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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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My China Trip - Day 23, Part 1    

By Barry Pittman
3014 Views | 18 Comments | 6/29/2015 12:41:29 PM

After yet another night of restive and fitful dreaming, day 23 arrived.

 

I awoke once again by myself in the hotel bed, about one kilometer from Tina’s home. 

 

“My God, time’s moving quickly!” I inwardly reflected.  I was returning home to Australia soon.  The thought of this was bittersweet.  Sweet because I would be in familiar surroundings again but bitter because I’d be leaving this lady and this land that increasingly I loved.

 

The reason I spent nights in the hotel was because I was obviously a foreigner. Tina didn’t feel comfortable with me staying with her, given that she lived in a large apartment complex and gossiping was a de rigueur way of life amongst the residents there, particularly the older ladies who delighted in talking about everyone and everything around them.  

 

Another area of concern was 16 year old daughter Wendy.  Like any good mother, Tina wanted to set a good example.  This particularly included not permitting men to stay overnight.

 

As I lazed on the hotel bed, my thoughts drifted to a continuing theme of this cryptic and at times quite stressful online dating process.  That is, in my interactions with Tina, I was still ambivalent as to whether I should act naturally or as some suggested, act a little more romantically than how my natural instincts directed.

 

“Don’t act normally, Barry – no woman would want you.  Better to express plenty of romantic stuff and platitudes that women loved!” my friends had earnestly advised me.  I didn’t know whether to feel insulted or not by their glaring honesty?  Who needed enemies when one had tactless buddies like these?

 

Whilst I couldn't be described as a cold jellyfish in my relationships, nor was I an emotional or passionate Don Juan type.   I tended to be somewhat aloof with people.  A little shy. Most times I was pleasant enough to be with, yet I did occasionally become grumpy.  Fortunately however, as I aged, my moods were becoming less volatile and mostly were mellowing out nicely.  Why sweat the small stuff?  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

But on this morning, for some reason the wonders and the doubts in my mind continued to irritatingly dance and play with my mind. What on Earth was I doing here, lying in a strange hotel bed in a small, strange town no one had ever heard of, in the middle of China?  How had circumstances unfolded to precipitate such a bizarre occurrence?

 

The answer to this puzzle disturbed me as I reflected upon it.  I knew it lay in the foreboding loneliness I’d increasingly felt back home.  I was a middle class, middle aged man with  average looks, average mind and an average job. The only remarkable thing about me was my remarkable mediocrity.  An uninspiring paragon of insignificance.

 

These disturbing home truths may’ve explained why at my advanced age, I was by myself (again), traveling in a foreign country to find a foreign wife.  The haunting words of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s melancholy melody played reflexively in my mind:



“But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces


Talk about God and His mercy
For if He really does exist
Why did He desert me

 

In my hour of need?
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally

 

It seems to me that
There are more hearts
Broken in the world
That can't be mended

 

Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

 

Alone again, naturally”

 


For those who are able, this rather sorrowful song can be heard here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4nwwKLHr4s

 

Back home, several of my friends had been surprised at my decision to find an overseas bride.  “What’s wrong with Aussie women?” they’d asked.  A fair enough question.  I never quite knew what to say. How could I tell them that I was finally fed up with the arrogance, the disdain, the loud mouthed behaviour, the discouraging multiple knock backs and narcissism of many native Australian ladies?

 

How could I tell them that after years of loneliness and desperation, I was near my wit’s end?

 

How could I tell them that in one of my more depressed periods, I’d written an explanatory note, placed it on the chair beside me, slowly recited the “Lord’s Prayer” to myself and then swallowed two bottles of sleeping pills in an effort to appease my appalling and deteriorating mental anguish?

 

As I continued to lie in the hotel bed, many disconcerting if not downright distressing memories from the past spontaneously flashed through my mind. Yet instinctively I knew that everything that had ever happened to me, every experience I’d ever encountered, every person I’d ever met, had unerringly lead to precisely where I was today.  Further, this vast kaleidoscopic mountain of experiences, full of both good and bad, laughter and heartaches, levity and heartbreaks, had lead to exactly the person who I now was, like it or not.  For better or for worse.

 

My introspective reverie plunged deeper. Did life have a meaning?  Or did the very act of living cause irrevocable meaning to then occur?  More than this, could life living alone possess as much inherent meaning as sharing long-term with someone else, another soul?  Was the purest of all emotions -  love -  necessary to find meaning?  If so, could this be love for oneself and one’s situation, or was to both give love and in turn receive it bountifully from someone else an important if not essential component of this all?

 

Suddenly the tiniest hint of a smile came upon my face as I remembered a simple parable.

“What best represents our purpose in life?” asked the disciple.

“Salt water”, the Enlightened One immediately advised.

What do you mean by this, Master  -  salt water?”

“Salt water is one of the most important elements of our existence”, replied the wise maven.  “It represents the strength and connectedness of our Earth via the oceans;  it comprises the sweat of our hard work and efforts during our lives;  it also forms the balming tears of both joy and despair when we’re in most need.”

 

Suddenly a loud banging was heard on the hotel door.

“Damn, those hotel cleaners again.  Why do they have to come so early?”

 

I looked at my watch, it was close to 9.30am.  I guess it was me who was at fault here, not the cleaners.  Just because I was on holiday, didn’t mean that I had to be a lazy bum!

 

I threw on some street clothes and opened the door.  A middle aged lady stood there with various cleaning implements.  She began chattering at high speed to me but I had no idea what she was saying, so I forced myself to smile and welcomed her in.  Even though the hotel cleaners annoyed me every morning with their displeasing noise and activity, I knew they merely had a job to do and mouths to feed. I wished however, that there was a "Do Not Disturb" sign available for me to hang languidly on the door.

 

Just a few minutes later, her cleaning duties were finished more quickly than I'd anticipated and she scurried out, like a nervous mudcrab hurtling back into its hole.

“They don’t muck around, do they!” I mused to myself. 

 

Following her departure, I undressed and had a quick shower.  I then had my routine breakfast of a cup of coffee with some nuts and a bowl of cereal.  I’d taken the precaution of bringing a large can of my favorite coffee with me on the plane, something I’d recommend to every coffee connoisseur out there who travelled abroad.  Coffee in China was either impossible to procure or else too sweet, with milk powder and sugar already added to it.

 

Soon enough the phone rang, with Tina asking me to please go to her as soon as I was ready.

“You catch taxi to my place, okay”

“No, I think I’ll walk.”

“No Barry, taxi is easier.”

“It’s only a short walk, see you soon!”

 

These days I was feeling immensely fit and healthy.  Long hikes and being on my feet all day was a breeze to me. I’d shed several kilos in weight since arriving in China and even though my body resembled a malnourished scarecrow with ribs clearly visible beneath my skin, paradoxically I felt fit as a bull.

 

Gazing in the mirror, I was still in disbelief at what Tina saw in me?  In the words of Basil Fawlty, I resembled a brilliantine stick insect, with no visible muscles except maybe on my legs from the long walks.

 

“Thank heaven that lovely Chinese ladies see something in very ordinary Western men!” I kept thinking to myself.  I was continually puzzled by this.  Back home, some of my friends had of course futilely peddled the usual line to me, “Oh, foreign ladies just want a visa to live in a Western country!”

 

But in my case at least, I knew this was incorrect.  Tina wanted to remain in China for quite a long time yet, at least up to her retirement, several years hence.  We'd never in fact discussed moving to Australia.  Yet as each day passed and we palpably grew closer and closer together, I intuitively sensed she saw in me something that I couldn’t see for myself.  Something positive; something of fundamental value and worth.

 

What is it?”, I pondered aloud to myself.  “What on Earth can she see?”

 

 

To  be continued.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 10 of 18) 1 2 More...
#2015-07-02 13:33:57 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, this blog is quite amazing. I have to say that you are doing a lot of soul searching about your own self worth here, and earlier along the way on your journey. That is no doubt a good thing to some degree, but I think we've all seen enough of you in these blogs that no one would question why Tina would be attracted to you. Like everyone, you have a few flaws, but your qualities seem to greatly outweigh them.

I guess what I am saying is, it's okay to wonder why she thinks so highly of you, but it's not okay to let that wondering interfere with the success of your relationship... in my view anyway.

I have more to add here, and I am aware I also owe you a comment on your previous blog. I am playing catchup however and will be a day or two getting to that. This was another very interesting post BTW.

#2015-07-03 07:36:41 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

"it's not okay to let that wondering interfere with the success of your relationship"

Thanks for your comments, John.

To elaborate a little on what I wrote, let me say that I kept all my self doubts and personal recriminations to myself during the trip. I tried to not let them directly intrude or interfere in the relationship with Tina.

I did my best to portray an outwardly strong, secure person with her. It's only the CLM blog readership who know the truth of how I actually felt however. In some ways, CLM readers know more about me and my personal demons than Tina does herself.

#2015-07-03 23:37:37 by anonymous13532 @anonymous13532

Hi Barry, this is a very deep blog entry, a lot of soul searching and inner turmoil. In my opinion it takes an incredibly strong person to even touch those inner feelings and turmoil's, so for you to talk about it here on a fairly public forum shows intense strength.

I am sure everyone of us has been in the position at one time in our lives where we thought please let the pain and loneliness end, especially us divorced western men..

I did not know they old folks homes in China. Are they similar to facilities in the West? The people must have enjoyed seeing WeiWei very much judging from the expression on the woman holding her had in photo. Has Tina expressed any interest or thought of possibly adopting WeiWei or does the girl's grandparents have the financial means to support and take care of her?

I have often wonder what circumstances lead a man in China to have to be a pedicab driver? I would think it would be lack of education/schooling? I cant imagine how physically demanding it would be the men must have incredibly strong legs!

Barry, stop waiting and grab this lady while you can. From every photo you have posted of her there is a certain radiant elegance about her that exudes inner/outer beauty combined with honesty and goodness. Trust me when I say this is a rare combination in any person. You are a very fortunate man and she is a very fortunate woman to have you!!


Cheers mate.

#2015-07-04 10:12:27 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13532

Thanks for your comments, Anon13532.

You seem to be one of a very small number of people here who "gets" what I write. Who understands what has been written. Most people - the vast majority, I feel - have no real clue.

I suspect most people here speed read through what I write without stopping for more than a few seconds to actually reflect upon the deeper meaning behind my words.

Old people's homes do exist in China. Chinese people do possess great sympathy and respect for older people. Sadly however, often very limited resources mean that institutions such as these operate on a shoestring. For example, the homes may possess furniture and beds that are many years old, with maybe a small tv in the corner.

Tina is a fascinating conundrum. On one hand, she truly enjoys solitude and privacy; yet on the other, she possesses a profound caring nature. So on the question of possibly adopting Weiwei, the jury is out. Tina wants to travel and to do many things in a few years when she retires. She knows that if she formally adopts Weiwei, her freedom will be much restricted.

Weiwei's parents are impoverished. Her grandmother was in tears recently, expressing to Tina, "I am so old, I know I will never see Weiwei fully develop into a beautiful woman".

So the grandparents are fully cognisant of Weiwei's situation, particularly re the difference in ages. They are dismayed by this but sadly there is nothing they can do. I have a feeling that if Tina suggested adopting Weiwei, they would reluctantly agree to it, purely because they'd know this would be in her long term best interests.

As for the pedicab drivers, many of these are farmers who can no longer earn a living on the land. I'd hate to think what will happen to them as they age, no longer being able to physically continue with their work.

I am heading back to China in the near future. Tina and I will then certainly discuss our future plans in great detail. I was going to write a series of blog articles about this, but given the general apathy toward my articles of late, I may not bother.

Bye mate. (y)




#2015-07-07 09:51:35 by williamallman @williamallman

@barry1 I agree with everything John said, and I can assure there are indeed those of us who "get it". This is my first time reading your blog, having only recently joined chinalovematch (after spending thousands of dollars on asiandate), and I look forward to reading, and thinking about, your past and future posts.

#2015-07-07 17:16:13 by Barry1 @Barry1

@williamallman

"I can assure there are indeed those of us who "get it""

Thanks for your comment, William.

With regard to my articles, I recommend you don't speed read through them. Take your time and reflect upon some of what I say.

Best of luck to you here, mate. I have a feeling though, you won't need it but will soon find exactly what you're looking for. (y)

#2015-07-08 07:23:43 by Barry1 @Barry1

@williamallman


"This is my first time reading your blog, having only recently joined chinalovematch (after spending thousands of dollars on asiandate)"

I'm sorry that like so many others, you were ripped off by a scam dating website, William. On this subject, perhaps one of my earlier blogs may be of interest to you:

http://blog.chinalovematch.net/blog/article/Scam-website-

#2015-07-08 15:15:29 by Barry1 @Barry1

For some reason, the page url to the scam website article referred to above didn't reproduce properly.

The correct page is:

http://blog.chinalovematch.net/blog/article/Scam-website-Chnlovecom

#2015-07-09 01:47:00 by anonymous13561 @anonymous13561

HI Barry, I was rereading your reply to my comments. I had not thought of how the pedicab drivers will survive when they get older, how will they provide for their families? Will they be destined to ride many km's each day to pickup recyclables or cardboard to sell to recycling places for a meager pitance? Puts a hole right through my heart.

To think of the old folks homes as you describe them makes me so sad, these old folks were the back bone of China at one time now they appear to be just discarded and treated poorly, they do not deserve to live poorly. Please tell me the food they get is of decent quality at least?

If WeiWei's grandparents cannot take care of her what will happen to her? Is there any need of financial assistance for the grandparents? Is there any organizations in China that help out?

I for one would be most interested in reading about your next visit with Tina and your future with her. I believe a lot of men and women here can learn a lot about each culture and how they affect each other. I have a very strong feeling that most of the Chinese women on this site would read it but may not post comments. The majority of women I have met and chatted with here are starving for romance, romantic love stories, even if you feel or say you are not a romantic guy(secretly you are).

Like most western divorced men, you included, we are all trying our very best to find the one(Chinese) woman who will make us happy for the rest of our lives, quite romantic eh!! (y)

I am curious as to whether you have found Tina has a quick temper or not. In my chats and video chats I have found most(not saying all) have a very quick temper, very direct, blunt and no filter.

Your thoughts?

Cheers (beer)

#2015-07-10 12:13:24 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13561

Thanks for your comments.

I agree that all of us born in a Western country by sheer accident or chance have conditions much easier than those born in less developed countries. I don't think most Westerners give much thought to this unfortunately.

As for the pedicab drivers and other low paid workers in China, the situation is not rosy when they become too old to effectively work. I think the government gives them some money each month to live, just enough to live on. Usually no more than 100 yuan per month, sometimes less. This is definitely not enough to pay for medical bills, if and when they require serious medical attention. So sadly their fate is sealed, when increasingly poor health becomes an issue for them.

The food in the old people's homes is of a reasonable quality. Thank heaven, the days of extreme hunger are now past. In Chairman Mao's day, millions died of famine, just fifty or so years ago.

As for Weiwei, if her grandparents don't or can't take care of her, I'll do my best to get Tina to do this. If necessary, I'll do it myself if at all possible, as she's a most lovely child. I've spoken to her via webcam, so we know each other.

You asked if Tina has a quick temper or not. The answer to this is no, although we had one of our very few arguments just a few days ago. This in fact was over Weiwei.

The story is that I asked Tina to please take Weiwei to the dentist, as I assumed it was probably many years since she last had seen a dentist. Tina obliged and we found out that Weiwei had four teeth needing repair. Tina then said that she did nothing further than this, except to give Weiwei 100 yuan, telling her to give this money to her grandfather, so he could organise the dental repairs for her sometime in the future.

This was not acceptable to me. I wanted Weiwei's teeth to be fixed immediately. I was afraid the grandfather would spend the money elsewhere. Tina and I ended up having an argument over this. Her view was that it was not her decision to interfere with Weiwei's medical situation, teeth included.

The bottom line is that I coerced Tina to take Weiwei back to the dentist the next day and I agreed to pay for all costs, that came to 400 yuan. She grudgingly obliged. I was happy about this, satisfied in the knowledge that if nothing else, Weiwei's teeth were no longer deteriorating.

But the following day, Tina was most unhappy with me, saying things like,

"Barry, if you ever order me again to do something, I will not do it! You are not my boss!"

Yet if I hadn't spoken strongly to Tina about this, Weiwei may never have had her teeth fixed in any sort of timely fashion. So whilst I regretted having an argument with Tina about the matter, forcing the issue - I would do the same thing again were a similar situation to recur.

I believe an adult needs to take responsibility for a child, and if the child's parents or grandparents cannot or will not do this, then someone else needs to step in.

Tina and I are now friends again, but the slight scar from this argument remains in the background. A bell once it has rung, cannot be unrung. This was the largest argument we'd had in the past year. And it was over a small girl's teeth.

Life can be quite strange sometimes, can't it? :S(doh)

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