“I should have learned sushi.”
So says James in a rare moment of retrospection. Most days he has no time for that. He is all forward motion.
His goal is to be an architect. Now he’s working in food service and mastering English.
A sushi chef makes more than what James does at the moment. He kicks himself for not learning it while working in a California restaurant in his first few months in California. “Cowleefonia” is his linguistic attempt to master everything about us, to be one of us.
To James, every syllable counts.
His real name is Trisnawan. Born in Indonesia, like many immigrants, he chose a name here that wouldn’t cause Americans to entangle themselves on their own tongues.
Hannan, meanwhile, is quiet and determined – quietly determined. She is in this country because the civil war in Yemen made her home unsafe, rocked and wrecked by a bomb out on the street.