Time flies really fast since the beginning of Year 2019. Half a year had passed. Started writing this post in March and finally able to publish in June.
I had thought I will be “freer” and able to blog more after my course last year, but I had to dive into more adventures almost immediately after I finished my course. I have never stopped feeling busy since.
Then I realized there will never be a “freer” or more perfect time in my life when things just fall beautifully into place. The only constant in life is change, so we should not wait for something to happen. If we want exciting things and more adventures in our lives, we need to proactively seek opportunities to try things we have never done before or have done before but believe we can do better.
Life is about ever becoming a better version of ourselves every single day. We should make the best of what we have, seek all possible opportunities and enjoy every single moment of our lives.
Year 2018 is a year of Good Times and Bad Times. I would say there were definitely more good than bad.
Afterall, we are still alive and kicking.
1. Finally Graduated!
I finally graduated from my Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education! It was a tough year of juggling among my many roles, ie. student, employee, wife, mother, daughter-in-law and friends etc.
Many may not understand why this paper means so much to me. It is not just a commitment I made to myself when I first joined the Organisation, but also about fulfilling a childhood dream of being a trained teacher. It was a long journey after so many ups and downs. I am glad I didn’t give up this dream. I am happy I made it!
Some times we may be forced to “pause” our dreams due to many reasons. Maybe “time is not right” or there are more urgent and important things/roles we need to get them done first. But don’t give up your dreams, if they means so much to you. Yes, you may need to wait very long or walk a big round before you achieve it. But if it really means so much to you, you will persevere one step at a time and eventually achieve it! Jiayou to all those who are still striving on towards your dreams and all those who are taking a short break from them due to many possible reasons. Don’t give up, have faith and you will achieve it soon.
It was amazing how I survived because despite working half day, my workload was not “halved”. I refused to deliver half my efforts too because morally, this is not how I wish to repay people who are understanding and kind to me. I always give my 100% in whatever I do within my abilties, no matter how much constraints I have.
I have to give credits to my very understanding bosses and supportive & helpful colleagues. If not for all of your selfless helping hands, emotional support and mental encouragement, I may not have graduated with flying colours. Yes, I will still graduate but not with satisfying grades.
Most Course Mates only aim for a pass but to me grades is what I use to measure my own efforts and competencies. Maybe many do not agree and believe process is more important than the outcome. Well, I am a greedy person who is very demanding and hard on myself. Because I know if I don’t be hard on myself, I will one day be complacent.
I don’t measure other people based on papers or grades, but intent and efforts. But until I find another way to measure my own abilities and competencies, I will stick to grades and outcomes. I believe if we don’t aim for the outer space, we won’t even reach the clouds.
Back then in June-August 2018 when my helper-maid went home for her wedding and 3 months home leave, I had to prepare for my practicum exams and complete my course & practicum assignments, on top of big company events to plan & facilitiate.
I am amazed how little sleep I need to survive on for a year, ie. 3-4hrs a day. I guess only when our limits are pushed adversely, we realized we are actually capable of doing very amazing things.
I did pay a price for all the late nights. Not only I was tormented by hives, I also became very haggard. It took me many months of self-care to recuperate my skin conditions.
But I still feel that it was all worth it, in exchange for the many chances to teach my little children. I still keep my favorite Sensorial Box I made for my practicum!
Feel like playing with it?
2. Support from Close Friends
Close friends may not always meet but they will always be there for each other.
Sometimes we can only know who we can count on in our toughest time. Not people who ask you to spare time to meet them when you already have no time to sleep, but people who silently listen to you rant about anything and everything. Sometimes we already have the answers but we just need some reassurance that we are “not alone” and everything will be alright.
Sometimes we will be surprised, the one who understand us the most is no longer our family members, but work comrades who are fighting side by side with you and your close friends who stood by you through your tough times.
Thank you to all those friends and work comrades who stood by me, encouraged me, heard my ranting and made time to chill out with me at last minute notices, during my toughest time last year and still doing so now.
3. Celebrated my 3rd year in Sunflower
Learnt a lot these 3 years and was given many opportunities to learn new things and enhance my expertise.
Had fun organising our very first Hair for Hope Satellite Event in Year 2018. Was honored to have MP Lee Bee Wah to grace the event and do the Opening Shave for one of my directors. It was amazing to see how having the compassion to help those in need, can make people do very brave things like shaving their hair. More amazingly, when you are a lady. She has taught me that we can do many more amazing things we didn’t know we can do, as long as we stay positive and march with courage towards our dream/goal.
Found out there are more excitement coming up soon. Cannot share much for now but am looking forward to many more adventures with my work comrades and bosses.
4. My Darlings and their New Milestones
It was amazing how my two darlings reached their own milestones last year.
It was Jamie first time being away from home and she enjoyed her girls brigade camp.
We signed up for the Annual USS Pass and Jamie conquered all the rides there since she is already 1.45m!
James has his fair share of fun in Year 2018 too. Not only he learnt swimming, he also became the most charming dancer at his Year End School Concert!
We are delighted to have a 喜事 at home too. My younger sister-in-law got married in June 2018 and we look forward to new additions in the household!
6. New Bee in the House
Sweet Laogong knows that my job nature needs me to drive islandwide almost daily, while his new job appointment was desk-bounded. Hence he lets me have unlimited use of our family car, while he takes MRT to work everyday.
Following the change in his job nature (which requires him to travel a few locations almost everyday now) and the drop in COE, it is time to consider a second vehicle to ease Laogong’s travelling needs, so that he spends less time on the roads and has more time to rest.
The drop in COE makes “expensive” cars seem relatively less expensive compare to “normal” cars. So it started with causal window shopping online, and Mazda MX-5 caught my hubby’s eyes. Initially hubby wants a “low profile” colour as he does not want to attract unnecessary attention. However after trial driving black, red and yellow, he fell in love with the Bee.
We did struggle a bit to weigh the needs of having a second car, while still paying for the first one.
But I guess it is every man’s dream to drive a convertible once in their lifetime. Since this is a COE car, and COE was manageable at the time of purchase, so why not spoilt yourself a bit more? Now that the COE went up, we actually “earn” a bit to offset what we lost when we bought the first car at a high COE price.
7. Blessed with many Getaways and Outings
I realized the busier I am, the more getaways I wish to have. I always believe getaways are like powerbanks to rejuvenate our tired souls and replenish our low energy spirits. Be it far or near, we just need some time off from whatever that is cluttering our minds and draining our energy.
We travelled quite a bit in Year 2018 and burnt our pockets. Hence, Laogong set a travel budget for Year 2019 onwards, which is really helpful. It helps us to weight the options and decide where to go next, how to work around our budget and how to get more ticks on our bucket list without feeling the strains on our pockets.
Apr 2018 – Family Trip to Bandung
Bandung is a very lovely place and the cooling weather was just right for my kids and Laogong, who love the cold more than the tropical weather in Singapore.
It was our first time seeing an active volcano and the kids love plucking strawberries. I even got a surprised birthday cake from Laogong!
June 2018 – Family Staycation at Rasa Shangrila Sentosa
As usual we needed a mid year break but we were not able to go for holidays due to my course schedule and the Hair for Hope Event. We returned to the hotel we had our wedding in 2008. It was after 10yrs since we last stayed in Rasa Shangri-la Sentosa.
I love the good services and the family-friendly facilities. The children had fun at the Kids Treehouse, while we have some couple time.
It was our first time having a “holiday” without my helper and mil, and we realized though tiring, it was not impossible to holiday “alone” with the 2 kids.
Aug 2018 – Family Trip to Genting and KL
I really needed a “graduation trip” after my course, so we went for our first family trip without our helper. Similarly, it was not impossible though tiring because my mil has always been very helpful and hands-on.
Dec 2018 – Family Trip to Taiwan
Our highlight family trip of the year is our Taiwan family trip. We achieved many first times during this trip. It was our longest family trip (7 nights) compared to our previous Bangkok (3 nights), Bandung (3 nights), Hongkong (3 nights) and various Malaysia (2-3 nights) family trips. It was our first family roadtrip and also the first time we have to change lodging almost every night. There was some adjusting of expectations to do on the initial few days, because minsu and airbnb are unlike hotels. The daily packing was a first time too.
But I was glad everything turned out well. I was worried the kids had problem with the food options there, but they surprised me by falling in love with Taiwan Night Market food. They were happy eating Taiwan sausages as their main courses.
I also learnt that as long as the weather is cooling, the children are pretty okay to even walk long distances for long term of time (unlike in Singapore weather). Hence, I am hoping to bring them to countries with cooling weather.
I also had my many FIRST times last year with Laogong, Cousins or/and Close Friends. Sometimes we need not travel or leave the country to experience adventures. Nowadays with so many different events happening in Singapore, we can have our adventures itself!
Examples of my local fun and adventures in Year 2018:
MAYDAY Concert with Laogong (Jun 19)
Beer Festival Asia with Laogong (Sep 19)
Okobterfest Asia with Yvonne (Oct 19)
1. 3 months without maid
We went through a near impossible time without my best helper-maid for 3 months (June-August), while juggling with my assignments and practicum exams. Not that we cannot live without her or had not been managing the household and kids without her before. She usually goes back for 10 days to 2 months every two years. But Year 2018 onwards, she appealed to go back for 3 months every year after she got married. Friends and relatives told us we should just let her go and get a new helper. Why make our lives so unpredictable and difficult for someone who should be indispensable and just an employee.
After spending 8 years with my helper-maid, she is no longer an employee to us. She is a part of our family. She is in all my children’s drawings of “my family”. We bring her to all our family events and family trips.
She is someone I can count on to ensure my kids are well looked after, while everyone is busy at work or having our own couple paktor, social life and me time. Without her, I will have to give up meeting my friends, chionging career and spending couple time with my hubby.
She is someone who can tahan my occasional mood swings and screw-loose moments. She would always consoled me that she understand it is not easy for me to juggle so many roles, after I calmed down and apologised to her. She will usually be the one who hears all my grumbles when I need a listening ear.
She is someone I can entrust my household to and knows what we like or do not like to eat, without us reminding her. She knows how hard I try to be a supermum, and she willingly wants to be my side-kick to help me achieve this goal.
But I have to really count my blessings to get a good helper-maid like her, coz I know I am not an easy person to work with. I do not have unreasonable expectations or house rules for my helper but I know what I want and do not want to see or hear when I get home everyday from work.
So while people asked me why do I give so much credits to my helper-maid for my successes in life, I tell them that if not from her I will not be able to focus on work during office hours and I will still have to slog among housework and children’s routines after work. I won’t be able to sleep or go out or do OT at home/office whenever I want to. I won’t be able to give attention to every single family members after work and on weekends.
I always believe our helper-maids are also humans. They are also someone’s daughters, mothers, wives, friends and family members. They make sacrifices, put their families and lives behind and travel so far to earn a living so that their families can have better lives. We may not want to relocate for a better paying job even if we are given the choice. So why can’t we give them the respect we give to our other family members. They may not be intellectually more capable than us but I think they are emotionally more resilient and independent than us.
2. I survived a bad car accident
I always believe some pictures speak louder than words and I don’t mean those fake photoshoped/meitu photos or fake happiness for public to wow on.
For the photo above, I guess you know how bad the car accident was.
Sometimes you will be surprised who is the first person who will ask if you are alright or visit you after a car accident. I get calls from a Franchisee we worked with and friends who I was unable to find time to meet for very long, when they heard about my accident. Just this simple gesture, I feel very touched and “alived” already.
You cannot guess what was the first thing in my mind when I had the car crash. Apart from whether my son who was in the back seat injured or not, I was worried about the staff training I needed to conduct the next day and if the crash broke my laptop. My hubby had to drag me to the hospital the following day because i insisted I was okay and need to go back to work. Turned out I had a chest contusion which led to chest pain for 1 month and liver bruising for 2 months. I was glad I did not break any bones and my son only suffered some bruising on his shoulders.
It tells how pathetic I was with my mind only thinking about work and my career, even at life and death moments. I told myself this is not the life I want to continue to lead. No matter how much we achieved in career, when we die all these died with us.
After all the months of recuperating, I told myself I must work smarter and have more time to rest, when I need to. Only when I am healthy, then I can achieve what I work so hard for, not my personal achievements but to improve the quality of life of my family members.
3. Laogong was hospitalised
Laogong has always been the superhero to me. He seems to know everything and learn new things super fast. He doesn’t really fall sick and he doesn’t complain much. He always believe he should spend more time solving the problems than rant about them.
I always believe he will live longer than me because he exercises regularly and hardly falls sick.
I was shocked and scared when he told me he had a bad headache and felt paralysed. The first hit came on a Monday which happened to be the Mid Autumn Festival. We planned to go for a garden lantern stroll with the kids but I came home seeing him in bed saying he was not well. We didn’t think too much about it and I went with the kids alone so that he could rest more.
He was “okay” for the next two days. Laogong always said he always have headaches so he didn’t think so much about it if he could still work and drive.
The 2nd hit was really bad. He was paralysed for an hour and we knew we had to get him to the hospital. He was warded for 2 days. Doctors could not any rupture in his brain. I guess no news is good news right? This incident tells me that Laogong could leave me behind and passed on suddenly, like my FIL did. I still remember how my FIL seemed okay on the morning we left home for work but he never left the hospital after he was warded.
It tells me that I have to spend more time with my loved ones because we never know if we have the chance to say goodbye to them.
Life is really unpredictable, so we got to treasure what we have now because we never know when will all the good things be taken away from us. Lets continue to enjoy the moments and count our blessings.