Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life, love, and what happens after... II

Within a month of my boyfriend breaking up with me…

I changed my plane tickets back to the States, called up my friends to make travel plans, bought tickets for Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, changed up my style with two new pair of reading glasses, cut away more than ten inches of my hair, dyed it brown…

flirted with my hairdresser, went on a shopping spree, bought sexy black lingerie, splurged on a pair of kick-ass heels, reread “Tale of Two Cities”, and of course found myself another relationship.

This time around?

I had a Turkmen-Muslim courting me in Chinese.
The hilarity of the situation did not escape me.


can't be described as the type that struck you as particularly good-looking, nor was
particularly brilliant.
could obsess about soccer, Akon, and mayonnaise.
had a habit of fiddling with his phone, which
would spin compulsively between his thumb and index finger.
was just about 6’, dressed like a Parisian.
was learning Japanese and fluent in Russian, Turkmen, and Chinese. But…
didn’t make for outstanding conversation and his taste in music was… terrible.
simply peeked my curiosity, blipped onto my radar, because
spoke so many languages, and his voice was dead sexy.

have a thing for voices.
had never heard of Turkmenistan.
kind of just wanted to say I dated a guy from Turkmenistan.
really like guys who can speak more than one language.
could read him like a book.
knew he wasn't smarter than me.

I had to leave China in eight months.
He had to go back home to an arranged marriage.

He warned me, “I can’t marry you. I can’t love you.”
I replied, “Get over yourself”.

It seemed like the perfect situation. A few months. Fun, light, non-committal and more importantly, there was an end-date… And I hate to admit it, but I liked it that way.

There was no immediate spark or strong connection.
But, he was exactly what I needed.

When I woke him up at seven in the morning, crawled under the blankets, and started quietly crying…He laid down next to me, silently, wiping my tears – remarking how I was still beautiful when I cried.

When I went to the bars with the sole purpose of forgetting the night and hopefully the last two months before that night…He accompanied me to the bars until four in the morning until he finally had to leave to catch his flight to Guangzhou for work the next morning.

When I had higher expectations that he would sleep around with other girls than text me…He managed to find time in his schedule in between conferences, meetings, and clients -- to Skype with me even though he’d only get a few hours of sleep.

When I woke up mad one morning and refused to talk to him…He bought me a scarf to apologize, made me breakfast in bed, and more importantly he looked at me as if he was the luckiest guy in the world. I had forgotten how nice it felt to be


Wait. What?


And then I asked myself an important question… did I want this relationship?


And it all went down hill from there...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


[1:13:23 PM] Olivia Lucas:
you're not traditionally celibate
you're just emotionally celibate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fall Semester Plans?

Class schedule for the fall.

May the French Language gods have mercy on me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CPOP for the win!

If you're friends with me... you'll know that I have a pretty wide range of taste in music. I dare you to challenge that last statement and show me something new :] -

Passion. Innovation. Talent.

If an artist has at least two of the three aforementioned criteria, I can appreciate their music. I listen to everything from your classics to your classical -- from jazz, to 90's grunge, to blue grass, to rap, to simple acoustic, to R&B, to post-rock, to indie folk. Then multiply all that by the number of languages I'm learning. Why confine your music appreciation to just one language?

My favorite way to get to know someone?
Having them make me a mixed cd.
My favorite type of person?
The one that continues to make me mixed cds.
My favorite mixed cd?
Has music I've never heard, but will love.

However... pop music...I won't lie. I make a concious effort to avoid listening to pop music. Not necessarily because I dislike this particular genre of music, but because pop songs are designed to get stuck in your head. As easy to catch as the common flu - symptoms include headaches, nausea, and temporary memory loss as you hum your way through the bits of rap they manage to squeeze in between the uninspiring lyrics.

But I digress....

Came across this particular song during my taxi cab ride home yesterday. Yes, they have music videos playing in the tiny television in the back of taxi cabs here too. And yes, they had me trapped and partly brainwashed.... which might explain why I found this video so catchy.

"I'm Back" by Danson Tang - 唐禹哲, featuring Amber

Why do I love this song?
1. I have the hugest girl crush on Amber - she has my haircut AND raps. Badass.
2. Asian choreography will never cease to amaze me. And...
3. It's been stuck in my head, on loop, for the last 24 hours.

The only cure? To share this song, listen to this song, and then translate this song for myself -- in the hopes that I'll get sick of it and will never want to listen to it again... until maybe a few months from now, when this song just becomes associated with my memories of China.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

To not be continued... 有缘分

Destiny. Fate. Serendipity.

In English, we often times use these words to describe our romantic entanglements, first impressions, secret affairs... love or what have you. For some reason, those words are often pulled out during weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day… or in a really sappy love scene in the latest romantic comedy.

It was an inevitable course of events. A series of fortunate events. God, or whatever higher power you may believe in, planned for you to meet this person, at that time, under those circumstances, for whatever reason. Let’s keep it simple so I'm not forced to pummel you with my philosophy minor and thoughts on religion.

In Chinese there’s a saying that can’t quite be translated quite as accurately, as meaningfully, or as perfectly into English --

To have destiny, but not be fated.
To be destined to meet, but not be fated to end up together.

But in Chinese, it doesn’t sound corny, clichéd, or even remotely exaggerated. I avoid translating this concept as "star-crossed lovers" because it's not necesssarily depressing and no where near tragic. It’s a phrase that can be used to describe a variety of people, situations, or events – not just past lovers, ex flames, ex-boyfriends, and ex-complicated.

Like the strangers that have crossed my path, infiltrated my memory bank, and ambled away without a second glance back…

I remember... one winter’s day, I found myself pleasantly lost, by luck, in a back-alley record store located in one of the many 胡同's in Beijing. The record store itself was a tiny cramped room, the floor space perhaps no larger than the last elevator you were in. The door to which, barely barred the wind from forcing its way inside, and would loudly clang the bells attached to the doorknob every time a customer entered… as if the owner wouldn’t notice when a customer entered and immediately took up one fourth of the space in the room.... Shelves and shelves of CDs hid the walls from view, threatening to topple over at any second, daring customers to just try and jam a CD just a little too roughly, a little too harshly, back into the shelf. Band posters and concert flyers served as a table cloth for the “cashier’s desk”… where a tiny Chinese hipster was hunched over his laptop (black rimmed glasses and all) – intent on whatever new album he seemed to have gotten his tattooed hands on.

And for whatever reason, destiny, fate, or not… I met him.

Not as if he or I had a choice in the matter… just entering the shop, I had already found myself right by his side. A step to the right, a duck, and a weave – as we naturally revolved around each other, trying to take in the music collection contained within the overly cramped room. Carefully picking our steps so as to not crash into each other - a dance between strangers.

As I perused the collection, I noticed that most of the music I already had… which isn’t surprising as my CD collection is on the brink of reaching 300.... (You can laugh if you want but I’m an old soul at heart, hate new technology, still prefer record players to the newest iHome, and only recently succumbed to iTunes). So as I thumbed distractedly through the CDs, I found the time to discretely take in my fellow music-enthusiast…

Now, he wasn’t dashing, and by no means gorgeous… But he had a strong jaw line, a lean figure, and from what I gathered he was just a little under 6’. To be honest, I can't remember his face... only that he was handsome at the very least. What I do remember? He was immaculately dressed. Underneath his grey wool peacoat, a sleek skinny tie peaked out of a dark blue cardigan – dark washed jeans, and leather lace up boots completed his outfit. A too careless look that had to have been planned. A stark contrast to the shadow of a stubble I noticed he seemed to have neglected that morning... He moves slowly, fluidly. I lower my eyes, focusing just a little too hard on the album in front of me as he turns to speak to the owner in Chinese...

It was his accent which first captured my full-attention.
Startled, curious, intrigued – I had to ask,

“Excusez-moi, mais… est-ce que vous-êtes français?”

And indeed he was. A French grad-student who’s been living in China for the last six years. We held a conversation in three languages, and he held my heart within three seconds. Was I French too? No, I spent time in France because of family -- but why was he in China? Oh, really? No, I’ve only been here for a few weeks. He spent some time in Vietnam, he says -- oh, and yes, of course I love jazz. And, could he recommend me some French music? Reaching above me to a shelf located to the left of my head, he quickly pulled out a few CDs handing them to me with a promise that I'd enjoy his selection.

Songs by Gotan Project breathes this memory into life every time one of them manages to shuffle itself onto my playlist.

If I had bothered to get his number? What’s the most that would have happened? We would have become facebook friends? We would have exchanged maybe three or four emails – before our moments in the record store, would be nothing but a muddled memory. I’d discover that he’s like any other man -- with flaws, defects, and not the Parisian I had imagined him to be. He'd be average. My first memory of him would be tainted. Our correspondence? Would fizzle, with a last crack to signal its death, then like the embers of a campfire of the next morning, be buried in grey ashes. No, I couldn’t let that happen.

I wanted to keep him as a perfect memory. Distinct. Vivid. A memory of a cold, clear day -- in a record store in Beijing. Some moments are only perfect, because of the beauty that can be captured by its brevity. Like a transient daydream. An artifice of your imagination. Fleeting yet enduring. A moment to revisit and romanticize. His character, forever slightly a mystery, which only my imagination could serve to fill in the blanks.

Which is why I walked away…without a second glance back. And without regret.