Kit Kats and the Afterlife

Today is my Grandfather’s birthday. He would have been 88 so I’ll say a little prayer, have a Kit Kat and remember that all my fiesty-ness comes from him. My Kongkong loved Kit Kat. When he was in his wheelchair and barely had any teeth left, he’d still smack his jaws together and ate Kit Kat. It’s been more than a decade since he called heaven home, I still can’t see a bar of Kit Kat, not think of my Kongkong and wonder what happens in the afterlife.

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I grew up Catholic and for all intent and purpose, I suppose I’m still a practicing Catholic but as I venture into my 40s, I have a more complete understanding of spirituality. No one can actually tell you what happens after you die. Some have tried and whether you believe them or not comes down to faith. My faith was built on Christianity but my unspoken understanding of what happens when we die comes from somewhere much less structurally cognisant.  Not something I can articulate clearly but death always gave me some kind of comfort. Sad for sure, only because I’ve lost the physical form of someone I love. For whatever reason, it wasn’t a fearful concept and when my first grandparent passed away, I was even more certain when it’s my turn, they will be on the other side and I have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just lots of catching up to look forward to 🙂

Does it come from my Catholic faith? I don’t think so. Is it past lives? Catholics don’t believe in past lives and that’s a concept I can’t quite get my head around. That’s a whole other post I can write about. Back to afterlife, I don’t have a logical explanation but I always seem to innately know there is life after death. It was never a question for me. Life just continues, keeps going, I don’t know how but something in me just knows it does. I’m definitely not saying I’m right, I could totally totally be wrong. Who knows? If there’s any way I can come back and let you know, I will.

Meanwhile, this 40 something tries to take in each moment and remember in the scheme of eternity this moment is literally a blink of an eye. With that, in this sliver of time called today, I’ll throw a little caution to the wind and have myself a Kit Kat 🙂

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Half Way There

Boom! Right on schedule, cue feelings of uncertainty, lack of direction and hello!! We have a mid-life crisis approaching.  If you ever read this blog, you know that I have this silly hunch that I’ll expire at 84. The last couple of months have pretty much confirmed this hunch so I better take good care of myself if I have to last another 42 years.

That’s beside the point. What actually is the point then? These feelings of uncertainty, unsatisfied yearn are so familiar yet subtly quite different. At 21, I had them … this sense of clueless-ness. This time it feels like the same thing but not … exactly. For one, I’m a lot more confident that whatever the next year (or the next 42 years for that matter) may throw at me, I’ll be alright. I may have to adapt to new normals but alright I’ll be. That’s the key difference between a quarter life crisis and a mid-life one. You’ve gone through enough “plans not happening” and coming out of the other side that few things faze you anymore.

Yet there’s the same uncertainty because well, that’s life, if it’s anything we can depend on, it’s change. Change we can’t control which normally would drive control freak me a little on edge, I’ve come to learn to accept. To surrender. If anyone told me when I was 21, I would have to learn to surrender, I would have to laugh in their face because I was taught to always fight and fight hard. Some times it’ll pay off, other times it won’t but you have to fight. As of yesterday and at 42, I’ve come to acquire SOME wisdom and know now the ability to surrender isn’t a reflection of myself or some ego-filled acknowledgement of the virtues I’ve come to have in my older age. It is a blessing bestowed on me through the lessons from the first 41 years of my life.

Truth: the more I try to control, the less I have control of. At the end of the day, it’ll be alright and be just between me and Him. I’ll let you in on a secret though, I haven’t really learnt to completely surrender yet but hey, I’m only half way there. Lots of lessons learnt, a lot more to go 🙂

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39 and a Half Years Old

6 months more to go and I’ll be yelling, “Hello 40!!”  Still a work-in-progress and with half of the year gone, it’s clearer today that honestly all you need to get through mistakes you’ve made is a sense of humour and time.  I always say this that I’m really lucky with my family and friends.  At this stage in life, I’ve come to realise there are toxic friends and in some sad cases, there are toxic family too.  You owe it to yourself to rid all toxic relationships.  It’s hard, very hard but filling our life with love and positive support gets you through any problem.  Lucky me, all the love I’ve surrounded myself with over the last 39 and a half year has reaffirmed how a sense of humour is the key to getting over suffering.  Also why I married my husband because he can make me laugh.

6 more months before I turn 40 and to usher that in, I’m off to Bali with my wonderful friends who’ve shared their love, laughter and pain.  All of whom will turn 40 before me and showed me that age is truly just a number and laughing over spilled milk is the best way to get over it.

 

Rachael Turns 5

5 years ago today, after work I rushed to Gleneagles Hospital to meet my first little Goddaughter except she was in NICU and had to be there for about 48hours.  It was a little worrying at first but now that’s all in the past and she turns 5 this year.

Time seems to be flying us by and to be perfectly honest I’m not quite prepared for her turn 5.  Here’s how much I’m not.  When I was wrapping her present and her sister’s belated one, I wrote the right age for her sister, 8 and I know jolly well she’s only 3 years younger than her sister which makes her 5 but I wrote “Happy 4th Birthday”. When I collected her cake, I told the bakery I only needed 4 candles.  During the party and the girls were opening their presents I realised the mistake I did.  Yet when we were putting her candles on, I was going to put only 4 again till her 8 year old sister asked if I was alright and gave me a quizzical look like I’m losing my mind.

Yes, my baby Rachael, I’m not quite ready for you to grow up but grow up you so shall be doing.  One day, you’ll be 12, then 18, 21 and heaven forbid 30 and I’ll still treat you like my little one 🙂  Meanwhile, I’m enjoying 5 year old you.  You have this sense of humour that is pretty much like your Godpa.  You’re still super shy outside the house with strangers but a bundle of laughs when you’re all comfortable.  With your little Godsister, Caitlin, you’re the wonderful Cheachea (big sister).  I’m loving the connection we have and want to stretch your creative capabilities.  Thank you for always sharing how you see the world with me.  I live for your hugs and laughter that seem to make the world’s problems disappear.  Love you SO MUCH!!

My Niece Turns 8

Today my first niece in my life turns 8 years old.  While I’m in Vancouver and she’s in Singapore but I’ll never let her forget how important she is in my life.  In her I see bits of her Mum, her Godma, her aunts and definitely bits of me.  I’m always so grateful for her life and how she lets me into it.  So this year on her 8th birthday, here’s my wish for her.

Dearest Mabel,

I say this every year, I can’t quite believe you’re 8 already.  You were just about 20months old at my wedding.  You’re such a tween already and in your ways I remember the growing pains of getting comfortable in your own skin.  Something I only learnt when I was in my 30s.  I’m hoping that lesson doesn’t elude you quite as long.  In the meantime, here’s Meryl Streep’s take on beauty:-

He would never imagine a blonde person could speak Italian – Meryl Streep

It’s always nice and a lot of fun to look pretty and yes, the world will always judge you by how you look.  Just remember though, it isn’t what the world thinks of you that is important.  It’s what you think of yourself and who you want to become.  Always stay true to the very best version of you.  It may take you a while to figure out who that is and when it gets tough, just remember you will figure it out one day.  Meanwhile, enjoy the ride and know we love you HEAPS!!!

XOXOXOXO

Coco Carlene

 

My Swiss Goddaughter

5 is a sweet number and if I started earlier, I would love to have had 5 children so as of today, it’s official, I’ve got 5 godkids 🙂  God works in mysterious ways and even though it’s not how you exactly pictured it, He’ll give you what you wish for.

That’s me and Caitlin as she officially becomes Catholic.  With Pope Francis and this nun:-

I couldn’t think of a better time to be part of the Catholic family. Especially since I’m no longer a Godma virgin, I actually have a better idea of what Godparenting entails now.

So to my dearest Caitlin,

You’re in much better hands than your Godcheachea who was my very first Goddaughter.  I’ve learnt a lot through her and so will you.

I love watching how she fusses over you, can’t wait for you guys to grow up together and have as much fun as we did growing up.  Meanwhile, little one, I couldn’t be more proud to be your Godma.  The world will get a little crazy and sometimes it seems hard to understand why God lets things happen the way they do but I’ll let you in on what I found out. His will is the best for us.  It may not always feel like it and that’s where we’ll learn what faith means.  I have a hunch you’ll get there a lot sooner than I will.  Yes, like your Godsiblings, I’m pretty sure you’ll be teaching me more than I will you.

I love you to bits and though a continent and then some keeps us physically apart most of the time, you’re always in my prayers and thought.

With lots of love, hugs and kisses,

Godma

P/S: With a 4 year old, 1 year old and a 1 month old, I say this is a pretty good picture 🙂

Happy First Birthday Christian

Like most first birthdays, my Godson, Christian hasn’t quite grasp the gravity of the celebrations.  For me and the rest of his family, we can’t quite believe it’s been a year since this little angel has graced our lives with his sweet smiles and contagious laughter.

Went over to give him his present, a train set, which I reckon will keep him entertained till he’s about three.  Guess what?  He was more enamoured with the Sesame Street sticker that was on the wrapping.  Today he teaches me to keep it simple 🙂

Happy First Birthday my little buddy!!  May your life be filled with all you need to make your dreams come true and keep your heart as pure as it is today.  Love you to bits, little one.

 

Addition to My Munchkins

When it comes to my munchkins, I’m so grateful for this bunch.

They are the little people in my life that remind me what is important in the world and last week we have an addition to the bunch.

Today my cousin turns 40 today and she gave herself the best birthday present ever.

Hello my blog world, please meet my new niece, Caitlin and the latest addition to my growing munchkins.  Living in the 21st century means that I get daily updates from her Mummy and their new lives in Zurich but I really really wished they were at Mount Alvernia and I could just drive by to see them.  Such is the world we live in today.  The world is so small some times and other times so very big.

Good news though, she’ll be back in July!!  Can’t wait to cuddle her and show her how much love waits for her half way around the world.  For now, I’m grateful for Whatsapp/Skype/FaceTime and modern technologies that helps us stay in touch and make the distance between Singapore and Zurich shorter than the 10,286.93km it really is.

Oh yah, before I wrap my post dedicated to Caitlin, Happy Birthday to her Mummy, my cousin, Gwen who is celebrating her first birthday as Mummy and my other cousin, Cheryl who is celebrating her first birthday as a Mrs Tan!!  Celebrations all round 🙂  For the rest of us happy Wednesday!!

The Complete Story

Unless something happens directly to me, I hardly ever get the complete story of anything that happens to anyone else. In fact, everything that happens to me is only from my perspective and again, it isn’t quite the complete story.  Even in my memory, there’s always bits and pieces that go missing or get embellished, much less when you’re try to get the whole picture of a situation that happened to someone else.

I’m talking about the hullabaloo surrounding Woody Allen and the lifetime achievement award that he received earlier this year.  It’s just another reminder not to make quick judgements, especially with people I don’t know jack about.

If you are friends of his ex-wife and daughter, you’d believe he’s the monster from their side of the story.

If you’re his friends and family, you’ll believe this side and know he’s been severely misunderstood.

Which brings me to the point of my post.  I actually thought that by the time I’m a year shy of turning 40, I’d have figured it all out.  I actually thought I did until a recent exchange between friends that made me realise you never know who is telling you the truth and what is the truth anyway.  Made me dig deep and question my own bullshit barometer on myself.  I can’t tell if other people are telling the truth but I sure as hell can learn to be honest with myself.  Till this day, the hardest thing I’ve had to learn and am still learning to do.

At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right?  Not what other people think of you, just what you know of yourself. I wonder if Woody Allen has a hard time walking down the street because people he doesn’t know and some so called friends judge him for a monster. I sure it smarts that people think less of you but if you are honest and know who you are, the sting doesn’t last very long.

That’s what I’m learning anyway.  Maybe this time next year, I’d think differently 🙂 Who knows? For now, I’m grateful for all growing older brings.

Everything is Awesome

That pretty much sums up the day I turned 39.

Nothing over the top. Kept today simple. Got some work in, made time to check out the River Safari, dinner at my favourite vegetarian place in Chinatown, caught The Lego Movie and wrapped the day with the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Pretty much all the things I enjoy squeezed into a day and I really couldn’t ask for more.

As the lyrics of my latest favourite tune goes:-

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream

Nothing like a birthday to remind you of the support system you have. When it comes to that department, I’m so very blessed with the team I’m a part of. I know I’m nowhere and no one without the love of my family and friends.  If today is anything to go by, my 39th year looks like it’ll be a lot like most of my other years.  There will be ups and also downs but more importantly, more dreams to be had. That’s how you keep it AWESOME.

Did I already say I love birthdays 🙂