This is a post I’ve been nervous to share for awhile. It’s literally been sitting in my draft box waiting to see the light of day, so here is the shine it’s been longing for. I know when writing about an interracial relationship there are going to be the trolls who find my blog and say, “How dare you betray your “superior” white race, you’re dirty for dating an Asian, ching chong chingity,” and a whole bunch of other racist shit that spouts from their assholes. Newsflash, I’m only half white if you can call Italian “white” and the other half has a fiery Latina waiting to take a crack at people who make racist comments. Just try me, buddy, and make my day.
I’ve written about my dismal love life before, but for some reason I found my failures more comical to write contrary to my successes. If you don’t laugh at yourself, you’re humorless and you take yourself too seriously. If you don’t have a sense of humor, go and find your humor where you left it! Under the couch or in the 90s, but I digress.
When I met my boyfriend, Aaron, I was in a place where I accepted my single status as permanent in Japan and I had only 7 months left (and I couldn’t wait to get out). I was just told my contract wouldn’t be renewed and I was making plans for my next step—Korea. I decided to go on a language exchange website called Interpals after touring the internet community. Some people have horror stories, I (luckily) do not.
The scenario goes as follows: I didn’t go on this site to date like so many other people. I was looking to make friends before my move and learn Korean. When I stumbled upon my boyfriend’s profile for the first time, it inferred he spoke English well and he was leaving Australia soon because his working holiday visa was about to expire. I didn’t message him. I guess Aaron liked my face so he visited my profile and waited for me to send him a message. I don’t really know how to use the site well, so I never messaged him.
I’m glad he became impatient and messaged me because that started our correspondence over the next five months including his move from Australia back to his native Korea. A week before my birthday, I told Aaron I wanted to meet him. He asked if I really I really wanted to and I said yes. He jumped on a plane two days after my birthday and I met him for the first time at Naha Airport’s International Terminal.
When I first met Aaron, I didn’t know what to think. I was like a deer in headlights (in my brain because I was totally cool on the outside). Here was this guy who jumped the broom and came from Korea to meet me in Japan. OH-EM-GEE. What is life? What am I doing with life? Is life hitting me in the head like it always does? This was crazy, impulsive, insane, and yet so right at the same time.
That holiday weekend in June is one of my fondest weekends. We spent it like any couple would, holding hands, going on dates, and going to my favorite place—the beach. I showed him the culture of Okinawa I love so much. We visited Kokusai Dori, ate Okinawa soba, licked melted beni imo ice cream from our hands, and I played my sanshin for him. I taught him how to float and swim and we waded through the warm aquamarine waters of Okinawa together. My guard was down. I knew he was special and I actually let myself have feelings for him. Needless to say, Aaron felt the same.
I found my weirdo partner in crime and I’m keeping him. Aaron doesn’t just watch my strange antics, he participates. He’s also the only one who laughs at my terrible jokes, and let me tell you, they are awful. I found someone who I can share my secrets and have a good troll with. After all, those who troll together stay together, right?
My boyfriend’s English was good when we started dating, but his English has improved dramatically since. Like any inter-cultural couple, we have our differences and we both try each other’s patience at times. I’ve always been a very direct person (hate me or love me, it still doesn’t change my life) and he’s a bit dense so he appreciates my forwardness. We can’t use indirect communication because it will be lost on the other. Both of us have to state exactly what we want and I’m so grateful for that. Dating is a game anywhere, but the rules seem to change when two people from different countries come together. The bottom line is, we don’t play games. We can’t if we want our relationship to work because as good as his English is and as much as I’m trying to learn Korean, we still have a language barrier.
In a way, I find myself falling for Korea through him and falling for him through Korea. But let me set the record straight. I don’t like Korea because of Aaron or Aaron because I like Korea. Those two things are separate yet intermingle along some of the same lines. I see the best parts of Korea through him and it makes me more determined to learn his language so I can understand him better. Aaron sees his country through my eyes as I discover, indulge and diverge Korea. Aaron makes my life so much brighter and I can’t wait to see where our relationship takes us. I told one of my best friends in the states, “I waited a long time for him.” (Four years to be exact. What took you so long, Aaron? lol)
With Aaron, I feel free and liberated. Aaron doesn’t try and mold me into the person he sees fit, he just pushes me to be the best version of myself. He loves traveling, eating and exploring as much as I do. He likes teasing me and making me laugh. I’m not in a cage when I’m with Aaron. He listens (most of the time), comes to my rescue when I need him, and waits patiently and I do the same with him. If I go off and do my own thing, it doesn’t bother him because he’s just as independent. (But on the real, it’s great we like climbing mountains and stuff.) I found my best friend and I went halfway across the world to do it. I think, maybe, just finally I found my real life Tuxedo Mask.