Finals week is finally finished, so I’m definitely ready to take the summer to relax! I’ll try to post more regularly from now on (maybe once or twice a week?) so look out for more!  Thanks to everyone who has read my posts so far.

Now onto my main topic today.. Staring.

I hate it when people stare at us. I mean, I REALLY REALLY hate it. Royce and I live in a pretty conservative state, so this isn’t exactly surprising to me. As a white, relatively normal looking female living in the United States I almost never get stared at unless I do something very weird. That all changed when Royce and I started dating – especially when we hold hands in public. 

So far I’ve seen a few types of stares thrown our way:

The Puzzled Stare: These people must undoubtedly be thinking, “why are they together?” I can’t blame them honestly. We do look like an interesting couple. But hasn’t anyone told them it’s rude?

The Disgusted Stare: Usually these people make it really obvious they don’t like us. We’ve probably offended their entire family by being together. Most of the time, I kid you not, they are wearing shirts with huge American flags on them. I’m pretty sure we ruin their entire day when they see us together and they want us to know it. Usually I’ve found that ignoring these people is the best course of action. I’m sure they know I don’t like them either, so I try to shrug this one off.

The Concerned Stare: These people seem incredibly worried about the fact that we are together. They must think that he forced me to date him or vice versa. They give me the feeling like they think that something really crazy must have happened for us to end up together. It couldn’t be possible otherwise right? The people who do this one are usually Asian people. I feel like that should surprise me more, but I guess it doesn’t. While I’ve never been to Asia, I have seen a general dislike for this type of relationship by older Asian people I’ve come across. I hope those are just rare cases and not the popular opinion.

The “Your Relationship is Funny” Stare: We’ve only gotten this one a couple of times, and it’s always from really young kids that are in middle school or high school. Usually this is accompanied with a joke about how Asian Royce is. This one doesn’t make me too mad. I remember what people were like in middle school (even though I’d rather forget)..

The “Trying Really Hard Not to Stare” Stare: I’ll give these people props – they try really hard not to look at us because they know staring isn’t polite, but they can’t help it and keep glancing at us or eventually just give into it anyways. I find this one kind of funny because they make it even MORE obvious that they are staring by glancing at us over and over again. Oh well. Thanks for trying guys.

The “Checking You Guys Out” Stare: We have only gotten this one once while we were waiting for dim sum in Chicago.. This Southeast Asian kid looked us UP AND DOWN while we were waiting for our table. He was really checking us out, and even walked around us a little bit. What was he thinking? Is it because he wants a white girlfriend? Is our relationship even more unusual in Southeast Asia? Royce thinks it was funny. I think it was creepy. I’m not sure, and I’ll probably wonder what he was thinking forever. Sigh.

The Starbucks Barista Stare: I’m happy to report that there is no Starbucks Barista stare. They are usually always so nice to us that it’s ridiculous. That’s why I like going there for a quick drink when we have some down time. Never take for granted the feeling of people being nice to you.

The “I Know How You Feel” Stare: These are usually only glances, but I thought that I would throw it in here anyways. We get this one from other interracial couples that we see when we go out places. Most times these couples are WMAF but often they have been of a variety of other races too. We don’t see other AMWF couples very often so when we do this is even more true. Usually these interactions involve empathetic glances and being extra nice to each other from both sides – after all, we both know how it feels to be unsure of how someone is going to look at you every time you go out in public. 

That’s all I can think of for now but I’m sure there’s so many more that couples like us experience on a daily basis!

My reaction to staring has gotten better. It used to bother me a lot because I felt like people were judging us or not accepting our relationship. Now I just understand that sometimes people have a difficult time not staring because they don’t see relationships like ours very often. I don’t notice it anymore unless someone is making it incredibly obvious. Even though I don’t pay attention to it as much, it still does happen. We were out at dinner about a week ago and this guy stared at us instead of talking to the person he was at dinner with for almost the entire time we were there.. Luckily for us, that seems to be a rare case and most people are respectful towards us whenever we go out. 

I hope that in the future people can be more accepting of things they don’t understand. I hope one day we will live in a world where no one will stare at us because our relationship is normal. Until then, I guess I’ll continue to talk about it and work towards that goal.

What does everyone else think? Do you have this same problem or is it different for you?

Let me know and have a wonderful day!

Hotpot in America?

This post will be filled with a little more picture content than usual, so please enjoy! I want to share something that has really changed my life since Royce and I first met. What could it be, you ask?

Hotpot, of course!

The hotpot setup that we usually use at my house.

Okay, I’m sure you figured that out from the title. Anyways..

I’m going share some general information about hotpot for those that don’t know what it is, and show how Royce and I go about preparing it in America.

Before I started talking to Royce I didn’t eat a lot of Asian food because, frankly, I didn’t have many opportunities and didn’t really have anyone who was willing to be adventurous with food around me. Everyone I know seems quite comfortable with their current palettes, so I usually went with what they wanted. Things changed when I met Royce – a whole new world of food opened up to me that I was unaware of before. I knew I was in heaven the first time we talked about food. We like most the same foods, and he wanted to try new things; just thinking about it made me really excited.

We began to talk about Asian food a lot, and one of the things Royce quickly told me about was hotpot. To be honest, out of everything he talked about, hotpot was the one I had the most difficult time imagining. I asked him so many questions.

“So you take food.. and dip it in the pot? How does it cook so fast? How do you get the flavor?”

He happily tried to explain the mechanics to me, but I just didn’t get it. Though I was confused, I still really wanted to try, so we set out to the biggest Asian markets we could find in our area to try to make our own version in America.

When we finally arrived at the Asian markets (there were two in our general area), Royce was amazed at the selection of ingredients that we found there. He hadn’t been to any of the stores before because they were quite far away, so it was his first time. He had thought that we wouldn’t be able to find many of the ingredients we needed and his happiness at the idea that we might be able to find them made me happy too.

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Example of the bells we used (響鈴 / heung ling).

As we walked through the store, some of the ingredients that he was interested in were:

  • Tofu puffs (豆腐卜/ dau fu bok) – this is dried tofu that is in squares. It is puffed up and is very light and airy inside. These cook in the pot for quite awhile (if you want them to be softer) before you eat them.
  • Bells (響鈴 / heung ling) – they don’t look like bells at all, but they are called that because their Chinese name is literally “loud bells”. These are very dry and are rolled up onto long cylinders. You only hold these in the soup base for 2-5 seconds and then they are ready to eat.
  • Wu Si (芋絲 / wu si) – I don’t know of an English name for these. The closest thing I’ve found is konnyaku (which is their Japanese name). As far as I know, they are konjac cut into strings and then rolled into a sort of knot. I thought they were like pasta when I first saw them, and while I was wrong, they are delicious.
  • Lee Kum Kee Satay Soup Base (李錦記沙嗲火鍋上湯 / lei gam gei sa de fo wo seung tong)– since this is a brand from Hong Kong, Royce was particularly excited. We picked a couple of soup bases, but this is the one we ended up using. It’s a little hot but not as spicy as some of their other flavors.
  • Bok Choy (白菜仔 / baak choy zai) – I had never heard of this vegetable before Royce found it. It is actually really good though I do like some other vegetables we have used more.
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A small look at the ingredients that we bought on our shopping trip.

The first time we did hotpot it was a little dysfunctional. We had set up one of my biggest pots on the stove in my kitchen, and then washed all the ingredients and set those out as well. I sat there awkwardly while I waited for him to tell me whether it was ready or not.. I really had no idea what to do. He told me I could start, but I think I still looked confused because he went ahead and started putting stuff into the pot. Usually I’m unsure about foods when I try them for the very first time, so it was a very crazy experience for me. The one thing I knew I liked immediately though was Maggi Seasoning sauce (美極 / mei gik). We used it as a sauce to soak our ingredients in after taking them out of the pot. Man, that stuff is good. After we were done it took us forever to clean everything up, my stove top was a mess, and my house smelled like hotpot for 2 days because we didn’t open any windows.. Oops.

Royce taking over because I had literally no idea what I was doing.

Personally, my favorite ingredients are beef, the bells, watercress, and wu si. Royce really likes to add fish balls and other ingredients to the list on occasion.

Every time we do hotpot we do it in my house with a pretty similar set up. Sometimes we play music and it’s always a really fun time for both of us. We’ve gotten a lot better at finishing everything faster and NOT making my house smell like a hotpot restaurant (which my mom really doesn’t appreciate).

We have only done hotpot in a restaurant once, and that is when we took a small trip to Chicago. We visited Chinatown and were very happy to find they had a hotpot restaurant. The one we visited was called Little Lamb Chicago. Here is a link to their website for anyone interested. I may write about our trip to Chicago (and specifically Chinatown) later on.

My point of view at Little Lamb.

The restaurant was actually very good and I’m immensely happy we tried it! We ordered lamb while we were there and I impressed how well it went with the soup base. If I was going to make a comparison, I would say doing hotpot at home is just as good as doing it in a restaurant. They both have their pros and cons. The only thing I didn’t like is the limited selection of soup bases and the fact that our table was pretty badly separated from the table beside us by some sort of fake plant. It was kind of funny for me to see what the other people were doing, though I tried not to look too much.

Royce’s point of view at Little Lamb.

I really love hotpot and can’t wait until the next time we do it. This type of food is not really popular in America and I’m not sure that will change in the future. However, I really hope that when we visit Hong Kong one day I can try a lot of new hotpot restaurants and many new ingredients that aren’t available here! I really think at-home hotpot in America is completely doable as long as you are able to find an Asian market with the right type of ingredients. I highly recommend visiting an Asian market if there is one in your area.. you never know what kind of interesting things you will find there.

If anyone has any questions about hotpot, or would like to recommend us some ingredients to look for next time we go shopping, please do! Writing this has made me want to eat it again as soon as possible, so I think I’ll go bother Royce about it now.

Thanks everyone and have a wonderful day!

How We Met – His Perspective

As promised, here is Royce’s take on our first meeting: 

It’s really interesting for me personally to think about how we first met each other. It’s probably not the most dramatic or interesting for anyone else, it might be even a little bit boring. We met online like what Courtney said above, and we sometimes still talk about it how lucky it was for her to like my profile and me taking the chance to start talking to her. If it wasn’t for that one moment where she found me “oh this Asian guy looks pretty ok ” and liked my profile, we would have never had developed into a relationship, or even talked at all. I guess it all thanks to League of Legends and whoever took the picture for my profile.

I’m really glad that I have met Courtney in my life, not only she had shown me all the new things I have never got the chance to experience, but also how she was one of the best people I have yet to meet. I still remember the first time we talked on Skype, her camera was so bad that I could barely see her face. I was so shy and I think my English was way worse back then, but Courtney just didn’t stop talking with me, and we never had an awkward moment of silence. Sometimes we still talk about it and find it was so interesting that our personalities were matching so well. I am the kind of person where I don’t talk too much when I first meet a person, but Courtney is the kind that she would keep the conversion going on, because she feels too awkward when we have nothing to say to each other. Although she hates doing that, she was really good at keeping us not being awkward.

The day we met in real life was one of the best day of my life. I usually don’t really prepare myself, and dress up, but I did it for her that day. I wanted to impress her although I really don’t find myself attractive after doing all that. I fixed my hair, and tried to find the best clothes in my room. It was tough as my room is always a mess. I remember myself being inside of the bathroom for like 20 minutes to make sure I looked decent before going outside and meet her. Courtney looked different than her pictures, in a good way. The pictures she had online were pretty old, and she looks more mature and beautiful when I first saw her. I didn’t get a good look at her when we were skyping as her camera was pretty horrible. So when I first her I was pretty shocked how good looking she was in real life. We hung out for the day and met a couple times the next couple days. I felt like my feelings slowly grow for her. Our personalities matched pretty well. We are both pretty casual about things, and we were both willing to compromise for each other. There were problems due to that, but I will leave it for later to talk about them.

Anyways, it was really interesting how well our personalities matched with each other. I never expected myself dating a girl from a completely different background, but sure I’m not regretting it at all. Dating Courtney is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life, and I’m really excited to share more of our stories with you guys!

How We Met – My Perspective

Hello everyone! Sorry for my late post. These last couple of months of school have really taken a toll on me and I didn’t have too much time to write. After this month I will be on summer break so I will be able to update a lot more! Please look forward to it. Now on to my post ~

My life had turned upside down and I needed a change. A huge change. I had just left a situation that was very bad for me emotionally, and I was trying to start over. I thought that changing universities would be the best way to do it. I had a lot of memories at my old college that I wanted to forget and I knew that letting go of those would be the only way to move on from any emotional turmoil that was still lingering. After a lot of searching I picked a new school that was part of the same system but was still plenty far away from anything I wanted to leave behind.

A couple of months before I started my new semester I went online in search of friends at my new school. I’m a pretty anxious person so I didn’t really like the thought of starting a new school alone. I saw Royce’s picture while I was browsing and after looking at his (painfully bare) profile description, I decided to take a closer look. I saw that he played League of Legends and I had always wondered about that game.. So I thought maybe it would be possible for us to become friends, even if he did go to a different school than me. Luckily he felt the same and we started talking.

Our connection was pretty instant and we quickly moved to texting each other. We started talking to each other a lot more once we realized we had a lot in common. As he taught me more about League, we began to talk on skype because we both agreed it might be easier for him to teach me that way. The first time we called each other I remember feeling so nervous about whether I could understand his English or not.. I was very relieved to find out that this accent wasn’t that bad at all and I could understand him quite well. At first we only talked about the game, but we slowly started talking about other things. Eventually we decided it would be a good idea to meet up and hang out. We were pretty close friends at that point and we talked every single day.

Royce actually lives about an hour and a half away from me, so I would call us semi-long distance. If we want to see each other we have to make the drive, so it was a pretty big step for us to finally meet. He was worried about all the driving I would have to do, but I assured him that I was used to it and that I knew the area from when I went to school there.

As the day approached I was so nervous. At that point I felt like I really liked him, but I didn’t want to make any decisions until we finally met. The day we were going to meet I woke up super early and spent a lot of time getting ready. While I drove I listened to music and sang along to try to calm my nerves. When I got there I stopped outside of his house and waited until he came outside.. When I saw him walk out, my mind was a mess. I remember thinking that he was way more attractive in person, and I felt my cheeks become a little red because I liked how nicely he was dressed. I was so afraid it was going to be awkward, but somehow it all seemed kind of natural. I avoided looking at him as much as I could while I drove us to get food but I also felt at ease. We talked and laughed and I made jokes about how bad my driving was because I hadn’t driven in the city for awhile. I couldn’t stop talking because I was afraid there would be a weird silence, and I realize now he definitely noticed. I asked him about it later and he said my constant talking was cute and made him feel better because he doesn’t really know what to say when he meets new people. After the day was over, I was feeling so happy and completely different about our relationship. We were only friends but I couldn’t deny that I was attracted to him and that there was something more there.

Over the next week, I drove up to see him almost every day. I kept making excuses to go see him. Saying things like I was bored or that I wanted to go do something were common ways for me to ask if we could hang out. As I savored all of those days, I kept feeling more and more for him. I remember doing everything I could to try to touch him a little bit sometimes. Once when we were at the zoo, I kept leaning over his shoulder to see the map. He told me later that he knew what I was doing but I’m glad he didn’t say anything then. This sort of thing went on for about a month – talking on skype and hanging out. We had progressively gotten more flirty with each other and one day when I was feeling kind of emotional, I spilled everything. I told him I really needed to know what our relationship was because I was going trough a transition period in my life and I couldn’t handle the confusion. After a long talk, he told me that while he wasn’t expecting this he wanted to be with me. Shortly after that we made it official. I’m happy that I finally asked him about it because our relationship might have never moved to the next level if I didn’t. In his country, the progression of relationships moves at a different pace. It made sense to me, but I didn’t want to lose the chance to tell him my feelings – even if he didn’t feel the same way.

The fact that Royce is foreign didn’t really register with me at first. I really just loved him for who he was. His accent, his race, and all his weird quirks.. To me they are just things that make him who he is. But as time went on, I realized that these types of relationships take more work and compromise than I’m used to. Even now, I still work every day to make sure that our relationship doesn’t become affected by these differences.

Still, even with some of the struggles, I’m so happy that he came into my life. He is someone I never knew I needed until I met him – he makes my life better with every passing day.

In some ways I hope that our story will be a lesson for others. If anyone takes anything from my messy story of our first meeting, I would want them to take away two things, First: maybe giving an unexpected relationship or feeling a chance is worth it. Your life could change for the better from taking chances and trying out something even if you aren’t sure whether it’s worth it. Second: meeting online is not a bad thing and can grow relationships which might have never happened in real life. I realize now that Royce and I could have passed by each other multiple times and would have never taken a second look at each other. Finding someone to love shouldn’t be based on where or how you find them. I think everyone should have the right to explore it if a genuine connection happens.

How we met isn’t a very interesting story but the story is our own and I love it for that. I will never forgot those moments, and looking back they are the basis for what I have with him today. I hope this gives everyone a deeper insight into our relationship and I hope you enjoyed our story.

I will also put up another post with Royce’s perspective on all of this. He was really gracious and told me he would write some stuff about it, so please look forward to hearing from him as well!

As always, have a wonderful day.

An Introduction to Our Relationship and Hong Kong!

This is my first post on this blog and I’m actually very excited. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but something was always holding me back. I was asking myself so many questions whenever I thought about finally starting.

“Will people care about what I’m going to write?
Why do I feel the need to write about this?
Why would anyone want to read my writings?”

Eventually, I realized that writing here about my relationship and the new things I’m learning is for me. I want to share all of the beautiful things that have happened in my life recently. It’s okay if no one reads this or cares what I have to say. I truly think that over time I can use this as a collection of memories from this time in my life to look back on happily.

But on to what my main subject is!

As you’ve probably figured out, I’m going to talk about my relationship and all of the things that come with it. I’d say my relationship is like other people’s in a lot of ways – after all, we are two human beings who have needs and emotions.

But there is a huge difference: we are an AMWF transnational couple. Royce is Asian and was born in Hong Kong. I am white and have lived in America my entire life. Right now, I’m completely fine with the AMWF tag on our relationship. I hope that in the future, it will help us connect with other couples or just talk to people who have the same type of experiences as us. While our relationship is one of my favorite things in the world, I can’t deny that because of our backgrounds and race it may not be typical. He comes from a completely different culture than I do. While there are some things that are similar (due to the colonization of Hong Kong by Britain lasting from 1841-1997) there are also so many differences. I never expected to have this type of relationship, but I don’t regret that we met and fell in love. He is one of the most amazing people that I have ever met and no matter how many inconveniences our transnational relationship may cause, I wouldn’t want to change it. From now on I’m going to be sharing stories about our relationship, how it has changed our lives, and what advice I could give to other people in or pursuing this type of relationship.

Past discussing my relationship, I also want to talk about Hong Kong and the Cantonese language. I barely knew anything about HK before meeting Royce, and I think it’s the same story for most other people. There is a huge community of people who are interested in Asian culture – myself included. But within this community of people, I believe that Hong Kong is overlooked far too often. While I’ve never been there (hopefully soon), I have asked Royce endless questions and done tons of research on my own. Hong Kong is such an interesting place with so much to offer in the form of food, entertainment, history, and sights. Do yourself a favor and go look up “Hong Kong night view” on Google. Every single time I see photos like this of HK, it makes me want to visit even more.

On top of Hong Kong being an incredibly interesting place, it is also the home of a very interesting (and maybe sometimes confusing) language. I am learning Cantonese right now for a variety of reasons, and I will admit that it’s difficult for me because of the tones and sounds. But it’s also incredibly fun. I have never had so much fun saying a long sentence or trying to make a sound I’ve never made before. When you get the hang of it, Cantonese rolls off of your tongue and makes your mouth move in ways that you definitely aren’t used to if your native language is English. I’ll discuss it more in-depth at a later time, but I encourage anyone interested in Cantonese to check it out further.

Hopefully through this blog I can give some insight to people about their own relationships and get more people interested in Hong Kong. My main goal is to have a space to discuss these new parts of my life that I love. If you are curious about Hong Kong or our relationship, please ask and I’ll try to give you my best answer!

Thank you for visiting!
Please look forward to more posts in the future ~
Have a wonderful day!