A best friend I wish you had…

I met Valerie in a cold winter night in Shanghai last year. It was one of the those “meetup” event that you really dread going to alone but you know there’s a slim chance you will meet someone awesome. And that night was one of the rare nights.

Mindy Kaling (creator and star of Mindy Project) is spot on when she said “It’s much harder to find someone that you like, wanna talk to, than it is to find a man you wanna sleep with”. I knew with Valerie I got lucky.

Here are 5 reasons why Valerie makes a hell of a best friend.

  1. She challenges me to see the world in a non judgemental way

Impressively for a 22 year old, she has this knack to talk to absolutely anyone. Regardless of color, religion, background, age, gender and social status, she is able to engage them in meaningful conversations. If I had half of her wisdom and clarity when I was 22, I would have been darn proud of myself.

Once I asked her, “Val, what is it about you that you are willing and able to talk to anyone?”

She told me “ You have to look beyond their agenda and motives and understand why people think the way they do.”

She had taught me more about this biblical verse “ Look not at the outwardly appearance but at a man’s heart” (1 Sam 16:7) than all the sermons that I’ve heard.

2. She reflects often and is thankful

A confident girl is one who knows that her happiness is not dependent on external factors but from within. A deep and reflective soul like hers is often content.

A line from her Aug 2 Facebook post goes like this…

That’s the beauty of spontaneity and friendships and life. Sometimes you gotta let things go, so the laughter can come back in!”

3. She is hungry for the world and what is has to offer

She is someone who loves life with such intensity and passion. You can see in her eyes! Over the past 8 months I’ve observed that she loves to acquire knowledge and to improve herself. Even in her internship here in Shanghai, I am impressed at her willingness to request her boss to task her with more challenging assignments.

4. She loves to travel and is up for the next adventure

Traveling to Urumuqi and having the opportunity to live with a family in Kazakhstan yurt, sounds like a page out of Valerie’s travelogues. Of course, this Singaporean girl charmed the entire village and a marriage proposal ensue!

5. She has this crazy sexy way to text (WHICH I LOVE!)

Texting gets a bad rep these days. A lot of foreigners in China tend to agree that texting reduces quality of human interaction. However with Valerie, I have had one of most witty and interesting conversations over texts (wechat). I have lost count of number of times she got me laughing at my phone like an idiot.

Some of her worthy mentions:

On dating apps “ I think this pervert’s smile just gave me STD.”

On flirting: “Is it a legit thing to say 你的嘴巴很甜?”

On making me feel special “Why cant I meet a guy with a personality like yours #qotd”

Damnnnn, this girl is smooth and I am going to miss her like hell.

Even as our time here in Shanghai comes to an end, I look back upon on these great life lessons and know that she has already left her mark.