27 February, 2019

The Mental Block is Real

Today, Brett was contacted by someone in China. He used to judge national English language competitions there. Several. The big one is coming up again.  It's about every six months. Last time the organizer (or foreigner liaison) contacted him, we had already moved to Vietnam and he said so. He deleted her from his contacts.

She sent a friend request today and he accepted and she asked if he could judge again. 

Brett: I have moved to Vietnam. I no longer live in China and cannot judge this competition.
Liaison: When will you be back?
Brett: I won't. I have moved here permanently.
Liaison: Oh. You will never be coming back to China?
Brett. No.

People in China truly do not know how hard they have it. They think the entire world deals with things the way they do, or maybe - more probably - they think they have it good. They don't realize how much EASIER life could be. I wrote about this before, here. 

This must be the 3rd or 4th time different people connected to our life in Beijing have approached us inquiring when we'd move back. NEVER! They truly seem baffled that, having experienced China, we would prefer a different country. Especially because we didn't return to our home country. People do that all the time but we didn't. We moved on. To a different, smaller, ALSO Communist country. 

They don't get it.

The mental block is real.
"You were in China, you saw how amazingly phenomenal we are and moved... there? When will you come back?"

They understand moving from the Beijing pollution. But we could have just moved to a different city within China if we only wanted to avoid pollution. The fact that the bureaucracy there makes life 80% more difficult than it has to be doesn't even dawn on them.

Doesn't everyone have to wait in line ALL DAY at the embassy to try to apply for a visa to leave the country?

Doesn't everyone have to submit permit requests at three different offices before getting the permit you want? 

We have friends in China - mixed race, one Chinese partner - who applied for a passport for their preschool-aged son LAST FALL and haven't received it yet. Before we, as American citizens, moved from the US, our passports took about a month. The visa to go to China was a nightmare.

They don't get it. 
I don't have a question or a proposition here, just venting. Sorry about that.

20 February, 2019

If I Can Just Be Shallow ...

Can I be shallow for a minute? Just for a minute?

As a non-cool, uber-nerd, I am DELIGHTED to be married to "the leader of the pack". Sorry. I am. It's so shallow.

It's stereotypical as all get-out, but I feel no shame. I LOVE that I finally landed the one guy whom everyone would follow to the end of the earth. 

Don't get me wrong. He uses his powers for good and not evil. I am a goody-two-shoes, after all. He's a nerd, too, and swears that anyone in his high-school (reunion pending, hence the retrospective) would not recognize this description of him.

You know how kids and animals have a 6th sense about people? Kids and animals migrate toward Brett. Unilaterally. I call him "The Pied Piper". He is loved. He passes all their subliminal tests. His heart is pure and motives admirable. Or whatever. 

Kids and animals often shy away from me. They know I don't care about them one way or the other. 

When we lived State-side, Brett and his best buds from high school and post-high school started an annual cook out. There was an entertaining conversation where the guy who had moved to Illinois from the East Coast was called out as the "known" bad influence who led this group of guys to make all kinds of trouble in the county. The other parents thought he was trouble.

He denied that he led anything, and referred that honor to Brett. To which everyone assembled agreed. Everyone. After thinking a minute, Brett, too, agreed that yes, he typically was the mastermind behind this group's schemes that landed them in various amounts of trouble during their teen years. He'd never thought of it. It was just who he was.


It's so sick. It's so wrong to have such a thrill, but I do. I am delighted, thrilled, TURNED ON knowing that this man can get people to do his will without really trying. It's an aphrodisiac to me. He doesn't even know his power.

Okay, at the risk of opening a Pandora's Box, are you willing to share your private shallowness? What are you vain about?

16 February, 2019

Are We Dead Yet?

Well, my priorities have solidified. 

When we moved here, one of my new expat friends was very interested in my theatrical background, and although we both sit and write together, we've also discussed trying to get a theatre group going here in Hoi An. 

I had since realized that she and I disagree fundamentally on a lot of things that would be critical to being co-founders of any kind of group. In my head, I had determined that the next time we talked about it I would gently bow out (with the understanding that possibly I would audition, just don't want to manage).

She recently met an Australian playwright and loves his new script. She wants to do a table reading and asked if I would do it. I wouldn't mind, but...

Now that I'm writing so much, I never know when inspiration will strike, or when my muse will be generous on a given day. Reading a play will involve several people and a certain time commitment. So I had to say...

"No. No. I have to be free to focus on writing now."

My priorities are now firmly stated. She understood.

The next day - The VERY NEXT DAY! - I was sitting in a coffee shop randomly writing in the notebook I have with me at all times, and a story started. And I love it. It's fun.

I'm so glad I declined on the play.

This new story seems like the kind that might just write itself, so that's what I'm doing. Or attempting. 

My original random thought that started all this? Have you ever heard a statement, something along the lines of "One of these days, he'll/I'll/she'll wake up dead." 

What if you woke up dead? I'm days into considering that, and having a blast.

09 February, 2019


So I wrote this random bit the other day...

Where the headache came from was a mystery. It started as she relaxed in front of the TV. Assuming the pillow was positioned poorly, maybe putting pressure in that annoying trigger spot at the base of her head, she moved the pillow. 
Reclined more, laying back with the pillow under her shoulders. Nope.
Sat up straighter, removing the pillow entirely. No dice.

Refilling her water, she hoped it was a dehydration symptom. The pain was moving toward the front of her head now. What was going on in there? Finally, last resort, she took three ibuprofen. Say what you want, this cheap, generic, Chinese knock-off Advil was NOT equivalent to real Advil - or even a cheap Walmart or Target generic version!

Movie over, she shut off the TV. Maybe silence for a bit while the drugs tried to work. The headache was changing again, now more like a net of nerves tightening around her brain, all vibrating like some bizarre musical instrument being strummed and thrummed by a tiny mental elf. 
Damn you, elf.

Just then, Hubs rode up to the house, returning from the morning's excursion. By the time he joined her in the living room, cleaned up from the smells of sweat and the sea, he was ready to tell of his adventure out on the island. She wanted to hear, truly. She listened attentively, commenting, asking questions, all while that elf kept strumming in her skull. Still listening, she got up and grabbed a muffin. Maybe the elf needed a sweet distraction.

Finally, story ended, vibrating brain-instrument ongoing, she decided to take a walk. It was all she could do. She couldn't read, couldn't look at a screen - TV, phone, or computer - and maybe sunshine would lull the nerve-strumming elves into silence.

As she walked, there was a brief moment when she felt the pain subsiding, but the moment passed and she walked on.

First locale to check off the pit-stop list: the pizza place. Closed. Headache remained.

Continuing walking, she found that the new microbrewery in town had NOT closed for the holiday. Maybe a cold one would do what water and drugs and food could not. Beer in hand, she sat out on the patio. The headache remained, but the beer was good. 
Sun was good.
Watching the light traffic was good.
Talking to random passers-by was good.

As she returned the empty glass to the bar inside, she smiled a thank you and said good-bye. Returning home, the thread of the headache was still holding on to its own existence, but it was weakened. She felt strong. "I did not let that headache cripple me. I went out into the world a functioning citizen and contributed to a local business and to the society of those around me," she nodded to herself with pride.

Sometimes, it's the small victories that make the difference.