BIRTHDAY EVE’S LUNCH AT GOODMAN!
Went to steak heaven when I took my first bite. Oh so so so good.
Thank you, Lao Gong for the yearly steak meal!
Thirty. That is pretty old right? When I was in my twenties, I always thought that being thirty was old. Maturity, responsibilities, parenthood and maybe being relatively wiser and more awesome are just some keywords and phrases that I associate with being thirty. Now that I am 30, I suppose all these thoughts are ridiculous. I definitely have lesser expectations from me when I turn 40 in ten years time.
I recall having a list when I was in my mid twenties. The list, which was written on some random notebook consisted of the things that I would have achieve when I reached 30. It was probably written on one of those occasions when I felt incredibly inspired by god-knows-what. On the top of the list, I was going to be a published author of two books. Not one but two! Like wow! What was I thinking? Guess what? I am 30 and I have not even started on a draft of anything. I was so deluded. Gosh. What was I thinking? Like seriously. There is an apparent huge gap of what I think I am versus what I am truly. Thankfully, I have a sense of humor.
And I am NOT going to write another list to achieve before 40.
For the past week, I kept thinking of my 30th birthday and reflecting the small little events in my life prior to me turning 30.
Me, and my family on Baby Gillian’s Man Yue! OMG! Why was I so fat after giving birth to Gillian!
Kimberly would usually prepare birthday cards for everyone and we would write very mushy and ridiculous stuff in everyone’s cards!
(Totally missed my mother this year. 😦 This photo was taken on my wedding day when E and I returned to my parents’ place for the tea ceremony. When this photo was taken, my Mummy was laughing really hard and telling me, “Don’t be so drama! Is MediaCorp here?” No kidding. She always tells me that I am overly dramatic.)
Life as kid was simple then but I could not wait to grow older. When I was in primary school, I usually got an allowance of $0.50-$1 per day, depending on whether I needed to stay in school for lunch. Having so little pocket money was frustrating. It would probably be enough for a meal but I could not splurge on having an ice-cold drink or get an occasional snack from the MaMa(provision) store. Money was tight at home. We usually had home cooked meals. Thankfully, Mummy is a great cook and I love everything that she prepared. Maybe minus the vegetables. Occasionally, we do go out to eat at the coffee shops for birthday celebrations, we were allowed to spend on only food and quench out thirst with the water from our bottles brought from home. What would I give to have a glass of ice cold Coke while eating the chi-char then! Even when we went on holidays, it was on a shoe string budget. My father worked with an airline company, so the air tickets were free for the family. Despite that, we tried to be as frugal as possible. We rented holiday apartments with kitchenettes. Instead of dining out at the fancy, cool restaurants like how everyone did in movies, we prepared all our meals at the apartments and a significant percentage of shopping was done at the dollar stores. (-_-)”’ I remembered telling myself that I must grow up quick so that I get to spend the money that I earn. I wanted to spend freely. On hindsight, those were one of the most carefree days. Despite me feeling like a “poor” person, I had everything that I needed. I had my afternoon siestas. I could watch an hour of television from 7pm to 8pm. My meals were delicious and hardly was asked to do household chores. My main worry should only be on my studies. My parents were great. They celebrated every single of our birthdays with a proper cake and a dinner. They stinged and saved on their personal expenditure for our tuition and piano fees. (Sadly, I turned out to be really bad at piano. What a waste of money!) I enjoyed playing Monopoly and Nintendo with my siblings and was hardly lonely. Occasionally, my older brother made me happy by “letting me win” games because I was/am a sore loser.
Hai Sing Oldies! They are the precious ones who have been with me throughout the many stages of my life and I am unimaginably blessed by friendship. Everyone of them is genuinely nice and non-judgmental. It is because of them, I learn to be a better person and friend.
Ham Hams and Bananagrams! #nerds
My Greenwich Mummies Kakis at Mandarin Kitchen.
Sg people at Gu Yuan, some private Chinese dining establishment at South Kensington.
Developing friendships was not easy as a teenager because I tend to over-think of the situation. Eventually, I did learn that friendships is one of the most natural thing to happen if you are being sincere and honest about the relationship. Many of my best friendships were made in secondary school, college and university days. The people you know from the old are gold. I am inconsistent, flighty and vain but friends just accept me for who I am. They are usually kind to my temperaments, my emotions and drama. When I was in Secondary 3, we used to go to Peiying’s house almost weekly for some “Flour Party” where we played with flour and water bombs. No kidding. I recall mugging my SATs with Ivan at Mac Donald’s only to end up at some arcade playing Photo Hunt and the many food adventures that I went with the V_gang. Suppers at Simpang were classic! Even now, I am so blessed to meet incredible people/mothers in London who are so willing to share on childcare tips, holiday ideas and plan playdates together. While not every relationship that I have is a hit(I can tell you, I met some really weird and disturbingly wicked people! Don’t get me started on such depressing stuff!), I am thankful that I am generally surrounded with good people.
I thought I found love at the age of 19/20. It took me sometime to realise that I am more in love with the notion of being in love than the person. It took me 24 years to finally meet the love of my life. I knew I was going to marry him the day I met him. (You can ask Weili!) 24 years was far too long. I always told E that he should have looked for me and dated me when we were younger. We would have more time together, traveled more, saved more and married younger. E thinks everything happens for a reason. (Strangely, both of us were hanging out at almost the same places when we were dating other people.) Bad relationships just made you realise better about what you want and need in your partner. Like both of us knew that we needed a partner who enjoyed a good steak. This point made it to the top ten in consideration of a husband/wife, along with the qualities of being kind, family-oriented and having a good sense of humor.
(Trying to look like a yummy mummy, 2 weeks after birth of Ryan. There is this trend of how mothers always looked so fabulous immediately after pregnancy and the onset of motherhood. Trust me, whatever you see on my blog is NOT real. I definitely look terrible on a normal day. I suck in my tummy and strategically pose for most of my photos. That is how tricky I am!)
My fabulous duo! Baby Ryan and Baby Gillian! My babies!
The fact that life is a miracle becomes undeniable when the babies came along. The phrase of “the days are long but years are short” is so apt in describing raising children. I hardly have enough sleep(partly due to watching drama late into the night after the kids sleep) but the feeling is so nice when you see their smiles, or when you realise they they have indeed grown heavier or taller or when they unexpectedly plant a kiss on your face. The affection that they have is so unconditional (sometimes, it can be conditional when they are asking for a packet of chocolate milkshake). I am not a very good and attentive mother but in the eyes of the children, I am the best (or maybe they are just very young and naive). I love it when they call me, “Mummy” in their child like way. But still, Ryan and Gillian are definitely God’s blessings. Ryan, at 3.5 year old is able to say nightly prayers with Gillian (who is 1.5 year old) who ends every prayer with a loud, “Amen!” There are frustrating moments when there is food spillage, bad behaviour, tears, vomit and poop but the good outweighs the bad.
This birthday, I am in London. Funny how life takes me but it is an interesting journey. The architecture, surroundings and weather are vastly different from what we have back home. Sometimes, when I stare at what I have in front of me, I find it really unbelievable that I am here, with my husband and children. It is almost like I somehow imagine that in another dimension, I could be living in Singapore, stuck in a mind numbing job. It could totally be possible!
Us, looking probably in the shapes of our lives! Each of us have put on at least 5-10kg since!
Babymoon, whilst being pregnant with Baby Gillian!
I am turning 30 in less than 12 hours’ time. My birthday present is a 4 day 3 night trip to Bangkok, Thailand. It would be another trip, without the kids. The last one was our babymoon to Paris, France. After almost a whole year of caring for the kids, without very little time to ourselves, I cannot wait for the short vacation where we get to enjoy shopping, good massages and also the oh-so yummy street food. Just like our Bali honeymoon, except this time round, it will be Bangkok style. 555!
One of the best thing that happened this year would be that E and I have accepted Christ a few weeks ago. I have wrote a separate blog post about it. Hopefully, I would be able to post it up soon. I used to think that it is very stressful to attend Church because everyone else seem to be so good and awesome. (I still feel like this!) But, I read something off someone’s Facebook and I think it is quite accurate. Church is not a museum of good people. It is a hospital for the broken. All of us have our skeletons in our closet. It is the same for me as well but I feel being uplifted by God’s grace during sermons. Ever since our course on understanding about Christianity and accepting of Jesus, I feel even more thankful for every day that I have. For me, it is a humbling experience to know that God have never given up on us despite all the mistakes or the terrible things we have done. This birthday, I hope that we grow stronger in our faith and be better followers of God’s words.
Happy Birthday to me!
The year has been good.
Thank God for the bountiful blessings.