19: Shen Li (Min)

There were many different ways to have eggs in your ramen, boiled - hard or soft - but either meant trying to shell a scalding hot egg, and there was always that odd bit of shell that got through. Also soft eggs had a tendancy to rupture and no sane person wanted that. Some whisked the egg and poured it into the soup. And some even scrambled the egg with the strained cooked noodles.
Min knew lots of people who shredded their egg into their noodles, he was not one of them.
His adoptive mother was a lecturer in literature and had said if Jonathon Swift had been Korean he would never have written Gulliver’s Travels.
Min quartered the poached egg with practised ease and skewered a chunk with noodles.
He had learned that Americans were snippy about slurping but the intake of air was integral to the flavour of the noodles. Min slurped, not grossly like some grossly overweight slob scarfing down a MacDonalds, but in what he considered an acceptable style. Besides what was a little slurping when people here had zero sense of any kind of table etiquette. Where they regularly spoke to you while their hands were in their pockets. Laughed with their mouths wide open. Had no idea about the number four. Blew their noses in public and even at the table. Left their chopsticks stuck upright in bowl of food so it look like a funeral offering not a meal table. Wore shoes indoors. Didn’t mask up when sick. Crossed-
Min realised he was off on an internal rant about all the things that had shocked him coming here. He took a breath and before resuming eating. He had never really thought about noodles until coming to America. These were good and definitely warranted an ‘mmm’.
“Oh my god you are a brainiac. I should have guessed from you having enough equipment to launch Spacex.”
Min was a good student, well, he was above average, but he wasn’t scientific. He knew science made the world work and that was okay, he could accept that. He didn’t need to know how it worked simply that it did. “I had heard that there is a lot of beauty in science, some picture from the… I want to say Bubble telescope? Are truly amazing. But physics homework is hard, and it is hard to see the beauty in it.”
The egg finished Min concentrated on his noodles for a few mouthfuls, he would never talk with food in his mouth.
“I think many students here were not as fortunate as I am. Their education was interrupted and I think grouping them by age would not be fair. You may be in a physics class on your own with Harada. He’s a puffin too. Is puffin the right name for a scientist?”

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