Season of thanks and blessings

So the holiday season has begun with the ushering of a day of thanks (top off with a mad-rush of deranged and fanatical shopping at the end of the night).

I count my blessings everyday. In a foreign land, where home, family and friends are oceans away, everything is a blessing and a reason to be thankful and grateful for.

I spent my birthday this year with both my sisters; a rare occurrence and one that is truly special. We laughed at things that only we can laugh about, and rolled our eyes at each of our idiosyncrasies. We ate like we have been starved for ages (not a rare sight) and cherished the little moments that we shared together. For that, I am very thankful.

I have my family; a dear and tight-knit family from Asia all the way to North America. They are always there when I need them, regardless of distance and time difference. I am thankful for my parents, my aunts, uncles and cousins.

I have my health. A husband that puts up with my pms-ing, melodramatic, cantankerous mood swings. Just like my health, everything is a yo-yo: up and down in a blink of an eye. But without dark there cannot be light. For that, I am thankful. Thankful for the ups and downs in life.

I have my job, a sparse commodity these days. I am thankful.

I have a solid roof over my head; even though this has been a year of repairs, starting with the sewage drain on Chinese New Year. Out with the old, in with the new.

I still have friends (a miracle!). Thank you for remembering me, for I certainly remember and think of you especially during the holidays. You will always have a special place in my heart.

Last but not least, I am thankful for Jessie. We visited a shelter, a shelter where Jess was adopted from 8 years ago, yesterday. It was a horrifying sight and a gut-wrenching sound. Never mind the stench. Everyone of the dogs just wanted to be in a home, to be loved. Every cage we passed, the inmates were calling for us. Most still had fighting life in them. Others were resolved to whatever fate meted out. By the time we left, they were crying and howling because they knew they lost a chance. Jessie, we found you. But you definitely gave us love.

Gratitude | 112609

Jolt to the economy

Thanksgiving. Time for family. Time for food comatose-s. Time for shopping!

DAY 1 & 2 : Thursday & Friday Nov. 26 & 27, 2009

We picked my Canadian aunt aka Ta Mai up from Newark in the morning. We hung out a bit at home, before leaving for my other aunt’s place in Wayne for lunch/dinner at 2 pm. The spread was mouth-watering. We had the traditional turkey, stuffing, a salad made of celery, tomato, almonds in a sun-dried tomato pesto, seafood and kilbasa paella, and french beans with mushroom and carrots casserole. After two helpings, we adjourned from the dining room to the dessert room and proceeded with our next course. This year’s turkey was extra moist and extra yum-o-licious. Dessert was peach jello, pumpkin and blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream, spicy and tangy cashews with lime, sweet potato chips and liquored chocolates. Phew!

The Thanksgiving spread

The Thanksgiving spread

Continue reading


Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and I have plenty to be thankful for.

1. Family.

My parents. Even though my parents are miles away, I know they are just a phone call/email/im away. They never express their feelings but their actions speak louder than words. When we were younger, my mom would wake up at 4 every morning to prepare our breakfast and lunch for the day. The moment she reaches home from work, she’s making dinner for us. Even as adults now, my mom still worries about our nutrition. My father took the night shift, and stayed up with us as we did our homework. As a child, I had trouble sleeping from time to time. I would creep into my father’s room and wake him up. He would take me back into my room, sit next to me until I fell asleep before he left. He’s still sharing in my worries and happiness today. He’s my counsel and my ready ear. I am thankful for parents who doled out corporal punishment, but meted out an equal amount of tlc after. I am thankful for parents who didn’t give gifts for birthdays, but gave me the presence of friends and family for my birthdays. I am thankful for parents who don’t say I love you, but showed me they love me instead. I am thankful for parents who didn’t read me to sleep, but gave me books so that I can read myself to sleep. I am thankful for parents who gave me culture, but sacrificed everything so that we are who we are today.

My sisters. Even though we grew up fighting each other tooth and nail, and are still bickering, we have always had each other. They are my shoulder to cry on, my friend, my reason for happiness, my equal. I adore them not for their smarts or their grace, but for their quirks and irritating habits. I am thankful for their wit, because no one else would laugh at my jokes. I am thankful for their fighting spirit, because without them, I would never have been a soldier. I am thankful for sisters who cry with me, laugh with me and share all my pain and joys. I am thankful for sisters who scaled gates with me, learn to ride the bike with me and played imaginary roles with me. I am thankful for sisters who keep me in line – who until today, humble me. I am thankful for one sister for letting me be a spoiled brat when I feel like it, and the other for letting me be a mother when I choose to.

My better half. When I am unable to move, he doesn’t just carry me. He’s standing next to me, helping me. He chauffeurs me to work everyday, while I sleep, and drops me off right at the door before he parks the car. He tucks me in at night, every night. I am thankful for his one-track mind, which leaves multi-tasking a chore. I am thankful for his short-term memory, which makes what I said a week ago null and void. I am thankful for his height and my lack of it, which makes asking him do chores that much more logical. I am thankful for his humor, which amuses me to no end. I am thankful for his reticence, which makes me his mouth piece. I am thankful for the useless things that he sometimes thinks I need – wii, pda, iTouch, new cell phone, flowers, love – which I begrudgingly and secretly enjoy.

My four-legged baby. I am incredibly thankful for her. I am thankful for her adoring eyes, although it was scared when we first picked her up from the shelter 7 years ago. I am thankful for her unfailing gift of greeting me at the door everyday after work, although it was a gift of poop and pee at the start. I am thankful for her health, although she gave me quite a scare today, having to rush her to the emergency late tonight. I am thankful for her energy, although she did tear up my piano bench a long time ago. I am thankful for her devotion, although it was difficult having to leave her at home at first without making her think we were abandoning her. I am thankful that I have an excuse to leave a party/dinner/gathering because I have to return home to walk/feed her.

My jee mai. Without her, I wouldn’t have a scar on my nose to remind me that tantrums will never win. Without her, I wouldn’t have known what strength is. Without her, I wouldn’t have someone to turn to for wisdom and unbiased truth. Without her, I wouldn’t have two gorgeous, intelligent and dear cousins. Without her, the family up in Canada won’t be whole.

My ta mai, who will be visiting from Canada this Thanksgiving. Without her, I wouldn’t know that I abhorred gooey food – chicken skin, fish skin, fat, cartilage, which she forced down my throat and I promptly threw out. Without her, I wouldn’t have seen Edmonton during my time in Minnesota. Without her, I wouldn’t know what waking the dead means. Without her, I wouldn’t have gloves, zip-locs, trash bags, pain meds and jello. (trust me – they are ALL related)

My unc. tak. Without him, I wouldn’t know the difference between a positive and a negative integer. Without him, I wouldn’t know how to tell a joke with crudeness and innuendos. Without him and my ta mai, the first batch of cousins would never have spent countless school holidays together – picnicking, going to the museum and Lake Gardens, frolicking in the chilly waterfalls, spending precious time together.  Without him, I wouldn’t have two young cousin brothers, who we watch grow up before our eyes.

My er peh. Without him, shopping in Singapore wouldn’t be a delight. Without him, my daddy would never have had the opportunities he had in life, and I wouldn’t be where I am. Without him, I wouldn’t have a cherished elder cousin sister to look up to and a dear aunt to be fond of.

My aunt and uncle in Wayne. Without them, I would have been on the streets when we first moved out here from Minnesota. Without them, I have no place to go for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Without them, I wouldn’t have known my extended family.

My maternal and paternal family. Without them, I wouldn’t know the joy of talking at the top of one’s lungs just to be heard. Without them, there will be less hugs and kisses. Without them, I wouldn’t know what a family truly means.

2.  A roof over my head.

I am thankful for my blind luck of getting and liking the first place that I see. I am thankful for the diy work on my kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. I am thankful for a home to call my own and return to everyday.

3. A job.

I am thankful for a job that I still enjoy. I am thankful that I am still abusable, and am thankful for that leverage.

4. My health.

I am thankful for learning to deal with tough things in life. I am thankful for my weekly injections. I am thankful for my lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s and eczema, because I can sometimes use it as an excuse to get out of housework. I am thankful for my lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s and eczema, because I have learned to live.

5. Food.

I am thankful for (good) food. Amen!

6. (Last but not least) Friends.

My school/childhood friends. Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for your reliability. Thank you for taking me the way I am.

My college friends. Thank you for the years of small talk and big talk. Thank you for cramming with me during finals. Thank you for showing me life is more than just hitting the books.

My colleagues, who have gone from mere acquaintances to life long friends. Thank you for witnessing our growth. Thank you for your patience and time. Thank you for painting my house. Thank you for filling my house with laughter. Thank you for house-sitting miles away.