Get to know Gainesville: Mengshan Zhou

By Laici Little

We walk across campus or shuffle our way through Trader Joe’s, and the people we pass turn into nameless blurs. We forget that the stranger next to us on the bus has a story of his or her own.

This week, I heard the story of a 25- year-old woman named Mengshan Zhou, or Minty, as she calls herself here in America. Minty is originally from China, but she is in Gainesville pursuing a master’s degree in recreation and tourism management at the University of Florida. When asked what Minty hoped to do with her education, she grinned and expressed her hopes of working at Disneyland. Minty said she is also excited about the construction of a Disney theme park in Shanghai, which should be completed within the next couple of years. One thing seems certain: Minty’s bubbly personality and constant smile would be a pleasant addition to the Disney atmosphere.

Minty explained that she loves living in both America and China, and she could see herself residing in either country.  She said the deciding factor for her would be marriage. Minty said, “marriage is very important,” and she said she wants to be a supportive wife that is always there for her husband — in either China or America. Perhaps we can all relate to Minty’s proclaimed difficulty at finding a good match. She finds it disheartening to watch younger friends and family members get married before her while she sits alone, but she is not willing to settle for anything less than her true love.  She thinks it takes a while to figure out if someone is the right one. Occasionally, Minty said she gets discouraged by going on dates because many guys seem right at first, but then she finds out something negative about them. Minty is surprised how hard it is to find someone that is intelligent, kind and funny, regardless of what country she is in. I asked Minty what she thought made her a unique person. Minty said, “I have a passion for life.” She cited her accomplishment of eating at almost every restaurant in Gainesville as evidence of her passion and offered that perhaps her passion is actually for food.

Then, Minty ended with one more fact about herself. She explained the reason behind her  Chinese name, Mengshan, which refers to a dream that is coming later. Minty’s mother actually dreamt about Minty before Minty was born, so her mother could not wait to meet the child of her dreams.

As our conversation closed, I was reminded of how gratifying the experience can be to take a few minutes and get to know someone new.  Not only did I walk away with a friend, but one of the nameless blurs I pass everyday turned into a human being with feelings I could empathize with and insights I could learn from.

Intro to Blogger: Laici Little

Hello, I’m Laici! I am a senior English major. I hope to eventually become an author and professor. One thing I enjoy is listening to people tell their stories. Each week I will cover someone from the Gainesville community and try to share a glimpse of who they are. I hope by getting to know others from our city we all can realize how much we have in common and how much there is to learn from each other.

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