An Atypical Chinese Lady

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Dec 8, 2016 01:37
“Hi S.P.! Could you do me a favor? Get a few certificates notarized for me, scan them, and send them to me? I’m applying for a visa to Kenya,” C. texted me last night.

“No problem,” I replied.

C. is my former college classmate, an outgoing lady who likes to laugh. She was one of my closest friends at school. She's very popular and admired among her former classmates, because she’s a “crazy” person who has many accomplishments that we can’t imagine being able to do. During college summer vacations, incredibly, she bicycled Hainan, Tibet, and across Europe.

At the time of graduation, most of us were searching for secure jobs, while she went to work as a volunteer for an NGO. After graduation, she went to Yunnan, China, to work in an environmental NGO, where she partnered with youths from around the world.

There too, she quickly gained popularity among her colleagues. At school, she was not perceived to be particuarly pretty because she had tanned skin from years of riding outdoors. (In East Asia, girls who have light skin are often considered more beautiful.) But at the workplace, she was considered gorgeous by the Western guys. It was said that many of them eagerly pursued her. In the end, she started a relationship with a Brit.

She dated him for two years. I once tentatively asked her, in a Chinese way, “Have you ever discussed marriage with him?” She answered, “Nah. British folks don’t think about marriage very much while dating. I’ll never push him. Just let things run their own course.” In the end, the British guy proposed to her near a volcanic crater in Indonesia. How romantic that was!

Now, they've resigned from their jobs and started traveling around the world. I’d say she’s definitely not a typical Chinese lady. In our culture, spending so much time traveling and experiencing the world, instead of finding a steady job, is considered "dangerous." But now that she’s going to marry a Western guy, it doesn’t matter whether or not she fits into our culture. Living the life she wants is the most important thing.

I encouraged her to write down what she saw and felt on the trip, and to have her writing published some time, as a well-known female Taiwanese writer did decades ago. “I hope to do so,” C. said, laughing.