Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Blockhead...

I met a girl.

I've known her from work for the last six months, been hanging out with her as a friend for four of those months, she's invited me to meet her family and attend her nephew's birthday party (an exclusive invite), I've met and been accepted into her friend circle, she's invited me to her brother's wedding, she tutors me in language, we eat a lot of dinners together, and we recently took a trip (with two other friends) to a few touristy locals. During said touristy adventure, something happened. She showed a side of herself not before seen and I showed a side of myself not before seen. She was more playful and wild and I was more charming and adventurous (maybe just adventurous). So, we talked a little after the trip and admitted that we had developed feelings for one another along the way. I mean, after our trip, they were just... there. Go figure. In the beginning of January we were kind of hinting around dating, but no one asked anyone out at that moment. I had to give it a lot of thought before deciding to ask as I am 1 - in a foreign country and would have to 2 - commit to a serious and long term relationship which may end up in marriage which meant 3 - I would have to stay abroad and of course 4 - change my whole life for one person. If you know me, which you do, that's sort of an epic question. Well, I surprised myself and the first answer I got in my head was, "I'll do it all."

On Valentine's Day, I asked her out (cliched, I know). She said 'maybe' because, well, it's a big deal to have a foreigner such as myself as a boyfriend. Apparently, she lost a lot of sleep over the decision and finally turned up with a "no" two days later.

Well, I was confused because, well, do you see the above set up? Friends, family, hanging out a lot, getting really close, admitting feelings... so I asked her why she answered that way. It even turned into one of those romantic movie scenes and as I walked her to the subway I basically bared all with just about any romantic thought I had in my head about her. Turns out, she's afraid of dating a foreigner. Why? She believes that the language and cultural barriers will not let us know each others minds. Maybe we will be sad because we can't fully express ourselves. I don't know enough of her language, she doesn't know enough of mine (though she is passable in any state in America any day). We manage to bring these things up from time to time with each other and it's almost like she's slowly being convinced to change her mind. At least, that's just the way I perceive things going.

Anyway, we are awesome friends regardless of all of this. I recently hung out with her and her sister and played with her nephew while we were shopping for groceries. She's invited me to visit her in her new hometown next weekend, we're going on another touristy trip together this month too, and she wants to have me over so she can cook some traditional foods.

Also, I gave her something. It was a gift that I bought while I was in New Zealand (yes, everyone knows who's writing this). I bought it for "someone"- this image of a girl I wished I could meet someday (honestly it was like making a wish), and though I have had a few opportunities to give it away, I never did until now. It's a teardrop greenstone necklace with a symbol of a koru (google it) engraved on it. She hasn't taken it off since I gave it to her and she proudly displays it everywhere. I think she loves me, but I think she's afraid to admit it. Could I be totally wrong? See above? Totally wrong?

So my agency contacts me last week. These are the people who got me a job overseas. They say, (paraphrased), "What's next for you? Beijing? Hong Kong? Taiwan? Japan? The world is at your doorstep, all you need do is ask us." I say (literal), "Before I can answer you, I have to see about a girl." In the extended response I asked them to look for places for me to work that would be near this girl.

So let me complicate my previous question. It used to be: travel the world or return to the United States of America. Now it's: the girl or the rest of the world? One whole world, or another?

Is this still an awesome problem to have? I'd say yes, no matter how much is drives me crazy, but what do you think?

-Charlie Brown

Dear Blockhead,
Sort of. It's sort of an awesome problem to have. I only mean that compared to other problems you could have. On a global scale, this problem rocks. However, on a relationship scale, this problem does not rock.
I like that you've manned up and you're out there with your feelings and not shirking away from them. I like that you're willing to commit to something, as many men in their 20s and 30s seem to be in this whole, "Hey man, I just want to do my own thing and go where the wind blows me, so putting down roots will seriously interfere with that" mentality. Those men should buy surfboards, rent a house together, and figure their shit out. ...Anyway. I like that you're sticking this out until you figure it out. It would be easy for you to walk away after hearing her say no.
I seriously wanted to throw up while I read the description of your time together. Like, I was mad at you for putting that filth in my inbox. Buy a diary and doodle hearts around it, already. For those readers who haven't read my other letters (although I know you have, Charlie Brown) this is usually a sign that a relationship is sickeningly sweet. I can't deal. That's just gross.
The universe conspires against us. I'm convinced. Trust me when I say that sometimes the universe does not have your back in the romance department. It's convenient to suggest that when two people are right for each other and make their friends gag, it will work out automatically. I guess it could? But more often that not, it would seem, we get obstacles thrown in front of us. There are basically two types of people: people who find an obstacle and see a stop sign, and people who find an obstacle and tackle it. It just depends on how hard you want to work. At the base of all the cultural stuff and distance stuff, we're people. The language is different and the cultures vary, but when it comes down to it, people are people. You don't have to speak the same language to gross people out with your hand holding and adoring glances.
Even though your sentimentality nauseates me, I'm going to tell you what I've told many readers. Go with your gut. If you believe she loves you and that you two have a shot at disgusting the world together, give it a shot. Keep at it. Talk to her about this romantic nonsense. You're talking about trading the whole word for her, for heaven's sake. If a man said that to me, I would slap him for being so sappy and pathetic and ask when Meg Ryan was showing up. Hopefully your girl isn't like me.
Like I told you before, figure out what makes you happy in life and go after it. Just leave the gory details out, thanks.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda