Filling the Blank Space

Dear      (blank space)       ,

I may not be the fairest of them all

I may not be the smartest and most elegant of all

I may not even show or talk about how I feel

I may be broken for too many times

But I have learned my love lessons and rest assure…

I am learning to let my heart lead the way

I am tearing down the protective wall, brick by brick

Eventually,

I will start giving my whole heart and trust that you won’t break it

So, please be patient

I am still a work-in-progress

But because you are around,

I might just jump over the wall and find you

Have courage and be kind, right? *and I quote:)*

2013-02-12-lewis

by C.S. Lewis

 

Advertisements

Je t’aime plus qu’hier et moins que demain

Learn to trust my own intuition and judgement.

intuition (1)

That’s the only lesson I picked up from reading a love story submission from a friend. I read it two weeks ago and decided to post it on the 14th Feb. Yeah…the Saint Valentine’s Day! Although I seriously think that we should be celebrating love EVERYDAY: with our lover/partner, family and friends. Not only on the 14th of Feb. Valentine’s day is just like any other day. Anyway, in case you are wondering what the title means. Literally, translated as: I love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Or the same as, I love you more and more each day. After reading the story, I guess I need to learn how to trust my intuition and judgement more. Nevertheless, everything that I wrote previously about respect, love, loyalty and commitment still holds true. No matter what other people said to me these past few weeks.

je t'aime

Some of his points that I don’t quite agree are highlighted in red. But well, everyone is allowed to have an opinion and we need to agree to disagree at one point, don’t we? I re-arranged some of his original sentences just to get the point across more effectively, but the content is still the same.

Here we go. All credits go to the guest writer. You know who you are:)

I consider LOVE as something very natural, just like having my own heartbeat. Since we’ve been together, I have no interest in any other woman. Not even a bit, it is perfect like this. I can speak freely with any other woman, realizing that she will never be like her. Even though she may not be perfect *yes, NO ONE is perfect*, but she has passed my high standards with flying colors. I have always thought that if I meet someone like that, I should go for it all the way, and I did. I went along and trusted my intuition. I followed her here, to Singapore. No matter how many judging eyes and stereotypes that people may hold about European-Asian couples. What really matters is only what she and I think. We decided to be together. Friends, acquaintances and family have to accept it. Never mind what others think. That would be my first advice to you. 

“If you have what you’ve always wanted *not necessarily in the love area*, hold onto it at all cost. Never mind what the people think. People love to judge, laugh at you, question you, but those people probably don’t have very good lives themselves. Don’t let their negative opinion about your life and your decisions become your concern.”

Life is a constant battle of your own judgement versus the judgement of others. I have always been a self-confident person *up to the point that people (erroneously) called me arrogant*. Nevertheless, I remain true to myself and trust my own judgement.  I am well-educated, have seen something of the world, met many different people from different cultures and backgrounds, have earned myself a PhD job based on my own excellence and is living in one of the best countries with my dream fiancée. I’m happy with my current life. Of course, there were moments that I had to make difficult decisions, but I am proud I did what I did. I have very few regrets. So here is my second advice for you, summarized in the words of Israel’s first female Prime Minister:

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”― Golda Meir 

intuition (3)intuition (4)

It is good to have high standards for potential partners. They are of no use, however, if no one ever passes them. I think I have high standards. To name a few: I would not accept a partner who drinks a lot, who has bad teeth, who smells bad or has ugly hands. Generally, taking care of the body is important. She needs to be exactly the right height (which means: a lot smaller than me) and dress well. Yes, physical appearance matters. “True beauty is on the inside” is a proverb made up by ugly people. I am not claiming to be the most handsome man on the planet, even though my blue eyes and tall posture make up for a lot, but there is no point denying that physical attraction matters *agree to a certain extent, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. Physical attraction is important, YES. But when both of you become older with lots of wrinkles and withering faces, you have to look beyond this and still love her the way she is. Even when she has no more teeth, if she fell sick and too weak to take care of her own body, when her hands are not pretty anymore: bulging veins, wrinkles, loss of volume, fat and elasticity. Ugly hands. Will you promise to still love her anyway?* Other important factors are mental abilities (intelligence, emotional factors, dealing with stress and pressure, etc.), interests, norms and (political) views.

On the other hand, I once asked her what she likes so much about me and her answer was spot-on: we went through similar development. We grew to a certain independence at 17/18 years old, unlike many others. Suddenly you need to make sure you pay your bills on time, that you eat your meals and that your room is clean, and there is no one to do all that for you. You go through good times and bad times, good experiences and bad experiences, but as a person, all those experiences shaped and defined who you are today. So even though we had different native language, culture and dreams; our personalities, ideas and norms must have converged at that time and even more so in Paris, the city of love. She was a quiet student and unlike many Asians, she liked to hang out with her fellow non-Asian students. We were just friends at first. I found out that I liked her that way, I could joke with her and she could take that. We were part of the same group of friends and we didn’t pay much special attention to each other at that time. That came later, certainly from my side, and I think also from her side even though she denies up to this day.

In the beginning of our relationship, she needed to change a lot: making the transition from single to relationship life. There were times I asked why she walked far away from me, even ran across train stations, seemingly without noticing me, she was basically OK with any kind of (physical) distance. It puzzled me. It was as if we were living separate lives even though we were officially a couple. On one of our first dates, she told me something like “we don’t have much to talk about.”  She didn’t start any conversation and didn’t really give long answers to anything at first. If I had given up trying to have conversations with her, we wouldn’t have been here now. I persevered. Not long after, we can even talk about potential marriage in the future. This topic came mostly from her side. She was afraid it would scare me, but it didn’t. I think that if you don’t have at least a rough vision of  a common future, a relationship is doomed to fail. It was a sign of her maturity. I appreciate her initiative until today.

intuition (2)

Well, that’s the end. Thank you for sharing:). It’s a pleasure reading your love story.

All the very best for your wedding preparation. I wish both of you a happy blissful marriage ahead!!:)

With love,

Sien

*gave out these babies for my close friends and family last year. None for this year. Apology:)

valentine 2013

Crossing Oceans Just to Find You

Disclaimer: this is NOT my story. I’ve got my friend’s permission to share parts of her love stories to all of you, my random readers wherever you are. Moral of the story will be summarized at the end of this post. So keep on reading!! 🙂

The ideas for this post have been brewing in my mind for 2 weeks and finally I’ve managed to put them into words and got my friend’s consent to publish this. Before we start, let me share with you WHY I’m writing this as my last post of 2013:

1. Because I’m a sucker for romantic movies and touching love stories. I want my last post of the year to be an awesome inspirational story about someone’s journey to find love. Since I’ve talked about my own (lack of) love story in my previous post here, I started looking for inspiration from my friends’ love stories, those who have found the right one and have already begun their new journey together as a happily married couple. I wish that their marriages will last long until (hopefully) death do them apart and that the family they created will one day bring blessings to the world.

518fbcf31f44795a30b683f234295d09

2. Because I’m skeptical when it comes to getting to know someone and starting a relationship from a distance, I thought that writing this post can be one of my yet-another therapy or brain-wash session for my hyperactive mind *head vs. heart in love? my head wins most of the time, not sure whether it’s good or bad:p*. When I said ‘starting a relationship from a distance’, it means that a relationship that starts from a distance, guy meets girl online or through chat and they live in different city/country. 1800-minute chat time, 60-hour video call and 30 phone calls later, BOOM…they’re officially a couple. In those months, they hardly see each other face-to-face and no direct physical interaction. Due to the distance and logistic problems, they can only visit each other 1-2 times in a YEAR.

I’d sometimes wonder, is this scenario really possible? I’ve had some old friends from my childhood or school years who would suddenly appear out of the blue and start chatting with me (either via whatsapp/fb message) and somehow we just ‘click’ through those endless chat nights with very little face-to-face physical interaction during the weeks, how can romance blossom from there and eventually leads to a real relationship? I’m a skeptic but my view has been challenged so much these past few years (including by my friend’s story that I’m about to share with you) that I can’t help but question myself, “Should I open up to this possibility?” Sometimes I hit it off better with a guy I talk to from a distance but I’ll always cut it off after a while just because I see that there’s really no point in continuing the endless chats and virtual flirting with a distant ‘friend’, there’s no real future, you can’t get to know him properly and it’s a waste of time???

e9f6ba017bf0f3744641e518974ea885

3. Because usually a couple that starts organically from togetherness (in the same city of course) and direct contact with each other (traditional courtship) over a period of time can lead to a long-lasting loving relationship. So when one of them has to move to another country for a while, it might stand the test of distance. But if from the start, you are not even in the same city. Will it ever work out? Apparently, it CAN be done. I’ve had 2 examples for this. One was my junior high school friends who started out from a distance between Singapore (guy) and America (girl). Both of them were my classmates back then, I witnessed the constant bickering when the two of them were still young but somehow they are now married and living in Singapore. The second one also has the same distance and they were also old high school friends from the same hometown. They are now busy preparing for their wedding celebration next year.

von 1*for my friend’s case, it’s 12 years*

This is the story of my dear friend, who’s brave enough to risk her heart and cross the oceans just to find her love. Here we go.

She has never been without a boyfriend for a long period of time.

She’s my senior by one year and I’ve heard stories since I was still in the same junior/senior high school/university as her that she’s very popular and lots of boys (not yet a man) would line up to become her boyfriend. Even though she’s popular and smart, I found that she’s very down-to-earth and a fun girl to be with, so I started to know her better and we hit if off (as good friends) after our university years.

We’d often talk about boys during our time as housemates and roommates when we’re out in the working world. So I roughly know her history with all the ex-boyfriends she had. It was a very long painful journey to where she is now. But they were lessons for her. Without the experience, she wouldn’t have come this far (literally, she’s living in the US now, haha:p).

Her first boyfriend was from junior high school days. Back then, I didn’t know her at all. I only heard rumors about her being with this guy in her class, a kind of puppy love. She told me that her mother didn’t like this relationship and eventually asked them to split up. Still young and innocent, she just followed what her mom said. There really wasn’t much seriousness in those days. They were just 15 year-old teenagers. 

b2b59021806bb2c6865980bdcf5729e1

Her second boyfriend was during her senior high school years. She seemed to have it all: a doting boyfriend, pretty face, loving family and good grades at school. This time, her mom was very supportive and ‘in love’ with her boyfriend. She would sometimes joke and told me that maybe her mom should just be with her boyfriend back then. She’s more enthusiastic than her daughter. Unfortunately, this relationship ended amicably when she came here to study. She was still very young and didn’t think that she could manage a long-distance relationship. So she just let him go and started off her new university life in Singapore. As soon as she’s back on the market, new breed of guys (now including Singaporeans, Indonesians and other nationalities. The competition was very tough!!) would just swarm around her, waiting to be picked.

75cd9a09e6457e544382be01f24bce1e

During university years, I remember vividly about the drama and intense stories surrounding her relationship with her third boyfriend. She fell head over heels in love with this guy and from the outside, it looked like they had a good steady relationship. Until one day I heard that they were having a fight and found out that apparently the ‘good’ boyfriend cheated on her. After that, a lot of our other friends witnessed the bf pleading for her forgiveness and she courageously took him back. I didn’t want to meddle too much in other people’s relationship so I never really asked her why she did that or told her why she shouldn’t have done it. We were not very close back then, just a friendly neighbour next door. Anyway, after the second chance, it went quiet for a while until after graduation and she started working at her first job. When I moved into her house, I was (not quite) surprised that she wasn’t with this bf anymore. Apparently, once you’ve broken someone’s trust, things will never be the same again. In due time, the relationship just crumbled to the point of no rescue. She was obviously heart-broken but decided to move on.

von 3

Her next boyfriend was her coworker and a very sweet guy who treated my friend very well. In those 2 years that they’re together, as a bystander observing them, I honestly didn’t feel that she’s very into her bf. There’s this lack of passion and respect from her side. She later told me that maybe she was just too broken to ever love again (after the 3rd bf) and needed some time on her own to re-evaluate her priority, her needs and wants. So she went on to being single for the longest time ever, around 1-2 years.

In those reflection days, she would go back to exploring her faith and often say her prayers to God, asking Him to give her a life partner whom she can trust again, who loves Him and preferably someone she’s familiar with, maybe an old friend from the past. Incredibly, her wish did come in two forms. First, the wrong guy who came at the wrong timing and second was the right guy at the right timing, her current partner. Both of them were her old friend.

5c0ee3e23b808bb3b7c77186b2f75dcb81c6f1a68b685111636e053d0af3fd1a

With this wrong guy, the timing was just so wrong for him to barge in my friend’s single happier life (though sometimes lonely, she’s generally happier during that period). They started going out only a few months before this guy was going back home for good, which means a long-distance relationship if they ever made it official. But he didn’t say a word of that when he left. So after all those intense time together, he just got away with it and left my friend with the darkest, most devastating period of her whole life. Okay I’m exaggerating here, maybe not in her whole life, but dark enough to make her tear up every night for a few weeks and do some silly things just to get him to come around. But he never did. I moved with her to a common room across the street once she rented out her whole-unit in preparation to ‘go back home for good’ and supposedly ‘live happily with him back at home’. I listened to her late night talks, heart-to-heart, on how she felt about him and all other obstacles she faced just because she wanted to pursue this relationship and believed that he’s the right one. I watched all these dramas and couldn’t bear to see her get hurt even more and started to talk her out of this unhealthy obsession. I’ve been there too and I know how it felt. The difference between her and me is just that she’s braver than me and is more willing to risk her heart for love, I couldn’t do that (even until today, maybe not yet? or never? I don’t know. head rules over my heart, probably too much). After around 6 months of struggle, she eventually calmed down and started to let him go.

6b6ac08935fd8eb37b14be87149edf26

Even so, she knew that she wanted to be in a relationship and was still open to it, but now she’s taking her time and got closer to God and wanted to meet someone who can guide her along with her faith. That’s when the miracle came (in her words, a miracle). She got in contact with an old friend who seems to be very religious and wanted to know how they could share their faith with each other. So despite the distance and time difference, they got to know each other and became closer everyday (by chat, international call, video call. Thanks to technology!). By middle of 2012, they were officially a couple. In the next 5 months, things escalated further and she decided to apply for a master study in the US and quit her job. I’m pretty sure 95% of this decision came from her desire to be closer with her boyfriend. She just jumped right into the relationship with both feet in. I was awestruck by her bold and brave move but supported her decision nonetheless. Earlier this year, we sent her off at the airport and wished her well.

Now, as I’m writing this, the both of them have been engaged for 10 months and later on the fiancé told her that actually he had had secret crush on her since they were still in school years, but somehow their paths didn’t cross until last year, 2012. He didn’t regret it though. If they had been together back then, they might not have ended up like the way they are today. He’s a much wiser man now and my friend also had to go through all her broken relationships first in order to finally take a leap of faith and cross the oceans just to be with him. The TIMING can’t be any better than this. 

von 58067913d2c94f9cb04a6b2d19c5cf671

So folks, moral of the story (and also a reminder for myself):

1) Some of us would have a drama-free smooth-sailing love life, some would have to endure some incomprehensible heart-ache along the way before finally meeting the right one. Everyone has different timing, different path to take, different challenges to face in life. So all we need to do is just believe that everything will be beautiful in its own time.

2) Sometimes, we have to get over our fear of rejection, let go of our ego and unhealthy obsession, risk our heart a little bit and take that leap of faith. Only then, we’ll be able to find our life-partner, the love of our life, the right ONE.     

What do you think?

Will you cross the oceans for love?

c1bb6815dc26f9b1270353ae43587eef

von 2

When I showed the first draft of this post to my friend and her fiancé, they have kindly shared with me their initial ups and downs and I’m quoting them here. *I hope it will be a good learning point for all of us*

We went through a moment of challenges as well, and we both believe it was a process of maturing our relationship. Until today, we still work on our differences. There were a lot of doubts at first from both of us. We were also not sure if this relationship can work out or not. If not because of our prayers, I believe it is not possible. But of course, it is not only the praying that we did. He always reminds me about working as a team in building this relationship, how we should trust and treat each other as the closest friend, be open towards each other. I believe those are the keys that I missed from all my previous relationships before. There was no teamwork, no prayer, no trust, no openness in the past. But now, I am grateful I have found my closest friend 🙂

von 7

Cheers,

Sien

PS:

To: my dear friend. Consider this as my wedding gift to you. I hope he’s worth the wait and all the heart-ache that you’ve been through. So have a blissful marriage ahead and be together through thick and thin until death do you apart! XOXO *big hugs*

To: my dear friend’s fiancé. You’re a lucky guy. Always be good to her OK? or I will hunt you down *just kidding:p*