Dear Ann Landers: I am a Chinese man who reads your column on the Internet. I hope you can help me. Please try. I am bewildered. I once had a girlfriend who was very plain-looking, but she had a good job and came from a wealthy family. We broke up several months ago. Soon after we parted, I met another girl, who is beautiful, but she does not have as good an income.
My former girlfriend recently came back to me and said she has been very lonely since we parted. She wants us to start over again and has promised that her family will send me to America to study at a university. To be frank with you, this has long been a dream of mine.
I don't want to hurt either of these young women, so I am seeing both of them without either one knowing about the other. I feel guilty and confused. Please help me decide what to do.
-- Overseas Friend
Dear Overseas Friend: Follow your heart. You won't regret it. Meanwhile, did it occur to you that you could work and save money toward your goal, and try for a scholarship at an American university? Most American schools have Internet addresses. Write to them and ask how you can accomplish your dream.
What's in a name?
Dear Ann Landers: When our first child was born, my in-laws said they did not want to be called "Grandma and Grandpa." Even though they have other grandchildren, I suspect the names made them feel old. They picked new nicknames for themselves -- "Fifi" and "Papa."
We thought this was rather strange, since their other grandchildren do not use these names. Also, the thought of our son calling his grandmother "Fifi" gave me indigestion. Our son is now a year old, and he is just starting to speak. Last week I overheard my mother-in-law talking to him alone. She said, "You should call me 'Fifi.' "
Do I have to go along with this? I need help, Ann.
-- Torn in Texas
Dear Torn: If the grandparents want the children to call them "Fifi" and "Papa," go along with it. They have the right to make this decision. Names don't matter a great deal. What is meaningful is the quality of the relationship. If it is warm and loving, be satisfied. Everybody wins.
Dear Ann Landers: I have been living with "Bill" for almost eight years. Unfortunately, Bill refuses to have an alarm clock on his side of the bed. His new job requires him to wake up at 5 a.m. at the very latest, but I don't have to get up until 6 a.m. The problem is, Bill expects me to set my alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. and hit the snooze button every 10 minutes for a half-hour. Then he gets out of bed, and I have to reset my alarm to wake myself up an hour later. I am having difficulty waking up, and I'm so tired at the office I can't concentrate.
I've told Bill how much this annoys me, but he doesn't seem to care. He says I'm "lazy." I bought him an alarm clock for his birthday. He became angry, threw it in the garbage and stomped out of the house. I thought he was going to leave me. I can't go on like this much longer.
-- Exhausted in Canada
Dear Canada: Do not cave in. Bill must learn to get up on his own. It's his responsibility, not yours. If you lose that control freak over this, you haven't lost much.