made in kowloon

Goodbye and Hello Again.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, well you might find just what you need…

And what I needed was a wake up call.

I reentered the dating scene again fairly recently – after a three year self imposed hiatus, and in those three years while finding myself and figuring out what it meant to be a single, independent person – someone who didn’t need anyone else to define or validate herself, I had completely forgotten how to date. I had forgotten about all the terribly, incredibly high highs and low lows. The rules of dating hadn’t necessarily changed. It was me who had changed (to a certain degree).

I became more of a hopeful, optimistic person, who was starting to embrace this new “romantic” side. I wanted to be open to whatever came next, to learn to take chances, and I don’t know… believe that people entered your life for a particular reason. Frank was my wake up call. In six weeks, he had managed to make me realize several things:

1) guys could be sweet and gentlemanly!;

2) I should expect sweet and gentlemanly actions. I had given guys too much of a pass in the past. Chivalry shouldn’t be and isn’t dead;

3) in some way, I really hadn’t changed all that much when it came to dating. Overthinking and second guessing my and his actions and words. Crushing a little too hard when things are on the upswing. I kind of drove myself a little crazy, and in turn, I’m pretty sure I drove my closest friends nuts too with all my rhetorical regurgitation;

4) dating should be FUN and is a discovery phase! Aside from all the stupid overthinking, I had a lot of fun and I laughed a lot;

5) the chemistry, the fun, and the sweetness are sometimes just fronts to hit it and quit it. I say this only because when he wasn’t and realized that he was never getting it (I’ve been on this ‘turning a new leaf’ kick, which I made sure he knew from Date number 3 and Date number 5), Frank administered number 6; and

6) people still use the disappearing act.

Maybe I’m wrong about number 5. I’m sure he has his reason(s). I’m just through with thinking about it because you know, it wasn’t me – I didn’t lead him to believe that I was someone I wasn’t during our time together, or that I wanted anything other than what I advertised or said. This was on him, and he entered my life so that I could (re)learn these six things.

This also gave me a sort of epiphany after some soul searching. There was someone who I had gotten to know years ago, and we had a good time. It wasn’t too different from my experience with Frank, even though it didn’t last six weeks with five dates, and just like Frank, I had pulled the disappearing act. I’m pretty sure I was acting on a selfish impulse when I called him up yesterday to apologize after years of not saying a single thing, but when you realize you’ve done something that immature (because let’s be real, not being honest with your intentions/ not manning up to tell someone that you’re not that interested isn’t the most mature action), you want to make amends. At least I did and do. I took a chance, and surprisingly, we had a really great catch up conversation that lasted almost two hours. It felt nice to own up to something.

So anyway, because I need a sense of closure without the necessity of losing face by contacting Frank again, and in the words of this show that I’ve been binging on in attempts to temporarily make myself numb and drown out all negative thoughts about my self worth (because to be honest, even though I know I’m kind of awesome on a good day, I can still wallow for a little bit over the fact that I did just technically get “dumped” in the most cowardly way):

Take care, Frank. Nice to know you.

Obviously his name was changed to protect his delicate disposition.

Happily Ever After…?

Mama Liu has been in the Big Apple with me for the past couple of days, and yesterday she saw her first subway rat after dinner at The Capital Grille. Her eyes got real wide, and she suddenly remembers this story from back in her secretarial/accounting days in Hong Kong. She paints this really comedic picture of how one of her colleagues trapped a mouse that had somehow scurried up one of her bellbottom pant legs. Apparently, those pant legs were really wide, and she hadn’t felt a thing until it was all the way near her hooha. (What in the world?!) She had squealed and screamed, yet tried to remain quiet as to not cause too much a ruckus in the office, but by the time she reached the restroom, the mouse had fainted from her superhuman grip and just fell out…

ANYWAY. this same woman was pining after some (hua hua gong zi) “playboy” who was trying to court my mother, and my mom, so cute and adorable, got all riled up in the subway station and exclaimed as she recalled that time, “Ugh, I would never in my life had gone out with him!~ Just thinking about the way he looked, I hate him!~ Thinking he’s all that and a bag of chips~” (Of course, she didn’t use a lot of this slang, nor did she say any of this in English, but that’s the gist of what she said.) Then she says,

“But the way I feel when I look at your father… There is an indescribable feeling I have in my heart/chest whenever I look at him…It flutters.”

To which I ask, “Even now?”

She vehemently nods, “Even now.”

“I wish I can find that for me one day.”

“You will. Everyone does.”

In the past couple of months, dating, my future for dating, and the possibility of marriage have been on my mind. Those who know me best would find the latter a bit of a surprise, as I have always been one to shun the idea of marriage, for me that is. I happily supported my friends’ decisions to get hitched – within certain time frames, no less. Independent woman all the way, am I right?  This five year old girl gets my drift…  Also, my current thinking about marriage in no way means I’m planning my wedding right now, nor am I really searching for my husband. I don’t even see myself walking down the aisle for a good number of years.

So with all these thoughts, my mom making such a candid confession about the way she feels about my dad is kind of like icing on the cake, so to speak. My parents will have been married for thirty years next March on the 11th. They’ve had ups, and they’ve certainly had some downs. I certainly wouldn’t say they are the most perfect couple in the world, but you know, it works. It works because they make it work, and it’s so rare nowadays to see people stay together – to make it work. I know there are some unforgivable sins that cannot be undone, cannot be forgotten, and will warrant a separation or divorce, but in general… I’ve learned so much about compromise and tolerance and patience within a marriage from my parents’.

As my folks grow older, I see their love grow too, and it’s so weird and wonderful and refreshing. They still have fun, and they still laugh together and at one another. To be honest, they’ve done that a lot more in recent years. It gives me a sense of hope, one that I refused to see and accept a long time ago because I feared that… I won’t have the same. Because we live in a generation where those virtues and values people had for marriage a while back are now luxuries… dying breeds. But I don’t know, maybe my parents’ history will repeat itself when I’m ready to create my own “love story.” Maybe I’ll let the traditionalist, romanticist sides of me win this time and I’ll continue to hold out for this hope. Apparently, my parents were a bad match because their astrological charts said they would be incompatible, but here they are, almost thirty years later and going just as strong.

Maybe I’ll find the guy who loves me and makes my heart flutter when I just look at him. Everyone does, right?

Now this is where I plug some links to articles and videos I’ve been reading and watching:

http://karenattiah.com/2010/07/28/a-womans-self-worth/

http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/

http://elitedaily.com/dating/women-marrying/

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/07/texting-exes-social-media-generation.html

http://johnsu.deviantart.com/art/How-To-Talk-To-Women-416921669

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/asian-women-arent-your-oriental-submissive-china-dol-1464199143

http://www.buzzfeed.com/annals/online-datings-icky-yellow-fever-fetishists

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWynJkN5HbQ

Recipe: Ginger Cake

Before I left Texas behind to relocate to the Big Apple, I wanted to use up as many things in the pantry as I could because I knew my parents were never going to do anything with them. I’m the only one in the household that even uses the oven, so needless to say there was lots of baking in the Kitchen of Sue. For dinner, I made these sweet and sour pork baby spare ribs, and the batter required only two egg whites which left me with two yolks. I was also craving something with ginger so I whipped up a ginger cake.

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When I finally got settled in the apartment, I branched out from cooking bulk meals to baking. Cooking and baking really relieve my stress, especially baking. Because I left everything at home – my hand mixer included – I’m left to cream butter and sugar and make meringue by hand. SO MUCH ARM WORK. I feel like I should have amazing biceps by now, but alas, I don’t. Sadface. BUT at least I still end up with pretty yummo foodstuffs. Last week, I remade another version of the ginger cake:

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You can see they’re kind of different. The top cake is more like brownies and the bottom is more like a cake-cake in that it’s puffy. The texture (they’re both rather dense) and tastes, however, are pretty much the same. I just made less in the first picture, and in the second I added baking powder and used whole eggs instead of yolks. So I’ll provide recipes for each of them, just because this is confusing even me right now. Whatever, my bad.

First Cake:

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