Short stories by Cristy Amanda

As she stood in the crowded lift, she moved to the corner where she rested her foot against the wall of the lift. It was her habit to fidget in uncomfortable spaces. As her foot moved into the deep corner, she wondered if there was no end to the wall. She thought to herself how nice it would be if it was an opening passage to Narnia in there. Maybe she so badly wanted to get out of an uncomfortable space and to stop feeling small or maybe, all she wanted to do was to just be by herself so that she could continue humming her embarrassing tunes or doing that stupid dance she does when she’s impatient, or having her internal dialogue spoken out loud. She liked being on her own and she wondered how long would it take for her to reach Narnia if Narnia was truly on the other side of the lift. She imagined she’d be walking for hours in awe. Oh the joy of just abandoning all responsibilities impulsively in the moment, if only to escape for a while. 

The song ‘All My Loving‘ from the Beatles just came on on my Spotify playlist. This song will always remind me of Marion. 

During our MI days, we went for a theatrical play that was discounted or sponsored by our school. One time during the performance, this song came on and Marion being the cheeseball he is, he turned to me and started singing it to me. Our schoolmates were around us but we didn’t mind it much because our concentration was on each other. The rest were just calefares.

I miss the days where we used to be so daring and forthcoming and bold with our love. Not that I mind the mellow relationship – I appreciate how the relationship matured as we matured, I just don’t want us to lose that childlike wander too much. At that time, nothing else in the world mattered – just us. Some days I still see the younger us in our relationship like that date where we were cycling through a thunderstorm, and I cherish those days a lot because I know they are rare these days.

I laugh when Facebook reminds me of moments that happened X years ago. Marion and I used to write on each other’s wall a lot. It was still called wall back then. We would update our statuses to proclaim how much one loved the other and people were so sick of us but we couldn’t care less – we continued to do so anyway. Every now and then, I would take a screenshot of those conversations on Facebook and send it to Marion and we’d laugh at how silly or cheesy we were. The cheesiness still happens but in the privacy of our whatsapp chat.

As much as I miss the carefree days we had and the bold proclamation of love, I appreciate that we saw each other through the difficult times and the foundation in which our love was built on which is friendship. Even though it’s not as bold or carefree or cute as it used to be, it’s earnest, deep, enduring, asks the hard questions, and comforts. It’s home.

As much as I believe we are headed for marriage and we talk about it often, I will never know what the future brings. I know that we’re both flawed. I know that the relationship is far from perfect. I know we still need to put a lot of hard work in ourselves for the major flaws that hinders our relationship. I know that how we started out wasn’t the most ideal. I know that despite all of that he makes me laugh, he always tries, and he always has good intentions for me. I know that no matter what happens to us in the future, this relationship will always mean a lot to me.

Eaglet

I’m a Catholic. I go to church every Sunday and for the necessary Penitential Services or mass for other days of obligations. I am not typing this to show how good of a Catholic I am. In fact, I am not as good of a Catholic as I was. Sometimes I go for mass only because it’s an obligation and a part of me cannot break traditions or routines – I am anal like that. Do I feel bad that I do it only because it’s an obligation? Of course. Do I love God? I do, but God can be so intangible that it’s often hard for me to keep a relationship with Him. When I pray, I talk a lot but I don’t listen because I can’t hear Him and maybe I am impatient too. Over the years, I feel like I have often drifted from God and returned to Him and the cycle never ends. I have found that when I am further away from God, I tend to be at my unhappiest and these days, I have been pretty unhappy.

Sometimes, I go for mass and the sermon isn’t relatable and I feel no difference after mass. The hymns tend to be good on some days and it makes me want to sing along because that’s one of the best ways to pray, but when they hymns are not my favourite and the sermon is not relatable, I tend to feel like I’ve wasted my time at mass. Today, Fr James Yeo celebrated mass at Our Lady Star of The Sea Parish and I have found that I seem to really love his sermons. His sermon today was about trials and tribulations and the meaning behind the Eagle imagery. Here’s what I got from the sermon today –

God is never far, He is always near and He will never abandon us. Sometimes God allows bad situations in our life to bring us closer to Him or to help us realise our pride to ignore the things we refuse to see or to open our eyes to the things we are blinded by. The symbol of God’s love for us is like the phrase in Deuteronomy 32:11, “Like an eagle that stirs up its next and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.” The meaning behind that quote can be seen by how the mother Eagle looks after its Eaglets. This part is with further reading from this website.

coupled with what Fr James had already mentioned in his sermon – “For the first twelve weeks of life, the eaglet relaxes, trusting her parents to provide everything she needs. When it’s time for the eaglet to learn to fly, the mother and father use their sharp talons to pull apart the soft materials that lined the nest. Then the mother eagle rises up and hovers over the nest, flapping her huge wings, stirring the nest. As she does this, all the comfortable stuff that kept the nest cozy flies out. This sends a clear message to the eaglet – it’s time to leave your life of comfort! If needed, the mother will literally knock her baby out out of the nest.” The eaglets will flap their wings desperate to fly because they are thrown off from such a height. Some eaglets manage to survive fly but there will be a few that struggle. However, the mother eagle is following it as it falls. She will swoop it onto her wings at the last moment. The mother eagle knows that the young one can only survive by learning to fly.

Strangely, this is the first time I am hearing of the different meaning of the eagle imagery. The ones that are often mentioned are about how big and strong eagles are or how eagles soar as threatening clouds hover etc. It never occurred to me how eagles raise their eaglets. Upon hearing this, it touched so much because I truly felt God’s love for me. I am going through all these tribulations now because He knows that that’s the only way I can soar. He doesn’t give me situations I want, He gives me situations I need in order to become or to get the things I want/need. And if I fail to fly, He is still watching close by and always catching me before I hit the ground. I don’t know how many times I may need to get thrown off the nest, I have been told before that I am a late bloomer – maybe I need to get thrown off many times in order for me to learn.

It’s funny that the eagle was mentioned again in my life. In the past, I have always  identified myself with the eagle but never as a young eagle, always a full grown one. There was once I went for Adoration and I just sat infant of the tabernacle and asked God to show me just how much I mean to him and if He loved me. I dozed off for awhile and I had a dream about the eagle. I saw how magnificent it’s beak was, how wide and glorious the wings spread, and how lovely it soared. I woke up immediately and I was so stirred because to me, that was God’s reply – that I am mighty and glorious. That was a time in my life when I was still very much active in church and served in the youth group. In another occasion where I hit rock bottom in my life, I asked for someone to pray with me and I rested in the Spirit. In that time of resting in the Spirit, I saw the Eagle yet again. I stopped identifying myself with the eagle after awhile because I am not as active in church as I used to be and I have been lazy with my prayer life. When Fr James mentioned this, it moved me so much because it was so relatable and so apt for the current state of my life.

It’s true – I am so blinded the issues in my life to see the good. I have been so unhappy because I am focusing on everything that is negative. I want to soar so badly and I want to love myself again. I know there are a few who may think that faith is a delusional thing but for me, it provides me with the comfort I need in troubling times. I guess that’s why I still go to church aside from the traditions and obligations. I need to really flap my wings harder and take flight. Today, I am really thankful for the meaningful sermon and for God’s reminder of his love for me. I feel that He tries to talk to me sometimes but I don’t listen enough and sometimes, He makes his presence more obvious for me to really get it. I have strayed a little too far, it’s time to come back.

Marion & Cristy Travels| Bangkok

The last time I travelled was in 2012 – that was a trip to Perth with my dad. Since then, I have not flown in a plane due to projects, lack of finances and Suzie’s deteriorating health. For the first time in 5 years, I flew by plane on a short break to Bangkok with Marion. The last time I visited Bangkok was in 2009, it’s been 8 years.

Like most couples, we’ve always wanted to have as many adventures together – whether it’s a physical adventure, spiritual, emotional or mental, whether it’s locally or overseas – we enjoy the idea of building memories and experiencing things together. To be honest, I still ask my parents if I can travel to certain places. I don’t know why I do that, maybe it’s because I’m still living under their roof. Also, being traditional, I know that a lot of people would have other ideas of what could happen if I travel with my partner alone, what more my parents. Upon graduating from Lasalle with my Bachelors, which is 2 years back, I asked if I could have my graduation trip with Marion and that conversation turned sour almost instantly so I never thought to ask them again.

I don’t have many friends I’d like to travel with as well because I worry that we may not have the same traveling chemistry or that I’d be limited in what I’d like to do. I’d rather go on solo trips (even though I have not done so yet) than to go with people who I might not enjoy my holiday with so much. Even though I secured my first job (my current job) last year and had the finances to travel, I didn’t do so because of the reasons stated above. Just recently, my Tita (aunt in Tagalog) helped to ask my dad for me if I could travel with Marion. I know I sound like a scared child here because I really was. I was afraid the conversation would turn sour again after the last time but deep in my heart, I really wanted to travel with Marion because there’s no one else I’d rather share these experiences with. To my surprise, my dad actually gave the green light. Maybe it’s because I’m already an adult with my own money and I can make those decisions for myself. I don’t know what the actual reason is but I am grateful that my dad was more lenient about it and trusted me not to do anything I would regret. Of course, I respect my dad a lot and I wouldn’t do anything that I know would disappoint him. I wouldn’t do anything that I’d regret too.

So anyway enough about the back story – Bangkok wasn’t the first trip I actually asked my dad about. In January this year,  Marion and I planned for a trip to Penang in May (during my birthday week). Bangkok was actually a very last minute, impulsive thing and that was only because we were informed that there were still available concert tickets for Coldplay. We bought our concert tickets before booking flight and hotel because we’re crazy, and we only secured all of that 3 weeks before flying off.

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On the Air Asia from Changi Airport T1 to Don Mueang Airport. Waiting for the plane to take off.

In case you were wondering why we were so crazy to make it for the A Head Full of Dreams Tour, let me provide you with one more backstory. If not, you can skip this paragraph and go straight to the trip diary. I don’t have a specific favourite band/musician that I follow up on albums frequently or even occasionally. I have a few whose music or few songs I do enjoy such as Arctic Monkeys, Lifehouse, Switchfoot, A1 (in my childhood days), N’Sync (also in my childhood days), blink-182, The Click Five (in my teenhood), Ed Sheeran, HAIM, Imagine Dragons, James Bay, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Linkin Park (the old songs), Maroon 5, The Paper Kites – and even so I actually had to comb through my Spotify list for an idea of what songs I listen to. The ones named here is only if I have 5 or more songs from them saved in my song list. I basically enjoy music generally and am mainstream like that, more often than not I rely on Top Hits Chart or recommendations from my very cool niece, Nikki, or my expert boyfriend, Marion. When Marion told me he’d like to attend a concert with me as one of the things that’s on his bucket list, I was immediately filled with gloom. You see, I don’t want to go for a concert that I wouldn’t fully enjoy because I wouldn’t know most of the songs to. I basically didn’t want to be poser. I would at the very least enjoy the few mainstream songs they’d play and be clueless for the rest of the setlist. I guess you can enjoy a concert just by listening and not signing along but it’s more fun if you know the lyrics and at what point does the song get exciting that it requires you to jump to the rhythm. So when he asked me which concert would I actually attend, I told him it’d be Coldplay for sure because I enjoy a lot of Coldplay’s songs and have a better idea of their albums. Proof of this statement is in my Facebook status update in 2013 before we had any idea that Coldplay would be touring Asia too –

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So yes, that’s one thing I can cross from my bucket list. I never thought I’d be able to because we attempted to get the tickets in Singapore thrice but got logged out everytime we were about to make payment. I’m so thankful we managed to get them for Bangkok.

The travel journal begins –

6 April – 

Woke up to get ready and check through if I packed everything. The night before I scheduled an uber ride for 8am. I wasn’t done getting ready at 8am and my driver cancelled on me which caused me a cancellation fee of SGD 6 😦 Also, the driver sounded really grumpy when he first called to check.

Note to self: Wake up an hour and a half before leaving to get ready.

I panicked for a bit because I didn’t want us to be late for the checking in process. I planned for us to be at the airport 2 hours before flight departure. Thankfully, I managed to call another driver to pick us up and he was much friendlier too. We picked Marion up along the way and reached the airport. Initially, we planned to have our breakfast before going through baggage check and after checking in but things didn’t go according to plan once again.

Firstly, my luggage had a luggage cover so I didn’t think I needed to put a luggage tag since it’s already noticeable that it’s mine. Unforutnately, someone else on the same flight had the exact same luggage cover as mine so we bought a luggage tag from one of the shops at Changi Airport to ensure it’s distinguishable. 

Secondly, the check-in process is now replaced with machines. They still had the counters in case anybody needed assistance but we weren’t aware the counters were still available. We attempted to check in with the machines but there was an error because we’re incredibly silly. The names we used to book our flights consisted of just the first name and surname instead of the actual full name reflected on our passports. I mean, seriously… after 5 years of not flying and I became this dumb concerning flights. To be fair, it’s the first flight I handled on my own without the help from my parents. 😛 (Yes, I should be embarrassed at this point)

Note to self: When booking flight, always put in your FULL name. Also, always get a luggage tag because your luggage cover is not customised.

So we went to the counter for assistance and checked in successfully. We had our breakfast at Dunkin Donuts pass the custom check point before we boarded our flight. We wanted to listen to some Coldplay in the plane but were told we couldn’t even switch on our electronic devices despite it being on airplane mode when the plane is taking off. We thought that it meant we couldn’t even switch it on so we didn’t throughout the whole flight. It was only when we landed that we realised we could only switch it on and to airplane mode once we’ve taken off.

Travel Tip for Budget Airlines: You can download the shows/movies you’d like to see on Netflix so that it can play offline while you’re on the plane. It’s safe to listen to music on your phone/iPad once plane has taken off.

Upon reaching Bangkok (Don Mueang Airport), we contacted Ton. Ton is from Thailand tours by taxi guide. I got to know him through my dad. Ton also showed my sister and her boyfriend around when they were in Bangkok last month. Let me give you a summary of his business – If you are going to Thailand and have a rough idea of what you’d like to do and see but no idea how to plan your itinerary, Ton is the man to ask. He helps to plan your itinerary. The difference with this tour as compared to company tours is that it’s very personalised and you won’t feel the need to rush to different places.

Before meeting Ton and after clearing customs, we went to get Thailand sim card for my iPhone so that I can get 3G for the days we’d be in Bangkok. By the time we met Ton, it was about 1.30pm (Bangkok Time). We didn’t purchase any meals on board so we were starving at that time. Our hotel check-in time starts at 3pm so we asked Ton if he knew of any good place for us to have lunch. He didn’t need to drive us there or wait for us since he was only asked to pick us up from the airport to arrive at our hotel, but being the kind and hospitable man he is, he found us a good and affordable place for lunch as a stopover.

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I didn’t find out the name of the restaurant nor did I document the food we ate but here’s a picture of us with Ton.

Ton’s a very honest and friendly person. He has so much to share about BKK. Talking to him makes you see how much he really enjoys his job. I truly enjoyed the conversation we had with him and I cannot thank him enough for all the recommendations and all the advice/tips. When we go back to BKK for a longer trip, no doubt we will ask Ton to help us plan our itinerary. 

By the time we reached Nasa Vegas Hotel, it was close to 4pm. The hotel’s building looked very outdated and run down. We didn’t have any serious problems checking in although the service was a bit slow. They only had two receptionist checking guest in and out. We also had problems finding our room. I don’t know how we managed to take the staff lift instead of the guest lift but they both looked the same to us. So when we reached our floor, we ended up in some dark, dingy room with lots of papers and boxes. I freaked out because I was wondering where is the hallway or where are the rest of the rooms. After a good 10 seconds of figuring out our surroundings, I opened the only door in the room which led to the hallway to all the rooms – it was only then that we realised we took the staff lift instead. I wonder why the staff didn’t mention anything to us. When we got to our room, the key card did not work even though I tried it numerous times. I don’t know if my hand is jinxed or what but when Marion tried it, it worked.

So, entering our room was not a sight to behold. It was far from it. I can’t complain because it is a 3-star hotel. Firstly, the carpeted floors were not clean in my opinion. I’ll get to that later. The cupboard was really old and did not slide easily. You had to drag the sliding doors every single time you wanted to open and close it. We did not have a safe nor did we have free wifi. They did mention these on their site so I won’t complain about that but let me talk a little bit about the wifi. The wifi is only accessible to one user and you have to pay for it per day. Since I had 3G on my phone, Marion paid for the hotel’s wifi for two days. He couldn’t log on to the wifi and when he managed to, he only did so for two hours. That was a real annoyance. Back to the hotel – the toilets were a little gross to me. There was a weird stain in the bathtub and the floor carpet did not soak water up well. Once it got wet, it’d remain wet and gross for the rest of the day so you don’t actually have a floor towel to dry your feet with when you step out of the tub. The aircon generator was very noisy and if we didn’t close the toilet door at night, it would be really loud. As our hotel was right beside a railway track, it tended to get really loud and noisy at night when the trains honk. Those were not really my issues with the hotel because I was aware of all of that when we booked with them. My issue was with the toilet and how wet and gross it could get. Since hotel slippers weren’t provided, we walked around in our slippers meant for going out. So can you imagine after having a shower, you step out to the wet toilet floor, unable to dry your feet then you step onto the room’s carpeted floor and hop into bed with the hotel’s white sheets and you see dirt on your feet again. Gross right? To add on to my thoughts on the hotel – the lights were SUPER dim and we had one non-functioning mirror light for the bedside table. We also only had one powerpoint for charging our devices and that was another annoying thing for me because the room was clearly meant for two people. They should have another powerpoint somewhere else too.

Note to self: Never book with Nasa Vegas Hotel again. Also, you can’t compromise cleanliness and comfort so either rent an apartment on Airbnb or fork up more money for a 4-star hotel at least.

After changing out of our airport clothes and into more comfortable clothes, we called for a ride via GrabCar to bring us to Asiatique. As our hotel was located in an inconvenient location, we passed by MANY districts on the way to Asiatique. I must say it was quite nice passing by the different districts. I enjoyed seeing the streets of Bangkok because it looked a little bit like the streets of Philippines.

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Streets of Bangkok

When we reached Asiatique, I found the place quite lively – filled with eateries, shops, and activities. Honestly, the main reason why I wanted to go to Asiatique was because I wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel. I know you can find that anywhere but this Ferris Wheel was beside the Riverfront which to me, is the closest thing I can get to experiencing a carnival by the seaport like the ones you see in movies.

Before we hopped on the Ferris Wheel, we walked around for a bit to see what the shops were selling. They had all kinds of things there – clothes, bags, swimwear, handmade soaps, Muay Thai clothes, medicine etc. We saw a few things we liked but decided to walk further before purchasing anything incase another shop was selling it cheaper. We got a little hungry after awhile and decided to have some delicious banana and chocolate rotee, and egg and chocolare rotee. We didn’t think it’d be so huge and we were not that hungry because of the late lunch we had so we ended up not finishing everything.

Note to self: Always order one first!

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Marion with his Egg and Chocolate Rotee. The stall’s just behind him.

This is very similar to the local Roti Pratas that are served here in Singapore, but adapted to Thai taste. They add condensed milk in the layers which makes it a very sinful treat. This rotee however did not have the condensed milk in it. I think to enjoy that sinful rotee, you’d have to really buy them from the streets. Nonetheless, it was still delicious and we enjoyed some nice Thai Iced Milk Tea from the same store after all the shopping.

After having our Rotee, we bought tickets to go up the Ferris Wheel – THB 300 per person, about SGD 12.18 per person. This is unlike the Singapore Flyer where it only goes one round and it’s incredibly slow. This goes through 3 rounds and it moves at a much quicker space. I have a little fear of heights so I was a little nervous at first. The cabin was nice – air-conditioned, music and lights. By right, we were supposed to share the cabin with others since we didn’t buy the private one but they were nice enough to give people cabins of their owns so we didn’t end up sharing with anyone which is awesome! It’s nothing fantastic but the view from above was quite nice cause you can see the riverfront with all the boats, and the tour ferries, the carnival, the shops, the nightlife etc. It’s a touristy thing to do but I have no regrets. I had two very handsome views that night – one was of my sweetheart, and the other was of the Riverfront scene.

After the Ferris Wheel, we walked around to explore the eateries they had. We came across quite a few interesting cafes. If we had more appetite and more money, we’d definitely be cafe hopping and trying the different food. Each cafe was interesting in their own way. There was one that allowed you to dine at the top, open-air, and it was just a two-story building on it’s own; another was decorated with bike accessories. I told myself not to be tempted to try cafe food too because it’s Bangkok and Thai food is the focus! So we walked along and did some shopping. I bought a nice tribal style bucket bag because I’m into tribal prints. It’s a nice mixture of blue and orange – Marion helped pick it out for me. Managed to bargain for a slightly cheaper price but didn’t want to push my luck. I also bought a nice blank muscle tank top with Gold Elephant embroidery on it as a representation of Thailand. Marion and I got Star Wars graphic tees each – His was of C3PO and mine was of Darth Vader. I saw a lot of cute summer dresses, rompers, and bikinis/monokinis too but I didn’t want to buy it because I have quite a wide hip and my butt tends to get in the way so I’m afraid to buy Rompers especially when you can’t try them. I was tempted to buy some dresses because ever since the weight gain, I haven’t been able to fit into my old dresses. I decided not to in the end because there was nothing that really struck my eye and I have this rule when I shop. Only buy something that catches your attention and ultimately looks nice on you. Unless there’s some sale going on, browse through the clothing rack. So nothing caught my eye as much – I found myself looking at the tribal bags a lot. We came across one shop owner that was pretty rude that Marion and I started laughing to ourselves after we walked away. She ran the Bikini store but there was a nice tribal bagpack I saw and was just enquiring how much it was. She told me THB 450 and was showing me how it can be converted to a sling bag. I didn’t fancy it as much because the straps didn’t look sturdy and I didn’t want to invest in something that I had to use so sparingly for fear it would give way soon. She kept lowering the price when I told her it’s okay. Finally, she said “THB 350, last price.” I wasn’t interested anymore because I didn’t like the straps so I continued saying thank you and it’s okay. She just sat down on her stool after and said “It’s okay, I know you won’t buy” but in a very annoyed manner. It was funny because I wasn’t even bargaining in the first place.

After all that walking, it was really late in Bangkok. The time was 11pm and we decided to call for a GrabCar back. Although the driver was nice, he seemed to have missed out some information when providing me with options. The traffic was bad in Bangkok at that time so to go back using the same way (passing through all the districts) would take us a longer time to reach our hotel, which I didn’t mind. The other option was to go by, in his words, “Another route, faster and no cars.” So obviously I requested for the latter. Halfway through the journey, he asked me for THB 50 to pay road toll. I wasn’t informed there’d be extra fees tagged to this route. At another point, he asked for THB 25 to pay another road toll fee. I didn’t mind needing to pay more but I wish he had mentioned it to me that there was going to be an extra fee to take this route, knowing that we were tourist and were not aware of the road toll fees.

Note to self: Next time enquire if there’ll be additional fees when they offer another route. 

Tourist fact: Uber in Bangkok is illegal. GrabCar is not as bad but Black plate is illegal and Yellow plate is not. Bike Taxis should only take 1 passenger – taking 2 at a time is illegal and it’s under table money to not get caught or charged by the law.

That concluded our first day in Bangkok. I was very happy that night because I felt like for the first time in a long time, Marion and I were on a date again. He’s been very busy with assignments and shoots this year so I didn’t get to see him as much. For me, since Max came into the picture, my every day routine had to change because I had to think of Max. This meant that I wasn’t as free on weekends to do whatever I liked cause Chels and I share a duty schedule to ensure we both get two weekends off each. Being in another country and exploring it with Marion just pleased my heart so much. I felt like we were catching up for all the days we couldn’t meet up and nights we had gone without talking over the phone because sometimes we’d request for our alone time as well. Marion was also always looking after me and finding directions to places so I was very thankful to have him with me. It was one of the best unplanned dates we had.

7 April –

This was a very hectic and busy day for us. We woke up early and wanted to grab a light bite – we ended up walking to Subway opposite our hotel. Marion had a sub and I just got some cookies. So much for Thai food. After which, we called a GrabCar to take us to Healthland Ekemai. Healthland is the spa place my dad took Tita and I too when we were in Bangkok 8 years ago. I enjoyed that spa so much because their service was good, the massage was just right, the ambience was clean and soothing and they served some sweet smelling hot tea after. Also, it’s pretty affordable. Since Healthland at Ekemai was the closest to our hotel, we went there instead as advised by Ton.

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Healthland Ekemai

I decided to take Marion to the spa here to relax since he’s been having a stressful time in school. I wanted to massage some knots in my neck and upper back too. We paid THB 1900 for 2. About SGD 77 per person and for 90 minutes. To me, that’s considered quite a good price. I wish we could have done the hot oil massage where they pour hot oil on your forehead in a continuous stream to help get you relaxed in a deep sleep. It sounded so good but it was very pricey so we just settled for an Aroma Oil Therapy massage. After 90 minutes of pure relaxation, we decided to walk to Ekemai BTS station to make our way down to MBK for lunch. That was a bad idea because MBK didn’t have the Thai food we wanted. I really wanted my Phad Thai and since I go back to being a Pescatarian only on holidays, I wanted the Prawn Pad Thai (unless there’s a vegetarian option). They only have chicken Phad Thai. At this point, I was getting super cranky from the hunger and it was already 2pm. We planned to go back to the hotel by 3pm so that we could get ready for the concert and reach the stadium by 4pm. I decided to just go to this place called ‘Inter Restaurant’ for lunch which was near Siam Square and not too far from MBK. I knew of this restaurant through Ladyironchef’s review on BKK and the food. Thankfully, my ever patient and loving partner directed us to the new location of choice pretty efficiently. He even offered to buy my Thai Milk Tea along the way to pacify my hunger because I tend to go back to being a kid when I’m cranky from hunger, but there was no Thai Milk Tea along the way (what???).

When we got to Inter Restaurant, we ordered 5 dishes for 2 person. We have the tendency to over order when we’re hungry. We ordered Thai Chicken Green Curry, Tom Yum Goong, Shrimp Phad Thai, Oyster Omelette, Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables and of course Thai Milk Tea. Obviously we didn’t intend to finish our food because the point of it was just to get as much variety of Thai food on that day since it was the only day we had left to properly get our dose of Thai Food. I felt bad wasting food but we didn’t waste as much. Also, just an FYI – I did not not eat Poultry or Red Meat on holidays even. I’m 98% Vegetarian, the other 2% is still a Pescatarian and that’s only on holidays. The total price for the dishes was less than SGD 50. 

After having a very satisfying lunch, we rushed back to our hotel via BTS. It was already 4pm by the time we reached the hotel. I gave up rushing cause it was just tiring me out and making me cranky. I knew we were already late but I still wanted to look good so I insisted on putting makeup on. Not that I know how to do proper makeup, my makeup process is so basic so I don’t usually take too long to put makeup on anyway. Marion was sweet enough not to make noise about that – instead he kept telling me it’s okay. He used that time to map out how to get to the stadium and it was then that we realised the walk to the stadium was 40 minutes from our hotel. We would consider Grab or BikeTaxi but the traffic was so bad and the queue for BikeTaxi from the BTS station was so long. We decided walking was the best option. So after feeling all nice and clean, we had to perspire again. 😦

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The insane queue to the Entrance to the stadium.

When we reached Rajamangala Stadium, there was a huge crowd waiting to enter the doors. We didn’t collect our tickets yet because we assumed it would be inside as we didn’t see the booth when we were walking towards the queue. So after queueing for awhile, the usher told us we had to collect our tickets and where exactly to collect them. It was pretty annoying cause it was quite messy. We finally found the booth and collected our tickets before making our way in (again). 

After all that, we were finally able to relax a little on the stadium grounds while waiting for the concert to begin. It was a pretty long wait and the clouds looked threatening. The stadium is an open stadium so there would be no shelter should it rain. Thankfully, it did not – it was just a light drizzle. Coldplay only came on around 9pm. It was a pretty long wait. I didn’t like the lack of personal space while standing in the crowd and it didn’t help that I’m so short compared to the tall ang mohs, and some people’s B.O was really pretty bad. There were a few idiots who kept shoving their way to the front shamelessly and if you didn’t give way, they’d just keep nudging at you from behind which was VERY annoying. But what I did like is that it allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to talk to another couple beside us. We were annoyed with the same people – first, there was this dude beside us who tried to signal to his friend where he was by CONSTANTLY using his iPhone’s flash light in the air and the chick who nudged her way to the front blocking both our views. We were having mini conversations here and there and laughing at the same things so it was nice for a change.

Coldplay finally came on and it was so amazing. There were fireworks, confetti and amazing light works going on. I was so mesmerised. Chris Martin sounds so good live and I just couldn’t believe I was so close to them. Their concert was super pretty and I’m so glad that I lost my concert virginity to Coldplay.

Yellow was the 2nd song in the set list and I was so excited for that because that was the song Marion sang to me before he enlisted in SAF. He enlisted on Feb 15 2013 so he posted a video of himself singing ‘Yellow’ to me and tagged me in. It was so cheesy and back then I didn’t feel shy about it but if he did that for me now, I’d be quite shy even though I always appreciate the gesture. So there’s a story behind that song. Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 9.01.35 PM

As Coldplay was singing ‘Yellow’, Marion kissed me and it just made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. The other performance I enjoyed was ‘Magic’, ‘A Sky Full of Stars’, ‘Clocks’, ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’, ‘Everglow’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Hymn for the Weekend’, ‘Fix You’, ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’, ‘Viva La Vida’, ‘In My Place’, ‘Til Kingdom Come’, and ‘Don’t Panic’. Okay basically I loved their setlist a lot.

I also loved how Chris Martin shared the spotlight with the rest of the band and how highly he spoke of them. I’ve always been into friendships so it’s so nice to see how strong their friendship is. They met in 1996 during their first week of attending a University College London. Jonny Buckland (Lead Guitar) and Chris Martin started the band with the others joining a bit later. They went on to record their first EP two years later and they were first called ‘Starfish’. It’s so amazing to see how far they’ve come and how strong their friendship remains. That, to me, was what made the concert even more special and amazing. You could really feel this sense of strong collaboration going on with these guys and how musically inclined each of them were.

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After the concert, it was another 40mins walk back. We were hungry and thirsty but there were no suitable street food around so we decided to walk to MacDonald’s along the way back to our hotel. MacDonald’s closed and the sign ’24/7′ was a lie. So we continued walking after many pit stops in between because I was so tired. Converse shoes are really not the most ideal for walking. The heel area begins to hurt after awhile. We finally reached the hotel and crossed over to Family Mart to get some cup noodles or sandwiches. At this point, I was being an absolute grump and wasn’t the most gracious with my words. The cup noodles I got sucked so I ate the sandwich instead. Language barrier is a real challenge especially when you are desperate from something. After having food in my stomach, my crankiness died down.

We went back up the hotel and freshened up before bed. I felt bad for being such a grump after the concert so I apologised to Marion for my impatience. He could only have the sweetest reply because he’s thoughtful like that. He told me that he knows that I tend to get cranky if I’ve been out for too long and he was really trying to get us back to the hotel as soon as the concert ended cause he knew we’ve been out for so long and my crankiness would be kicking in anytime now. It was sweet to me because he observed my moods and he learned that about me. I obviously felt bad so I apologised to him and told him how lucky I am and how much I love him. That night, I couldn’t even be bothered with the loud sounds, I knocked out completely.

8th April –

The next morning, it was time to fly back to Singapore. We felt a little sad because we were only there for technically less than three days. I didn’t have an issue making the trip longer but it was more of Marion’s schedule that required us to make this trip short so we kept it short. The traffic in Bangkok was once again so bad in the morning but Ton rushed to get us through. Upon reaching the airport and checking in, we got ourselves a quick breakfast meal and realised we were left with only 10-15 minutes to go through customs. I stupidly forgot to fill up my departure form so I had to fill it up on the spot.

Note to self: Just fill up both sides next time.

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The view outside from my window seat.

We made it to our flight eventually but the flight back was not at all peaceful. A group of Chinese Nationals kept cutting the line while the rest of us lined up to have our boarding passes checked. I glared at one of them and she told me in Chinese how they were all in one group together. She was hinting to me that she was in the right of way when it was one of them who cut my queue. I ignored her and blocked her from getting her boarding pass checked first because I wasn’t taking any of that shit that day. I also want to teach them some manners. To my horror, from Bangkok to Singapore – I kept bumping into the exact same woman. They were behaving like barbarians on the plane – talking loudly, standing up before the plane has stopped moving completely and etc. I don’t mean to be xenophobic and I have some friends who are Chinese Nationals who are nothing like them, but their actions are really intolerable sometimes that it’s hard to remove that prejudice.

All in all, I had a good first trip with Marion and I am looking forward to more adventures with him. I cannot wait for Penang in May!

It’s been almost 3 months since Max entered our lives. I’m not going to lie or to sugarcoat things, Max was quite a handful. He isn’t naughty, he doesn’t misbehave, but like most rescue dogs, he came with his own baggage. For one, he’s scared of people. He’s territorial and can be aggressive sometimes. He isn’t treat-motivated outside because he’s distracted by sights, sounds and smells at the park and that makes it challenging for us to train him. He has to pass his obedience training in order for the license to be transferred over to us so it is causing us some stress and lack of proper rest. But like every rescue dog, the most rewarding thing you can ever have in return is their unfailing love and loyalty.

To be honest, I questioned if adopting him was the right move. That is not to say I didn’t want to adopt, I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to. Suzie meant a lot to me – I can’t describe just how much in words because that’s limiting my love for her. Suzie was more than just my pet, she was my family member and my companion through all the ups and downs in life. Losing her was obviously a huge heartbreak in my life and one that I would never quite get over despite the days that have gone past since her death. Adopting Max put me in a place where my freedom was cut short just as I was about free to do almost anything I could.

You see, when Suzie was in her senior years and nearing the end of her life, I gave up quite a lot to be with her. It was my thesis year and a very stressful time in my life. I wanted to go somewhere as my grad trip since I have not travelled overseas for 3 years by that time. My last trip was to Perth with my dad and that was before the start of Lasalle. Suzie’s health took a turn for the worse so I decided I will not go for any grad trip and give Suzie all of my time. Because of that, I made that decision not to find a full-time job after graduation. Instead, I freelanced on projects as an Art Director on shoots just to get some income to survive. I didn’t go out of the house a lot because Suzie’s health was really deteriorating and when I received calls from home that she fainted again, it caused me a lot of stress so much so that I just hated being out. Two days before her death, Marion and I had booked tickets to watch a movie just to de-stress but Suzie was really in bad shape and we decided to forgo the movie which is something we usually don’t do. We were both really concerned and we knew that nothing we did at that point would take the stress or anxiety away. I knew death was near and the vet knew it too. When Suzie passed away, I was in too deep a grief that my mood was severely affected – I wasn’t able to communicate properly with my loved ones. I was angry with the world. Till this day, I still am. I sought help in the best way I knew how – I went through counselling and picked up Muay Thai just so I can keep my mind occupied. I was desperately looking for a full-time job and thankfully, I was blessed to be able to find one. 2016 was a window for me to go overseas and enjoy myself because I had my own income and I was able to save more to travel. However, I didn’t have anyone to travel with and at that time, the thought of a solo trip seemed more scary than inviting. I dared not ask my parents if I could travel with Marion because the last time I did, it didn’t end well. So I ended up not traveling again.

This year, I felt myself becoming really, really upset with life. Something in me just felt dead and purposeless. I felt the need to get out of Singapore for awhile just to take a break from everything. I finally asked my parents if I could travel with Marion and to my surprise, they allowed us to. We made plans to travel and booked the necessary flight and hotel and starting planning our itineraries. In January, Chels mentioned adopting a dog as she felt we were ready. I wanted a dog in my life again but I didn’t feel quite ready to have one. I decided to go along with it anyway because I thought it was fears that were holding me back. Turns out, it was for practical reasons that I held back – of course this was unspoken.

When we first met Max, I adored him but I wasn’t sure if he’d be a perfect fit with the family. We took him in any way and the duties that came along with Max did take away a lot of time from my alone time. I knew that this was expected but I didn’t realise just how difficult it was going to be. I painted a perfect picture of Max like I always do for everything, and like everything else that happens in my life, I was disappointed in myself for painting a perfect picture because the reality was not that pretty picture I painted. So of course, with my flight booked, I had to make arrangements with Chels to swop our schedules to ensure Max is taken care of. Just last week, Marion and I bought tickets to BKK to see Coldplay next week and it was something that I had to inform Chels about first because we need to ensure someone is on duty to walk Max in the mornings and evenings. I thought to myself about how ironic the whole situation is because I was free to do whatever could last year, and I had the money but I had no one to go with. And this year when I have all these things in place, I am back to having a dog to be responsible for.

Maybe at this point it seems that I don’t love Max as much as I loved Suzie or that Max is my responsibility. To be honest, Max IS both mine and Chels’ responsibility but he’s not just a responsibility, he’s my family, and I do love him. To compare that love to my love for Suzie is hardly fair because Suzie and I were blessed with 11 years for our bond to grow. Max has only been with us for two months and he came to us as an adult which means he too had his won fears and uncertainties. But Max soon won my heart over with his love. He’s so genuine about his love for us and you can tell he loves us deeply. He’s a very sweet boy who loves nothing more than to be hugged and fussed over because he never got any of that when he was left to die. He appreciates the littlest things.

To tell you the truth, I only truly started feeling the bond grow stronger just last week. Chels found old photos of Max when he was in bad shape. To sum it up, he was half dead with 10 maggot wounds all over his body. One wound left a hole in his back, another left his tendon exposed such that the vet had to cut off the rotting ligament which resulted in him having to walk with a permanent limp. When I scrolled through each photo, my heart sunk because to think Max suffered and endured so much by himself before help came along – that just makes me really sad. I mentioned he’s afraid of thunder. Can you imagine when there was thunderstorm and he was scared but couldn’t do much because he was so weak and badly injured? He didn’t belong to any pack so he was alone. If CAS didn’t come to his aid, he would have died there without experiencing the fullness of life, without love, without friendship. I ran to him on the floor, laid beside him and hugged him. I told him I loved him and that I will never let anything harm him ever again. It was at that precise moment that I felt myself really meaning the words ‘I love you so much’ to Max. Before, I held back even though I said those words because I couldn’t let go of Suzie. Subconsciously, I only wanted those words to be for her.

Ever since that day, I grew to understand my relationship with Max and his mannerisms. I understand that he can never be Suzie and that Suzie will never come back. She fulfilled her purpose on Earth and I don’t even know if dogs go to heaven or what happened to her spirit after death, but I would like to believe they do and that when I die, I’ll see her again. I understand that Max needs a lot of love and a lot of patience. I understand Max is trying his best to understand what we ask of him and he isn’t deliberately stubborn. He’s just learning to get used to being domesticated.

Today, I can tell you genuinely and without holding back that I have just as much love for Max as I do for Suzie. I love him like my own child. I am happy to come home to him – to a dog who loves me, wags his tail, and licks my face at my appearance. As I was uploading Max’s photos on facebook and smiled at the album I titled ‘Max in a Million’, I came across Suzie’s album ‘My Furever Friend’ and my heart sunk a little. It sunk because I found myself loving Max so much that I haven’t been thinking of Suzie as much. She’s always there in the corner of my mind but these days, I don’t think of the loss as much. I find myself remembering the era of Suzie and the happy times we shared with her, but I find myself engrossed in the Max era now that I don’t think of what used to be as much. A part of me feels like I’m betraying Suzie but I keep reminding myself that I am not and this is what she would have wanted for us because dogs are amazing like that – they want you to be happy. It’s also the little things like “If I change my profile photo to one of Max and I or even just of myself, then Suzie really becomes a memory”. I know it sounds so silly but I don’t want Suzie to be reduced to just a memory. She’s more than that.

I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over the death of Suzie because she’s my first dog but I believe the grief changes over time. I have gone from angry to accepting and even 5 dogs down the road, I know I will be telling my children about little miss Suzie like how Daddy told us of Frisky. That’s the special ability dogs have – they have a hold on our hearts even though they’re already gone. Then they teach us to love more and more so much so that it expands and allows you to love another dog again.

“Your heart and my heart are very very old friends”

The people who are meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander.

There are some people in your life that no matter what happens, your lives will always be intertwined whether you want it to be or not. Growing up, I always believed in female power and us females sticking together no matter what. I had a good number of girlfriends – friends I’d stick my neck out for, friends who I’d rush over to their houses in a heartbeat with a slice of yummy goodness whenever they told me a guy just dumped them, friends I’d have all sorts of inside jokes with, and etc. But over the years, I’ve lost these friends – maybe it was just me being a possessive friend and not dealing with it better, or maybe we just stopped seeing things the same way and found it hard to agree to disagree, or maybe they became toxic to me and I was the one who walked away. With each friend I’ve lost, I suffered immense heartbreak – worse than the ones my ex-boyfriends gave me. Losing a friend was always a painful thing for me. 

Over the years, I became more and more reserved – I didn’t want to open up to people as much, just enough such that it isn’t surfaced but deep enough for them to reach. Just image a pool or the sea – imagine walking deeper and deeper, and the point where you’re on tippy toes but you shift inward a little such that you are comfortably walking on the pool tiles or the sea bed. That’s what I allow my friendships to be these days. Deep enough for them to know me comfortably, and when they want, to lift their feet and wade around the pool. Of course, I do feel envious of girlfriends who have stuck by each other from childhood to adulthood and I wish I had that with any one of my past best friends but I know that can never be and at this point in my life, I’m too afraid to let anyone come that close. Infact the only best friends I ever had after all the friendship heartbreak were Marion and Suzie.

Over the weekend, I met the first girl I crowned my best friend. We were childhood friends because we grew up together – her family and mine are related through the marriage of our relatives so we are somewhat distant cousins. 

A little bit of a context here – we were in the same primary school and secondary school. Our friendship fell apart at the end of Secondary school – I was the one who walked away because I felt that friendship was giving me more heartache than joy and very painfully I decided the only option was to detach. We didn’t exactly speak about the detachment or how I suddenly became “weird” because we still went to the same church and to the same ministry, just that she grew closer to another one of our friends and I grew closer to my sister’s friends. Slowly, that became our new normal and to be honest, I was happy to have detached myself. I didn’t hate her, but I guess I was angry, more than that, I was disappointed about a lot of things in our friendship that we didn’t address. Overtime, those feelings slowly dissolved and it wasn’t anger anymore nor was it bitterness, it was just… this. We’d see each other in church and we’d talk for bit. We’d see each other at some family gatherings or friends’ christmas parties and we’d talk as if nothing happened. Everything was strangely normal. 

If I’m not mistaken, she reached out to me before I started my studies in Lasalle. We went for brunch together and that was the first real conversation we’ve had after many years and that’s when we finally addressed what had happened in our friendship. But the first reconciliation was not that big of an impact because life proceeded as per normal. We eventually met up again towards the end of 2015 for sushi (she taught me how to sat Sashimi amongst other things in the past – chilli/spicy food, to whistle etc). That conversation was what truly rekindled our friendship and even though we both knew that things would never go back to how they once were, we both appreciated this newfound friendship – one that has matured and gone through individual hardships; one that has overcome disappointments and anger. I guess that’s when I realised that the first girl I crowned my best friend will always be a part of my life no matter what. 

There’s a certain kind of bittersweet sentiment to that. Imagine if we were one of those coming of age movies – two girls who were tight as spandex growing apart only to find comfort in the friendship again when a situation presents an opportunity to reach out to the other. In my head, the audience would be rooting for these girls to be best friends again but the audience would understand why that can never be because so much has happened. If they were to entertain that idea, it may lead to the friendship fully dissolving over time, but at the same time, we’ll never know. I guess it’s not something I want to know because I’d rather play it safe. I believe that it’s better to maintain some distance in all my friendships because that prevents it from falling apart. That is not to say you can’t disagree with your friends, it just means you don’t feel the need to have them see life the same way as you – you allow them to just be, just as they allow you to just be. Personally, it’s the healthier option for me. So that’s what we are now – good friends and that pleases me.

When we met up last weekend, to be honest, I was a little anxious because we haven’t really spoken in awhile since she wasn’t around in Singapore. I feared that it may be awkward again but to my surprise, it was quite the opposite. Our conversations took off naturally and soon, we found ourselves laughing about relatable issues. We were also recalling memories from our childhood and the random people in our past and we identified that person with a distinct story. We also recalled the guys we’ve been with and how we’ve witnessed those moments of heartbreak, and how dumb we were to not see back then that they only loved us for surfaced reasons – we thought they were the ones for us. We cooked up a silly little fantasy in our heads of how we might be in-laws because I dated the brother of the guy she was dating. We talked about regrets and how each moment was necessary to get to where we are now. It was conversation that perfectly combined honesty, humour and realness. Before we knew it, it was already close to 7pm and we hadn’t realised we were having these conversations for close to 6 hours. 

We used to joke how when we become old ladies, we’d need to ask our grandchildren for permission to sleep over at each other’s house. Well, that particular day, I felt like we were two old ladies talking about everything. Mostly because we also felt like age was catching up. Maybe we weren’t two old ladies, but we were two grown women. We were no longer those kids that laughed boisterously along the school corridors, we were two grown women talking about the struggles of being an adult and the heartaches women feel. As a kid, having her around, I felt I wasn’t so alone in whatever I was feeling. That my problems were relatable to someone else – whether it was that kid who just bullied me, the ah beng who had a crush on me or the teacher that called me all sorts of negative things. This conversation reminded me that my problems were still relatable and I wasn’t alone. Although I’ve had conversations like that with my other girlfriends, there’s nothing quite like having that with an old friend who has actually witnessed the situations from all the way back. 

I acknowledge that this friendship can never be like how it once was and maybe I don’t ever want it to be. I do miss the good times and the fun times, but I sure don’t miss the immaturity of that friendship and the way we dealt with things. If anything, this is the best deal we can get – still being involved in each other’s lives to a certain degree and picking it up again when those meet ups happen. This is one friendship that I was lucky to have salvaged. The rest of my friendship fallouts weren’t too lucky. Since we’re on the topic of friendship and this post is almost as if I’m writing an essay, I will continue the topic on the next post.

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“Your heart and my heart are very very old friends.”

2017?

I know I’m super late in writing this post and it’s not like it’s a must to write a post just because it’s a new year but I feel the need to write one for this year because so much has happened and I would like to share my happiness and my growth process.

2016 was a rather trying year for me as I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog. Firstly, it was dealing with the grief over the death of my beloved Suzie for a whole year. I was never whole again after that. I felt a sense of emptiness no matter how many happy moments I had. Secondly, it was just being an adult – I started my first full-time job in March 2016 and although I am incredibly thankful to be given a job, I also felt a sense of anxiety. How long more of this routine of waking up early, working hard, going home late (because of Muay Thai) and sleeping late could I take? Sure, the spending power is fantastic and the saving power is even more incredible. But it was the routined days that scared me. Would this be my entire life? And it’s not like I hate routine, but I need a good balance of both. Lastly, my relationship was something I kept questioning because I felt like I wasn’t in a good place and I felt responsible if Marion became unhappy in this relationship. I kept questioning if it was the right thing to do to cut myself off. It was a lot of back and forth on this question for the both of us. It was emotionally tiring especially when you feel like you are not loved as much by people outside of the relationship.

Towards the end of 2016, it became a lot clearer to me on the decisions I made to improve my life and my happiness. The first was to quit my Instagram account because it was toxic for me. I didn’t quite like knowing about people’s lives especially when I’m not close to them in the first place. It made me feel nosy and it made me feel like I was addicted to know more about what people were up to. I can’t help the mean/judgemental thoughts that came with it and I hated that I was having such mean thoughts about people. This wasn’t me and it isn’t who I want to be. So I decided to quit my main account because if people were really interested to know me, they would make the effort and not just sit there scrolling through my gallery of what I’ve been up to. Don’t get me wrong, I still have 2 Instagram accounts – 1 for my baking adventure and the other is a super private one which is only accessible by my closed ones. That account was there from before as I treated it as a private (only-me) photo diary and I didn’t quite want to let that go as it was the memories it held were too precious.

The second change I made was to allow myself to take the space I need when I needed it without feeling sorry for asking for it in the first place. I realised having my alone time and my space is often for people’s safety, more so for Marion. It’s where I recharge and reorganise my thoughts to make sense of things. Without it, I am capable of being easily agitated and snappy and sometimes saying things that are so blunt for the purpose of hurting someone. I would spend my alone time in my room writing which was why I wrote a lot towards the end of last year. I would spend my alone time over lunch breaks going to the roof garden with a book in my hand and home-cooked lunch in the other. I would also spend my alone time just watching series on Netflix  or online which I’ve always wanted to watch such as SuitsThe Crown, Game of Thrones, Naruto (influenced by Marion), Luke Cage, Stranger Things, a little bit of Narcos and Black Mirror. This year, it’s A series of Unfortunate Events only thus far. More to come soon hopefully! Marion and I also had a talk about having our alone time. I think we always felt the need to call each other goodnight because it was the routine and it is what almost every couple does. We also felt bad if we had to ask each other for our alone time. But some nights, we don’t have anything to talk about and all we want to do is our own thing. So we decided, on nights like that, we will not be afraid to ask each other for our alone time and it has worked out perfectly. We would just call to literally just say goodnight. I can imagine our married life – him in one corner of the room playing his PS4 or something and I on the other watching my series, or him on one side of the bed listening to his podcast and doing work and I on the other reading a book. And we’re both perfectly happy with that because it’s just being near each other that makes us happy.

So 2017 huh?

Okay where do I begin?

Every year, I come up with a theme to live by. This year, my theme is ‘to be unapologetically me’.

How did I come up with that?

I wanted to stop apologising for things I shouldn’t be apologising for. I wanted to stop letting people step all over me at work. I wanted to stop trying so hard for people who have some kind of unspoken issue with me. I wanted to stop feeling like I was unlovable because of my brokenness. I wanted to stop punishing myself for the way some people treated me.

I wanted to accept the fact that I am sensitive and that it’s okay because being sensitive is always better than being insensitive. It makes me empathetic to people’s hurts and plights. I do, however, realise that being too sensitive is bad, but at this point I can’t even begin to “balance” myself because I am still working on accepting the parts of myself that no one claps for. I wanted to accept the fact that I love deeply and the way I show my love is through my actions. I like to splurge on my loved ones because I love seeing how happy they get when they receive it. This is not to say that I like buying materialistic things because the gifts I buy is from pure observation of their likes and dislikes and this amplified the meaning behind the gift. I wanted to stop feeling like shit when people commented about how much I spoil my loved ones with such disdain because they probably think I’m such rich “uptown” girl born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I wanted to stop feeling sorry that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth as if that’s a bad thing. I embrace the fact that I am incredibly blessed but people often mistake that for me not knowing what poverty or being less fortune is like. I do know what being less fortunate is like and even if I cannot relate 100%, I do empathise and I do my part to help in whatever way I can. I am not oblivious to people’s struggles in life and I do not look down on people’s finances or status. I wanted to stop feeling the need to explain myself to people who don’t deserve an explanation from me, although I probably failed on that just a few seconds ago. *chuckles* Well I said it was a goal, it isn’t automatic!

So here I am and I must say I am liking how this year has been going by so far.

My family and I finally opened up our hearts to another dog. I am proud to say that the new member of the family is adopted from Causes for Animals Singapore. His name is Max. He was previously named Bush boy because they found him in the bushes half-dead. He had 12 maggot wounds and he didn’t reject any help when they took him in and rushed him to vet. He didn’t even struggle at the vet. All he wanted was probably love and affection from compassionate humans. When I read his story, I immediately knew that Bush, now named Max, was the one for us. When we went down to meet him on a Friday night, 13 January, he was his foster mum. He had this limp and he was a quiet boy. He just wandered around the grass as we walked him and he was very obedient. Chels and I even started kissing him on his head and cheek. We were drawn to him and I thought his slightl limp was a cute quirk. Later on, we would realise that the limp would be there forever because the vets had to cut a ligament from his leg due to the wound. The ligament was rotting away and the wound was so bad that you could see the bone inside.

He has some similar traits to Suzie. He started his trial period homestay with us on January 15 2017. This week is the third week with us. His first day with us, he was so confused and he was so uneasy. He kept going toward the door and trying to get out to run to the volunteers. He refused to sleep in any of our rooms because he wasn’t sure if our home was a place he could walk freely. We tried to invite him in but to no avail. He ended up sleeping on the towel we placed for him in the living room. We didn’t have a bed ready for him yet at that time. The next morning when Chels and I woke up at 5am to take him down for a walk, we wagged his tail at us. We knew he was starting to get familiar with us so we gave him the space and time he needed. Today, he’s very well loved by our family and he sleeps in Chels’ room. Sometimes, he comes over to my room in the morning to lay by my bed side. It was the spot Suzie used to lay when she waiting for me to get up. I read online that when you adopt a dog, you should keep the rule of 3’s in mind. They are estimated marker points.

The first 3 days (at a minimum) is the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home. After 3 weeks, though, your dog is probably getting used to your comings and goings, learning the daily routine, and starting to figure out when the next meal is coming, that you walk at the same time every morning, that he gets to go out for regular potty breaks.  At 3 months, most dogs know they are “home.” It’s a process to get there, but with a good behavior plan, the right tools, patience and a sense of humor, the two of you can scale the mountain together and enjoy  the journey toward a great relationship.

I cannot wait for the 3 months. I want Max to know he is good hands now and that we will always protect him from harm, danger or any sort of abuse. I think he knows that we love him but he’s probably still skeptical if this house is going to a permanent one for him. But we will continue to be patient with him and to love him with everything we have. He responds to Max now which is a good sign. He knows which gate is our house. He comes to the door to greet us when we come back and in the mornings, he runs, jumps and gives us kisses. He has some weird quirks and sometimes, some behavioural issues, but we accept him for whatever he is and whatever his past was. We know he’s in good hands now and we will rest in that fact.

Max filled this emptiness in my heart that was there for year. This is not to say that he replaced Suzie or that I have forgotten Suzie. Not a day goes by that Suzie is not on mind. I will always love her and she will always have a special place in my heart. Max isn’t Suzie and Suzie isn’t Max. I love Max for Max and I love Suzie for Suzie. I love them both and I know there will be a day that Max will come to pass to. When I leave this world, I will be blessed to be welcomed by two of my furry companions in heaven and maybe more.

With my relationship with Marion, it’s been swell. We communicate a lot better and we enjoy our moments together a lot more because there’s been more laughter. We talk openly and honestly – not like we didn’t do so before but more so now. You would think after 7 years together, you’re more or less settled but that’s not how life works. Obstacles will always be there, it’s whether we want to keep going through hell still holding hands. We overcame hell and all our demons and we are still fighting some of them together. He assures me of all that is good in me and he forgives me for my wrongs. He loves me firmly but softly at the same time. He does his best for me to make me happy and I do all I can to bring happiness to his life each time. We are in a better place and we are glad. I’ve stopped caring about people outside our relationship that have not been treating us kindly. I’ve stopped trying to get them to accept me or to love me.

We may still have a long way more to go and I am excited for a lifetime of journey and memories to build with the man I love. I am at peace knowing that this is the man I will eventually marry because I know he’ll make an amazing husband and an incredible father of our kids. He will love his daughter fiercely and gently. He will love his son and teach him important life lessons. He will plan activities for our family and he will always prioritise us and ensuring we grow into a wonderful family. It’s not too soon to think about marriage for us because we’ve been together for 7 years now and it’s been a discussion we’ve had from before. Of course anything can happen and I am aware of that so we shall see where life takes us.

The other thing I’d like to do more of this year is to start reading more books again. I was such a bookworm in my childhood. I remembered asking my parents to buy me books after books and I would read infront of my dad to earn this Papa Booklet Award. I would even do the character voices such as the evil stepmother from Snow White. I’d read to him every morning because I loved it. I stopped reading when technology got in the way. It started with Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Barbie, MyScene, Neopets and then Friendster, Facebook, Blogspot. Becoming a teen distracted me from the joys of reading. I would buy so many books though because I was interested but I’d keep them on the shelf. Starting late last year, I began to read books I bought from 3 – 5 years ago. I’ve finally read all my Mitch Albom books I bought for myself 3 years ago, A Good Woman from Danielle Steel which Chels got for me on Christmas maybe 6 years ago, and I just finished reading Totto-Chan, a book I had as a kid but Chels lent it to her friend and I never got the book back so I never got the chance to read it. Marion gave that to me on my 21st birthday, which was 4 years ago? My latest read is A Dog’s Purpose from W.Bruce Cameron that Marion got for me on Christmas last year. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to read since it came out but I never managed to find it in stores whenever I visited.

These days, I’m always armed with a book. I’ve stopped listening to music on the train journeys back home because I’d much rather read instead. I become so engrossed in the world the writer creates that it’s hard for me to put the book down. I feel like my younger self again. It’s good to keep busy by reading and watching movies. It just transports you to a new place and for awhile, you’re free. I’m really happy to be picking this past-time up again and I hope I am able to finish reading the 30++ books I’ve been hoarding. *chuckles*

I am looking forward to the rest of 2017. Everything is looking up for me and I am spilling with gratitude for all the blessings thus far.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed 2017.