Tag Archives: being grateful

Project Grateful 194: Travel plans and perspectives of moving to a new country

If you remember in this post, I mentioned that I was going to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). America is huge and I feel like the need to learn to drive. To put things in context, NYC (Manhattan and the 4 boroughs) is 781 km2 large and Singapore is 721 kmlarge in terms of land space alone. I never really felt the need to drive in Singapore, but if I ever want to get out of NYC, I think driving is absolutely necessary especially in the suburbs. The entire land area of the United States is 9,826,675 km2.in case you were wondering.

Any how, I arrived at the DMV and was given;

this book

DMV book


However, unlike Singapore I don’t have to register for a test date. I just need to read the book and show up anytime, pass the written test and get a temporary learner’s permit, hop into the car of a 25-year-old and practice on the roads, become relatively competent and go take the actual driving test. All sounds really simple? Except we don’t have a car, so of course being the Queen of Procrastination, I went ahead and started reading



and this instead!!




I did go for my ‘honeymoon’ in the US Virgin Islands, but technically we picked that because

A) It was down south near where Kris was supposed to go for his business trip

B) 4 days is hardly a real honeymoon 😛

C) I couldn’t leave US territory while waiting for Advance Parole (AP), which is something I need before I can leave the country, while I’m waiting for the green card. Our dream honeymoon place was somewhere in Europe, I wanted Paris because its supposed to be the MOST ROMANTIC city in the world!!! (Well done tourism board of France!) and Kris wanted London because its one of the rare European cities he hasn’t visited. So because of the long wait to get my green card, I’m grateful to have 2 honeymoons. YAY!!!!!!!!

Turns out that being not able to leave the country for 6 months was a blessing in disguise.  (Let me clarify that, I can leave of course; I mean USCIS cannot detain me for leaving America. Which trust me, I was tempted to, many times in sheer frustration, because of all the difficulties we had faced with this immigration process. I told Kris plenty of times, to move to Singapore instead because it only takes 3 months (in contrast to the 24 months of more that I have to wait to get a green card) for him to get a PR in Singapore!!

However WE”RE NOT QUITTERS! Plus, it means that the past 18 months I’ve waited towards getting the Green card would have been in vain because the moment I leave the country without the AP, I would have to restart the entire Green Card application process again. You heard me right, start it from SCRATCH. i.e. circa back to Feb 2012.

More importantly his family is American and as his wife, I need to be able to enter and exit the country because he will always want to come back here, or rather we would always want the option to enter the US when we want to visit family for extended periods of time.

I cannot believe it has been 18 months + (????) more months in total that I have waited for this paperwork to be done. I think the East glorifies the West to a certain extent and my expectations of what America really is,  has been greatly (ahem) humbled. I used to think that Singapore had so much things to be improved, but coming here, I’ve realized that Singaporeans have had it pretty darn good. In terms of  (holistic) livability, I would put America and Singapore on par. Because of kinship and friendships, and my job as a teacher, I would honestly think that Singapore would be more ideal for me if I was single. But now that I’m married to an America, I guess that greatly changes the equation. However, I’m glad of this new perspective, and I know that if shit hits the fence, I can always go home. But for now, this is where I have chosen to be and I just have to make the best out of it. Realistically my life here is not harder, easier, happier or unhappier as compared to Singapore, it’s just different and humans have a tendency to always want to venture into familiar territories.

The US is unfortunately not what I thought it would be, but perhaps its due more to unrealistic/imagined expectations of what I thought it would be for me as a person and my career. I’ve read up extensively about immigrants and according to many research studies, apparently I’m not alone in feeling this way about moving to a new place. I take comfort in being validated of my emotions I guess. Ironic isn’t it? Coming to a country that champions freedom and individualism but yet still take comfort in sharing the herd mentality.

*I am SHEEP!. Bahhhh Bahhhh Baahhhh*

In all seriousness, I think moving to a new country is challenging but rewarding in many ways; most because you get to ‘start afresh’ and it forces you out of your comfort zone and my preconceived notions of the world.

I have met so many people from so many different cultures and learn so many things about them. I have forced myself to move out of my whats innately comfortable to me and to immerse/adapt myself to social situations that are unfamiliar and sometimes even frightening. I feel like (imagined or otherwise) that I now have more nuanced perspectives of what the world seems to be. I am introspective by nature and this move has made me question a lot about my life in Singapore and my role in this global world. I feel like I am now no longer just a citizen of Singapore but a citizen of the world. The world is becoming so mobile and I’m lucky enough to be able to go almost wherever I want to go (not with its associated sacrifices that come along with it), but I think the opportunity I have to be just given the choice in itself, makes me very very lucky and very very blessed. So today I am grateful for being given this opportunity to move to America, despite it not being the utopia that I thought it would be. 🙂

PS: My last statement was only said with half a pinch of salt.



Project Grateful 365: Grateful for milk! Day 89

Why grateful for milk you say?


This seemingly normal packet of milk makes me very grateful every time I open the fridge because it represents my sister’s unconditional love for me. She prefers a different milk brand but every time I’m around she makes the switch because she knows, I dont like what she likes.

So today I’m very grateful for the love showered upon me by my sis, her hubby and her son. I’m such a lucky YIYI! Did I forget to mention how cute my nephew is?


Today I showered him and he’s such a big boy now. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to sit on the tub and will stand up right with his 2 strong legs! When I try to make him sit, he will clench up his lil butt and legs so that he maintains an upright position. SO CUTEEEEEEE!!!

He’s going for his 5 months jab as we speak, late due to his recent bout of sickness



(I copped out mainly because I have an ear infection, BOO! but I think it feels better than yesterday so I’m optimistic it will mostly go away by Sunday! I think the real reason why I COPPED out is because it breaks my heart to see him winch in pain! BOO HOO HOO MY POOR DARLING!!!!!!!!!!)

My flight is at 9pm on Sunday and I have not packed. only packed 1.5 suitcase, We have 7 bags/suitcases in total. I hope the taxi can fit.

We’ll see.


*thumps chest proudly*

Project Grateful 365: Day 29

Today I am grateful for life in general, for all the good and bad that has happened to me because it has moulded me to the person that I am today.

Life honestly has been pretty good to me, I have a loving hubbabot, a loving family **its far from perfect, but still perfectly imperfect :)** , understanding and open minded parents in law, wonderfully supportive friends.

In retrospect, I’m glad of the long VISA process, it used to bother me SO much a few months back but now I realized that is a great thing!

I have had so much time to think. To stop, to ponder and to really explore and discover myself. In the past it was always work study work study, work work work! I didn’t have time to sit back and enjoy life. But because of this opportunity to stop work/school I’ve learnt so much about myself.

Initially getting allowance from Kris was hard, I mean it just didn’t feel right to me. But right now, its like whatever, I moved 9000 miles for him, he can feed and clothe me! (much to Kris’s dismay I suppose!). Back then, I felt like I wasn’t doing something useful and was being held back in life! But in retrospect the 3 glorious months of watching my nephew and taking care of him was God sent. Because I love him so much and because I love babies in general, I have been reading up so much on babies that I feel very confident of taking care of my own kid! (Which says a lot because I am a perfectionist and motherhood to me is SERIOUS business! I have HUGE issues towards people who have kids just because its time to have kids! What is wrong with you!!!!)

My little heartbreaker nephew 🙂

Over past couple of months, I’ve learn to cook and clean and manage a household, planning yummy meals. Its a different skill set compared to being a teacher, but still my quest for perfection in all things has taught me to research on the most efficient ways to cook and clean. I take great pride in yummy meals and a shiny squeaky clean house!

Of course its not all work, there is a lot of play involved! I’ve done many road trips around the East coast. I’ve been to Maine, Syracuse, Vermont, Washington DC, Boston, Watertown, New Hampshire. I’ve gone to Japan, Bangkok, Malaysia all in 2012! I’m so glad I’ve always been thrifty so that me not working for 2 years has not put us in any serious financial hardship. Although sometimes I worry a little too much about financials. I need to strike a better balance I guess.

I remember while strolling along the National Mall in Washington, DC. I saw this cute little squirrel stuffing his face and I was like, Oh so cute and greedy, just like me! Always looking for food and eating!

Kris was like: Yes, just like you cute and always worrying about everything! Look at the squirrel always looking around and panicking about harmless humans and bouncing off at the slightest noise.

I rolled my eyes plenty at that annoying boy! But I smiled because I know its slightly true. I worry too much sometimes, but its better than not worrying at all and spending every cent you’ve got!

Thats how squirrels survive! They store and hoard for winter, so that during winter (hardship) they have plenty of food!

I stand by my belief that thrifty-ness is a virtue! Spending on credit has caused the US economy to crash. (I know the reasons are more complex than that, but its still part of the reason!)

So boobookid! (You know who you are!) Remember to save! College education is just going to increase! *nag nag nag*

Why Project Grateful 365?

Some people have been asking me why I started this Project. The most straightforward answer would be that I have time on my hands as a housewife, to blog everyday. I’m am introspective by nature and writing little nuggets everyday, helps to consolidate my thoughts and helps my brain be a little less rusty.

I guess the reason why I chose this Project is partly inspired by this blogger as well as Kris. The blogger Bing (she has stopped that now tho), started a project 365 for pictures, one picture everyday and I guess I got the idea from there. The grateful part is inspired by Kris, he’s one of the happiest people I know on Earth. He worries very little and no matter what life throws at him, he just uses it to make lemonade *gulp gulp*. He always tells me that one must CHOOSE to be happy, and I’m like, ‘YAR easy for you to say because you’re intelligent, have a wonderful family, cutest fiancee in the world! (haha!) and and career wise pretty successful.’ I really thought that way for a long time, but after a while when shitty things happened, like all our visa crap I realised that he was still able to maintain his sunny disposition while I was down in the dumps having a pity party all by myself.

So I did a little more probing and realised that the trick to his sunny disposition is always to do what he can, then STOP worrying. Seems easy enough? But very difficult in reality when one faces a difficult situation. So I decided to improvise, I decided that every single day, no matter how terrible I feel, I am going to write down 1 thing that I am grateful for. I realise that slowly after 27 days, I am now able to look at the bright side of life much more effortlessly.

The lesson learnt from this little experiment of mine is that HAPPINESS takes work, you can’t sit down moan and groan and expect to be happy. If you want to be happy, you have to WORK at it. Be more grateful of the little things. After all in the grand scheme of things, its the little things that add up and ultimately matter in life.

**PS to Kris: Nagging is independent of being grateful. While I’ve very grateful for the nice little home you provide for me, nagging will still happen when you walk into the house with shoes or throw your laundry around 😛 Just would like to highlight that. *kisses*