Hannah has landed a job as an exporter's assistant in Hong Kong. She loves the job, and her boss Josh, but there's a fly in the ointment: Mrs Reese. She isn't exactly the president of Hannah's fan club.
Stacy is Hannah's best friend - she's pretty and smart, fun and single. She's also a bit of a genius when it comes to her job at the bank (where she's an analyst).
Although Hannah and Stacy live together, I want them to pass like two ships in the Hong Kong night, which will upset Hannah. So, given these facts:
People work very long hours in Hong Kong as a general rule (in professional positions, Saturday workdays are normal).
Stacy is in Hong Kong on a 1-2 year transfer, so it's not an assured position.
It's really difficult as a Western woman to date in Hong Kong - men don't generally make the first move and there is loads of competition.
Stacy has a rather lackadaisical approach to her love life - in the past she's usually had a prospect on the go but has never made a big deal about the men she dates (unlike Hannah who loves to obsess)
If we make Stacy work long hours, it's more realistic. If we put her out on dates all the time it's more fun but given the facts above, may not be realistic. What do you think?
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POLL RESULTS: It's unanimous, you want Stacy to be a workaholic. Poor Stacy!
HANNAH AND HER BFF STACY LIVE TOGETHER BUT DON'T SEE MUCH OF EACH OTHER. HAVE A LOOK AT THE BLOG, THEN DECIDE WHETHER:
Stacy's always working, which Hannah resents (100%)
Stacy's a dating machine, always out and about with a man
Lovely readers, I'd like to share a bit more of the story with you - don't worry, there aren't any spoilers in this excerpt if you've read Single in the City - I hope you enjoy this little scene :-))
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Bangkok was my introduction to life in the
East. Given that London’s backpacker ghetto (aka Earl’s Court) had been my most
exotic home to date, I needed an “Asia 101” sort of city. Upon landing at the
airport I realized that I’d enrolled in a PhD course. It wasn’t the heat, or
the press of small people that told me I was out of my depth. It wasn’t that
the signs were written in squiggle. It was the sight of a golf course on the runway. A golf course. On the runway.
Our plane interrupted a stream of oddly dressed men wheeling their clubs to the
next tee. Al Qaeda’s foursome may
not be putting on the green, but surely Thais had to be a little worried about terrorism. Was their Buddhist nature so
comprehensively peaceful that they couldn’t imagine a man teeing off with a
grudge and a rocket launcher? Or even a golfer with a mean slice? Between the
noise and the fumes and the responsibility for not bringing down a 747 with a
bad drive, Thais must be some of the best golfers in the world. Isn’t Tiger
Woods half Thai? Point made.
My arrival would have
been enormously exciting even if, after fifty six days of Samlessness, I wasn’t about to see my boyfriend, a.k.a.
Lovely Sam, The One, love o’ my life, and similar monikers that made people
reach for a bucket. Sometimes I had to remind myself that I wasn’t dreaming –
I’d really agreed to move my worldly belongings to be with this man. Feminists
everywhere groaned at this betrayal to the sisterhood, but I saw it as an adventure, with regular sex. Plus my job in London
was as dead as the electricity during Hurricane Catrina. What better excuse to
try a new city than at the invitation of your one true love? They say that love
is often right under one’s nose. My mother loved to quote what “they say”,
usually when she meant “I think”. Well in this case they were right. I
practically tripped over Sam, though for most of the year that we worked
together he was solidly off my romantic radar. He wasn’t disqualified for any
physical or psychological shortcoming. He’d simply had the misfortune of being
born American, and I certainly hadn’t moved 3,000 miles to London to date the
same guy I’d have met back home. Besides, the only sparks between us were the
result of friction, not romance. In a way he held a mirror up to me, often when
I looked my worst, like a best friend who’s not afraid to tell you unpleasant
truths. Then the most remarkable thing happened. After prolonged exposure I
came down with a terminal case of the Sams. Once I started thinking about him,
in that way, I couldn’t stop. I think
I loved him from the first time we kissed. Now where’s that bucket?
How ironic that two
months could fly by when something like a term paper or a baby were due, but
crawl backwards when waiting for a reunion. And the past two months did crawl. Not even the giddy
anticipation of living in a new country (read: terrifying second-guessing of
decision) sped the days along.
As we passengers
shuffled towards immigration a crowd pattered towards us. Within seconds we were swamped in a sea
of squealing, kissing, wee people. It was a family reunion on the moving
sidewalk. We were in airport limbo – the land of Ticketed Passengers Only
Beyond This Point. Yet here were mere mortals, mere unticketed mortals, mingling with the passengers. A few were
dressed like golfers.
My heart lodged
somewhere in my windpipe. In that moment I realized that “weak in the knees”
wasn’t just an expression. On overboiled-spaghetti legs, I went to my
boyfriend. We kissed for long minutes while the other passengers streamed past
with their families. He felt, smelled, tasted so good I didn’t want to stop.
Despite our separation he was completely familiar to me. Who’d have thought
that I, Hannah Jane Cumming, could be so happy?
‘Good flight?’ He
clasped my hand like he was afraid I’d disappear. Fat chance of that.
‘Wonderful. I was
nicely tranquilized.’ That was an understatement. I could have taken out my own
appendix. Flight fear aside, it was a good trip. Raised solely on a diet of
domestic airlines, it never occurred to me that altitude didn’t guarantee insolence in flight attendants. My flights always
involved stale peanuts served by one-time-shot-put champions. Sometimes we
didn’t even get the nuts. How refreshing, then, to be welcomed aboard the Asian
airline by an immaculate, smiling Thai woman who handed me a tiny purple orchid
by way of greeting. The flower was meant to make up for the long stretch
between meals, and my seatmate’s thigh, which showed no appreciation for
boundaries. But the flight attendants were still lovely.
‘Han, I’m so glad
you’re here. God I’ve missed you! I love- I love that you’re standing in front
of me. You look beautiful.’
I knew for a fact that
I did not look beautiful. I’m not saying I’m bad looking– that would be
disingenuous. At five foot six, I’m neither tall nor short. I’ve got boobs and
hips but am not fat to look at (the squishy middle bits don’t bother me). Most
people assume I play sport (I resolutely do not). My features are regular; I
don’t hate my nose or crave collagen injections, but neither are my lips
bee-stung, pillow-soft or any other Scarlett Johansson-esque adjective. Eyes
(two), are light brown and look in the same direction. Boys seem to like me. My
best friend Stacy says it’s because I’ve got a gleam in my eye. I think she
means they assume I’m easy. I’m not (always). The one thing I’d change is my
hair. Not the colour (light brown) but the way it comes out of my head. Other
people have waves. I have reverse cowlicks and sticky outy bits that fuzz up
like candy floss. It’s out of control. This is how I know Sam wasn’t looking at
me with his eyes, but with his heart. Picture Helena Bonham-Carter. Then rub
her head against a balloon for 12 hours.
Li Ming, Sam's colleague, isn't a conventional Chinese beauty - she's tiny, bookish and rather plain. But Sam is spending every workday, and many work nights, with her, and it's driving Hannah nuts.
So, let's decide on Li Ming's personality... Should she be hostile to Hannah, and clearly after Sam (although Sam either won't see it or won't admit it)? That'll set up some nice tensions, don't you think? Maybe she should she be subtly subversive, perhaps "forgetting" to leave Hannah's messages, etc.? That'll make Hannah wonder if she's over-reacting and keep her off-balance. Or should she be super nice, friendly, funny and witty? In some ways this is the worst kind of adversary, no? As usual, please be sure to vote in the poll, but let's chat about Li Ming in the comments below.
By the way, the writing is going Really Fast! Soon I'll post an excerpt for your enjoyment :-)
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Poll results: All right, then, a super-nice plain Jane she shall be! And I love the idea of knocking Sam off-balance too :-)
Li Ming, Sam's colleague, isn't a conventional Chinese beauty - she's tiny, bookish and rather plain. What's her personality?
She's hostile to Hannah, and clearly after Sam 14%
She's subtly subversive 21%
She's super nice, friendly, funny and witty - rats, you can't even hate her! 64%
Sam has a colleague. She's young. She's smart. And she spends every work day, and many work nights, with Sam. She's called Li Ming, a Hong Kong native. Sooo, what should Li Ming look like? Be sure to vote on the poll (over there to the left), but do leave comments too!
Is it more fun for us to make her an Asian beauty, alluring and a clear threat to Hannah? (Or IS she?! :-))
Or should she be a plain Jane, making Hannah wonder why Sam thinks she's so great? Note that this still makes her a threat to Hannah, but she'll be a confusing one.
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POLL RESULTS: You want a plain Jane, not a stunning dragon... she'll be more of a threat to Hannah if she's not a conventional beauty.
Sam has a colleague. She's young. She's smart. And she
spends every work day, and many work nights, with Sam. She's called Li
Ming, a Hong Kong native. What should Li Ming look like?
She's a beauty, alluring and clearly a threat (33%)
She's a plain Jane - so what does Sam see in her? (67%)