Feb 13, 2009
Of all the 6 and a half billion people in the world, what are the odds that any two people are a real match? Stories from people who know they've beat the odds, and the lengths they've gone to do it. Including an American professor who sings Chinese opera for anyone who'll listen, to get one step closer to his mate, and Mike Birbiglia on meeting his girlfriend's... boyfriend.
Note: This episode originally contained an additional story that we have removed to accommodate a request of anonymity.
- When Eric Hayot was 23, he went on an exchange program to China one summer. He took an opera class on a lark, and before he knew it, he was on stage, singing the part of a famous judge. Accompanying him, on a traditional two-stringed fiddle, was a 19-year-old musician named Yuanyuan Di. Eric fell for her the moment he saw her, and began spending time with her. But a couple of weeks later he went back to the States, and that was that. They didn't keep in touch—it was too hard to communicate by letter. Then, two years later, Eric went back to China to study, and decided he had to find Yuanyuan again. Only he didn't have her phone number, or address or any other way to contact her. So to track her down, he deployed his secret weapon: The fact that Chinese people love it when westerners sing Chinese songs. This American Life Producer Sarah Koenig reports. (19 minutes)
Mike Birbiglia, photographed by Joan Marcus