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The Importance of Family

January 31, 2018


When I had my crystals read a few weeks back, it felt very close to heart indeed. My crystal reader brought up the subject of family to me quite a lot. It just happened that the next day I was to embark on a 10 day journey with both my parents. It has been quite a while since the three of us took a trip together without Natalie. Natalie had to cancel last minute because of work, but I decided to keep my travel plans locked. I was looking forward to some well spent, quality time with my parents, both of whom I love so, so very much. My parents are both very different people, but they complement each other so well, and I see so many parts of myself in each of them. As I’ve grown older, I understand them so much more, and vice versa. The way a family grows stronger with time, it is a beautiful way of blooming. Quality time like this is quite rare in between my work schedule and other travels throughout the year, so this trip was very important to me. My parents are getting older, even though there spirits are so young that they seem not much older than myself, I know time flies and I want to make the most of the time that I have with them. They are in fact, my favorite people. And I owe so much of who I am to them. As an adult, I want to give them everything. Even more than what they have given me. Because they deserve it.

Now back to the crystal reading. She told me that in the years to come, family was going to be one of the most important things in my life. I told her how excited I was about my trip to Asia to visit my mom’s side of the family. I told her how important it was for me to see my parents more. To talk to them more on the phone and update them on my life more regularly. To treat them more like friends, rather than parents. To take the time to hear their perspectives on things and allow them to reflect alongside with me. To be more patient and respectful with them, unlike when I was a teenager. The crystal reader told me that I needed to find more focus on the things that I held passion for, because then I would truly be great. And she told me, that I am the type of person who must always be happy with the things she does in life. And that in fact is very true. I’ve quit jobs in the past because I was unhappy. I remove myself from situations and from friendships where I find myself doubting myself. When I find myself feeling empty over something, I always step back to breathe and figure out a practical way to make things better. And I always follow through.

I found myself so happy on this trip in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with my parents. It was one of the most refreshing trips to date, even though we were jet lagged and low on sleep. I was glad that my dad was able to come to this part of the world again after 10 years. He needed this vacation. He has been a hard worker his entire life, and chose to work over take time off most times. But this past year, because of personal family stuff, his perspective changed. My father wanted to enjoy life more. Work less. And I saw how much my mom’s face lit up whenever we gathered around the home of her mother’s, with her sisters and brothers who she only gets to see on rare trips like this. She was in her element. It made me happy to see both my parents so content, as we hotel hopped and jumped around from relative’s houses, stayed up late to eat food from Malaysia’s diverse cultural background. My family life is a unique experience, and I feel blessed to say that it is mine. I only find myself in Kuala Lumpur once every few years (or even longer than that), but I find so much of that feeling of home in this city. Almost as much as I find that feeling in Los Angeles and New York City. In a way, one can say I feel it even more so in KL. Maybe it has to do with the reason that we are not as close to my father’s side of the family in LA, and that made us find comfort in the family that we do have all across the world. 

I promised my parents that we need more trips like these. All of us together, with Natalie. To see as much of the world as we can together, as a family. Because who knows how much longer we have to do so. The world is so full of adventure and the unknown and other magical things that has the potential to take our breathes away time and time again. I want to experience all of these, but differently each time, in a different place. With the people I will love and trust for the rest of my life. This is my main goal in life. And hopefully, these stories will be passed on, never to be lost in the shuffle. But retold in ways that make them unforgettable. This trip certainly was unforgettable for me. It was precious. Imperfectly perfect. Offbeat in the most wonderful way. And I think we all learned so much. Until next time.

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The Last of Malaysia

December 3, 2016

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Free People dress
Luiny belt
Wanderlust and Co. earrings
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And the day has come to wrap up my photo escapades from Malaysia. I became a little teary eyed throughout the editing process of this blog post. It was indeed one of the most magical trips that I’ve taken in quite a long time. A learning experience. It was an exploration of one’s roots. A reconnection with family that I feel I didn’t have a chance to experience fully in the past. A physical adjustment to weather and food choice. Learning to adapt is a strength that I find very useful to have. An eye opening vision to a place that is so different from home, but so familiar at the exact same time. That last part is something I can’t stress more, and it is why I encourage people to travel as much as they can when they are in their twenties. There’s so much to learn out there in the world. Endless stories to share, as long as we are ready and able to listen. And if we weren’t good listeners before, maybe it can help us become better. There are cultural traditions to borrow from and pass along; to compare and contrast with our own, possibly unlocking a door within ourselves to ideas we never before held or even though out. As individuals, we are each a very small yet extremely significant parts of the process of this thing called cultural diffusion. A sort of globalization of the mind on a personal level.  Traveling is the best way to burst your bubble and see the world through the eyes of others. It’s a reminder that no matter where you are in your state in life, mentally and physically, the world goes round and round and round. And every single turn is just as important as the last.

Shop more Free People maxi dresses I love:

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A Special Energy in Malacca City

November 29, 2016

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Reformation dress
Sezane shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo purse
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Malacca City is a very special place indeed. I haven’t visited since I was a teenager, but the place still stood out clear in my mind since that visit. It was at the top of my list of places to come back to during my Malaysia trip. Malacca City is full of rich history and colorful diversity. This old city once had a major role in the trade routes, catching attention from all over the world, and especially that of Portugal, and then the Dutch and then the British, up until World War II when the Japanese invaded. It wasn’t until 1963 that Malaysia as a country declared its independence. So, as you can tell, there has been many stories told, and I’m sure many to tell, about this beautiful city. And the city, you can feel it as you walk through its streets full of restaurants and shops and temples, all the different sorts of feet and cultures that have made their ways down them, too. Malacca doesn’t work to hide its past, but embraces it so much as a matter of fact, that it’s inescapable in the present time. The smell of a type of food in the air, one that pulls ingredients from all over the world to create something so unique for our tastebuds. It’s hard not to salivate while walking the streets made up of Portuguese-style architecture. My favorite dish here is the Hainanese chicken and chicken rice. The city is actually known for their unique take on the chicken rice. Instead of served freshly steamed in a bowl, the rice is rolled into little balls that are to be eating as a whole after being be dipped into soy sauce, some chili sauce and maybe a dab of garlic. It’s something you can hardly find anywhere else in the world, and made as well done as it is made in Malacca, where the dish has been perfected through many generations time. The city is famous for snacks so delicious, it’s almost unimaginable that they could be real, and packaged in such an exquisite way. After the afternoon gloom broke up, the sunshine hit the buildings and the city seemed over-saturated in such a way that you feel you are walking around with tinted glasses on. It’s a city that feels perpetually rose-tinted, even when it rains. It’s undeniably amazing. The energy is wild, especially on the weekends, when tourists from other parts of Malaysia, not to mention from all over the world, explore the city and create their own path through it, leaving remnants to be built upon as time goes on. What a lovely thing to think about, ya?

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Magic at The Batu Caves

November 26, 2016

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Alpha Omega blouse
Vintage Levi’s jeans
Proenza Schouler bag from Farfetch
Sezane shoes
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A different kind of post-Thanksgiving post since I’m in the midst of still catching up on so much from my travels. So here we go . . .

This part of my trip to Malaysia was one of my favorites. It’s been far over ten years since I’ve last visited the Batu Caves, and I was itching to revisit since I was little. And it was perfect timing since we decided to go on the major Indian holiday called Diwali (also called Deepavali). Malaysia is home to many, many people of Hindu Indian descent. It was amazing to see parts of the city come alive with color in celebration of this Hindu festival of lights, signifying the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. It’s a beautiful reason to celebrate! Lights and candles lit up the dark Batu Caves, filled with bats in its crevices and acting as a playground for playful and curious monkeys who aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with the guests who decided to take the 272 steps up to the famous caves. I remember as a kid, always being a little fearful of the monkeys after one almost jumped on me to snag my bag of peanuts out of my small and trembling hands. But this particular day, I showed only love for these little creatures, trying to get as close as I could to snap a picture of the mother with her small baby at her breast.

It was a breathtaking view to stand at the bottom before my trek up, watching all kinds of feet, many Hindus going up barefoot as is the tradition, take purposeful steps up to the top. Every color imaginable decorating the backs of these people. Women in stunning and multicolored saris that lit up the entire stairway with every color imaginable. A mix of every skin tone, ethnicity, and cultural background together created a buzz on each and every one of those 272 steps. Once I got to the top, I decided to linger for a while longer to watch the crowds below and horizon ahead. There was an approaching storm cloud making its way towards us in the distance. It was a grey color, but it didn’t feel sad. It was peaceful and complementing to all the action happening where I was standing. Once we made our way into the cave, past the crowds admiring the colorful statues of Hindu gods, and all the way to the back, the rain began to fall through the cave’s opening where a mist hung over us all. The mist to me seemed like a kind of protector that I couldn’t stop staring at. Droplets coming down in a way that felt like life turned into slow motion. Landing on our faces and cooling our skin, for the day was extra humid. It washed our sweaty stickiness away. Kept us calm. The rain lasted for what seemed like nearly an hour, but we were in no rush at all. We sat and people watched while others did the same. Trying to figure out who was a tourists and which ones were the locals. Malaysia is so multicultural that it’s actually quite hard to figure this out. But that’s the beauty about this country. It’s always unexpected and there’s always something new to discover. This day we were celebrating the Festival Lights. And even though it got dark and grey, the light still kept on shining through.

Hope all you guys who celebrated Thanksgiving this week had a wonderful time off with those you love. Talk soon 🙂

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