback. I don't have the practice that the original Yuan-wei did, and it's kind of like being in the batting cage but not seeing where the balls you hit are heading. I often feel like I'm really nailing something only to be told that I'm way off.
Most of my classmates seem nice, though the guys seem way nicer. I don't think it's too conceited to chalk a lot of that up to them wanting to fuck me - I still get that feeling when I see myself in the mirror - but it holds for the gay guys and the ones who just aren't into Asian chicks as well. At first, I had it down to the inverse - envious of my hotness and family wealth, and a bit of how Benjamin warned me that men really have no inkling of how competitive girls can be (unless it's over them). It turns out, though, that theater is just a hyper-competitive major here - something like 70% wash out by the end of their sophomore year - which, naturally, is where I landed.
Of course, it's not just competitive as a major in this particular college, but as an activity. I'm not a rival for the guys in the program, but there are only so many female leads, strong supporting roles, and so on down to complete background players to go around. And it's not like there are many under the school's umbrella - stuff I'd get actual credit toward a degree for - specifically for Asian women and thus with a smaller field.
I don't think many of my female classmates are actively sabotaging me, but I sort of suspect it might be in the backs of their minds. I don't know how necessary it may actually be - even the auditions I feel like I crush don't seem to set much reaction at all.
Will I fall far behind if I don't get a role in a fall production? I don't know. Just have to keep fucking trying, I guess - if I'm going to be the best possible Yuan-wei I can be, the way Benny is impressing people as me, I'm going to have to get the hang of it.
-Jordo / Yuan-Wei / Missy