Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HSK -- 汉语水平考试

-- i.e. the only reason why I spent a year in China.
I passed my Chinese proficiency exam!!! 及格了!!!
All the headaches, late night studying, resultative complements, and grammar cramming finally paid off.

高级,五级 -- A等

Thanks to all who helped me, guided me, encouraged me and saw me through this! Love you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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


I stared at the Mammet on the screen. Speechless, terrified, I felt my feet turn into ice. Did he really just say he loved me? I knew it was coming, but I was still baffled, speechless, and scared shitless.

Within few days, I broke up with him.
Over Skype… (hey, I never said I was perfect)

Breaking up with someone... is always a less than pleasant affair, to say the least.

He begged me to stay with him but I stood my ground.
He begged me to let him see me but I ignored him.
He begged me to make him understand but I had no words.

I felt disgust, confusion, anger, regret, guilt – and a little bit of everything at one time.

At one point, I heard myself thinking.... “Why are you being so pathetic?” as if those weren't my own thoughts and words, but that of a heartless bitch. Then, ashamed of myself for not being able to empathize and be more patient with his pain... I retreated into my thoughts until I could come to terms with what I had just done.

What had I just done? I had broken someone’s heart.
I had broken someone’s heart because I had been trying to fix my own screwed-up one.

I tried my best, did the most I could, to make things easier for him… but is there such a thing as easily breaking someone’s heart? Breaking someone’s heart easily? Easy heart-breaking? Breaking easily into someone's heart. Easing a breaking heart? The ease of breaking a heart.

It’s not you, it’s me.
I’m not breaking up with you because of someone else.
I just want to be by myself.
I just don’t love you.

After some bitter words from his end, I had more than enough reasons to never talk to him again. By the time it was all over, all I could feel was “relief” – in the very true sense of the word. I finally wasn’t running away, escaping, or using someone to pass the time. I was cleansed in a sense.

But I want to clarify. I wasn't a good person for hurting him, but nor was I a bad person. It took me a long time to understand that jumping into a relationship, and essentially rebounding... so soon after the end of a tumultuous relationship... was definitely wrong, selfish, and had the potential for high casualties. But I'm only 20 years old! I'm still young! I had been honest with him the entire time. What guy wouldn't want a casual relationship!? But, Tc, be honest.... You should've known better. Approaching a relationship with an end-date was probably a bad idea. At least, I'm making these mistakes now instead of later on when it's supposed to count... I tried to assuage my consience with these facts and life lessons. But I still feel horrible for what happened.

And then my friend Jesse asked me a very important question…
“Are you sure you’re not breaking up with Mammet because he’s a “nice guy”?”

Valid question…

But what is a nice guy? I had once thought, the only “nice guy” is the guy that’s in love. But that can’t be true, because I myself have a ton of guy friends who I consider “nice guys”. You know… the ones that deserve the sweetest, smartest, and sexiest girl out there.

The “nice guy” that you would ideally date, have fantasized about dating, or have future plots to date -- but for some reason aren’t. You know those guys that are not garbage, have baggage, or seem damaged.

Stable, loving, and committed.

And I thought about this question for a long time… was I a masochist? Did I only love my ex because he didn’t love me back? Did I only like a guy because of the chase? Did I want guys to play “hard-to-get”? Was there a Freudian answer to all of my questions?

Nah, the answer was simple. Mammet wasn’t a “nice guy” by any measure, but at the end of the day… it didn’t matter if he was a “nice guy” or not. He just wasn’t “the guy”. Or rather, I just wasn’t “the girl”. Or better, I just wasn’t ready for a relationship.

I didn’t want stable, loving, or committed.

I just wanted to be happy again.
By myself.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I realize...

I haven't seen the stars in a while. I miss them.
Right now in my life, I lack total silence.
Probably why I could never spend the rest of my life in a city...
Give me a clear sky any night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Quick thoughts:
"端午节" does not translate to "Dragon Boat Festival"
Thai & Vietnamese 粽子 are more 丰富... and use banana leaves.
Chinese 粽子sometimes don't have any filling!!??
We're celebrating a guy because he killed himself.
Okay, not really.
And no, no boats in sight. A little bit of a disappointment. =[

Don't bother watching the video below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear Cupid,

This is a bad joke.

Yours truly,

Two missed calls later...

+00614XXXXXXXX (05/29 7:40 PM): Hi,this is an international call,my name is George in Sydney.sorry to bother

Another ring… But my mind wanders briefly…

Vague recollections, memories from October of last year, begin to float languidly to the surface. It had been raining that night. A slight sense of dread draped me as I took a step out of the café. Why hadn’t I brought an umbrella? Why didn't it start raining three hours ago when I was on my way out? I grimaced looking down at my new shoes I had decided to parade around today, of all days. I hate rain and public transportation. I hate rain without rain-boots...

Anny laughs, what was I worried about? Her friend George could drive us home. It wouldn’t be inconveniencing him at all. Who is George? I don’t know him, never met him – but Anny assures Brandon and I that "George" will drive us home. If Brandon comes, it should be alright… Plus, I reason, I don’t want to take a cab home by myself. We greet "George", not pausing for introductions, and jump into his car.

The car ride back to the dormitory is relatively short, no more than 10 minutes, give or take a few pauses. It seems small talk in English is mandatory. “George” talks mainly about himself… he’s headed to Australia soon. I’m lost in my own thoughts as I watch raindrops coalesce, separate, intertwine, and not so fluidly trail down the window. I sit in the backseat with Brandon. Still a little stiff… my hands begin to hurt. I hate rainy weather...

I lift my head quickly as I realize someone is talking to me.

Perhaps we could all meet up and practice English, his Chinese accented voice breaks through my weariness. I am polite but not warm, giving a muffled non-committal hum.

A few days later I received a text from “George”. He’s sorry to bother me but he had gotten my number from Anny. Was I free for coffee?

Who was George again? ... I pause, fumbling and sifting through papers on my desk, buying my memory time to remember the name. I scramble for a scrap of my memory. I remember I didn't have a particularly good first impression of him.

He had come off as strange to me... I had a neutral, leaning towards a negative, first impression. Impeccably dressed, not bad looking, but not my type, a little too arrogant that wasn't confidence, and I could tell he was "rich". Not that I dislike people with money, I'm just wary of them. And I hated his voice. Low but not at all attractive, like a dull thud, like a wet log being thrown into the mud. Or a limp corse being tossed casually into a grave. A little bit like Bert's voice from Sesame Street. Boring...his speaking style a soft drone and not the least bit riveting or even interesting. Like listening to a lecturer from the back of a large auditorium with two hundred other students, half of whom are hidden behind their books. Make no mistake, they're sleeping not studying...

Would Anny be there, I ask? He doesn’t reply and instead sidesteps my question telling me he could pick me up because he has a car. I’m not sure I really care he has a car.

Tomorrow’s not good? What about anytime I’m free?
I’m conveniently busy at any time. I tell him that maybe we can go when Anny’s free.

A few weeks later in December, “George” texts me to ask me if I’d like to get coffee again because he’s leaving for Australia in two days. He would love to be able to practice speaking English with me before he has to leave. At this point, I’ve started dating Mammet… so I politely decline telling him I don’t feel comfortable meeting him one on one while I have a boyfriend.

The texts end.

Another ring and my thoughts interrupt themselves.

He was a friend of a friend, perhaps I should be polite. Plus, it seems as if he won’t stop calling until I pick up… And apparently he's calling me from Australia?


We speak for less than two minutes and thirty-six seconds, during which time I robotically go through the pleasantries. I’m quite good at those now. I’m distracted as I take the call… I’m shopping with Best, my roommate.

Yes, I do remember him… but why was he calling again? Is it urgent? He doesn’t hear my question apparently – and instead returns my question with a few of his own. Yes, my studies were fine. Yes, so was my health I suppose. Oh really, he’s coming back to Changsha – well isn’t that great. Oh, too bad I’ll be leaving Changsha soon. Where am I going? Beijing. He tells me that he was thinking of traveling to Beijing for some fun when he’s back in China. Right… Damn

He asks me for my email… I distractedly give it to him. Maybe he’ll stop bothering me now? I give him the wrong email address at the very last moment. I tell him I’m busy, now annoyed with myself. I try to live by the idea that it only takes a second to be polite -- but I had given him 156 seconds. I hang up, perhaps a little too abruptly.

+00614XXXXXXXX (05/29 8:01 PM): Hi,very glad to hear you are going to work in Beijing for sometime.I will go to Beijing at the end of the year. I thought I can not see you any more.take care

I carelessly look back at the text, dismiss it, and go back to the changing room. In my mind at this point, I had fulfilled all necessary obligation to be polite to a person who was my friend's friend.

+00614XXXXXXXX (05/29 8:36 PM): Hi,I just trying to send you emails,unfortunately I failed. Would you mind sending me email so I can email you back with the following address: you and looking forward to your email

Tc (05/29 9:25 PM): Hi, just wondering why you wanted to contact me? I just find it odd you would go through so much trouble? Hah…

+00614XXXXXXXX (05/29 9:32 PM): To be honest,mysterious longing just for the once unforgettable charisma.Hopefully you do not mind accepting as a friend

Gotta hand it to him, haven’t heard that one yet. I’m a little weirded out, but it’s not as if a random pick up line can really phase me. I don't text back. I decided to ignore him. He'll get the hint, right? He'll go away.

A few days later...

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/04 9:52 AM): TC,Best wishes on the dragon boat festival.I understand it is hard for me to win your confidence,which is not bad.Maybe I should have an Aussie girl friend

Tc (06/05 10:45 AM): ? Why are you telling me you should have an Aussie girlfriend. Did you think we were going to date? Either I’m confused or you are...

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 10:56 AM): I really wanted to date you before I left Changsha, but you said you have a boyfriend and denied to meet me.Even do I still miss you and hope to make friends with you because you have your rights to choose your boyfriend.I am an optimistic man,I sincerely wish though I can not make it

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 11:36 AM): If you are available,I am honored to one of the potential candidates to go after you.If you are not available I am happy to be friends

Tc (06/05 12:48 PM): We only met once… I don’t understand how you could want to pursue me. You don’t even know me. I’m sorry but I’m a little uncomfortable with this situation.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 2:36 PM): I saw you once,that’s true.But you did give me a very good impression and honored to be friend with you.That’s the reason,I ask for your email ,so we can get to know each other more.So take it easy and relax,I will never push you.Anyhow I will go to Beijing after I graduate

Tc (06/05 2:42 PM): Okay… But I’m not going to be in Beijing? I’m going back to France then the States.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 2:44 PM): OMG,when will you depart Beijing

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 2:51 PM): is your email address?I planned to send you a few pictures so you can recognize who I am.Please do the same, so I can keep you in my heart

Do you think if I see a picture of you I’ll suddenly change my mind and become interested? And my picture? Uh. If the warning bells hadn't gone off already in my head, they sure as hell were ringing out full blast now. I don’t text back. I’m actually a little scared. This is so stupid, I think to myself…


My cell phone rings almost six hours later at 8:30 PM. I don’t have caller ID and usually pick up all of the calls I receive.

“喂?” I calmly ask....

His voice. I immediately hang up. I panic. Why is he calling me?


+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 8:37 PM): Hi, your voice is very sweet,I do not know the reason my voice can not go through

Tc (06/05 8:40 PM): I’m sorry. But the attention you’re giving me is making me uncomfortable. Especially because you’re overseas and still feel the need to contact me so persistently.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 8:45 PM): I am sorry to make you uncomfortable.Would you please send me your email and when will you go to Beijing and then depart.I am thinking of taking the upcoming holiday to back to China so you can have minimum impression on me.if I can make it,good,if can not,I will keep you as a friend in my memory

Tc (06/05 8:53 PM): You’re going to come back to China just so that I can meet you? I’m not comfortable with meeting you. You’re really a stranger and I don’t need this type of attention.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 9:06 PM): Do not be nervous.I tried,failed, will not regret. This will be a short scenario in life.I thoroughly respect you.Would you please send me your email address.Actually I am considering apply PHD in an American university

Tc (06/05 9:10 PM): I’m sorry. But I do not want to give you my email address.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 9:15 PM): You do not have to say is all my fault.Your denial makes sense .Maybe this is the last contacts between you and me

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 9:24 PM): I always watch my manners as a gentleman should be based on my horizon.Your refusal just breaks my long waited dream.Anyhow which is not bad.I always sincerely wish you best happiness though I can not bring to you.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/05 9:37 PM): TC,except dating,there ate many things more than that .I do not understand why it is so hard or even impossible to make friend with you.I am not a wolf nor a hooligan ,but a sincere man with warm heart and integrity

Tc (06/05 9:45 PM): I don’t know you. If you were actually a gentleman you would take this rejection gracefully as you said you would. I have no interest in being friends with someone who barely knows me and goes to such lengths. Your attraction to me seems superficial at best. Please stop.

+00614XXXXXXXX (06/06 11:37 AM): TC,I will give up as you said.However I want to protest that love is miracle and distance is not the pretext .I will back to china in several months. Best wishes to you