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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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But if she did....part 2    

By Garreth Humphris
2409 Views | 6 Comments | 7/26/2012 1:35:30 PM

So, if you haven’t read Part 1, then it might be worthwhile to get the background...try it here.

The story has been that I met a nice lady through a mutual friend but unfortunately we were not too compatible. The biggest issue had been that my putonghua was poor and the lady also had a strong local dialect that was difficult to communicate with. This meant we would get into these weird word plays of
She, “you said you like me!”,
He, “yes, I like you",
She, “you don't love me?”,
He, “love is difficult”,
She, “what do you mean difficult?”,
He, “this, our talk”,
She, “our talk is difficult?”,
He, “yes, I cannot tell you my thoughts”,
She, “why can you not tell me?”
He, “I am trying, but my putonghua is bad”
She, “you can buy beer, buy food, cannot say you love me?”
He, “I meet you days, I like you, love is long time before know"
She, “like is love, love is like....in China, your home is my home, I am very happy”
He can't understand her next 15 phrases - it was obvious to me that it wasn't going to work!

I met this lady just before an overseas trip - she asked me to say hello to her every few days, which I did using Skype, and QQ. I was away 2 weeks and when I returned my match-making friend scolded me, “you said you would contact her, but you never called her".
I replied with “international telephone calls are expensive for both of us and I did send her messages on QQ and Skype...and she didn’t try to call me either!”
To which I was promptly handed a ringing telephone connecting through to her, a menacing look and a ’you’d better do it otherwise you’re dead' snarl. (I sometimes wonder why I associate with these types of people!)
He, “hello, it’s Gareth”
She, “hello, (mutual friend) said you’d call”
So it was a setup - sprung again!
He, “how are you.”
She, “I’m fine, in Qingdao, visiting friends”
He, “good, have a nice time!”
She, “I will, bye”
He, “see you again”

So, I thought that was logical conclusion! We had left on pleasant terms, but, in China, things are never as they seem.

About a week later I got a message on my phone from my matchmaker friend. “What are you doing tonight?”, she asked, “want to have dinner with me?”

“I’d love to, but unfortunately I am working to 9pm”.
“So after, will you go home or go to a bar?”
“Home”, I said, “I've given up drinking this week!”

After finishing my work I headed home, but decided to go to my office - it isn't far from my home and I had a report to finish.
Around 11.30pm, I arrived home to find a sobbing lady on my sofa. She had arrived about 9pm and convinced the security guard that she was nice enough to get the spare key to my house, had gone inside and cooked dinner, ironed my shirts and waited, increasingly agitated, for my return - the matchmaker had told her I was going to be home at 9pm!

The match-maker had even been lurking in the shadows near my home and seen me get out of the taxi, but didn't notice me walk past my door to the next building where my office is...2 hours to walk 50 meters from taxi to door just didn’t make sense to either of my Chinese friends...I obviously had another girlfriend in another apartment in my building!...I was obviously a bad man!...I had seen the light on in my home or spoken to the security guard and had hidden in the basement, hoping she would go away! I was bad, bad, bad!

I was honestly not expecting anyone to be there and I was really annoyed at the collusion of my friends, the willingness of the security guard to let people into my home and the fact my ’message’ had been diluted.

It turned out that she had diverted her return trip from Qingdao to her hometown to visit me!

A further 20 minutes of sobbing before I diligently setup a bed for her on the sofa, made her breakfast in the morning, carried her bags to the railway station and put her on the train, thanking her for making my home nice.

I couldn’t help but feeling that I was a bad person, but honestly, the relationship would not have gone well if I had continued to ’entertain’ any ideas. She would have sacrificed seniority in a job to move to my city, her child would move schools at an important time in their life, she would be away from family and friends network and be relying on a ’flaky foreigner’, live in situations where she spoke a foreign dialect - I mean I would have to be really sure of the relationship to ask her to risk all these things...and honestly, I wasn't.

Maybe she didn’t understand, but I was being 'bad' with greater good intentions.

My Chinese friends all say you shouldn't worry about all that stuff - that Fate takes it’s course. But she is a mature lady, with a dependent child, and it would be incredibly difficult to ’restart’ their life, given that one partner had already decided against the whole idea.

The last part of the story is what I said the my well-intentioned but misguided matchmaker friend - most is not printable! But it was a frosty month that followed before she decided that in fact I had clearly told her what I wanted and she was to ’taken in the idea of love’ to see!

And to think, I’ve had taxi-drivers offer to introduce me to their sisters because I don’t have a girlfriend!!! Imagine that conversation!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 6 of 6) 1
#2012-07-29 08:08:27 by YOYO1126 @YOYO1126

Garrett,
It's a funny article ! I know some Chinese girls always try to be " bounded" with their westener boyfriends , but these examples still surprised me . I think you probably just see this in good side: she really "like" you very much that she tried her best to make you feel it , let you believe she will be a "perfect" wife . As a Chinese girl, I admire her bravery, but i think it's too over, even a little crazy. And your those "warm hearted" Chinese friends also very interesting, they tried to help , but they didn't provide the useful advice to that lady. That's all :)

#2012-07-31 04:29:08 by Elijah @Elijah

I THINK YOU DIDN'T LIKE HER AT ALL, FOR A WIFE BUT, AS A FRIEND. ARE YOU SERIOUS YOUR MATCH MAKER WAS LURKING OUTSIDE?. SHE REALLY WANTED THIS TO WORK FOR YOU, I CAN NOT SEE NO GAIN FROM THIS FOR HER. SHE REALLY WANT HAPPINESS FOR YOU. I ALSO BELIEVE YOU NOT A BAD MAN OR A (PLAYER). I WOULD HAVE WEIGHTED MY PRO'S & CON'S.
BEFORE TELLING HER IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK. ANYTHING CAN WORK ESPECIALLY WHEN TWO MINDS WORK TOGETHER. A MAN OF YOUR STANDARD COULD HAVE OVER CAME THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS YOU WAS HAVING BUT, YOU WAS TO WEAK OR SCARED OF SOMEONE ACTUALLY LOVING YOU.

CAN'T YOU SEE SHE WENT OUT ON A LIMB TO BE EVERYTHING FOR YOU.
ON TOP OF THAT, YOU HANDLE SHIT POORLY. YOU REALLY REPRESENTED AS A MAN. LOOK ALL I'M SAYING YOU'RE GETTING OLD, YOU WILL NEVER MARRY THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. JUST CHOOSE SOMEONE TO BE HAPPY WITH. GIVE IT A CHANCE, DON'T LOOK FOR MISTAKES.. TRY LEARNING HER! YOU WILL SEE A DIFFERENCE. LOL, YOU ARE IN CHINA, YOU REPORT STORIES TO YOUR BLOG, AS IF YOU WAS REPORTER OR A FREESTYLE JOURNALISTS, QUESTION: DON'T THEY TAKE TIME TO UNDERSTAND A PERSON OR LEARN TO EXPRESS THEIR THOUGHTS SO THAT OTHER PERSON
CAN UNDERSTAND THEM, I'M JUST SAYING:).. PLEASE TELL ME AGAIN WHY YOU NEED A MATCHMAKER??

I FEEL SORRY FOR HER, IN A SENSE. I'M SURE THAT SHE HAS THOUGHT ABOUT HOW SILLY IT WAS TO CHASE YOU.
TAKE CARE AND WISH YOU THE BEST IN FINDING A WIFE OR A BUST IT BABY, SORRY FOR THE SLANG, HAHAHAHAH...

#2012-07-31 13:26:43 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Hi Elijah, I don't feel I need a matchmaker - but in China, everyone appears to want to be one!

Maybe what you say is true - maybe I am afraid or something like that! Maybe I won't find that in China - maybe I will! Who knows.

I am interested in a strong and loving relationship with someone but 'settling' on something that will not keep me interested or enlightened for my life is not fair on me, and definately not fair on the lady! I know I can be an unlikeable person when I am dissatisfied - that would be a horrible burden for an 'unloved' lady.

The biggest question I always have is 'is it love?' or 'is it obligation? (or tradition or expectation or whatever) and how does that rest with me!'. If your read some of Peter's blogs he also describes this situation a lot. The clash of "eros" vs "jia" is strong!

Yes, I do see that the lady did try very hard to impress me - but please don't think that 'all my thoughts about this issue' are compressed into 700 words in a blog! There were lots of 'reasons' why things may have been impractical - an no, I was not deliberately looking for mistakes.

As a foreigner in China, I do feel fairly detached from the community and society here - people 'scream' that you don't know the culture and the community but it is a hard nut to crack. Even people who marry into Chinese families feel this alienation at many times. Maybe this is the 'investigative journalist' view you see!

I am trying to understand, to modify my viewpoint from what I see and know 'naturally' - you are talking about a culture 'cut off' from the world for 40 years - told to be suspicious of 'white imperialists'. It is 'another world' from mine.

So while individuals are always friendly and forthcoming, the 'mystery' of the place remains.

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, locked in an enigma!

#2012-11-11 21:31:38 by papaya1972 @papaya1972

aussieghump
After reading this story, I moved by this lady and felt so sorry for her too. She is a very nice woman to be a wife, and she liked you a lot, I think.

The problem is more likely yours, I dont think you are brave enough to accept love yet. May be she is not the cup of your tea. And if so, it's better to tell her very frankly and directly.

May be you shold tell all the people around you to leave you alone and never bother about your being single without a GF.

#2012-11-12 08:29:55 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Agreed Papaya - she is a very nice lady! And also that the 'problem' is mine - that I felt no chemistry, and even in a short-time, was not 'able' to accommodate her very well in my life!

Knowing this - that there was incompatibility on my side - is it fair or reasonable to ask somebody to move city, strain family relations, change job and put their entire faith in one (presently, uncommitted) other person?

Having 'blind faith' in love does not lead to success! And the decision to marry takes more than a few days of being together!

I can 'understand' some of her 'reasons' for wanting to get married - my dilemma is always this -
- was she 'blind' to the incompatibilities? (blissful ignorance),
- did she see them but ignore them? (blind faith),
- did she see them and thought we could work through them?(practical partnership)
- did she see them and know that they were inconsequential?(undeniable love)

For me, the latter two are the only ones that I can deal with! And they also take time and understanding! Neither of which we really had in the 'rush' toward marriage in the shortest possible time! I am a 'logic-driven soul', unfortunately!

The issue in this incident was that I had told her fairly clearly, shown my ideas through actions but was thwarted by the actions of my matchmaker friend! All of which were good-hearted and well-meaning! But ultimately overstepped the mark!

In life there are reasons, in which even Reason doesn't know!

#2012-11-13 23:24:00 by papaya1972 @papaya1972

Sometimes situation gets vague and people do misinterpret others. And when it is related to emotion it can really hurt.
Many prefer to be gentle and give indecisive answers to avoid hurt, but in fact silence or ambiguity hurts even more.
It’s better to give crystal clear answer, understood it is not that easy in practice.

"It is not fair or reasonable to ask somebody to move city, strain family relations, change job and put their entire faith in one other person" agree.

But here on CLM, guess it is going to happen to all potential couples, either a Chinese woman moves to overseas or a Western guy moves to China.
And when two people really care about each other, they will always find way to make it work, no matter how hard it is.

So hope there is always "undeniable love" supported with 'practical partnership'

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