Tuesday, July 7, 2015

They Sit Together on the Porch

They Sit Together on the Porch

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Year Three!

Today we celebrate our third anniversary! Woohoo! 

It's been a rather adventure-filled three years with lots of laughter, some tears and loads of silliness. As I reflect upon the year that has passed, I'm ever so grateful for the opportunity to reach another milestone with you. 

This year, I pray that we will increase in our capacity to give to each other and to others. That we will not settle with being just happy but that we will be that which brings joy to the people around us. I pray that you will grow to even greater heights in your ministry, in your music and especially in your walk with The Big Guy. As He gives you dreams and visions and expands your capacity to serve I pray that you'll also have strength to follow through. 

As for me? I'll be right there carrying that load with you. Love you loads Jason Teoh!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jason turns 30 +

This dude turns a year older today! You continue to surprise me every day and I pray that The Big Guy above will continue to bless you and may your life always be filled with much love and joy! Cause you know... if the husband's happy, the wife's also happy la! I hope these days you laugh a little more and worry a little less, cause I've got your back and am always rooting for you! Love you loads Jason Teoh !!!!
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Red Packets

When you're Asian, red packets are a welcomed sight. With it being Chinese New Year and all, we've gleefully dished out angpaos and bashfully received a few too.

It seems to be the season for giving with Christmas just over and Chinese New Year in full swing. Lets just take a walk through some Chinese tradition of angpao-giving.
Red envelopes are gifts presented at social and family gatherings such as weddings or on holidays such as the Chinese New Year. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
At a Chinese wedding, there is a table at the entrance of the wedding reception where guests give their red envelopes to attendants and sign their names on a large scroll. The attendants will immediately open the envelope, count the money inside, and record it on a register next to the guests’ names.
A record is kept of how much each guest gives to the newlyweds. This is done for several reasons. One reason is bookkeeping. A record insures the newlyweds know how much each guest gave and can verify the amount of money they receive at the end of the wedding from the attendants is the same as what the guests brought. Another reason is that when unmarried guests eventually get married, the bride and groom are typically obliged to give the guest more money than what the newlyweds received at their wedding.
If you go to a wedding, the money in the red envelope should be equivalent to a nice gift that would be given at a Western wedding. It should be enough money to cover the guest’s expense at the wedding.
The giving of ang pao has become the norm and it's become something that's expected at weddings.

Ang pao's are a predominantly Chinese tradition and I suppose the logic behind it was to make sure the newly weds were blessed with a little money to make a new beginning.

Coming from a non-chinese background, I always thought ang pao's were just and alternate option for people who didn't know how to buy gifts for weddings.

I guess growing up, I always attended Eurasian and Indian weddings where gift giving was the norm.

Jason had to patiently explain that ang pao's helped cover the cost of weddings for most people. But I still couldn't understand why anyone would choose to have a wedding without sufficient funds first in hand.

I believe that one should live and spend within means and not expect gifts but simply appreciate them if and when it comes. For me, throwing a wedding banquet was about having people come over to celebrate with us and join us in our journey. I didn't want my guests to be worrying about gifts and such or foregoing on the festivities just because they couldn't drop a red packet in the box.

Sadly, the culture we have today is such that people expect ang pao's.

I remember an instance many years ago, I was invited to a colleagues wedding but I couldn't make it that weekend. So before she went off on her honeymoon, I dug into my wallet and took out my last few notes. I had Rm65 and decided that I wanted to give her all I had on me. And so I put every note I had into a red packet and I handed it to her with well wishes and all.

A couple of years later, on my wedding night, a colleague passed me an envelope filled with a few red packets from those that couldn't make it to Melaka for the wedding but had passed ang pao's along. As I opened it and made notes of who to thank, I saw in one packet, I received RM68. One guess as to who that came from. :)

I couldn't help but laugh and I wondered about this whole gift giving thing. Are the stories true? Do some people make notes of who gave how much and make sure to return the same amount when the time comes?

Or do people give out of the abundance of their hearts?

In a way, this story has made me reevaluate my attitude when buying and giving gifts. It's okay to give easy and convenient gifts but it takes a whole lot more effort to give a meaningful gift. Don't get me wrong, ang pao's surely are meaningful too but what I'm trying to say is, do we give with the right attitude?

Do we think of weddings, as a drag and complain about being summoned? Do we dread having to buy tons of Christmas presents for the family and do we complain about having to give dozens and dozens of angpao's for CNY? Or do we really cherish the invitation and anticipate the celebration and the joy of giving?

We're always thankful to receive and we really appreciate all the gifts and ang pao's we received for our wedding as it did go a long way.

This whole season of giving has definitely made me take an attitude-check and I think I understand Chinese traditions better now. But I hope that as we grow and as our capacity to give does as well, we'll always remember to give with the right attitude and be always eager to bless un-begrudgingly.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boys II Men

My best friend got married a couple of months before I did and when her wedding weekend arrived, amidst the bustle and excitement, she caught hold of me and said, "OMG Mel, I'm gonna be living with a boy!"

We laughed at the momentary panic at the sudden realisation and I told her it was gonna be GREAT! And that she'd finally have someone to take the trash out at night. (We've forgotten this little task quite a number of times when we were living together. Oh the horror!)

I admit, the same thought crossed my mind as my wedding day arrived and all the stories about living with another person sharing the same personal space raced through my mind. Would he leave the toilet seat up? Would he squeeze the toothpaste from the middle instead of the end? Would he hog the blanket? Or *gasp* would his book collection outnumber mine and take over my book shelf??? 

I count myself a pretty self-reliant person, having left home at 18 and living alone for many years after that. I didn't quite know how to let go and let someone else in for a bit. I was unsure of how to allow MY space to become OUR space.

Girls have an ego too you know and it sometimes gets in the way of letting a boy show you he's the man of the house. Marriage isn't a competition to see who's the better fixer or who's got it more together. It isn't about who gets things right and who makes blunders over the simplest of tasks. 

As much as my ego tells me that I'm always right and I can do things all on my own, it takes a much greater strength to sit still and ask my husband to see to things because I know he can do it just as well or even better than I can. 

Sometimes it's good to just sit back and let boys be men because they need to be fixers and doers too. 

Jason's the man who will put air in my tyres although I'm capable of doing it myself. He's the man who scrubs the bathroom floor cause he sees that my wrist still hurts and macho Mel will insists on doing it herself anyway. He's also the man who will delicately piece back a broken porcelain plate even though I think it's shattered beyond repair and we should call it as loss. I've come to realise that Jason's a great fixer. Give him anything that's scratched or broken and he'll try his best to fix it with duct tape, a black sharpie or glue.

The one thing Jason doesn't try to do is fix me. He knows I come with various cracks & dents and a broken part or two. But what he does instead is hold my hand as my maker does the fixing and mending and molding. I think that's a quiet strength that few have, and I find that most remarkable of all. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

To the motherland!

Every year, I try and plan a trip where we just disconnect and disappear for a couple of days. Or weeks if we're fortunate. I think it's important to get out of the normal day-to-day grind and just take time to reconnect with yourself or your loved ones. Time is pretty precious and we don't often get to do the things we want and life just races past us without ever heeding our cry to just pause a second.

This year, we decided to head to England where Jason was born. He hasn't been back since he was eight years' old and I've always wanted to go after listening to my moms stories of her holiday there. We decided to go for two weeks and boy was it a glorious two weeks!

Here we are at Trafalgar Square

Visiting Baby George at Buckingham Palace

Inside the Natural History Museum

At Old Trafford, Manchester

The Lake District, Windermere

Goofing off at the Camden markets

                The City at night                                   At St Paul's Cathedral

We obviously took a lot of pictures of the sights but I just wanted to post all these pictures of us together to just remind me that travelling with this dude is pretty awesome. This travel partner/best friend made our trip really memorable. 

Of course he was anal about certain things, he is Jason after all. But we got to laugh about him almost flipping out about our delayed baggage and my fear of random creatures scurrying past us the park. I can't wait for our next adventure but hey, everyday's somewhat an adventure right. :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The First Anniversary~!

It's been a year since we got married and as much as it feels like one year moved along real fast, it also feels like a year where we have had to continuously work on connecting with each other and building our relationship. 

If I were to describe our first year of marriage, I'd say it's been FUN. Mainly cause we're still learning about each other and we're able to laugh with and AT each other often. I'm so glad I married my best friend. :)

I wrote this a few years back and I'm glad I still feel the same way about Jason.

Coffee fix
Seeing you is like that first waft of coffee grains I smell when I take the lid off the bottle.
Knowing you is like watching the grains fall into the cup as I measure the exact portions of coffee, creamer and sugar that will make my perfect cup of java.
Being with you is like finally taking a sip and savouring the bittersweet taste and aroma; a welcome repose in the early morning (or any time of day actually).
You, like my morning coffee fix, is contentment at its best. 
Oh what bliss~