Located on the shores of Lake Mendota, James Madison Park is picturesque on a day of clear skies. Madison locals come to the park in bunches to soak up the sun through basketball, volleyball and countless other leisure activities.
At 3:15 pm and with clouds above, the only two at the park engaged in a recreational activity were certainly not representative of the locals who make up the park’s general population.
Tri and Kaci, two 20-year-old students at the nearby Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute, seemed eager to spend their afternoon together playing basketball.
They were far off from their native China. While the pair plan to improve their grasp of the English language, both exhibited their affinity for American culture right from the start of our conversation.
Kaci will only be in Madison until December, but quickly exclaimed that she hoped to stay in American into “the future!”
Tri, on the other hand, in his Air Jordan basketball shoes and flat-brimmed hat, seemed to have the mind of many American males. His favorite NBA team is the Boston Celtics and favorite player Ray Allen, because he “loves his jump shot.”
When I told Tri that I have a Ray Allen poster in my bedroom, and that the basketball star is a favorite of mine for similar reasons, he quickly smiled. In that moment, the language barrier was non-existent and it was clear that all three of us have more in common than just the city we live in.
– Josh Parulski