Happy Chinese New Year!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m 1/2 Chinese and Chinese New Year is probably one of the biggest festivals my family celebrates other than Christmas. I guess I’m not overly into the superstitions and folklore that go with the festival, but I do enjoy the family reunions and food that it brings.

I don’t think I’ve been home for Chinese New Year since I left Malaysia in early 2009 – so my last celebration at home would have been in 2008. This was a picture of me back then and boy was I skinny!

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As I was looking at the photos, I found a gorgeous shot of my grandparents. I haven’t seen them since my wedding in 2011, but I do look forward to seeing them again this year.

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We would have a lovely reunion dinner together on the eve of Chinese New Year (which was last night) and then there’d be lots of places to visit (or people coming to visit me). I would eagerly await these meetings with the hopes of increasing my bank balance (apart from the good company, of course).

It’s a bit different now because I’m now on the “giving” end of the red packet (ang pau) phenomenon. The tradition states that if you’re married, you have to give people ang pau – which is a red packet with some money. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been back for Chinese New Year yet! If anyone comes to visit me here in Adelaide, I’ll give you one but only if you ask nicely!

I have a fundamental question though – how long do people get ang paus if they don’t get married? I know a lot of people are not getting married now, or at least, getting married later. And do you give people of the same generation as you ang pau, or just the generation below? Because if we’re giving the same generation as well, I think I’ll pok gai (go broke).

This year, we’re just going to have a low key Chinese New Year because it’s really hot and I’d rather not take Jacob out too much. This is the only Lion Dance he’s going to be watching this year.

ImageJust a quick one cos I’m really busy today! I pulled out my Cheongsam (which I can hardly squeeze myself into) and put Jacob in his little Samfu from his grandma. 

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Happy Chinese New Year everyone! 

A girl who travels?

Yesterday, a blog post was going around entitled “Don’t date a girl who travels”. I was in bed, ready to sleep, and saw it on my Facebook feed so I read it aloud to Daniel. And I realised more and more that that girl was me, or was it only a figment of my imagination?

Before reading on, check out that blog post here: https://medium.com/better-humans/802c49b9141c

As I sit here listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire album (which I consider the album that dreams are made of), I’m overcome with a sense of reality – have I in fact turned out the way I wanted to turn out, or ended up doing the things I wanted to do?

I look at my skin and see the scars (and tattoo) that have their own tales to tell. I look in my head and see a wealth of knowledge and experience that sometimes makes me wonder whether I’m 24 or 42. I look in my heart and feel that burning desire to venture further and experience more. Not so much to escape, but to take what I have with me to new levels. I admit – I am hard to please, though I’ve realised that I am responsible for my own happiness.

It’s funny – earlier yesterday, even before I read that article, I asked Dan why he didn’t have more relatives getting married interstate so we could have an ‘excuse’ to travel interstate. He then reminded me that he did have a cousin who got married in NSW, but I was away in Auckland getting my visa done. I then proceeded to count the remainder of his unmarried cousins…

As I read on in the article, I found so many more things resonating true in my life. Can’t hold a steady job (though theoretically, if I hadn’t had Jacob, I would have stayed on at my previous job). Freelancer – yes, I am to an extent and intend to be at some point anyway. Wasted her college degree and switched careers – perhaps, though I think that all study gives you options. One day when I own my cafe and/or B&B, I will write to Le Cordon Bleu to thank them for the knowledge they imparted to me.

But as I read on, I realised that there were some things that did set me apart from this persona. I initially wanted to choose a life of uncertainty. If I hadn’t met Daniel, I reckon I would have shipped myself off to some remote location in Australia (maybe Broome or Ayers Rock) to work, get sponsored, get my Australian PR and then take off to Europe. I’ve had almost 10 different addresses since 2009, and I wasn’t going to stop at nothing.

Until I found something worth stopping for.

I found a wonderful man with whom I built a beautiful home. And now I have a child who depends on me for everything, and I don’t mind at all. Independence as an adult is relative. In concept, I could easily survive alone. But physically, spiritually and emotionally, I need Daniel. And now, more than ever, because I want Jacob to have the best father in the world.

I look back and think about how I’ve changed since I met Daniel. Before, not only were my movements erratic but also my emotions. I would be warm, then cold, then glowering hot. I’d spend too much time mulling over the past and dreaming of the future. But being with him reminded me that living in the present is too often overlooked.

Not many of you know this, but I actually had an eating disorder before I met Daniel, and it was eating away at me. I probably had depression growing up as well, though a lot of it was really self-inflicted. I think a lot of it was because I was striving for something more all the time, to a point that I forgot to appreciate what I had and who I was. I was so busy being independent that I forgot that I tended to destroy myself when I was alone.

When Dan and I had been dating for a few months, I had to determine where to go for my work placement (i.e. training in a hotel somewhere interstate or overseas). The previous year I’d been to Port Douglas, so I was thinking of a big city as my next destination. Jumeirah Group came to do a presentation at the Uni, and I applied just for the heck of it and went for the interview.

I got offered a position to go to work in Dubai at one of their luxurious properties. This is Jumeirah, the group behind the Burj Al Arab. What an opportunity! I brought the information home with me to give it some serious thought. It would have been an amazing career move and would take me to someplace exotic and new.

I turned it down, and found a job in Melbourne instead.

No, I did not change my mind because of Daniel. He had no part in convincing me where to go and what to do with my life. But I realised that while some people held career or travel as an integral part of their lives, they didn’t mean anything to me if I had to lose what I had with him. I don’t believe that people only have one soulmate, but I knew that he was meant for me.

A few months down the track, after a few trips to and fro between Adelaide and Melbourne, he proposed. And I was not just saying yes to a man, but also to a way of life and to an uncertain future in its own way.

It’s not that we don’t have adventures. Last night, we went out to watch the stars while eating macarons. We play board games on rainy days (or super hot days, like the next few days) and watch the sunset as we walk the dog around our hilly suburb. In a few months’ time, we may go camping with Jacob or perhaps have another interstate trip, and I do plan to see more of Malaysia this year too. 

And Jacob is my adventure too. I find so much joy in little things, like seeing him eat a steamed carrot for the first time (though I don’t think any of it went down his throat – just all over the floor) or just waking up to a smiling face (and a tremendously loud baby fart). I can’t wait til he crawls, then walks, then talks, then who knows? Every day is different but change is inevitable.

The final sentence in the blogpost is this:
So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.

It reminds me of this quote I heard long ago:
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.

I have been let go time and time again, but I realise that it’s my turn to let go. It’s my turn to let go of a life that I never had, for an alternative that I find much more rewarding. Because I realised that many a time, travel gave me an emotional high but there was always an emotional low to follow. There was happiness but not ultimate joy. There was exhilaration, but no permanence.

So, for all you “girls who travel” out there – if that is your calling, so be it and I do hope you find the joy you seek. But I have found joy in the little ‘country’ town of Adelaide with my humble house, ditzy dog, hilarious husband and bouncing baby boy. 

Baby Shower Number 1

We have another shocker of a hot week so I’m going to stay in as much as possible, and if I have errands, will run them as early as possible. Thank goodness that it wasn’t so hot on the day of baby shower number one! 🙂 My friend is due in early March and she’s having a baby boy!

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She had the party out in the yard and it was a beach-themed party. There was soooo much delicious food! I love the idea of the wishing tree (why didn’t I think of that at my shower?) – people just write a wish on a leaf and stick it on. I also made the little umbrella cups in the picture – I got the idea off the net and it was supposed to look like the picture below, but the cream melted and the babies sank into the ‘sand’. Oh well!

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I ordered some cupcakes from a friend of mine and they did not disappoint. There was a little girl there who was fascinated by the dummy on the cupcake baby’s mouth and ate it right off! There was so much food that the men (who had gone off to play golf) came back after to help us finish it up!

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Game time! Her sister-in-law organised three games while I organised the two games below (and had a third one on standby, but it was getting late). I especially enjoyed the Bottle drinking race between the three pregnant ladies – one would not imagine how hard it is to drink from a baby bottle (the teat is soooo tiny!).

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My friend is really creative, hence a lot of the things at her baby shower are handmade! She made a lot of the decorations by herself and even made some gorgeous little booties for her bombonieres with yummy Hershey’s chocolate (I LOVE HERSHEY’S, especially the Cookies and Cream one).

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Finally, what was Jacob doing? He was there with the ladies socialising, as usual! He was a good boy and went down for an afternoon sleep so I could have something to eat. Thanks everyone for taking turns to take care of him! 🙂 Here he is in a bit of a standoff with the dog (which is about the same size as him, haha!). 

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It was a really lovely day and it was awesome to have a public holiday the next day to recover from it (for those who are working anyway). Today it’s back to school for Dan (and also all the students) – hope everyone has a lovely day!

Pray for Your Children from Head to Toe

This is just lovely – I know that I’ll be praying for Jacob in all these different areas. 🙂

Loving Life at Home

After I published my popular “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe” printable, several readers requested a similar prayer guide for wives. I made one, and my husband published it on his blog last year. Recently a reader suggested I do a “Praying for Your Children from Head to Toe” guide, which I agreed was an excellent idea. So here it is. May you and your children both be blessed!

Pray for Their Mind:

Pray that your children would earnestly seek wisdom and understanding; that they would value knowledge and discernment; and that their thoughts would stay centered on the truth of God’s Word. (Proverbs 2:1-6; Proverbs 3:21; James 1:5; Psalm 119:97)

Pray for Their Eyes:

Ask God to guard your children’s eyes and protect their innocence. Pray that they would focus their attention on doing what is right. (Romans…

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Australia Day

Today is Australia Day and I can bet you that there are thousands of people at the beach! I really wanted to go to the beach this weekend so we went yesterday. Silly me decided to bring the pram along (as I forgot to bring a hat, silly mummy) so I couldn’t go on the sand, but it was lovely to be up on the boardwalk as I got to take a few shots from a different perspective.

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Trying to smile but it’s just a little bit too sunny! Daddy took him right to the water, but only for a little while so he wouldn’t get burnt.

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For those of you who know Adelaide, this is Semaphore beach and it’s probably my favourite beach. I love the fact that they usually have some sort of fun fair going on (and even if they don’t they still have that waterslide and mini golf). I love the row of shops as well which have a whole lot of interesting things to look at, great fish and chips as well as yummy ice cream!

Australia Day marks the anniversary of the British’s arrival in Australia and, understandably, is sometimes called “Invasion Day” as well. While I don’t have any strong emotions about this particular event, I like to join in the festivities anyway and celebrate the unity of being in Australia (though I’m not Australian yet).

I was planning to head out to an Australia Day breakfast but we valued our sleep in a bit more. We did get to have pancakes for brekky though – yum! We’re just watching cricket on TV (but unfortunately will miss the Men’s Australian Open Tennis Final later). And I’ll also miss Biggest Loser!! Okay, I’m not a TV addict but there are some things I don’t mind watching, haha!

As an aftermath from my previous post (http://ligurl27.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/gender-grievance-and-language-lament/), I have decided that I’ll focus on German and Japanese with Jacob. I already pretty much had my heart set on Japanese, but I know German will be good for him too. I’ll need to find out what he’ll be learning at school though – I guess with Malay, it’s a really easy language to learn so I can always teach him later.

Dan and I were showing Jacob some German kids videos earlier and we stumbled across this song, which just cracks me up:

Just a short post today because I’m heading out to a baby shower now – can’t wait! 🙂

Gender grievance and language lament…

Jacob and I haven’t really been up to much the last few days – gone out shopping a bit, visited a friend, etc. I’ve had some writing work to do and can’t wait to share my articles (as I’m playing love guru). Aside from that, two things have been resonating in my mind lately that I’d love to discuss.

When I was out shopping yesterday, I bought a few children’s books yesterday for some of my friends’ baby showers (as I love giving books as presents). They seemed like pretty neutral books when I bought them, but one of them has a page that says “Messy lipstick, messy floor” and shows the little bear playing with mummy bear’s makeup, shoes and jewellery. And I was thinking, hmm… perhaps I should give that one to my friend that’s having a baby girl. And then another book has a page which says “Feel the flowers on my dress. I try hard not to make a mess! Just like mummy!” – and I thought, no, definitely I should give THIS one to the friend with a baby girl.

And then I just thought to myself, what am I doing? Why am I so concerned? Perhaps my worry was that I would insult my friend by giving them a book that may influence their son to act in a girly fashion. In retrospect, if someone gave me those books, I’d still be more than happy to read them to Jacob (and let him read them when he’s older). And I don’t expect it to cause him to want to wear makeup or a dress. 

I think that too often, we’re so focused on giving girls girly things and giving boys boyish things that it more or less defines their roles even before they’re given a chance to decide for themselves. For example, is it so bad for a boy to wear pink? A friend of mine actually bought a pink t-shirt for Jacob as a joke (she didn’t know the gender back then) and I found it really adorable – of course, it did say “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” on the front.

ImageMy belief is that “Girls can wear boys clothes, but boys can’t wear girls clothes” – but I think that pink shirt suits him fine. Since we didn’t choose to announce the gender of our baby, we also have quite a few neutral things – even with clothes alone, we have green, red, yellow, orange, etc. which is just really nice to have! 

Another example is kids toys as well. Some people are under the impression that boys should play with cars and girls should play with dolls. My mum brought over quite a few of my toys from when I was a child, and I must say that Jacob prefers the soft toys over cars and blocks (though he’s only 5 months old so I don’t blame him – fuzzy things are cool!). Around Christmastime, I had some kids coming along to my Christmas party so I thought I’d pick up a few toys – one of the things I bought was a shopping basket, which my niece loved. And it got me thinking – boys should be exposed to grocery shopping anyway!

So, I guess what I really mean here is that I don’t want to be assigning roles to my little man, or at least I’m going to give him a choice. That being said, I do dress him up pretty boyishly but I think that’s because I like that look myself – if I have a girl next, I’d be more than happy for her to wear all Jacob’s clothes as she’ll look cool!

This topic was brought up quite a bit around Christmastime (which initially sparked my interest) and here’s one article that mirrors my sentiments: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10498316/Nows-the-time-to-end-the-boys-and-girls-toys-gender-divide.html

And obviously, before I move on to the next thing I’ve been pondering about, a picture of Jacob asleep like a baby. I think those are girl pants he’s wearing, but it looks nice so who cares… 🙂

ImageAnother thing that’s been playing out on my mind is what language to teach Jacob. Yes, of course I’ll teach him English, but I mean what second language. So, here are some options:
Malay: I grew up learning Malay so I do know it pretty well, but I don’t really think I want to teach Jacob this language. I can teach him random words and how to string sentences together, but I’d rather he learned a more universal language.
Mandarin: Good language to know and probably good to learn the characters from young. But I don’t know too much Mandarin myself so I can’t teach him. I could learn it but I guess it’s not my top priority either.
Japanese: I LOVE this language. I only studied it for a year (and lost most of it because I didn’t speak it) but I’d be keen to pick it up again and have it like our special language. 
German: This is Dan’s preference, and he did a bit of it at school so he knows some children’s songs, etc. My issue is that I don’t think I can teach Jacob it at all, because I am terrible at European languages. I can’t even pronounce simple greetings! I think I’ve just got an Asiatic tongue…

What do you think? Frankly I’d like to do both Japanese and German, though I don’t think it’s a very politically correct combination. XD

I know this whole language thing screams “Asian mum”, but really – being bilingual from a really young age is really good. Kids pick up languages really quickly in the first 5 years of their lives, so I might as well make the most of it. It’s up to him whether he wants to go further with the language, but it couldn’t hurt to activate certain parts of his brain…

Here’s another really good article about brain benefits of being bilingual: http://voxxi.com/2013/05/11/bilingual-children-health-benefits/

For now, I’m just enjoying singing Kira Kira Boshi with Jacob (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Japanese). It goes like this:

きらきらひか (kira kira hikaru)
お空の星 (osora no hoshiyo)
まばたきして (mabataki shitewa)
みんなを見てる (minna o miteru)
きらきらひか (kira kira hikaru)
お空の星 (osora no hoshiyo)

Anyway, I’d better go because Jacob’s trying to eat my Council Rates bill. He’s much more inquisitive and grabs anything and everything to put in his mouth. He’s been doing lots of push ups now, oh no… 🙂

 

5 months of joy…

Argh, so I haven’t blogged in a while. This probably coincides with Daniel going back to school, because I can barely remember what it was like to deal with Jacob by myself all day. I have been spoiled, haven’t I?

Thank goodness that he can entertain himself a bit better nowadays, so I have some time for myself. He’s currently lying in his tunnel watching Praise Baby. I highly recommend Praise Baby DVDs – lovely music and lovely pictures/videos. It’s meant to stimulate babies’ minds with bright colours, animals and children playing too. Jacob can only last one or two songs before he loses interest, but that’s pretty good I reckon (and I don’t want to make him a TV junkie after all).

Also, thank goodness that Sophie arrived! She was about 3 weeks late and I was so afraid she got lost in the post, but here she is (and she has become Jacob’s best bud)!

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But I promised myself that I would blog today, first thing (even before breakfast – just having a hot drink while I write this.) because today, Jacob is 5 months old! Goodness, time flies, doesn’t it? He’s grown so much and I’m looking forward to so many wonderful days, months and years to come!

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One thing I know about Jacob is that he’s not camera shy. He’s now used to smiling at the camera and boy, is he a ham! He looks in the mirror and thinks, no, he knows that he is gorgeous… Hopefully he hasn’t picked up that vanity from me, haha!

I’m also so happy that he’s confident in water and loves splashing about.

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He tried his hand at surfing too but I think he needs to wait until he can stand up…

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I just thought a little poem up for Jacob, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart.

Little hands and little feet
A little dimpled smile to greet
Me every morning, every night;
My little ray of sunlight

Little kisses, little squeals
His personality steals
My attention all the day;
I cannot bear to be away

Little breaths and little snores
Exactly what mummy adores
A little joy gives me wings
Thank you God for little things

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Happy 5 months, little showoff of mine! Your crazy mummy is already planning your 1st birthday party!

On another note, 5 reasons why I think Jacob is going to be a tech whiz:

5. He loves touching my phone and seeing things work. He zooms into pictures and slashes fruit in Fruit Ninja.

4. When he’s next to me when I type things, he copies my finger movement and types stuff. He also scrolls on my touchpad and moves things around. Once he even replayed a baby stimulation Youtube video – I guess he must have liked it.

3. We gave him a musical toy and he started playing some strange music from it – like songs that we couldn’t figure out how to play. It took us weeks to work out that you need to hold down certain buttons for that music to play.

2. He touched our TV remote and turned on subtitles. I had no idea how to turn them off.

1. He just deleted an article I was writing. With a giraffe. No, I kid you not. He was playing around with Sophie the Giraffe near my computer and suddenly selected my whole article and deleted it. Thank goodness he doesn’t know how to save a document.

Alrighty, I should get back to finishing my article and other writing work that I have to do. 🙂