It started with Lapin Kulta.
The Boyfriend and I first met in the National University of Singapore (NUS) cafeteria.
There was a “Japanese/Korean Exchange student gathering”.
I was invited as a host for the gathering because I spent a year on student-exchange at Waseda University, Tokyo.
It was also in Waseda where I met two of my best Finnish friends–Paavo and J. I don’t know why, but I could communicate with them very easily. Perhaps because both of them speak very directly. I tend to be very direct too.
J is a honest Finnish guy who doesn’t talk much. We always had awkward silences (to me) during our initial conversations, but then as time passes I sort of realised that silence probably was not awkward to him.
J is really good looking, very soft-hearted, very kind–but doesn’t see himself as favorably as I see him. At Waseda, he drinks by the jug. I used to be very fascinated by that.
Paavo was like my big brother in Waseda. He took such good care of me in Tokyo! When I was sick, he would regularly check on me if I was OK, and constantly advised me not to drink too much alcohol.
During Valentine’s Day, he gave me Hello Kitty stickers from Hello Kitty Land in Tokyo, because I was like his little sister. At age 31, he looked like age 22. Good genes, good skin.
Paavo however, was constantly suspicious of online portals, and did not have facebook because they were not exactly huge on protecting your privacy. Eventually he did create a facebook to stay connected with the friends he made in Japan for a while.
However, after our year student-exchange was over, Paavo disappeared. Vanished. Our last conversation on facebook ended with “Let me know when you are coming to Finland”.
Then he deleted his facebook account. Nobody–not even J–knew what happened to him.
Originally, I wanted to sit with the Japanese and Korean girls at the right side of the long table to talk about shopping. But the two (male) Singaporean organisers told me to sit at the far left side of the table with the Japanese/Korean guys so that “Singaporean hosts are evenly spread out”.
How very innocent. -roll eyes-
Anyway, I ended up sitting across three guys. One of them is Japanese, and one of them is Korean. The third is strange–he doesn’t look Asian. Remember, the event was a Japanese/Korean Exchange student gathering.
안녕하세요, 제 이름은 wanwei 입니다. 만나서 반갑습니다.”
I looked at the third.
“Hi, this is Wan Wei, you can call me “One Way”! It’s the same pronunciation.”
He grunted and said in a monotone–
“You don’t look like you are from Japan or Korea. Where are you from?”
“Oh wow, Finland! That’s cool!”
There and then, I made a mental note to engage in more small talk with the two other Korean and Japanese guys over dinner. The N sitting directly across me was probably a nice guy just like J and Paavo, but my intention that night was to be a good host to all!
N ordered chicken stew with rice, and ate with chopsticks. I was rather fascinated.
“Wow, you use chopsticks the proper way! Even I don’t.”
Five minutes into eating, the Japanese guy spoke about technology, and that was when the Boyfriend started talking–a lot. Initially, I couldn’t understand a word of his English, because his English was so monotonous.
But being a nice and pleasant host, I smiled and continued nodding–not understanding a single word of what he’s talking about– and made more mental notes to engage the Korean and Japanese guys.
The dinner finally ended. I suddenly remembered J gave me 6 huge cans of beer when he visited Singapore a month ago, called Lapin Kulta–or how the Finns affectionately translate the brand– “Reindeer piss”.
Nobody in my household could drink Lapin Kulta. They tasted terrible. I took a sip and that was it. Even my mom who loves salmiakki took a sip and couldn’t drink anymore.
So I decided to give N the Lapin Kulta(s) that nobody in my family wants. :DDDDD
“Hey N, here’s my number. Let me know if you want some Lapin Kulta”.