A house in which to grow old. 物の哀れ. Piedmont, California.
成語 are four characters in length many of the time, with several being rooted in historical poetry or prose. They often omit words that would make them a proper sentence, but using them often (especially the more obscure ones) and being able to understand them are just a mark of education. You can probably find 四字成語 to describe any sort of beautiful or transient moment.
俗語 is more like… A common saying (adage?) that has gradually been associated with some (obvious to the speakers) degree of truth, like, ‘the grass is greener on the other side,’ or ‘the early bird gets the worm.’
In this case, Kevin’s saying (which I disagree with), is…
江山- What China’s ruling dynasties were referred to (metaphorically).
易改- Contracted form of, ‘easily change’
本性- [The person’s] intrinsic character
難移- Difficult to move
Put this all together, and it doesn’t make much sense, but what this phrase is (cynically and exaggeratedly) saying is basically… Even compared to the [mighty/infallible] dynasties that come and go, easily succeeding one another, [the ‘element in question’ of] the person’s character is difficult to change.
I, for one, think there are too many flaws in this. Cogitoreklo-san, why are you so cynical. Why. I’m more dead than all y’all in a few days. WHY AM I ON TUMBLR. GTFO.
Edit: I just looked at the google translation for this. “A leopard cannot change its spots” just doesn’t quite capture it the same way.
Edit #2: As Cogitoreklo pointed out, in this case, 江山 should be taken literally. 江 being the rivers and 山, the mountains. The sentiment is the same though
I recently had a conversation with my mom that went something like this (translated from Chinese):
-After telling her the story about A-
“Mom, I’m not trying to blame you, but if you hadn’t so heavily discouraged me from what my intuition was telling me back then, who knows how things would have ended up with Aat this point? I really think you would have liked him, I really do…”
“Like? No, not like. It’s just that I have no other option so I have to live with it now. You being like this [liking boys]… I would have rather had another daughter.”
“… I’ve never expressed that I was unhappy with being a boy. That is so insulting to transvestites, mom. Some people have to go through so much to change their gender-identity”
We both sighed.
My mom asked me whether I was gay during my winter break in 2010. In fact, it had all happened very awkwardly and publically, since she decided to pop the question while we were waiting for the MTR in Hong Kong. There were tears on her side, but overall, I thought it went rather well. Prior to that moment, I had been determined to keep this a tidbit of personal information that I would never share with my family and take to my grave. In that moment, though, I just wanted to lay my cards out on the table and tell her; I figured that if she was mentally prepared to ask me, she would also be mentally prepared to hear the worst (in her mind) possible response.
Many things got a lot easier for me starting from that day. Out of everyone in my family, I’d always been the emotionally closest one to my mother. During university, one of my close friends even wondered whether I was a child of a single parent household (I’m not, officially), since I virtually never spoke of my father. I remember the first time I told my mum about and showed her a picture of a boy that I liked. He was a cute Jewish heartthrob with a velvety singing voice that fate had kept thrusting into my face. My heart was pounding, not because of how adorable he looked in the photo, but because this was the first time I was testing the waters of my mom’s response to my sexual preference in a real scenario. She didn’t sound happy, but she managed, “He looks like a pretty intelligent boy. It’s in his gaze.” My heart leapt, my mom was accepting!
I thought it would have been smooth sailing from then on, but I hadn’t realized that my mom would continue to hold out a kind of thought process (as seen in the conversation at the very beginning of this entry) that still makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Here’s the confusing part though: my mom enables me and wants to know about my love life, and she even got more upset than me when she found out I got stood up for a date. But at the same time, knowing that there are boys (and not girls) romantically in my life upsets her. Cognitive dissonance. I know that this has been hard for her, but hopefully future exposure will make it better.
A was the second boy since 2011 that I had talked to my mom about. I guess, in a way, that’s how I knew I truly liked the idea of him. Everything I saw and perceived made him 10/10, bring-home-to-meet-mom, boyfriend material. R, spring-break-Tinder-person, had never even once come up in my conversation with her. It’s been two weeks and I’ve been in a good headspace for my upcoming exams, but there are still lulls in my mood. I’ve got to dampen my natural propensity for emotions. Whatever. These few weeks are the final lap before I apply for grad school. Who needs bois when I have my sexy schoolbooks to keep me company during those lonely cold nights!
Anonymous asked: It seems like you had a lot going on recently. Hang in there! Time will make everything better!
Thank you anon, I appreciate your thoughts. I’d appreciate it even more if you just spoke to me with your real account though, even though I think I know who you are!
So there should be a follow-up post after the emotional wreck that I was these past two days. I guess these past two months had culminated in that one moment when I decided to finally, irrefutably reach out to A. Was I scared? Hells yes I was, but anything, anything, was better than living in a purgatory of ideation. Anthony, remember when Las Vegas guy was still in the picture and you made your post about how even though you experimented with things on your end, you still felt a kind of loyalty to Vegas guy? Well, that’s pretty much how I felt, except what you had was real in that moment. It didn’t matter that A was just a fantasy; I couldn’t help but think of him as… That person.
Yesterday, I got my reply on Facebook. A let me go in a way that made it easy for me to accept – he had found someone else, and from the sparse information I had on this new mystery boy, he seemed like a pretty decent guy. I think that was the happiest part of this entire experience. A finally found someone that would put a smile on his face in his most idle of moments. It never had to be me, but I am truly, truly glad. He also understood my intentions and treated my feelings with respect, although there were some other misunderstandings that I addressed.
Last night, I truly felt happy for him and I was pretty emotionally stable. I can accept this. He deserves the best and I hope his boyfriend treats him right. But a few hours later while doing my night-time reading, I started feeling tears run down the side of my face. It was a really odd experience. The droplets weren’t accompanied by sobs or an emotional Armageddon inside. My brain wasn’t even registering any deep sadness, so why was this happening? I think this was the first time I’ve ever experienced such an odd emotional-physiological disconnect.
Stop being so selfish Anthony. He’s happy, you’re happy, remember?
Wow, what the hell is going on? I wiped them away and hugged my pillow to bed.
Beyond anything, the worst part of this is that under any other circumstance, I would have tried to pursue a friendship with him. But at this point, it would be so inappropriate. I have a hyper-extraordinary ability to remember things about people and events, but it’s time to put memories of A into a box and lay it among the others on my emotional shelf. I’ll still open the lid and revisit them occasionally, but I have no regrets about doling out my affections to A, or the idea of A, for the past little while.
Anonymous asked: Awesome blog! Thank you for sharing these stories! Do you have a picture of yourself on here somewhere?
………. Yes, I do. There is one and only one, so have fun digging!
Anonymous asked: Are you in micb at ubc :)?
Not in the department, but I’m taking MICB 418 right now. Feel free to come say hi!
Final exams are just beyond the river bend, so I really should be attempting to sleep or study right about now, but before I can efficiently do either of those things, I need to make one conclusive post about A, who I have made reference to quite a few times these past few weeks. Before I continue, I would just like to preface that I don’t know how long this post will end up being, so apologies if it ends up reading like a novella.
So, where to begin… Yesterday night, I met up again with a lawyer who I had initially met on Tinder. Anthony, if I told you about some intricacies surrounding his circumstances, you would be highly amused. Anyway, long story short, I respect him on many levels, but I know I could never date someone like him. I feel like our relationship is mutually platonic though (albeit, unilaterally flirtatious from his end), so I’m happy to have formed another friendship in Vancouver. The contrast between what we look for in a potential partner is one of the most jarring differences between us though- his ‘list’ involves many external characteristics like earning potential, height, and fashion sense, while mine revolves around more internal characteristics like altruism and passion. I’m not trying to demonize him for his preferences; once upon a time, money-matters would have placed high on my list too. Where does A tie into all of this, though…? Well, more on that later.
It was around 2 A.M. on a Saturday morning when I first met A. I had been tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep as I’d been stood up for a first date that I had been pretty excited for nine hours earlier. As I lay on my mattress, staring into the dark and feeling pathetic about myself, my phone buzzed beside my ear. I lethargically reached over and felt around for the device, pressing the tiny power button on the head of the slim black case and narrowing my eyes from both the glare of the screen and that tiny, flame-shaped icon taunting me.
Sigh. What the hell do you want, Tinder.
I opened up the app, rolling my eyes sarcastically as it loaded and halfway determined that I’d be uninstalling Tinder right after that instant. But then, I saw A’s face staring straight back at me and my fingers instinctively started dancing away on the screen to compose a witty one liner. Pomegranate bodywash.
Oh, his eyebrows lift like this: / \
Blood rushed to my face. I hope he replies.
But a few minutes later, reply, he did. Our conversation got really serious, really quickly. He shared some heartbreaking and personal information with me and in return, I felt more at ease sharing some of my insecurities with him. A was immediately validating and affirming of my unhappiness, even though I wasn’t explicit in relaying the details of my previous night. He even insisted that we all seek closure in relationships and that I wasn’t uniquely affected by such negative emotions. I asked him whether it was okay that our choice of topics was so heavy for fundamentally, a first ‘meeting,’ but he refuted that this was the best way to get to know another person. This was the type of connection that I’d been missing with my male friends (especially the emotionally dense, bro-types) who had remained in Vancouver. One and a half hours later, A began feeling drowsy and said he needed to go, but before he did, he inquired as to whether I was feeling better/alright, referencing something that I had mentioned within the first five minutes of our conversation.
In that moment, I did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done. For once, I didn’t want to wear that mask and pretend that I was feeling okay so someone else would not be inconvenienced. No, I’m not alright. Asking outright for someone’s help is really the Achilles heel of an INFJ. It does not come naturally. So, I let myself be selfish, and replied, “Would it be very melodramatic and lonely hearts of me if I asked you to stay a bit longer?” His reply? “Not at all.” Right then, I sensed that this boy was both a NF and also registered that he was special. A proceeded to stay with me for another forty minutes until he really couldn’t stay awake any longer, but after I closed Tinder with a smile, I was finally able to drift off to sleep.
A is a student in the faculty of management, so I think networking is pretty hardwired into his system. During our conversation, he was pretty specific about certain details and people in his life, which made it subsequently easy to ascertain his identity. I didn’t do anything with this information though, as amused as I was with this revelation. Before we ever got a chance to have another conversation, though, A uninstalled Tinder without saying goodbye. So much for closure from him. I immediately regretted not asking for his number while I had the chance to. How could I forget about something that had started out with so much promise? Sure, I found his physical appearance extremely agreeable, but at this point, I wanted to see into his mind which I had just been offered a tantalizing glimpse of. Everyone I talked to subsequently told me to forget about him, but how could I?
Why did he leave without saying goodbye? Maybe that conversation meant absolutely nothing… Maybe I should just leave it. And, the cycle repeats itself…
With exams and other distractions, I did manage to leave it, although he was always in the back of my mind. But one day, while helping a friend in another business-related endeavour, serendipity would have me stumble across him again. A had mentioned that he was part of a conference when we had talked, but I hadn’t realized his role would be so publicized. As I was scrolling through pictures of this particular conference, I stumbled across one and thought, Oh, this boy is cute, moved on, then backtracked ten seconds later. Wait… A minute. Oh… OH… It’s A. My mouth hung in disbelief. Here he was again, thrown into my face. If I had attempted to forget about him before, the universe was now playing an extremely cruel trick on me.
From there, A’s very many (public) social networks became available to me. Everything I saw only increased the curiosity and interest I had for him. His passion for his work mixed with his adorable personal segues made for an intoxicating combination. I contemplated whether I should reach out to him or whether to remain a silent, anonymous follower forever, quietly supporting his work from the shadows. I tried, using Facebook, as a means of closure if not for anything else. Unfortunately, with the invention of the ‘Other’ inbox, my message was never read (damn, why do I have 0 mutual friends with you when one of my best friends has 40+?!). I realize that all I have are those few hours of virtual communication to reflect on, but I want to know more. At this point, I’m only left with an overwhelmingly positive but unrealistic construction of him in my mind.
As I gushed on about the merits of A to lawyer yesterday, I realized that there was nothing else for me to lose. As lawyer began to rag on A, I stared back at him with a deadpan face and replied, “You need to show some respect for him. I like him and I don’t appreciate you talking about him like this.” I did not go and dig inappropriately to find out what I know about A and I deserve closure, if nothing else. Even nutrition boy provided closure in a blunt, hurtful way, and that had only been driven by a one-dimensional interest in his face. My mental construction of this ‘amazing’ boy is really not healthy, but I can’t help but feel, what if. What if he really does live up to these ideas I have of him?
I’m going to do something active on my part so I will have no more opportunities to ask, what if. By doing so, I risk having many unsavoury labels tacked onto me- creep and stalker immediately come to mind. I don’t think I want to orchestrate a falsely organic first meeting anymore, but if I’m denied, at least I will finally be able to shut this book. Regardless of what happens from here, I hope you are all able to bear witness to the fact that my intentions are fundamentally pure.
Just one moment can change everything
Edit: I wrote this while in a very emotional and sleep deprived state (I’d been reading about historical war crimes for three hours), so please forgive some of the weird flow and transition. My thoughts also haven’t translated very well down here, but the general sentiment still remains.