We all heard the old cliché: “There is someone for everyone.”
We all dream of someday meeting the perfect other half to join us in the journey of life. That person can be anywhere, can meet us at any time and just like that, sweep us off our feet into the bliss of flying high on the love cloud. We call it the magic moment, the butterfly sensation or love at first sight. Love struck.
For me, how I met my partner was as boring and almost too dull of a story to mention, but I will tell you any way. We met at the local Rotary weekly meeting. Living in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, friendship was easy, casual and frequent. After several meetings, we became good friends. We worked out together, ran local races often and enjoyed other community functions with other groups. Like I said, it was not anything very excited or sexy. It was slow, calm, and no pressure of any kind. I did not pretend to be somebody else or even tried to be on my best behavior. I was just plain me, a little off, always manage to show all my flaws without a lot of effort. It was not love at first sight. Our love is not the product of hours of carefully searching a profile online, starting to contact the prospect and planning the meeting to begin a relationship. Our love came after many hours of sweating our butts off at the local gym at week hours. Our love came slow and sudden after many miles on racecourses, many high carbohydrate meals, after nursing many blistered toes from pounding the streets. Our love came hard and deep after several knee surgeries, twisted ankles and pained backs. Looking back at those running pictures, I often think: Geez louise, I looked beyond horrible, I looked so dead. How in the world did he fall in love with me?
Well, did I warn you that there is nothing very sexy about how our love began? Here is some more for you.
After realizing that we loved each other for a few good years, we moved in together at our mid-life. A mixed racial couple, a Caucasian from high class background, Californian, and a war-torn, fresh of the boat Vietnamese refugee.
At this time, I hope you say uh-oh and start to pay attention. Well, keep on reading.
Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine the humongous culture gap between us. The gap is as big as the Pacific Ocean standing between Vietnam and America. We have almost nothing in common, I really mean, nothing, zero, zipp. Besides, at middle age, there is something called settling in attitude, “my way or no way” mindset that we both kind of have. Many of our friends predicted we were headed for serious trouble; the relationship is doomed from the start. Well, that was 10 year ago.
Don’t get me wrong, our friends were right about our differences, but they did not see how we would deal with those issues. Because, you see, the culture gap is both a curse and a blessing. We learned to take advantage of both. For example, the running or daily exercising business. My partner is 5 feet 10 inches tall, I am standing 5 feet from toe to head. So when we run, his stride is almost double mine, but at every inch of the street he was there waiting for me, sometimes running in little circles so I can have a little rest or catch up. If you live in the San Francisco area and have a chance to do the Bay to Breakers Race, you will see the hills we had to conquer. He had to carry me on his back running up Haight Street hill many times. He would turn to other runners with comments like, “Honey, you need to lose 40 pounds so I can run faster.” I was smiling, a wide open smile, like a clown and winking at the other runners.
I also have an extra small size bladder, which seems like it goes into high gear when we are out there somewhere far from a restroom. When I have to go, he patiently looks, remembers and takes me there. I lost count how many times he has pulled over at the side of the road, not for sightseeing, but for me to do the natural number one. Nasty, you properly say. True love, I surely know.
Now, you may not see the culture in what I just talked about, you may even think it’s just silly. Let me tell you, Asian culture is very conservative. You don’t get on a man’s back in public, you don’t go to the bush under any circumstances, you just plan everything ahead and act like a real lady. I violate every corner of the rules. And he is right next to me, witnessing and lending a hand.