Recreating Lives

When I first moved to Hong Kong, I didn’t have any expectations on how it would go. I didn’t know anything about the city, and quite frankly, I only took the job because nothing else remotely as interesting had panned out1.

When I landed and was picked up by a driver sent by my then boss, I was in (a very sleep deprived 2) awe of just scale of humanity in the city. Up until this point, I don’t think I’d ever stepped foot in a city as vertical as this one 3. I knew no one in this city of 7 million, a sobering idea when I nearly got hit by a bus on my first day because traffic goes the opposite way 4.

Because I had no notions of what to expect, I was able to build a completely new life there with new people, new hobbies, and new interests. The only thing I really wanted to find in Hong Kong were good American craft beers 5.  That was it. This is not to say I wasn’t homesick. I was, for about the first 6 months, but that went away surprisingly quickly.

Moving back to Chicago has been an entirely different beast. From having spent 4 years for school here, I had an expectation of how the city would be like, and it was romanticized in my head as being the place where I first felt at home, where I belonged. I forgot that what made places feel good to me were the people there 6.

I find that I’ve fallen into a trap where I’m trying to recreate the bits I loved about Hong Kong (reliable public transportation, people who were ambitious in some form or another 7 or just did really cool things, gym community, British beers, boyfriend), but nothing is coming together. The CTA is notoriously, conspicuously, and frustratingly slow 8. I’ve made some new friends, but I don’t feel like I’m learning much about anything from them. My current gym is seriously subpar9. Not pining too much for British beers as I’ve found a couple of others that are pretty nice.

And yes, now addressing the boyfriend. Notice how I’ve been silent for quite a way on anything romance related? It’s not that I’m keeping things from you, reader. It’s just that there’s absolutely nothing worthwhile to write about. The dates I’ve been on have been so unremarkable that I have even been unable to spin any sort of remotely interesting story about any of them.

A friend of mine (she shall henceforth be referred to as Burrito Friend because our friendship started by pursuing a top 10 list of best burritos in Chicago 10) remarked a bit offhandedly to me that not everyone can be lucky enough to still be in love with their ex. And that struck me. Maybe it’s true, though it’s been a while since we split up, so it shouldn’t be the case, right? Am I enough of a sap to still be hanging on to this slightly more romantic image of him? Though I suppose it also says a lot that if we ever find ourselves in a similar locale and are both still single, I’d go after him in a heartbeat. Yes, I understand that we wouldn’t be the same people as we were when we were in Hong Kong, but why not try?

The Bun also weighed in on this for me since it threw me for such a loop. She thinks it’s ultimately a good thing that I haven’t demonized him in my own recollection. Though, it’s pretty hard to demonize a cute guy with a British accent who brought me all sorts of food, even when I was in the hospital. He even visited everyday.

Ok, maybe Burrito friend is right. But I should be able to find someone similar in Chicago right? Doesn’t necessarily have to be British or look like he did. I just want someone nice who will bring me food.

1. 4th year for me was weird because when everyone else was going crazy with recruiting, I was putting together an application for the Army’s officer candidate school. That didn’t pan out as I didn’t manage to heal from a nearly torn through tendon in my foot, leaving me scrambling around March and April for a job. The other places I had on site interviews at were completely horrifyingly soul sucking enough that I took a job at a small company I couldn’t find much information on in a city I knew nothing about. That should say something about how I felt about those positions.

2. Contrary to popular belief, I am not completely unflappable. I just prefer not to have many people around when I have my meltdowns. Someone I know once told her girlfriend that she was modeling her lack of expressed negative emotions after me. Anyway, I digress. That flight was super sleep deprived because I was an absolute ball of anxiety during the 12+ plane ride over. I was nervous enough to have gotten sick the second I landed in San Francisco from Dallas to catch the connecting flight over to Hong Kong.

3. Sure Beijing had been more populated, the city was also much more spread out.

4. When I drive back stateside now, I still have to remind myself that I need to drive on the right side of the road. Funny how just 2 and a half years abroad can have such an impact on my life.

5. But then American beers got crazy happy with beers that supposedly are flavored by jasmine tea,  blackcurrant, vanilla or something else equally as heinous for a beer. I now find myself pining for a glass of clear British pale ale.

6. I find that I’m saying I don’t feel particularly strongly about people very often now. But really, if you’re a friend of mine in person and are reading this, you know that isn’t true.

7. I have only met ONE new person in Chicago so far where I had the initial reaction of, “OMG you’re so cool. How can I be more like you?”

8. I have outpaced 3 buses on a certain route while on my bike recently.

9. Everyone there is perfectly nice, which is why I stick around (that and it’s close), but I’m not entirely convinced the coaches know exactly what they’re doing. It’s also a nice place for me to get a much needed ego-trip and feel superior to others.

10. Carbon Live Fire Mexican was the winner. Get the Motherclucker, Stelotes, or Fish named William burrito. Their elotes are also great, as are their flour tortilla chips that come with the guacamole.

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Anatomy of a Tinder Greeting

Dear Men of Tinder,

When you send me that first message, please use half a brain. Here are some examples of greetings that I did not even bother to reply to, and thus, did not get you laid:

  • “Hey”
  • “Hey I’m Efy nice to meet you.”1 
  • “Hey Bean! How’s your week going?”2
  • “Hello!”
  • “Good morning!”
  • “What’s an expat?”3
  • “I love. Terrible puns as well!! Why are you reacfliwt. To the U.S. Of The”4
  • “Ever had a threesome”
  • “Esoteric that word is such beautiful grammer. As beautiful as an Oriental like u.”

The last one takes the cake. 1) That’s not what esoteric means. 2) Horrific grammar. 3) Leave me alone you fucking white boy with Asian fantasies (but apparently not enough sense to understand that Oriental is racist and not a compliment). This is what I get for being a bit shallow and swiping right on a cute guy.5

Now, here are some that worked. Let me preface this section by saying that my profile explicitly mentions my having a badonkadonk6, my love of weightlifting, a random country I’ve been to, and an enjoyment of terrible jokes.

  • “What did the buffalo say to his son when he left for college?” (Bison)
  • “You look exciting.”7
  • “What’s the fastest thing in the world? Milk-It’s pasteurized before you see it.”
  • “That’s pretty good use of forced perspective with the fountain….is that Singapore?”8
  • “Pancakes or waffles?”
  • “A lifting booty? congrats! How long have you been lifting for?”
  • “Nearly everybody has the same number of Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong.”9

Men of Tinder, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you make the slightest effort to half-heartedly gloss over my profile, I’ll most likely reply10. I’m not asking you to give me your heart to me on a silver platter (I’ll probably be creeped out because this is Tinder we’re talking about), but I also don’t have to give you a chance in hell to put your penis in me unless you try just that tiny bit.

1. Tinder already gives me your name. No need to reintroduce yourself.
2. You might seem friendly, but really, why should you give a rat’s ass about my week? You don’t even know me. Don’t ask me how my week is going. That is reserved for friends I don’t really keep much in touch with.
3. http://bfy.tw/1u5L
4. Sloppy drunk texts are the equivalent of finally working up the courage (by drinking) to talk to the cute girl or guy at the bar. Then you vomit all over them. There’s no coming back from this.
5. Tinder informs me that he is now 1548 miles away from me. Thank goodness.
6. Don’t judge. This is Tinder. Badonkadonk is also really fun to say.
7. This is an amazing compliment. No one ever wants to be boring, and how often do you ever get called exciting??
8. +1 for correctly identifying a city from a partially obscured statue and a hotel
9. +2! Random trivia + bad joke!
10. Sometimes I might be too creepy or weird in my replies though. Case:
Tinder guy: I can’t wait to introduce you to my mom!
Me: Already? Cool! I’m so honored! (Your mom is cool right?)
*I have thoughts of maybe he is a serial killer who uses Tinder to find victims (Has there been a Law and Order episode of this yet?)
Me: Also, I hope she isn’t dead because that’d be a little creepy.
-END OF CONVERSATION-

Women Merely Glow

I never expected to be the girl who falls really hard for the first guy she dates.

We met at a party that I never really wanted to attend: the friend who convinced me to go and socialize ended up not even attending, but I met A. As the slightly socially awkward person I am, I decided to make small talk about the weather (hot and humid; this was a Hong Kong summer after all), to which A had the most dashing reply in the most charming British accent.

“Horses sweat, men perspire, but women merely glow.”

Done. Sold. That was the end of my perpetual singledom. Who knew I could find such a nice English gentleman on the streets of Wanchai1 that are home to hookers, drunken shenanigans, and most likely a fair bit of bodily fluid.

Aside from the first date2, nothing really was ever very awkward between us. We got along fabulously, ate our way through Hong Kong3, and watched ridiculous internet videos together. He would always bring me shit cake4 from his work, and sometimes really great cupcakes. He also brought me foods I craved when I was in the hospital for 10 days. I was a bit delirious from fever and probably smelled a little unwashed as my body couldn’t muster up enough blood pressure to keep me from feeling dizzy all the time. But he dealt with that and kept me company for the few hours of visiting hours the hospital allowed.

However, all good things must come to an end. I suppose we had an extended summer romance5 where, aside from my hospitalization, we had all the great stuff you want in a relationship, traveling to exotic locales, trying out new foods, just having a good time hanging out and having sex, without the fights. Either that or we really were just that compatible.

Every time I go on a date with a new person now, I can’t help but to not quite subconsciously make comparisons. I know that’s not something any guy would ever want to hear, but it happens when the bar is set so high. I understand that I can’t create that first relationship, but at the same time, there must be someone worth dating for an extended period of time in Chicago, right? Right? Anyone out there?

 

1.Wanchai: historically, where American servicemen would throng the streets to let loose after spending months on a boat. The prices for prostitutes also increased when the sailors and Marines had shore leave.
2. We went to go watch World War Z because I am slightly obsessed with zombies. Turns out, he hates horror movies. I also somehow talked about trying to find a double ended dildo.
3.Getting sushi with me on a date will increase your chances of getting laid 1000%. Getting sushi + Indian food + Korean food in the same meal will basically guarantee sex.
4. Shit cakes were cakes his school would provide students for their birthdays. They were bland, dry, and somehow very dense, sponge cakes.
5. We only dated for a year. We both knew that this relationship had an expiration date as neither of us could envision staying in Hong Kong or moving to each others’ respective countries.
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