Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy Thought

Hopeful 8   Hopeless 2

Though this is something I noticed right after the Gardens date, it took me awhile to realize its impact.  I have been trying to keep my blog as chronological as possible, but I think that this theme post needs to be fit in to explain some important progress in my project.  It is something I have not really had the chance to touch upon yet.

For the longest time, my happy thought was Giles.  Every time I thought about him, it made me smile.  His personality and his energy were so positive that just thinking about him, thinking anything at all about him made me feel happy.  People have all sorts of "happy thoughts", things to think about that make them happy.  If you ask my friend Crush, it is certainly "kittens", something she is happy to blurt out at any random moment.  If she further meows, it really makes her happy and she immediately starts giggling.  I would have to agree with her that things like rainbows and kittens are certainly happy thoughts.  Another good example of a happy thought is a cupcake: you cannot be sad or angry when you think about a cupcake.  If you are having a bad day, punch "cupcake" into a Google image search and your day will instantly be brightened by coloured icing and sprinkles.

A happy thought is an instant cure when you are feeling bad.  It is a way to encourage yourself or pick yourself up and get on with your day.  I consider myself a positive person in general and have naturally used the technique of using happy thoughts to feel better since I was little.  So the thought of Giles played this role for me for quite awhile: every time I felt like life was difficult, I would picture him.  I would think of the sound of his voice, the look of his hair or his handwriting.  I would think of the messages we had exchanged (and would actually read them a lot).  I would also say his name over and over inside my head if I was nervous or sad and it would help make me feel calmer.  I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that I even did this before dates.

I was not all that happy about this, because I don't like the idea of a guy being my happy thought.  It makes me feel like I am not sufficiently independent, like I am trying to rely on someone else to make me happy.  That is always a mistake, because happiness comes from within.  If you seek for external things, like material goods or people, to make you happy, you will never truly be happy.  It is something that I have known since I was young and that I have always practiced.  So I objected to having Giles as a happy thought.  I realized that it was still mostly a way for me encouraging myself and that it was not so much Giles himself that was my happy thought.  It was still too close to the border between healthy and unhealthy for my liking.  

That is what changed after the Gardens date.  After the very best date I had ever been on in my life, I found that Giles was barely in my mind anymore.  I could hardly call him to mind the entire weekend when I was in the clouds.  When I settled back into school, starting my new term on October 1st, Giles came back to my mind a little bit.  Yet these thoughts never had the same hold on me after the Gardens date.  Slowly but surely, they began to fade.  What happened is that Giles was no longer my happy thought.  Amin did not replace him as my happy thought.  I was so relieved at that and so happy.  My happy thoughts were my own again.  My happy thoughts were rainbows and kittens and cupcakes and anything I was happy thinking about.  That was a great gift Amin gave me; he cleared Giles from being so present in my thoughts and gave me and my happy thoughts back their independence from men.  I was stunned.  I could hardly believe it, but I was free.  I was just thrilled.

So to all you hopefuls out there, think good Happy Thoughts!

~ Elise    

Chatting With Amin

Hopeful 8    Hopeless 2

After my date with Amin at the Biodome and Botanical Gardens (which I like to refer to as "the Gardens date"), we began to chat online for the first time.  I had added him on facebook and one of the very first things I did was check to see if he was online.  Most everyone I know that chats uses facebook chat, so I was sure I would see him there.  I didn't, though.  I chatted with Stella instead and thought, given how overwhelmed I felt, that it was probably good I wasn't chatting with Amin right at that time.

He e-mailed me when he received the friend request to say thank you for spending the day with him.  When I replied the next day, I asked him in the postscript if he used facebook chat.  He said he hadn't in awhile, but that he would be willing to give it another try.  I had just wanted to ask a simple question, not change his habits and convert him to chatting when it was not his thing.  It would seem, though, that he was determined to chat with me from that point on, no matter what I said on the subject.

So as of Sunday, September 30th, we began to chat on facebook.  Our conversations flowed with just as much ease as in our e-mails and in the Botanical Gardens.  Little did I know that we were beginning a pattern of chatting every day.  We didn't run out of things to say that week and that trend continued.  A week later, he was already talking about being "addicted" to chatting with me.  It was clear to me given how much he liked to chat that he definitely liked me.  I, on the other hand, still felt the same: that he was someone that I was highly compatible with and that I could have pleasant conversations with.  So talking to him was pleasant and I was always happy to find him online.     

It turns out that conversations with Amin were so comfortable, he not only was opening up to me so that I could get to know him better, he actually trusted me enough to confide things in me that he had never told anyone before.  That closeness I felt in the Gardens was definitely still present.  It just kept growing.  Though I continued to feel closer to Amin, I did still maintain certain distance and privacy, as I would with anyone I had known for such little time.  For example, the day that I met Thomas, I neglected to mention it when Amin asked me about my day.  I never liked to discuss dating with any of the Plenty of Fish guys and he was no exception. 

An important revelation did, however, take place that week.  That weekend, I was going to the lake with my family.  I stayed up late on Friday night chatting.  I had stayed up late chatting with some of the Plenty of Fish guys.  I had a tendency to do this with Amin.  I stayed up extra late that night, though.  He was very open with me that day and began talking about our history, which was rather short at that point.  I felt like I was talking to myself a few years back.  I liked to go over the details of pivotal events or conversations I had with Frédéric.  He was not so interested in talking about it; he preferred being in the present moment.  So it is a habit I lost.  My experience had made me think that only girls have such conversations and that guys have no interest in them.  But here Amin was, wanting to talk to me about how much of a fluke it was that he stumbled on my profile.  He told me that he was about to close his Plenty of Fish account.  He had not had any good exchanges and in fact, the process had been pretty jarring for him.  He was about to give up entirely.  It would seem that I was in his "matches".  The other girls he had sent a message to he located using very specific search criteria, criteria that my profile did not match.  I was a year younger than his lower age limit and I had also marked that I "drink socially", so that excluded me from all of his searches.  Those gave him pause when he saw my profile.  What made him stop was my description, which professed that I was open to people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.  That is what made him write me, that and the feeling that he got from my profile.  There was a feeling, a vibe.  He went on to tell me that there was a vibe on our first date.  He began by recalling our first meeting, how it was, what we said, etc.  Then he admitted to the vibes and said that I must think he was crazy.  He told me that he felt a touch on his arms on two different occasions.  One was when we were sitting down on the cinder blocks on the bridge watching the fireworks.  I could not believe what I was reading!  We had felt a very similar, if not identical, sensation on the bridge.  

I told him that he had to read his entry.  He knew of the existence of my blog, but had not been curious to read it.  He was particularly resistant to reading anything about himself.  So I linked him directly to the post and insisted that he read it.  He liked having the feedback; after all, our conversation had been along the lines of comparing notes and recalling the evening.  When he got to the last paragraph and read about the energy I had felt, he asked me if it was real.  I told him to read the post so that he would believe me, that he would believe it was true.  I told him I didn't make it up for my readers and I had him look at the date of the post, which was obviously before he and I had talked about it that evening.  I could not have known what he experienced unless I had felt it too.  My head was spinning.  Staying up late chatting in that case was totally normal and understandable!    

It really goes to show that we could talk about anything at all online.  We were comfortable and we were becoming more and more comfortable.  I was more and more convinced of how I had felt in the Gardens, that Amin was guaranteed to be a very good friend at the very least.  We chatted every day.  On days where we could not chat, like when I was at the lake, we would still exchange messages.  When I was at the lake, he sent me an e-mail every day.  Some people might find that excessive or creepy.  I was a bit concerned myself about the amount we chatted sometimes or that it seemed a day couldn't go by without exchanging messages of some sort.  I kept in mind that this had the potential to become unhealthy and that I would have to be cautious about it.  Yet, at the same time, I found that I was glad to have someone to correspond with and it had been such a long time since I'd had a good friend to do that with.  He answered my e-mails, something that had been in very short supply in recent years.  He wrote long e-mails sometimes, but I related to that.  He allowed me be things like long-winded, things I had tried to suppress around other people not to seem out of place.

So we chatted and chatted and our conversations with each other became a very pleasant addition to our days...  

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Hopeful 8    Hopeless  2

Merry Christmas to all my readers.  I hope you are enjoying a nice celebration with friends and family today.

Sometimes at the holidays, it is not as easy to stay Hopeful.  For whatever reason (usually a combination of factors in my opinion), we can sometimes feel a bit blue at this time of year.  I have had a bit of this over the past few days myself.  I think being tired and having a certain amount of stress leading up to the holiday has a lot to do with it.  So if you are feeling like this, I would like to make a few suggestions.  Instead of listening to songs like "Blue Christmas" or "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart", try for something more cheerful!  Remember that though you might be feeling a bit lonelier than on other days of the year, you do not require a girlfriend or boyfriend to enjoy Christmas.  In fact, Christmas is about spending time with friends and family, so there are lots of other people to think about and enjoy sharing the holiday with.  So if you can successfully shift your focus, this helps a lot!

If you believe in cinematherapy like I do, you might try A Boyfriend for Christmas (Hallmark).  It has helped me feel more hopeful at many different times of year.  You can live vicariously through Holly if you don't have someone to bring home to meet your family.  Watching it always makes me feel more cheerful and I like the messages it sends, such as meeting a special person occurs "when two hearts are ready".

Always keep in mind that being single at Christmas is just like being single at any other time of year: it is totally fine.  You don't need to be in a relationship to enjoy the day.  There is nothing wrong with you, even if certain relatives look at you funny (which has happened to me), if you don't show up for Christmas dinner with a date.  Just smile and spread Christmas cheer.  

And of course, Stay Hopeful! 

Friday, 21 December 2012

She Who Has Not Been Named

Hopeful  8   Hopeless 3

The inspiration for the title of this post came from my mother.  When I told her about how I had not divulged my name to Thomas yet and that he was really eager to know it, she referred to me as "She Who Has Not Been Named" (a play on "He Who Must Not Be Named" in the Harry Potter series).  I thought it was so funny and so clever that I should post it! 

This date occurred on October 2nd.  As promised, it was Thomas' turn and we had agreed to meet at a Second Cup.  I let him chose, though I did suggest something near the university, given that he had a 6:00 class that Tuesday. He thought that was good and luckily for me, I knew exactly where the Second Cup he chose was. 

I had an appointment in the afternoon and was not sure I would be on time, but luckily, I was only five minutes late.  I took a deep breath and entered the Second Cup.  I knew Thomas would've arrived before me, so I stopped between the two glass doors at the entrance and took a peek inside to see if I could see him.  For whatever reason, I was nervous about being able to recognize him; this was not something I had really been too apprehensive about beforehand with the others.  Having ascertained that he was not in fact visible from the door, I took a deep breath and opened the second one.  I began to move around to look for him, but I did not have to go far.  I rounded a corner and there he was.  I found myself exclaiming, "Hi!"  Translation: Wow, I can't believe I found you that fast!  Still feeling a bit stressed, I resolved immediately to get myself some tea and that I would come back to sit.

Thomas had chosen a couple of pouff chairs for us.  That has certain advantages and disadvantages.  It is good when you sit for awhile, since the chairs are more comfortable.  It can also feel friendlier.  However, it means that you do not have a table to hide you (or at least half of you).  We still had a table upon which to put our drinks, but it was much less of a physical obstacle in between us, which always makes me feel more at ease.  I sat and tried not to feel or look uncomfortable.  He said "hello" again and followed up with, "I'm Thomas."  Yes, yes, I know you're Thomas!  He had just stolen the line I had been rehearsing for at least a week.  "Hi Thomas; I'm ..."  In any case, perhaps it did not have the impact I intended, but I did intend to put him out of his misery right away, so I did.  I told him my name and he said he should never have guessed it.

He had gotten an iced hot chocolate, something I had been interested in trying myself.  However, I wanted something hot to drink that day, so I had settled on tea.  Thomas had procured a nice piece of chocolate cake too, which he offered to share.  I do not know WHAT was wrong with me!  I am a serious chocoholic, but I turned down even one bite of cake.  This has happened to me several times with Louis as well, when he would have a box of something chocolate with him in class and would offer me a cookie or something, I would always politely decline.  It is so unlike me!  I can't believe the automatic refusal reaction supersedes my insatiable love of chocolate.  I wonder what that is all about...

From that point on, my fatigue was definitely apparent.  It had hit me and there was nothing for it.  For a good half hour or so, I was having difficulty speaking coherently.  The thoughts inside my head were confused and I found myself having to start an idea several times over.  Thomas was very generous about it.  He even said later that he hardly noticed and that if this was truly "not one of my better days", then it must be really awesome to see me on a good day (or something to that effect).

It seems the theme of the day with Thomas was "keeping things safe".  We had talked about many things online and I was thinking it would make the conversation flow more easily and comfortably.  The conversation was certainly comfortable enough, as I no longer felt the least bit nervous.  However, we spoke only about two or three subjects, mostly about school.  These were "safe" subjects, not requiring much thought or emotion.  It was the sort of conversation I could have with any passing acquaintance.  Again, I make allowances for this sort of thing the first time I meet someone: perhaps they are shy or nervous.  Perhaps indeed it was me who was feeling shy or nervous!  There seemed to be some distance there that I was not so much accustomed to when chatting online.

One of my favourite moments during the date, besides telling Thomas what my name is, was when he referred to himself as a "nerd".  I had been expecting it to occur and had arrived prepared.  It is something he had said to me a few times online and I had objected to him labelling himself.  For me, the connotation of words like "nerd" or "geek" is really pejorative and frankly, I think no one should use them for that reason.  I unbuttoned my top layer and told him that if he was a nerd, I would have to be one too.  The t-shirt underneath said WWJD - What Would Janeway Do?  I had kept my interest in Star Trek from him, though he had brought it up once or twice.  I wanted to save it for just such an occasion.  Thomas just looked at me and, seemingly finding words insufficient, shook my hand as if to say "good job!"  I was glad to find that he thinks that Janeway was a good Star Trek captain (I later linked him to The Reasons Why Captain Janeway is Better Than Captain Picard).  This move was to make him feel more at ease and I think overall it was successful.

It is lucky that one of us was keeping an eye on the time.  I made sure that Thomas would not be late for his class.  I walked with him a bit, since we were both headed in the same direction.  Then he headed for the university and I in the opposite direction to get home.  I said it was "good to meet him", which it was.  Our in person interaction was not negative in the slightest.  We had dispensed with the important formalities: we had officially met and I had told him my name finally without disappearing on the spot.  This would enable the next meeting to be more pleasant.

Here I thought I had gotten off easy for a first meeting.  Chatting with me later on that day, the facebook question came up.  I knew that it was important to him because usually his policy is that he meets no one without knowing their name and having access to their facebook page first.  He had made an exception for me, but it was high time that I show some good faith in return.  Evidently, as Thomas agreed that evening, we should've discussed it in person.  His assessment of me is that it is difficult to earn my trust and that I don't let many people in.  That is certainly true to a very large extent.  The idea of opening up to him was not what was bothering me, however.  I didn't mind adding him on facebook at that point.  What was troubling me is how he would perceive that, what he would think that my adding him would signify.  I was worried about his expectations for our relationship.  I had told him that I could not give any of the Plenty of Fish guys any guarantees at that point.  Knowing it intellectually and knowing it emotionally are two different things.  How much of that had he assimilated?  I had had this very problem with Kyle and it had really burned me.  I should've known with him that his expectations were to date me; we met after all because his friend tried to set us up.  I let myself become secure with the place I put him in in my life, which was in the acquaintance box at first, since we didn't have a lot in common, then in the friend category as we became more compatible with time.  I knew, however, that dating him would never work, because we were still too incompatible at so many levels.  He couldn't see that, though.  I was not sufficiently vigilant about his expectations, so the result was him falling for me and wanting to date and my having to refuse.  I had the choice of the lesser of the two evils and it felt positively vile.  He was going to hurt either way, but I knew I would just hurt him more if I dated him.  He remained attached after that for awhile, but then it ended badly.  We have not spoken in three years.  How often I regret how that unfolded.  I never want that to happen again, so I worry about it and guard against it as best I can. 

I was not able to articulate all of this for Thomas that evening, but a couple of days later, I related the story of Kyle for him to help him understand my uneasiness.  What he told me on October 2nd was that he was not building up expectations and only taking things one step at a time.  He was working on the friendship aspect of our relationship and getting to know me better.  Anything more than that, he said, were it to develop, would develop naturally and with time.  That sounded so reasonable to me and showed me that we were on the same page. When I told him about Kyle two days later, he was very sympathetic.  It helped him understand much better where I was coming from.  More than once over the next while, Thomas reassured me that he was not forming designs on me and that I didn't have to worry about it.  That was so very helpful.       

So the result was that Thomas and I became facebook friends that night.  My conditions were that he not go bananas liking every single picture I had and that he not start having all sorts of expectations of where things would go from there.  Satisfied that he would pass on both of those, I let him add me.  It was late, so I didn't look too closely at his page.  I don't know how much he looked at mine, but certainly he did not like or comment or post anything. 

I imagine sometimes that my readers wonder how I can make most of my entries so neutral.  Or perhaps readers wonder what I was thinking on the date or after the date, or just generally, where these guys ranked for me.  I tried to remedy that with my entry The Fish.  Here, though, I think it bears mentioning where Thomas stood for me at that point.  Sometimes I really felt a friend sort of vibe.  That described the date I had with him on October 2nd.  Yet there were other times that I felt a more romantic sort of vibe.  Sometimes I felt we were highly compatible and I could see real possibilities.  Sometimes he was even rather charming.  I remember one conversation we had in particular, that ended with him saying, "Good night, princess."  I could hardly contain myself.  I felt so flattered.  I answered, "Good knight", which he found clever.  Moments like that made me think that we surely could date.  I had hoped that meeting Thomas might help clarify things, but they remained nebulous for a little while longer...

Recap

Hopeful 8   Hopeless  3

My Christmas holidays, such as they are, have officially begun.  I still have a lot of studying to get done, but I find myself with a bit more time. My goal is to bring my blog entirely up to date.  I will try my best.  For these entries, I will write my hopeful-hopeless count as I feel it on the day it is posted, unless I otherwise specify (usually in that case it will reflect how I felt, or an approximation of how I felt, the day of the events I am describing).  

Before I post the continuation of the story from my dating project, I wanted to just recap:

Where I left off, I had been corresponding with various guys for about two months.  There had been nine, which was whittled down to four (see entry The Fish).  I had been on a second date with Amin and was about to begin the round of second dates with the others.  Thomas I had not met once yet, so I gave him priority to keep things fair.  That is exactly where I was in the sequence of events: my date with Thomas on October 2nd.

Now you are officially reoriented for the rest of my story... 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas Rush, Christmas Break

Hopeful  7      Hopeless 3

I had really hoped to update my blog long before this.  Unfortunately, I have gotten caught up once more in my school work.  I have been able to do little else these days.  I still have a lot to slog through, so it is not likely I will update until the Christmas holidays.  As always, I am hoping and pushing for sooner.  Certainly, though, during the holidays, I should be able to bring my blog fully up to date to fill everyone in.

I will again have to be reliant on your patience.  I feel bad that I am this behind in updating.  I feel especially bad for certain devoted readers who check nearly every day, like Kathy.  I know you are eager to hear the rest of the story.  I promise that I am keeping that in the forefront of my mind and working as fast as I can.  I hope to post again soon!

Elise


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Born To Fly

Hopeful  8     Hopeless 2

I was thinking about this song by Sara Evans after my date with Amin.  I had never quite understood it properly, I realized.  "How can you keep your feet on the ground when you know you were born to fly?" the song asks.  I thought it was about accomplishing great things in life (flying) and also talked about that feeling of being stuck or weighed down by life's obstacles (feet on the ground).

The rest of the song is clearly about romance.  I had just not understood the full message before.  To be in love is to fly.  Certainly I felt like I was at the very least floating the entire weekend.  The hopeful-hopeless count reflects how I was feeling on that Friday night.  When I got home, I was positively bursting.  I wanted to gush about the date to anyone who would listen to me.  I was so charged.  It turns out that my Dad was still up, so since I didn't want to talk about it in front of him, I didn't get to tell my mother and sister right away.  I rushed to my computer and found Stella online.  I was so glad she was there and began typing more or less coherently about the highlights of the date.  I babbled about banana bread and holding hands ("I haven't held a guy's hand in 7 years!").  She said things like: "that's so sweet" and "sounds like a very nice date".  It was.  It was so nice, I thought I would never be able to sleep.

The next day, I caught myself smiling a lot.  I was trying to do my school work, but I was distracted.  It was a bit like dreaming.  Scenes of Friday night replayed themselves in my mind.  I had a pervasive good feeling that lasted through Sunday.  I kept trying to come down and finding it a challenge.  In one of those e-mails we had exchanged during the week before our date, Amin had said something about the second meeting as "seeing if there is a spark", but importantly that this should be accomplished "with a clear head".  My head was definitely not clear; it was in the clouds. 

So, I found myself at last faced with the question from the song: How could I keep my feet on the ground?  I wondered how I possibly could, when I knew I could fly.  How could I remain objective and fair?  Amin and I were once again on the same page about this: we wanted our feet firmly on the ground, so I tried not to be swayed by or entirely swept away by the blissful feeling of flight.  With difficulty, I managed to come back down because the desire to be cautious and sensible was stronger.  It was my personality and the choices I wanted for myself that won against my emotions.  You could no longer call me unbiased, but I was still making my best effort to remain objective.  The harsh reality of a Monday morning is always sobering; this is what truly helped me to come back to myself and be grounded again.  

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Small but Noteworthy

Hopeful 8  Hopeless 2

The inspiration for this post is from something that happened to me today.  I thought I would relate this small anecdote for you.  I find it is good to notice such moments in one's day, because it helps you to focus on something positive.  Sometimes we forget the small or simple things, so I thought this was noteworthy.

I was taking the bus this morning as usual to get to class.  As it pulled up, I stood back as per my usual habit and let everyone get on before me.  However, there was this older gentleman who put out his hand to signal for me to go ahead of him.  I repeated the gesture and said, "Allez-y."  He said, more emphatically, "Allez-y, allez-y!", urging me to get on the bus before he did: "Allez-y mademoiselle!".  With such a polite deference to me, I could hardly refuse.  I smiled and thanked him as I stepped onto the bus.  For those of you who believe that no one has respect or manners anymore, take the time to notice the people who do: they are out there!  Part of being hopeful is being attentive to and recognizing the small things in life.


** Now for any readers who feel like I am procrastinating, I sincerely apologize!  I promise not to get side-tracked anymore and to get directly back to relating the adventures of my dating project.  I will update soon to get you up to speed on what came after my date with Amin. 


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Remember When It Rained

Hopeful  9    Hopeless 1

I wanted to write this post in remembrance of a beautiful afternoon spent with Giles one year ago today.  It was a Thursday in which something incredible and extraordinary took place, taking me completely by surprise.  I had mentioned this "magical moment" briefly in another post and promised I would tell this story.  I cannot think of a better time than today to relate it.  

It was the end of a long day.  I'd had a morning class, then an afternoon exam.  Giles finished at the same time as I did and we walked out of the classroom together.  We talked a bit about the exam as we took the elevator down from the 8th floor.  We each opened our own door, side by side, to exit the building.  At that point, I wondered whether he would be taking the metro that day.  He continued walking with me, so I asked and he said, "I'm coming with you."  I was in luck.

It was raining when we left the University.  I remembered that rain had been in the forecast.  I was not bothered in the slightest because I had a rain jacket and my hair could hardly look more décoiffé at the end of a long day in any case.  Giles, however, did not have a raincoat, so he needed an alternative; he quickly deployed a black umbrella.

As we walked back, we began talking about our common passion for languages.  The conversation was very pleasant, comfortable and natural.  It is not everyday that I find someone with whom I can have an intellectual conversation or with whom I can get along so well.  We were both sharing on a pretty equal level, though Giles has been studying longer than I have.  He is always so good at validating people, making them feel like they have something important and smart to say.  That is one of the things I love about him.

Halfway to the metro, we were chatting away, waiting for the traffic light to change.  I hardly felt the rain anymore, but since we were standing still, I could clearly see that it was still coming down.  That is when I thought to look at the umbrella.  I lifted my gaze very discretely to ascertain the position of the umbrella.  That is when I realized that the umbrella was also covering me.  We were both under it.

I was so stunned, I hardly knew what to think.  A thousand and one emotions were running through me.  I felt like screaming, "OH MY GOD!  For the first time in my entire life, a guy is sharing his umbrella with me!!!"  I don't know how, but I managed to keep myself under control, maintain a normal tone of voice and stay calm and focused enough to follow the conversation.

When we got to the metro, Giles opened and held the door for me.  He had clearly not finished amazing me yet.  It is a small gentlemanly kindness that you don't see so much anymore because society or women say that we can open our own doors in life (which I generally subscribe to myself) or because men just aren't the way they used to be.  As a general rule, this sort of thing is not impressive to me, but every once in awhile, holding the door for me will really touch me.  It was like that on this day.  On the escalator down, I began to feel calmer.  This is Giles' amazing power; he not only has the great ability to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable as soon as they are near him, but also to make them feel good about themselves.  The positive energy he exudes is incredible and impossible not to be affected by.

Giles began to head towards the stairs to the platform to catch the metro.  I stopped at the top and he did the same.  We spoke for a few moments until he remembered that I took the metro in the opposite direction.  We decided not to block the stairs and moved to one side.  He was still talking and didn't seem ready to stop.  He was standing a little bit closer to me than usual, as he had while we were walking, presumably to keep me under the umbrella.  I felt him hesitating.  It seemed he did not want to go.  I did not want him to go either.  As I wondered whether I was imagining things, he became quiet.

At length, he said, "I think that's my metro."  Then he said bye and that he would see me next week.  "In two weeks," I corrected him.  "It's reading week."  He acknowledged that I was right.  My heart had lodged itself in my throat and I felt it choking me.  I couldn't speak because I couldn't imagine not seeing him for two weeks.  I said goodbye and walked across to the opposite platform.

The entire way home, I thought about what had just transpired.  I felt convinced that as soon as I set foot out of the University, I had walked straight out of my own life and directly into a scene from a movie.  It was so much more like a film than my own life; these things never happened to me!  Whenever did a guy share his umbrella with me?  Impossible!  Yet, it was true.  It was such a surreal feeling.  It was one of those moments when time slowed and I was fully in the moment, able to appreciate all the wonderful things in life.  If it had been a movie, this scene would surely have ended in a kiss; by that time, however, it was reverting back to my life, where such things simply do not happen.

It was then that I understood that Giles had given me something wonderful.  I knew that no matter what happened in my life afterwards, it would never be the same.  My life would be better and I would be better for that experience and that no one could ever take it away from me, that beautiful afternoon in the rain.  Words can hardly describe how wonderful Giles made me feel.  For the first time, in a long time, I felt Hopeful.  I felt hopeful about romantic possibilities, about life, about everything.  My hopeful-hopeless count today reflects how I felt a year ago today.

That is the wonderful gift that you gave me, Giles & I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

~ Elise  

Friday, 2 November 2012

One Thousand

Hopeful  8   Hopeless  2

I see today that my pageview counter has just pushed over one thousand views!  This is simply incredible.  When I began this blog, I had no idea that it could generate this kind of interest!  Thank you for reading :)  Thank you especially to all my international readers; I continue to be amazed each week as more countries pop up on my pageview counter.

I have a lot of posts still to write to catch up.  Life has been keeping me busier than expected, so that is why I have been slow to update my blog.  Thank you for your continued patience and hope to post again soon!

Stay Hopeful,

Elise 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

First Second Date

Hopeful 7  Hopeless  3

Since Sia didn't take me up on a second date, that privilege went to Amin.  We had been in better touch by e-mail and he had asked to see me after my exams.  I thought this was a great idea, because I was sure to be more relaxed and rested.  Amin added that if I could see him before September 30th, we could use these free passes for the Biodome and the Botanical Gardens that he had been given.  I realized that it was the time of year for the Magic of the Lanterns at the Botanical Gardens and thought that would be really interesting to see.  I had never been during the festival and, as it turns out, neither had Amin.

We exchanged a few e-mails during the week finalizing details.  It made me feel very comfortable when Amin told me that we would adjust and readjust as needed based on my energy level that day.  I hardly needed to ask any questions about how we should organize the outing because pretty much everything that occurred to me, he anticipated.  It was amazing just how much he was on the same page as me and how well he understood my limitations and concerns without my even having to explain anything.  It was extremely thoughtful and quasi-telepathic.  All he kept saying was that he wanted a "good companion" to go on this outing with, that is, someone who would be good company, which is not possible when that person is tired or otherwise unwell.  He wanted to ensure that the outing was pleasant for both of us by adjusting according to "our mutual energy level". 

We met at Berri, which is probably the worst sort of place to meet someone.  We had agreed on exactly where, but something got lost in translation.  In any case, Amin figured out the mix-up and found me about ten minutes later and shook my hand as agreed.  I was grateful to no longer have to stand.  About an hour before leaving home, I had started not feeling all that well.  I was tired, but then I had started getting a bit weak and shaky.  So we sat while waiting for the metro.  I brought him up to speed on how I was feeling.  I was the one that was quiet; when I get tired, I am generally less talkative but also have difficulty generating ideas to lead a conversation.

We arrived at the Biodome and Amin marvelled at how quickly I was walking.  Sometimes I don't realize how fast I am going because I have been trained on a treadmill to go up to four miles an hour while walking.  I'm glad he said something about it, because it allowed me to think about slowing down and conserving energy.  I was feeling a bit better, but I wanted to be safe.  I found myself nervous in the Biodome a little and not really knowing what to say.  I felt I should remark on a certain amount of things, comment on what we were seeing.  I thought it must sound stiff or awkward, but I couldn't stop myself from saying something about almost everything.  Otherwise, I figured we'd both be observing silently and for whatever the reason, that didn't sit well with me.  We didn't see the golden lion tamarin monkeys, which are one of my favourite things to see.  But we were certainly in luck that day, because we saw the beaver.  I have not seen the beaver since the first time I went to the Biodome when I was 11.  Amin had never seen him, so we watched him breaking off some wood and swimming with it in its teeth and all the way through to the dam where we saw him shaking himself dry and bringing his wood inside.  Although, we had to go back and see the beaver for all of that; I got distracted by one of the employees who said that we should come see something if we had time.  I translated for Amin and we followed.  It was the lynx enclosure just next door.  I thought I had seen a poster in the lobby about it, but seeing it in person was just incredible.  The lynx had given birth to a kitten about four months prior.  We got to see him out and about.  It was so adorable!  I love cats, so I was just thrilled.  I rarely ever see the lynx when I go, but here not only was Mom, but baby too!  She was calling him from up on high and he was trying to get up, but having some difficulty and otherwise being distracted by sand running down the rocks which he thought would be fun to pounce.  Finally he figured out that climbing the tree might be easier for him to get to the top ledge and that's what he did.  It was incredible.  I continued translating for Amin what the employee was saying about the kitten.  It was incredible to think that he had been the only one of the litter to survive and that none had made it from the previous litter.  For everyone who says that the Biodome is repetitive and is always the same, I say to you that there is always something new to see.  Amin and I were just exceptionally lucky that day.

Official advertizement for the litle guy
taken from the Biodome website

We sat for awhile on two occasions going through the Biodome.  Once was with the view of the fish in the St. Lawrence habitat and the other with a view of the penguins.  I was feeling much better, but again, I wanted to make sure that I was going to have sufficient energy for later.  Here the conversation began to be a bit more relaxed.  When a little boy had started calling the fish sharks, I told Amin that I used to think that they could live in swimming pools when I was little.  As we talked, we found that we both are uneasy about swimming in lakes or rivers because of whatever could be living in there.  While watching the penguins, I was feeling increasingly comfortable and that is when I told him my name.  I had planned to that day, but I think I was looking for a better moment.  Sitting beside him, I couldn't really see his facial expressions or his reaction.  I got the impression it went well enough at the time.  Though he didn't say much, Amin thanked me for telling him.  He has since told me that it was one of the highlights of the day for him.  I'm glad; I had been wanting to tell him for awhile, but I really wanted to wait to tell him in person.  I also wanted him to be the first person to know my name.

We checked the time and decided to head to the Japanese garden.  There was enough time to see it before it got dark and the lanterns would be lit.  It was my first time there, so I was drinking everything in.  It was interesting to see the exhibit all about paper in the pavilion: lanterns, fans, origami...  We spent quite awhile looking at the Bonsai trees.  It was funny to see that the Japanese maples had their tiny leaves starting to turn red.  We marvelled at the artistry of sculpting each tree.  The conversation was beginning to flow more and more comfortably.  We walked along the water and saw regular sized trees starting to change colours too.  We watched the bright coloured fish in the koi pond.  The feeling of serenity there was just incredible.  I couldn't stop thinking of my friend Crush, who would've loved to see all of that.  I am going to have to take her some time.

We had pretty much gone all around by that point, so we ambled over to the Chinese garden.  We read a few signs about the lanterns and the theme for this year's display.  I noticed that there was a tour scheduled for 6:30 in English.  I asked Amin if he was interested and we decided on that.  We thought we could listen to the guide and then go around on our own afterwards.  In the meantime, we figured it was time to reenergize with something to eat.  As established during the week, we had brought a sandwich.  I had been so impressed by that.  I am a sandwich person and I am not too keen on eating out and I didn't even have to state my preference, because Amin had anticipated me once again!  So we left the Chinese garden in search of a bench to sit and have our sandwiches.  That of course put us in the rose garden.  I had no idea that there would be any roses at that time of year.  I thought it was too cold.  It struck me a couple of minutes later that sitting in a rose garden on a bench could certainly be considered as something rather romantic.  So I took a deep breath and tried my hardest not to notice.  However, one of the best parts of the date from where I was sitting took place right there.  Amin told me that he had made some banana bread and wanted to know if I would like to try it.  Who am I to say no to baking?  It looked like it had some nuts, an ingredient my Mom never puts in hers, so I was intrigued.  I broke myself off a small piece and tried it.  I soon discovered that there were walnuts in this bread: my favourite!  I checked to be sure, but they were definitely walnuts.  And... I could scarcely catch my breath.  I was sure I tasted chocolate.  So I asked about that too and Amin said yes.  I couldn't believe it: chocolate and walnuts in the same recipe!  It was, in a word, divine.  He told me that no one but his roommates had ever sampled his baking and that he was nervous about sharing it with others, lest they wouldn't like it.  I was so glad he had made an exception for me.  I was trying to tell him how good it was, but trying to contain my exuberance at the same time.  I asked if I could have a whole slice to myself and he gave it to me.  This is when we both discovered that the other was a chocoholic.  Yet one more thing we have in common.  It was so good, I was over the moon and trying not to melt on the spot.  It occurred to me that this is kind of the opposite of the stories I'd heard.  I always hear the ones where the girl bakes for the guy and wins his affections.  But here was Amin giving me banana bread and melting me.

Picture of the 2012 lanterns from the
Botanical Gardens website
We headed back to the Chinese garden just in time for the tour.  Our guide didn't speak very loud, but we managed for the most part to stay near the front, so we heard all right.  We learned about all the mythology surrounding this year's display.  It was the legend of the Monkey King crashing the Celestial banquet, at which the peaches of immortality were being served.  I had heard this story on Wishbone! as a kid, so I was a bit familiar with it.  Go figure, the one Taoist story I actually knew.  It was Amin's first time hearing the story.  He was watching out for me and trying to make sure that I could see (this is oftentimes a problem for me in crowds, because I am so short!).  The tour was thus very short, but nevertheless interesting.  Then we went to explore the garden and see the lanterns a little more close up.  Most of the lanterns were in the lake (like in the picture), which was itself lit-up by a soft aqua glow, which made it look rather magical.  The stone paths led all the way around the lake and the waterfall, so that you could see the illuminated characters from different angles and proximities.  Amin regretted not bringing his camera at that point.  I was rather surprised that he hadn't because he had linked me to some pictures on his facebook page that he had taken while traveling and it was not only evident that he was skilled at getting good shots, but that it was also a hobby he enjoyed.  He told me that he sometimes doesn't like to bring his camera when he goes somewhere with someone, because he doesn't want to make them wait while he's snapping away.  I told him that it wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest and that he should feel free to bring it along in future.

We walked on the paths all around the water and explored the inside of the buildings, one of which featured tea and the other, the descriptions and names of the characters present at the celestial banquet.  I began experiencing some difficulty because the paths were mostly made of large stones, which were a challenge to navigate, particularly going up steps in the darkening twilight.  I felt unsteady on my feet and let Amin know so that he didn't wonder at my pitching around.  I said, to make light of it, "As long as I don't end up in the lake, I'm good!"  So I felt that what happened next was entirely my fault.  If I had not been explaining my occasional spatial disorientation, surely it should not have prompted him to ask to hold my hand.  I felt like I was frozen for a moment.  I was calm, which was good for me and for Amin.  I hesitated, because there was internal dialogue erupting.  I wanted to be amenable, yet at the same time I did not think it was very prudent to hold hands.  I reminded myself that I didn't hold hands unless I was dating a guy, which I was not prepared to do; I was not prepared to commit to him right then and there.  But that part of my brain shut off and I heard myself saying "sure".  It seems that in that moment, what was more powerful was my desire to do something nice for Amin.  He had worked up the courage to ask me and had asked me very nicely.  I did not have the heart to say "no".  So I extended my left hand without looking and he took it.

That's when we entered the realm of feelings.  I have to say that holding his hand, I felt worried still about the repercussions.  But there were other feelings quickly overtaking anxiety.  This was the first time I had held a guy's hand in seven years.  It had been so long, I had forgotten what it felt like.  I felt warm.  I think I felt a bit of a tingle too.  I don't remember the sensation very clearly; it's a bit blurry, I suspect, from my brain trying to ignore it and shut it out.  It was an "unquantifiable, indescribable feeling" as I later said.  A good feeling.  Amin held my hand the way I like to hold hands: he wrapped his hand around mine only with his thumb apart from his other fingers, as though he were wearing mittens.  My ex always insisted on holding hands with interlaced fingers, which was not my favourite; he never wanted to alternate to please me.  Yet Amin had guessed instinctively my exact preference.  That felt very nice.

It was a warm feeling, though both of us had cold hands!  We argued briefly as to whose hands were colder, each convinced that ours was colder than the other's.  At that point, I actually had gloves on, the kind with the fingertips uncovered.  I thought it was good if my gloved hand could warm up his even if only a very little.  And I can't imagine what it would've been like to have had full contact with a bare hand.  Lightly touching, it gave me such a sensation.  Fully touching, I think I should've been quite overwhelmed.

We did not hold hands very long before we had finished going around the Chinese garden and it was time for another rest.  I don't know who let go first.  We sat for awhile on another bench before heading back (we had decided not to stay out late so that I wouldn't get too tired).  This is when the conversation became the most comfortable and the most open.  I asked Amin about something he had written about in one of his messages and had said was important to him.  He explained it more fully to me and here we began to broach the subject of cultural and religious differences.  I made sure he was clear on my not having bad opinions about or prejudices against Muslims.  He said he already knew as much.  I then wanted to talk to him about where he stood with me.  I related, in as few details as possible, my Plenty of Fish experience.  I explained that, though I am the kind of girl that dates only one guy at a time, I now found myself in a situation where I was trying to give each guy a fair and equal opportunity (much as, as I was saying this, I was becoming biased in favour of one of them!).  I told him that I couldn't decide very quickly because I had made that mistake with Frédéric.  Had I taken the time to get to know him properly, I would have decided rather differently.  I told Amin that I could guarantee him a friendship, because it was clear to me that we get along well and are very alike.  More than that, I could not promise him.  Here I related the story of Kyle (which I should probably write about in my blog at some point), a good friend that I lost because he got a crush on me but whose feelings I couldn't reciprocate.  I told Amin this to convey that I understood that friendship is not always possible in a context where one person is hoping to date the other and to show how much it pained me to hurt Kyle.  Amin's response to this was very reassuring.  He told me that he was okay with being friends if I did not feel more for him.  He wanted to be in my life in whatever capacity I was comfortable with.  Truly, he considers a guy a "jerk" if he is unable to be friends with a girl he likes (an opinion that I find too strong).  This conversation reinforced for me that Amin and I really are on the same page for this matter as well as so many other things.

As I was sitting with him, I felt an incredible amount of emotional closeness.  Finding a kindred spirit is not something that happens every day and it truly gives you a wonderful feeling.  I wonder which came first in this case: the physical closeness or the emotional closeness?  I would tend to say that the emotional closeness came first, then came the hand-holding.  The feeling of closeness just kept deepening as we were talking, so much so that I had a sudden impulse to lean over and kiss him.  My self-restraint was back, though and I managed to contain myself.  I simply do not kiss guys I am not dating.  It is a rule I adhere to in order to make life much simpler and avoid major problems or heartbreak.  I think I did, however, once or twice, give him a light touch on the arm to show emotional support when he was speaking.  The touch was not reciprocated, so I knew I had surely done right by him by not trying to kiss him.

Yet the question of physical contact came up again on our way back to the metro.  Amin asked me how my balance was.  From a friend, I would consider this thoughtful.  In this context, there was no other way to interpret it than as an indirect way of asking to hold my hand again.  The question was not posed the same way and the answer could not be interpreted in the same way either, even if I assented.  Saying "yes" a second time would send an ever stronger message, be an even more conscious choice.  I could not pretend anymore that the question caught me by surprise and that I didn't know what to say.  This, if any, would've been the time to say "no", but I still found that I couldn't.  So if I agreed, it needed to be prefaced.  This conscious choice had to be explained so that there could be no misinterpretation as to its meaning.  So I brought out my right hand which was again clasped without my turning to look since I was concentrating on talking about how he had no gloves and how his hands must be cold.  Since I didn't have a spare pair of gloves handy, I added, I should do the next best thing: hold his hand.  I told him it was my policy not to hold a guy's hand unless I was dating him.  I had learnt in psychology class that guys experience an intense and overpowering chemical reaction from physical contact, something I shamelessly repeated to Amin.  I finished it up with, "But I know you can handle it."  This contradicts what I believe, but it was in line with the strong intuition I had about him in that moment.  I impressed upon him that I was making an exception due to extraordinary circumstances.  The phrase I repeated was "because your hands are cold".  That was my justification, is my justification and I am sticking with it!

While I was holding his hand on the way back to the metro, Amin requested that I send him an e-mail to let him know that I arrived home safely.  "I'll do one better than that," I announced.  I told him I would go home and add him on facebook, if of course he found that I was admissible as a facebook friend (this comment referred back to a a discussion we'd had earlier in the day about having too many facebook friends as well as the feeling of obligation about adding certain people that you would prefer not to have access to your facebook page).  At this, he exclaimed, "Am I allowed to be happy?"  To which I assured him that he certainly was.  I was glad to make him happy in this small way.  He was very happy that I had told him my real name and had in turn given him facebook permission; this meant so much to him because of the level of trust in him that it showed.

Amin also asked if he could travel with me by metro all the way to my stop.  He again insisted that he didn't want to pressure or me or appear creepy in any way.  It is not something I like to allow because I view it as an inconvenience to the other person and an otherwise completely unnecessary gesture.  I knew it was important to him, so in the interest of being amenable, I made no objections.  He later asked how I perceived it, so I ventured an opinion.  I told him that I found it a bit old-fashioned, that indeed in the 21st century a girl does not need to be accompanied for her protection.  I felt that was why he asked, because he does have some old-fashioned notions and that he may have felt responsible for my safety, since he was the one that was out with me.  To this, he simply said, in a very quiet sort of way, "Think about it this way: it's a way to spend more time with you..."  I was silenced rather effectively with that.  The thought had not occurred to me.  Then I remembered: that is what it is like when someone likes you.  They search for any excuse to spend more time with you.

When it was finally time for us to go our separate ways, I thanked Amin for inviting me on the outing.  I told him that it was nice to have something fun to do on a Friday night for a change.  "In fact," I added, "this was the funnest outing I've had in a long time."  He seemed a bit flustered and was thanking me for going with him.  I was again feeling that extreme closeness and really felt I wanted to hug him.  I love hugs and am truly a hug person, but I don't hug just anyone.  I am selective about who I hug and it actually serves as a good indicator that you are one of my very favourite people if I just skip the kiss-kiss  greeting and give you a hug instead.  I considered that Amin deserved it and that he had gained that status.  This had a bit of forethought, but not a lot.  I suddenly found myself saying, "My friends get a hug."  I didn't give him much warning, which I fretted over later because I know that he doesn't just let anyone into his personal space (like me).  I was worried that I didn't give him enough time to react and that I may have made him uncomfortable.  He assured me not long afterwards that it was totally okay, that it had actually been a very nice surprise.  This hug was so nice, he implored me not to apologize or take it back.  He said it was one of the nicest parts of the entire outing.  I felt it was a bit rushed and thus an inferior hug in terms of quality.  My mind blurred it out again, like it did for most of the hand-holding.  Luckily, it did produce the desired effect anyways.

I have been using the word "outing" in this entry, but it occurs to me that the word "date" is actually much more appropriate for how it felt.  It was and still is, the best date I have ever gone on in my entire life.      

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Fish

Hopeful 6 Hopeless 3 

I thought I should take this time in a sort of mid-way phase to write up a list of the Plenty of Fish guys and write a little description about each. Many people have been asking, "So how many are you dating?" I have been using the number of nine for some time now, which seems to have some people confused. Let me clarify by laying out the specimens before you: 

Alexandre - He is the 26 year old guy I always introduce as the History student with particular interest in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: the historian, musician and writer. He is also the first guy I told about my illness and the only one who asked me for a supplementary picture of myself. Since I transferred him to my pseudonym e-mail, he has only been corresponding through MSN. Although we have common interests, I haven't had much of an opportunity to explore that since I have not been online at the same time as him very much. When we have talked, he has sounded very serious about dating and at first it was a bit intimidating for me. It makes me wonder if he would want to move more quickly than I would be comfortable with. 

Amin (met) - He is the 29 year old student on exchange for his PhD and is also the guy I went to see the fireworks with. His messages are always pleasant to receive and they make me smile. We share so many of the same values, interests and ideas. He is very respectful and always makes me feel comfortable, which is quite the feat. I definitely like him and can certainly sustain a good friendship with him at the very least. The challenge with Amin is the cultural and religious differences, which could be enriching or could make it impossible to sustain a romantic relationship. 

Dylan - He is the 24 year old Chemistry student I impressed when I correctly understood that Nanochemistry is related to Quantum Physics. Since I transferred him to my pseudonym e-mail, he has only sent me one message, about being under the wire for his thesis submission. I at the time had my fair share of school work to attend to, so I wrote him back saying that I could relate and to drop me a line after his big submission date. I haven't heard back... 

Huiqi (met) - He is the 23 year old History student I have so often described as over-exuberant. His messages had sounded rather high-energy and perhaps a little too eager to please. In person, he was surprisingly calm and he read as very genuine. He withdrew himself from consideration because he was not comfortable with my meeting other guys. He discovered that the online dating formula was not for him, as evidenced by this sentiment! However, I have not withdrawn him from my consideration nor from my estimation. 

Patrick (met) - He is the 27 year old kinesthesiologist. He hasn't corresponded a lot, but we do have a fair amount in common. A few of the things he's said, such as recounting his participation in his niece’s fourth birthday, lead me to believe he's a very loving person. I did enjoy meeting him and talking with him. He earned points when he spoke some English with me; it was very nice of him. His main disadvantage is the similarities he has to my ex. I would have to see just how much like him Patrick actually is. 

Paul (met) - He is the law student of undetermined age. He certainly has some qualities and definitely showed an interest in me. However, for the reasons enumerated in my entry "Perplexing Paul", I would not go on a second date with him. As per his request (see "First Ultimatum"), I have not e-mailed him, since I am not looking to schedule him again. 

Seb - He is the 23 year old who initially impressed me by opening with a linguistics discussion. I spoke to him a few times online, but I began to feel that our conversations were going nowhere. I think in a way his life is also going nowhere right now; he gives the impression of being at a standstill. I would prefer to date someone who at least has a goal in mind to work towards. Now when we are both online at the same time, we do not talk to each other. I figure this one just fizzled all on its own. 

Sia (met) - He is the 27 year old PhD student I had a pleasant meeting with. He was nice and we had an enjoyable conversation. He was a sympathetic and attentive listener, a very important quality to possess. He, however, was eager for a second date. Anytime he e-mailed, he always referred to it. He always entreated me to let him know when I was available. So as soon as I got my school work back under control and had obliged Huiqi and Paul's requests for a first meeting, I offered Sia my next available spot. I wanted a second coffee date, because on that particular day, I did not have a lot of time and was certain to be tired after my morning exam. He wanted to go out for dinner, though, and be like a "real couple". Since he is direct and values honesty, I wrote him back and was completely open with him. I explained that I felt I did not know him sufficiently as of yet for us to be a couple and then explained the kind of date that I could manage that afternoon. He never replied, so I can only guess that was a deal-breaker for him. 

Thomas (met) - He is a 26 year old student just back to University this fall. He has had some challenges, but is now pursuing his true passion. He says a lot of things that are familiar to me because our cultural background is so close. We share a few common interests, particularly all things Irish. Thomas also has his own rather specific taste in certain things, which I often don't share. He is particular, but he definitely knows what he likes and what he wants. We have chatted a lot on MSN, more than I have with anyone else. This is an advantage, because he has heard me in different moods and energy levels. However, I have misgivings as to whether our compatibility will extend beyond friendship. I will be posting an entry about our meeting as soon as I am able. 

That is my list. I had selected ten to keep in touch with, but J, mentioned earlier in my blog, had already stopped messaging me on Plenty of Fish. He had not responded after I had told him that I did not cook very much, though the interest is there. I think that must've been a deal-breaker for him, given the high importance cooking and travelling had on his profile. I then went out with Brian to see if he would be the tenth, but he did not fill the bill. So that is how I came out with nine and why I have often quoted that number to anyone who asked. Recently, I have noticed how that number has been reducing itself gradually. Dylan and Seb can't have truly been in the running for awhile now. Paul was not compatible and eliminated himself after I met him. Sia did the same after I expressed that I felt we could not yet be a couple. Huiqi does not want to be considered unless everyone else is off the list. So theoretically, that leaves only four: Alexandre, Amin, Patrick and Thomas. That certainly sounds so very much more manageable!

Now, to close, I would just like to get all the fish puns out of my system once and for all! There may be Plenty of Fish in the sea, but there are truly not all that many that are actually good for you. If you go looking for plenty of fish, you will end up having to throw many of them back in the sea. I have thrown a few back and may indeed end up throwing them all back. However, one of my fish may be a catch. It is difficult to tell at the present time. One of them, I can say for certain, is definitely hooked, entirely unintentionally. I truly do not wish to leave him dangling, but I am uncertain whether or not I should reel him in. When fishing, one must always exercise caution: it is much more complicated than it looks!

Blogging at the Lake

Hopeful 6   Hopeless  3

I had hoped to update much before this; my apologies for the delays.  As usual, it is my school work that has prevented me from blogging more regularly.  I wanted to write this post shortly after the Thanksgiving Weekend, which I spent at the Lake.  This special place has been called thus in our family for generations and is a lovely get-away in the Eastern Townships.  It is very peaceful and often wonderful for inspiration.

I did do some blogging there.  You might wonder how this is possible on holiday without Internet access.  The truth is that some of my posts I type directly, but others I write by hand first.  Inspiration flows better when I take up pencil and put it to paper.  It is also a more portable method, making it such that I am not forced to only blog when I am at a computer.  You can see me blogging away by hand at school, in public transit or at a place like the Lake.  When I come home, I simply type up what I've got and post it.

So this is the view I had when I was at the Lake creating my next entry.  I find it has marvellous scope for the imagination and I am always very happy to write something while I am there.  I finished an entry called "The Fish" and began another.  I hope to post this one shortly and get the rest of everything up to date very soon (because there have been developments!).  Again, I'm sorry to be behind in my posts; please be patient! 


Friday, 5 October 2012

Amin

Hopeful 7    Hopeless 2

I would just like to write a little note here to announce a change.  I have been remiss in sufficiently protecting the identity of the Plenty of Fish guys.  Here on out, if you find a name that previously did not appear, this is not an error.  This is a modification that I have made to protect someone's privacy.  Scroll back in the blog and you will understand who I am talking about, as the new name will appear everywhere.

The first person's name I have changed is Amin.  He is Amin and will continue to be Amin as the blog moves forward.  So now you would scroll back and see that Amin is a guy who made a good first impression and is the one I went to the fireworks with.  Now you know who he is and can continue following the blog without any problems.

Thanks for being patient & understanding in regards to this

Rumpelstiltskin

Hopeful  7 Hopeless  2

** This post was finished last week, but not published to keep my experiences in chronological order.  I thought this was too good to modify, so please forgive the inconsistencies related to the calendar dates.**

The subject of my true name came up again with Thomas this week.  Like I already said, I feel I am not ready to tell him yet, so I had to disappoint him yet again.  However, I thought I might try to lighten the mood and came up with this solution.  It may be entirely silly, ridiculous or otherwise ill-adapted.  I hardly know.  This is how I answered him:

I suggested we might try a challenge.  That, like the story of Rumpelstiltskin, he might try to guess my name.  However, unlike the story, there would be no dire punishment if he could not guess correctly.  He was willing to give it a try, so we set the amount of guesses at five for each time we talk.  I promised Thomas that if he didn't guess, I would tell him when we met.  But, if he could guess before we were scheduled to meet, then I would take him out for coffee.  He found these terms fair and accepted.  He added, though, that he should like to have access to my facebook page if he guessed right.  There I had pause, because, like I mentioned in a previous entry, giving someone that privilege is letting them in a lot and giving my friends the opportunity to ogle.  I was unsure how to answer this proposed amendment, so I told him I would consider it.

So it began.  Thomas made his first five guesses, but did not get the right name.  We had a freak power outage that lasted just a few minutes right after I talked to him, so I lost the entire conversation.  I really like to keep files of these things and this one would've been a very interesting one to have on record.  Alas, he does not have conversation history, so I could not recover it.  Sadly, that meant that I lost track of his guesses!  I remembered three out of the five, though, so it was pretty good considering.  His first try was Lisa.  I could not believe it.  LISA?!  I so do not look like a Lisa.  Sarah was more flattering; it means "Princess".  He also tried Emily and I think I could pass as an Emily.

Mom says I am going to drive him crazy.  Maybe so. That was not my goal.  I was trying to help him feel better and help pass the time until we meet.  Somehow I think it unlikely, given the vast amount of names out there, that he will pick mine.  My name is not all that uncommon, though, so it not an impossible task.

Good luck, Thomas - keep guessing!
and P.S. My name is not Rumpelstiltskin!