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I ran across this post this morning asking the question: What is the quirkiest thing in your house you will never give away?

(I am seriously hoping Mr. V doesn’t tell me he’s already thrown this away since I am going to get sentimental about it. But I don’t think he has!! LOL.)

Mr. V and I started dating in November 2001, our sophomore year of college. That summer, he went to Geneva, Switzerland to work in a physics lab for 10 weeks. I went to Beijing, China to study abroad for 6 weeks. It was a grand adventure in long-distance romance. Mr. V really hates talking on the phone, so we mostly subsisted by e-mail and IM (just e-mail and one phone conversation when I was in China–Internet usage was slim and had to be paid for there!).

I got to hear about all his trips to Italy, Austria, and France; about how he hitchhiked back to Brussels, Belgium with four girls (grrrr). Meanwhile, I was trying to cram all the Chinese I could into my brain while suffering 110 degree, 30000% humidity weather, trying to figure out how to order food that was edible in restaurants, bargaining for random stuff, and learning to yell at taxi drivers in Chinese when they went the wrong way and wanted to be paid for it anyway.

One of the first days we were in China, we went to the grocery store, one of the few places where things were priced and you had to pay that price. It was a strange store, a small Wal-Mart sort of place, where you could buy groceries, shoes, bootleg DVDs, and decorated cakes. And on one of these first days, I bought Mr. V a souvenir. I guess China had just found out they were hosting the 2008 Olympics, because it was a big thing already.

I bought him a soccer ball with the Olympic rings, the Chinese characters for double happiness, and that said (I thought), “It’s Double Happiness!” in English. He played soccer in high school, and for some reason this was the only thing I could think of that he might like.

When I gave it to him, he immediately started laughing. The soccer ball did NOT say, “It’s Double Happiness.” It said, “It’s Double Happineass!” (This is a common problem among things translated from Chinese to English. In China I saw a travel brochure advertising a trip to “Jesus Christ City.” My best guess is Jerusalem, but who knows?)

Yay! We still have it. I stand corrected, though, it doesn’t have the characters on it, just the words.

To this day, we laugh over the “Double Happ-i-nee-ass” soccer ball.

[From Switzerland, he brought me a beautiful music box that plays the theme from “Love Story.” I would also never get rid of that!]

3 thoughts on “Souvenirs

  1. You have composed a delightful Fun Monday post. The words on the soccer ball are hilarious. I would love a music box with the theme from Love Story. (My husband and I met in a college library like the couple in Love Story.0

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