“Now before we get started on the first lesson. I would like to congratulate you on entering the best university in this country for medical research. In fact, it’s one of the best universities in the world for studying all the disciplines of science and engineering. You should all be very proud to be here.” He clasped his hands together a few times. “Congratulations!”
“At the same time, I would like to give you a fair warning that you should be prepared for a roller-coaster ride. Be assured that you will not walk out of this University as the same person you came in as on your graduation ceremony. When you get older, you’ll look back and remember all the friends you’ve made here and all the wonderful things you’ve done. Just as Dr. Felix Martin said this morning, your life begins now. And your future is limitless because you chose Felix Martin University.
“I can still recall the very first day I set foot on this campus and met my best-friend at orientation. After 16 long and tough years, we’re still best friends and see each other everyday.” His cheeks flushed pink for a moment. “And yes, I’m talking about my wife.”
The whole class listened intently. I glanced at Jody and Susan. Is Felix Martin really going to change our lives? Will I make friends here, that I will remember for the rest of my life? The image of a blonde boy flashed in my mind. Then a boy with dark hair appeared along with Linda.
“Now, I have a few questions for you so I can get to know you a little better. How many of you are from Tokyo? Please raise your hand.” Prof. Kwan counted the number of students out loud. I had my hand raised, and so did Jody and Susan.
“Now how many of you are from Japan?” A few more students raised their hands this time.
“Ok, so about a third of you are from Japan.” Prof. Kwan continued. “So I can safely assume that the rest of you are international students, correct?” He waved at the class. “Well, welcome to Tokyo, Japan!”
“Now, for those of you who are from Japan, how many of you went to an international high school?” Prof. Kwan glanced at the raised hands in the classroom. “Wow, so almost all of you who are from Japan went to an international school. This is excellent!”
“And for those of you from abroad, how many of you are from a country where English is not the official language?” Prof. Kwan applauded the students who raised their hands. “Good on you for studying English and Japanese in addition to the required subjects!”
Really? These students had to study both English and Japanese on top of all the required subjects? Learning English on top of the required subjects was a tough enough task for me. These students must be super smart.
“Now, my next question is ‘how many of you are from the future?’” Prof. Kwan put up one of his own hands eagerly. “Don’t be shy now. We’re all aware of the fact that Prof. Felix Martin is an expert in the development of time machines. So there must be at least one of you here from the not so distant future to study his great discoveries.” His face looked dead serious as he studied all the students in class.
“Ah, ha!” He pointed at the back of the room. “The gentleman in the back row, would you be so kind as to introduce yourself?”
Someone from the future? Is time-travelling actually possible now?
“Professor, it’s not me!” The guy who had his hand up nervously pointed to the guy next to him. “He put up my hand!” His mushroom-cut brown hair was parted in the middle.
“No, he put up his own hand. Look, my arms are blue.” The blonde guy next to him spoke with a rather unusual accent. He showed the class his baby blue arms, which he must’ve dyed yesterday at the orientation. And his face, happened to be the same as the one that came into my mind moments ago.
“Come on. Man up! Can’t you even admit what you did?” The guy with brown hair turned beet red.
“Why should I admit to something I didn’t do?” The blonde guy kept his cool. “Besides, there’s no shame in being from the future.”
“Professor, I’m from London, Ontario in Canada. Not the future!” The guy with brown hair protested.
The whole class gaped at these two rather unusual students.
“What are your names?” Professor Kwan asked.
“I’m Mark Winfield.” The blonde guy answered with a cheerful nod. “Professor Kwan, it’s nice to meet you.”
“What about you?” Professor Kwan pointed at the guy with brown hair who was now perplexed.
“I’m Nick Carter. And I’m really not from the future!” The guy with brown hair answered.
The whole class burst out laughing. I’m not sure what’s funnier. The fact that Nick Carter was so nervous, or that his name was Nick Carter.
“Mr. Carter, Mr. Winfield is correct in saying that there is no shame in being from the future.” Professor Kwan couldn’t contain his laugh. “I’m certain that Professor Felix Martin would be please to meet you. By the way, isn’t Nick Carter an American singer who was popular in the nineties.”
“Professor Kwan, you’ve gotta believe me. I’m really not from the future. I swear!” Nick defended himself. “My mother named me after Nick Carter cause she was a big fan of his when she was young. Nobody from the future would name their kid Nick Carter.”
The more Nick defended himself, the more the class laughed. We all knew that time travelling was only science fiction, even in a technologically advanced society like ours. It’s still a new development that scientists are striving for.
“That’s right, Nick. No one in his right mind from the future would name his or her child Nick Carter. I apologize for the misunderstanding.” Professor Kwan put on a serious face. “Now, shall we begin our studies of advanced calculus?”