Friday, October 21, 2011

Home alone, again! - the last love story

I've finally figured out why I am more productive when the hubby is out of town: I must have been trying to impress him so that he comes back home with heightened appreciation of me as his super wife and kids' supermom. All these years, I might have been under appreciated, who knew!

Ever since we met, I thought that I had the upper hand, especially given that I am 10 years older therefore 10 years wiser, right?

Fabrice and I met at work in year 2000. He came from France for a supposedly short postdoctoral training - he had a 2-year fellowship grant so he planed to head back his home country as soon as the grant-funded period would end, which also means that he did not intend to develop special bonding with me or anyone else in the U.S..

At the first sight, we did not even like each other. He thought that I was too loud and I thought he was too witty, by too witty I mean his sense of humor was too European. So love at first sight did not happen between us. One day, after "knowing" me for 1.5 years, he came to ask me where he could find a Chinese bamboo steamer, I told him in China Town. Of course I also offered to take him there the following weekend - I know, who would pass the opportunity to get to know a handsome guy like him, even though that required me to put up with his Europeanness. We got a bamboo streamer, some Chinese groceries, and spices. Acting as his local guide granted me a dinner in his apartment and also defined the turning point of our relationship. After dinner, he asked to kiss me. He said he liked me the moment when I sat down in his passenger seat with my two legs folded like a typical Chinese. I said, "No, it would be easier if you'd asked me to sleep here." I did not stay with him that night, but I moved in only few weeks after that.

Few months after that, he moved into my apartment since his apartment was emptied twice, first by burglars and second by flood/Storm Allison.

The following summer, after 6 months into our dating life, Fabrice took me to France. That was the first time that I visited France, with a bonus of having a local guide and lover, triple exciting. We stayed in Dijon with Pierre, one of the two Fabrice's childhood best friends. While Pierre and I were left alone -Fabrice had a short conference to attend in the U.K. - he told me quite a few Fabrice's romantic stories, introduced me 3 (!!!) Fabrice's ex-girlfriends, and as if these were not discouraging enough, he even said to me, "Fabrice's would never get married."

With all the newly acquired knowledge, I decided to play along. I did not expect to the relationship going anywhere anyway, I was just using Fabrice to get over Theo, I thought to myself. After Fabrice came back from U.K., the 3 of us did everything that the boys loved to do: caving, rock climbing, canyoning, hiking, partying, drinking... (no group sex, I know what you are thinking!) While I could feel that Fabrice then was in love with me, I was in doubt about our future until that nigh after the party with Fabrice's friends in Dijon:

One of the 3 ex-girlfriends of Fabrice (he later explained that she was not his exGF, I blame Perrier for this) flirted a whole night long. I was right there, and I could not speak French, but that did stop them. Eventually, I left the 2 "love birds" alone since I felt more and more in their way. Fabrice did not come after me but Perrier did. He was more attentive than Fabrice, either because he felt sorry for me or because he felt dutiful as he was used to being my translator by then. After the party, I kept quiet in order to draw Fabrice's attention so that he would realize his wrong doing and then would apologize to me.

But he fell in asleep faster than a narcoleptic dog. I felt like being abandoned in that foreign land. I felt sad and extremely lonely, and it had been long time that I had not felt that way.

So I got up to make my early return to the U.S. arrangements. An hour or so later (it must be about 3 am), Fabrice and Perrier found me in a phone booth close to Perrier's apartment. It was then I confessed that I was jealous and I was no longer a free spirit.

So, I started my trap to get him.

First step, I asked Fabrice for a ring as a Christmas gift, "Why a ring?" he was not expecting that, because I told him many times that I did not intend to get married, especially to him, because he was 10 years younger and he was a French (who can trust French, they love everyone, right?). "Oh, don't worry, I have not changed my mind. I like to wear rings and it's just a ring, not a marriage proposal." I answered.

He probably was not convinced by my answer but bought me a ring soon after I asked for it. It's a cute one with the world's tiniest diamond on it. He got it from France. Perfect, he was in!

Second step, I asked him to go for a summer vacation with me and I suggested us to go Hawaii. He said what about other interesting spots other than a tourists flooded Hawaii. I told him Hawaii was nice and sure enough, we spent wonderful 11 days in Maui! Until today, we both often refer that trip was our honeymoon. So, he was in the trap deeper!

Third step, I made him stay in the U.S.. When our relationship became more and more serious, we started to imagine where we could live together after we finished our postdoctoral fellowship. He said, Canada, Australia, U.K., Holland, Switzerland, even Denmark. I said, "Honey, U.S. is the only country that I would consider." Since then, he never left the U.S..

Fourth step, I asked him to marry me. In 2004, after living together long enough, I said to him, "I think you should meet my father now. He has to know who I am living with." He said, "Yes, let's go to China." "Remember my father is old and he does not like it if he knew that you and I are not married. So, I am going to tell him that we are married. Otherwise, he will put you in another room." Well, what waited for Fabrice in China was a wedding - Chinese style, completely arranged by Bing, my older brother. The second morning after we arrived China, Fabrice and I were sent to the photo studio to get our "Wedding" photos taken. The 2 of us spent a whole day changing costumes, being put on make ups, and fighting for the jetlags. And that same night, about 100 people (family members and school friends of mine) showed up at the big wedding reception banquet. One month after that, we got our legal marriage license because I told him that we should not lie about our marriage to my Chinese people.

Last step, I asked him to give me a couple of kids. And now we had Mia/Zhuzhu and Remy/Niuniu.

Life has been happily ever after, indeed.

I know that I was indecent and calculating. But a girl has to do what a girl had to do.

But things becoming out of my hands lately. I am losing power after living in this happy life for the last 7 years. Fabrice is now formally my boss, both at work and at home. The worst of all, I did not even realize that until today, after I spent a whole night trying to cut Niuniu's hair while he was sleeping!

"Niuniu needs a hair cut." Fabrice said to me few days ago. "Good luck with that." I said. I had already tried few times before but Niuniu's answer was consistently no. Then the day before Fabrice left for Washington, he said, "Niuniu said he would let you cut his hair now." I immediately put our lovely son in front of the mirror by sitting him on the edge of the sink like last time. He screamed and I let him go.

Tonight, in the middle of my rewriting "tiger mother blog" (BTW, I deleted the most of it by accident!) after tucked the kids in bed, I received an email from Fabrice. He said, "Good news, I will be back in Town tomorrow 9 am." WTF, that would be a whole day earlier! My plan changed at once. Instead of writing, I went to get comb and scissors - I needed to cut Niuniu's hair before Fabrice's coming back home. The damn kid woke up each time I tried, so a 20-min haircut has become a 4-hour one.

Well, Niuniu has his haircut finished and I have this blog written: "One stone killed 2 birds," as we Chinese like to say.

Wow, I am a pushover, what a discovery!

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