Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don't tell me "How" or "What". Just tell me "Why?"

Talking in my last post about women and growing up struggling to "find my place" in the LGBT community- back when I felt like it was so.... polarized and I couldn't find a home at either end.

During that time I also found myself attracted to .... potential... to experiments. I was SO sure that "this girl" could be because she was a "tomboy" and like LL Bean and ... then it turns out that she's just a tomboy who likes LL Bean. Or the cute femme who teases about "going to the other side" only to be wrapped in the arms of her ex-boyfriend two weeks later. Those kind of crushes were NOT healthy. Thankfully, in a way, this kind of "confusion" was always found "on the street" ( "I want to meet a girl in REAL LIFE") , never in a lesbian bar or from a lesbian personal ad. So it's not as if I was being completely blindsided ... I was just being blind.

It used to be straight girls, but it's evolved into girls who like girls but who don't speak my ( literal) language. So in the grand scheme of things I think that's a step into the right-er direction.....?

I feel like it "runs in the family" though - my Dad's first cousin's husband is German and he didn't speak ANY English when he met her.... but he learned it and they fell in love and got married, he moved to the USA, he got a good job working for Mercedes in California they had kids, grandkids, etc.... so "the challenge" is in my genes. 

The women that I've dated in the past have been from either a college LGBT group or an online lesbian singles profile, etc. But at this point in life I feel like "meeting in a bar" is more likely, easier, given the fact that I've got a good group of lesbian friends in NYC ... and just going out and being social with friends in these places can lead to meeting people without really "looking for it". More of those "when you least expect it" moments. 

I go the distance for love. (even for straight girl crushes - yes, poetry and flowers have been given in the past from me to unrequited love. even soap. I made soap for straight love once. ) I will learn your language. I will work to make things work. I will "keep in touch". 

But you've gotta meet me halfway..... and a promise is a promise. 

I feel like Lisa is not meeting me halfway. I'm not sure what's going on, but at this point it feels like more than just "being busy" with work. I send her QQ messages and she doesn't reply to me. Then I find out ( because I see that- using her "other QQ number-  she has viewed our friend Helen's photo album - I see Lisa's picture under a different QQ name/number in the "recently viewed by" list) that she has a second QQ account .... that she hasn't told me about and she ONLY tells me about it AFTER I confront her. She even commented on Helen's picture while using this new account. If she really wanted to tell me she wouldn't have waited for me to "find out". She would have added me as a friend to this other account. So, I mean, it's not as if she hasn't been online. She's had time online..... she's just chosen not to send me pictures or reply to my message. 

My QQ page is open for everyone to see ( partially because I can't translate enough Chinese to figure out how to make it a private account or "friends only", but I've got nothing to hide anyway). But Lisa has hers locked. I've asked her to add me to be able to "view her page" several times but she insists that she doesn't post photos or anything for anyone to see. Meanwhile, I find that hard to believe because I know that she enjoys taking photos and looking at other people's photos .... AND being the awesome detective that I am - I FOUND THIS ---->  http://profile.pengyou.com/index.php?mod=profile&u=c265e4bd629300c5270853c0100fa098020e9d9cdcc46b2b 

If I can't speak or write your language and I STILL find you. That's a pretty good detective right there. ( and/or a very fed up, angry, determined, lesbian).

It's an OLD profile. She hasn't updated it... but still it shows that she does like to post status updates and some pictures and... that she IS into social network life/stuff. If she has a page here, I'm willing to bet that she keeps a QQ page ... with updates and pictures .... 

and if she's not letting me into this world, then I have to ask myself - what is my place in her world? It would seem to me that I'm intentionally being left out of it. 

We had a fight on my birthday .... ( a QQ online chat/text fight... God those are even more frustrating when you've got a 30 second delay between you- given that you're going between your argument and GOOGLE TRANSLATE to get your point across and to understand hers!) I was home - just kind of getting settled into Taipei here .... a bottle of wine and some tv. Very relaxed night .... but then I found her account and confronted her and she couldn't understand why I was angry .... and she did the whole "It's late I'm going to bed! Goodnight!" thing where she pretended to go offline ( went invisible on QQ) and I called her out on running away and hiding from the conversation and she came back for a few minutes and .... the conversation went nowhere... etc. etc.... 

She hates when I ask "Why"? But I think "Why?" is an important question. Maybe THE most important question. I don't really care about "How?" and "Why?" tells me even more than "What?" ever could. I can figure out the what... I don't care about the how or the when .... but why fills in a LOT of blanks ... it's a helpful question. Why are you doing that? Why did you say that? ... gives you insight into a persons reasoning behind WHAT they did. 

There are 7 years between us. So she's "young". She's 24. When I was 24 .... I was just starting out in the work world, had credit card debt, was still trying to find my way, etc. So a part of me sympathizes with her and understands feeling pressure to be a "grown-up" when ... you're kind of still growing up. I just don't understand the secrecy. People from the Guangdong Province ( where Lisa is from, and where I was living last year) are actually, stereotypically, the most secretive in China... so I walked into a land mine with this one. I should have known not to expect "straight answers". 

I've been ... all the emotions regarding this. At this point I'm just taking a breather from contacting her on QQ. The last message I left her was about two nights ago telling her that I found her old account, showing that she does like to post status updates, etc. ( the link that I posted above here) but I have not heard back from her since. The last "good" messaging we had was around April 20th .... talking about taking English classes this year and me helping her to come to the USA. It was hopeful .... and then a month later here... things have just gotten so... tangled and have really run off course. 

I know that I want to continue to learn to speak Chinese here, regardless of communicating with her. I wish that she was a reason for it ....  

She tried, to add me to her second account on QQ ( AFTER I called her out on it) but it didn't connect... it didn't work. I don't know what happened. I just want her to understand/empathize with WHY I was feeling what I was feeling .... I still don't know if she does. 

Is this "it"?... I don't know. I just need to take a breather from her for now. From asking any more questions. A month. I'll let a month slide ... and see if she contacts me. 

"Let's go down to the water's edge where we can cast away those doubts .... some things are better left unsaid but they still turn me inside out .... tell me ... whyyyyyyyyyyy?" - Annie Lennox









Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Life in Taiwan-derful, Taiwan.

I think I'll be writing two blog posts tonight ( get ready Facebook - two updates coming). I don't have to be in to work until around 3pm tomorrow ... so I've got all night to stay up here.

soooo... FIRST UPDATE: I am in Taiwan! Living in TAIPEI (the capital city) now! I've been trying to get here for the past two years... and here I am.  The requirements to teach in Taiwan are a little more rigorous/structured than say South Korea or China ( you pretty much, 9 out of 10 times,  have to have your TEFL certificate or to be enrolled in a TEFL program to teach here). I am in the process of completing a 120 hour online TEFL course and I'm looking forward to that certificate. Last year I was in China, in a small city called Foshan, about one hour outside of the biggest city in southern China, Guangzhou.

I did not really know what to expect, coming into this "second year in Asia". I thought it would be overall much easier .... and in reality it HAS been. However, there were some unexpected frustrations and fears coming in, despite having "been through this" before.

I think "a new year, is a new year". If you move to another city, ( another country), even if the language is one that you have heard before ( they speak Mandarin in Taiwan, just like in China), .... there will still be an "adjustment period". A second year in Foshan would have been easier than a transition, but ... I wanted a transition, so I got it.

I've felt this - a mixture of homesickness, frustration, confusion, etc... transitioning from New York to China last year... but I think this time around it was quicker. I got over it faster and almost two weeks here now, I feel like I'm getting into a groove.

I went home for a month in between ( left China on April 1st 2012 - went home to New York until May 13th, 2012). I was not expecting to come back to Asia so quickly ...I thought I would be home until late June. Going home was WONDERFUL ... but it made coming back here SO MUCH harder. ( even though I'm doing good here now).

In regards to "Taipei Life" I'm GLAD to be "settled" now. To have my apartment and cable and internet setup and to know how to walk home to my apartment from the Dingxi subway stop without needing a cab to take me there.  The first few days I felt like a ZOMBIE. Literally .... caught up between getting over jet lag, going to the medical clinic to get my health check, searching for apartments, attending two out of 5 days of teacher training at my new school ( because I arrived on the third day and I had so many other things to do) ... feeling a like I was starting back at one .... despite having some Mandarin speaking skills under my belt.

Taipei is .... a REALLY CUTE, quirky, wonderful city. I feel like it's an amazing melting ( hot) pot of "Asian Fusion"... not necessarily completely "Chinese" ... but also with a lot of Japanese culture as well ( being that Japan occupied Taiwan for a bit, this is fitting). I have not been ALL over the city yet- but I can definitely tell where the "university/college neighborhoods" are, where the "downtown/city hall" area is... etc.

However, it is VERY ASIAN. Outside of my school, I have not ( yet) seen a lot of "foreigners" here. I feel like I have to speak more Chinese here than I did in Foshan. But the good thing about Taipei is that it is a big city and some Taiwanese people DO speak English-- I will be taking Chinese lessons here soon ( tutoring sessions - about 90 minutes- twice per week).

TAIPEI- BRIEFLY

1. I know how the subways stay so CLEAN here- You cannot eat or drink on the MRT/in the MRT station ( the subway/subway station). If you do, you'll possibly get fined a $7,500 NT fine ( about $250 USD). Mayor Bloomberg should try this in NYC .... he'd bring more money into the city and then could maybe back off on some of the crazy taxes -- let the people keep more of their money!

2. You can pretty much get anything here ( in regards to food). I'm sure it's similar in Beijing or Shanghai .... but in Foshan it was definitely hard to come by things like "Pretzel Chips" and "Special K Red Berries Cereal".... not to mention a variety of cheeses. Here? Not hard at all. Although I haven't seen "Marshmallow Fluff" yet. Hmmmmm ....

3. Everyday I see at least one special needs child/adult in the subway or in a restaurant, etc. here, usually accompanied by a family member.  This should not be a .... "big thing".  I used to work with the developmentally disabled population and in NYC I really didn't notice people despite working in the field, because it seemed so natural. But last year in China, with the exception of the one-legged beggars who would sit on "the bridge" asking for money....  in Foshan, day to day, working at a school located in a shopping mall, I did not see ANY disabled children with their parents, etc... and now, that makes me wonder. Where ARE those children in China? ... Do they exist? ... I don't think there are an overabundance of disabled people in Taiwan, but compared to China? ... there's definitely a noticeable difference. Is it the result of the "One Child Policy" in China? ... it makes me a little sad to think about it. Especially because I've worked in this field and because, in a very short time. I've seen how well special needs people are cared for by their families here.

4. My apartment here is CUTE. It's smaller than my apartment in Foshan, China was ... and there's no pool here... but it's just in a great little neighborhood - with lots of little shops and restaurants and it's just got so much personality! It's a studio in the Yonghe District. It's only one subway stop away from my school ( at the school location at the "Main Office" that I work at 3 days per week. the other two days I'm at another branch and it's a little bit more of a subway-bus trip, but not too bad). This was the second apartment that I looked at online. One of the Taiwanese staff at my school recommended a local Taiwanese website for housing. The English website Tealit.com has apartments too.... but they're often the ones that are overpriced. Written in English and definitely meant for a "foreigners wallet". But I used Google Chrome and translated the Taiwanese website and knew when I saw this apartment that .... this was it. IT felt right. ( Just like when I found my first apartment in Brooklyn. Walking down the street... in Park Slope there... seeing "The Miracle Grill"- now closed- on 3rd st.... meeting my former  apartment-mate/current friend Masha!) Good thing too because doing this jet-lagged - was not easy. Plus my "landlord" is a young guy who is super nice and cool, he lives one floor below me here.... and he knocked $1,000 off of the initial price that he was asking online. So I'm paying $7,500 NT ( about $250 USD per month) including everything but the electric. I've got English/American channels - CNN and TLC and National Geographic and BBC NEWS and HBO on my cable here ( in addition to some funny/cute Taiwanese channels - including Taiwanese game show channel and a Taiwanese MTV channel)

5. OMG... the lesbian population. How could I forget? Yes... yes... there is definitely a lesbian population here. I see couples ( and it hurts.) out and about ... but it's so different and I'm taking my time getting into/exploring the scene. It's more like what the lesbian scene was 15 years ago in New York .... it's very "butch and femme". One partner is "the man" and one is "the woman". This is what used to make me feel so .... disconnected from myself back in the day. I used to wonder... out in situations like this- with so many people at the extreme ..."do I really love women? I don't relate to any of these people here". And then I would .... "feel" an attraction and think, almost confirming to myself over again "yeah... I love women."  You can't find love in a baseball cap or a pair of high heels. By going to the extreme and "playing man and wife" I feel like you are perpetuating the .... oppression.... the anxiety of what you "have to be" ... living someone else's expectations of you. I'm curious about what I'll find here. But I'll be doing it in capri pants and flip flops with pink nail polish and mascara/eyeliner on. I'm... "both" butch and femme.... I'm me. I want to support the community here and find out about life here for gay and lesbian people. I'm going to try to find resources/make new friends and... just "be surprised".

6. I feel like it's another "be proud of your baby steps" year. Don't let your frustrations get the better of you. Even if you've been "in China/Asia" before ... there will be new places and people and routines to get used to in a new city/country. Learning how to "get back to my apartment" and "starting to get to know my kids and to get into my new school routine" are two baby steps that I'm proud of/thankful for here. It's different this year too .... because school was already underway, classes were in session when I arrived here. I did not have time to hold "Experience classes" for "new students". It was about taking over someone else's schedule. But I'm starting to get to know my kids ( and adults - I have two adults that I tutor here too) and they are full of personality and seem eager to learn. I want to keep them interested and excited about English ... to find new games/ways of teaching to them. When it comes to kids learning, I think boredom is the biggest enemy....  and then when boredom brings in his "big brother" Apathy ... it's a lost war. Confusion can be snuffed out with encouragement and patience.... ( except maybe when it comes to math.... ahhh my 6th grade self says "math is always confusing!") but boredom is a dense devil, difficult to get through.

I think that's it for now .... I feel like Taiwan is like any country- in Europe or the US - there is political conversation and frustration regarding their two political parties ( the DPP and the KMT). I don't think people are too happy with President Ma right now. Ugh lots of corruption. On the other hand, I ALSO don't think Taiwanese people consider themselves a part of China. At ALL. No better evidence than a 6 yr old boy who I had a one-on-one tutoring session with the other day ... we were playing a game about countries.... and I mentioned "China" and he said "Stupid China" Clearly "Cross-Strait Relations" are going BEAUTIFULLY...have never been smoother! LOL. It's like "England and Ireland" .... like I've said. Same language, different culture.

OH...  one more thing.... to add to the confusion...  In Taiwan the WRITING IS DIFFERENT than in CHINA. Taiwan uses TRADITIONAL Chinese characters .... China uses SIMPLIFIED Chinese characters. I attempted to go out for coffee at the Starbucks near my school with the cab driver who drove me to my apartment the first night that I "moved in" and realized that he probably had NO IDEA what I was texting him ... because my phone app only had simplified characters..... not traditional.






Saturday, May 12, 2012

Taiwan Consulate in NYC & Becoming BFF's with an airline.

Well, it looks like I'm all set as far as I can tell ....
flight booked, passport - still up to date/ all good, bags slowly being organized/packed, cash money? got it- a stack or two of greenish-gray US Dollars ready to be turned into New Taiwan Dollars. Oh, and Taiwan visitor's visa? .... GOT it.

After one year ( including a 20 hr train ride from Beijing down to Foshan) in China, I am feeling much more confident and secure and ready for year #2.... especially being in Taipei, a big city where English is common. Especially in a "country" that is democratic and is open to political debate between the two main political parties- the KMT ("Team Blue") and the DPP ("Team Green"). I plan on using/speaking Mandarin as much as I can there- in stores/in public speaking that first- and only resorting to English when I have to.

It's such a small world because one of my good, old, NYC friends who has lived and worked in NYC for years at a "Big American Company" - went to China about a yr and a half before I did. She was in X'ian for about 2 years. She worked first as an ESL teacher but then picked up a position with her previous "Big American Company" over there. This past July, she called me on the 4th of July and wished me a "Happy Independence Day" and it was so good to talk and catch up and share China stories. THEN only about 4 nights ago we met up in New York City ( where she is back working in a new position at "Big American Company" now) and I met "HER FRIEND" from China. He is Chinese- here for a month or two ... visiting her. He went to college in Canada but he works in China. His job in China is pretty flexible. So we drank and ate and spoke broken Mandarin at The Triple Crown. It was SO great to have drinks and speak a little Chinese and share intertwining Chinese/New York experiences/stories. My friend - Jenn and me and her man-friend ... (Ta nan pengyou .. maybe :) ) then went to The Magnet and saw our friend Ruby in her improv show. It was just one of those really good New York City nights. When anything and everything seems possible ... with time and some hard work and a little faith.

Back to Taiwan now though - I was told before I went to the consulate that the Taiwan consulate in New York is the "MOST difficult" ( along with Hong Kong) to deal with. Maybe they're not considered to be "very personable" or "patient" ? I dunno ... but being a New Yorker I've known my fair share of "rude" customer service people....

and I have to say the people at the Taiwan consulate in New York City were actually NICE and HELPFUL. No attitude. No drama.  Maybe us New Yorkers are just brought up with a lower set of common courtesy standards? Maybe the people at the other Taiwan consulates in other countries/states are angels?.... but these people were nice.

I walked in and the Indian guy behind the desk greeted me with a big "Welcome To Taiwan!" I had my "letter of invitation" and my "friend's information" and my "return flight ticket" and my pictures and passport, etc. The only snag was that you have to FILL OUT THE APPLICATION ONLINE. This is a very recent change. I didn't know about this --- so I took the escalator down again, hustled down the street to the New York Public Library, rented out a computer for 40 minutes, filled it out and printed it.

I am excited about Taiwan. I was excited about Taiwan a year ago - when I thought I was going there,
(but then didn't). I hope to go back to China for Chinese New Year in 2013, but I am also looking forward to exploring and spending a lot of time in Taiwan.  (at least 60 consecutive days ... anyway.) My current Taiwan visa is a single entry 60 day visitor's visa. I had to have "my friend" (someone who works at my school) send an invitation letter and her information inviting me over. My school will turn it into a work visa when I get over there. This is the way it's done. Once I get my ARC ( work visa) I won't have to leave ( like I did in China) every 30 or 60 or 90 days. It will be good for the whole year.

The one thing that I'm not too excited about is the long flight over .... from New York to Osaka, Japan - then a 90 minute layover- and then 2 hours or so to Taipei. I am specifically not excited about flying "cattle class". I want to be bumped up to Business Class or First Class. Really. I am completely naive about any politics/posturing, flirtation/coercion ... involved with this "bumping up" process .... but I would like it to happen. I am thinking my odds would be better if I became BFF's with an airline. If I committed myself to one airline and put a ring ( and/or a membership number) on it.  I had dinner with one of my old friends and her girlfriend last night at their house and they were telling me a WONDERFUL story about being bumped up to Business Class on Quantas when they went back to visit her GFs family about two years ago. I was laughing because it sounded like something out of an Adam Sandler movie.  Two "regular joes" who have never flown Business Class .... enjoying and gasping at all the bells and whistles! It sounded like my friend was the "clown" and her gf was the "straight man" in the scene. One being overly excited, the other trying to quiet the "clown" down. I would definitely be the clown. :) ... and I can't wait until it's my turn.... I've just got to start up some frequent flier miles with SOMEBODY/figure out which airline to commit to. Maybe China Air? Maybe Southern China Airlines? ... Singapore Air is supposed to be really nice ...

I feel like the world is getting smaller and smaller and I'm right where I'm supposed to be right now. I've loved being home for the past 40 or so days but I am ready for this. I am a little frustrated that I couldn't see as many people as I wanted ... but we really DO have time. Time really DOES fly. I will be back and it will all happen when it's supposed to.

I've never been to Taiwan, but I feel like... I am supposed to be. It feels familiar/right.
I also feel very protective of Taiwan ( despite never having been there). It's a small "island country" - like Ireland- and it's not "a threat" to anyone in the world ( except China). But it ONLY threatens China because Taiwan declaring full independence would mean that the Chinese Communist Party "loses face" with their people and could potentially be seen as "weak" and be "overthrown". Technically China and Taiwan ARE two different countries .... because they are ruled by two different Presidents. They operate under two different forms of government.

A potential war in this case would have nothing to do with oil or resources or money .... it's (stupid, arrogant, ignorant, selfish) Chinese Communist Party PRIDE.

It's crazy because I'm not a fan of the Iraq War or the war in Afghanistan. I think maybe only once in high school did the thought of joining the Navy or the Air Force ever cross my mind ( I think it was the idea of the "boot camp" style fitness regime - now you don't need the service- you can get that kinda class at gyms anywhere!) But God forbid something should happen- btwn China and Taiwan, I would absolutely defend Taiwan. I would try to join the army and fight to defend this little island country that is not doing ANYONE harm. I don't know if a "meiguoren" could join the Taiwanese army but I'd do it. I'd fight the PLA.

and speaking of love and pride and nationalism -  when I say "I <3 NY" I mean it.
It's not just a slogan on a t-shirt. It's SO much more. NY is truly an amazing state in an amazing country.

My wish is that we (NY/USA) get ourselves out of debt with China, improve the Public School situation here- in New York and everywhere give kids - especially city kids - their ART and MUSIC and RECESS/GYM classes BACK and focus more on content and a variety of grading methods with kids and less on pressure/focus on standardized tests, legalize gay marriage in EVERY STATE ( more TAX money coming in to the states - when glbt couples everywhere can file as MARRIED!), and create new, awesome, fun and fulfilling jobs that we KEEP here in the USA.









Saturday, May 5, 2012

Flying AGAIN! ( and what "settle down" looks like)

I just booked my flight to Taipei for May 14th, 2012. I've been home for about a month and two weeks and I am already going back.  Not back... to Foshan ... not back to China ... but back to that side of the world.

I'm will be starting my second year of teaching ESL abroad- this time in Taiwan. Between yesterday and today my stomach has been in knots and my appetite is not really been so great .. my body has just not been feeling the greatest ( probably 50% due to it being the first day of my period too.... but at least I now know that it has come for the month and it won't be happening ON the airplane. First day of your period on a 15 hr flight .... has got to be the most uncomfortable thing .... I could not imagine that. I'm grateful that WON'T be me ... at least for this trip.

I am excited to go to Taipei. I've had some really helpful little Skype sessions with one of the Reach To Teach recruiters who lives in Taipei, I've emailed with Carrie ... and she's already talking about the May RTT  "Monthly Teacher Outing"  in Taipei that she has pushed back to later in the month so that I can attend ( SO thoughtful.). I've emailed with a teacher who works for the school that I will be working at and who has had a lot of positive experiences there and really seems to enjoy his time /classes, etc. 

It's just .... a bit like whiplash. A bit quick. I thought I would have a little more time to spend at home. In my mind I was picturing "July" ... but I had to grab this position - because they are rare in Taipei - and if I didn't I might not get another chance until mayybe September .... and I can't see myself waiting THAT long.

So it seems again I'm "trying to tie up the loose ends" ... trying to "see everyone" ... or at least try to see who I can, when I can. (there will ALWAYS be SKYPE... and to me, Skype feels like you are talking to someone in the next room ... SO clear, so close.)

When I came back here everything in NY felt familiar and not too much had changed. Before that I had left Foshan - and after a year everything felt comfortable and easy enough .... 

My dad asked me once, while we were driving in the car -  a week or two ago - about when I was going to "come home". Pretty much wondering when I thought ... all the "smoke and dust" would clear and something "tangible" and "firm" would emerge? when would I "settle down" I guess?...

Honestly I think I am going to be in Asia ... for at least these next two years ( coming home in between to visit). I want to become fluent in Mandarin and I want to have at least 3 yrs of teaching ESL abroad under my belt - that to me looks and sounds better "than 1year in China and can speak some basic Mandarin phrases". I told him this and he seemed to understand and agree. I don't know though ... maybe it will be more/less? Maybe I will learn about ESL schools and maybe the school that I'm working at in Taipei will want to expand to teaching new immigrants in the US ... and maybe I could start a branch of the school ( that has branches in Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Japan, and the UK already) in the USA - in New York City?? ... that would be exciting. Then it would be even that much easier for Lisa to move to the USA- getting her work visa/green card - because I could hire her to work for me ... and .. and .... my thoughts are a million miles ahead of my body right now.

TRUTH IS: I'm excited about TAIWAN 
Taiwan SPCA ( maybe I could be a foster Mom to a cat or two while I'm living in Taipei?)
BIG ASIAN CITY ( with the LARGEST collection of Chinese art in the world - more than Beijing/Mainland China!)
a LESBIAN COMMUNITY ( however small, even if there's only two girl bars - it's more than I had last year ... and it would be nice to make some friends and here their stories.)


My stomach is just in knots now. Anxiety and uncertainty. I want everything to be really wonderful with Lisa for this next year. Somehow being in Taipei feels farther from Guangzhou than being in New York City. At least in New York City ... I could send her pictures and know what I was talking about... send her pictures to lure her to come visit/live. With Taipei .... I want her to come visit too ... but I don't want her to think that I'm having this amazing time without her/not thinking about her. I want her to work hard to learn English. I feel like I inspire her and she inspires me. But I also know that I've had moments of doubt and frustration and .... wishing that time would speed up. Just like "Zhi Shao Hai You Ni" - that song we sang at KTV ... there's a line that goes... "how I wish that we could grow old in one night and never be apart" ....

OK so maybe not grow old THAT quickly ... but just to have that certainty...that seems to come with age and time and routine... that time would move THAT quickly and we could get to being those two retired gray haired lovers living in our apartment in New York City-  in Chinatown ( or on the Upper West Side- around 73rd St. and Amsterdam Avenue) . Like that first story/segment in "If These Walls Could Talk 2" but with a happy ending ( and with one partner being Chinese). 

(Your positive thoughts and prayers regarding this are much appreciated friends!)
I didn't describe it in quite that way when my Dad asked me in the car.... 
but I hope that this is what my "settle down" looks like.