Archive for February, 2015

Messaging 101 on OKCupid

Really, I should have titled it Messaging 0.1, but hey, I’m feeling nice today. Btw, this is directed mostly at guys because, surprise surprise, being het means I get guy messages, but this applies to women too.

1. Read the damn profile. Seriously. For reals. Just read it. There’s nothing that turns me off faster than realizing that you didn’t take the time to read the profile. Especially the “you should message me if” part. You know, the part that says I’m not open to random hookups or sex. And you know what? This feeds into #2, because if you knew enough not to commit #2, then at least you’d know enough not to send me a one-liner proposition for sex and you might have gotten further even without reading my profile.

2. This cannot be reiterated enough: do not proposition a woman for sex in the very first sentence. Triple no-no points if that’s all you send. Quadruple bad-dog points if you do it in a slimy way that’s also ridden with grammatical errors. Just don’t, okay? We all know that if you had the charisma/wit to get sex with one line, you’d be doing it IRL. Even if it did work and I believed that you’re just that awesome, you wanna think about STDs and how those are totally gross? If I think that your bedposts look like beaver munchies from all the notches on it, I’m going to request a full physical before even thinking about kissing you, much less sex.  I don’t know how guys logic, but if you can’t manage to walk up to a woman in a bar and pick her up with “hey sexy, wanna fuck?” then I don’t know why you think that’s gonna work on the internet. Of course, all bets are off if you’re a billionaire, but then I’m guessing if you are, you’re not on OKCupid.

3. Don’t just say “hi” or “what’s up” or something completely inane like that. It’s boring and it makes you apathetic. Which, hey, if you’re mass-sending “hi”s to everyone you vaguely think is attractive or everyone who you think maybe could be persuaded to bone you/give you a blowjob in the restroom of a restaurant, maybe you are, but there’s no need to let your quarry know. I’m at the point where I’m tempted to just unload my real feelings about the day to anyone who asks that.

Look, we’re on OKCupid. That gives you a bit of an in, a wee bit of leeway, if you will. So charm me. Persuade me that you’re cool, that you care, that going out on a date with you is going to be fun.

For that matter, don’t ask me what I’m doing. If I’m sitting around, able to respond to your messages, I’m unlikely to be doing anything too scintillating. Sad, but true.

4. Desperation is not hot. Repeat to self as necessary. Cockiness isn’t either, not unless you’ve got something to back it up with.

5. If you initiated contact — it’s on you to actually start the conversation. I’m sorry if that seems like a terrible, unjust, horrible thing to have to put on you, but if you messaged me and you’ve given me little to work with, that’s your problem, not mine. I’m not saying make like a dancing bear to attract the female, I’m pointing out that since YOU messaged me, presumably there’s interest on YOUR part, so now you need to rouse interest in ME.

6. Having a complete profile really helps. If you message me and I go to your profile and it’s a whole lotta blank, then guess what? Your need to carry the conversation you just started just got more imperative because I have no earthly clue how to even begin to talk to you. Having a complete profile that is written properly, without typos, is a huge plus, also.

7. Try to seem like a person, okay? I know we’re all huge bundles of awkward and we have no idea how to interact with other live beings to get what we want, but at least try to pass the Turing test. If I can get better convo out of a chat-bot, then we have issues. Also? We’re on the internet. If I use a word you don’t get, Google is your bestie.

8. I get a lot of “let’s just talk, because reading someone’s profile is lame/boring/inefficient”. Yeah, well, honey, I got news for you. I spent time on my profile. I actually put thought and shit into crafting it. So when you tell me you can’t even be arsed to read that — you’re telling me you don’t respect me or my effort or my time. If I don’t feel the love from you, guess how much love I’m gonna return? Yep, that would be zip, nada, zilch.

And dude, if you can’t be bothered to read a profile that’s oh, less than two pages, how much do you think I believe you when you say you’ll actually put effort into getting to know me, in OR out of the bedroom? Life’s too short to date someone who you know probably can’t be bothered to make sure you orgasm if you have sex. That’s all I gotta say.

9. Do not try to move things into meat-space immediately. I’m female. I’m petite. I’m also super aware of all the crazy lunatics out there and I have absolutely no wish to just be a statistic. You might know that you’re not an ax-murderer, but I don’t know that. I have zero desire to go out, spend money/time/energy on a date that might end in fire before getting a sense of how cool/uncool you are. And yeah, that includes calling/texting. I’m not about to give my number out to people willy-nilly. By immediately I mean one convo does not mean we’re friends. Maybe if that convo was an intelligent conversation that spanned hours, but maybe not even then.

10. If you don’t wanna play, don’t initiate, okay? Before I get screams about how this is all a lot of bullshit work, I’m gonna tell you that being in an actual tru-fax relationship is going to be a hella lot more work than this. Everything has a price. Do you or do you want to find someone to be in a relationship with? Get that clear first. If you’re just lonely and that loneliness can be filled up with video games/booze/drugs, then better save yourself and others some time.



Expatriating, repatriating, and “sea-returning”

Thene mentioned someone at work talking to her about sea turtles.

For the record? Us Chinese love our puns. Love love love.

Sea turtles (海龜), pronounced exactly the same as sea-return (海歸), which I think is short for “海外+歸來” which means returned from abroad. Ocean-out, obviously, meaning abroad.

So, many kids who went out for a degree/work experience and came back are called sea turtles. So technically I am one. Except I’m not. Yeah, really, I’m not.

I’m not even repatriating, really, because the overall consensus is that “repatriation means returning to a country you call home/ once considered your permanent home.” 

Yeah, no.

I was born in Taiwan, lived there for two years before my parents brought me to the US, and then they brought me back between the ages of eight to twelve. That’s a grand total of six years, which is a fraction of my age at this point.

So…. I’m expatriating?

*cringe* It feels really, unbelievably strange to say that, but in many ways I am. Part of it is because I’m technically first-gen Chinese American, so telling anyone that I consider myself expatriating to Taiwan is one of those “it’s a long story that I’m not sure I can explain adequately without bringing out way too many citations of studies” things. It doesn’t help that most people have little to no sympathy for the emo-angst-crazy that is currently frothing in my brain.

One of my friends pretty much told me not to whine about anything once I got back because it was my choice. Yeah. Well. Many of them are giving me the kicked-puppy look of “you’re leaving???” and at least one of them, a housemate, is all “you’re turning my life upside down“. So talking to them about how kicked in the gut I feel to be leaving is …well, awkward buttons abound.

My relatives are universally thrilled that I’m returning, which is another whole bucket of awkward considering how very ugh I am about having to do so.

This is the point where I feel like I should be building a .gif library because I feel like this is a post that would be better with ten times more gifs. Preferably made up of gifs, just to lighten the mood.

Because, really, I’m not …depressed, per se. I’m not angry. I’m feeling a fuck-load of resigned and a butt-ton of gratitude in addition to a fuck-ton of “oh god international move oh god why me oh god”, but I’ve made my peace with the need for it and most of the “oh fuck me now” stems from the horror that is packing up your life, distilling it down to maybe six large suitcases, and saying farewell to everything you’re leaving behind.

(I’m still grieving over having to give up my car. I love my P-chan…)

In case it didn’t become clear, this “author blog” is likely to turn into an “omg, expatriating to Taiwan as an Asian” blog. I vaguely debated setting up an entirely different blog for it, but eh. Might as well add in a topic that I can talk about a bit more so my blog doesn’t feel like it’s in hibernation 99% of the time.

So, expatriation.

- I have no friends there. Like none. Any friends I made were in elementary school, which means pre-facebook, probably pre-myspace, pre-whatever, so I have no way of getting in contact. Also, like, who really hunts down their elementary school friends to hang out after more than a decade of no contact?

- I have my relatives, but dude, I don’t really know them either. Whatever memories they have of me are tragically focused around how crazy I was as a rebellious teenager and welp, that’s not really me. I’d say it isn’t me “any more” but really, it wasn’t me back then either. I wasn’t rebellious, I was having conniptions about being dragged from the life I knew in the US to a place where I knew no one and was functionally illiterate when I had been reading adult level fiction. Then I was having fits over failing to integrate, being bullied, dealing with a school system where the teachers could punish you by caning your palms publicly in a show of pain+humiliation, culture shock, and the complete lack of sympathy and help from my family. So yeah, I kind of consider those three to four years that they knew me as one huge protracted mental breakdown.

(Truly, I need some funny gifs for this post. I really do. Hey, suggestions welcome.)

- I won’t have a job and I’m really, totally foggy about how even to begin to get one. Whether or not I can physically hold one down is a huge question, but other than that, I’m uncertain what my CV can do for me there and what channels are open to me.

- I won’t have a car, I won’t be able to drive there for a LONG while because Taiwan has some crazy shit going on with their drivers, and I will have to learn stuff like whether or not google maps will work for the public transit there or not.

- I have no idea where to buy groceries. Where should I go to buy block Gruyere and Parmesan? Where can I find salami? Where should I go to find spices that I want? I know there’s Costco and Welcome, which had a good portion of what I needed last time to make seafood spaghetti, but would I be able to find grass-fed beef, sausage, and bacon? I’m spoiled from living in Boston, where if I want grass-fed oxtail, I can go talk to my butcher friend, who is more than happy to trade me a pound or two for some banana bread. Considering that I think over 90% of the beef consumed in Taiwan is imported, would I even be able to find sustainable grass-fed beef? (Yes, yes, first world problems, got it, but I really do try to make an effort to eat much less meat and eat meat that is organic/ pasture-farmed when I can. All of my shopping and eating habits will be turned on its ear and I have no idea how to begin to adjust right now.)

- I’m going to be living with my parents. Like I said previously, I haven’t lived with the both of them together since I was maybe seven. It’s going to be a whole new learning experience to be back in the home and balancing their seeing me as a child while expecting me to be an adult and coping with their relationship dynamic. We’ve made great strides towards understanding each other in the last year or so, which is the only reason this plan is even slightly viable, but really, I don’t feel like we know each other. Suffice to say my parents and I were pretty emotionally estranged from each other for the majority of my life.

- …I have no earthly clue if I’m going to be able to come back to the US. This part is huge. There’s the matter of the health issues. First they’re going to need to figure out what it is, which might take some doing. If it does turn out that I do have some kind of autoimmune disorder, then it might take another bit of doing for them to stabilize it, make sure it’s stabilized, and for me to learn how to cope with it and not accidentally cause it to cascade. Then there’s the fact that even if I found a job in Taiwan, earning NT to try and make enough money to move back to the US might be a wee bit difficult considering the exchange rate hovers around 30:1. Then there’s the process of repatriation back to the US, which is unlikely to be simple or easy for multiple reasons.

…but, really, it’s not all gloom and doom. For one thing, it helps me when I hash out my thoughts and feelings. Knowing that I consider it expatriating and knowing that I’m unlikely to get a whole lot of support from people I know for whatever lies ahead is useful. Understanding what challenges lie ahead will, hopefully, prompt me to actually find solutions for them rather than just dwelling in self-pity. It’s also better for me when I allow myself room to be stressed, to grieve, and to allow myself the slack I need to keep moving forward.

I just need to remember that ultimately, even though I hated almost all of the moves I’ve made in the past, particularly the international ones, I have ended up in better places as a result.

Next post will be more light-hearted, I promise. (Again, I need gifs!)

Now that I’ve gotten the gloom and doom bits out of the way, there’s actually lots to anticipate about going to Taiwan to live. For example, the fact exists that if I wanted to, I have a good shot at getting into Taiwanese medical school without having to test in, simply by virtue of having eaten more than eight years of fries. I consider that absolutely fucking hysterical, by the way. I don’t think I stopped laughing for hours after I found that out.

I’m also getting cautiously excited about the Europe trip that I have planned with my friends as a farewell thing this summer. So there are definitely good things in the future.


Moving plans

Remember when I said before that the powers that be should feel free to laugh at my plans? Well, I suppose they are… in a way that I hadn’t even seen coming.

*deep breath* I’m moving back to Taiwan because my parents are there and because I will have access to good, affordable, nationalized healthcare.

My health has been on a decline for the last ten years, so in a way I suppose I should have seen this possibility, but who ever really wants to think that their body would refuse to cooperate with them like this? I always assumed that I’d hit a new low and that it would plateau off, or that I would begin to heal, but the last twelve months have pretty much laughed at that idea. My parents had been nagging me to return to Taiwan for health reasons for the last three or so years, but the decision was pretty much cemented when I went back to Taiwan for a visit and spent the entire month mostly asleep and either in pain or close to pain. My parents pointed out that was no way to live and that I needed to figure out my health situation and stabilize it and I needed to do it in a situation where I wouldn’t have to fret about keeping myself alive in the meantime.

It’s strange and quite devastating to have to resort to returning to my parents’ home and sponging off them at my age. That would be the pride speaking, yes, but there’s also the fact that I haven’t really lived full-time with both my parents since I was a very young child and to say it’s going to be stressful is like saying the moon is kind of far away.

That said, I can’t afford to get the level of healthcare I need in the US and I am physically and mentally incapable of holding down a “proper” job at this point. Some days I have energy to do things, but I am bedridden with inexplicable pain. Some days I lack enough energy to even contemplate feeding myself. There are days when I sleep for eighteen hours, wake long enough to eat some soup, and drowse with a book until I pass out again.

Asides from the fact that I am not going to make my goals for writing and publishing, even if I had the energy it is now going to have to be devoted to packing up/donating/throwing away my life here in the US. So there’s that for ultimate Peytabee hilarity, right there.

Today, I spent the entire day in bed, browsing the internet for articles to advice on moving internationally, what to bring, what not to bring, etc.

The funny thing is — although I was born in Taiwan a lifetime ago, I consider myself to be expatriating there rather than returning back to my motherland. Or not so funny, really, but that’s another blog post for another day.

Eight hours later, I’m still at a loss as to what to pack and what to ship, if anything.

I have blankets and linens and cookware that I’d been lovingly, painstakingly and expensively building up for my home that I can’t fathom giving up. Shipping costs are prohibitive, however, and living space being at a premium on a small island country like Taiwan means I probably shouldn’t bring things back to my parents’ home just to clutter up their lives. That seems like a surefire way to get my parents pissy at me in very quick order.


What, asides from mementos and photos would you definitely want to bring with you on an international move?


P.S: For those who haven’t read Anne McCaffrey’s Powers That Be, Peytabee is a mashup of Powers That Be and what they call the planet. I just find it cute/funny/shorter.