Monday, January 30, 2012

Thoughts on my First CNY with a New family

Yes, it is my first year celebrating the festive Lunar New Year with my in-laws; after all those years having reunion dinner with my own family every single year.
Being married, means I am a part of my hubby's family and in Chinese traditions, I will need to celebrate most of the important festivals with my 'new' family (in-laws).
That doesn't mean that I am no longer part of my own family, but it just a form of assimilation into the families.

Reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve and the First Day of the New Spring is the most important and therefore, daughter-in-laws are always expected to spend them at their husband's home, and with her in-laws instead of her own family after marriage, as according to the Chinese customs.
I was looking forward to celebrating my first Chinese New Year with my new family, although I was nervous and also homesick at the same time.
Nervous as I was not sure of my roles and responsibilities around the house; whether I would mess up during the preparation and helping around the kitchen as I am never one with household chores. I remembered my mum telling me that it is not the same when I am married, and that although I do not have to do much (or anything at all) at home, it does not mean I need not do anything as well in others' places (meaning, my in-laws' place).
Therefore, I was hoping to help out and tried to assist my mother-in-law as she was busy preparing for the reunion dinner.

I am not sure whether it was the small crowd we have this year for reunion, or was it my mother-in-law was just overly efficient, but all the same, I must say she is one awesome mother-in-law who was pretty much just like my own mum as she didn't let me help out. She told me that she had already done all the preparations days ahead and that there was really nothing much to do around the house.
I felt really blessed that my mother-in-law was so open-minded and carefree, in fact, she is always so kind to me and treated me like her own daughter. It made living with her stress-free and like I said, it is almost like living at home!

Feeling homesick is natural as I have celebrated every single festive season and Chinese New Year with my family at home ever since the day I was born! I know that my in-laws are great and even my hubby is a lovely addition to my life, but that still does not erase the homey feelings in me as I just feel so attached to my family.
I came from a very small and close knit family, where we can talk to anyone at anytime, not to mention sharing.

I felt odd that for the very first time this year, I am not making plans to travel back home for reunion dinner with my family, going to Chinese New Year mass on the first day of CNY, and just watching movies shown on the television with my brother and laughing it all out.
It does not mean I am not enjoying the same thing with my hubby and in-laws, but the feelings are slightly different, I am sure you know what I meant.
I missed the atmosphere at home, and also the goofing around antics of my brother.
I did not let these feelings get too much in the way, as the way I see it, it is just a transitional phase and everyone moves into different phase at different points of their life.

I was watching the television with my hubby on the couch on the eve of the Lunar New Year, or was it two days before, and there was this Astro Dragon CNY music video showing, where the songs were shot in all the states of Malaysia and the singers were just singing all the previous CNY songs from the past years.
I am particularly fond of their first song; 'Da Tuan Yuan' or literally translated to 'Reunion' and I remembered how I used to feel so touched by the lyrics ever since the first time I heard it when they first promoted it a few years ago (during its launch).
Somehow, I always felt emotional whenever I hear the song as I am reminded of the warmth and togetherness of my own family.
When I watched the music video, I find myself getting emotional and homesick all of a sudden as I just missed the feeling of reunion at home.

I know it's a little childish, but this is just normal for anyone who is just celebrating such a merry festive season away from home and family for the very first time.
It was just a timely emotion, and looking at it positively, I would hope to bring the same warmth and culture into my new family!;)

It is something new, but it is something exciting and worth looking forward to.
Learning about the new traditions and cultures practised by my in-laws was a little interesting too, as I noticed how carefree and laid back my in-laws are about the whole festive season, and their style of celebration is rather modest.
New traditions include visiting the temple early on the morning of the first day of the Lunar New Year, and visiting elder relatives at their homes later in the morning.
Then there are gifts from friends and relatives which started making their way to our home as early as a week away, and then there are those friends and relatives visiting throughout the whole festive season (which lasts for 15 days), and these visitors again come bearing gifts.
There is no need to buy much CNY goodies, except for those to be placed in the trays to be served to the visiting guests.

It is a new experience for me; and one filled with goodies as well although there is still an element of homesick but it is not too bad. After all, I do get to go home on the 2nd day of Chinese New year; another part of the Chinese tradition for married daughters:)
It is indeed, a brand NEW year for me and my family too!~


Sunday, January 29, 2012

CNY festive mood

A week before the Lunar New Year, I was already seeing red, yellow, orange and gold splattered everywhere around me; in shopping malls, and even houses in the neighborhood.
It is no wonder, as the Chinese view the bright colors of red, yellow, gold, orange as auspicious colors and are often associated with the new spring.

I don't really go around taking photos of the CNY decor in shopping malls, but sometimes when I am shopping around and I happen to spot them (or I happen to have my camera with me, which is almost all the time), I can't resist the urge to snap a photo of the decor!;)
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The Year 2012 is the year of the Dragon (to be precise, it is the year of the Water Dragon)
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As expected, most of the decorations are inspired by the Oriental elements and motifs
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Of course, not forgetting gifts and food which are being sent around with love.
This year, I am celebrating the Lunar New Year with my in-laws; a new family for the very first time, and there are just so many gifts being sent to the house by my in-laws' relatives and friends.
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You will see more of this in my food blog ;)

Here's wishing all my blog readers/followers/fans a very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Dragon Year 2012!~

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Birthday 2012

I have posted so much about my birthday in my food blog, and now it's time to post in this personal space of mine.

I have had one of the most memorable birthdays this year, and I am really thankful to God for all the celebrations I have had. To be honest, I have a secret to share; I do so enjoy all those surprise and merry celebrations on my birthday. I love it when people around me remember my birthday and shower me with well wishes; even if it is just a simple "Happy Birthday".
Two words, and you have no idea how much it has touched me.
Call me self-obsessed, but to me, to have a friend or even someone remembering my birthday and making that effort to just write these two words on my Facebook wall, makes me feel loved and remembered, and I really like the feeling. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, you get what I mean.

Admit it, everyone of us has that narcissism in us; it is just the extent how some people would go to blow it. A little bit is good to boost the self-esteem sometimes, and too much of it, is just well, calling for attention.

I am not one who must have everyone celebrating with her, and as I have mentioned, I do feel happy when people remember or just wished me. If you have forgotten, I won't really put you on my blacklist of people who forgot my birthday. No worries about that :)

Of course, it's always nice when my loved ones spring surprises and plan my birthday celebration and obviously, celebrate with me. It does not matter whether it is an expensive meal or just a small little muffin, it just makes my whole world beautiful.

I am a big fan of my birthday; I mean, who isn't? It is the day that we get to enjoy and have fun, and just enjoy all that special privileges and attention :)
Now I make myself sound like I am all for that kind of attention!:p

This year was memorable to me, as I have not one or two, but almost five birthday celebrations! Seriously!
It brought me back those school days memories, when I have parents and friends fawning over me with gifts and birthday cakes and wishes, and I just felt so special.
It has been a while, and I have been staying away from home, and making new friends at my new place. That being said, it does not mean that my birthdays for the past few years were lousy; nah, far from that, every year is just as special.

This year, I had a few pre-celebration and even one post celebration! I even had a unique birthday muffin in honor of my birthday, and it was home made; specially for me!
Now, that's all about the special privilege I talked about.

Besides being married, I have had the chance to celebrate with my 'true friends'; as I have finally learnt a lesson or two about friendship and to be selective and starting my birthday year with these bunch of great friends just makes it all the more special.
My hubby gave me a lovely surprise as well, as like all the years, and I am truly thankful for his presence and love :)
I had a whole group of people singing "Happy Birthday" in a five-star restaurant on the actual day itself and we were like, the only customers in the restaurant. It's like we booked the whole restaurant for ourselves, even though it was purely coincidence!

Then I get to celebrate my birthday with my best girl friend, or rather, sister, who shared my birthday and year, for the very first time; yes, physically!:)

I get a great birthday bash with my own family; my brother, and my parents and my brother's gf even baked me a pair of muffins in my honor!:)

Just when I was sad to see my birthday ending, that very same week; 3 days later, my bunch of girl friends threw me a tea/dinner party and a birthday cake!:)

I just love everything so much, that I am almost moved to tears!
It was an awesome start of the year for me, and although I am a year older (and wiser), I am still looking forward to having the sugar of a year, after a year of ups and downs the rocks (besides my wedding). I could probably talk about that in my later post:)

The many different faces of me on my birthday this year!

My birthday cakes for the year 2012! I am spoilt rotten by my loved ones and friends, and I thank the Lord for these great people around me! Just when there were people who hurt me so bad, God showed that there are also so many out there who loved and cared about me :)
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Maybe there is too much of self-obsession in this post, and do pardon me for that, but I really did find this genuinely uplifting my spirits after a series of unfortunate events (which I have yet to post about), and I feel so blessed.

I don't know about you, I think I will always look forward to my birthday; no matter how old I am, or whether anyone celebrates with me because I am always celebrating with myself, every single year!

Besides all these attention-centered photos and stories, I am also bearing faith that my birthday will bring me a year full of hope, strength, joy and peace. That's not too much to ask for, right?
I won't share fully on my birthday wish; rumor has it that it may not come true when it is revealed!
An old wives' tale? Maybe, but I am not taking my chances :)

Thank you everyone, who has wished me and I wish you the very best on your birthday as well ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

~* Happy New Year 2012 from abroad! *~

This year, I spent the last of the year 2011 and the beginning of the year 2012 abroad, for the very first time!:)
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I remember waiting patiently for the strike of midnight every single year, and I did the very same thing even though I was in a different country!
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I was with my in-laws this year, traveling to visit my brother-in-law:)
(I will be posting about my trip in my travel blog soon ;)

Anyway, here are the fireworks welcoming the New Year 2012!!!~
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What are your New Year resolutions for this year??

My Year 2011

It's almost the mid of January now; and the first fraction of the year 2012 and I have yet to do much posting in this blog.
I am sorry, as things have been really busy lately, and there are just so many things to look into at the same time.

It's not that I have nothing to post about; in fact, on the contrary, I have so much thoughts and emotions to pen down, and they have been accumulating for the past few months. Of course, they are not all negative as I have had a fair share of laughs and smiles as well.
That's what life is all about; the ups and the downs.

As I enter into the new year 2012, I do my usual roundup and reflection of my previous year and what I have enjoyed and learnt from the past year.
2011 was a rather eventful year for me; as there were lots of gains and also losses, in almost all aspects of life.

I have had a rather rewarding yet enriching journey, although I am still on the learning curve.
There were a few changes that took place in my life, and there were lessons learnt.
Well, the changes involved my work, my relationship, my views on life and friendships, and my interests.
The lessons learnt included that of relationships, priorities in life, friendship, etc.

There were lots of growth and losses at the same time; typical of everyone's life.
The following are the things I have seen, encountered and what I have experienced in the year 2011:
1. Work and career: I have made an important decision and change is inevitable
2. I have made and met new and great friends who helped me in my wedding planning, and hopefully will be my friends for life.
3. I have learnt that sometimes not everything are what they seemed on the surface.
4. I have taken a new step into the next phase of life, and have found my soulmate to share and spend the rest of my life with :)
5. I have seen the true and ugly sides of the people whom I thought were part of the family.
6. I have learnt the truth about being a 'family'
7. I have learnt that relationships are built based on trust
8. There are degrees of relationships among extended families which are not necessary, as sometimes the ties are only of blood and of nothing else (definitely not by choice).
9. I have learnt that trust and faith are to be selective, and sometimes even people you thought you can trust, can turn to betray you.
10. I have lost the last ancestor; my maternal grandmother and learnt the truth behind the people who claimed they cared.

As I have mentioned, it has been a rather eventful year and from my notes above, you can sense bitterness amidst the happiness as well, and it is something that I will slowly share in the blog.

Anyway, don't dwell on the unhappiness of the past, learn from them and move on.
Focus on the happiness!

As part of the tradition, I have compiled the highlights of the year into my self-made collage!:)
A Happy New YEAR 2012 everyone, and let's start by making great new year resolutions for a dashing and awesome NEW YEAR!:D

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Birthday Countdown...

It's been a while since I have updated this blog (again!), but trust me, I have been away for the holidays and I have recently just got back and nursing me poor self to health (I will talk about that later).

Anyway, I have a lot of backdated posts to write and to update in this blog, and that will all be coming very soon.
I will be doing my usual round of reviewing my past year, and my life, and also my new year resolutions and a few thoughts to share here and there.
It is altogether going to be a very very busy schedule for me, to update this and all my other 'neglected' blogs.

As I make way for all these, after my long vacation, I will taking a quick short break to indulge in my upcoming birthday celebration, which I look forward to, every single year.
Yeah, I tried to tell myself that it's no big deal and I am getting older anyway, but I can't believe the kid in my still squeal with excitement when my birth month approaches, let alone my birthday, LOL!

It's only a few more hours before I turn older, erm, and wiser, of course, but I can't wait for a gorgeous year ahead!:D

Yeah, counting down myself to my birthday...:)