My Dating Life

A friend of mine suggested I write about dating life in a foreign country.  However, I cannot entirely speak to the subject, because 1) I have not dated anyone here, and 2) I haven’t really dated people back home either.

However…., I do have some interesting dating and dating-ish stories I could share.  So, I’ll do that instead.  🙂

We’ll begin with my first date, as it was, indeed, an odd beginning to an odd history of dating.

 

Date #1

My high school boyfriend and I split up the summer before college, out of being reasonable.  How it happened is a story for another time, though, as it is well worth telling, but just not now.  We remain to this day friends, and so were on good terms as the summer neared its end.  One day, when we were in the same place, John (that’s his name, you see) did something adorably wonderful.  He asked me on a date.  No, I do not remember the exact words he used, however, I remember that he did use explicit words quite similar to, “Would you go out on a date with me?”

While we had been a couple, we had often laughed at the fact that we had never been on a single date.  Every time we were arranging something that would have ended up as a date, we found ourselves desperately longing to invite so-and-so to come, because he/she would just LOVE it, or something like that.  It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be alone together.  It was merely that we love our friends and we are generous.  Also, a good amount of the time, my mom would be with us for things.  She often would be planning something really neat, and I would be going with her, and one of us would think of how John might enjoy the activity, too, and then either pick him up or have him meet us somewhere to join in the activity.  A lot of people found it odd that my boyfriend and I (and often my friends, too) did so much with my mom, but it was just way fun for all of us.  That being said, most John’s and my one-on-one time was spent standing outside his house as I was about to drive home at night, and never on actually going out to do anything (i.e. dates).

So, he asked me on a date.  The plan was to go out to dinner at this great vegetarian Indian restaurant near my house, and then to go to see a musical together downtown.  John was driving (and not I for once).  When he came to get me for dinner, it was sprinkling beautifully, and we somehow ended up going swimming (or at least playing in the backyard in the rain) instead, and my mom went and picked up food for us.  The three of us then had dinner at my house together.  At the musical, the two seats that John had purchased (with the help of his father) turned out to be across the wheelchair section from one another, leaving a gap of about a meter between our two seats.  I squat on the ground next to his seat for a bit, and then I think we eventually moved to a couple of other empty seats, so we actually could sit side-by-side.  It was a fabulously tragic date, which we both absolutely loved, because it was so terrible on paper, but so delightful in experience.

And that was date #1.

 

Date #2

A few years ago, I attended something called VIRTUS Training.  It is essentially a seminar for people who will be working at schools, for them to learn about identifying child sexual abuse.  In other words, it was a seminar on child sexual abuse.  It was at this wonderful seminar that I met my second date – or so I believe it was my second date, anyway.  He was sitting near me in the training, and I think wasn’t even in my discussion group.  However, we exchanged various faces at different things throughout the evening, and ended up in conversation afterward.  After probably a good half hour of talking outside afterward, he very beautifully expressed that he had enjoyed talking with me very much, and would I like to continue talking over dinner some time soon?  I agreed, and I gave him my number in order to arrange the dinner at another time.

For the dinner, he told me that he was “old fashioned”, and so was it alright that he pick me up for the date?  I originally agreed happily.  However, my sister told me it was a terrible idea, and got me all nervous, because I didn’t really know this guy, and what if it went horribly?  (It went wonderfully, but still, she got me nervous nonetheless.)  But my worries proved pointless, because, as I had just purchased my new car the day of our date, I had to take it for my family to see (and test drive, of course), which put me behind schedule for our date.  Since that was the case, I just met him at a restaurant midway between where I was in town and where he lived, so he didn’t have to wait so long nor have to drive all the way to my house (which was quite far for him).

I eventually ran into him again while I was still working at Starbucks, but it was quite busy at the time, and so we really didn’t get to chat (though I totally wanted to do so).  I had not saved his number, and so couldn’t call or message him again after that.  (Sometimes, you just don’t plan on getting a new phone before you’ve saved a number, ya know?)

And that is what came of date #2, when I met a guy at a child sexual abuse seminar.

 

Date #3

My third date, in my opinion, is the best of the three – yes, there have only been three – and also the most uncertain.  It is uncertain, because I simply hadn’t known that it was a date, and I’m still not certain as to whether it was a date.  You may judge for yourself as to whether it was a date or not.  😉

In France, there is a wonderful carpooling website, which helps anyone travel almost anywhere normal in France (and even to nearby destinations in neighboring countries).  I used it constantly for travel while I studied in Toulouse, and therefore used it again when I went to visit a couple summers ago.  It was in this carpooling from Paris to Toulouse that I met this party boy.

We didn’t talk much on the drive (I slept mostly, and he talked with the other passengers.), but we did a bit near the end, and he asked for my Facebook.  I felt no aversion to the guy, although I knew that we led very different lifestyles, his being a party boy and my being…. well, just not.  I like dancing and music and all, but not the drinking like crazy part.  He had even offered me a section of his sandwich on the ride.  because, I know you, so, of course, we’d share your sandwich.  😛  I liked the guy, despite our obvious differences.  He was just really open and friendly and honest.

And, as a bonus, quite handsome.  Think tall, dark and fancy hair, tanned skin, and quite fit.  Yes, he could carry me quite easily in his arms.  (I have no idea why that is something I notice about guys – whether they could carry me or not.  I just always notice it.)

Turned out that his apartment was literally the next street over from the AirBnB where I ended up staying.  Via texting, he asked if I wanted to get a bite to eat with him one night.  Yes, of course.  (I’d be eating alone otherwise, and he had been great company already.)  ‘Do you want to meet me somewhere, or should I pick you up on my scooter?’  Scooter, please.  (One of my dreams in life has been to ride a scooter with a cute guy in Europe, thanks to MaryKate and Ashley.)

So, he picked me up on his scooter, and drove me to a cool restaurant in a part of town I’ve always loved.  We sat outside, and it was fabulous.  I had him order for me whatever he thought was best to have.  I’m usually more of the raw vegan diet type, but I roll with the culture these days, so I graciously accepted a delicious and innerly-pink steak.  We chatted and had a great time, and when he went in to pay, I followed a bit behind, and asked what I owed.  He, a bit surprised, said that I owed nothing, as he was paying for everything.  It was my turn to be surprised, but I did not even consider that this was a date – perhaps he’s just really nice to the foreigner girl visiting his hometown.

And so, we went and got some beers from a store, and he showed me around his huge, old-fashioned apartment, which he shared with this rich guy with a really nice car, as he put it (I don’t remember what the car was, but it was legitimately a very expensive car.).  We hung out and talked, and it was totally great.  When I finally reached home, and told him that I was home safely, he sent me a message that had me suddenly see the evening in a slightly – meaning entirely – different light.  It was in a light and friendly way, and even with a wink smiley face, so it was not meant to be nasty or inappropriate.  However, he said that ‘he would have preferred that I had stayed there.’  Oh, my…  At last I came to the sudden idea that this might actually have been a date.  I then got super excited that I was not only on my third date ver (Whoohoo!), but on a date with a gorgeous French guy, and IN French.  How cool is that?!  Way cool.  Seriously.  It was awesome.  Dreams fulfilled that I hadn’t even dreamed up yet.

And that was date #3.  I think, anyway.  😛

 

Those have been my three official-ish dates (I’m still not sure about that third one).  They were each wonderful in their own ways, and I find none of them to be too standard (slash at all standard).  I loved each and every one, and I look forward to raising the bar each time to more ridiculous scenarios surrounding my dating life.  (I need to share about my coffee dates and the likes, too.  Those have been fun, for sure, and very international.)

I’m super tired now, so I’m going to sleep.  However, I plan to continue with the coffee dating and other date-related things that weren’t actually dates.  🙂

 

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

A match made in France?

In my first year of college, I went on a traveling Janterm, where we spent two weeks studying French in Cannes, and doing tours to the nearby towns and famous spots, and one week in Paris, exploring as we wished.  During the first two weeks, while a group of us were on a city bus, I noticed a French kid about our age.  He was sitting in a seat, on the left side of the bus, somewhat near the front, listening to music with headphones on.  I was curious what music he had playing.  I also thought he was cute.  Therefore, I wanted to talk to him.  The easiest thing for me to say to him was to ask him to what music he was listening.  I fought constantly with the insides of my brain and the fluttering of my stomach, and at last, I believe, he got off the bus.  Or else, we got off the bus.  I really don’t remember. However, I remember making eye contact with him at least once, if not a few times while we were all riding  the bus.

Well, I was incredibly disappointed that I had not spoken with the boy, though not entirely surprised at myself – even today, I have to psych myself up for odd situations like that.  However, I usually succeed in making the interaction nowadays, whereas at the time, I did not.

But this tale does not end sadly.  At least, not yet.

I believe that it was that same night, or perhaps the following – but I really think it was that same night – that a group of us decided to go to a nightclub in the town.  Some of the older guys who were working at the dormitory where we were all studying offered to take us to some cool bar and club.  We all happily agreed.  Well, some of the girls and guys and I agreed, but not everyone.

So, a small band of foreigners temporary living in Cannes so they could study French headed to a nice bar for a while, and then to a dance club later on that night.  On the way, I learned that a Romanian speaker can understand other romance languages rather easily.  (Fun Fact: This was my first interaction with someone being able to understand another language that is similar to his/her own, without necessarily being able to speak that language.  Of course, I can now do that with various languages myself, but it was a fun start to the concept for me.)

The bar was fun and interesting, and we didn’t have to check our coats, but we did have to buy drinks to compensate for having not checked our coats, and we had to deal with a huge pile of coats, which we were somewhat hiding in the corner.  However, I need not say much more about the bar.  Rather, anything more.  The club is the important one, you see. 

First off, the club was huge and, really, quite an awesome dance club.  I was amazed at the environment, as well as the clientele.  People danced by themselves or with a friend or with friends, and it didn’t matter which they did.  There were no circles forming awkwardly, or anything like that.  People weren’t doing official or formal dances of any kind, though.  They were just free dancing, having a wonderful time, doing their own things to the music.  I happily joined in in this type of merriment, while being amazed that on one side of me could be a 17-year-old, and on the other side of me could be a 40-year-old – no one cared how old anyone else was.

In short, I loved the club, and I loved dancing in it.

And, while I enjoyed dancing in it, I saw a familiar head.  When he turned and saw me, we looked in each other’s eyes, and there was this sort of understanding.  We both knew that we had seen each other that day.  We both knew that we had not talked to one another.  And it felt as though we both knew that I at least had wanted to talk to him.  This time, however, it seemed quite clear that he wanted to talk to me, as well.  Shortly after seeing one another, he was dancing in front of me, with me.  We held hands as we danced with one another, and we danced without holding hands, too.  

Even though I could manage French rather well at that time, he never got to find out this fact, because he addressed me in English.  It was somewhat iffy English, but adorable, and I loved that he was trying and that he knew we had all been speaking English on the bus.  He had been listening to music, of course, but he clearly had been paying enough attention to us nonetheless.

I don’t remember how long we danced or how we started dancing with one another, but I remember that it was absolutely wonderful.  At some point later in the evening, a couple of the girls who were with me told me I needed to give him a way to contact me.  I didn’t have a phone, of course, but one of the girls had just gotten one that day, because she was staying for the whole semester.  So, we wrote my full name and her phone number on a piece of paper.  In the French conjugation of the verb to want, I couldn’t remember if the you form ended in an or a t.  So, instead of saying, “If you want,” I wrote, “If one wants,” which, in French, can also be read as, “If we want.”  (Si on veut.)

I handed him the paper and I said goodbye and rushed out with my friends.  I don’t even remember what I said to him, or if I even said anything to him as I gave him the paper.  I just know that I gave it to him.

I spent several hours throughout the following months searching a particular page on Facebook.  It was the page for the club where we had been dancing.  I was scouring the faces and names of all the people who had liked the page, looking for this guy.  I used to know his first name.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was now, though.  I do remember his eyes, though… those gray-blue, yet bright eyes.  But I searched long and hard for his Facebook, to no avail.

He never called.

Or, at least, if he did, it was after I had left, and my friend with the phone never told me.

I am reminded of all of this, because today, for the second time in my life, I gave a piece of paper with my name and contact info on it to a guy.  (My full name and LINE ID, to be exact.)  He has already contacted me.

Post-a-day 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarves…?

I like to knit.  Crocheting is nice, too, but I tend to knit much more often.  I think I prefer the patterning of knitting to that of crocheting.  Crocheting to me is like hipster headbands, baby blankets, and huge afghans.  Whereas knitting is more anything clothing, and even various accessories, too (think bags and such).  So, while I do both, I tend to knit more than crochet.

That being said, the thing I knit the most is scarves.  Why?  Because they are simple and rather quick, and it is utterly satisfying to have something materialize before my eyes so quickly, and with what feels like such little (and typically meditative) effort.  It’s always a sort of medicine for me, I think, making scarves.  I often just make them, simply because I’ve come across a yarn that I particularly like and can see being a fabulous scarf.  I find someone to whom I can give it eventually, usually… sometimes, anyway.

I do tend to make a lot of scarves as gifts in this manner, though.  Sometimes I actually go to the store when there’s a sale, and I bring a list of people for whom I want to make scarves this year, and I pick out yarns for each of their scarves.  I almost always get a few extras for unexpected add-ons to the list later on.

I had done just this recently, and was doing some volunteering for the International Weightlifting Federation’s World Championship, when several of the weightlifters and coaches saw my scarf-making.  They would pass by me on their way to a meal, and comment on the fact that I was knitting at my station.  (My response to the inquiries were that I was simply working on Christmas presents.  Which I was.)  When they were later leaving from their meal, they would be shocked and would comment on the great progress I had made in the scarf – it typically took me a single shift to make a full scarf (if that long).  And, eventually, some of these people either asked or hinted (and I, of course, offered) for me to make a scarf for them.

So, that week sent my scarves around the world to France, either Guatemala or Ecuador (I honestly don’t remember which – I just remember that they team had lots of yellow on their warm-ups, I always spoke to the girl in Spanish, and they were from somewhere down south of Texas), and Italy.  Now, I have scarves currently residing in Japan from this year’s Christmas presents, and future Canadian, Jamaican, and Australian residents.

For whatever reason, this incredibly excites me.  Not only do I travel the world in little bits, but so does my art!  😀

Who knew scarves could travel so far and wide?

 

Post-a-day 2017

Inglorious Basterds

Last night, as I was going to bed (Or was it at some point in the middle of the night, when I woke up?  Or even this morning?), I recalled the film “Inglorious Basterds”, and had a slight desire to watch it.  I have seen it already, but this film and I have a sort of special connection, and for various reasons.

For one thing, I first saw the beginning of it on my first trip to France, on my Freshman year JanTerm in Cannes – a sort of momentous occasion, its being my first time there and all.  One of the students working at our dorm’s café was all excited about watching it, and got us all to sit around to watch it at the café.  After only a few minutes, I was uninterested in the film, and I left (as I recall).

A few years later, I finally watched the whole film, though I forget currently when and how.  So, it was meant to be comedic and historical and action-filled.  Got it.  Now I’d seen it, so I didn’t have to see it again.

Then, while living in Vienna (though that part’s somewhat irrelevant), I saw two films that I loved.  The first was “Keinohrhasen”, with the German actor Til Schweiger.  I fell in love with the film, and has a soft spot for Til because of it.  Then, I saw in theaters the film “Django Unchained”.  I somewhat fell in love with the German character of the film, played by Christoph Waltz, who is Austrian-German himself.  By calling to mind before the start of the film that this was a Quentin Tarantino film, I was able to enjoy the full beauty and glory of the artistry that was “Django Unchained”.

Once back in the States, however, I recalled that I had not given just perspective to “Inglorious Basterds” as a Quentin Tarantino marvel, but had judged it relative to the average film.  (I grew up in love with Kill Bill, you see, and learned QT’s style of gore and revenge and all that, somehow learning to enjoy and appreciate it because of the setting and story that was Kill Bill, probably with a bit of guidance from my brother Michael, who had shown me the films in the first place.)  So, I decided it was high time to watch the film again, though this time as a Quentin Tarantino film, instead of a regular one.

And so I did.  However, allow me to point out the setting of this film: WWII in Germany and France (or, at least, a France filled with Germans), with Americans interspersed.  When the movie began, it took me about ten minutes (?) to realize that something was amiss… or, at least, something felt like it must be amiss.

I eventually realized (and even had to pause the film for the extreme laughter that arose from within me) that it was the fact that I was completely missing the subtitles.  I was not, however, missing the dialogue.  I was just merely ignoring, nay, not even noticing the subtitles, because I simply understood what was being said.  The laughter came suddenly and from deep within – it was like this film was made for me, in a sense.  I now spoke decent French and German (and still fantabulous English, of course), and this movie played back and forth between my three main languages.  It was a perfect mix of cultures and language for my language-loving mind.

Now, that was great, but it got even better.  Then, I found Christoph Waltz AND Til Schweiger in the film.  Add that all to the expectation of Quentin Tarantino’s style, as well as the gorgeous Brad Pitt (yeah, I have a soft spot for him, too), and I was in love with the film.

You’d think that’d be enough to have a special bond with a film, but there’s one more bit to it all, and a rather profound one at that.  Seeing this film shortly after seeing Django had me notice something quite peculiar.  In Django, Christoph Waltz was quite obviously ‘the good guy’ of the film.  He had obvious morals that were oh-so-lacking in the other characters, plus he was totally BA* with his skills and tactics and sense of style.  In a way, in the time and place of Django, being German was ideal, and being American was kind of terrible.  (Do you see where this is going?)

Now, look at “Inglorious Basterds”.  Are the roles not 100% switched?  Christoph Waltz, whose character once was somewhat idolized for his status of being German, now was considered the worst of the worst in morals because he was German.  And the Americans were appropriately on the high ground this time.  Had it been another actor, I’m not sure I would have made quite the same connection.  But I found it amazing that this one man – and yes, I am aware that Christoph Waltz was not present for any of these actual periods of history, but just roll with it – could, at one point in time, be honored and respected for being himself (German), and, at the next, be despised and hated for being himself (German).

And so, I have this forever attachment and special relationship with “Inglorious Basterds”, which also inevitably drags along a bit of moral contemplation on the mentality of the human species throughout the course of human events (especially conflict).  And, of course, Christoph Waltz.  None of this would have truly linked together so well without his wonderful collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, as well as his total enrollment in the characters he played (I truly loved the one, and was distraught by his death, and despised the other, hoping throughout the film for his immediate death.).  Nods and hats off to you, sir.  And Quentin Tarantino – you’re awesome, too, sir.

 

🙂

 

*bad-ass

Post-a-day 2017

 

The Goofy Tour Guide(?)

One of my favorite things recently was the time I got to take some of my students around London and Paris.  They literally chased after me at times, as I wound them through the buzz and hub of the cities and their transit systems.  And, from what I understood during and after the trip, they totally loved it.  As did I.

In all the photos, of course, my friend and I looked like two of the kids on the trip, instead of the adult chaperones, but that was okay – it wasn’t like we acted much differently than the kids, anyway. 😛  Sure, we were responsible and all, but also totally silly and fun like kids.  And, while I loved getting to be with a group of people who could be fun and goofy with me, that wasn’t the best part.  

What I loved most was what I was able to give to the kids, what Inwas able to share with them, impart to them.

Everywhere we went, I kept buying them snacks of all sorts (all local favorites, of course).  I was sure to take them to do the silly things you don’t usually get to do on an organized travel tour (like experiencing a grocery store, taking time to sit and enjoy street music, discreetly convincing a pub to let you use their bathroom without having bought anything, finding your favorite books for half the price and in the language you’re learning – things like that, and much more).  I literally spread joy and enhanced people’s world views just by sharing my own knowledge and experiences with them.

Ever since then, I have wanted to do more and more of that.  Sure, I get to do it every time someone visits me, wherever I happen to be at the time, but it just isn’t the same as that trip… perhaps discovering the difference will lead me to a way to make it happen on a consistent basis… That would be awesome.  😀

Post-a-day 2017