Tag Archive | love

Finding Mr. Right

In October, I met Kevo on OKC, short for the popular NYC dating website OK Cupid.  He was the first “normal” guy I responded to, and I message very selectively. Soon enough, an “online relationship” began to blossom.  The connection was almost immediate.  To start off, we were both Asian American kids with a rekindled appreciation for our Asian food, culture and language.  Apparently, we both enjoyed karaoke jams to Asian songs.  Who goes to karaoke to sing Chinese songs anymore?  Well, he and I still do!  As an added bonus, we were both medical students!  He was planning to do family medicine and I was applying for emergency medicine.  Personally, there is little else more comforting than to find companionship with someone in your field.  Some people want partners who are far away from medicine, so when they come home, couples can unwind and talk about other stuff.  Medicine is taxing on the mind and body, yet exhilarating to experience.  To find someone with the same background and fund of knowledge to share my experiences with is liberating and relaxing.

Scaredy cat when it comes to online dating?

Scaredy cat when it comes to online dating?

For nearly a month, we talked by text, Google chat and even video chat.  Not like I had anything to hide, but the concept of remotely chatting by virtual means was foreign and strange, especially for the first time. It reminded me of the MTV show Catfish, where shady strangers in these “online relationships” try to hide for months to years, always with an excuse and never the time.  Check the show out, it’s shocking, yet entertaining.  You’ll understand why I (and perhaps you) tread cautiously on the World Wide Web.

Twice, we video chatted at nighttime, but not without technical difficulties on Skype or Google Hangout.  Hey, at least I made the effort!  A few instances I got nervous during the call and my camera would drift to my forehead. He’d say, “Uh, could you move your camera down a little? I only see your forehead now?”

I found him decent-looking and fresh-faced.  He seemed like an honest, smart and nice guy, your typical Asian with boyish features and characteristics, even playful.  One time we were talking about our love for WongFu productions, the Asian American trio based in California who make videos poking fun and sending positive messages about the Asian American culture.  He took his Toon Spencer plush toy and played with it, putting it on his head.  That was also his profile picture, him with the Spencer bear atop his head.

 

What a cutie bear!  Meet Spencer!

What a cutie bear! Meet Spencer!

I liked Kevo and there was nothing to strike me as odd about this lad.  I’m sure I struck him as more odd, given that I told him how I’m a blubbering, bawling fool when it comes to sappy Asian love songs, music videos, dramas and movies.  He must think I’m a histrionic, emotional wreck with chronic wet-eye syndrome and tissues within arms reach to last a lifetime.

Tell me you will not cry a waterfall after watching “童話/Tong Hua” (Fairy Tale) by 光良 Guang Liang.  This was memorably the first Chinese song I ever listened to back in 2008, and what jumpstarted my iTunes playlist, Asian Addiction.

Tell me you will not feel a pang to your heart (and eyes) when you watch this love song, “Because I’m a Girl” by the 90s’ Korean girl group, Kiss.

Tell me you will not need a tissue with this Chinese classic, “老鼠愛大米/Lao Shu Ai Da Mi” (Mouse Loves Rice) by 王啟文 Wang Qi Wen.  This song has been so popular, it has been remade twice since the original release, one by 香香 (Xiang Xiang) and Cantonese duo, Twins.

And lastly, but not the least, Hins Cheung, Hong Kong’s prince of ballads. We went off on a long discussion about his music and videos. I just started listening to his music, thanks to Spotify. Now, thanks to Kevo, I was on a marathon of his sappy music videos and performances.

Up Next:  A surprise for you … and me!

Why I Like CN Blue

My favorite color is blue, despite my many pink belongings (you name it, I got it). Already, I was at a bias when I heard about Korean indie band CN Blue 씨엔블루.  I have always appreciated the creativity behind Korean band names, and CN Blue tops my list of distinctive bands, beating out American bands and even Super Junior. CN stands for ‘Code Name,’ while BLUE symbolizes each member’s essence: 

Burning = Lee Jong Hyun, Lovely = Kang Min Hyuk, Untouchable = Lee Jung Shin, Emotion = Jung Yong Hwa.

Gah, that earring!

CN Blue is not like any other Korean group, at least not the typical dancing-licious K-pop boy band. I’m typically into the K-pop craze, so I was surprised that Korean indie-rock bands existed and I got sucked into a new dimension. I said to my sister, “Hey, I kind of like this K-pop band CN Blue!!” who subsequently glared at me and responded, “They are NOT K-pop at all you know. They’re like… this underground band in Korea.” In my head, I was thinking, “Underground? That sounds… shady..” you know, like the Hong Kong triads, drug cartels, the Underground Railroad, or prostitute lanes. What she could not describe without sending creepy shockwaves was that they are part of the indie or alternative rock crowd. To put them in perspective, they are akin to American bands like Maroon 5 or All-American Rejects. Wait, my bad, Maroon 5 and AAR are American versions of Korean sensation CN Blue. And it is always the lead singer with the melodic, soulful voice who entrances me, let it be scruffy Adam Levine, skater boy Tyson Ritter, or pretty face Yong Hwa.

The boys of CN Blue are not just pretty faces who spend hours on end dancing. Instead, they jam on their guitars and drums like rockstars under control. They sit down, compose and write music, and practice like any other garage band, except they made it out of the garage and onto the Seoul stages.

CN Blue is a relatively new band, beginning with performances in Japanese night clubs and bars and debuting only in 2009 with their Japanese mini-album Now or Never.  They also played in the Seoul district of Hongdae, a dynamic haven for the artsy and talented. However, their big break did not hail until the following year in January 2010 with their Korean debut album, Bluetory. The first single was a HIT, BAM!-in-the-face GOOOOD, “외톨이야 Oetoriya- (I’m a Loner).” The first time I heard it, my sister was repeating all her CN Blue songs, and I was still foreign to anything else CN Blue except for “Love.” I was immediately hooked to the up-beat, pop-rock tune. It is funny in the MV, which was confusing at first, how each member gets caught up with life, whether it’s wandering in a populated street or getting beaten like a pulp, and then letting out a climactic scream, before meeting at a concert to perform, together…

“Love Revolution” is another great CN Blue classic, with a strong rock-n-roll beat to it. You feel like you want to get up and jump up and down.

Bluetory (2010)

01 외톨이야 I’m a Loner
02 Love Revolution
03 Y, Why…
04 Now or Never
05 그럴 겁니다… 잊을 겁니다… I Will… Forget You…

I vividly remember “Love” as the VERY first and only CN Blue song I listened to until recently. I had too much K-pop congestion in my iTunes that I was too lazy to explore and follow up on this foreign band. That first taste of CN Blue was truly impressionable, because the song was a mix of alternative rock AND jazz. Jazz??!! Yes, I was impressed with the catchy, jazzy tune. Yong Hwa’s soothing vocals and the upbeat instrumentals, supplemented with a brief rock-and-roll section, truly made the song unique.

I like “Black Flower” for its heavy rock tune and “Love Light” for its relaxing soft strumming, perfect for a vacation on the Hawaiian beaches. Seriously, it’s like a song you’d hear under the palm trees with a cooling Pina Colada.

 

Bluelove (2010)

01 LOVE
02 Sweet Holiday
03 Black Flower
04 Tattoo
05 사랑 빛 (Love Light)
06 Let’s Go Crazy

Now, their most recent album, First Step (2011), features some incredible songs, “Love Girl and “Intuition.” I was actually watching “Love Girl” on Youtube by accident one day, because I get subscriptions to live performances in Korea. The rest became history. I was automatically addicted to “Love Girl” to the point of watching almost EVERY live performance they did for their First Step promotion. It is a cute and entrancing song; I still cannot stop listening to it, like right now as I finish this piece. There’s a pop-feel to it, mixed in with some energy and catchy guitar tunes.

I believe what draws me to CN Blue so steadfastly (I’m jamming to my CN Blue collection as I write this, for inspiration) is how they are so different from the K-pop scene. I watched their performances on repeat, especially “Love Girl” like 50 times to date, and I was amazed they could sing AND play instruments. I thought, “Man, they don’t DANCE or wear funky outfits??” Technically, they are no different from Maroon 5, AAR, The Fray, or Matchbox 20, except they’re Asian eye candy. However, CN Blue is a nice medley of different musical styles. Can Adam Levine serenade a jazzy tune, and make rap sound sexy? Can Isaac Slade and the Fray graffiti my car and get away with it? Can Tyson Ritter slow-jam to a love song, or rap and rock at the same time? Can Rob Thomas sing in Korean and Japanese? Jong Hyun wins my heart with a soft rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Even better, Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”  Jung Shin can rock that silky, long hair in a ponytail, versus scruffy American guitarists/bassists who throw their greasy locks in all directions. Min Hyuk bangs on his precious drums in the background. Yong Hwa, my CN Blue bias, looks plain adorable in simple attire, whether it’s a striped shirt or a slick suit. His puppy eyes and shy smile makes me weak in the knees and flush in the cheeks.

I suggest watching their 2010 documentary, CN Bluetory, which is like those ever-addicting E! True Hollywood Story, except featuring CN Blue’s evolutionary history =) They are a cohesive group of friends who enjoy each others’ company and making music together. All their hard work has paid off!

I liked this particular segment in their documentary:  What music means to them?

Yong Hwa – “Music allows me to breathe, allows others to breathe.”

Jung Shin – “Music makes me think of rest. We usually listen to music when we rest, don’t we? If my music could mean a rest to someone, that would be great.”

Jong Hyun – “Music is a form of communication when I can’t express through words. I also want to relay my music, share with others.” 

Min Hyuk – “Music is something like… rice, maybe my rice.  In my life music and rice are the same. Rice is something we eat 3X a day. Without rice, we’d feel hungry and uneasy.” Oh I like this one the best, because it’s a genuine comparison between passion and basic needs.

Wow, they have mesmerizing stares...

Puppy Love

Friday, April 22, 2011:  To Auntie’s House We Go…

We arrived back at Yi Ma’s house, aka Lin-Ai, the way I’m used to calling her unfortunately. The area she resides in has changed dramatically since nine years ago. The same elementary school is next door. Across the street and all along, more stores have opened up and replaced older homes.  There was a pet shop for animal grooming, clothing shops, and eateries. I still had to take the same rocky path down a narrow alley to get to her apartment behind. We walked up to the second floor and arrived at her home. It was still as small as ever, but beautifully renovated now. I walked into the kitchen, put on some slippers, and moved into the living space. There was the same bed against the wall. The wine showcase was replaced with a built-in closet against the wall. A flat-screen TV rested against the opposite wall, making room for a table and chairs. Off to the farthest side was the alcove for the washing machine and dryer, air-conditioning, pseudo-balcony, storage space, and windows.  I clearly remembered how Kelly and I used to hear the watermelon man selling his fruits, “買 西瓜- 啊~~” or “Mai Xi Gua-ah~AH-ah~AH~ah.”  Kelly and I crawled up to the windows and echoed what he said! When he’d look up to find the mysterious childish voices, we would duck down and repeat the vicious cycle. Wow, we were mischievous little ones…

Speaking of watermelons and melons, we sat down and ate those fruits. I feel like that is what I always do in China, eat watermelons. Whether it’s in sliced or juiced form, watermelon is a common theme in Chinese homes and restaurants. It’s like this:  instead of sitting in front of the Yule Log munching on Christmas cookies or in front of Saturday night football pigging out on Domino’s Extra Cheese pizza and greasy potato chips, we sit together as a family sucking the juice out of watermelon juices. To me, it’s become a symbol of family bonding time – healthy, delicious, and poignant. I can’t complain, I love fresh watermelons in all forms and sizes. Wai Po and Yi Fu cut and served us melons. Yi Fu went out to buy fruits earlier for us to eat, cleaning and cutting in the kitchen. Of course, we told him to rest up and not work so hard because he’s been sick and he should watch his stress level. He sat down with us and mentioned it was not watermelon season just yet, so the fruits were not as juicy and sweet as desired. We spent a long time playing with the family pooch, Xiao Bao Bao. I am still not sure if the pooch has a name or she’s given a generic pet name, like Little Baby. She was too cute. We were feeding it the watermelon whites and melon pieces. She licked our hands. She stood on a chair as we fed her. Playing around with her, we would make the food a reaching target, but she was cautious enough not to move too far off the chair, or else she’d make a trip to the floor. She kept scuttling between our legs and under the tables. What a hyperactive little one. Overall she was adorable and good, not too fierce or aggressive. She was quiet and obedient. We would coo at her and shake her hands, “Xiao Bao Bao, Lai! La La Shou!… Guai Xiao Bao Bao! Good Baby!” Her bulging black eyes shined beneath the lights. Her white fur was like feel of a favorite stuffed animal.

We let Xiao Bao Bao model her irresistible beauty. Many wardrobe changes were necessary and many shots were taken to capture every moment!  First, she was in her birthday suit, au naturel…

Naked

Second, she sported a sky-blue and baby pink polo shirt for a sporty look.

Next, she went all-gangster and bling-bling in a hot pink hoodie.

Then, she modeled another tight jacket with a furry hoodie. Lookin’ warm!

And lastly, Xiao Bao Bao ended the chair-way with a wine-red, patterned vest.

The pooch was a VIP visitor. After the photo-shoot, I showed him pictures of herself on the camera, and she looked! Well, at least initially, she looked for maybe 5 seconds, and then she seemed to get bored… Still she was such a smart and pretty dog. Now that I think about it, she was the closest thing to an fun pet I ever had, even though our bonding was a mere few hours that Friday =) Aside from the puppy-play, it was also an important time to see family – Yi Ma, Yi Fu, and Wai Po. They’ve been special people to us for a long time. We were very lucky to spend the quality time to catch up on life and much more. Most of the time, Mom was conversing with her mother, sister, and brother-in-law. The few times Kelly and I came into the discussion, it was about our love lives and our future careers. For instance, the talk of the town this entire week has been about Kelly going to San Diego, California to study accounting and Connie becoming enslaved to medicine for the next 10 years… On a different note, Mom has been persistently saying Kelly will marry a “Jin Shi Mao” or a ‘Blond-Haired Beauty” or what I like to call “A California Beach-Blond No-Brainer Surfer Dude…” And it’s already known I will be on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, because I like my Asian guys and I’ve only dated Asian guys, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Careers and boys aside, we had a nice heart-to-heart session in the living room, a private reunion with our loved ones. Over fruits, friendly dog, television, and chatter, I enjoyed my time there. Before we left for another dinner outing, Lin-Ai showed us photos from Sun-Po’s wedding. My, my, the pictures were glamorous and romantic! China wedding pictures >>> America photographs. Sun-Po and his wife posed in numerous suits and dresses, under various lighting and atmospheres, and with so much love in their eyes. It was like flipping through a real-life fairy tale book! So young and so in love… I can’t wait for my one love and fairy tale marriage. I’ll be sure to make Shanghai a honeymoon spot, first to see family, and second to get these professional wedding shots!