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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Dear Hatrack, I'm getting married and moving to China

   
Author Topic: Dear Hatrack, I'm getting married and moving to China
Annie
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Anyone old school enough to remember the thread my title is paying homage to?

Anyway, this is a bit of an announcement, but I don't think there are many people on here that know me well enough to care about a life milestone announcement who aren't also friends with me somewhere else in cyberspace, so it's not very effective as far as announcements go.

But I did think it was also an interesting time for a funny little retrospective of sorts, and so thought I would share the thought with you.

I've been a member of the Hatrack forums for half of my life. I joined in November of 1996, when I was a sophomore in high school. I'm now 30 years old and on the downward slope toward getting my Ph.D and I've been through so much in life it amazes and humbles me.

I've lived in Japan and Montana and Taiwan and now Utah and as I write this I'm staying with my now-fiancé and his family in the metropolitan NYC area. I've met so many people and done so many things it floors me. Just over a year ago I was hiking across Macau by myself - it was just a weekend visa run but it was my first time in a foreign country truly alone and it gave me a chance to reflect on the opportunities life gives us. Macau is a small place and I wanted to get my time and money's worth so I had planned to spend the last of my money taking a bus to the south island and spend the day there and then walk to the airpot in time for my late afternoon flight. Turns out they make it kind of hard for one to simply walk into airports and even though I had a good map, some maps don't account for elevation and I had to climb to the top of the peak in the center of Taipa island and then luckily the back gate to the traditional Chinese cemetery was open and I got in and worked my way down its endless stone stairs and eventually got back to the highway along the coast where I was able to jump some concrete barriers and walk, sweaty and exhausted, up to the airport in my knee-length grey skirt and my pink Hello Kitty backpack.

Why do we end up in the places we end up? This is what I thought about as I scrambled down those seemingly endless stairs in the Chinese cemetery. Is it choice? Is it chance? I can't seem to believe in fate but I can see it as a choice that Providence knows about in advance.

Three years ago I was engaged to someone else and it left me emotionally bruised to a level I hadn't understood until now, when I had to push open those old rusty doors again. At the time, I thought I was done for, thought there was no way I could go on and face the way my life was supposed to turn out. One year ago I was living in a tiny apartment by myself in Taiwan, teaching high school during the day and walking to 7-11 down a crowded road every night for drinking water. In those solitary walks I pictured the faces of my students and realized that I was doing good things with my time and talents and that I would be OK as an old maid; that even though all I'd ever wanted was a husband and babies of my own, I was going to be alright being the spinster schoolmarm because I was coming home every night feeling like I'd done something good in the world.

And then last January I moved back to Utah to continue my on-campus coursework and I moved back into the Chinese House: on-campus housing for students working on a foreign language. My Chinese is pretty awful, but I felt optimistic about moving back there. The people who live there are my kind of people.

The first night back I went to dinner with the apartment of guys who were also learning Chinese. We lived in an immersion environment and had mandatory dinners together with the two apartments five days a week. I knew a couple of the guys from the time I'd lived there the year before, but some were new. One was a sharp, witty Latino from the East Coast who talked a lot. And he talked to me a lot, which was fun and flattering. And we talked about language-learning software that first night and stayed after dinner finishing our conversation and then kept doing that every night that followed.

And now I'm in urban Connecticut sleeping on a mattress in his sister's bedroom and yesterday he asked me to marry him while we were standing by the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. And while I really do feel like it's a good choice, like it's a safe choice, like I can just let go and stop nursing my bruises, that odd sensation is here again like that weekend in Macau when I realized I have this weird life that rockets me all over the world and I have no idea what propels it. My fiancé is in the Chinese Flagship Program and will be enrolling at Nanjing University next fall and I'll be going there with him, setting off on a totally new track on this rollercoaster. I have no idea where that track goes.

Can you be ecstatic and comforted and awed and freaked out at the same time? Do the paths of your past life, like that time you taught yourself Spanish for a summer study program and the weird magnet in your head that attracts Chinese people to you no matter where you are and even the fact that you read Alvin Maker books as a teenager and then when you finally admitted to your boyfriend your nerdy proclivities and he answered enthusiastically "me too!" - do all of these paths have anything to do with each other? Are they spiderwebs that were purposely strung into place out of some weird cosmic instinct or are they honestly just things that happen? Are you wandering around in Borges's jardín de senderos que se bifurcan?

If so, it's really beautiful. And I want to paint a picture of it all but I just can't make sense of all those senderos from my current point of view!

[ December 24, 2011, 02:08 AM: Message edited by: Annie ]

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ladyday
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Thanks for posting this here, Annie, and congratulations. I'd love to see whatever picture you'd paint [Big Grin] . Generally a good thing when you have that 'how on earth did I get here' feeling and you're awake and not running for your life!

(Also, tree in Rockefeller Center? /squee! How was the crowd?)

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CT
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Annie, I'm so happy for you!

And yes, yes, a thousand times yes. [Smile]

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Sala
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It was really cool to read your thoughts here, Annie. What an amazing life you've led so far. And I hope it continues to be wonderfully amazing for you. Best wishes and congratulations!
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Sala
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It was really cool to read your thoughts here, Annie. What an amazing life you've led so far. And I hope it continues to be wonderfully amazing for you. Best wishes and congratulations!
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Annie, I'm so happy for you!

And yes, yes, a thousand times yes. [Smile]

Seconded on both counts. [Smile]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
Anyone old school enough to remember the thread my title is paying homage to?

Also, me! [Big Grin]

They were in New Zealand, but I think they're back in Sri Lanka now.

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Noemon
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Thanks for writing that, and what you wrote on sake, and generally letting us know, Annie. Once again, congratulations.

Man, I hadn't thought about the thread your thread's title pays homage to in ages! Rivka, do you keep in touch with quidscribs much? How's she doing, generally?

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BlackBlade
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I definitely remember the reference in the thread title. I truly am happy for the both of you. I only wish I could be doing something so adventurous as enrolling at Nanjing University.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Rivka, do you keep in touch with quidscribs much? How's she doing, generally?

Intermittently. She's in my G+ circles, but hasn't had anything to say there for a while, and I check out her Twitterstream on occasion.
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Annie
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Thanks so much, everyone [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by ladyday:
(Also, tree in Rockefeller Center? /squee! How was the crowd?)

They mostly just kept walking past. Ah, New York.
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Kwea
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Congrats! I hope your marriage brings you as much joy as mine has brought me!
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T_Smith
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[Smile]

Congrats, Annie!

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Icarus
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Congratulations! [Smile]

I for one refuse to believe that you are thirty, however. What else have you lied about? [Razz]

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Annie
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If *I'm* thirty, how old are *you*?
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TomDavidson
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*grin* Much happiness, Annie. Congrats.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
If *I'm* thirty, how old are *you*?

Older than dirt. Or at least, older than me!
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advice for robots
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Congratulations, Annie! That's awesome! I'm trying to think of what will be more of the adventure--living in China, or being married. Probably being married. [Wink]

I also can't believe you're 30.

I know how old rivka is. She's the same age as me.

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rivka
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Right. You, me, Tom, and Porter are all in a rough clump.
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TomDavidson
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The roughest.
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rivka
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[Big Grin]
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TheTick
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[Smile] Good luck, Annie.

Add me to those who get the title reference.

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Sala
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Rivka, do you keep in touch with quidscribs much? How's she doing, generally?

I'm in touch with Quidscribis (and I remember the thread the title pays homage to. I was a lurker for a VERY long time). Anyway, Quid is still happily married to Fahim. They lived in Australia for a while but are back in Sri Lanka. From what I can see, they are doing very, very well.
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Jake
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Nice! I'm glad life is going well for them.
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Sala
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Ooops, said Australia. Meant New Zealand.
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James Tiberius Kirk
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Congrats, Annie!
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Chris Bridges
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Congratulations Annie!

30-somethings. Hmph. Kids.

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Tatiana
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This is great, Anneke! I remember you when you were 16, on those threads on the BML. It's been great watching you grow up, go on your mission, and all that you've done. I'm so happy for you getting engaged! And I knew you would be happy, and your life would turn out well, no matter if you were single or married, because of your great attitude and zest for life. Your fiance is very lucky!

I, too, remember the thread this is modeled on. Quid is a prolific poster on facebook, so while I don't talk to her directly very often, I hear a lot from her. They're doing great.

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Marek
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<weirdo

I do recall the thread title, and am interested in your life, though i do not know you from anywhere else in cyberspace. So do I win a prize for being in formed by this announcement, and yet still being interested?

Anyway, congratulations. I always thought you were younger than me, guess i was a little off.

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Annie
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quote:
Originally posted by Marek:
<weirdo

I do recall the thread title, and am interested in your life, though i do not know you from anywhere else in cyberspace. So do I win a prize for being in formed by this announcement, and yet still being interested?

Anyway, congratulations. I always thought you were younger than me, guess i was a little off.

It does win you a "gee, thanks!" prize. [Smile]
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Amanecer
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Congrats Annie. [Smile]
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Dante
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Cheers, Annie!
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Annie, I'm so happy for you!

And yes, yes, a thousand times yes. [Smile]

This!!

quote:
Anyway, this is a bit of an announcement, but I don't think there are many people on here that know me well enough to care about a life milestone announcement who aren't also friends with me somewhere else in cyberspace, so it's not very effective as far as announcements go.
I don't know about "many" but I care and I'm glad you made the post.
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Kwea
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Me too! Congrats!
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Shan
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Congratulations, Annie! How fabulous. 30 and single is really not an old-maid. *grin*

The 40s now . . . hmmm.

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Annie
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Thanks everyone [Smile]
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mackillian
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Congratulations!
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Annie
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If you don't mind a little shameless self-promotion and you have a moment, go to this photographer's page on Facebook and "like" my engagement story. It will help me win a free photo shoot!

(I'm the one whose real-life name is Anneke. And if you're not my friend yet, send me an add! [Smile] )

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pooka
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I felt a lot of similar things when I got married, Annie, just the quantum peculiarity of it all. I also was thinking you were having a really long engagement because it was still 2011. My concept of time has gotten really goofy lately. I no longer look forward to Friday.
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