Emily, The Awkward Turtle 2: Never Set Emily Up With A Boy

An interesting thing happened the other night. Someone tried to set me up with a Taiwanese man. A girly one.

I went out to dinner with Dingding, her boyfriend and a couple of new folks, Frank and May (not real names). Frank and May are having an affair; May married with a child, and Frank, a coworker. May explained to me that she wasn’t cheating on her husband because she was having an “affair.” That confused me because I thought having an affair was cheating. And so, I asked el internet. (I’ll get back to my Taiwanese encounter as soon as I figure this out.)

Wikipedia: 

An “emotional affair” can be defined as follows:

“A relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of an affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage.”[1]

In this view, neither sexual intercourse nor physical affection is necessary to impact the committed relationship(s) of those involved in the affair. It is held that an emotional affair can injure a committed relationship more than a one night stand or other casual sexual encounters.

Oprah:

Are you wondering whether you are having an emotional affair?

  • Do you avoid telling your partner how much time you spend or talk with the other person?
  • Do you tell this person more about your day than your partner? Do you even tell him about your marital dissatisfaction?
  • Do you “ready your appearance” to see him?
  • Is there a sexual attraction (spoken or unspoken) between you?
  • Would you feel guilty if your partner saw you together?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, get out of there. You are cheating!


Okay. So according to Wiki and Oprah and several other internet sources, an emotional affair is worse than infidelity, which is physical cheating. I don’t know how many yes’s May has to Oprah’s questions, but she defines her relationship with Frank as an affair and regardless of what Oprah and Wiki say, I’ll just take her word for it that she’s not cheating. She just has feelings for a man who is not her husband.

I miss feelings. I miss having crushes on people like I’m in middle school. I don’t like people setting me up with others unless they’re actually really cool and attractive. Sound shallow? Well, there are certain things people should be picky about. A potential mate is one of them.

As I was saying at the beginning of this post, I was at dinner with Dingding and friends (at this DELICIOUS, 1.5 hour wait, tiny mom-and-pop Sichuan cuisine shop). I was the 5th wheel, but I didn’t mind. Not having a partner means I get to have full portions to myself. F*$! sharing. I’m an only child with a big appetite.

We are all chatting having a grand ol’ time until May decides to set me up with one of her friends. John, the Taiwanese fella, lives nearby, so she calls him up and he comes on over. Black button up shirt, black slacks, a shoulder bag. Meh, not my style, but not terrible. He says hello cheerily to all the others and looks at me like he knows what May was stewing. I give him an awkward, overly friendly wave, he sits down and begins chatting away with Frank and May. Fine with me! Then May nudges me and asks me why I’m not talking to John, who’s sitting just a few seats away, putting me in a very awkward situation. Well because he’s sitting there waving his hands and fingers all over town like a valley girl, not looking at me ever, WHICH I AM FINE WITH, and to be honest, he’s not very interesting. Did I forget to mention that I’m not into Asians? “Oh, he’s really nice. I’m just really awkward.”

(These are some of the photos that came up under image search “awkward”:

Can someone please explain why there are so many animals involved with “awkward”?) 

So May, a friend I might have to cross off my list, starts talking about me to John, saying things like, “Emily is from America,” and “She’s going to Taiwan in July.” Of course I’m not going to Taiwan in July, but okay, to humor everyone else at the table. This is what I chime in, “Taiwanese food is so good!” to which he responds, “Mmhm.” We were a match made in heaven.

Then as all new friendships progress, everyone exchanges Weibo (Chinese twitter) information. As John is busy doing so, I violently, but hopefully not too conspicuously, shake my head at Dingding as to say, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to her sudden interest in this “set up”. I’m a little shocked that she thinks John and I would make a good couple. My friends back home (in America) would NEVER set me up with a John, and for that, I love them so so so so much.

We finally leave the restaurant and thank God — if there is one — that John is not coming to the bar with us. As we bid him farewell, forever from me, John begs May, “Please don’t say anything yet! Please please please, not while I’m still here!” I think he was just as disinterested in me as I was in him. Phew. Although also a little bit insulting. People always wants what they can’t have, but in this case, I still don’t want him.

As we head over to the bar, May asks why I’m not interested in John. But before I can answer, she explains to me how many Taiwanese men are quite girly. The way John spoke, the way he flicked his wrists when speaking, just part of his Taiwanese nature. I’m sure this isn’t true of all Taiwanese men (HELLOOO? Jeremy Lin!), but John, he’s just….not for me.

I’m itching for some companionship, but being set up is not the way to do it. It/I was too awkward and uncomfortable. I prefer doing it my own way, whatever that way is, even if it takes a million years and a lot of mistakes. At least I can learn from my mistakes. But do I?

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Spring: The Season of Love

Spring has arrived, in doses. It has brought a breath of fresh air and mighty winds that pave way for blue sky. Perhaps it can even bring me somebody to love. I was once told that Spring is the Season of Love; I believe them. I hope it can stay a little longer before the humid summer storms in.

 


Babytalk: A Phenomenon!

Does every couple develop a dialect/accent/language/voice of their own? Particularly babytalk? Is it necessary for lovers to speak to one another in babytalk in order for the other to understand? Do they think it disguises what they’re saying from others around them even though it’s a universal language?

I haven’t been in a relationship in a while and I can’t remember if my ex and I had a secret language. Yes, sometimes I spoke to him in a higher, goo-goo-ga-ga-ly pitch asking things like, “Do you really love me? Do you REAAAAAAAALLLLLLY love me? How much? THIS much? Okay okay, I wuv you tooo!” I’m exaggerating, but it seems like all couples have a special way of communicating such insecurities. But must we talk like babies to do so??

I have a friend who-shall-not-be-named who shares a special dialect of English/Irish/babytalk with her boyfriend that is mostly used, from my observations, when talking about their feelings. If their conversation transitions into something more serious, like about work and school, they use regular English. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cute accent they share, but I’m still curious as to why their voices digress to infant-hood when wishing each other good night?

Another friend who-shall-not-be-named seems to have permanently engaged babytalk. Her boyfriend has adapted to this language very well, and I dare say 75% of their conversations (at least around me) are spoken in this obnoxious pitch. To get in on the dialogue, I had to adjust the level of my own voice to match theirs. If this offers any explanation to the phenomenon, they are Chinese, and from what I’ve seen on Chinese television, babytalk is commonly used by young women.


In fact, the baby is so darn cute these days that adult women not only emulate them in speech, but also in habit. At a restaurant several weeks ago, my cousins and I were appalled to see a 20-something Chinese woman suck on a baby bottle!!!!! Filled with milk!! In public!!! All the while she was taking photos of herself with puckered lips and too much hair in her face. The woman sitting across from her, presumably her mother, was unmoved. My cousins and I, on the other hand, oh we were moved. We were moved by the way she couldn’t actually suck the milk out of the nipple so she unscrewed the top and sipped from the rim. She’s an adult after all! 

It just occurred to me that my friends who have been in really long relationships – the married type and the soon-to-be married type – including my parents and my friends’ parents, do not break out in special languages/accents/dialects/babytalk with their partners. I wonder if it’s because they grow out of it, just like babies do? Or maybe because they master keeping it an actual secret? Or because couples who have been together for so long no longer need to express their feelings through absurd voices?

Like I said, I have not been in a relationship in a while and can’t remember what it’s like communicating with a lover. But I hope when the next boyfriend rolls along, we won’t confess our love for each other like overgrown babies. At least not in front of other people.


“Tag. You’re it!” translates to “I like you!”

Back in my little school days, the game of Tag was super fun and flirtatious. In the same way people tease each other when they like each other, the person who is “it” in Tag always chases the person he/she has a crush on. So, when boys chased after me, it was obvious they had the hots for me, the chubby Asian girl in bright yellow jumpers. Duh. In my tween years, I even had dreams of boys chasing me, totally a sign of their lust for moi.

Well, 10 years later, I was “tagged” again, and it wasn’t a dream! I was tagged by a guy who licks moose. He calls himself Mooselicker. You can tell by his name he is very special and obviously digs me. Or at least my blog. Either way, I am extremely flattered though not surprised because my yellow jumpers have always done me wonders. (My 2nd grade student teacher called me “Sunshine” because of those jumpers. There’s a photo of me wearing them holding a huge turkey leg at Disneyland. Glad I don’t have that photo to show you…)

So, like any game, there are rules. Here are the rules to this “adult” game of Tag:

Rules

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Just like filling out an OkCupid profile, I answer Mooselicker’s questions below:

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What did you think you would become?

Romanticizing between being a Spice Girl and a pediatrician, I knew either way I was going to be a people-pleaser. I was going to save the world whether it be with my booty shakin’ or with a stethoscope. Well, neither has happened but I’m still saving the world in my own little ways.

2. Who is your biggest celebrity crush?

I don’t have a “biggest” celebrity crush–there are tons–but my biggest fictional crush is Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. What a heartthrob, and a nice one.

That should be ME in his arms!

Oh right, then there’s James Franco. Guilty pleasure!

3. Angels, Bigfoots, or Aliens; which one do you think is most likely to exist?

Angels. They live at Victoria’s Secret and come out on Halloween.

4. What is something that everybody seems to enjoy that you hate?

KTV. Everyone’s favorite pastime in China is karaoke. Bleh, I can only do it ever so often.

5. If you opened your front door and I was there, what would you say? What would you really be thinking?

I would say, “Hi! You are the first Jehovah’s Witness that has ever come to my door!” to which you might reply, “No, no, no, I’m not from Kingdom Hall. I’m Mooselicker!” Then, I’d exclaim, “OH MY GOODNESS, I AM SO SORRY!!!”, throw my head back, laugh, give you a huge squeeze and invite you inside for tea and chocolates.

6. What is your favorite movie and why? 

The First Wives Club, because 1) I love everyone in it, 2) it never gets old, 3) it’s cute and hilarious, 4) it subtly empowers women, and 5) I love when Bette, Diane and Goldie sing at the end.

7. There has to be something that you believe you’re the best at, what is it?

Connecting with people. Maybe it’s my smile, or my unusual perkiness, or my enthusiasm when meeting someone new that makes it easy for me to connect with people, and then sell them things. I excel at jobs that involve serving others because I just flash them a smile, nod my head, and tell them how delicious everything is, and they believe me! An ex-coworker hated me for it. She said I was too nice. She is the only person (to my knowledge) that has ever hated me. Whatevs, I know she was just jealous of my likable qualities. If I was making commission at that bakery, I would’ve kicked her ass then wipe it with my 100 dollar billz.

8. Who is the ugliest person you know and why are they so ugly?

Hmmm. I’m having trouble with this one because I try to see the best of everybody. Even if someone is ugly on the outside, I can usually find something beautiful hidden beneath, and vice versa.

9. Is love unconditional?

Yes, until it isn’t. I’m a “hopeless romantic” that loved someone unconditionally for all their terrible qualities that shall not be named, until one day (2 years later, way too long) it finally went away. That is how my affair with unconditional love ended, and boy was it a relief! As for family, yes, love is unconditional.

Reminds me of the time my ex told me not to be jealous if he hooked up with other girls since he was going on tour with his band. Too bad he got kicked out of the band.

10. Lots of people have addictions. What is yours?

Food.

11. What is the nicest compliment you have ever received? What is something that you would like to be complimented more about you?

At the end of my year as a tutor in a 1st grade class, all the students made me handmade thank you cards. Of course they all brought tears to my eyes, but one card especially melted my heart. Johnny, the little rebel who never wanted my help, very unexpectedly wrote “I love you, Ms. He!” and said something along the lines of “I will miss you so much!” and drew me a picture. It wasn’t a direct compliment, but it showed that he actually did like me and that was enough to make me happy for the rest of my life.

If there’s anything I would want to be complimented more on, it would be from my students telling me what a wonderful teacher I am. One day…

Ain't that the truth!

Whew. It took me all day to answer those questions, but now that I have, I’m “it!” That means I get to tag 11 others! And yes, if I tag you, it does mean I have a crush on you (and/or your blog).

These are the folks I’m passing the torch on to (I know some of you have already been tagged recently, so I understand if you  choose not to go through with this again!):

howtodateboys

A Single Year

Your Daily Dose

Currie Rose: Based on a True Story

Traveling Tastebuds

The Sandy Tongue

Tamar Dart

Pigeon Heart

lolweltschmerz

Wandering American

Shards of China

Occulto Antonio (I added one more)

These are my 11 questions for you:

1) What is your favorite childhood memory?

2) If there is one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be and why?

3) What is your favorite pastime, besides blogging of course?

4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

5) Do you like where you currently live? Why or why not?

6) What is your biggest life goal?

7) What are 3 things you always carry with you?

8) What is the one place you really want to visit?

9) Do you think the world is going to end in 2012?

10) What is your most embarrassing experience you are willing to share with the world?

11) What is your comfort food?

Well alright then, get out onto the field and start running folks-of-the-blogosphere! You are “it!”


Sonya, will you be my Valentine?

In light of V-Day, I dedicate this post to my best friend, Sonya (don’t cry, Sonitchka!), with whom I have already shared 15 years of Grade A friendship.

This is Sonya kickin' butt all over the globe.

It all began in Mr. DeLong’s 4th grade class. At 9 years old, we went on our first double date to see The Man in the Iron Mask, chaperoned by her mom who ate all the popcorn (don’t deny it, Sonya). We spent so many hours of our childhood playing Rummikub and Spit, eating McDonald’s sneakily behind the bushes in front of her apartment building, hanging out on street corners and at each other’s homes playing Mario on old-school Nintendo, having sleepovers, watching Pay-Per-View and eating the best Russian food at her house, and giggling about boys like any girl at that age. I also spent Hanukkahs with Sonya’s family and their Russian friends. Then on Christmas Day, we would go to our school field to make snow angels while singing Christmas carols. That is one of my all-time favorite memories of us.

When we got to high school, we still spent every waking hour together. We walked to school together every morning, until I could drive, then I would pick her up. Sometimes we’d stop in Starbucks for a slice of Lemon Loaf and a Caramel Frappucino, or at Finagle a Bagel for Lox. At lunch, we’d go to Sealey’s, a nearby diner, for tuna melts and turkey clubs until we decided it was too greasy and changed up our routine to include Virginia’s deli-sandwiches. For dessert, we’d pop by Eddie’s, a snack truck parked at our school, for ice cream. Sonya and I were obviously very health-conscious.

Without exaggeration, Sonya and I were attached at the hip throughout elementary, middle and high school. It was rare to see one of us without the other.

Unfortunately, college severed the invisible cord and we became individual beings, an inevitable part of growing up. While she stayed in Boston I went off to Ithaca (is Gorges), NY. We made new friends and new memories that didn’t include the other. Naturally, we grew apart a little bit even though we saw each other here and there. We reunited after college when she moved to New York City, and while it wasn’t the same as our childhood years–we were more health conscious, more mature, had jobs, and had our own friends–Sonya and I still share something untouchable.

A happy Sonya is a happy Emily.

Funny thing is, we are very different people. She’s clean, I’m messy. We have different interests and taste in men, and we view the world differently. Somehow, even though we agreed we could never be roommates because we would eat each other alive, we are still friends. What I love most about Sonya are her sense of humor and maturity. She’s very different from most people because she’s real and does this thing I call “craugh” where she laughs and cries at the same time. She doesn’t beat around the bush like I do, and she’s a fierce debater. We often bicker about stupid things like whether palm trees can grow indoors (she won this one), but we get over it and laugh about how ridiculously the other person behaved.

(circa 10th grade)

While I am showering Sonya with compliments, here’s another one: Sonya is a goddess in the kitchen (and probably in other rooms, if ya catch my drift…oh lala!). She can bake a mean apple crisp and stir up chicken fajita like nobody’s business. I haven’t had this in years, but I’m still reminded of it any time I see strawberries. In middle school, Sonya blended me the best strawberry milkshake in the world, one that I cannot recreate without her magic touch. Whoever she ends up with–somebody who will never be good enough for her according to my standards–will be one damned lucky fella.

Sonya, I know I can be difficult and say stupid things and date even stupider men, but I still hope you can be my Valentine…for the rest of my life!

LOVE YOU LIKE A FAT CHINESE KID LOVES DUMPLINGS (I’m talking about myself of course)!

Me and Sonya all grown up with the tip of our triangle, Jett. We are the Triumphant Trio.

UPPITY WOMEN UNITE! UPPITY WOMEN UNITE! UPPITY WOMEN UNITE!

(I had to come back and insert this video:)


Ode to Pandas

Dearest pandas

you big fat lazy beasts

cloaked in heavy suits of black and white

who hang from tree limbs like dislocated joints

who chew on bamboo like its animal flesh

who mosey around because thats your life

to represent your country because you’re its gem

protected and pampered like China’s sons

as others toil the earth and starve

but that’s not your concern

and we love you regardless

because we can.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

If I could choose what to be in my next life, and this isn’t it already, I would be a panda bear. Why? Because they live the simple life: eat, sleep and play. They have little to worry about because everything is taken care of for them. They are like little princes, pampered from head to toe (although they could use a bath). They roll around in the food that they eat (did you know that they were carnivores centuries ago??). They get to hang with their homies all day, chewin’ on bamboo, hangin’ from trees, rollin’ down hills, spreadin’ out under the sun. They’re also incredibly lazy without a worry or care in the world. Some may argue that they lead unfortunate lives, trapped and exploited, but they are becoming extinct. And therefore need human protection! Anyway, if I could be a panda who didn’t know any better than the life I was living, I would be happy camper.

I fell in love with these great balls of fur when I visited them at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu (I’ll tell you more about this trip later). Here are some photos for you to see so you can fall in love with them too. (Notice that the pandas and I have the same dark circles around our eyes..it’s a clear sign of our souls’ connection.)



Are they not just the most lovable, huggable, adorable living things on this planet?!

Finally, remember:


<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Warning: I’m about to get cheesy.

I just wanted to say how much I love, appreciate and admire the individuals I have met on WordPress. I never thought my blog would last this long, but my readers — strangers, friends and new friends — keep me at it, and I am so grateful to you all for keeping me company during this transitional phase in my life.

As I have complained again and again — and you’re probably sick of hearing it — making friends has been quite rough for me in China. However, coming home to my computer and finding new comments and “likes” demonstrates another kind of friendship that I used to doubt (gotta love the digital age!). Meeting people online has always sounded a little strange to me, but the WordPress community has proven me wrong. Knowing that people read and sometimes even care about what I have to say is so reassuring that 1), my life is actually pretty interesting (no matter how much I insist it isn’t), 2) I am still capable of making new friends in new places, and 3) there are so many good people in the world!

I realize this is very cheesy, and I get this way sometimes a lot, but I’m going away for two weeks to celebrate Chinese New Years and Spring Festival in Chongqing where I expect to be internet-less. And the only thing that keeps running through my head is, How will I keep up with everyone’s blogs? How will I stay in contact with my WP friends? I’m going to miss them so much!! I know, I know. Only 2 weeks. Actually, less, just 10 days. But see!? That’s how inseparable I am with you all!

(My parents hate it because once I turn my computer on, that’s where I’m glued for the next several hours. I sacrifice the size of my bum for you all. That’s how much I love you.)

See you in 10 days! Until then,

HUGS

and KISSES TO YOU ALL!!!

<3,

Emily