Monday, August 25, 2008

A Moment with You

A love story. As honest as it can be.

Brought to you by the guys of WongFu Productions. If you haven't seen this YouTube clip on "Yellow Fever" by WongFu Productions, then you've been living under a rock. Honestly.

So I've become quite a fan of these guys over the past term or so. Especially during my procrastination for exams. Their clips are so funny, and these guys are just so creative. Did I mention that Phil Wang and Wes Chan are also pretty cute? You be the judge.

So when they came out with their first full length film, A Moment with You, I was just dying to watch it. My friend, J., was so sweet, she bought the DVD for my birthday! I finally watched the movie a couple weeks ago with my sister. I loved it.

So basically it's a love story that's realistic. I think that the movie definitely lived up to it. The scenery was beautiful. The actors were pretty good (of course, we're not talking about any Oscar award winning performances.) But most of all, I loved the way they portrayed relationships. Something that even many big budget Hollywood films fail to capture.

Relationships. Sometimes they are so simple, and sometimes they can be so complicated. I think it's safe to say that most of us in our twenty-somethings have brushed past "love" or some relationship with the opposite sex. Whether it be in the form of a long term or short relationship, a crush, a friendship we might of thought would be something more, or anything in between. We've all probably had some sort of baggage, and we've probably all been hurt before.

I think this film captures those doubts, hopes, joys and sadness so beautifully.

I'm going to briefly comment on the two main characters.

Meet Arthur. Your typical nerd. He's 24 and he's never had a serious relationship before. He meets Alice, who is pretty, smart, spontaneous and fun. They start hanging out and he starts to develop feelings for her. But he also knows that she still thinks about her ex-boy-friend. He's not sure if she likes him as more than a friend and he's afraid to believe that a relationship with Alice could really be a possibility and take the chance.

Meet Dustin. Your typical outgoing guy. Unlike Arthur, he doesn't have any trouble meeting the ladies; however, the only girl he can think of is his ex-girlfriend, Lauren. All he can think about is the mistake he think he's made by breaking up with her, and what might have been. What if she sees that he's changed? Would they have a chance to be together? Randomly, at a party, Dustin bumps into a close friend in college, Natalie. They start hanging out, and she develops feelings for him. Yet, Dustin is so caught up in thinking about his ex-girlfriend that he doesn't even see his opportunity to give him and Natalie a chance.

We get glimpses into some of the characters' past, into some of the crucial moments which shape who they become. We watch how they struggle to come to terms with their past. With themselves. With each other. With the present.

Although I love the entire movie, two scenes really stood out for me. The honesty and raw feelings of the characters portrayed was just beautiful.


My first favourite scene. Dustin meets up with his ex-girlfriend when she comes to visit. He desperately wants to tell her that he's changed and he can be a better boyfriend: he wants another chance. He doesn't want to just drift away from her life. Going against his better judgment, he spills his guts to her when they exchange good byes. This is their conversation.

D: Do you people just come and go so easily?

L: Sometimes that's the way it has to be.

D: And what if you don't want that someone to go?

L: It's not always your choice.

D: Is it ever worth trying?

L: I guess it depends on the situation.

D: And us? .... I don't want to be a stranger to you.

L: You aren't.

D: I will be... If something doesn't happen right now.

L: What can happen?

D: I can show you that I'm different.

L: That's not always enough, Dustin. I'm different, too.

D: I think about the moments that pass us by. And only certain ones stick with us... As time passes, everything we go through, loses it's realness. They all just become stories. And memories... Lauren, I don't want what we had to become another story. I want it to be real.

L: What we had was real. It will always be real to me.

D: I guess it will just be a matter of time, then.

L: Dustin, I promise. You will never be a stranger to me. I won't let it happen. I can't let it happen. What you showed me. What you were to me. No one can replace. I'm not afraid because you are a part of me. And I can never lose that.

D: Thank you. I love you.

L: I know.

My second favourite scene. Arthur and Alice had a wonderful date at the art gallery. They are talking and the night ended suddenly when she got a call from her ex-boyfriend. Alice doesn't come by in a while. Arthur thinks they have gotten back together. He is sitting in the park where him and Alice used to frequent when Alice comes by. They go for a walk and share this conversation.

A: So. Uh. Where have you been lately? Haven't seen you around at all.

Al: I guess I just got a lot on my mind.

A: Hey Alice. Ummm. I don't really know if it's my place to say it. But I'm glad that things worked out between you and Jeff. I know that you guys had something special together. It's all good.

Al: Arthur...

A: I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope that we can still be friends. Because you are a nice girl. No one's really made me feel special before.... So....

Al: We didn't get back together.

A: How come?

Al: What would make you think that we did?

A: Well, I knew that you were still thinking about him, a lot. And that night, when he called, I guess, I just thought that you went over to his house. You guys talked. And .... I hadn't seen you in a while so I just thought you guys worked it out, and got back together.

Al: That's a lot of things to assume.

A: But, when we were hanging out, you did miss him, though, didn't you?

Al: Yea. I did. [pause] But the more time I spend with you. The more I realize that my happiness did not depend on him, anymore.

A: What happened that night?

Al: Well, you're right. I did go see him. And we did talk. But I realized that night. That what I was missing was a memory. And memories are nice to have, but they are not real, anymore. What's real is that Jeff and I are different people, now. What's real, is that I'm here with you. And I like it. I think we found something good here, Arthur.

A: Yea. Me, too.
I think we can all relate to someone or a moment in this movie. The traits and experiences of the characters are so typical that they can apply to almost everyone. At one point or another, I think we can all relate to Arthur's shyness, Dustin's confusion, Natalie's frustration or Alice's attachment. These moments are so normal -- they can happen everyday -- and yet, so extraordinary when shared with that special someone.

People are complex. People are not perfect. Same with relationships. It's how we are able to deal with it which determines the outcome. Some are worth fighting for. Others, you just learn to move on and cherish all the good parts. How do you know which is which? Who knows. But one thing is for sure.

Life is made up of moments. Little moments. Moments which define who we are. Moments which can make us a little more happier. Or moments which make us sad. A hug. A kiss. A tear. An ending. A new beginning.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making Time for Committment

I'm not the type of girl to whine, cry and consume a tub of Haagen Daz after a break up. OK. Given that I've really had one break up in my entire life, I may or may do it in the future.

However, during my last break up, I balled my eyes out the day of and the next day. After all my tear ducts were as dry as the Sahara Desert, I proceeded to occupy any spare moment of my time with stuff. That wasn't too hard to do, since I was taking 5 civil technical electives, T.A.-ing a first year calculus extra help session, and doing research on a side for a professor in Building Science. Fun stuff. In my spare time, I hit the gym, and hung out with my girlfriends, guy friends, whoever. Just so that I wouldn't have to go home, and face an empty house with my mind full of thoughts.

I remember after my last exam, I didn't want to go back home cuz my roommates were still studying for their exams at the library. I was so afraid to face my house alone. To be alone with my thoughts. In my room, where Almond had broken up with me.

I ended up tagging along with the guys and watched them play Playstation II. Or III. Or XX. Who knows. I would rather do that than go home. I ended up falling asleep after a couple rounds of some fighting game.

Then I went to Singapore for an exchange term. Needless to say that I was pretty much busy for 4 months. I also really enjoyed just meeting new people, going out and trying new things. I realized that trying new things was something which I was lacking. I mean, I spent so much of my time juggling between studying, family, and Almond, that I really didn't spend that much time on me. So I started trying new things. Stepping a out of my comfort zone. A little at a time.

I came back from Singapore and was more outgoing and more active. I started swimming with a friend (sometimes with the hot swimmer). I took salsa lessons with a friend. I started dragon boating. I played volleyball on the class team. I went out on dates. I went out clubbing. Basically, I just went out. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it. I met someone who made me excited to date again.

We were in the same salsa class, and he was one of my buddies' roommate. He was good looking, easy going and what my friends and I call, "a charmer." Let's call him Gelato. More on him later. Maybe.

I have never been a very active person. However, just being a little more active, not only gave me more energy, but it made me feel better about myself. I also liked the way my arms, shoulders and legs were more toned. It felt good. So I tried to keep up with swimming and running.

Just this year, I realized that I have indeed become quite busy being active. To plan a date would actually require planning ahead, because I kinda had to slot the guy into an appointment time.

It wasn't until lately that there has been someone I'm excited to see. Let's call him, Haagen Daz. I actually want to make some time to see him. It's a nice feeling. But also nice to know that my days are full without any guy, and I could be perfectly satisfied, as well.

I'm not about to throw all my plans out for Haagen Daz. We'll just take it one day at a time, and one date at a time.

I'm still going to stay active, and do all the new activities I have come to love doing -- which was previously used as time void filler. My new activities include soccer (I like indoor more than outdoors), volleyball, dragon boating, swimming and running. I also want to keep up with squash, too. I can't do this all at once, obviously, but a few activities at a time. Maybe I can even kill two birds with one stone and do some of the activities with Haagen Daz.

After all, the first time we met, we were both sweaty and sandy from playing each other on beach volleyball. So much for first impressions, eh? He still looked good. Trust me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You, me and a coffee table.

I ran into my ex. Carrying a coffee table. At midnight. Last Thursday. Wearing the one shirt which he bought me.

Life's funny, isn't it?

A little background info. You can also read about him here. And here.

So after we parted ways last June, Almond and I haven't talked. It's not so much that I hated him or anything -- I'm not a hateful person, and can't really imagine myself hating anyone. Much less him. I was just really disappointed. I needed my space.

He's pretty much left me alone since, and didn't try to push the "friendship" thing any further. At least, he knew where I stood on that matter.

This February, I sent him an email wishing him a happy birthday. (Facebook birthday wishes are so impersonal.) It went something like this.

Hey Almond,

Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday, or as you like to call it - HDay! What are you up to lately? I hope everything is going well for you and your family, and Candy*, too. :)

Take care.

All the best,

* Candy is Almond's family poodle. She's getting quite old now -- she was 14 last time I saw her. She's adorable.

His response was the following.

Hi Des,

Thanks for the HDay wishes! I've been working as an engineering consultant, actually started not to long ago and ended up working in Toronto.

What have u been up to? u decided to do a masters or join the work force? I hope school is going well, enjoy it while it lasts.

It would be nice to see/meet you over hot chocolate (i don't like coffee) some time if you feel comfortable, otherwise don't worry about it.

Kind Regards,

We e-mailed a little back and forth. It was really nice to just catch up on his life for the past little while. We never got a chance to meet up before I left for my graduation trip, and figured we'd meet up after that. He told me he starting working not too long ago -- this February.

He is working in Toronto, and doing general computer consulting. He also just bought a house, and was moving in June. Just so happens that his house is really close to where my new job would be. Life's crazy like that, isn't it?

Anyway, after I came back from my graduation trip, I suddenly had a change of mind. I was really happy where I was in my life. In a way, I was afraid that if I met up with Almond, it might some how mess up the balance I had worked so hard to achieve in my life. So, I just told him that I wasn't ready for it.

Hi Almond,

Hope all is going well for you.

I just started work a couple of weeks ago, and it's been so far so good. I'm really liking what I'm doing and the people who I work with are amazing.

Anyway, right now I am thinking it's best not to meet up, but I hope your summer is going well.


His response.

Hi Des,

I'm fine. Sound like you are doing well.

Glad to hear work is good at that you enjoyed your trip for the most part.


So that was when we last corresponded. In July sometime -- so, not too long ago. Since I knew that he was living in the same area that I was, I wasn't expecting to run into him, but wouldn't be too surprised if I did. I thought about the different possible situations that may occur.

1) At the mall
2) On the subway (on the way to or back from soccer)
3) On one of my walks or runs around my neighborhood

Little did I know that last Thursday was going to happen a little differently. I have been looking into buying furniture for my new apartment. My friend suggested I try Craigslist for some gently used furniture. So far, it's been pretty good.

I went to see this musical after work with some friends from work. It was hilarious, by the way. I highly recommend it. Never have I seen so many guys at a musical audience, before.

So after the show ended -- about 10PM -- my friend, Y. and I went to pick up a coffee table on our way back to the subway. It was a gently used IKEA coffee table. $30. Awesome.

So we took it apart and took the bus back to the subway where her car was parked. I was also supposed to look at one of my old colleague's sofa (he was just trying to get rid of it) since he was showing people the next day, he told me to just come later Thursday night (after my musical) to see it.

Here is the fun part. Y. and I lugging my coffee table from the bus to her car. It wasn't too heavy, but bulky it was. After getting through the doors, we head towards the elevator. Then I hear a husky voice call my name. I thought it was Y.

Almond: Des??
me: What, Y.?!

I stop and turn around.

Y.: I didn't say anything.

I look up. It's Almond. I thought we just looked at each other, but according to Y., we were just staring at each other for a while. I finally found my voice.

me: Hi! How are you doing?
Almond: Hi. I'm good. How are you?
me: I'm good.

Awkward silence.

inner monologue: Oh. My. God. I'm carrying a coffee table. Hmm. And I'm wearing the ONE shirt he gave me. Shit. Hmm. Do I look good? I think so. My hair behaved today, and I have my contacts in. Oh. Should I introduce Y.?

me: By the way, this is my friend, Y. Y., this is Almond.

They exchange awkward hello's.

me: Sorry. I have to go. We're supposed to supposed to be somewhere right now.
Almond: Sure.
me: It was nice seeing you. Take care.
Almond: You, too.

We make it to Y.'s car. On the drive, I tell Y. that was my ex.

Y.: So that's why it was so awkward.
me: Yuppers.
Y.: That's funny. You have so many adventures. First we're looking at a coffee table and taking the bus with the said coffee table at 11PM at night! AND we run into your ex.
me: That's my life. Full of adventures. Just dandy.

I figured Almond was probably wondering where the heck I had to be at midnight that I couldn't even stop and chat. And carrying a coffee table. I felt a little bad for brushing him off. I didn't mean to. So, I figured I'd clear the air.

Hi Almond,

It was nice bumping into you last night -- as brief as it was. (Though, I hope you don't usually work this late. :P)

I know we haven't seen each other in a while, and it would have been nice to chat a bit. I didn't mean to brush you off -- sorry about that.

I was actually running super late meeting a friend I was going to buy some furniture off of. I'm just starting to furnish my new apartment that I'll be moving into in September (as you could probably tell with the coffee table).

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend.

- Des

His response.

Hi Des,

It was nice running into you to. No need to apologize. I realized you were busy when I saw you walking at a fast pace carrying your things.

I hope you had a great weekend,

So. I think things are cool between us. We're grown ups.

I guess the thing I was most afraid of when facing him was that it would mess me up. That my emotions would just end up in a big mess, and all the work I've done would be gone. Funny enough. That's not what happened.

It was nice seeing him. But that was it. I no longer had a longing for him. It was almost like seeing an old friend. Almost.

I watched a movie a few nights ago with my sister created by WongFu Productions called "A Moment with You." Beautiful movie. Heartfelt. Touching. Realistic. Relatable. The quote that came to mind when I look back on that oh-so-awkward-run-in is this.

I think about all the moments that pass us by and only certain ones stay with us.

The moments between Almond and I. They will always stay with me. They will always be a part of my memory. They will forever be a part of me. He will always be a very special person to me. I will forever be thankful for all the beautiful and sad moments we shared. But our moment has passed. The realization is both sad and happy. It's like taking a step forward -- knowing that I can never go back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pretending to be a Grown Up

That's right. I'm pretending.

So this thought kinda struck me the other day when I got really excited rifling through the fliers -- they had Sunsilk shampoo and conditioner on sale at my local supermarket for $2!!! To top it off, they even had Oil of Olay body wash for only $3! I couldn't wait to hit the store and stock up for the next year or so. Do you know how much this stuff usually costs?!

Then I realized how excited I was about this. And it was kinda pathetic.

I feel like I'm playing house --but for real, now. The only difference is that I can't just leave the toys behind when I'm done and start another game. I also have to buy everything in the said "house," and it costs money. Sometimes, lots of money.

It's funny, I thought that grown ups knew "everything." By "everything", I mean they know most things and generally understand the world around them. In other words, they have answers, which I, never had.

However, now I think it's different. Obviously I am a "grown up", now, and have been for a while. Even though I still feel like a kid inside. (You know, feeling lost and confused most of the time.)

Now, I think being a "grown up" means knowing that you will never know anything for sure, but being able to accept that fact. It's also trying your best, and know that it's all you can ever ask of yourself, or anyone else.

Sometimes, it's about being brave when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and hide away from the world for a while. Sometimes, it's about being strong when the people you care about are hurting too much to stand on their own. Sometimes its about having the faith of a child and just taking a chance.

In the mean time, I'm just going to continue pretending to be an "adult" and get excited about toiletries going on sale, then stocking up for the next year or so. Buy some furniture for my new basement apartment, ogle over bags and shoes I will not be able to afford (yet), and munch on my favourite desserts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Me and Dating

You know those couples that have been together for god-knows-how-long. They met in high school and have been together ever since. Other people just envy them and the love they share.

I was one of those couples. Until I wasn't.

Now, for the past almost-two years, I have been navigating the dating world as a single gal. I've gone on my share of first dates, and then some. Some awkward. Some fun. Most of them were with genuinely nice guys. A couple with some jerks.

As a single girl who had her heart broken, the thing I was most afraid of was not being able to feel that way, again. The butterflies. The excitement. Being able to trust someone, again.

Rationally speaking, I will find someone. I am intelligent, kind, witty, out going, physically active -- I'm no model, but I think I'm fairly attractive.

But in the time that I have been alone, I think I have been working on the relationship that I had been neglecting while I was in a relationship with Almond. The relationship with me. When you've been together with someone for so long, there is no doubt that you don't always put your needs, first.

For the past almost-two years, I came first. It was a good feeling. I was able to grow as an individual, instead of as part of a couple. I was able to learn lessons of love. Lessons of forgiveness. Lessons of moving on.

I always thought that I would be the type of girlfriend who could maintain ties to their exes. I thought that to be able to spend such a significant amount of time with someone and share so much with that person, you would want them in your life. I was wrong.

I didn't know how much hurt that person could cause. Even though I have forgiven him, I think that's all I can do. Being friends would be asking too much of myself. I know my limits, and I am just protecting myself.

Besides, would Almond be worth explaining to my new boyfriend for someone to accept? I'm not so sure. When he wanted my friendship, part of it was to see if it would lead "anywhere." I guess that's the part that I'm skeptical about. He didn't respect me enough to be honest about his intent of a "friendship."

I know who my friends are. And, unfortunately, he is no longer one of them. He will always be an important part of me. But he is in past now.

I'll save the post for my disasters of first dates for another time. Oh lordy, there were some really awkward ones.

For now, I'll just say that I'm a little excited about someone. Someone who brings a silly grin to my face when I think of them. Someone whom I can spend hours talking on the phone with about nothing in particular. Someone who I can tease and they can keep up with their own smart remarks. Someone who I look forward to seeing sometime this week.