Are You Happy?

He ever said so long she (me) is happy… But, are you? I wanted to ask.

Never had I thought I could be someone source of happiness. Came home a week to spend time with family. Mom said I am one blessed girl, having so many people to love me. My dad remembers everything I said. He grants my wishes regardless big or small. Knowing my homecoming, le mom changed bedsheet and curtains, decorated my room with flowers and sprayed scents air freshener. My brother fetches me whenever I want.

Uncles know I love herbal soup, seafood and Hakka delicacies, so I had a table full of Hakka cuisine, crab feast and big bowl of soup all by myself. Aunts cooked me food, and I never starved. Grandma still fills my bowl with loads of vegetables. Grandpa asked me to come home often. I am the eldest at home, I often take charge and make decisions. However among elder cousins, I am still one little girl. Little cousins are now all grown up, they drive me around and take care of me.

Having to live overseas almost a decade, home is where family is. I really treasure the moment being together. My love language is indeed quality time. Spending 9 days with them feel like a dream. Time sure files, I am leaving for work soon. When was the last time you see your parents? Have they have more wrinkles? Do they walk slower now? Their simplest joy is when they see smile on our faces.

These days, I got to teach them new things, introduced cocktails, explored good food places etc. Despite turning 28 this year, they still nag me for being forgetful, they still cook me dishes upon request, they still drive me around (cause I rarely drive) etc. Really glad that I am very close to my family, especially parents. Once, my friend asked: who are you closer to, mom or dad? Both, I said!

I literally told my mom everything, even though we are many miles apart. She never missed any events happened in my life, and she remembers better than I do. I am my dad’s favorite, he claimed. He only listened to me when my mom can’t even. Guess I just know how to push the right button aye? It applies the same to my little brother. Hehe. 🙂

Often we thought we are alone, especially living overseas. We never wanted to worry our families, but I always remind myself I have loving family to back me up whenever I need. My dad was saying he is very happy to see us well now, but his heart aches whenever he sees us spending money on them (buy things, eat-out etc.). It is unnecessary, he said.

I reassured, saying that you (and mom) are my motivation to work hard. When we were young, you worked hard to feed us, give us the best education. I want to do the same. I work hard so that I am able to provide you better, bring you to experience, to explore. He then relieved. Though money is not everything, but it indeed provides us more options.

It’s okay to feel helpless, it’s okay to cry (we are all humans), more importantly, you should know that there is always someone love you more than you ever know. Don’t need to feel guilty or sorry, do it now before you know. Call whoever you miss, tell them how you feel. Often we are afraid how another party will react, but that’s your assumption. Communicate, not just talk.

Hope you are happy in whatever you do. Feeling a little emo right now *packing my luggage but I am looking forward to come home in July again hehe. Ciao~

Good Friday Indeed

It’s a long weekend these weekends. Hence, my parents decided to come down for visit. It has been more than 2 years since they came down to Singapore. It was pretty spontaneous. Earlier, I was just casually asking my dad if they planned to visit us since border has been uplifted. And he reverted: yes we will be coming down next week!

He booked accommodation, submitted his pass for approval etc. Fast forward to Thursday, I went out for drinks. Revealed some not-so-secret secrets from my brother. I was not surprised, prolly due to society nowadays, it’s kinda common I guess. I am glad that I am a half glass full person. Somehow I overcome things easier than my friends, and even so, I am able to shower positive energy to the people whom I care.

Me and my brother fully paid for the trip expenses, something I am very proud of. I have been longing to offer this gesture. I brought them to places with legitimate food and services. My mom was happy to see her son after 2 years. I found my brother becoming more mature, he is more chivalry and patience now. Despite being his older sister, sometimes I feel like I am the younger one.

Visited Flower Dome & Cloud Forest. My mom loves flowers, hence it’s a right choice bringing them for the visit. Not to mention, it was pretty sunny and hot. So, it was wise to stay indoors surrounded by flora and fauna. Brought them for dinner in a German bar. Le brother did all the meat cutting which I am glad. I have no idea how to do it to begin with. We then chilled in the hotel for awhile before parents slept in.

Rebellious got us to sneak out for a late night movie. Fortunately, the nearest cinema theatre was just 3 mins away. Parents knocked us on the door at 8am next day when we were still in our bed. Freshen up ourselves, chatted a while while having breakfast before heading out for temple visit. I am glad that dad made such impulsive decision for driving many hours down to Singapore to see us, so that we are able to spend quality time together.

Parents left Singapore after we had Chinese cuisine for lunch in a mall. My dad even bought me some snacks that I casually mentioned before hehe. Went for facial before meeting up le friends at a well known Indian restaurant near Clarke Quay. Met a pretty cool new friend who works in cybersecurity field. He even introduced us a draft beer place for drinks. Though I don’t really fancy beer, I really had fun.

Pretty sum up my Good Friday which is indeed a good Friday. I must say time really flies with a blink of eye. It’s mid April and soon gonna be May. Lately, I found out I am a very bad texter, or rather I prefer face to face conversation. Sometimes I would just ghost people without my knowing, or I feel some texts don’t need my actions? I guess being someone whose love language is quality time, I just want to spend time with those I care.

My heart is full now.

Who Do You See Yourself Compare With

He asked: who do you see yourself compare with?

Myself, I said. Just saying everyone has their own path and I don’t wanna compare myself with anybody else. So long I am doing better than my old self.

This week I closed case- a group account that I couldn’t manage 5 months ago.

Yesterday I cycled 18KM bike ride that I couldn’t complete 6 months ago.

Today I managed to do a difficult yoga posture that I couldn’t make it 3 months ago.

There goes second quarter of year 2022. I think my progress has been satisfactory up to now. Scored merit for one of my certificates yesterday before went out for cycling. 2 more to go! Cannot wait for them to end already by end May!

Can I just say I feel much happier than previous year. Not sure why though, prolly I know myself better, I see things differently, and mostly I prioritize myself than anything else. This year is a good year, so I really want to make every moment worth it and memorable.

Recently, I got a lot of compliments that I am getting better and slimmer. Some said it is inspiring to see me for being who I want myself to be. It made me feel proud of myself. Guess we all just have to never stop dreaming and work for it! At least, I tried. No regrets.

My parents are coming down next week which I am glad. I have done all them itinerary. Can’t wait to bring them around, a place I called home for a decade. Looking forward the new week already! Not to mention, it is a 4 day work week woohoo!

Homebound’ 22

The day has finally arrived… after 2 years. From booking vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flight, applying leaves, scheduling appointment for PCR test etc., I am finally home! Did I cry for a moment? Let’s not state the obvious. My tears were rolling at the corner of my eye when plane took off.

Have been waiting this moment for the longest time since March 2020. It all started from Alpha, Beta and then Delta, and now Omicron… Multiple country lockdowns, case fluctuations, being anxious etc. . The past 2 years were tough for all of us, regardless physically & mentally. Though it was a short 15-day trip, it was very fruitful.

Got to spend precious moment with my family and friends. Being not able to see my paternal grandma and maternal grandpa for 2 years, they have more wrinkles, they walk slower than how they used to, they now only react to louder voices… I am glad I am still able to catch up what I have missed.

Surprised my grandma when she was watching television the other day, she couldn’t react when I called her, prolly it didn’t strike her mind that I will show up like that in one fine afternoon. She still asked if I am dating, prolly she wants to see me settle down when she is still around. She teased my dad for being old school, for not able to accept interracial relationship. She reassured me, so long I am happy, she is happy.

We also stayed overnight at my uncle’s place, we gathered around to listen how grandpa travelled to China when he was only 3 years old. He shared how lucky we are as third generation, not require to do labor intensive work when we were kids. My cousins are now grown up children who can drive their older sister (me) around exploring city for late supper. We are close as we mostly spent our childhood together.

Got to sing karaoke after 2 years, catch up with le secondary school friends, manage to eat food that I have been longing. Not to mention, my dad’s cooking skill has improved a lot indeed. He is like my genie as he never failed my food quest. So proud of him that he has leveled up during country lockdown. Now he can cook, bake, grill etc.

I am glad after 2 years not able to return home, nothing has changed. 🙂 Oh, I got to drive with my dad sitting beside me. I have not touched steering wheel since late 2019, it has been awhile. I am lucky to have my family and friends to fetch me around whenever I need. Definitely, one of the best days I had in these 2 years. Time to back to work, not to mention, I have 2 exams next month, but I have yet to start reading any materials.

I changed my return flight from VTL to non-VTL to extend my stay, hence I am serving a 7-day stay home quarantine at the moment. I managed to stay longer with family and friends, so I am not complaining at all. Plus, recent cases in Singapore has spiked in double, hence I am happy to stay home, avoiding meet ups and crowds with a legitimate reason for the time being.

Again, I am really thankful for having considerate colleagues, sufficient annual leaves, VTL arrangement, caring landlady, last but not least, my parents for this sweet homebound. Looking forward to meet them again, hopefully soon!

Often We Thought… We Assumed.

All along I know that communication plays vital part in life, regardless with family, at work or in relationships. But recently, I learn that consequences of good communication are indeed loud and impactful. Communication allows us to share feelings, connect and build trust, most importantly able to deliver messages we want to convey, not assumptions. Assumptions can be unfavorable at times as it is a willingness to accept something as true without question or proof. It can lead to unpleasant experience, with the thinking: “I thought…” “Maybe…” when another party have no intention on the messages he convey.

Hmm where do I start…

I was once very bad in communications. I assumed what another party is thinking and I don’t clarify, mainly I couldn’t take rejections. I will feel hurtful based on my assumptions. Eventually I became defensive. Also, I had poor listening skills, I tend to shut people off when I hear things I don’t want to hear. I never compromised, used to… Guess working in corporate world for plenty of years has really molded me to become a better person where I need to force myself to liaise with counterparties regardless making calls or blasting emails. There should be zero misunderstanding as it might affect relevant stakeholders especially working on projects. I am thankful for those opportunities given where I need to deal with management, external parties and fellow colleagues for the past few years.

Now I can better tweak my words though I might be quite assertive at times, but at least another party wouldn’t feel so pressurized. I will initiate talks so that both parties can speak up our minds to work for better outcome. I trust good process helps as much as best outcome matters. I believe in creating values, not only for clients, but also stakeholders. I am able to take rejections nowadays, and I wouldn’t take it personally like how I used to… I believe things happened for a reason and they will better improve me as a person in future. I am doing it for myself!

Recently, I learnt more about love language too. All along I know mine has been act of service and quality time. To me, for a person who works relentlessly with the bank (also due to my job scope), I value my time a lot, especially nowadays I end work late, I barely go out during weekdays. Occasionally, I would rather spend time at home than going out during weekends. Guess I just need some space to work on myself before another new week strikes again.

I was being asked if quality time means spending a lot of time together or going out a lot. To be honest, not really actually. I treasure meaningful meetings or intellectual conversation over high quantities of outings. A person who craves quality time actually has very little to do with the amount of time you are together. It’s also not based on activities. Quality time is about how you spend the time that you have together.

For people whose primary love language is quality time, we never lose sight of the fact that time is limited and tomorrow is not promised. Hence, we view time together as a priceless gift that we want to give and receive in relationships. To us, life is about being in the moment. When we are feeling insecure or going through a tough time, just show your care by simply being there and spending quality time together. Even though not all the discomfort will be taken away- nor should you be expected to- being able to demonstrate that you are present and available means a lot to us.

Guess communication would always be a lifelong learning lesson to us. Like my dad, he is a very reserved person, typical Asian dad I would say. He often makes decisions he thought would be beneficial to us (me and my bro), and he never shared reasons why. I mean as a parent, he doesn’t need to explain every single thing to us. Over the years, I learnt how to get him to talk more as we sometimes misunderstand his intentions, and he never bothered to explain.

I remember when Covid just started last year, I requested using public chopsticks when we were having dinner. He got so furious as if we are not close bonded, as if he will spread us the virus… Sooner, my mom got furious too, thinking he is being too sensitive. Knowing his concern, I spoke to him calmly: I work overseas where I travel a lot. To be honest, I would think I have more virus exposure than you spreading gems to me. I requested public chopsticks as I am concerned your wellbeing as much as myself. Hope you understand. Onwards, there will always be public chopsticks on dining table.

Even with family, a group of people living together for so many years, communication still plays important part.

Some tips for effective communications:

  1. Active listening- involves hearing and understanding what a person is saying to you.
  2. Be personable. Everyone is different, hence way of dealing might be different at times.
  3. Empathy- understand and share the feelings of another person.
  4. Always have an open mind. Don’t take things personally.
  5. Process your feelings. Avoid blurting hurtful words when you are angry.

Hope this helps as I find it very important! 🙂

Love Yourself First before Falling in Love

Not falling in love yet… I am a total different person now, I feel. I am not afraid to voice out, take rejections and have more self awareness. I guess it was my damn ego last time. I now don’t put anything else before myself. I don’t want my relationship seem like a mission to complete due to reaching “age of marriage” already.

I am not looking for someone to accompany me cause I am single; some of my friends did. No comments, but I would rather stay alone. I would love to have someone that can have fun with as well as thrive for future together. Earlier, I met up with a friend, and found out he broke up with his girlfriend few months ago. From what I knew, they don’t fight, or argue. They kept feelings and never voiced out, maybe they thought it may affect their relationship, or they feel obliged to adjust to their partner. Later, the girl asked for a break up.

Communication is very important in a relationship, so that your partner knows your expectations and vice versa, even better if it is being communicated since beginning. Often, we wanted to build that ‘perfect image’ in front of our partner, being very accommodating even though at some point we might not feel comfortable about it. But, it is also important not to take things personally and always keep an open mind. We all have things we like and do not like. It would be good if we respect each others’ likings or hatred.

I think I am quite matured, so I really need someone who is on par or more mature than me. I ever doubted myself, thinking whether I am good enough. I was very unhappy, and I feel I am no longer myself anymore. Maybe I was too young, and not good in handling my emotions. But slowly, I learned that I am the one who takes charge of my emotions. Not anyone else.

I love how I am being appreciated and respected, for being able to voice out what I want or not want. I feel like everyone should have another part of his life instead of fully vested in relationship. I am not saying to have an affair. The 100% of us should comprise more than just being in relationship. Modern days now, even for women, it is important to have career to thrive, hobbies to enjoy, keeping up friendships and family matters to prioritize.

Side track a little. Tiny milestone to celebrate: I quit doing eyelashes extension, like finally! It was a thing where you don’t want to stop once you start doing it. I once thought I was not attractive enough, in need of that ABG look to boost confidence when I don’t put on make up. Slowly, I accepted who I am, and obviously I am happier now. I no longer worry that I am not able to meet my friends when I don’t have 13mm eyelashes on me.

Darn insecurities, bye!

Nothing Lasts

A star has fallen.

He left few days ago.

She is leaving in 2 weeks’ time.

I am leaving in less than a month.

“Cause in my mind, nothing lasts…” From a song I have been listening recently…

A high school junior of mine just passed away few weeks ago due to cancer. He used to represent our school, district, state for Chinese Martial Arts competitions. I came across his posts in Facebook one day, knowing he was suffering and finally not anymore. He has been surrounded by his loving family, friends and devoted girlfriend till his last breath. Let’s send prayers to him and his family. May he rest in peace and free from all the pain. God will comfort his family during this sad and difficult time.

Few colleagues of mine are leaving and soon would be mine too. I have finally decided on farewell gifts and messages. Something I find meaningful and permanent. One month ago, I started prepping myself before all the crying, bidding goodbyes, leaving a place with many familiar faces. Adulting huh… I am a person who is emotionally invested. It might take me awhile to adjust from missing them even more everyday. So yeah…

I called my parents early in the morning today. I will be missing father’s day this year again, so I bought them some tonic and supplements. I love how my parents occupy themselves experimenting new dishes, pastries at home. We learn to make new dishes during lockdown, so that we can cook for you when you are back someday, they said. Actually, I am doing the same thing in Singapore, exploring new recipes, so that I can return the favor when I am back home someday.

My little brother finally graduated from university. A burden off my parents’ shoulders. One of the greatest gifts for Father’s Day, my dad said. Upon calling my dad, I noticed he got older, for a moment, my heart ached a little. I sometimes question myself for being able to work overseas, but leaving my parents behind. Am I doing the right thing now? Will I regret in future that I did not spend enough time with them? It makes me ponder sometimes to quit everything and go back to my parents’ arms…

The other day, my friend asked me have I ever wonder a day without them (my parents) in future… My eyes were already filling with tears before I can speak a word. A deadlock I had no courage to think of, that this day may come. I am not sure I can “survive” without them one day especially if I am still single. I would be all alone by myself, nobody else to call when I have bad days, no one to share when I have good news. I might lose the purpose to live, I feel. Idk. I guess it’s the time of month.

How I wish I can ask my parents to join me staying overseas or just frequent visits, so that I am able to see them, timely update them all the events I have. I am still working hard for it. A main goal I would want to achieve, even if I am married one day. So that, they can see me often, feed us with good food and shower their grandchildren with love.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.

W. Somerset Maugham

The Second Child

Many people might not know this, I am actually the middle child in my family. Growing up with a special needs elder brother (Gor), I don’t really get to enjoy the perks being a younger sibling. Being held with “big sister” duty to my little brother, parents used to have very high expectations… I kinda hate my life back then.

Why should I? Why do I need to do this? Often the questions I asked myself. 

Doctors told us he can never talk, walk or take care of himself for the rest of his life. But silly me used to think what if there is a fairy godmother that can heal Gor, like how Cinderella turning into a Princess… What if one day he can walk and talk to me, telling me how much he adores me as his little sister too. 

We never had any conversation, but we are very close. I hug him whenever I am back home, feed him so that he can have a taste of what we eating too, tell him I will be back soon whenever I leave for school or work. He smiles, he listens. 

When I was little, I always told my friends I am the eldest in my family, with only one little brother, it’s because I didn’t know how to share Gor is actually a special needs child. What if they bash him, what if they ask a lot of questions. Kids. 

My family hardly travels together especially overseas. Gor will be cranky seeing strangers, and he can’t travel far. We seldom eat in restaurants too or even weddings. Someone needs to stay home, mom said, as we can’t bare to leave him alone with the maid. He will be upset or worse, cry. He feels insecure whenever we leave home as if we gonna abandon him. I can never understand how scared he was, being not able to move around but seeing your family to leave you at home alone. 

Getting older, I slowly understand how difficult as parents to be able to take care of such child. As a bedridden child, he has never gotten any infections, even doctors and nurses in hospital were impressed. Mum actually found out when she was pregnant. Being able to make the decision to deliver instead of baby abortion, God knows how fucking huge courage is needed. 

Mum once told me, doctors actually encouraged her to deliver more babies so that in future younger siblings are able to take care of Gor and old folks (my parents). Here comes me! And of course my younger brother…  

Recent years, my parents actually shared the reason why they had high expectations on me, not because I am being elder to my little brother… they see hope in me and hope I am independent and tough enough in future, able to take care of Gor when they are gone. 

I cried inside of me. 

It has been year and a half since Gor’s passing. My parents told me they feel relieved actually, knowing that Gor’s passed before them, knowing that he will be no longer in pain, knowing that he will not be a burden to us (me and my little brother) in future when they are gone. It has always been their concern that me and my little brother might not be able to take care of Gor like how my parents do. Feed him, bath him, take him to hospital, follow up with medical appointments, physiotherapy and many more. Especially when someday me and my little bro have our own family…

I am glad that my parents are picking up stuff they have missed during the days they took care of Gor. Dad retired last year, mum is enthusiastic over her Fengshui lessons and all. I am happy that they are happy, but I wish sometimes they have some attention on me too lol. They are busier than me sometimes, with all sorts of activities, hmm.  

I don’t know about you, but I am feeling extremely proud of my parents to be able to overcome so much for many years. Kudos to my pillars of strength, quay to my boat! See you all soon folks (if you are reading this) I love you both more than you know !

Writing this specially dedicated to my old folks and Gor.