This is me at my first birthday in 1979, taken at our first house in Seraya Crescent. I have always been a multi-tasker. I wonder what happened to this rocking horse. I recall seeing it in the storeroom when I was about 5 or 6 but I was too big to ride it by then. #tbt
They say home is where the heart is and you know, I’m feeling homesick right now. T and I have been decorating our house for Christmas and it’s the first time he’s ever done that in his adult life since he’s never found the reason to. We put up stuff outside the porch, some lights on our balconies and also tried to cosy up our main living area. We’re trying to keep to about USD100 in all and our tree is largely bare. Also, part of our strategy is to take the next few years to really grow the collection so that every ornament has a story, rather than everything from a pre-packed store bought box.
I usually have lots of year end activities – non-stop parties and dinners with people close to my heart (sometimes juggling 2 to 3 events in a day). This year, we get to T’s home state of New York just before Christmas to spend it with his Mom’s extended family (also doubling up as our wedding celebrations with both our maternal units). Then we get back to Vegas just in time to drive 6 hours to Arizona to spend New Year’s with his Dad and Step Mom. The best part of course, is sharing this holiday season with my mother and sisters as well! As you’ve seen from my Throwback Thursday snaps, I miss my sisters a lot. Some of the things I ALWAYS have with me are pictures of us when we were little. It was always (usually *koffkoff*) great to have them to play with (bully *koffkoff*) and be a buffer for when I get mad with my parents but still want to make sure they’re okay.
T and I have been stretching the last of our dollars and spending those treasured Amazon giftcards we got for our wedding on some furniture – especially for the empty guestroom. My sisters will inaugurate our 2nd guest bedroom in a few days’ time! When this was T’s bachelor pad, it was a junk room with lots of dusty books, game cartridges & consoles (yes plural), exercise equipment, spare computers etc. When I visited previously, we kept the door to this room shut so that I won’t have to see the mess. However, 2 months ago, I threw myself into making this room usable. It took perhaps 3 weeks to clean, throw (imagine empty drink cans and receipts from 2009), sort, dust, wipe and vacuum the entire place!
I am very happy with what I’ve done with it and it’s another milestone in putting our home together. (Okay, after I cleaned it and cleared space, T had to physically put 4 hours of elbow grease into setting up the furniture.)
Because we don’t believe in credit cards, our finances are really tight at the moment – given the tens of thousands of dollars of upfront cash expenses we didn’t budget for (travelling back and forth to see each other, getting married, quitting my job, immigration fees, Max’s cancer etc) yet this year’s holidays will be especially wonderful for T and I. I don’t think we’ll ever get to do this in our lifetime again since all our families are so spread out. I’ll definitely savour every moment in the upcoming weeks.
Happy Holidays everyone and may all of you always have the warmth of family to share special occasions, wherever home may be for you!
Mashed potatoes are great. T and I love potato almost everything – he more than I do. This recipe came about because I was trying to cook something that would keep for a while, is easy to make and lower in carbohydrates (we eat a lot of potato, rice and pasta as vegetarians and T doesn’t like vegetables in general).
This recipe is just a little healthier using cauliflower than potatoes because it is a tad lower in carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean you should eat heaps of it because it still has stuff like butter, milk and cheese in it. I like that you can make a huge batch, then serve it as a side dish over several days and it doesn’t lose flavour or go bad. Also, I got to use my new favourite kitchen appliance – the Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender.
Serves 4 to 6. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
1 medium head of Cauliflower
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar (you can use any cheese you like)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon dried basil
1. Chop up the cauliflower into florets and drop it into a pot of boiling water. Boil till the florets are soft enough to be pierced by a fork.
2. Pour out all the water and mix all the ingredients (except basil) in the same pot.
3. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend everything together.
4. Sprinkle dried basil as a garnish upon serving.
TAH DAH!! If you want to, you can make this recipe lower in fat by using skim milk or low fat cheese.
Dear 16-year-old Self,
It’s okay to be fat and have weird rectangular eyebrows – unfortunately you’ll overpluck them in the next few years, yet fortunately in the future, they have this thing called eyebrow embroidery. Your friends now won’t understand the kind of music you listen to, the books you read or the kind of movies you like. But it’s okay, you’ll meet a huge community that does… eventually.
You’ll spend the next half of your life finding yourself and getting into a lot of trouble before finally realising that you’ll only be happy with the standards you set for yourself. It’ll be tough and heart-breakingly so but not impossible.
The best things in life, aren’t things. You’ve never been particularly worried about material wealth because your parents have always given you more than enough. Sometimes though, you forget that you already have it all, but not often… so that’s still okay.
Your life’s journey is largely full of bumps and self-discovery. Lucky for you, you’ve always been surrounded with special people who strangely always catch you when you need them. If you want to count your lucky stars, just look around you – even if these “stars” sometimes say things to discourage you and make you lose your way. They are not trying to get you down, but they do anyway. It’s still okay because you always find a way to pick yourself up.
There are so many things you’ll end up doing that you could’ve never imagined now. School’s actually not half bad (you actually do make it to University… SURPRISE!) and you’ll be gainfully employed for a long time after you graduate. Work won’t be hard because you’ll love all the jobs you land and surprisingly, all your colleagues. I won’t spoil it for you now but you do end up finding your dream job – you can’t imagine what it is because it doesn’t exist in the entire country just yet.
It’ll take another half your life (and a little more) before you finally meet your life partner – partly because you’re really picky and you refuse to settle for just anyone. Along the way, every other person you meet and date will help shape your thoughts, beliefs and resolve even if they inadvertently break your heart. And at the end, you’ll outdo your expectations – he’s awesome! Yes you’re still fat but what’s great is, he doesn’t care. This person encompasses all the attributes you hold dear but you’ll be surprised if I tell you where he lives and what he’s doing now (you haven’t heard of D&D yet) – look out for something called the Internet.
Life is awesome even though it isn’t perfect. It’ll be a constant battle to love yourself but at least you’ll ALWAYS have hot showers, a cosy bed, great music and nice clothes (okay you actually wear quite shitty clothes till your late 20s when you stop being conscious about hiding your fats).
I’ve been here just over 3 months and I’m feeling really home sick. I know that some people take longer vacations than this but I think I came somewhat unprepared for all this. T and I got engaged in early April this year and quickly decided that being apart was something that was going to be really hard to do – emotionally and financially draining.
What was equally hard was to jump to the decision to leave my family and friends behind, and give up my dream job. I was in the perfect place, at the top of my game and making a great salary for what is not even work to me. While I was leading a largely frivolous existence and have little savings, I am definitely not in debt and everything I have is mine.
Never thought I wanted to leave Singapore, never ever expected to marry someone who’s from a completely different culture half-way round the world, never expected to have to give up so many important things all at once.
But the sacrifices you make are just part of the journey… It’s a give and take. Now, T takes care of me by sorting out the 10, 000-item long list of stuff we need to submit and go through in order to convert my tourist visa to permanent residency. I’m not kidding.
We have to prove that we’re in a legitimate relationship (affidavits from friends and family, photos, joint bank account etc), that I’m a decent person they want in this country (no criminal records in the US or Singapore) and that he’s able to support me (T’s income tax, letter from employers etc).
While he’s doing most of the work for this and I understand why it’s important to be so thorough, I’m still exasperated at the tedious and lengthy process. Just give me some papers so that I can work and you can make tax money off me already! I’m going to be beneficial to your economy! If not, let me know now so that I can go back to my wonderful life and job in Singapore, take my husband with me and start our family there. I’m 35 going on 36 and we want to start a family soon. It might be a stretch, but we definitely don’t want to be in a situation where I’m pregnant, broke (I’ve basically been on a 3 month long holiday with no income in the foreseeable future) and deported!
So yeah, my immigration woes have begun but we’ve been married just over a month and things are better than I imagined. I reactivated my long-forgotten OKCupid account yesterday to delete it completely and I re-read my profile just to see what I was thinking then. Realising now that I have practically everything I was looking for and more, I just want to say online dating works (but be careful), true love waits and all those other cliches apply now.
The bloggers participating in this year’s 12 Days of Christmas Swop organised by JuanitaTortilla and yours truly, have started counting down to Christmas. Some have received their packages and have started opening them! Cheryl got hers just a few days ago! Fernando opened his 1st gift on Dec 1 and so did Abbi!
The rule is to open one a day, for 12 days in a row and blog/tweet/post about their gift of the day!
Wanna know who else is participating and curious to see who got what? Check out the full list below!
- http://janetsaw.com / http://www.flickr.com/photos/janet-saw