Friday, 25 September 2009

Advice: marry a European, divorce, remarry, repeat

Dear Uncle T was in town a couple of weeks ago for less than 24 hours but was nice enough to give me a call anyway. (He is from Japan but practically lives on airplanes and in suits, having to travel so much.) We had an interesting conversation. Here’s what I recall.

T: Hi Michella, how are you?
M: Great, Uncle Tad, and you?
T: Very busy these days. Have to work really, really hard in this economy, but I’m enjoying myself. How’s your godmother?
M: Oh, I think she’s been busy. Why don't you give her a ring sometime? I’m quite busy too, and also enjoying myself. Enjoying my single life, to work as much as I please, free to do anything as I please, when I please.
T: Oh, that’s good to hear. I remember you wanted to go traveling in Europe.
M: Yes, thank you for your suggestions! But these days, the forces that may be aren’t even letting me out to Tokyo or Bali, so I won’t set my goals too high for now.
T: Hahaha, I think you should visit Eastern Europe. I’m really fascinated by that area these days and it’s so beautiful there. For example, I really enjoy going to Prague. You know, you should try non-single life too. Maybe men here are not strong enough for today’s women, for someone like you. Maybe you should go to Europe for maybe like a year and find a European man. Having a non-single life is interesting too.
M: I’ll think about that when “non-single life” finds me. (A EUROPEAN man??? STRONG man??? I’m hoping for an intelligent, wise and interesting man, preferably someone who knows something or a lot about art or music, and not a muscle man who turns into the Terminator and then a politician… But Uncle T may be right on the second thought.)
T: You know, I met this very interesting and nice lady the other day. She is a successful businesswoman, and a very nice person. She is friendly with everybody, even her ex-husbands. She was married three times, and she still has very good relationships with the two ex-husbands, which is very surprising. I’ve never met anyone like that, and it really opened my eyes to see that such a situation was possible. Even though she has had two divorces and three marriages, she still enjoys a good life with everyone in her past still in her life and a good career to boot.
M: That is interesting. A very modern woman, perhaps. (Like modern families with children from different marriages, with everyone having different last names.)
T: A very special woman. Not everyone is like this, but I think it is great how she can do that.
M: Hm. Yeah. (What is he trying to get at? Try a marriage, divorce if it doesn’t work, remarry, redivorce, remarry? If she can do it without killing herself in the process and still end up in one big happy situation for all, maybe you can too? It’s the 21st century?)
T: Anyway, try non-single life someday. You may enjoy it.
M: Hahaha, we’ll see.
T: It’s too bad we cannot meet this time. Let me know when you are in Tokyo next and let’s get together!
M: OK, Uncle T, thanks so much for calling!

Go traveling in Europe for a year, marry a European, divorce, marry again, divorce, marry again, take over the world in my career, live happily every after.

Hahaha! I love my Uncle T! He may sell fasteners and building material for a living, but he sure is funny! With a voice like a bass singer and a million stories from having met so many people all over the world, I could listen to him talk forever.

(images via Google images)


JCR said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for awhile because I like some of the insights you make into Taiwan and its journalism. I'm curious about all the languages you know. You grew up in America, so English is a given, and I see you studied abroad in Japan, so that gave you a chance to learn Japanese at least somewhat fluently it seems. But did you learn Taiwanese/Mandarin just from speaking at home? It doesn't seem like that'd be enough to prepare you for a job in journalism in Taiwan, esp. being an anchor

Mark said...

That was a fascinating dialogue. Uncles are awesome. Good luck finding your European terminator! -_^

翁郁容 Michella Jade Weng ミシェラ・オング said...

Thanks Mark...
And thanks JCR for saying hello after all this time. To answer your questions, I learned a little bit of Mandarin growing up because my parents tried to force us to speak it at home. The extent of my Mandarin while growing up was, "hi Mom and Dad, I'm home. Hungry. Going to take a bath. Delicious. Good night." Then in 7th-9th grade, I was in Taiwan, at international/bilingual schools, and that seemed to help quite a bit. Taiwanese was much more difficult. It was my parents' secret language. Whenever they didn't want us to understand, they'd use Taiwanese. I didn't really learn to speak it until I started practicing with my grandfather when I was in Japan for graduate school. But the extent of that was also, "hi Grandpa, I'm home. Hungry. Going to take a bath. Tasty. Good night." So when I came back to Taiwan and started working for FTV, I knew English best, Japanese second, Mandarin then Taiwanese. (I did an international MBA program in Japan, so my Japanese is really only enough for me to carry on a conversation and go about my daily life in Japan.) It was really tough, both linguistically and journalistically when I started to work for FTV. But it proves that with some passion and a lot of pressure, almost anything is possible. At least that seems the case for me.