The end of an era

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Guess what guys, it is the end of another decade. I am not trying to be that suspense-esque and mystery chic and all but it is pretty much the end of the decade, literally and figuratively speaking.

Have you guys have had a great year so far? Ticking off all the resolutions you made in January or have they whittle down sideways in March? Has it been a funtastic year all around or has it been dotted with unexpected disappointments along the way?

Well, as for me, upon reflection of the year, I have to say while there are teeny tiny changes, most things do tend to stay the same, as it does in most years. Sometimes I still surprise myself when the new year rolls around and I don’t grow an unexpected horn on my head or something? As human, we all tend to forget that the switch from 31 December to 1 January is just yet again, another day.

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I made resolutions religiously. If you do not know this about me, I am a huge list maker. I even made list about putting on my bra and brushing my teeth every single day, pfft like as if I will forget (actually wait, hmm might have forgotten once or twice, the bra part that is).

All I am saying is, I love resolutions. I made them so early on in the previous year, it is staring at me in September. Do I ever follow them through? Heck no. Except that last year, being a conscious adult and all, reviewing my goals every 3 months, I was able to stick to my resolutions loosely. The only goal I could hit was the number of books I read, that was passable and absolutely doable because I do love reading, even if it is just my “rom-com/chick flicks” books. Don’t you judge me now, they are my thang.

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I will admit though, the saving money and losing weight resolutions which I have had for the last damn 20 years have never been achieved. I am bad at saving money as I am in watching what I put in my mouth. But, having said that, I manage to emerge through the year still being in a fair good shape. Sure sure, my knee troubles me every damn day like a muthapucker but I, still damn grateful, I have my overall health in check. And guess what guys, that gym membership that I had silently, I have been going for lunch time classes (thanks to my work girls <3). I mean, can I get an A for effort at least? Some weeks are pretty great, I will be awesomely motivated, some weeks are not. But that is fine, we are all humans and that’s my gist for this entry, it is fine to be just fine.

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If you guys need a random reminder, let me be the one telling you this:- Let’s not be too hard on ourselves, we have others already doing that for us. So, let’s be nice and kind to our wee selves. Let’s do away with those unnecessary questions in your head about if you are enough? The answer is fuck yes, you are enough as it is and I know you are doing the best damn job you can for yourself, so you deserve a great pat on your sexy back. If you do not hit the jackpot in any part of your life, that is fine my friends. For if you wake up another day blessed to be able to breathe, you can try again.

You don’t save a million dollars last year, that is fine, at least you still have your job-however crappy it may be. You don’t get to snag that dream girl, that is fine you have amazing friends and lovely families having your back. You don’t manage to lose that 5 or 50 pounds, that is fine, just keep moving and start small, you will get somewhere I promise you. You don’t manage to conceive, that is fine, go hug your partner instead, you still got love. You think your life is boring, hey guess what.. yes damn right that is fine, you got a roof over your head, you are safe and warm and you are healthy and breathing, basic necessities are damn okay too. We are all fine. We can do more and we can do better. Don’t give up!!

I am wishing one and all, a jubilant new year, the ushering of a new decade and may all the brilliance trail you along in each and every way. Stay awesome all you cutie possums!!!!

With this said, HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU SEXY THANG!

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For the love of reading

Guys, one of my resolutions this year in 2019 (amongst an exhaustive list, that is) was to read 30 books and I DID IT!!

I know, for some, 30 might not be much but it is a magical feat for me. Since leaving school more than a decade ago, I sadly lost my reading touch. This was hard for me because I grew up just loving reading. I remembered when I was about 5 or 6, my birthday rolls around and I got a present from my parents. As I was about to unwrap, my mom said that the present starts with the letter “B” and I went ballistic. B?? It must be books!!! I told them as I tore off the wrapping paper and I realized it was actually bloody Barbie. Even though looking back, I was unsure why will I think it will be books, seeing that the box was pretty huge, I was hoping it will be more books. I have a pretty great childhood but I was just a child who doesn’t like to play with toys that much. I was mostly curling up somewhere reading.

My prized possession as a child was my Polly Pocket (which I am proud to say I still have it with me) and all of my hard cover of Enid Blytons. I never like the Barbie I got and soon after, I chopped off her hair to a bob. I took off her legs and re-assemble it over and over. Barbies was not my jam back then. I never got toys for presents anymore. 

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Anyway, back to my reading story, at the beginning of the new year, I started this thing where I listed down every book I read to keep tab. I actually also listed down all of the Netflix shows I watched but it was becoming too much too fast, so I kind of stopped that after April. But books, yes, every single one of them read, was recorded. I owned most of these books and some others I loaned from my kind dear girlfriends from work. 

And you know what’s astonishing guys, I can tell you the first book I read this year. Table of eight by Tricia Stringer. I can also tell you that when I first started on this book. It was obviosly on the first day of the year in svelting hot summer, I was in my husband’s ute in Seaforth, waiting for him to meet a client on a job (I even remembered the duplex the client was living in) and there I was reading and sweating but still reading for the most part. Isnt it funny how our memories serve us? The things our brain chooses to remember or not. Hmm, food for thought.

I was on my 29th book, when I decided I wanted to make my 30th book as memorable as my first. So I choose to re-read this as the last ode of the year. I love all my Enid Blytons with the passion of a thousand sun. This one in particular, I managed to save it from my parent’s place and flew back with it just recently. It is effing priceless, it is precious, it has been memorable and so has been my reading journey for the year.

Stained personalized note from a decade ago

To start off the coming new year, my resolution is to read 40 books. Please hold me accountable and I will report this update in the next 11 1/2 months. Since I am into making reading memories now, I decided to go out and buy (well I made my husband pay for it to make it more “memorable” for me), the entire set of Liane Moriarty books (my no 1 favorite oz’ author, shall I add). All 9 of them books. I have read most of these from my dear friend tub tub’s collection but I figured I shall like to own them for my own personal collection’s sake since I enjoyed Liane’s penmanship tremendously.

And I shall re-devoured them, come new year. That’s my first 9 books sorted for the coming year. 

How about you? What are your reading goals and what is your literature preference of choice?

Current recommendations I’m obsessed with

Sometimes.. just sometimes I get completely besotted with some of the things I read, watch or listen (as is the case with my impending never-ending podcast obsession), I just want to say it out loud to anyone who will care to listen.

Current podcast I am obsessed with:
Dr Death by Wondery

Now you guys know I love my Mamamia podcasts with a side of random motivational podcasts on the daily, BUT upon a recommendation, I got hooked onto this true crime podcast which blew my tiny tiny mind. I do love crime shows but I prefer to watch them, so having to listen to true crime podcasts is a whole new genre for me. 

I was so hooked to Dr Death, the storyline of true events and the podcaster’s delivery from the get go that I just ended up listening to the entire 10 parts in a day. So who is Dr Death?

Dr Death is a nickname given and coined by media to a former american neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch who was supposedly a stellar and brilliant surgeon.

Little did any of his patients or let alone the public know that, Duntsch will throughout his career years cause over 30 paralysis and/or deaths in the operating theatres. He claimed to be the best in his field. He had advertorial videos of patients giving him the absolute standing ovation. He literally oozes with opulence, extremely excellent book-smart doctor but as soon as he operates on a patient, he will do exactly the opposite, as if he was trying to kill the patient on purpose? Perplexing? Oh yes!!

So how did he pretty much get away with murder? How did the hospitals he worked with literally turn a blind eye on his vile and heinous acts? 

This podcast will also unearth Duntsch’s unforgivable act of coaxing his best friend to have an unnecessary neck surgery performed by Duntsch himself, which resulted his best friend to be paralysed from neck down till this day and will also explore on Duntsch’s excessive drug and alcohol idiosyncrasies to the point where he will have a full blown drug-fest party every night and wake up in the morning to perform surgeries. Unbelievable but it did happened, and it did shake America. 

So is Duntsch just a cold blooded murderer or just plain horrible at his life-saving job (which is kind of impossible and mind blowing given that he had refined recommendations and graduated tops in his medical year)? 

Like I said, discovering Dr Death was like finding podcast gold for me, I was just completely enthralled by it.  The episodes are about 20 mins short (which is my favourite duration, if you were to ask me), palatable and bite size and I cannot recommend enough. If I were to hazard a guess, this will absolutely be turned into a documentary of some sorts and I cannot wait to watch that. 

Current Netflix obsession:
Exposed: Case of Keli Lane

Now I watched a ton of Netflix as much as the girl next door. I, however, am very picky about my documentaries. I am no nonsense about it and will not continue if the doco is shiet from the first 5 minutes,  so when Netflix recommended the documentary on Keli Lane, I just had to sit down and watch it.

Now, I heard about Keli Lane’s story from my podcasts over a year ago, but never knew more about it. Keli Lane hits very close to home-base as it is an Australian mystery. 

Essentially, we all know that there is no murder without a body, but as a result of  injustice, Keli Lane is currently halfway through serving her long tumultous sentence for the crime of murdering her 2 day old baby girl Teagan. Teagan was never found, in fact nobody besides Keli and the medical team who delivered her in 1996 has seen the baby since. So where is this child? Did Keli really gave her up to her natural father as claimed? Who is the child’s father? Was he fabricated? But the more important question is, who really is Keli Lane?

Raised in an astute northern beaches family with a strict mother and a policeman father, she has always been a competitive water polo player from young. She is fit, blonde, possesses a gorgeous smile and is very sociable.

So why does a girl from a good background ended up being pregnant from the age of 15 and by the time she had her 4th pregnancy at 19 with Teagan, her baby will eventually go “missing”. And where are all her other babies? How did someone unearth her mystery of the missing baby-the very same one that she told nobody about? And why is everyone including her polo mates who train 4 times a week with her and her parents who see her everyday not know she was pregnant over and over again? How has the society and system failed her? Was she a pathological liar? Did she really murdered her child? If these questions need answering, you have to watch to know. 

I have to say that on a personal point of view, I was pretty bah humbug and judgy with her cavalier attitude in general. I mean, if you were me watching, you will have the same race of thoughts too. Getting pregnant over and over again, wearing a white suit to a friend’s wedding in a church 2 days AFTER giving birth, I mean, it is only human to have those assumptions. But as I progress further into the documentary, I feel myself leaning to the other morale camp. I felt a pang of guilt for denigrating her. We will never know if something has happened in her life to have shaped her in a manner. I do feel that it was legal injustice all the same, this is a definite must-watch.

Honorary Netflix mention:

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Just wanted to squeeze this in real quick because these series are a bloody ripper of a hilarious gem and I laugh every 30 seconds into every episode. Essentially, it is a light-hearted travel show which follows a son who never managed to go for his gap year because he became a famous comedian early on in his life, who then decides that he is going to take some time off to do a gap-year style travel and who better to bring along, than his 77 year old father? The son is fun and wild while the father is rigid and square. Together, they are a humorous pair filled with idiotic antics of epic proportions. Oh boy I cannot stop laughing. You guys have to watch this!!

Current e-book I am digging at the moment:

I do swing from time to time between physical and e-book and currently I am waist deep in this e-book called Not bad people-Brandy Scott. This is Brandy’s debut book and I have to say, it is a promising read.

Not quite my usual rom-com favourite kind of reads and it did took me a couple of failed starts, but I eventually got into it. This book is all- based around the lives of 3 women in a countryside in Victoria who over a New Year’s eve night have released lanterns filled with resolutions and hopes into the air for the promise of a good year and that my friends, might or might have not caused a plane to crash.

Are they or are they not bad people then? Will they be unearthed and will their “innocent” act of floating their lanterns be unravelled by one of them?

Now the storyline itself is not the most gravitating stories but I will be sure to enjoy and finish it because I do need to know if a bloody paper lantern have caused that crash. Mama needs to know the truth.

Also this got me thinking and I do realise that I tend to be more inclined to watch or listen to anything that evolves around a trio-my favourite Mamamia podcast has always had 3 hosts since 2015, one of my favourite Netflix show, Good Girls is also around the lives of a trio of 3 women, and unsuprisingly I have also been in 2 separates group of friendship of a trio, where I essentially am the middle person.

Completely steering off tangent and am not sure if its coincidental but that’s for another entry in itself.

How I survive my 6302 km long distance relationship

This has been something that is close and dear to my heart. I will like to use this space to share personal experience and hopefully, dispense some insights and helpful advises for anyone who is going through a similar journey.

Trust me when I say this, I have been there and I know how it all feels. And it was not an entire bed of roses.

I was in a long distance relationship (LDR) with my then-boyfriend-now-husband for few years, as I was living in Singapore and he, in Sydney. It was a gruelling back and forth of travelling 8 hours SG-SYD and SYD-SG. If I can calculate and do the maths on all of our flights and travel expenses, it could have easily been a deposit for a house but I digress. And if you think that was not sucky enough, we were also living apart for 4 months after our wedding purely because I did not want to move to Australia, just yet.

I know first hand, all the worries, all the fears and all the gut heart-wrenching moments of being in a LDR. I understand how lonely it is all the freaking time. Birthdays, valentines, anniversaries, Christmases might all be spend and celebrated alone. And do not get me started about nights, nights are the worst because all you can wish for is to probably have a warm body close but all you really have are negativities in your head and sometimes even tears on your face. Here we go again, another night of loneliness. LOL.

Truth is, you will always be constantly pining and hoping that the distance was not in the equation and that you get to meet each other ever so often like most couples do, but alas. You might also be secretly jealous of all the canoodling couples and you just feel like shouting to no one in particular “Hey, I have a boyfriend!!!!!!!! He just doesn’t live here. It’s a long distance, guyssssss!!!!!!!!!!

I was the first amongst my group of friends and family and still is, the only person to be involved in a LDR. I can be traditional for most things in my life but there are many other things that I am not very conventional, being in a LDR is one of them. Marrying a foreigner is next.

No one could understand how distressing it is at times and some even question as to whether the relationship is real, because out of sight is out of mind?. Most were ambivalent and were being bah-humbug about my LDR and queried me whether I should be bothered with all the troubles, hassles and if it is really worth it? Some others wittily challenged me into thinking that it is so easy to be susceptible to cheating because of the distance and to which I always always said, “Cheating is cheating, it knows no distance because even people staying under one roof can cheat”. True story: I even have a friend who asked me if I should be fearful because there might be a suspicion that my partner is an ISIS member, because he comes from Middle East and he grows a beard sometimes? Tsk tsk tsk, your master degree ought to be thrown into the rubbish bin, you shallow person you.

So here is a fantastic pointer for LDR, do not listen to the naysayers. There will be heaps of random people who will come and go with their half-baked advices and 2-cents-opinions but ultimately, you have to be strong and you have to know deep down that if they have nothing concrete and useful to bring to the table, treat them all like white noise.

My continuum relationship has *fingers crossed* hopefully been a huge answer to all those questions and doubts. It is not easy BUT it is doable. LDR can be a monumental blessing in disguise and in my case, is a happy ending.

So how you may ask, did I overcome the entire kerfuffle of long distance hardship and above and beyond everything else, how to sustain the relationship? Read on:

No. 1 – JUST FREAKING DO IT
Yes you read it right, just do it.
Take the plunge, go for gold because the time is now.
What are you really waiting for? For a sign from the high above?
Or for that prince charming in your local neighbourhood to come sweep you up? If that’s what you really want, you do you boo. But if you really hand on heart, do want to pursue love in a LDR, just start now.

If you feel it in the depth of your guts that something awesome is going to come out of this whole ordeal at the end of it, I say stick to your guns and ride it out. After all honey, it is not going to storm forever, the sun will eventually arise.

You will thank yourself years later for listening and heeding your gut feeling, and hey if all fails, you get to pat yourself and you tell your brave soul, you have done everything that you possibly can in your might and you have given your best. Leave it all up to fate to do its job.  But before that, you have to try and you have to try hard.

No: 2 – SHARE EVERYTHING
I take it that once you have decided to be committed in a LDR with your partner, that you are 101% head over heels with that lucky someone.
Good on ya.
While I understand that in a relationship, there should be some degree of privacy, in a LDR, you cannot afford to be personal and private. What do I mean by this? Normal couples can meet up at the end of the day or over the weekends and catch up on lost times, but in a LDR, you simply cannot. What you can do though, is share everything from the moment you wake up to the time you sleep.

I know I know this is hard work (nobody say it is going to be easy, friends) and most men like my husband are not too crazy about the idea of taking and sharing selfies daily and giving an update of date/time/venue but you know what, I did it and he did it. We shared a lot.

Sharing is extremely crucial in a LDR because you want to avoid thoughts of doubts, you want no negativity to creep up on you because this can easily happen with distance.
Where is my bf tonight, who is he hanging out with, he said he will be home and he is not picking up my calls? –You do not need this rubbish.

Also, sharing is an amazing way to make your partner feel included. I don’t know about you but I love to be included even by means of details. My husband is a pretty friendly guy, that plus the combination of his social culture, is always spending time outside with friends. One of the many things I loved and truly appreciated in our LDR was that he face-timed me almost every single night and sometimes couple of times a day, and especially so when he is out and about, all his friends will expect no less that a face-time call is going to happen whenever he hangs out with them. In this way, I know what he is up, I get to chat with his friends and then I can go to sleep with a smile on my face, satiated with the fact that he did not forget me today.

I am more of a wordy person so our days in an LDR is a bunch of my texts to him on just about anything. Sometimes, I will tell him about my plans on the weekend, what I dreamed yesterday, what I did with my family and friends, what I shopped for and the list goes on and on. I can text him non stop.

You just have to make time and put in the effort even when the going gets tough, even when the day is effed up busy or even if you are annoyed at someone in your life, you just have to invest some time to share and update your partner.

Also, I totally understand about time difference, while ours back then was a mere 2-3 hours difference, I completely sympathise some of you who has that 12 hours time difference. Just make it work and all the power to you!!

From time to time, me and my husband will send letters and care packages as a sweet gesture to each other. If you are students in a LDR and budget is tight, stick to the traditional snail mail and postcards or send a lengthy lovey-dovey email. Like I say, its all about efforts and the sky is the limit on this.

You have no idea how many text messages, video calls and funny memes I shared with my husband over the years. On hindsight, when I was applying for spouse partner visa here in Australia, I have bundles and bundles of communication proof, it is beyond ridiculous.

On an extra point of sharing everything on communication, I urge everyone in a LDR to be very careful of how you communicate over text as most of the times, the point of the message in written communication can easily be misconstrued.

True story: There was a time long long time ago, I replied to my husband “whatever” in a text message, and I have completely meant that to be a bimbo-flip-my-hair kind of “whatever”, but he who is not a particularly over sensitive fella, took it to be the rude version of a “whatever”, and long story short, it did not go down very well.

So when in doubt or if you have a problem brewing, withhold the discussion and find a suitable time to call your partner up to have a proper face to face video call. Seeing each other’s faces is better at times like that.

No: 3 – KEEP YOURSELF BUSY
And by busy, I do not mean “busy”.
Girls and guys, there is no better way to see the days go by other than having your own activities. Don’t sit at home all day long and moan about not being with each other, it will not solve the situation and it will make you go crazy, so don’t do that.
What you can do is to go out and have a freaking life, you are not dying so why not enjoy yourself? Responsibly of course.
If you have a hobby or a recreational activity, don’t drop it and keep at it.

My husband has always been and will forever be a busy bumble bee, his days and nights are pretty much about work-so that really keep him busy round the clock. Most of my Singapore peeps knew I did a lot of yoga back in the days and I really appreciated having something I could do after work, which could take my mind off. For me also, I hung out a lot with my mother and friends over the weekends. I now, appreciated those weekends of hanging out and catching up because now that I have moved far far away, I can no longer do that.

Another tip will be to pick up a part time job on the weekends (I didn’t do this because I am clearly lazy) but having a little extra income on the side is very beneficial when you are making plans to meet or to eventually bridge the gap.

No: 4 – PLAN SMALL GOALS TOGETHER
Being in a LDR with no end in sight can be a little taxing and the future might seem so so bleak, that I understand. After all, you do not want to just be dating someone who is not there.. forever.

So, do plan short term goals to just to keep the excitement up.

If you are like me and my husband who are both working adults, plan to fly and visit each other. We are also lucky that we are only 8 hours flights away, as compared to other couples who can be pretty much at two different ends of the world.

Every time we get to see each other, it is top-of-the-world liberating. It reminds me of how solid our relationship is, it gives a fresh meaning to holding on to this LDR and it also gives a solid determination to why I am trying hard in this LDR. And pssst girls, though I know this is not much of a consolation, the “sparks” (code name for: s*x) when you rekindled in a long distance relationship.. is phenomenal. Just putting it out there. *winks*

Whatever it is, there must be at least a small goal to meet up for the both of you to look forward to it. Keep it exciting!

And finally guys, no: 5 – Bridge the bloody gap.
Decide early on to bridge the gap as an end goal.
I know it may not be an accessible decision for all, some of you might be away for long studies or military or work commitments but the decision has to be made. That crucial conversation of “what is going to happen to us?” have to be pondered on, it is not to be thrown in the air kind of situation. You do not want to be dating someone “invisible” forever till you turn gray, so know early on exactly where you guys are standing in the relationship. Will it be a LDR for 3 years and you come home situation or will it be a LDR for 5 years till I get my PHD and then we move to a new city to start a new life together kind of situation? Be ballsy, be brave and have that talk way early on before the get-go and in doing so, protect yourself and your heart from getting hurt down the line.

For me personally, the decision has always been to do a LDR for as long as we can stretch till we get married and then eventually I will move to Sydney to join him, predominantly because my office desk job was more mobile. My husband has moved abroad, created his life and his business for over 15 years and it will only be selfish and inconsiderate of me to make him have to fold it all up and move to me. Compromise, guys and try to be nice when making life decisions.

And now, I am going to sound like your grandmother saying this but here are a few salient points to take home:
Trust the entire process and trust your partner of course. LDR will not work if there is no faith, trust and efforts. At every juncture of the way, do not resort to negativity and remember to go back to the essence of why you are doing what you are doing. If it is for love, then be entirely in love with the process. Have faith and do it with sincerity and entirety of your heart. If you are 100% sincere and positive, the outlook of your whole relationship is going to be more at ease.

I know this is lame and it is also downright cliche, but just do it for love. Believe in it and believe in yourself. You got this!

On the next entry, I will continue with part II and write on some helpful tips and pointers of what one should do AFTER the decision has been made to take that prodigious leap of faith in finally bridging the gap. (ie: what you should do when moving countries to join your love one)

Will write more. Hang on to your grandma panties, everyone!!!

Letter to my mother..

Over the years of my existence on the face of this planet, I have never once sat down and utter a proper thank you to the person who laboured and birthed me.

A million thank-yous are never sufficient in this lifetime for her. What I certainly lacked in my verbal appreciation, I have and will forever made it up with filial piety and adoration. I know in the hearts of hearts that I am a good daughter to her and she will no doubt, affirm the same. Gee, confident much.

To my mother in reading far far away from me physically but never far from the dear dear heart.. thank you for letting me go.

I know it was not an easy decision for you to see your only daughter move countries and continue her life in leaps and bounds as someone’s wife. Moving away at 31 for love, while it is clearly my cheeky choice, was not at all an easy feat at the slightest. Hand on heart, we both certainly know that we never saw that day coming. I know since I have moved away, you have as much as I have too, lost a big chunk of your heart. I know you will never stop worrying for me and the uncertain future, as most mothers do but trust me you need not fret, I am in great hands.

I want you to know that I am well-loved and I am taken great care of abundantly. Your son in law is an amazing guy and most times I ponder what have I done to ever deserve him or his purest heart. He is quite the angel, as it turns out to be. Same cannot be said about the daughter you raised LOL. I give you my words, as I have always done, that I will not nag at your precious son in law too much till his ears bleed. It is challenging indeed as he often annoys me with his “where is your neck?” jokes but I will try to be patient with him. Operative word being.. try.

Thank you for showing me what honesty is. Brutal honesty is not glamorous and we both know that living in this world which can sometimes be filled with fabrication of lies and “sweet-talking” is difficult, but you never backed down from saying the truth and the truth sucks and it stings. Most of your family or friends do not always like to hear what you have to say and have always misinterpreted your outspoken personality as being “difficult” or “she is always angry”. But I know you and I know your truth. And nothing else matters. Everyone else can roll in mud with their shit-stirrings.

Out of a room full of people with their mouths shut close, you have always been the brazen one to stand up and say what’s right. You are an undeniable courageous force of nature to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, that particular genes of yours have not been kindly passed on to me. My honesty complexity that I have, tend to make me cotton wool people’s feelings too much. But you of all people know the reason why I cannot be too comfortable and too open too soon.. if I get crudely honest, I am also very rudely honest and there are not many people who can handle the truth. Thankfully enough, while I may not always be frank with my spoken words, I am reassuringly true on my written ones.

Thank you for teaching me how to cook. That is one heck of a transferable trait you can ever upskilled on me as a kid. I have since not starved and also have the ability to make others not famished too.

I remembered when I was 8 or 9 years old, you left me alone in the house with only a pot full of cooked rice. I got hungry soon after you left (as usual, hungry always) and on that very momentous day, that pot of white rice became my first wok of fried rice and the rest is indisputably history. You were so proud of what I did, you told that story to everyone for years.

Gosh, I despised it when I was so so little and you will yell for me to come in the kitchen every single time you are cooking. I was swearing under my breath so much because as a kid, I just wanted to watch cartoons or read my book or hang out with my handphone in my teens and not go to war with the hot oil in the kitchen!!! You always tell me that I should not only be great academically, I have to be great all freaking around. But THANK YOU for pulling me in the kitchen every single time, NOT because you believe only girls belong to the kitchen but you were teaching me one of the best life survival skill there is. I cannot say there are many young girls who can disembowel fishes, dissect a whole chicken and cook that damn 8 parters of a chicken, collate 13 spices and 7 vegetables, make 5 dishes under 2 hours and serve a house full of guests as a kid, but through all those years of me crying in sympathetic pain when I cut my hand with the sharp knife and all those hot oil splattering on my face and body, you have taught me to buck the fuck up and make bloody good food, at that.

You and Dad are awesome awesome cooks and there is hardly a day in my entire life that I go without home cooked food. I now,sadly miss home cooked food beyond any words I can possibly say. Nobody’s food is ever the same as yours because it was simply not made with your love.

Thank you for being both a fierce mother and yet still have a heart full of love, warmth and compassion. At that, I have to thank you for whacking the shiet out of me when I was growing up. The way you raised me in your non-bullshit ways taught me a world of discipline. You were never shy to put me straight in my place if I ever get a slight tad sassy and I could never lie to your face without you smelling my dead pack rat secret out. While many others might frown upon putting a hand on your child as a way of teaching them the right manners, on hindsight I believed that has made me a better person growing up with manners and respect. Me and my brother have never gone visiting to anyone’s house and run into any of their rooms without permission, neither have we acted like starving kids in someone’s house (well fed before going out anywhere) or we never threw tantrums in public. When my mother says No, it is a resounding No.

You can have my word that if I were to ever be given the life opportunity to be a parent, I will raise them the exact same way as you did for me and my brother; ie the clothes hanger and the belt will definitely come out very so often to play- after all, no shame or shade in saying this but we turned out fine and that’s the best of a raising any mother can do. You are and will forever be, my role model.

Thank you for being my no. 1 life supporter. You have always given me the utmost trust and freedom for me to run my life while always keeping me in line whenever I go astray. I love that while you tell me to go out and enjoy and wear that short skirt and put makeup on and not be grubby, you will always check on me and call me every single night I am out-that to me is a balance parenting skill.

If I ever ask you for an opinion, you will always ask me what does my heart desires and what I think is right. You will always always tell me to choose happiness above all else. Your trust in me is impeccable and I really appreciate that.

Even way before feminism even exist, you have always told me to do well as a woman first before settling myself down in a cliche way. You never believe that females should hang out at home unemployed waiting on hands and feet. After all, back in the 80s when most women are stay at home mums, you were out working hard since I was a baby and only stopping when me and my brother are way into our adulthood and could give you and Dad a little breather. You have showed me what it was like to work a full day outside and come home and be a mom and wife too, staying up late through the night cooking away and doing all the chores and making sure we get our homeworks done while checking in on your family and friends. You are unrelentless, you have done everything and more without asking for anything in return and yet, you never say you are ever tired. How you do it all, is still beyond unfathomable to me.

You have always been that cool mum every girl wants and it took me years to realise why my friends love hanging out with you and are secretly texting you instead of me. (No hard feelings, Momster). You are cool and you are fun and you are care-free with your thoughts and you are always the life of the party. You are always a friend when I need one and a mother at all times. I remembered when I got my heart broken for the first time and you just came home from work and immediately knew what was wrong, you just hugged me and let me cry without asking inquisitively.

Thank you for being an astounding and supportive spouse to Dad and teaching me that marriage is a damn bloody job in itself, and oh boy are you stellar as a wife. You teach me by example for over 30 years of my life to just never give up. You are strong, you are fierce, you are painstakingly patient and you are fiercely loyal to your loved ones. You will not take no for an answer or exit the easy way out every time you stumble in life.

Thank you for teaching me to not settle for second or third best and thank you for always connoting to me that when choosing a life partner, try to pass the strikingly good looking ones or those blokes who are not meek in their potrayal of lavish lifestyle or elite existence. You have always strongly opined that looks do not last perpetually forever, everyone will eventually become old, most men might go bald and money if managed poorly will dry up inevitably. Instead, you always tell me to choose a man who is not only a well rounded respectful person, but also find someone who is hardworking and mild tempered.

Momster, I am who I am today because of you and if I were to re-do my entire life all over again, I will not have it any other way in a heartbeat.

You have stood up for me when no one cared, you have hold my hands through all my life joys and life obstacles, you have spurred me on with energy and calm my nerves down through turmoils, you are a tolerant listener and an endearing advice dispenser, you are a selfless soul and you are a giver, you are a confidante and a cheery shopping buddy, you are simply just the best and I will never finish saying thanks to you in this entire lifetime and more.

Remember and know this as you already have, I will always and forever love you.

Your bombster

Toxic Friendship

ain’t this the truth

The blatant truth is, writing about toxic friendship, is equivalent to treading muddy water. It is nothing but a grey area where people do not wish to broach, much less discuss about. Classify this as a taboo, you may, for it might as well be.

After all, friendship is only…a cross between being in a “blood runs thicker than water” family bond and a relationship without the romance aspect. Some will say “Oh it is just friendship, it is whatever, people come people go, do not take it too hard, should not matter too much”.

Well, kudos to you if you have that people-come-people-go mentality, bet you can sleep easy at night. But for some others,  there are people out there who value friendship as seriously as other relationships in life. For others, friendship is everything- they might not have family anymore or they personally do not want to be tied down in a relationship, so friendship is one area in their lives that they invest in whole heartedly and in totality.

I will not delve too much about what personally transpired as I feel like in all fairness, there are 2 sides to a coin and my mum has always taught me enough manners for me to not blow smoke behind someone’s ass. However, for the sole purpose of blogging this down, I will attempt to beat myself around this topic, with the utmost respect and decency for the ex-friend in question.

I had a friend whom I have known since I was 12 going on 13, I am now for reference, 33 going on 34. Yup, that was only the longest 20 years of my life I can never get back, all masked in the name of friendship. 20 good years gone, therefore by and by, this gives me major credits to be talking about the toxicity of a friendship per se. This person (respectfully) is now a has-been in my life.

When we met, we were tiny un-impressionable girls not knowing any better in life. We grew up to become teens, young adults and eventually adults with jobs and life responsibilities and eventually looking for commitments. Quite obviously, over the years, we have both changed as a person, in our insights, goals and missions but the last thing that I was hoping for in a person, was a change of morale.


The Good
The good thing about toxic friendship is knowing, learning and experiencing what it is like first hand to be with someone who calls you her best friend but in reciprocation, me just being in a limbo of a life, not knowing exactly how to react except to just go with the flow. Her flow.

The Bad
The bad thing about toxic friendship is.. where shall I begin?

Toxic friendship is..everything that does not feels right.
Through the long treacherous years, the friendship never felt organic. There was for lack of better words and as cliche as this will sound, a lack of chemistry. Something will always feel choreographed, something will always feel forced. For the most part of it, comfort will not be a word I described our bond. I always felt hesitant-both in my words and actions. I was struggling to live a life full of hidden lies around her and the friendship, not that she knew who I really was to be honest, but I had to dumb things down so I can portray a more decent and “angelic” side of me. In truth, I was a facade. A deceitful facade. Not one I am proud of either.

Toxic friendship.. is all about her, and none for me.
Sure, I will hear her rant about the guy who she dated for 7 years but have never been introduced to me, and listen endlessly I will do. But as soon as the table is turned, after she is done ranting with her weekly updates of the phantom relationship and sucky colleagues and annoying sisters and everything in between, she will be perpetually exhausted and too drenched to listen to me and my own life stories.
Add this up to tumultuous years of me listening to her and no one to return the favour, I AM JUST SO FREAKING DONE. A little consideration would be nice somehow. I am not anyone’s 1800 help hotline, if she has not yet learn, communication goes both ways, we have got to chat, we have got to discuss and we explore suggestions together. It does not only start and finish with..you.

Toxic friendship..is being judged, always.
For years and years, she was not privy to my truth and deep dark secrets, as I felt like that there was a huge judgement weighing over our friendship. Every move and every step throughout my life will be over-casted and shadowed by her discernment. Gone clubbing on a Friday night? Distasteful. Weekend away with another girlfriend? Unclassy. Got a new lover? Unchastity.

Quite clearly it is a reflection on both ways, I felt that I never knew who she truly was and I felt that there must be a colossal part of her life story that is not being told to me either, but told to others in her other circle of friends. What a way to make your best friend feel special? Needless to say, honesty was not our strongest suit.

I have never trusted her with anything, neither a secret nor any random object. Why you may ask? Because she never trusted me with hers. I remembered being engaged once before, and in this engagement party, all I asked for was just simply a favor of holding on to the gifts that was given by my guests. Just hang on to it for few hours, or pass it on to my Mum who is busy welcoming the guests. Can she do it? She could but did not want to. She said no I can’t and walked away. She left me discombobulated that day. She simply cannot rise up to a simple favour and she calls me her best friend. Ponder on that.

Have you ever think of the person you will call in the dire needs of an emergency? Me too. Very bleakly, she will never be the first person to pop in my head. The idea of calling her when I need some help followed by her impending questions and the judging and the whys and the oh my gods and eventually the I cannot come right now, is insufferable. That is, to put it very plainly, just so sad, if you are not able to trust someone whom is supposed to be there for you through thick and thin. And trust me, I have always been there for her.

Toxic friendship is.. over possession of my life, my time, my space, my emotions.
She wants to be the one and the only one that matters, when it comes to friendship. Sure, I will come and meet your 458 friends from all walks of your life but does she ever take any effing efforts to know the other people in my life, my friends from tertiary, my friends from work etc, even any love interest I might have at any time? Na-da. No questions asked, no interest shown, just absolutely nothing. Zilch. It is like as if, if she does not ask, maybe the people in my life will mysteriously disappear? That she thinks in this tiny bubble, there is no one else but her and me?

There have been multiple occasions where new people will come in my life and I will be excited to share them with her over meet ups or gatherings, but she was just not into it. Either she never made the effort and turned up or she will do so in disdain and in recent years, talked about my friends in passing with such hatred. Seriously? I could never mention new friends I have made to her because the jealousy that I can sense dripping from her is just unbearable. That is not friendship my friend, that is just being selfish. That’s being over controlling to a point of suffocation.

Toxic friendship is manipulation.. at its worst.
If she was not in a good mood, I cannot be in a good mood. If she was feeling grumpy and shitty, I was expected to shrivel and cower around. If we were ever quarrelling which was quite often, dare I say that it was over the limits of a normal friendship, she will never be the first to say sorry. NEVER. She was never at fault because she was always the best, make no mistakes about that. The ego just killed me through and through, sometimes the tension was so thick in the air, you can slice it with a knife. She would dictate when she is done being in a slum and when she wants to go on being shitty. The world apparently evolves around her, while I waited around walking on eggshells. That’s not a friendship, that’s treating me like a punching bag of emotions.

Toxic friendship.. is not standing up for me on my wedding day.
My wedding day, is only the most important day of my life. No biggie.
Never asking me if I need help with my wedding plans, but only telling me that I should let her know if I need her because she was “not used to all of this” whole wedding thingy, when in fact she has sisters and cousins and friends who are all married and she was knee deep into it. Making me invite some of her friends whom I barely know only because she would be “awkward” on her own best friend’s wedding day. Running off with her own friends halfway through my wedding and me discovering later on, through one of her invited friend’s Facebook post that they have gallivanted off to have high tea in a hotel in the middle of my wedding without a word or saying goodbye. Who does that?

And again, struggling to fly and visit me once I have moved because it is “too awkward” with the idea of staying in the same house as me when I am sleeping with my own husband in another room. Weird? Oh yeah, you have no idea.

Toxic friendship is also.. leaving all your single friends once you get married.
Girls, do not do this. Be it when you find a new man, engaged, married, do not be a classified missing person. Your friends were there in your life long before the man waltz in, do not abandon your friends just because you have a “new life” now. When you do this, you are giving off a very pungent message of ” I need you only when I am bored or single or both”, Please do not treat others like dirt.

Thanks to another toxic friend of mine, I personally learn not to ditch my other friends now that I am married. Never mind that I was a maid of honour in her wedding, the years of being her friends, the laughter and the tears, the time, the money, the effort, the energy, the respect of her cultures and tradition, never mind all of that because that sister got a new man. Never saw it coming that she was post-haste to ditch all of her single friends once she said I do.

Toxic friendship.. can be a million and one other things.
The list does honestly goes on. It branches from criticising you about your life decisions, body weight, career move OR it can also go to the other end of spectrum of using you as a portable ATM machine-this friend will only comes to you when he/she is broke and in need of moolahs. The said friend will usually not surface for repayment. The list is long and unforgiving.

Am I a toxic friend?
You bet I was (notice I popped the word “was” instead of “am”). I will be the first to raise my hand and say, I was not a great friend. Gosh, in fact I was pretty shitty myself. I was not always there, I bullied some of my friends emotionally and physically (Yes, making someone go down on her knees and hands to save my stucked heel in a gutter on a clubbing drunken night while yelling at them to do it faster-yes been there done that).

I was not always great.

But I grew up and I noticed every single time I am being mean to my dearest of friends, I feel bad if I hang out with someone and talks about me instead of listening to them, I don’t feel the greatest if I have to lie just to cancel our meet up plans.
And yes, I learn.
I attempt and attempt hard and painstakingly to make conscious efforts to grow some balls and be nice to people around me. I am aware that every single one around me have different problems and struggles every single day, being nasty towards them does not make me richer, smarter or better. Being mean or grumpy to people around me only makes me- malevolent, baleful, antagonistic.

But toxic friends do not always notice these, they do not always want to learn and they surely do not want to change, they just want to exist to torment scapegoats in their life for their pleasures and benefits.

Toxic friends are not fun to have, so why do we still have them anyway?
Because sometimes, if you are like me, you just want to do right onto others. Being rude and telling toxic people to scram was never high in my to do list, in fact I did not even know how horrible the friendship was turning out to be until years later when these people in question truly showed their flamboyant colours. By then, the milk will already have curdled.

The takeaway….
If there is anything that you can take away from reading a chunk of my word diarrhoea, I will say that the best lesson to learn is, to nip it in the bud.

If you are befriending anyone and realise that there is something off, you do not feel amazingly great being around that person, you do not think that the person is being friends with you for the right reason, the person abuse you with words etc, or just whatever it is, you can walk away. Just walk away. Remove yourself from a situation which does not suit you, it is your life, your choice and your power. You do not have to hang around them just because you cannot say no, just because you are such a nice person and you do not want to hurt anyone.

Take it from me and learn that, a week will become a month and will become a year and eventually will become 20 years before you know it. You will be saving yourself a world of heartaches in the future when you realised that the friendship was not worth it at all. Save yourself before others. It is only self-loving and righteous to do so.  You only owe yourself that much respect.

Learn that cutting some of your “friends” off from your life is not evil or cruel. It is a right of passage, think of it as cleaning out your wardrobe ala Marie Kondo style-get rid of clothes that you don’t wear anymore to make space for new clothes that will put a smile to your face. Friends are not clothes, that I know, but that is a good analogy to start with.

Remember that we only have 24 hours in a day, not a second less or a minute more. So, choose wisely who you welcome in your life, who you approve of staying in it and who you allow to take up your time. It is noble to show up for everyone, but what is left of you at the end of the day? Not much, honestly. Don’t you think your mind and soul deserves more than just a wiped out brain and a broken soul?

As soon as I hit 30, my field of vision when it pertains to who are my real friends, staggered significantly. I have no time for funny and fake friends, friends of a season, friends who are passing by because I simply don’t. My time and what’s left of this heartache is simply too precious to be given up for some senseless bidding in an auction. I am in this life for only true quality friendship, not quantity. If I am spending time with you and making the efforts with you, you are in my team. You are my person.

Always remember that  YOU ARE  A GLASS COMPLETELY FULL, not half empty neither half full. You are a strong driven soul who does not need bad friendships or fake relationship to dictate how amazing you really are.

Remember, you are enough.
People who come into your life and stay, are only lucky and blessed to be in the presence of a company of a great soul.

If you are in the thick of a toxic friendship, get rid of it. If you are catching yourself being a toxic friend onto others, remember that we may all never be a perfect friend but we can always lean on the side of being a better friend. Start now.

I know you are curious

Image result for cat hi

Hi friends

or any random stranger passing by and reading this..you’re a friend too, don’t worry, I’m not fussy.

I will probably not have any idea on how you stumble on this but hey, I was born Erni but for the sake of confusing everyone (my mother and my husband included), I like to go around by the name ErniE.

I used to blog in my late teens through my early 20s, so if you have mad googling skills, you might still stumble upon my old entries (yes yes you can read them but don’t stay too long there observing my hey days photos, make sure you come back to this space, because it’s better here I promise)

I love to write, and I think I am naturally witty at it. That’s just me though, might not be the most charismatic person in the bloody ballroom but boy oh boy can I write.. (fun fact: that’s also how I seduce my husband-with my incessant texting and complex jargon and him replying to me once every 2 days, often so very confused-poor guy)

So, what happened was after about 10 years of not blogging-one day I was daydreaming while waiting for the bus home in 37 degrees of NSW dry heat and a thought just came to me (insert freaking light bulb moment) to go back to writing my gibberish. Like hello, duhh…

And I told myself well, if no one is to read them, that’s perfectly fine, it will be my own personal gibberish of thoughts.

Trust me, my friend, you have no idea what goes on in this big scalpy head of mine, so many things to tell and nowhere to spill em’ so onto a blog it goes. Enjoy!!

oh by the way, I am a crazy cat lady meowww