Friday, June 20, 2008

sex in irvine

funny pictures

Ya, that title is misleadingly provocative. What I mean is I finally saw the Sex and the City movie with my roommates on Thursday night. You all know everything there is to know about it, so I won't bore you with a review of a movie that came out a month ago, but I did want to briefly mention that I liked it a lot. At first I thought it was going to be super lame because of how everything in the first twenty minutes was panning out, but over all I thought it was a perfect end to six great seasons of a show any woman can relate to. And of course, it made me think about love and relationships, and what it really means to be with someone through thick and thin.

I read an article a few months ago titled "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough", which I promptly forwarded to all of my best girl friends. I found the article through Martini, a happily single and fabulous girl about town who was somewhat skeptical about the whole idea of settling, but I felt strangely inspired and invigorated after reading the piece. Long story short, the author argues that women are often ingrained to have unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships, particularly that they should never "settle for anything less than butterflies," to quote Carrie Bradshaw. The point is, the butterflies eventually fade from any relationship, and sometimes settling isn't so much lowering your standards, as it is learning how to compromise, which is something everyone has to do if they want to be in a happy, loving relationship.

Of course, there are deal breakers in any relationship. My deal breakers are extremely lax; for example, unless you punch me around or refuse to ever spend money, I would probably be willing to have you as a boyfriend (if I were single). The article is pretty long, but I definitely think it's worth the read. Since I know most people won't read it, I'd just like to add the section I think best exemplifies her argument: "My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.) ... I don’t mean to say that settling is ideal. I’m simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap."

In other words, don't be so damn picky. You're not going to find your soul mate because your soul mate doesn't exist. To paraphrase Chris Rock, you won't find someone who loves Jerry Seinfeld and the Wu Tang Clan, and if you do, it won't be the right time. So love the one you're with, or if you're not with someone, learn to be open minded when it comes to relationship expectations. There's a difference between a person not being everything you wish they would be and being a bad partner, y'know? Luckily, my boyfriend is pretty damn near perfect. But if he doesn't start shaving more often, he's getting the boot! Err, well, I guess I can let that one slide, as long as we can compromise that I don't have to shave every day either. Now that's something I could learn to live with.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

what's the chinese word for "impossible"?

My cross cultural textbook that I was required to read before I went to France in 2006 made the profound statement somewhere around page 58 that "Expectations are premature disappointments." Yeah, that might sound a little pessimistic, but think about it. How many times have you expected something from someone and had them let you down? Or had a picture in your head about how an event or place would be, and then experienced something completely different? I don't think of that phrase as pessimistic, I think of it as realistic. A nicer way to put it I guess would be to say "Expect the unexpected."

When traveling or doing something where you are put into a position far outside your comfort zone, it is better to have overall goals rather than expectations. Like, I don't expect to learn Chinese over the next four weeks, but my goal is to be able to write my Chinese name with ease (and not need to look at an image of the characters) and to know at least 30 characters and 10 phrases. So far I already "know" a handful, the real test is being able to retain it all.

The image above is my Chinese name. The first character is my surname, "Ma", which is a common surname in China and most similar to my American family name. The two other characters are "Li Kou" pronounced "Lee Koh" which semi sounds like my real name (which was the point, kind of). Li means beauty and Kou means red and also young lady. I really wanted something with the word red in it, and I think this name sounds really pretty when you say it out loud. My super awesome Chinese friend came up with it (and 10 other options) for me. He's a filmmaker and just got accepted into USC's film school, hopefully one day he becomes famous and gives me a job writing screenplays for his Oscar winning movies. They'll be all about cupcakes and pomeranians and other fabulous things.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a real valley girl

Even though I'm from the valley (the central valley), I don't think that's really what everyone means when they talk about "valley girls." Yet, I feel so connected to the southern California state of mind, and by that I mean I am completely superficial. Well, finally my location has caught up with my attitude and I am officially a valley girl for 6 whole weeks while I'm doing the summer school portion of my graduate studies. I have class pretty much all day Monday - Friday, which sucks, but it's going to be exciting being in school again and learning all sorts of new things. For example, tonight I learned that when you receive or give a business card in China you must use both hands to hold it, and if someone is giving you a business card you have to look at it for several seconds before putting it away in your purse.

Anyway, I wanted to share an anecdote from the other day as a way of illustrating that I have more in common with Cher from Clueless than simply owning a white jeep and having tons of clothes. My cousin's step son was over at my house for a while on Friday and we got to talking and he shared with me that he is joining the navy. What was my first reaction? "AWESOME! Now for the rest of your life whenever you attend a formal event you get to wear your cool uniform!" Of course there are a million other (and better) reasons for joining the navy, but that was the first thing that popped into my head and regrettably left my mouth. Not to be outdone by my total airheadedness, he quickly replied, "Oh, yeah, that was pretty much what sealed the deal for me."

In other news, I have three roommates who are all very different but all seem really cool (so far). They're all going to be in Shanghai, but will not be teaching at the same school as me. A lot of people in this program are super religious, which I don't have anything against but it's definitely not the type of person I am. Someone sort of put me on the spot tonight asking me if I would be willing to go to the same church as this other girl who doesn't have a car and I had to answer that I don't go to church. Not everyone is like that though, and I know that at least one of my roommates isn't an avid church goer.

OH, and finally, David Sedaris came out with a new book! It's called When You Are Engulfed In Flames. Knowing him, it's totally amazing. I just uploaded it to my Kindle and plan on reading as much of it as I can tonight, so I'll give an informed opinion on its merits once I'm done.