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family

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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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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A Bit About Family

November 7, 2016

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Alpha Omega top
Mango shorts
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One of the most important aspects of visiting Kuala Lumpur was reigniting family ties. Growing up, we were sadly never that close to our father’s side of the family in Los Angeles, so big familial gatherings were never a regular thing. It was just something we were used to. And it was never a big deal because my father, my mother and my sister were always enough for me. It was all I ever needed. Family can be a very difficult thing. Differing point of views, a reluctance to go out of the way to catch up on each other’s lives as we head in new personal directions, arguments that can easily get blown out of proportion, etc. There are multiple reasons why the idea of family is a hard one. Growing up, I started to understand this more and more. And I show no bitterness to the side of my family that I hardly keep in touch with due to personal matters. But at the same time, I started to realize the importance of the side of the idea family that stands tall and strong. The parts of family that love you unconditionally and that give the most support (even in my case that support comes from hundreds of miles away). That even from miles away you can feel that love is still there. It’s important to grasp onto these things, and fill in every gap as much as you can. I filled a lot of internal gaps on this trip to Kuala Lumpur. And I found joy in seeing how much my mother’s side of the family has grown and developed in the most positive of ways after the past seven years. And it gives me joy to know that there will be even more good things to wrap myself up with the next time that I go.

Of course, no family is perfect. And this truth stands for both sides of my family. I have noticed and come to learn about a few broken pieces leftover from the past that still hurtfully resonate today with my family in Asia. Of course, this isn’t something I will go into detail here, but it is something that I have honestly been thinking a lot about lately. That at the heart of it, acceptance is one of the most beautiful and important things that come along with the familial territory. Without it, family doesn’t work the way that it should. I’ve opened my eyes to this multiple times. Take for example siblings. Most are complete opposites of each other, seeing eye to eye on the most rare of occasions. But at the end of the day, the contrast between them is what it is. It’s something that should be cherished and accepted. Something that promotes openness. I’ve always believed that family should be the first and foremast example of the act of opening your mind to different perspectives that closes the gap of narrow mindedness.

I felt lucky to go home to a place that I don’t go to that often, but to feel at the same time instantly a part of something. I cherished the time I got to spend with relatives I haven’t had the chance to get to know as much before. I got so used to the feeling of being surrounded by these familiar faces that it was hard to leave. But like a friend just recently told me, it is something that will always be there waiting for me whenever I need it.

So here I am with my some family members at the Thean Hou Temple, a beautiful Hainanese temple in Kuala Lumpur. Hainan is the southernmost and smallest province of China, where the roots of my family is from. I’m always so inspired by parts of my heritage, even if it’s just taking in little bits and pieces at a time.

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