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Corona quarantine diary
Téma indítója: Mervyn Henderson

Zibow Retailleau  Identity Verified
Mauritius
Local time: 23:04
angol - kínai
+ ...
Eat Drink Man Woman 3 Apr 29

Because of its length, this story is split into two parts. It is not exactly a joyful story, I am afraid. Still, I find it worth sharing and hope you will enjoy reading it.

The champagne bottle cork – Part 1

‘When will you have kids?’, one of my Chinese friends asked me, not long after I got married.
‘We don’t have a plan,’ I said.
‘No? What did you get married for then?’
‘Oh, not for kids,’ I said matter-of-factly. ‘For vi
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Because of its length, this story is split into two parts. It is not exactly a joyful story, I am afraid. Still, I find it worth sharing and hope you will enjoy reading it.

The champagne bottle cork – Part 1

‘When will you have kids?’, one of my Chinese friends asked me, not long after I got married.
‘We don’t have a plan,’ I said.
‘No? What did you get married for then?’
‘Oh, not for kids,’ I said matter-of-factly. ‘For visas.’

I met my husband in China, a Frenchman who had lived in the country for five years and had, in fact, decided to leave for good. He bought a plane ticket, ended the lease on his apartment and arranged the shipment of his belongings. However, the night before his planned departure, he called me. ‘I changed my mind,’ he said. ‘I’m not leaving; I’m staying here with you.’

He moved in with me. It was an old and dense neighbourhood. At night, we could hear neighbours talking, brushing their teeth or enjoying certain pleasurable activities. Understandably, nothing would go unnoticed. When Husband arrived he caused quite a stir. He was probably the first foreign face the neighbourhood had seen in decades. Curiosity was aroused. The neighbours, as they could only speak Cantonese, directed questions to me. Was that my boyfriend, where did he come from, did we speak English to each other and so on. The attention was unexpected and unwanted. I did not intend to put my private life in the spotlight. There was an obvious contrast too: I had had other boyfriends before, but no one asked me anything about them because they were all Chinese.

In the street, we were sensational too. People stared at us everywhere we went. Long, inquisitive and intense stares. Husband told me that he was used to those stares but we felt that there was an element in those stares, which he said was new even for him: hostility.

Owing to the extreme and decades-long one-child policy, and the common practice of sex-selective abortion, China is one of the countries with the highest sex ratio. One of the consequences of this gap is that many men in the country have difficulty finding a partner. This, plus the ingrained patriarchal culture, leads to a prevalent sentiment: women are men’s property.

One memorable incident happened in the street. Husband and I were waiting for a traffic light to turn. The countdown display showed that there was more than one minute to go. A man, who was standing not far from us at the front, looked around aimlessly. He spotted us. His eyes widened as if he could not believe what he saw. The surprised look was soon replaced by a nasty one. Fury and malice gleamed in his eyes. He looked at Husband and then me. I held a firm gaze with him and Husband was alerted too. The man put his hands on the hips and his feet were fidgeting; he was deciding if he should charge at us or not. I never dropped my gaze; I did not even blink. I was angry and I would not fall prey to this hatred. We stayed in this silent conflict until the traffic light turned. As pedestrians started to cross the road, the man made up his mind: he would not get into a fight with us. Before he left, though, with his eyes still fixed on mine, he spat on the ground in disgust. That was his opinion about me: I was a ‘媚外婊’, a prostitute who fawned on foreigners.

Another incident happened in a taxi. ‘Hello! Hello!’ the driver cheerfully shouted at Husband when we got into the car. Except for this one English word, he only spoke Mandarin. I told him the destination and he drove on. As he drove I saw his hands on the wheel. He kept his pinky fingernails very long. According to superstition, if your pinkies are longer than the third knuckles of your ring fingers, you will be rich. Not everyone has long pinkies so some will grow long fingernails to compensate. A French friend told me he used to think that those fingernails were for playing guitar. ‘I thought they were all musicians!’ he said. As expected, the driver asked where Husband came from, if we were a couple, etc. When we stopped at a traffic light, he fished out two areca nuts from his bag and offered one to Husband. ‘Areca nut,’ he said. ‘Have one. It makes you stronger in bed!’ I did not need to translate that because it was not the first time that Husband had been offered this potency booster. He declined. The driver popped the nut into his mouth and started chewing noisily. ‘Tell me’, he went on, ‘why did you come here and steal our girls?’

That got my back up. I decided to handle this conversation myself.

He continued, ‘I don’t even have a girl and you stole one from us. Why is she with you? It’s because you’re rich, isn’t it? It must be. Girls are like that, all about money …’ ‘Listen,’ I snapped at him. ‘You should grow a pair and stop blaming your failure on others. And’, I moved to the edge of my seat, ‘we are not your girls!’ I told him to pull over before turning to Husband, ‘We’re getting out here. I’ve heard enough.’

Then there was another incident and then another, and then another, and then another … We were fed up. It hurt to be hated. Along with other reasons, we concluded that it would be better for us to move to another country. For the ease of visa sponsorship, ‘I think we should get married,’ Husband proposed.

‘Well’, I smiled, ‘I don’t think it’s a bad idea.’
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Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F. Persio
Chris T
Lingua 5B
Matthias Brombach
Kevin Fulton
Kay Denney
 

P.L.F. Persio  Identity Verified
Hollandia
Local time: 21:04
Tag (2010 óta)
angol - olasz
+ ...
Ziggy Stardust Apr 29

Zibow Retailleau wrote:

‘I think we should get married,’ Husband proposed.

‘Well’, I smiled, ‘I don’t think it’s a bad idea.’


Who said romance is dead?

Well done, Zibow, bad memories make great writing material. I'm happy you got out of all that in the end.


Zibow Retailleau
Mervyn Henderson
Chris T
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Local time: 21:04
spanyol - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
‘I changed my mind,’ he said. ‘I’m not leaving; I’m staying here with you.’ Apr 29

How romantic! How many girls get to hear that one? Thanks for that, Zibow! What a slice of life. And what a taxi driver. What a prat.

I don't mean to steal your thunder, but I had a romantic experience a little bit like that: a girl said she was leaving, and I was so cut up. Distraught, I was. "Please don't go, babe," I begged her. She came back, and said "I changed my mind. I’m not leaving", just like your husband did, and I was so happy. Only then she said "No, I'm not leaving u
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How romantic! How many girls get to hear that one? Thanks for that, Zibow! What a slice of life. And what a taxi driver. What a prat.

I don't mean to steal your thunder, but I had a romantic experience a little bit like that: a girl said she was leaving, and I was so cut up. Distraught, I was. "Please don't go, babe," I begged her. She came back, and said "I changed my mind. I’m not leaving", just like your husband did, and I was so happy. Only then she said "No, I'm not leaving until you give me back the 5,000 pesetas you owe me." It definitely took the romantic edge off it, but it also definitely dried my tears.
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Zibow Retailleau
Chris T
P.L.F. Persio
Lingua 5B
Kay Denney
 

Zibow Retailleau  Identity Verified
Mauritius
Local time: 23:04
angol - kínai
+ ...
Thank you, Portia and Mervyn! Apr 29

I love Ziggy Stardust! As it happens, Portia, Husband is Bowie's superfan.

And Mervyn, did you offer her something in exchange for that money?


Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F. Persio
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Local time: 21:04
spanyol - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
Something in exchange? Apr 29

Of course I gave her something in exchange. What kind of a person do you take me for? I'm a gentleman, me. As she was walking to the door with her suitcases, I opened it for her. Real wide.

Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F. Persio
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosznia-Hercegovina
Local time: 21:04
angol - horvát
+ ...
Re. weekly exercise. Apr 30

- On weekly exercise -

What Could Her Name Be?


Nicholas screamed "ouch" in great pain. He suddenly fell down on the running track with his heart beating like a drum solo. Still in a state of great distress and shock, he slowly reached toward his main source of pain. Almost like opening a Kinder Surprise egg, he slid down his sock with anticipation. A huge dark bulge was covering his entire ankle. “Oh f*ck” was the only thing that traveled from his mouth into
... See more
- On weekly exercise -

What Could Her Name Be?


Nicholas screamed "ouch" in great pain. He suddenly fell down on the running track with his heart beating like a drum solo. Still in a state of great distress and shock, he slowly reached toward his main source of pain. Almost like opening a Kinder Surprise egg, he slid down his sock with anticipation. A huge dark bulge was covering his entire ankle. “Oh f*ck” was the only thing that traveled from his mouth into the air. If pain and anger had a baby, this baby was overwhelming him at that point.

The doctor prescribed:

NMES 2x week
Magnetic therapy 2x week
Massage 2x week
Physical therapy 3x day
Sea salt foot baths 2x day
Swimming 30 minutes, 3x week

He never enjoyed public pools much, but had no choice this time. The recovery had to be as quick as possible so he can get back to work.

It was his second week of therapy, the sixth swimming session. He was taking a rest on a lounge chair next to the pool after his practice while soon dozing off. When he woke up, he reached to take his eyeglasses from a little club table next to the chair but couldn't feel them. He looked around and tried touching surfaces but could not find them. The problem was he could not inspect the area visually as he couldn’t see much without them. Kind of a catch22 thing. Suddenly a blurry woman's silhouette approached him asking him in a very pleasant voice:

Excuse me, are these your glasses?

He took the glasses from her and put them on, which finally provided him with great clarity. And oh boy, was he happy for this clarity which quickly turned into a tunnel vision.

It is amazing how one little moment in time, one fraction of a second can affect us in so many ways. It is also amazing how our eyes are a great source of vision and blindness at once.

There she was, standing in front of him monumentally like the Statue of Liberty. Long red hair, emerald green eyes, and a smile that extends everyone’s life by at least 10 years. Her parents are absolutely great artists, he thought to himself.

- They must have bounced off when the kids were running around.
- Are you staff here?
- Yes, I am.
- Great, in what capacity?
- Figure swimming instructor.
- That’s awesome.
- Yeah thanks, I enjoy my job. Sorry, I gotta go now. Happy recovery with your ankle, I can see it's swollen.
- Thanks.

He went home that night and couldn't stop thinking about the figure swimming girl... didn’t even ask her name. She looked like she could be an Emma. Or Jennifer maybe. Even Diane.

Being so tired after swimming, he quickly fell asleep and she appeared in his dream telling him how she was a drug dealer in her spare time, as figure swimming couldn't pay the bills. She used to work as a Slovak to English translator and that could pay the bills even less. Then he hooked up with her and she was into some crazy kink he could not agree with.

He woke up in sweats. How could such an angel turn into such a devil in his theta states? The brain is weird.

Still feeling weird and confused from the dream, he took his crutches, carefully got up and slowly hopped into the kitchen. The ankle hurt a little less now, but still painful. The swelling was somewhat smaller and less dark. If there is one thing in this world that can turn all wrongs into rights, it's the smell of a freshly brewed coffee. Some of his favorite Columbian blend was standing on the counter, waiting to be made. After three minutes, he took a long sip from a warm cup while looking through the window at his neighbor mowing the lawn feeling subtle satisfaction after each neatly mowed section....

[Edited at 2021-05-01 08:08 GMT]
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Mervyn Henderson
Chris T
Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F. Persio
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Local time: 21:04
spanyol - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
My money ... Apr 30

... is on Angelica. Or maybe Biljana ...

Nice one! And with a cliffhanger, too. I'd never heard of NMES before, but I looked it up, so I've learned something today, and it isn't even 11 o'clock.


Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F. Persio
Lingua 5B
 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Németország
Local time: 21:04
Tag (2007 óta)
holland - német
+ ...
Zibow, I spared that text up ... Apr 30

Zibow Retailleau wrote:


In the street, we were sensational too. People stared at us everywhere we went. Long, inquisitive and intense stares. Husband told me that he was used to those stares but we felt that there was an element in those stares, which he said was new even for him: hostility.

... for today to read it when there is time, which I now did. I suggest you should write short texts of that kind for magazines, newspapers, or other blogs online, even when you can't get rich from it, but just for yourself and for some extra money and credentials. I'm not a reader who could criticize (= analyze) texts in an academic manner, but I want to read more, that's all I can say. That story could also happen in some of my neighbourhoods I used (and still use) to live (no, Kiel has no China Town; they can help themselves with those attitudes you described). Keep on, please!


Mervyn Henderson
Chris T
Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F. Persio
 

Chris T  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
svéd - angol
+ ...
Her name Apr 30

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

... is on Angelica. Or maybe Biljana ...

Nice one! And with a cliffhanger, too. I'd never heard of NMES before, but I looked it up, so I've learned something today, and it isn't even 11 o'clock.


It's quite clearly Joséphine Karlsson. Although I can't imagine her working at a pool.

(If you know, you know. If you don't, there's eight series of Engrenages to enjoy.)


Rachel Fell
Mervyn Henderson
Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F. Persio
Lingua 5B
 

Zibow Retailleau  Identity Verified
Mauritius
Local time: 23:04
angol - kínai
+ ...
How kind! Apr 30

Thank you, Matthias, for taking the time to read my story and encouraging me. Yes, I spent 33 years in China so I still have a story or two to share.

Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F. Persio
 

P.L.F. Persio  Identity Verified
Hollandia
Local time: 21:04
Tag (2010 óta)
angol - olasz
+ ...
Kinder Surprise Apr 30

Lingua 5B, I hope to read other episodes of your gripping tale, that was so good!

I particularly liked the Kinder Surprise egg metaphor, and this sentence: If pain and anger had a baby, this baby was overwhelming him at that point. We've all been there.

[Edited at 2021-04-30 11:26 GMT]


Zibow Retailleau
Mervyn Henderson
Lingua 5B
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Local time: 21:04
spanyol - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
Engrenages Apr 30

Never clocked that one, but I may one of these days. Maybe. Just maybe. Sorry to annoy our Francophone colleagues, but my reluctance is because I never got into stuff from there. Most series that land here are detective/murder stuff - in fact, there's a regular dose of it on one channel, always with the same title, "Assassinat à ... [fill in La Rochelle, Tours, Lille, Lyons, St Malo, or any French location, really]".

I've been seeing one of these advertised (usually on the Basque
... See more
Never clocked that one, but I may one of these days. Maybe. Just maybe. Sorry to annoy our Francophone colleagues, but my reluctance is because I never got into stuff from there. Most series that land here are detective/murder stuff - in fact, there's a regular dose of it on one channel, always with the same title, "Assassinat à ... [fill in La Rochelle, Tours, Lille, Lyons, St Malo, or any French location, really]".

I've been seeing one of these advertised (usually on the Basque channels, must be the proximity) every week for at least the last two years, so they must be running out of locations by now, surely. They do their best to copy the US format or (better) the UK format, but they'll never top Amanda Redman (was it her? the one with the enigmatic and engagingly wanton smile ...) or Helen Mirren, and they always have two distinguishing features:


1) The inevitable scenario of the tough, rule-breaking hard-bitten Paris cop, sent under protest to Le Hickland to solve a case, teaming up with shy, capable but inexperienced local coppess whom he doesn't hit it off with initially, but eventually his toughness and her shyness blend into a ... well, you know, a kind of je ne sais quoi passionnel, and once they've got their rochers off, they crack the case together. Occasionally the shy, capable but inexperienced local coppess (or cop) goes to Paris to team up with the tough, rule-breaking hard-bitten Paris cop (or coppess), but that's rarer, since the action is usually out in the sticks.

2) The stranger feature is a constant element of local witchcraft, druids, ancient myths and legends, black magic, menhirs, people dancing naked around bonfires and things that go bump in the nuit, like the entire "Hexagone" was a huge Stonehenge with a permanent curse. The action usually starts with an old hermit, say, who's been found strung up in the church, stabbed and left to bleed to death with a mysterious hieroglyph pinned to his chest, along with a note scrawled in his own blood saying "Ainsi meurent ceux qui trahissent le Diable". None of your drug baron turf wars stuff.

[Edited at 2021-04-30 12:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-30 12:26 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-30 12:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-30 12:37 GMT]
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Zibow Retailleau
 

Jianrong Sun  Identity Verified
Kína
Local time: 03:04
Tag (2019 óta)
angol - kínai
+ ...
Good luck, my friend. Apr 30

@Zibow Retailleau


As far as I know, a Chinese woman who married a foreign man in China and moved abroad should be very strong inside.


 

Zibow Retailleau  Identity Verified
Mauritius
Local time: 23:04
angol - kínai
+ ...
Thank you, Jianrong. Apr 30

I'm not sure I'm very strong inside, though. I don't think women have to be extra strong to choose the man that they want, and change the life that they dislike.

P.L.F. Persio
Mervyn Henderson
Matthias Brombach
 

Anne Maclennan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:04
Tag (2010 óta)
német - angol
+ ...
Crime stories Apr 30

Mervyn
The crime novels I’ve read in French are often like that. The variation is the mystery, in which the clever officer from the Police judiciare has to work with the gendarmes = uncooperative, not very good at their job. Of course, the clever officer always solves the crime DESPITE the help from the gendarmes. There is one series set in Brittany – plenty of stone circles, superstition, isolated villages, etc. on tap – in which the clever detective (female) is sent hither and thi
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Mervyn
The crime novels I’ve read in French are often like that. The variation is the mystery, in which the clever officer from the Police judiciare has to work with the gendarmes = uncooperative, not very good at their job. Of course, the clever officer always solves the crime DESPITE the help from the gendarmes. There is one series set in Brittany – plenty of stone circles, superstition, isolated villages, etc. on tap – in which the clever detective (female) is sent hither and thither to remote places throughout Brittany to solve crimes. She always has to cooperate with the gendarmes (see above), gets into tight corners and always survives to sleuth another day.
In fact the gendarmes are far from the image conjured up in this series, but in the books there has to be a contrast for the brilliant sleuth to shine against, I suppose.
On the other hand there is another brilliant crime series set in Brittany, which makes you want to read more –no clichés, just good characters and believable situations. The books are published here in French, of course, but the writer is German. I'm not sure whether he writes in French or in German and then has his books translated.
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P.L.F. Persio
Mervyn Henderson
Zibow Retailleau
 
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