It’s an Aluminium Anniversary

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Yep, the big 10 … ok, in the larger scheme of things 10 isn’t much, particularly compared to my parents’ 43 and they haven’t killed each other yet :p It’s true! Marriage is tough. My husband really doesn’t like it when I say that because it makes it sound like our marriage is especially difficult. Let me be honest here, I don’t think we’re special and our marriage isn’t especially difficult, just like my parents’ isn’t either. I think it’s a same everywhere – making a marriage work takes a lot of effort. It isn’t easy and very rarely it is.

It can be for some people and when they are, I do want to pick their brains and hearts and find out how they do it. For the rest of us mere mortals, it does take work but doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Not at all, in fact, IMHO, it’s a positive thing that I’m working at it at least it shows I’m still interested, engaged and committed. My husband should really worry when I want to stop working at it 😉

That said, marriage like any relationship, even the seemingly simple ones take some level of effort. It should too because when it’s worth it, you want to work at it. Just don’t lose yourself. that’s the part that gets the best and the worst of us. On the flip side, don’t take the other half of the relationship for granted. Again it’s happened to all of us. So that’s me in the last 10 years of my marriage, sliding from one end of the spectrum to the other while trying to keep balance. It makes it worth while (even though some times it doesn’t feel like it particularly when my hormones go on a rampage) because my husband is riding the spectrum too! That’s my marriage in a nutshell, two individuals trying to keep a teeter-totter (that’s Canadian for a see saw) in balance 🙂

Version 2

P/S: That pretty much sums up all the dances that I do with my Mummy, Daddy, baby sister, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, cousins, aunts, uncles, best-est of friends … yah, every relationship in my life. Except maybe God who I know definitely takes the brunt of the weight!

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The Honeymoon Part 3

Here’s the final instalment to the quick recap of the honeymoon.  We woke up to a beautiful last morning in Banff.  The sun was out and we headed back to Lake Louise for lunch.

The view was stunning.  There’s something about water and mountains that humble you and makes the pasta you’re having extra tasty 🙂  Once we were done with lunch, we had a quick walk by the lake and then it was back on the road to Salmon Arm where we had great Mexican food for dinner.  We spent a night in an ok B&B but Owlhead Creek B&B was still my favourite.  The next time I’m in the area, that’s the only place I’ll be staying in.

The next morning after a quick breakfast and we were on our way back home to Vancouver.  We had quite a bit to cover so we didn’t want to waste too much time.  Even though I really wanted to try wake boarding on Shuswap Lake.  Next time 🙂  We stopped in Merritt for lunch where we found a lovely sandwich place that served a very yummy vegan chocolate cake!!  I love Canada 🙂

Needless to say I was a very happy camper on the way back to Vancouver 🙂  When the Port Mann bridge came into sight, I could feel the country way of life give way to the city.  It wasn’t a bad thing.  Not at all.  I’ve come to realise that nature feeds my soul and the city feeds my mind.  I need both to be a happy me 🙂

My father-in-law picked us up as we dropped off our rental and I got to visit his workshop.  For my husband, it was a little nostalgic and for me, very novel and educational.  Millwork is an art and I have a new found love for cabinets and things made of wood.  I’ve always liked them but I now have a greater appreciation for them.  How the wood is curved, made from one piece, put together with no screws 🙂

My favourite thing about my father-in-law’s workshop is his collection of antique planes.  Technology sure has made production easier but there’s something about the old way of doing things that warms my heart.  Then it was back for dinner with a view on the balcony.

Day 12 saw us hanging out in Vancouver and dropping by another vegetarian favourite of mine where I had great veggie burger.  Shopped a little in the grocery store and happy to report most of the things I need is available in Singapore.  They never use to be and I had to lug them back from Canada :p  I don’t anymore.  We even found time to catch up with a friend over tea.

I forgot my phone on Day 13 and so no pictures there.  We caught up with Aaron’s friends and their kids.  Of course, I had a whale of a time since there were cute kids around 🙂

Instead of wildlife sightings, on day 14, I chanced upon my father-in-law’s neighbour’s kitty cat.  He peeked around the corner as I was waiting for the lift and was friendly enough to let me pat him.

Then finally the honeymoon and the vacation came to an end and I found myself finishing Downton Abbey Season 3 on my plane ride home.  That needs another post altogether but in a nutshell, it made me cry and I felt sorry for the couple sitting next to me.  They probably think my boyfriend or husband has abandoned me.  The transit in Taipei was much quicker than the one heading to Vancouver.  There was even an interesting exhibition of an artist that worked with scrap metal.  It kept me busy till boarding.

After about four and a half hours, I was back in Singapore where my sister and Wags picked me up with yummy local veggie bee hoon.  Perfect wrap to a fantastic honeymoon 🙂  To which my husband reminded me, will not be a regular thing O_o

I say, we take what we get 😉  Happy Wednesday everyone!!

Part 2 of the Honeymoon

Our first full day in Banff is day 6, we took it easy.  Enjoyed our egg free muffins for breakfast and I’m loving this B&B route we decided on.  Then we walked into the town, had lunch and went to the museum.

Found out how the town of Banff was founded and how the love for skiing and mountaineering in Canada started.  I particularly love the photo in the bottom left hand corner which are hand made goggles from the late 19th century to face the ice storms in winter.

Day 7 was another road trip in itself.  We were going to see the icefields that were a two and a half hour drive away from Banff.  It started with my favourite muffins of the week, Cherry Vanilla Crumble Muffins.  Then we saw an elk and a Mama bear and her two cubs on the way!!

Again the views were stunning.  There is something about water that immediately calms me and something about mountains that humble me.  I was often speechless, which is rare for me :p  When I finally got to the glacier, I was as excitable as a kid in a candy store.

Being on top of a glacier that feeds into three ocean was quite the thrill for me.  I even managed to have a sip of glacier water.  It was icy cold and extremely fresh.  It was a lovely summer day and in my mind, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like during winter O_o

By the time we came down from the glacier, it was dinner time.  The sun was still out but our tummies were ready for dinner and guess what we had.  Chinese food!!  Yep, in the middle of Canada by the Rockies, we had pretty good Chinese vegetarian food.  Can’t wait to bring my parents and my sister there now 🙂

Day 8 saw us being in total tourist mode and getting on the Banff gondola.  The queue going up was long but not as long as the line up coming down!!  You’d think it’s a ride at Disneyland.  All in all, it was worth it 🙂  You can see the whole town of Banff from Mount Sulphur, they did a good job with the board walks and making it friendly for all ages.  Again another spot to bring my parents and my sister!!

Day 9 was a long day for us.  It started with a pretty hike by Johnston Creek.  Again it was friendly for all ages so it was crowded because it was a lovely summer day to be out and about.  We took out time and enjoyed the sights and little chipmunks aka pikas along the way.  They were chubby little things because everyone was feeding them.

Then it was off to Lake Moraine.  A beautiful turquoise lake nestled in the Rockies.

We took a lovely hike along the lake and stumbled on a trail that needed 4 or more people to do.  Yes, apparently bears and cougars are less likely to attack if you’re part of a bigger group and noisy.  After Lake Moraine, we moved on to Lake Louise.

Less turquoise than Lake Moraine because of the rock flour.  So Lake Louise is more green.  Then we headed back to Banff.  In time for jaunt to the place where we met some 12 years ago 🙂

It was 2001 and during the Banff TV Festival, we met in one of the rooms of the convention center.  So it was nostalgic for the both of us to walk through the hallways and the bus stop where we had a brief conversation that is clear in both our memories.  A wonderful wrap to a beautiful day 🙂 and part 2 of the post.

6 Year Wait

Some things are truly worth the wait and my honeymoon is one of them.  We got married in 2007 and knew that we wanted to do our honeymoon in Banff, Canada where we first met.  Time and money usually got in the way of making it happen but finally the stars aligned and we made it happen this year.  Here’s part 1 of 3 to a quick recap of being away for 2 weeks.

It takes a little more than 24hours for us to get to Vancouver.  The transit in Taipei was quite a while and of course, I filled up on yummy veggie dumplings 🙂  We landed in Vancouver at 8pm and the sun was’t even down yet.  I love summers in Canada!!  Actually I love summers everywhere.

Day 1 saw us going into the States where my Father-in-law recently bought a cabin on Mount Baker.  It was a lovely getaway and just what we needed to get into the time zone.  There’s something your body gets from nature.

Day 2 was my husband’s 39th birthday and he was so happy to be back home celebrating it with family.  Birthday celebrations were at my sister-in-law’s new place where we chanced on a couple of deers who didn’t seem to mind us at all.

For the birthday celebrations, my sister-in-law cooked up a dinner and made an awesome vegan carrot cake.  Needless to say by the end of the night, we were all satiably in need of a bed.

My husband and I stayed over at my sister-in-law’s and got in some work on day 3.  Picked up our rental car for the road trip and went to the Naam for dinner.  It is my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver!!  I could eat there EVERYDAY 🙂  Had an apple blueberry pie BEFORE dinner and was again very happy by the end of the night.  I’ve come to realise vegan desserts make me very happy.

Day 4 was the official start of the honeymoon and after lunch, we drove out of Vancouver towards Banff.  It would take about 8 over hours so we broke the trip up and planned to stop in Sicamous.  I’m so very glad we did.  We ended up at Owlhead Creek B&B and I would go back again for sure.

If nothing else, Deb the owner, makes AMAZING breakfast.  The best we had the whole honeymoon.  I would consider moving back to Vancouver just so I can take long weekend breaks at the Owlhead Creek B&B :p  The surrounding trails were beautiful.

After a quick hike where I saw the biggest pine cone ever and a wooden branch that looks like an iguana, we were back on the road towards to Banff.

The views on the road were stunning and we stopped at the rest stops just to take them in.  My favourite stop was the Northern Light Wildlife Wolf Centre.

Everyone knows I’m not crazy about zoos and aquariums.  I understand the necessity for them but I’m not crazy about them.  Same with this center, I totally understand the need and appreciate the fact that I could be looking straight at wolves.  Yet a little part of me was sad.  I would never like to be enclosed and I guess that empathy for wild animals is why I’m not crazy about zoos and aquariums.  That said, if you are in the area, it is worth checking them out.  While I’m not crazy about enclosures, I’m all for helping 🙂  We bade farewell to the pack, went back on the road and arrived in Banff ready for dinner.

Once we settled in our cozy cabin, we took a quick walk to the only vegan restaurant in Banff, Nourish Bistro.  It was a little expensive for what they were serving but not bad at all 🙂

Part 2 and 3 coming up.

Mr and Mrs Woon

6 months ago, a little kitten was led out of the wedding bag.  This was the day we were preparing for.  It went by quick like with all happy occasions and here’s my recap of the day.  It started early for the most of the wedding party, getting into peak hour traffic to get to church on time.  I’m happy to report no one hit any major snags and we were there all ready to get the day going.  The groomsmen had the ever gorgeous bridesmaid, Nis looking over them and were all working hard when I got there 2 minutes after 9.  We settled in and of course, I started taking pictures.

From the top left hand corner, that’s Michelle and Nis getting the front table ready.  Then me and Bernie taking a pause for a picture.  Next up, Michelle and Nis when I said, “Look here girls!!”  At the bottom left, that’s Perry in between Nis and me.  I’d say, he’s in awe of how beautiful Nis looks but that’s just me 🙂  Then it’s me and Cheryl, director extraordinaire.  One of my favourite part of weddings is watching the nervous groom before the bride arrives.  Mat was playing the part well 🙂  He was well supported by his boys but the nervous buzz coupled with unbridled happiness was clear on his face that morning.

You can tell from the picture I made him take with me.  He must have been thinking,”Crazy bridesmaid Carlene, I have better things to do than take a picture with you.” but yesiree, I document almost everything.  So there’s me with the happy groom and if you didn’t think he could be happier, he did get very much more happy when his bride arrived.  I wish I had a camera while I was walking down the aisle but I didn’t and remembered looking at Mat, the smile he had when Gen walked in with her Dad.  He even teared up a little and melted my heart.

The wedding mass went smoothly and beautifully without a hitch and as simple as that Gen and Mat became Mr and Mrs Woon.  Up next was the party bit and once the photo taking in church was done, it was wrapping up and moving to our next location, Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens.

When we got there the wedding decorators were already going to town with the place.  We helped out and arranged the other odds and ends with about 45minutes to spare.  The guests started arriving and we pinged the newly weds that the anticipation for their arrival was steadily growing.

I managed to catch a shot with the bride just before her walk in and the party started.  With loving speeches, dancing, cheers, laughter and lots of chattering, it was a room full of love and warm wishes for the newly minted Mr and Mrs Woon.  I couldn’t be happier for my dear friend, Gen.  Mat is a sweet sweet guy and perfect for her.  For Mat, Gen’s big heart is all he is going to need for the rest of his life.  I can’t wait for their little ones who I know will have all they need in their parents to face this crazy world we live in 🙂

A Good Fracture

A week ago today, my husband went for a run in the nature trails of MacRitchie Reservoir.  I’ve always been very grateful to live so close to it but not as much as my husband was last week.  You see, he usually runs in the evenings and last week he left a little later than usual, went in further than usual and all that means is that he was running back in the dark.  That’s because after sun down, it’s hard to see on the trails. I know because I run in the mornings and have left my house a little earlier than usual before the sun rises and told myself never do it again because it was really hard to see.

As the story goes for my husband, it’s all dark and getting spooky on the trails, he starts to run quicker, misses his footing, twists his ankle and hears a snap!!  Then he hobbles all the way home and was probably more grateful than ever that we live close by.  At first he doesn’t think he broke anything because he’s had experience with a broken toe and it felt nothing like that.  We go to bed but wake up the next day to his ankle really swollen and him not being able to put ANY pressure on it.  Off to the hospital we go!!

And it’s confirmed.  He did fracture his ankle but apparently according to the orthopaedic surgeon it’s the best kind to have, meaning it should heal well.  I also learnt that bones heal better than ligaments or muscles or tissues.  You heard it here, if you’ve injured your ligament or muscles or tissue, you should rest up more and longer than if you’ve had a fracture.  *looking straight at my sister and my Mummy*  Right now my husband is suppose to stay off his right foot for 2 weeks and keep it in his high tech Aircast boot for 6, which means I’m playing nurse 🙂  It’s alright by me though.  I much rather give care than receive it :p

Meanwhile, on a stranger note, my husband fractures his right ankle a week after my sister incurred a deep tissue injury on her right ankle while wakeboarding who followed a week after my Mummy sprains her right ankle too.  Too much of a coincidence?  I’m not sure what it all means.  I’m just glad they are all ok and are healing well 🙂

How has your last week been?

12th May

While everyone in the world was celebrating Mother’s Day, my husband and I were sharing a bowl of tao huay celebrating our 6th anniversary.

11 years ago to this date, over a bowl of tao huay we made a simple connection that led us to where we are today.  So every year we share tao huay and think about that day that saw the exchange of emails, long distance calls (pre Skype days), letters, flights and an eventual cross pacific move.  I’ve been very lucky with my husband.  Nothing is perfect and trust me when I say we’ve had our very own major obstacles but together we’re learning to be better halves for each other.  The past 6 years have taught me it does take two people to make a relationship work.  Two healthy people, I might add.

Not many people remember the exact day they made a connection.  It was easy for me because 12th of May is also my Mama’s birthday. 11 years ago, I was in church missing my Grandma and praying for guidance because I was about to give up on relationships.    God does truly work in mysterious ways and that same night my husband and I shared that very bowl of tao huay.  5 years after that night, we got married on the same date.  It warms my hear to know that my Mama is with us every year as we celebrate the good times and remember the difficult times that make us stronger.

That is her, my Mama, probably in her early thirties and younger than I am today with her first four children, my Daddy is in the middle standing next to his sister.  She went on to have her baby son and my youngest uncle a couple of years after this picture was taken.  So on this day, her birthday and my anniversary, I think of her and her constant grace under fire, praying that I’ve inherited that from her.

11 year ago that day was Mother’s Day too 🙂  We had dinner celebrating the day before I headed off to meet my friends where I shared that bowl of tao huay with my husband.  Yes, I do remember that day quite clearly in my head.  This year while I’m not yet a mother, I’ve come to understand how very difficult this job is.  Especially  my mummy :p with two daughters like my sister and I.  So this Mother’s Day, while she’s in Perth and I’m in Singapore, I hope she knows how many of my strengths comes from her and how grateful I am for all of the sacrifices she’s made so that I may chase after all that makes me happy.

This Mother’s Day, my parents are not alone though, my sister is there in Perth reminding my Mummy how much we love her and how we will be no where without her love.

12th of May.  Definitely one of my favourite days in the year.