Monday, November 18, 2013

Colorful Scene, Beautiful Lives

Hello everyone! Another week has passed I am writing a new blog and look back what had happened in last week with my friends and family.

Jamie and I went on a trip to DC last weekend, the experience was incredible that I wanted to write down what I saw and report it very much. Here I am finally able to do this! I thought about separating this blog to several different articles I was afraid it would be too long, but then I decided not to. So I hope the people who are reading this will expect a long article to read.

Happened like Magic

It was about a month ago before I came to America and was on the trip with Trevor in Taiwan, Trevor invited me to join the annual Thanksgiving gathering dinner of  Affirmation (LGBT Mormons, Families and Friends). Amazingly a mutual friend of me and Trevor, James who I got to know years ago lives nearby DC and was in charge of the event. It was all lined up! Who knew something like this would happen?

James was super generous ,offering me and Jamie to stay in his house the whole weekend. We headed on the trip on Friday night and planned to stay in DC till Sunday night! The schedule included a Charity Project to help organizing HIV/ homeless shelter for LGBT community on Saturday, Sunday Church and Thanksgiving dinner with Affirmation.

Ten-year-old I was rescued by the Mormon missionaries after getting lost on the street; I had David Archuleta's music to make me believe faith and find hopes during the hardest time in my life; inspired by it I started to learn the Gospel and English, served mission and has experienced so many amazing things that I almost gave up to do; got to know many great people and became friends of life; met my lovely boyfriend and now am living in America with him.

Sitting in the car Jamie and I were singing our favorite songs, he held my hand and constantly turned his head to me, looking at me and smiled. I smiled too. This weekend reminded me a lot of things as well as had a strong realization that I was too overwhelmed to thank all the blessings I have had in this life enough.

Life has not been easy and there were some hardest time that I really thought about ending it. I am so glad I didn't.. Bad times, good times, they happened! But someday when we look back through them, both bad and good time, we will see how amazing it has turned out to be - That was how I felt the entire weekend!

I am really grateful I have Jamie in my life, James let us stay in his and gave us wonderful time in DC, people in Affirmation or in Church who are working and bringing other people joy, I am grateful for this family everyone shares Love.

James, me and Jamie eating lunch on Saturday :)


It was a two-hour drive to Arlington where James lived, we went on the trip right after Jamie got home from work on Friday night. By the time we arrived James's was almost 10 o'clock. James and I talked on the phone and I asked him to bring umbrella since it was raining outside. Then I realized he had been waiting for us outside the building already.. he didn't wear proper, only a T-shirt and short!! That's too cold for that.. >_< James even found a parking place for us and helped Jamie to park his car. We hugged each other and I put a scarf on James as soon as possible!

James and Chip's house was in an apartment building. Walking into the house I felt warm and embraced by the atmosphere they created. A kitty, Frankie who James and Chip adopted weeks ago came and said hello. There were pictures in the frames everywhere in the house, showing the strong relationships these two men had with their families. James showed us around the house and led us to the room he prepared for us. It's until the next morning I finally realized that's the main bedroom of the house which was the room he and Chip slept! James yielded it to us so Jamie and I could sleep together! >_< ... He was too too nice..

Frankie the Kitty!

We sat in the living room and talked for two more hours. I felt like we were best friends that hadn't seen each other for years but met again and had so much to update. James was so easy to talk to and we laughed a lot! We didn't miss talking about our friend Trevor and I told James how awkward I made Trevor when he was in Taiwan. lol Trevor and James grew up in the same town and even went to the same high school but never knew each other until they both went to DC at the other side of the United States! I couldn't stop feeling James and Trevor had a lot in common, they were like brothers!

James and Chip are definitely the role model I look up to! Their story is like a fairy-tale! James and Chip lived in a same building and finally talked to each other in the elevator where their love starting to bloom. Years after, today they live together and have their baby kitty together. They do grocery together, share the closets and bathroom and bedroom, the house fills with the life and love they build together. James texted Chip when he took us to lunch, left him voice message when he bought the food for Frankie so Chip wouldn't buy it again. They work hard for each other during the weekdays, go hiking or watch movie on the weekend. I see a great couple, I see a family unit.
Picture at the corner is Chip and James and their friend

Sometimes people are just like the characters in the story Ugly Duckling. The ducklings didn't understand the baby swan so they judged him; the baby swan didn't understand his true identity and value even when he was back to flying in the sky with the other swan. James and Chip or other same-gender couples are no less beautiful than any straight couple. Sometimes it's just the way we value ourselves, some understand how to appreciate other types of beauty, some don't. Some can be confident to be different, some can't.

To me, everyone is beautiful as long as they find the right place in the right group. Like Ugly Duckling found his place with the other same species/ swans; like James and Chip found each other; like Affirmation is working hard to union those other gay Mormons and provide a home for them to rely on. 

I love James and Chip :') They are so cute!!!! I hope Jamie and I can be their neighbor in the future. Yeah!

Casa Ruby Project

Saturday morning I was supposed to take the chance to go to bank in DC for the fact that there's none in Harrisonburg where Jamie and I live. But the dumbest me forgot to bring my passport and the plan became improbable. We went grocery instead, James took us to his favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's!! I loved it!!!! ha ha They had Hawaii style decorations in the store and super cute price tags everywhere. On top of it, the prices were surprisingly cheaper than the one Jamie and I always went to!! Unusually I allowed Jamie and myself to buy sweets. :P We bought a box of chocolate cookies!!

The plan today was to go to an organization for HIV/ homeless LGBT people, which was the charity project Affirmation was helping. There were ten people showing up.

Max, James and Chris! Max was a return missionary from Mexico and Chris was the friend he brought to the events. They were super funny that I wanted to be with them all the time! It seemed like no matter what I said Chris would laugh, especially when I was not trying to say something funny.. I tried to be serious but I couldn't because Chris just laughed!! lol His eyes are icy blue which I was jealous and wanted to steal. ;)

Michael, our head today told us the story of him sold his car and bought that bike instead, he was super funny too, I like watched Michael and Max and Chris talking even though I couldn't understand most of the things they said. lol Michael played excellent piano, he wanted me to learn songs from musical Les Miserable.

Carl was rather quieter, but it fitted his T-shirt Superman! He secretly did so many things when everybody was talking, I realized it when I looked through the pictures I took that day. I was a little nervous to talk to Carl because I pronounced 'r' and 'l' terribly bad! I wanted to call him but was afraid to call his name. And it would be rude talking to someone not knowing their name!

So I asked the president of Affirmation, Randall, Mr. Bunny.

No, no one called him Mr. Bunny, I just made that up myself.. he's so adorable that I felt he's a little rabbit! See how much he loved Affirmation, he's wearing a T-shirt of it! Next to him is Justin who also served mission in Japan, just like James. The first thing I talked to Justin was that I wasn't a Japanese but a Taiwanese. :P

And me and Jamie of course.

Last not the least was Mark.

Aside from this picture you can tell, Mark is definitely not a human, he must be an elf that's so sacred and tall. He is 6'6 which is about 198 centimeter! Mark held the hats to the wall as well as the earrings, which I wondered if there's anybody could reach to and grab. Because they are near the ceiling. lol

We solved and sorted all the donated clothing by sizes and types so that when people came see it they would be able to find what fit them the most. It was fun. I felt like I was back to my mission with these missionaries! I felt I was again doing those community services with my companions, given a goal and a project then we planned how to do it and worked it out together. There were so much laughter that I didn't know how long we were there. The result was awesome, we were very proud of how we did!

Chris, Max, Carl, Michael, Mark, Justin, Randall, James, me and Jamie

After the service, we stood by the street and discussed our next plan. Some people came without eating so we decided to go to a restaurant!


The restaurant was called Match Box, when I heard they talk about it I thought it was Magic Box and was expecting an amazing magical restaurant where doves and rabbits would show up from nowhere.

We were assigned to a long dinning table and I was framed to sit in the middle like a King or a Queen. But Mark and Jamie and James sat next to me and I had great time talking to them, getting to know more about Mark. Moreover I got to take pictures of everyone's food! :D

The coolest must be this mini burger mountain!!

I liked Mark and my conversation, he's very kind and spiritual just like James. When we shared our stories, I didn't know what to define myself, 'was' a Mormon or 'am' a Mormon. I no longer go to Church for awhile and basically believe in things that's apart from Mormonism. But Mark said I could say it no matter I wanted, I could still be a Mormon even though I didn't go to Church, I could be used to be a Mormon if I felt more comfortable without that title. Mark had a soft and thoughtful heart that really warmed me that night.

Honey and James and I decided to go home after dinner. We thought about coming back to DC after a brief shower and rest at home, but it was raining and home was too comfortable that we ended up making hot chocolate milk with marshmallow and watching movies on the comfy sofas!! lol

Home Buddies!

At home, James was making us hot chocolate and marshmallow! He boiled the milk and mixed chocolate and other secret ingredients, while I was taking shower and Jamie was studying.

We held a little selection to decide which movie would we be watching. These two guys aggressively suggested us to watch The Princess Bride, they said it was a classic and a must watch!!

Frankie is being curious

They were super concentrated and you could hear they laugh constantly. James also repeated what they said in the movie like he's part of the movie.

However, I fell asleep after having complained multiple times how bad the movie was and received "What??" from Jamie and James. lol I just couldn't understand American humor and the movie often made fun of the accent that just made it even harder to understand. The story was simple but I couldn't find something meaningful that the movie wanna express.

I received more "What??" the next day when I told Michael, Chris and Max what we did tonight. lol

After The Princess Bride we continued watching the next movie, Hairspray! James and Jamie loved that movie, especially James, he knew how to sing every song and was singing along! I wanted to dance. I thought about Max and Chris, they probably were dancing in some club too.

We said goodnight and went to bed, Ming kissed me. I asked his feeling about today, he said he really liked it sincerely! I was worried he wouldn't like being here with me since he didn't know anyone and he was nervous about meeting new people. He certainly was nervous indeed, but he said he liked it because he got to know many different sides of me that he didn't know before. He heard some stories that I didn't share before.


Some awesome smell just woke me up on Sunday, it was James making eggs! I ran to the kitchen and was driven drools, I suggested we should have some bagels!  That was so so nice, I felt like I was on a vacation at a nice Vila!

Today we planned to go to Church :) This was the first time I went to Mormon Church in America, I was excited about it.. something I was familiar with yet so foreign to. Ming was nervous too, he didn't really go to any Church. James on the other hand was super happy and had told his friends he would bring friends to Church that day!

Me and James in front of the Church building
I was glad being there, on the sacrament meeting we sang several my favorite hymns. To be honest, I didn't really enjoy the whole service but was very very happy to have James and Ming Ming next to me.

During the service I also felt I had something to learn. There were toddlers in Church who didn't understand what's going on and were crying and screaming being stuck in the room for a hour. They couldn't choose to leave, but an hour would eventually pass by and they might learn something through it - Patience. We the same will go in some situations that we don't enjoy being in, we may be frustrated like those kids, we also will be able to make it through and will learn afterwards. So it's okay to be stuck in unpleasant situation, just remember the silver lining after all.


 The Thanksgiving potluck was held at Greg's house in Maryland. Before we went there I was told many times how incredible the house was. It's said there could allow more than 75 people to go at the same time. I couldn't believe until I saw the house...

We arrived it early since James was in charge of the event and we wanted to prepare the place before everybody came. There was a piano at dinning hall, I went on it and played. Sadly I almost forgot those songs I practiced before. People didn't seem to mind my rusty performance and wanted me to play more as background music. Jamie sat next to me and supported me the whole time. I was a little self-conscious though.. I knew many of us were able to play piano and I didn't feel like embarrassing myself. >_<

I was glad to see some friends I got to know the day before, Mark and Randall and Michael were all there, and when Max and Chris came we decided to sit together on the same table.


Chatting with people made me very nervous, I didn't talk to anyone much beside Jamie. So language was the first thing I was concerned about. Meeting new people always makes me nervous too, since I was little I tended to scare/ surprise people because of my voice. I don't feel very comfortable when they find me sounds weird.. Moreover, even though I tried to be true to everybody, sexuality hasn't been something everyone felt fine with. I have not been used to talking about it openly, especially to somebody I didn't know. I didn't know who were Church member and who were not, I didn't know who would like to hear my story who didn't.. I didn't know what were appropriate to say to people what were not.. I simply was just nervous.. and when I became nervous I would talk a lot, joke a lot, in case no one would find me being nervous, no one would be awkward.

However, people were kind to me. Kathy and her partner and daughter came talk to me when I was standing against the wall alone. They wanted to get to know Jamie too and we found out Liz, the daughter, graduated from the same school that Jamie is not attending!

Max told me he wanted me to be on his Facebook, which made me feel he not only liked this experience meeting me but also wanted it to be a long term friendship. He also tried to help me and Jamie and thought about how could allow me to stay in the US with Jamie.

Daniel and Dave, the guys you would recognized as sporty college boys who would mock gay people that I was scared to interact with, were surprisingly nice and joked with me to ease my anxiety.

Patrick the smart doctor-to-be told me he just came out and we discussed our ideal future with our loved ones. It also turned out that he's in the school that I am going to next year, University of Maryland!

More surprising, Richard spoke Chinese to me and told me he was a return missionary from Taiwan!!!!

I remember at dinner the day before, Randall posted a picture of all of us taken at Caca Rubby to Facebook. He was wowing how photo genetic everyone was on that picture and he emphasized Jamie and I looked super cute together, the other people agreed. I was very touched that moment... 

They were happy for us being us. There was no reason to define myself as anything I suddenly realized. It's okay to be who I was whether a Church member or not, whether gay or straight, whether an American with perfect English or not.. They talked to me and hugged me, we took pictures and remembered the moments. They were interested in any stories and shared theirs too. Nobody cared what type of people we defined ourselves, there people only had one belief - it was a big family, we all carried different backgrounds, or even burdens, but we shared them with the ones that cared. We also shared joys. Couples, children, happy single people.. etc. We shared lives. I found that so beautiful.

It truly was like Cinderella's story, I felt Ming and I were princes.

We couldn't stay too long because we had to drive a few hours home, Ming had a school project discussion with classmates. On our way home we were sad.. I didn't want to say goodbye to those great people we just met.

But I am sure we will meet again. :) With more stories.

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