Bustling January

Kickstart 2023 with healthy sports activity with le troop, followed by Chinese cuisine buffet at night. Flew back hometown few days later to attend BFF weddings held on weekends.

Finally attended BFF weddings (church wedding & wedding banquet), blame the Covid! First time attending church wedding, I don’t really know what to expect honestly, but it was a meaningful event that’s for sure! I cried seeing her walking down the aisle, looking at how beautiful she was on her wedding day. We took pictures together in front of St Peter’s Church, the oldest functioning Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia. Enjoyed traditional Portuguese dance and got to meet BFF in-laws too. So happy for her seeing so many people adore and shower her with love. I can totally feel it from speeches of the in-laws, parents and husband. *pass me tissue please* They must be so proud of her, me too!

Attended wedding banquet the next day, and saw a few long lost high school friends and their partners. Didn’t really get to speak to a few but I will definitely make it up for that. I was asked to give a 5 min speech, so I scribbled something beforehand. I suck at table topics especially I was emotional. I rehearsed many times to prep myself not to cry when I deliver. But I failed. I cried when I hugged her, after the speech. Oh yeah I got my birthday presents too hehe, a handmade knit top and a bottle of Chardonnay. BFF was still able to squeeze time to knit a top amid havoc wedding planning, she is a superwoman. Not to mention, she did most of the planning for her wedding.

Flew back Singapore for work and also to pack stuff from existing locker, current floor will be under renovation for couple of months, that explains. Went back office to meet fellow colleagues, honestly I enjoy working in office to meet people, to dress up nicely in OL attire etc. Hmm… Attended few meetings, didn’t really get to meet some of the new team members. So Feb would make that up. Was back to Malaysia for Lunar New Year after a little road trip with the family. Had reunion with extended family, received red packets, lo-hei, some ka-ching session with cousins.

Watched CNY movies with family. Popcorns with so much laughter.

Tried out new dishes with le dad and mom, my dad is definitely my savior.

Visited secondary school’s principal and had scrumptious lunch together.

Very satisfied with my CNY #OOTD lol.

Brought parents for some KTV session, now they are obsessed.

Morning dim sum rush, thanks to my not-so-little brother.

Drove car for 900 meter, a little milestone yay! Without any scolding 🙂

Cousins gathering with BBQ + steamboat. Hoping to meet more cousins next time.

House crashing session at my cousin’s place hehe, and his chubby cat.

Holding my grandma’s hand while strolling a walk. It’s not a big deal, but #iykyk

A friend of 23 years is flying off to UK, glad to meet up with him and the fiancée.

Getting really forgetful nowadays, that explains why I like taking pictures or writing journals. I hope when I look back someday, I could recall and feel it all over again. I had a lot in my mind, which also explains my eyebags lately. The more we grow, our life priorities change gradually. I get to slowly understand, not being forceful and respect other’s decisions. But at least for myself, I hope I did my best at the very moment, so that I don’t regret like how I never spend time with my late grandpa last time.

Signing off January’23.

Expat Story: A Different Chinese New Year

Marking one year not returning home aka first time celebrating Chinese New Year (CNY) overseas. No reunion dinner, no new clothes, no visitations… initially! To be honest, I had no plans on how am I gonna spend time during CNY since I am pretty stuck in Singapore, not able to go home for celebration. However, kudos to my cousins and friends, they actually made initiatives to meet up for lunches and dinners. For that, I am beyond grateful. Not to mention, one of my friends purposely drove me some cookies and tarts right before CNY. What have I done to deserve this! *Crying inside

Ended work prolly 3pm during eve, rushed home to change before eating out. Oriental restaurants in Singapore were either fully booked or mainly closed. We managed to have dinner in a German bar with delightful pork ribs and barramundi. Eating out in an occidental restaurant without parents during CNY eve indeed feels very different. We used to gather to cook and eat together for many years, so much laughter in the house. Sitting in the bus on the journey back home while thinking how others spending time with their families, I had never felt such empty in my life.

Video-called parents first thing in the morning after washed up during Chu Yi (1st day of CNY). Chit chatted quite a bit, as it was their very first time spending CNY without us (me and my brother). Was invited to one of my friend’s house for lunch. We did potluck. All of us are expats working in Singapore, despite meeting them the very first time, we got bonded quickly. We had fun playing board games and pokers. We stayed for the day, spending quality time with my friend’s aunt and herself. Feel so good to have such good host to cater us, feeding us with good food. We left for the day with stomach full of food.

Visited another friend’s house during Chu Er (2nd day of CNY). The husband and herself even prepped us lunch. She texted me few days beforehand, asking if I have any plans, otherwise I can pay them a visit and have lunch together! Got to meet a new friend, eating themed doughnuts, and of course having steamboat together. Left for dinner with le cousins thereafter. Made reservation a month ago, since social distancing required with limited slots in a restaurant. We managed to video-call our families in every corner of the world. We greeted and sent our regards before eating. Despite being thousand miles away, it’s nice seeing everyone enjoying themselves and in good shape. It was a decent dinner, having Lohei together, checking in to see how everyone is doing, especially during this pandemic.

Met secondary school friends on Chu San (3rd day of CNY) aka Valentine’s day! Glad to hear everyone is doing fine, with one of us just got married and had job change; another one got his PR status of late. It’s always good to hear good news as it somehow motivates me to work harder, in achieving my goals while my friends are working hard for theirs too! All of us have not been returning home for a year, and God knows when would be the next time we meeting our families…

Writing this to remind how blessed I am. Have been telling my parents that despite not able to return home, I am doing very fine with friends making me feel like home overseas. Handwritten letter, handmade cookies, visitations, red packets (it’s a blessing!), lunches and dinners, CNY goodies etc., it makes me feel like I am not alone overseas.

It is a very different Chinese New Year to most of us. Not able to travel home, seeing each other via Zoom calls, limited visitations and so. However, without my knowing, God actually sends more people to me. Look forward to the day I am able to do more for them, my turn to host them in future! Happy Niu Year all !