Dating in China, blah blah. I’m coming to an endpoint here. At least the end of my Guangzhou Year point.
Yes, I was getting sick of GZ. But not sick of China yet, not even close. I decided to go back to the familiarity of another city, my default locale. Shenzhen is just where I would’ve ended up eventually anyway, might as well surrender to my destiny. I sincerely like it better, somehow it works for me. I can’t believe I’m still here.
Guangzhou, in all its overwhelming epicness, was a place to study and a place to learn yet not a place for permanence.
In this final installment of the Provincial Capital’s memories, let me be a bit more positive. I may have complained too much in previous entries; I should be more grateful for the wonderful experiences I’ve had. It wasn’t all lonely nights in Canton…
There was Nellie, whom I met on POF. She had an exotic face, a cutesy style, and she invited me to her glamorous home to drink French wine. I spent a weekend there, she was so gracious. Regaled with tales of work and travel.
She visited me in Shenzhen once too.
Then there was Janey, whom I met on gzstuff.com. It was all so natural and easy, she added me or I added her (who remembers at this point?) and I simply suggested we go on a date and then we did and it ended nicely.
She was very attractive, thoroughly modern, and studied yoga. She didn’t mind coming out all the way to my place. But oddly shy. Like open in some ways, so reserved in others. We went to the cinema several, and window-shopped at Tianhe malls.
One day we had a fight when I went to her area in Taojin. I got bad directions and got lost and was late. No dinner even, only harsh words. It simply wasn’t meant to be long-term.
Most of all, there was Valerie, my then friend-with-benefit of choice. An office worker in glasses with a casual style. She was from Yunnan. She lived in deep Panyu, far away from downtown, and she was happy to visit me. We first met at a market in Shiqiao, the busiest area of the district and a world away from the city center.
I took her to dinner, went to parks, we enjoyed many weekends together lounging about my area. She liked me, she really liked me. Always cool, always happy, always there for me. Such an awesome person.
And no drama. I thank her for this. Today, as I think back and compare, I could not be more grateful for her positivity and good times.
I hope she thinks well of me now. I don’t even know why we didn’t become boyfriend and girlfriend. Didn’t seem in the cards, didn’t seem we had that kind of thing going. She wasn’t really who I pictured myself with, to be honest. We never had any serious conversations. She never pressured me to take things further. She was perpetually chill. Who knows, perhaps something was going on in her personal life at the time.
Still, I wonder…
Ironically, in how I tend to get flustered when dealing with rejection, a question comes up. Did I do the same to her?
Sometimes there are subtle issues left unsaid with women, and if you aren’t too savvy you don’t realize what an asshole you’re being.
Valerie ended up moving back to her hometown, she wasn’t really into Guangzhou either. I can understand.
We still occasionally keep in touch on Wechat.
It was early 2012. I remember when the New Year rang in, watching fireworks in Zhujiang with friends. I was optimistic, I’d looked forward to this prophetically Mayan year all my life. The promise of End Times and Singularities, it was all going to come to a head on this most synchronous of years.
A month in, and I was ready to move.
I completed my time in Guangzhou. I started more serious writing and concluded I learned all I could learn from the place. The job thing, that was something else too. Fate was pushing me to go back to Shenzhen, to go back to bordering Hong Kong, and one day I decided to apartment-hunt in SZ and I did. All alone, with nothing but my own Mandarin-speaking hunting skills if I do say so myself, and I moved back back a week later.
I’m fond of megacities like GZ, I really am. But can’t I be fond of it from afar?
Thanks for all the memories, Guangzhou. Thanks for all the friendships, the sights, the experiences, the dating, thanks to all the beautiful people I met and all they taught me.
I now leave you with graffiti from the Redtory arts district, one of many Guangzhou sights I enjoyed.
And I hope you enjoyed reading about my year.
Next: Take a break, some megaposts, and then back to Shenzhen…
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Seemed like you were drifting towards the end of your time in Guangzhou, drifting towards another beginning. I always wonder if we can learn to know everything about a person. And if we do, I wonder will that do us any good.
We can’t even know everything about ourselves, how can we know everything about another person?
However, I do like to think that the more we learn about another person then ultimately the more good it will do us…
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So true. In a lifetime, we don’t have all the answers to everything. The more we learn about another person, the more we think about them and the more questions we have about them. Maybe that’s why sometimes we will never understand some people, and a places too.
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