Archive for October, 2010

Long Distance Relationship, Part 2

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Well, part 1 for me.

A year ago, Raph guest posted at Nancy the Gnomette about her (and therefore, my) Long Distance Relationship. This month, we hit our 3 year mark*, and only for the last 6 months have we living bearably close to one another.

So, now that we’re no longer a LDR, now what? When you move on to the next stage of your life and move in together? Is it that much more challenging when you have gotten used to a relationship dynamics when you don’t see each other that much?

The first big challenge is your expectations

In this field I was far more hung up on something than Raphaëlle. The relationship worked. But did it work despite the distance or because of the distance? There was only really one way to test that though. Of course, some people might think it wise to move closer together first, increase frequency of visits, duration of visits and so on. We? Well, we just moved in together.
And to be honest there were some tensions at first. We went from one extreme to the other. Before we could find our current apartment, we stayed in Raphaëlle’s company’s officetel – a single 15 square meters room where we slept, ate and worked. Together. 24 hours a day. We are both unapologetic introverts, and while we love each other dearly, spending that much time on top of each other was unnerving, to say the least. But no throats were ripped, no one ran back to the airport and we didn’t suddenly realize that we actually had no business being together at all.

It’s nice to know I didn’t waste 3 years of banging other girls for no good reason.

Money matters

We discussed it lengthily with our families and friends back at home before we moved, but couldn’t really find a satisfying role model around us. Though lots of examples of how not to do it. Neither of us felt comfortable having completely shared finances, but what are the alternatives when most of your expenses are shared, and when your income one-sided?

Raph moved to Seoul on her first real position, as opposed to living on grants or intern compensations. Whereas I always used to have a job and have been paying my own way for a fair few years I am now broke. Very broke. So our first budget to manage had output on both sides and on shared stuff and input was scarily unilateral. This meant that letting go of the idea of separate finances fast, obviously.

So, not only did we have to deal with how to get the money in to equal or supersede the money out, we also had to deal with whatever psycho-babble floats around regarding gender roles in income. I was now pretty much fully at the mercy of Raphaëlle for my food, drink, dry place to sleep and all other things where money is involved (and in today’s society, where isn’t it). We found out our inner demons chasing our ids and egos about. Our first months were tight but Raphaëlle could justify splurging on something she wanted every now and again but she had problems letting me do the same. And I had it confirmed that I really didn’t like being dependant on hand-outs.

Next to this, is of course the solid conviction that the man should provide the money and the woman is there for . . . well . . . I’m sure they’re useful for something. Now, I’m a modern enough man to not worry too much about having her earn more money than me, as I’m sure Raphaëlle hasn’t gone looking for someone with a bigger bankroll than hers just to fulfil some macho rule about how they’re supposed to earn more. But it’s been interesting changing the state of this condition from academic to reality, and Raph found out some preconceptions she had regarding the matter she wasn’t aware of before. For me? Having a sugar momma might sound nice if it’s for . . . well, the sugar, the icing, the extras. When you have to ask someone for money to buy tomatoes the shine soon fades.

Within 3 months we were settled in though. After the initial tightness money wasn’t as much of a problem and with a new rhythm we went about our lives. Life has been good and stable now for 3 months and hopefully, within a few months I can change the current status again when I get a job.

Now, a relationship is between two people. People tend to be individuals, which only partly conform to gender stereotypes. Here’s some nasty surprises: I was looking forward to the same game I’ve played for years regarding cleaning the apartment. She would be more about the cleanliness and I’d try to get away with doing as little as possible. I’m not the slob in this relationship, that was a surprise. (Not that Raph is, it’s just fairly unusual for me not to be)
The other is that I wouldn’t give Raphaëlle free range to paint our walls blue. Go figure. I may not know art, but I know what I’d run away from screaming.

Life rhythms

So we spent 2.5 years of our relationship living apart. One of the things Raph mentioned in that guest post was to develop your own life independent of your partner. You either succeeded in this or you’ve been living a lie. So here we are, two people in a relationship that are quite good at living our own life. Sure, the whole reason we moved in together is because we wanted to be together more. But you have to create some time apart. If nothing else, to provide dinner conversation. If you spend 100% of your time together, how many funny anecdotes will you have to share?
So we have different hobbies. Some of which can be done in the same room. We read the same books and different ones, we read the same sites and different ones, we watch some series together and other apart, we have the same friends and . . . well, we haven’t really developed a social life wide enough to truly have independent friends though there’s is already someone I meet on occasion that Raph really doesn’t remember.
Also, we know when to involve the other and when to go on our own merry way. I like to dance the night away and Raphaëlle just doesn’t. So when my path was crossed with free tickets to the Global Gathering (with special thanks to Wyatt and James) my leaving Raph alone to recover from a hard week by curling up in bed with a series to go party the night away instead was no worries. If we had morphed into some freaky Wally-Raph being neither of us would’ve had that.

One of the areas in our joint existence where we’re out of synch is travel. I have been in Korea for 7 months now and have yet to leave Seoul. I didn’t come here for the city, I can for the country (and the girl). Raph, on the other hand, spends a lot of her time travelling. To the country’s industrial capitals, so not a lot of touristing, enjoying the scenery or cultural experiences. Raph isn’t really keen on using the weekends to go out explore, and I really am.

There are a lot more things to be discussed on how the relationship has changed. But we’ll keep it at this

The Future

It’s uncertain. I am looking for a job here, but let’s face it, job markets right now are tight enough without the market being run in a language you don’t speak. We have discussed this at some length and if I were to find a really cool job in a different country it’d be an option to emigrate again. So what do we do with our apartment in the meantime? We decorate it. And within a significantly finite amount of time it may all be sold off for a 80% loss. I don’t really know if we should be investing in it, but Raphaëlle seems eager to do it and it means I get to play with powertools so . . . . I suppose it’s all good.

The future of us? Well, I don’t really think about it. And when I do Raph is in it.

* completely arbitrarily, we decided a posteriori that our relationship started during that trip to Kyoto.

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For Raph’s version, see here.

Van de RK naar de RC

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Op Zondag 17 Oktober moest ik officieel opgerot zijn hier. M’n visum was op. Toedeledokie.
Origineel zou ik ongeveer nu terug in Nederland zijn om een praatje te houden, papiertje op te halen en meer van dat soort dingen.
In plaats daarvan zou ik voor 3 dagen t land uit gaan en weer terugkeren.

T internet gaf aan dat Fukuoka t goedkoopst was, maar daar was ik al eens geweest, dus zocht ik door. Het reisbureau om de hoek raadde Taipei aan.
Ik wist niet welke vorm van Chinees men er sprak
Had geen tijd om een Lonely Planet door te lezen/te kopen
En door dat “afstudeer” gedoe had ik geen tijd om flink t internet door te spitten

Ik was er helemaal klaar voor.

Taiwan, of de Republiek China, zoals het wel door sommige mensen genoemd word. En ik bedoel genoemd idd, want erkennen doen we het niet. Nederland niet, Frankrijk niet, geheel Europa niet. Met uitzondering van het Vaticaan, en zij alleen om de Volksrepubliek naast de deur te stangen denk ik.
Maar Republiek China is wat er nu in m’n paspoort staat.

M’n Chinees is bagger (de mensen spreken Manderijn trouwes, niet Cantonees. The more you know) maar gelukkig spraken de mensen een redelijk mondje Engels. Beter dan de Koreanen hier. De combo: zij Engels spreken en ik Chinees lezen (jawel) zorgde dat ik een vrij soepele trip had.

Dit is helaas ook de reden dat dit een onenerverend stukje is. Zonder spannende verhalen zal ik jullie achterlaten met m’n foto’s hier.

Helaas was ik erg snel afgeleid in de nachtmarkt, dus ik heb daar weinig foto’s van. Daarvoor zal ik deze twee linkjes achterlaten. Let vooral goed op t volgende stuk “fruit”. Dat t verbazend goed doet in een smoothie.

Maargoe, op de gehele markt is het voedsel raar. Zie hier de gefrituurde boterham met snot en kip

Enjoy

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Quote of the day:

Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it’s too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

– Peter’s Evil overlord list #20

From the ROK to the ROC

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Sunday October 17th marked the end of my visa in Republic of Korea. Originally the plan had been to be finished with my thesis now, fly back, graduate and other things of that nature.
Instead, I was merely required to get the hell out of the country. Well, I was sorta expected to come back too. By Raph at least. And maybe Orion, if he’s capable of rational thought.

A bit of internet searching showed me that a flight to Fukuoka was the cheapest option. However, due to the expiration date of my credit card having come and gone I found myself without a means to book it. The internet did offer a place that took cash though. Off I went to a travel agent, outdated I know, but I had little choice. The travel agent knew of a different, even cheaper, destination as well.

Taiwan.
Or the Republic of China if you want to get semi-official about it. Semi-official seeing as how not everyone recognizes that the ROC isn’t still part of the PRC (amongst others: ALL of Europe). But ROC is what it says in my passport.

Anyway, seeing as how I’ve been to Fukuoka and had yet to set foot in Taiwan, Taiwan it was.

Now, people that are in communication with me will have heard me state on multiple occasions that I’m rather busy. Thesis and all (I have a date btw, I’ll get around to officializing an invitation on that soon enough). So I left to Taiwan with: No Lonely Planet or other travel guide and the name of 4 interesting tourist things on a piece of paper.
A good preparation is the cornerstone of a good holiday.

I knew they spoke . . . . Chinese. Hadn’t looked up if it was Mandarin or Cantonese. And let’s be honest, would it have made a difference either way? I can read it well enough, but speaking/understanding either wasn’t on the table anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that their English seems to be at a level above the Koreans’ English. That would make things a lot easier.

I will leave you with my pictures as no adventures of note took place.

You can find my pictures here.

And I am aware that I took only a few pictures of the night market, which is a shame. So I’ll just point you here, or here. And please pay special attention to the “fruit”. If only to make sure you drink some of it when next you find yourself in Taiwan.

Oh well, I suppose most food there was kinda weird

Deep fried bread, with a centre of . . . snot and an ingredient of choice.

Enjoy

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Quote of the day:

Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it’s too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

– Peter’s Evil overlord list #20

By these powers combined, I am

Monday, October 4th, 2010

30


Calories
Yen
Newton
Geiger
Knots
Ampere
Tex
Meters
Dpi
Stone
Radian
Planck lengths
Parsec
Acres
Denier
Pascal
Mole
Pyeong
Kittens
Ångström

No wait. That doesn’t sound right. Lemme . . . . lemme try again.

Pints?
Kilogram?

Those, at least are plausible. Yet, when I came to Korea I weighed in at 100 kilograms, so the loss of 70 seems excessive. 30 pints would indicate I contain 17 dm3[1]. Which, considering an average density of humans of 1.01 g/cm3[2] would mean I now weigh in at 170 kilograms. A gaining of 70 kilograms seems equally excessive.

No, no. Last Thursday it came to pass that I entered my 31st year on this celestial body.

And it was Glorious!

People always tell you that life doesn’t start till 30, but you don’t mind them. What a fool I was, dismissing my elders.
Now that I have joined them can I truly appreciate the wisdom that they, and in association, I, posses.
And with that wisdom, comes power. Glorious power, that I will use in great wisdom. Even as it now engulfs me, completes me and threatens to subdue me, I will be a benevolent wielder of power.
I will be a fair and just overlord. Crushing rebellions so that small groups may suffer, while sparing cities. Stamping out dissidents so individuals die in stead of demographics. I will spread my truth and allow all to kneel before me, even as I remove all other truths which may differ from mine as people fear what is different. And fear will lead to anger, hate and eventually suffering, as inevitably as the sun rises again. In spreading my truth I will remove that suffering. I will cover this world like a blanket, and people will be able to sleep soundly beneath me knowing that outside roam true believers, protecting me, and in extension, the people, from harm.
It will be a Glorious future, a future that is I.

But until the time that I can implement this future, I will use wisdoms with more immediate practical application to my advantage.

Combining Baz Luhrman’s “Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth”, “You are as old as you feel” and any of my friends’ assertions that my emotional development is equal to that of a 14 year old I will go forth and frolic some.
I will chase my dog through wood and up mountains, chase the frisbee over the ultimate field, dance in the clubs till they close, run through woods and fields wielding latex weaponry, travel to foreign countries and sneer at their food, sing, kayak, climb mountains, dive in seas, surf, run, slide, jump, eat, drink, love and generally fool around.

The world will be here to enslave lead when I get bored with that.

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If I decide to test a lieutenant’s loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.

Peter’s Evil Overlord list #71