It was the beginning of spring. I had just completed my Masters in France and got an internship offer in a city called Marseille. I moved into this new city and to my luck I found a place to live in the city centre. The apartment was pretty decent. Though it was a huge apartment it just had one bathroom.

After a couple of days I found out that except me, all the others living in the 6 bedroom flat were girls. All the girls looked cute but I liked a Chinese girl in particular. She introduced herself to me as “seow” which I believe is “small” in Chinese. I don’t know her real name. Luckily, she was the one whom I got to see very often and I developed some kind of crush for her. She is very much interested in cooking just like many other Chinese girls and the only thing I knew in cooking was to make hot water. But I pretended as if I was a great cook of Indian dishes so that I could interact with her whenever she was in the kitchen. She taught me so many things about Chinese cooking. One day she found out that I don’t even know to make pasta properly. She gave a strong look which might have had thousand different meanings but the predominant one was “Now I know that you know nothing in cooking”. Shit happens!!! I told to myself.

Days passed. I was hoping that something cool would happen but nothing really happened. I was getting tired of all the failed attempts to take her out. Finally, my dream knocked my door. YES! She came to my room to talk with me. That was the first time she visited my room. Needless to say that my room was tidy just like any other bachelor’s room (Pun intended). She looked around for a while and started talking. She started saying how miserable her life was in Marseille as she is neither good in French nor in English. Suddenly, she diverted the topic and told me how she managed her daily life. Though I was perplexed about why she is giving me her daily schedules, I also felt happy that she is sharing everything with me and felt that is some kind of sign. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach getting their lives back and starting to fly again.

That weekend, I gathered my courage/confidence which was pretty low due to the earlier failed attempts and asked her out again. She smiled and said NO. I was really shocked this time. What went wrong?

After hours of thinking I remembered the cross cultural communication course I had as part of my Masters and the fact that the Chinese are very indirect in communication. After few more minutes of hitting my head against the wall I realized that all the while she had been trying to tell me her schedule only because I had been occupying the bathroom for too long. Needless to say that most of the times it was conflicting with her daily schedule. Was everything just about the bathroom?
Damn! Is cultural understanding needed to get even a date? I swore not to let my fantasies grow again. I began to respect the differences. Things worked out pretty well and I lived happily ever after as i began to date my algerian flatmate with whom i had no differences!! :p

"chinese angel"

Chinese flatmate