Monthly Archives: June 2011

Do you need that spark?

L and I have had many conversations about passion and stability. Are they incompatible? Can you only have one or the other? And if so, which one is better? I think I’ve experienced both. I’ve had super passionate relationships, like Ex-Boyfriend, which were so unstable, like a volatile chemical ready to BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE. And then I’ve had relationships which started out passionate and by the time they stabilized, became extremely passionless and more or less, boring. Can it be that when you feel so passionately about something/someone, the overdose of dopamine and serotonin in your brain incapacitate you and prevent you from thinking logically enough to have a stable relationship? Honestly, I’m not totally sure, but I’m leaning towards yes. To all of the above questions. Someone correct me though.

Now, that is not to say that people who have stable relationships have boring relationships. Take my friend Lauren for example. Not only does she make a mean red velvet cake with the BEST cream cheese frosting, but she is also getting married in August. I would definitely say that her relationship is very stable. I mean, they are so great together and they are also very, VERY happy together. I would use the word content, not in a settling kind of way, but more like at peace, like everything is just right. So, we’ve established, they’re happy. They’re stable. But you know what, they’re not passionately crazy about each other. I mean, they’re busy people. If she has class and he’s working late, they’re not going to pull an all-nighter to spend time together. Which is good, that is where you want to be eventually in a relationship.

BUT, what if you skip the crazy passionate phase of your relationship? I’m sure Lauren and her fiancé experienced that spark but what if you never do? And it just goes right away into stable? I ask because a good friend of mine – let’s call her Successful Sister – is pondering the same question. She’s been running and working out with the same guy at her gym for months now. To quote her, “there is definitely chemistry but no spark”. She says they’re compatible and she can see them together but she’s worried about the spark. Or lack thereof. I mean, she’d essentially be skipping 3-6 months of the relationship (after which, the dopamine and serotonin levels drop back to normal and you realize that the way he eats drives you nuts and his friends are all total assholes and he thinks his band is more important than your relationship and… wait. my bad.) and jumping right into stability. However, here’s another thing to consider. She’s in her 30s. People in their 30s are supposed to be mature. Maybe they’re allowed to skip the crazy spark-passion? And another thing to consider, think of the older generations. I mean, when parents still helped you pick out your husband. I don’t know if they were happier but their divorce rates were definitely lower.

I’m not saying we should go back to 1870 when my dad would find me a suitor. I’m saying that it’s happened and it’s worked out before. Successful Sister doesn’t need to settle and honestly, I don’t think she would be. But I think she does need to take it for what it is and accept it. She shouldn’t drudgingly go into this because she feels like she has no other options. She should date this guy because she likes him enough to do so. Maybe there’s no spark, but like she said, there’s chemistry. And let me tell you, what I remember from 10th grade chemistry is that sometimes, reactions take time. Sometimes, you’re friends first and then there’s a spark. Other times, it’s like love (read: lust) at first sight. Maybe it’ll just take a little while longer for Successful Sister. I mean, after all, they’ve never hung out outside of the gym. I think, you give them both a glass of wine and sparks will fly. After all, alcohol is highly flammable.

– Mag

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Why I miss New York

I love traveling. It’s awesome. I meet new people (like that gorgeous French model on the train to Geneva), experience new things (singing Communist songs with my coworkers to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party in China), and of course, eating great food (cheese and chocolate.period.). However, with exactly one month to go until I return to the US of A for good, I find myself becoming increasingly homesick as opposed to taking advantage of the remaining time I have abroad. I know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know I should be learning, living, experiencing. I know that stuff just like I know that walking into a Junior’s is committing diet-suicide via Strawberry Cheesecake. But knowing and actually acting on that knowledge are two different things. I’m trying right now, I really am. But honestly, after reading this piece in the Village Voice, how can I not miss New York?

In my last post, I welcomed summer. I think that regardless of where you are, summer is great. Although, I WISH I were in New York to greet the summer. Out of the 33 reasons listed in the Village article, I agree with… all of them. New York in the summer is relaxing, wild, hot as hell on a crowded subway platform and amazingly comfortable in your favorite restaurant. It’s the best time for bad decisions because it’s almost like, summer is an excuse for… whatever. “Oh, yeah I slept with that guy last summer but you know, it was the summer”. Yes, yes. Completely understandable.

Also, rooftop bars. The ice cream truck. FLIP FLOPS! And lots of ice cold beer. As my girlfriend from Houston would say, WANT!

Yes, I’ve got one month left abroad and I promise dear parents that I will make the most of this last month. I will soak up the culture! I will try it all! And then I will go back to my beautiful Empire State and hit up the Hamptons with ECB and catch up on all the dreadful rom-coms I’ve been missing with my girls.

Missing you,

Mag

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Happy June!

So I may be a few days late in wishing y’all a happy June but I truly believe that it’s better late than never. Happy June! I’m not sure what the weather is like in dear ol’ New York (which I miss TERRIBLY) but it is hot hot HOT in Beijing. And dry. Uncomfortably so. And when it’s not dry, it’s as muggy as the swamps of Houston. All in all, the weather in the Middle Kingdom at the beginning of summer is no reason for celebration. However, what a new season does bring is, new food!

The average American tends to forget that produce has seasons. We can find fruits and vegetables no matter what time of year because we import so much of it. However, the rest of the world is not like us. Take Germany for example. I happened to arrive in Munich just in time for asparagus season. White asparagus, to be correct. That stuff was everywhere! It seemed to be the only thing they were selling – spargel, spargel, spargel. In China, it seems to be the same way. Even when we eat out, my relatives will say, oh we’ll order this dish because leeks are in season but not this one because spinach is not in season. All of sudden, fruit stands are overflowing with sweet, tangy cherries and vendors on every corner are selling corn-on-the-cob. My friends, it is officially summer.

Of course thinking of fresh produce can only make a person do one thing – look at recipes. I mean, that’s normal right? So I spent this entire morning, going on afternoon, pouring over various food blogs I haven’t visited in quite some time and then I decided that I needed a cake stand. So now I’m all over the internet searching (yet again) for the perfect cake stand. Which also makes me want to buy the yogurt machine I’ve been dying to get. And some mason jars to use for homemade jam. Oh online shopping and my obsession with cookware, how you seduce so. But considering the many weddings I shall attend this summer, maybe I will be strong and save my  money to buy my lovely friends (and their soon-to-be husbands) more awesome wedding gifts rather than buying more cookware than my NYC dorm apartment can hold.

Another thing about summer is that it makes me sleepy. All I want to do is sleep because it is so unbearably hot. Of course, I think I say the same thing about winter except that it’s so unbearably cold – all I want to do is snuggle back in my bed and sleep. But lucky me, I work at a public corporation in China where napping after lunch is not only accepted, but actually encouraged. Ah how refreshing it is to wake up after a 15 or 20 minute nap, ready to blog work! It’s really quite adorable, walking around at 1 PM and seeing all the middle aged men and women napping in their cubicles. Some have pillows that they put on their desks, others scooch down on their chairs and rest their heads back. Some people even snore. No matter how you do it, it’s great. Napping = 100% satisfaction. I may not have facebook in China but I’ll trade it for napping.

One of the drawbacks of summer: I feel terrible turning on my oven to bake. Here I am, running my air conditioning, adding to the already growing carbon emission, and then I turn on a HOT oven in my COOL house? It just sounds ever so wasteful. I would like to draw your attention to this article. I found it to be quite scary not only because of its implications but mostly because its so true. Did you know that we are one of the only countries that uses a dryer? Yes, it’s convenient and I agree nothing feels as good as pulling out a fluffy warm towel fresh from the dryer but is it really necessary? I’ve visited many countries now and no one but us uses a dryer. They get by. Now, I’m not going to spend this post ranting on about global warming but I do think that it’s a good idea to think about our actions. We often think that we are just one person, it’s just one can we’re not recycling, one additional car on the road but it really DOES matter. I could do a bunch of research and list some numbers but I don’t feel like it. I think that all you need to do is think logically. Of course what we do matters. You think that can just magically disappears? (The answer’s no)

So I am going to do two things this summer. Well, I’m going to do many things but I will work on two projects when I get home. I am going to buy some clothes pins and set up a neat little system to dry my clothes outside (at my parents’ house, where I’ll be staying this summer). In addition, I am going to build a compost bin. Yes, I am going to use a hammer and build something using wood! Or maybe I’ll just go to Home Depot and buy one. But either way, by the end of the summer, I will have these two projects complete.  And I hope that through my actions, I will make the world a better place. Even if it’s just a little bit because we all know, a little bit does count. After all, isn’t it a straw that breaks the camel’s back? No one ever says, it was the 20 pound dumbbell that broke the camel’s back. Right?

– Mag

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