Family: hardest post to write

This might be the hardest post to write.

My dad passed past away on 2/2-2/3 alone in Argentina due to an heart attack. I just came back from a week in Argentina with my mom to make final arrangements.

This is really heart and I’m still in denial stage. My mind can’t convince my heart that he’s gone forever. I still feel like he’s somewhere, just sleeping peacefully, and one day he’ll wake up.

Everything happened super fast. We lost contact with him for 24 hrs, and then when police and friend entered his apartment, he was already gone. My mom and I left the same day that we found out (at 2:45am when my mom entered our bedroom saying dad might not be well), made a stop in Shanghai to get document to go to Argentina, did a small ceremony the next morning in our Shanghai home

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endured a 32 hrs long trip to Buenos Aires

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and a day at the police station and collecting the rest of his belonging. The following day, we collected his body at morgue

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the following date we buried him temporarily at Chacaritas

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I have no words to describe all this process. My emotions were shut down for a week so I could concentrate on things that I needed to deal with. And I think I’m still shutting it down, afraid of what I’d feel.

We arrived on a Tuesday and we left Buenos Aires Sunday evening.

Another 32 hrs flight back

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and we arrived home. I went right into Tony’s arms… we stayed there for a while… I cried a bit… but still not accepting the news.

I promised my dad that we’d go back to Buenos Aires in a year or so to take him back home for good.

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Travel: special weekend in Kuala Lumpur

The last weekend of January Tony and I had a special weekend in Kuala Lumpur, our first solo trip in 2018. It was special because we went to KL to attend our all time favourite singer Jacky’s concert!

Day 2: we arrived late Friday evening so we had a good night sleep and woke up fresh

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Tony had a friend from Canada who is chinese-malaysia and was visiting KL as well, so she took us for a city tour

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we explored the city centre with gorgeous buildings

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a must photo station

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the city is a mixture of three unique cultures, malay, chinese and indi, they co-live in a strange but apparently harmonious way

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we visited the china town

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and had lunch in one of the oldest cafe in town

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had a taste of typical local food… an ice shake topped with all kinds of sweets

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i had a noodle soup with bok choy and mushrooms

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we continued to visit the royal palace

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and then we went to our much-waited concert

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it was an emotional moment for me and Tony… we literally decided to be together for the rest of our lives after “她来听我的演唱会”. And we promised to watch a concert together and we made it

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Day 3: we ventured to a nearby old town “malacca”. We first went to a bus station that looked fancier than an airport

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after 3 hours bus ride we arrived

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It was filled by tourists, mainly chinese

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everything looked and felt like a chinese old town

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even with chinese temples

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Tony had a cooling tea which was very bitter

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for lunch we tried the typical chicken ball rice

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lastly we took a ferry boat for an-hour tour by the river

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after we returned to KL, Tony wanted to visit the famous Twin Towers, so we stopped by there for few minutes

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before going to Alor street for dinner. This is the place we went for dinner during my last trip and I knew Tony would like it. Indeed, he was really satisfied with the meal.

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We returned to Manila the next morning.

It was a short but lovely trip. We love each others company but we also missed badly our girls. 🙂

 

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2017 to 2018

January is almost over and I haven’t recap our busy 2017 and set up my vision for 2018. But better late than never.

2017 has been a really good year. We decided to move to a new country, traveled to many places, we consolidated even more as family, and Tony and I adjusted well into our new life in the Philippines, and our love just grew even more (didn’t know that was even possible!)

Tony and me: I felt that we got closer this year, and adapted to each other even more. We had less fight or quicker fights because we both understood that it’s fine to argue and let it out, and then we quickly move on to the next thing. We also gave more space to each other (or better said, I gave him more space because he has always been good to me in that regard ;)). I learned more about his love language and he gave me what I need. He was very supportive of our move, which he had to give up the job he really likes, and left behind a life that he just started to build in the US. He knew it was a good thing for our family and he was up for the adventure. Yet, I had my concerns. His first year in the US was not easy and as couple we suffered, so I was concerned that this move would bring us back to where we were. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Partly because we knew each other better, partly because I was more considerate with him and he appreciated my effort. 4 months into our new life, we are both enjoying the new life. For 2018, I envision us growing more as a couple, as parent, and as individuals as we learn new culture, experience new adventures, and reflect more on what really matters to us.

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I also fell in love even more watchin him grow as a father. His patient, powerless, sweet, with Lizzy. I think he never thought he could love a creature as much as he does and I love seeing that in his face everyday.

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His love toward Sofia also grew. He’s spending more time with her, reading her every night and put her to sleep when I’m not at home. I can tell from Sofia that she feels protected by Tony and she relies on him when mommy is not around.

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Sofia and me: Sofia is turning into a girl everyday. My thoughts and feelings towards her is hard to describe. I love her so much! I worry about her wellbeing more than I should, both physically and emotionally. I observe consciously often just to notice whether something happened to her, or if I said something that would have hurt her. She might have a different perception of me of course because above all, I’m her mother and my mandate is to protect her, prepare her, and love her no matter what. I’m also trying to balance loving her vs. disciplining her. It’s hard, really hard to strike that balance and often I feel I’ve went too far in one of the sides. Fortunately she shines as a person, she thrives our new life in the Philippines. She’s eager to new places, new people, new adventures. The one thing that makes me the proudest mom is when she tells me she’s happy all the time.

We’ve started to have long conversation on a specific topic, from what she wants for her birthday (gift), how she wants to spend it, who should we invite for the party. What should we do when we visit X place. What if we have another baby, etc! We can have a 20 min conversation easily on a topic and I love it because I can start to gather her line of thoughts, her values (what she values more, for instance, reading to her, buying her gifts outweigh what another baby might bring). Sometimes she’d come up with a question that leaves me speechless. “mom, you go to work and your company gives you money. But who gives money to the first person?” Wooo!!! No wonder she’s the daughter of an economist.

This year we’ve continued our tradition of reading before bed time. Since we arrived the Philippines, we are doing 3 books, 2 with me and 1 with Tony. And on Sunday we’d do as many as time and my patience allows. She loves it! And although some days I am tired, I keep the promise and do it no matter what.

And few weeks ago, TV–watching on Sunday is banned! Why???? she was only watching it once a week. Well… that was because few times she watches during the week when she’s not supposed to. And one of those times I threaten her that if she does it again, she can’t watch TV ever! Well… she did it again and mama needs to keep her promise. But in return, I promised that on Sunday (instead of TV), we can read as many books as she wants. (shoot me!)

okay… jokes aside. I think I’m a very happy mom with Sofia, she makes me proud and I love seeing her growing and becoming a mini-adult with her thoughts and opinions. Yet, she still loves spending time with me the most and my recognition is her ultimate aim for any activity she does. But I can tell, she’s growing and her little mind is getting more independent. It’s a bittersweet feeling because it means she needs me a little less.

For 2018, I hope we get to spend more time alone. More relaxing and quiet chat to connect. I will work on listening her more because I feel sometimes I’m in a rush and not really listen to her. I will respect more her wishes within limits. I will continue to nudge her to help her conquer what she’s capable of.

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Lizzy and me: 2017 is the year we also got closer. Partly because she’s more vocal and can communicate more with us. We’ve spent a lot of time alone. Putting her to sleep at night is our time. It’s just 20 min or so, but we both enjoy it a lot. It’s quiet, no rush. I let her drink her milk. Sometimes I’d rub her feet or hands to sooth her even more. When she’s done with milk. I’ll sing a song three times to her then say good night. She often responds saying “mama” and then ready to sleep. If it’s another person, she’d complain for leaving her alone. But somehow she feels safe and secure with me and doesn’t complain and goes to sleep with peace.

We’ve also spend time alone when traveling, when Sofia is playing/outing with Tony. I’d be in charge entertaining Lizzy and she’s such a fun person. Her movement, her facial expression, her words, everything I find so funny and cute. So simply looking at her makes me smile.

With Lizzy, I’m in a more relax mode in the sense that I’m more patient because I know these moments are so short and whatever she’s going through will be over before we really notice it. So I just embrace everything, fun moments, annoying moments, even sleepless nights, I embrace them and even enjoy them somehow because it shows that she’s still a baby, and she needs mama.

The things I enjoy the most is our conversations. Most of the times she’d just respond: “si” but I feel that she understands me and that she enjoys having conversation with her mama too.

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For 2018, I hope we continue to have alone time, to find our dynamics of our relationship and cultivate further trust and love.

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seeing these two playing, bounding, is the best thing in the world. Melts my heart every time! 🙂

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With myself: 2017 I challenged me by running a first marathon, applied for a new job, moved to a new country, took even larger role as care taker of our family. I stopped complaining about “why I need to be doing everything?”, but changed my mind set to “i’m giving the best care to my family”. I became a happier person, more relaxed, more focus on the moment, more in love.

I also continue to find space and time for myself. Every morning, every run, every evening before time, every time I travel alone for work. I cherish these moments because they allow me pause and reflect what’s going on, and savour those wonderful moments I have with my family. I continued to grow as a person. I learned more people skills as I moved to a new country. It’s not the first time I did such a move (when I was 9, 13, 25) but I find that I became more resilient to changes because I’m more prepared mentally to conquer all the challenges in a positive way. Nothing really bothers me for long, which keeps me focusing on the positive side of things (there is always a positive side!).

For 2018, I hope to find more time to read, to spend more quality time with family (with each of them alone and as family), and to take care of myself. 🙂

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2017 was great and I’m sure 2018 will be even better as we explore East Asia countries and learn new cultures and ourselves. 🙂

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