I recently received an email from an expatriate friend involved in a cross-cultural relationship in one of my favorite Chinese cities. I asked, and received permission to publish this passage, but only with name excised, and as a stand-alone, no comment. So, without further ado:
Often, I think, I love the places from which X came more than he does. For him, they’re something to leave behind; for me, they’re hints of something that I’ll never understand. A few times I’ve found myself asking X the same sorts of questions that I reserve for my grandparents in their more reflective moments. But with them, of course, it’s shared history that I seek; with X, well, it’s love.