From LDR to LT (Living Together)

Having spent two years in a long distance relationship, you’d think that life is a bed of roses when you dramatically slow-jog into each other’s arms, and passionately kiss each other like each day is your last.

Not quite.

To be honest, I spent the first month getting used to living with the love of my life. Nobody said it was easy – We’ve both been warned (just days before living together) that cohabiting could make or break you. I mean, are you really sure you love the person enough to be able to stand being around them all the time? To see them and their habits in their natural habitat?

I told myself, of course – we’ve spent 24 hours X 14 days together before. I already know him. This should be no different. But it is.

In the first month, I had gone through an emotional roller coaster ride, on both sides of the spectrum. But then we weren’t on holiday anymore, and we have our lives to run. We can’t be spending every minute with each other (as we would while visiting each other during the LDR phase), and we can’t always be 100% loving as if one of us were leaving.

Having said that, one month later, I think we’re in a really good place. We’ve figured a routine that works for both of us, and we have our own lives to lead now. My social life is still not as stable as his (not in a comparative way, but living in a new city does make creating a social circle a little tough) but we’re figuring it out.

We’ve finally both understood how to savour the moments of being together while still being able to give each other space, in this same apartment we both call home, to do what we have to do.

This did take work. We’ve talked about it, debated about it, (I’ve) cried over it, and now for the past few weeks since his return (he spent 2 weeks away for work), I’ve never felt happier!

Last night we had dinner in front of the TV, switching between shows I like to watch and shows that he likes to watch. (They are different.) Then he put on some great music, ready to complete some reading he needed to do, while I needed to study for a test today. But the music was great and his dancing feet triggered a chain reaction, and we danced like it was the 80’s. Finally we put everything away while he read on the coach, and I sat on the floor by the coffee table.

It was some kind of bliss!

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To my future self as a mum

Dear future me,

When you’re a mum, I know you’ll know how precious your little one is. And then the crying may wear you out, as both you and the dad may not know how to handle it. But you will get there.

You will shower your beloved one with the attention the little one deserves. You will put your electronic devices away when you spend time with him/her (except to take pictures). You will not let him/her yell and howl for attention.

You will let him/her run around and play. You will let him/her experiment, touch things, ask questions, fall down, ride a bike, sit on the swing, run after a cat. You will take long walks to explore the outdoors with him/her. You will let them know that the world is their oyster.

You will be a cool mum, one who takes the little one to concerts, one who takes them on road trips, teaches languages, bake and cook with him/her, paint with him/her, sing with him/her. You will let him/her know there’s a whole world to explore without settling down behind an electronic device. And friends are real, not a list.

You will teach the little one the difference between indoor voice and outdoor voice. You will teach him/her dining manners, and you will dress him/her like his/her age.

And above all, you will find a way to love him/her so much, that you will not boost his/her ego unnecessarily. You will teach the little one the importance of hard work and following his/her passion. You will remember to let him/her travel, on his/her own or not, because he/she will grow up from it. Whenever you have doubts, remember that you were once the same, dying to wander. You will struggle, and you may think that you’re the world’s worst mum, but never forget that you’re not alone.

And don’t worry, you will find a way to give the little one to spread his/her wings to soar.

Love,
A younger you

Video

Fun – Carry On

In lieu of the recently discovered misery, I currently face a lack of many words.

Nevertheless, today I felt alive for the first time in a while. It was a day I did only the things that I wanted to do, and it felt good.

Last night, my cousin went to Fun’s concert, and called me when this song was playing. I’m not sure if it was deliberate or not, but then I got the message loud and clear.

If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May the past be the sound of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Thanks, babe.

2012

There it is – a brand new year.

I would love to say “Whoa. Where did the time go?” But I think this year didn’t exactly zoom by. It did feel like a year ago that I did the annual reflection.

That’s not to say the year wasn’t eventful. It was, and that’s also why at this very point, it feels extremely far from the events of last year.

  • Career

Can’t believe I’ve stuck with my job all this time. As a product of the new generation, it’s safe to call it an achievement to have it made it past a year of being with the same company. I think I’ve grown through it, the ability to separate emotions from business, networking internally, dealing with external vendors, being now called a “bro” by my lunch group, etc. There are greater responsibilities now, and there is a greater comfort level where I’m sitting now – and that comes with slight fear and knowing that there’s still a lot of room to grow – maybe within the role, maybe within the company, but also maybe out of this city I call home.

  • Family

I lost a loved one at the start of the year. Sometimes I worry that I’ve forgotten how things were with her around but sometimes I dream of her and her indirect ways of showing approval for the things I do. Sometimes I feel so sorry for her, for leaving behind a broken extended family that only held up with her presence. The extended family is definitely screwed up, but I’m keeping my nuclear family close, and I think we had a pretty good year.

  • Friends

I don’t think I’ve realised the fragility of friendships until this year. The ability to drift apart through space and time, and the ability to think – ah heck it, it’s too much trouble, and if you don’t care, I don’t care. With the evolution of technology, somehow keeping in touch becomes a greater pain in the butt – how was that possible? I decided to lay off social media like Instagram and Twitter, partly because I didn’t want to know everything about a person before meeting them, and partly because I would like to know what friends would like to tell me in person, i.e. not through the broadcast of social media. This year definitely saw me through the making of several new good friends, the ups and downs of sustaining some old ones, and how the ones with the best fit are gonna stick around through it all, without much effort at all. I’m truly blessed in that area.

  • Love

I remember someone telling me not to give in to the stereotype of long distance relationship being difficult. It’s true that for most of the time, it is easy peasy. I love him, he loves me, one of us is in the wrong city. When we meet, it’s heaven on earth; when we part, it’s hell. There are so many ups and downs in a long distance relationship, god knows my poor cousin had to hear me out so many times. If it isn’t a cyclical moodiness of realizing how far apart we are, it is just insecurity. It’s tough to get a healthy balance of dependence and independence necessary. But at the end of the day, it’s about what works with us, and I think we did a pretty amazing job keeping it going, reigniting the spark every so often, despite – till date – having no expiry of the long distance in sight. But it’s clear we have a similar goal and I’m blessed to have someone love me from 10,000km away.

  • Personal development

Participate in two more 10km run, check. Picking up a new language, check. Picking up a new sport, check. Let my hands go crazy with art and craft, check. Read more books, check. Read the news more, check. Spend less time worrying about what others think of me, check. Travel to new destinations, learn to pack really light, travel alone, check check check.

And for the new year? Apart from the usual blessed and healthy family and friends, I sincerely hope for career enlightenment, at least for the time being. Remaining active physically. Exploring the kitchen more. And cohabiting with the boy.

I’m ready, 2013. Take on me.

Filial Piety

Filial piety is so bizarre.

It’s not the concept that I find bizarre. To be good to your parents, to be respectful towards them – that I completely agree and understand why. But how do you display filial piety? That is the question.

I recently met a friend from the past, we reconnected one random day while bumping into each other on the train and discovered we had so much more in common now than ever before. And both of us have ideas and plans of travelling the world and working in a different country. We shared the same joy for being in a foreign land, and had the same adrenaline rush of overcoming that adaptation barrier.

But being an Asian in a conservative country where filial piety is of utmost importance, we know it breaks our parents’ hearts that we want to get away from our mother land, that we’re not within x kilometres radius from them. If and when we do move away, we won’t be there for them whenever they need it. We can’t be there to take them on weekends just because. We can’t fulfil the Asian idea of being a filial child, taking care of them till they’re old; giving back everything they’ve given to us, which also means sacrificing our hopes and dreams to be with them, like they did for us.

But I constantly wonder if there’re other ways of displaying filial piety.

It doesn’t help that there was recently an article about how an ex-classmate had such thoughts about moving away but she was willing to wait as she had an ailing father. While I congratulated her on an article well written and published, everyone else was complimenting her on being the perfect daughter.

I love my parents, I really do. I appreciate that they’re so amazing. I appreciate that they made do with circumstances and painstakingly brought both my brother and me up. I admired the fact that my dad stayed still in a job for stability to ensure we had everything we needed. My mum stayed home to watch us.

Now, both my brother and I have wings. We have our own ways of thinking. He will soon be married. My future is unplanned and I like that I could go anywhere I wanted to. My parents were a careful balance of strict yet liberal with us, and I guess because of that we could go anywhere and do anything we wanted but we knew how to stay within the boundaries.

When my grandma passed away, my dad told me that he will always want to remain in Singapore, and that he would give me his blessings if I did move away. And while that was all I ever wanted to hear, it pained me to hear that as well.

We were always brought up to consider our parents’ feelings, and to really look deep into what they say. If they said they didn’t mind an issue, were they just being nice? Did they really not mind it? This was one of the cases where I knew that it would pain my dad but he loves me so much that he would rather have me happy elsewhere than stay here for them.

I think I always knew that I would want to be out of this city. I’ve prepped them up when I went away on exchange. I prepped them up when I returned and constantly raved about Europe. I’ve prepped them up when I took up the Skype interview for an internship in New York. I even searched for jobs in UK, France, Germany and Switzerland upon graduation. And I think they got the idea when they found out I was dating a foreigner. I think they got even more certain when I started doing a lot of travels without ‘adults’ (as in parents) or tours.

While I haven’t got a solid plan to leave yet, I know I will eventually regardless of the outcome of my current relationship. It is never about feeling like Singapore is insufficient for me but I’m in love with going through the process of adapting to a foreign city, and it isn’t just for holiday sake.

So now the question is, is there no way of being apart from your parents and still show that you love them? Would moving away mean one isn’t filial? Is this all very selfish?

Absence

I’ve still been whining about him leaving. I’ve whined about it before he left. I’ve cried about it when he was there to hold me. I’ve cried about it when he walked through the gates at the airport. I’ve cried about it after. I’ve whined about it after. I’ve whined about crying.

And here I am, it’s just day 2 without S.

And apart from the mornings when I wake up to an empty space beside me and realize he left (all over again), I think I’m getting along okay.

Oh and apart from last night when I called him and heard his voice but couldn’t see or touch him, and we were in different time zones again – I was reminded that he left, all over again.

Okay, so maybe I’m not getting along that great yet. But it’s only day 2. I think I deserve the time to “mourn”. Saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is utter rubbish. I’ve heard this a million times and I honestly appreciate the support everyone’s trying to give. I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing group of people I can rely on. But it is at its fondest – and this line sounds like I’m expected to feel even shittier with longer absence!

“3 months isn’t so long” is also another common line, because I’m likely to go over in July. I’m absolutely excited to go over, I’d love to see his side for a change. Because since we started, he came over thrice. But 3 months really is long when you see someone everyday for a while. If you’re attached, I’ll bet you whine when your partner’s gone for 2 weeks. A friend whined about his girl leaving for a weekend trip for crying out loud, but that’s extreme. And if I were to count, I have 13.5 weeks to go, and the date isn’t even set yet.

So forgive me for whining. I think I’ll channel the whining here instead of driving my dear friends up the wall. Some have decided forcefully that I need to get out and hang with friends and forget about it. But respectfully, I don’t want to forget about it. I want to cling onto it until what remains is a distant memory. Before that happens, I want to talk about it over and over. And don’t worry, I won’t sink into depression.

I just want to “mourn”.

breathe in the positive, and out the negative

such a rollercoaster ride it’s been. the holidays were, well, alright until towards the end it was so friggin awesome. with keith, with hall, with everybody i wanted to meet up with. and countdown. and new year. and voila, here i am, back in my own little space, happy to be away from the nagging but dreading school like crap, which is about to start in eight hours.

although the comfort is really there, knowing there’re only lectures this week. whew (:

every year, before school begins, i sink into this emo, angsty mood, where i get frustrated with everything when i do them last minute, and getting ready for school just purely sucks. hahaha. i’m still the little kid inside, though by year, my age already begins with a ‘2’.

simply by having a lot of things to trudge to hall with, it already dampened my mood to an all-time low this entire month. but it’s okay, i’m determined to wake up with a fresh start and meet some familiar faces with smiles. although things are gonna be severely different from last semester, i constantly have to have the idea that it’s a bloody short 3 year course at the back of my head. 5 more semesters to go, i jolly well enjoy this.

ack. let there be light. (:

also, things i do want to accomplish in 2009: 1) learn driving 2) collect my ‘a’ level cert.

genius.

clarinase

wow. i’m actually wobbly right now. i can’t hold my arm up for too long.

while clarinase is actually a miracle-pill cos it instantly stopped my nose from thinking it’s monsoon season,

it is definitely the drowsiest ‘non-drowsy’ medicine.

dancing

I’m dancing in the room as if I was in the woods with you
No need for anything but music
Music’s the reason why I know time still exists

So I put my arms around you… around you

– elisa’s dancing

happy seventeenth, boy (: