First Date Dos and Don’ts (But mostly Don’ts)

I did it. I went on a date! I gave myself a time frame and I said to myself,”Melody,” I said. “You have two weeks to set up a date.” I said that. And I did it. Would you like to hear the story? Of course you would!

I joined three dating apps. What? You thought this date was like a blind date set up through friends? Oh no? You thought I hit up ‘the nightlife’ and met someone at a bar and gave him my number? So likely. Or maybe someone at my Church Bible Study said, “Hey there, wanna get coffee?” I don’t actually go to a Church Bible Study. Or maybe you thought that new gym I joined had a single fitness coach and as soon as he saw me, dripping in sweat (joking! I don’t sweat…), he knew he had to ask me out.

Yeah, no. It’s 2019. I went online.

I tried Zoosk, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel. I am still hesitant to pay for the upgraded versions or for more intense services like Match.com, eharmony, etc. I hear the cool kids are on apps and the old ones are on dating sites. I don’t know exactly where I fall yet. Still hoping for that blind date set up by friends (FRIENDS? Friends?).

Back to my date. I made a profile during the beginning of the Polar Vortex, not knowing I would have five days off work in a row and therefore have plenty of time for swiping and liking and guessing which guy I was chatting with when every single one of his pictures had multiple dudes in them. So many guys do that. I am not physic. I can’t guess which one you are! I started talking to ‘The Analyst” within the first day or two, along with at least four other guys. It was stressful. “Tattoo guy” thought it was hilarious that my only tattoo is my eyeliner (true story, 50 bucks in Korea and I haven’t had to apply eye liner in five years) and then just stopped talking to me after he sent several pictures of his tattoos… all PG pics, I promise. I think he just wanted to show them off? I realized quickly that none of these guys were going to actually ask to meet me in real life. So I asked the Analyst if he would like to get coffee sometime. He told me sure, name a date and a place and do all the work of deciding what we should do/where we should go, and he would be there. I gave him two options for dates and three options for places to meet. Because, everybody loves options.

We decided on a place in his neighborhood. On a Thursday. Because Thursdays are safe. He pushed to move the date earlier than 5 because we would be drinking coffee. We make the date earlier. I myself, prefer chai, but that’s totally besides the point (unless you are reading this and you want to take me on a date, or buy me a chai latte). The day of the date comes and I have my sixth snow day in two weeks. The Polar Vortex strikes again.

I tell the Analyst that we can still meet when he assumes a snow day means a cancelled date. I was not about feeling all of those nerves for a week to have the date delayed for who knows how long. Also, I have a jeep. It has four wheel drive.

I head to the cafe a few hours early to get some “work done”. I thought I could work on my grad classes and read a book and write a blog post. I did not do these things. I mean one of them I did, I nervously read a book and nursed my chai latte… for hours.

I get a message from the Analyst telling me he decided to run to the grocery store after work to get breakfast food because he ran out. O….k….Because no store is opened after six or seven when our coffee date would be over. He ends up getting stuck in traffic and is 20 minutes late. LATE. After he wanted to meet earlier and while knowing I have been in the coffee shop all afternoon. But whatever, I myself am very time-oriented, which is why I was hours early in the first place. I was willing to let it slide though because, you know, traffic.

He comes in and we have the awkward and unavoidable greeting, “Hi… Melody?” and I say hi back. He asks if I want anything. I say I am good with my drink (the cold one I have had for two hours). He persists. Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. But… I have a coupon! And then he pulls out a coupon the size of a travel book. It’s buy one get one half off. Well then I guess I could always go for another chai. Oh… I think it’s just for coffee. He already knew I don’t drink coffee. Then I am good. Are you sure? Yes.

He leaves to order a coffee and comes back with a coffee and a massive muffin. “I was hungry.” He sits down and starts to eat his muffin.

Let’s talk about where he is sitting. During my first 30 minutes in this adorable coffee shop I’d moved seats three times. I wanted to make sure we had a spot in the place conducive for conversation and weren’t crowded by other tables. I ended up at a study table (meaning it’s a good size) for four. I had my backpack and coat on the seat next to me. Instead of sitting across from me, my date sits diagonal. Yes, you read that right. Diagonal. Straight across from my backpack. I look at him. I look at the empty chair across from me. Do I ask him to move over? No, I just met him. Do I move all my things off the seat and slide over to be across from him? No, that’s awkward. I stare at the empty seat across from me for a second. Then I angle my chair and body towards him and ask him what kind of muffin he’s eating.

While he is eating his muffin he starts talking. And talking. And talking. I share here and there when I can. He asks me zero questions and continues bringing it back to him. Well, maybe he asks me one question. I shouldn’t exaggerate. He definitely asked me one question at some point. He tells me about when he got a ticket for running a red light. He went to court to fight the ticket, bringing a stack of research with him. “I like to analyze things.” He says explaining how thick this stack of papers was. He told the judge why he thought he shouldn’t have gotten the ticket. The traffic light was poorly designed. It was unsafe, actually. Etc, etc. The judge looked at him and told him to pay the ticket.

He told me another story about going to parent-teacher conferences with his friend, because she asked him to. They get there and the teacher says to the boy, “You haven’t introduced me to your dad.” The boy bursts into tears and runs from the room. This guy is not his father. I felt so bad for the child and the teacher in this story. I also thought how in ten years of teaching, I’ve never had a parent bring a ‘friend’ to a parent teacher conference. Like. Never. And that’s coming from someone who has worked at seven schools on three different continents. He told me the kid was fine with it by the next year. WAIT. What? You did this more than once? You do this regularly? I do not say these things aloud. I sit and listen.

As we talk we discover we have people in common we know. We have a conversation where I clearly state my sister is married to someone from our area. He then talks about my brother in law. And by talk, I mean he starts to badmouth my bro. His mom thinks this and that. I don’t want to share too much info here because the basis of my date’s mom’s opinion is pretty off. And I want to protect my brother in law. But. He talks bad. About my family. I smile with my teeth and look at him a bit incredulously and say, “Um, haha, yep. That’s my brother-in-law.”

My sister texts me two hours into the date. Yes, you heard that right. Two hours. Two hours I can never get back. I look at my phone for the first time during this very long coffee date to check the time and see her text. Are you still out? I start to hint that I need to head back home with the weather and everything as I am thinking in my head, “Right, and now I am deleting all of my dating apps.”* Then I text her back and say, Trying to say goodbye. She was waiting on my text to make sure I wasn’t meeting up with a crazy person or thrown in the back of a van. Which is important. You never know who you’re going to meet.

My sister is proud of me for going on a date. I am proud of me for going on a date. It could have been worse. It was fine. We left and he was smiling ear to ear saying, “This was fun!” I did not have fun. I smiled at him and said, “Bye!” Also… last thing. Because this is where I am not the nicest person in this scenario. I realized I am more shallow than I thought. Because this guy. He was my size, if not shorter. And I am 5′ 2″. Okay, okay, I am 5′ 1½”. And he was skinnier than me, I mean, I am not skinny by any means, love me some chocolate. But a smaller man than me who insults my family on a first date? Yeah… pass.

By the time I got home he messaged me again asking for a second date, to a boat show, which we had talked about before the first date. I said I was going to pass on the boat show. He said so is that a pass on the boat show and potential hangout/dates or just the boat show? … both, it’s gonna be a pass on both. He was very cordial and told me he hoped I found what I was looking for.

I was very tempted to tell him to analyze our date since he mentioned multiple times how he likes to analyze things. But instead I said if I ever needed anything analyzed I would give him a holler. But that was a lie. I will not do that.

Do: Go on a date!

Don’t: Be late, sit diagonally from your date, insult family members, talk the whole time and ask very few questions of your date.

*I did not delete the dating apps on my phone for another two months. I tried, sincerely did, to connect with someone else and meet in person. Then I tried another app as well, OKcupid, and guess who was on that app with a 91% match to me? Yep. The Analyst. This is when I deleted all of my apps. If he ever stumbles upon this, now he knows. Sorry dude.

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She’s 32 and Single. There Must Be Something Wrong With Her.

I recently saw a video on social media where a man stated, “My father has a rule. And I am not saying that this rule is accurate. But just look at your life and apply it, and see if it is accurate, gentlemen. My father told me that if a woman is over 32, has never been married, never had any kids, there is something wrong with her.” The room went into an uproar at his words. “I am not saying it’s right and I am not saying it’s incorrect… every time I have applied this rule, it has been accurate.”

If you are a single woman, in your early 30s, and love the Lord— like me— then you have probably heard, at least once, that when you are happy being single and need no one else but Jesus in your life, that’s when the man of your dreams will show up. Just when you weren’t looking for him.

I don’t think my girlfriends, because yes I have heard this multiple times, meant to imply that for the past 13 years (since my last serious boyfriend) I haven’t been happy. They were sharing their story. For them, this was their reality. For them, this was their truth. But just because it is true for one single lady who meets a man when she is least expecting it just after she is at peace with being single, doesn’t mean it will happen for everyone. Can I be real? I wish people would stop perpetuating the lie that there is something wrong with being single in your thirties. Especially, in the church. Because when you hear a lie often enough, you start to believe it.

The video went on with a reply from an older woman. She took the microphone with authority, looked directly at the man and said, “Tell your daddy (loud cheers from the crowd) that if you find a woman that is 32 years old, doesn’t have any kids, never been married… Tell your daddy, that she’s educated and that she is planning to make financial decisions so that she can afford the children that she has and send them to college. Instead of having them standing at the bus stop, she can drive a Lexus to work. Tell your daddy, that the woman is a boss.”

I smiled after I saw watched this video. And then I watched it again. I think it gave me a longer pause, made me stop and reflect, because I am 32 years old. I thought about my life and immediately began composing a paragraph in my head of what I would write in response to this video if I was the commenting type. It went something like this:

I am debt free. No student loans. No credit card debt. I have my masters in Education. I’ve taught children all over the world on two different continents outside my homeland. I have lived in four different countries. I’ve traveled to 25 countries. I have built friendships with people across the world and kept those friendships going strong even after years of living in different places. I have learned how to ask for forgiveness and help and how to share my faith again and again and again. But oh… right. There must be something wrong with me because I am not married.

I’ve been thinking about this even more lately because a friend of mine recently moved to a different country and is feeling lonely. She shared with me that when she feels lonely she usually thinks that if she just had a boyfriend she would be happier. She wouldn’t be lonely. She quickly stops these thoughts because she knows it’s not true. And she has people in her life to tell her that those thoughts are not true.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been many, many times over the years when I have wanted nothing more than the man of my dreams to just walk through the freaking door already. I have felt that same loneliness and thought that the only solution is a husband. I desire to get married. I do. I have come to the point though, where I am so satisfied with where God has placed me that when I feel lonely I don’t immediately think, “If only I had a man.” I think, what can I do to enjoy this life I have been given? Who can I spend time with? Who can I encourage and who can I ask for encouragement from?

Please, don’t hear what I am not saying and get it all twisted. There are times when I am more actively pursuing a relationship and there are times when I am too busy to care. I am open to a relationship. I just don’t need one to be fulfilled. I want one. I just don’t want it to make me happy. Because I already am happy.

As a single, Christian woman in my early thirties, I am not an anomaly. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.

I know because my daddy says…

If You Ever

I really don’t like going a whole week without a post. From wordless wednesday to wordless wednesday = NOT COOL.

I was asked to come up with a quote of inspiration for the yearbook this year.

“Most things are better experienced, not googled. Keep learning!”

I thought it was pretty good. It reminded me about how I do Google EVERYTHING though. I mean, I do have to keep them in business since my sis works for that company, but I guess there are some things I just don’t need to look up. Or I could grab a dictionary and thumb through some pages. I need to get off this computer once in a while, haha. And yet here I sit— writing.

I have come to realize more and more how writing is what makes me tick. It is the one hobby I started when I was little (what? writing is a hobby, I wrote outside of assigned writing work in school, so there) and never, ever gave up.

My students and I read a poem last week (author unknown, which makes me sad as I would love to give them credit!). It went like this:

If you ever ever ever ever ever
If you ever ever ever meet a whale
You must never never never never never
You must never never never touch its tail:

For if you ever ever ever ever ever,
If you ever ever ever touch its tail,
You will never never never never never,
You will never never meet another whale.

I just thought this was the cutest thing ever. Writing is AWESOME.

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[Photo from summer trip to Detroit]

Writing speaks to people.

On Jee Young’s Visit to Korea!

Jee Young and I were destined to be friends. I know that people say that all the time. But with her and me… it’s true. If we hadn’t met randomly my first month in Korea at a church picnic, we would have met volunteering through Jerusalem Ministries three months later. If we hadn’t re-met through Jerusalem Ministries, I just know that God would have found another way to bring us together.

She is my partner in crime when it comes to education and she is one of my best friends. After four years of teaching in Korea she started a new adventure in Singapore, at one of the top international schools in the world.

But…of course, she couldn’t stay away from Korea for too long, she has family here! Having her stay with me for two and a half weeks was… relaxing. Jee Young is a calm spirit, and a very organized person (the exact opposite of me). I didn’t feel like I had to “play host” or make sure she had every minute of her vacation planned out, because she had that covered.

I did cook breakfast for her once. Having her sit in the living room while I played chef was WEIRD. Over the past three years, she was always the one cooking for me, haha! Hey, people can change^^

During her visit we got to eat a lot of amazing food (a few examples would be…brick oven pizza, frypan-yes I count that as amazing-, shabu-shabu, and kimbab- according to jee young who missed korean food like WHOA), celebrate christmas and the one year blogiversary of our educational blog twoapplesaday, we also hosted a new year’s eve themed party, had a board meeting for our future NGO, visited Bukchon Village, took A LOT of pictures, watched many movies, went shopping, played board games, and just chilled. She blogged a ton while she was here too over at her blog, http://teachtoinspire.wordpress.com

The following is just a bunch of pictures of her (and some of me), I mean, why not?!

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I plan on blogging in more detail about a few of the things we did… until then!

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thirty-two months

I love projects. I am currently working on one with three other members of my church. It is a writing project, and I am not going to tell you what it is—- yet— but it is EXCITING. The nature of this project has forced enouraged me, to look back upon ALL of my past blog entries.

I have been blogging for 32 months. I counted, because- whoa, I thought, that is crazy. I started when I was 24… I am now 27. It is just so weird to think that three years of my life have been documented by my words and pictures, on the web. I am not going to lie. I LOVE IT. Blogs are a billion times more organized than I am (well… just refer back to that picture of my desk a couple posts ago and you will know where I am coming from) and it is pretty neat to see my writing change, my photography improve, AND if  anyone ever doubts my black belt— I have all the blog entries and pictures to prove all of my belt tests (not that anyone would ever doubt me).

I am feeling completely euphoric right now. I sit here (my desk still messy) with the rest of this week and next week all planned out (THAT NEVER HAPPENS) listening to Sungha Jung swipe his incredibly talented fingers across a guitar and think about how I get to go to a cafe before my tutoring gig and read. I have time to READ.

Do something fun/that you like to do, RIGHT NOW. It will make you happy.

you know you are a blogger when…

you know you are a blogger when…

  • the first thing you do when you sit down in a tiny coffee shop (or open up your computer at your desk) is start composing a blog post in your head
  • while you take pictures of your life you start thinking of a blog post to write about around them (that is, the pictures)
  • you think of a blog post and realize you want pictures to go with it so you stage them
  • you think “I could blog about that!”… and then you do
  • you compile a list of blog post titles for fun
  • people/your friends send you things to blog about
  • you keep track of how many times you blog a week and become really sad when it is less than two
  • you freak out when you see “so and so has commented” or “so and so has liked” your post (I have been blogging for years, and yes I still get excited!)
  • you check your stats regularly (I KNOW I am not the only one)
  • you love reading other people’s blogs
  • you create lists and then write a blog post just of that list (ahem…)

 

The slice of life challenge is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers.

ringing in the new year with a new blog :)

2.02.2012

Yesterday (oops, this post is totally late, I had to wait until I uploaded photos!) was the official launch date of:

The spark that ignited this flame came from a great friend of mine, who also happens to be a co-worker, Jee Young. She came to me with the idea of co-authoring a blog last fall and we have been planning and preparing ever since.

I am completely and totally psyched to be doing this with a colleague that I admire and trust. Jee Young has taught me so much over the past two years, and I can’t wait to share what I have learned with the education community! Click on the picture above and check out our blog, you will not be disappointed^^

Here are pictures from preparing for the launch, and then the LAUNCH PAR-TAY! We have a great group of supportive friends (most of whom are ALSO co-workers, DUDE teachers rock my socks off!):

I am so lucky to have Jee Young in my life, check out our blog… do it! Do it now! (Which means you have to scroll back up and click on the two apples icon, which I made… woot woot!)