The other day I had reason to look up the word 留恋 (liúliàn), which my dictionary says means “be reluctant to leave (a place); can’t bear to part (from somebody or with something); recall with nostalgia.”
Trans: I deeply miss my college life.
The dictionary then says “参见“流连”的提示”, which means “See the note at 流连 (liúlián)”. So I go to 流连 (which, as you can see, is pronounced almost exactly like 留恋, and, incidentally, exactly like the word for “durian fruit”) and see that it means “be reluctant to leave; linger on.”
Tthe note explains that 流连 refers to things that you want to linger on like scenic views and beautiful environments, in particular those which bring communal pleasure. So it can’t be used interchangeably with 留恋. It then gives a sentence to illustrate the proper usage:
Trans: He glanced at her, his dark eyes seeming to linger on her breasts.
So there you go. 留恋 is for things you miss, like your hometown, alma mater, or relatives, and 流连 is for things that bring pleasure to everyone, like women’s breasts.
Speaking of being reluctant to leave, I’m going to be away from the blog all next week while I’m in Hong Kong, where I’ll be having a long-awaited reunion with some friends I’ve been 留恋ing for a long time. See you in two weeks.
Something to remind you of the good old days.