Tag Archives: family

Holidays from the perspective of an Immigrant

Holidays are especially hard for me, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas to be honest. They are not big holidays in Singapore like the Chinese Lunar New Year but they are prime times where everybody goes back to family, either driving for hours or taking flights across the country. They remind me, that my birth family is far way, far far away to be precise.

I’m grateful for Kris, he really is the best husband for me. His family is also very loving to me. But the fact of the matter is, holidays do remind me of the fact that I am home, but not quite home. I guess, holidays just make you remember family and friends a lot more. Asians in general are far less sappy.  There are much fewer, “I love you’s” and “I miss you’s” but affection is showed in different ways. Affection is shown in: “Have you been eating well, Is the business doing well, Are you exercising regularly, Where are you doing for the Holidays, Are you doing well in School? You’re so hardworking, I’m sure you’ll do well for the finals.”

So considering that I am now far away from Asian culture and more immersed in American Culture. That I would like to take time to tell my family, that I miss them and love them very much. This holiday season, as they bustle about their daily lives, I hope they remember that a sister, daughter, auntie, sister in law, is thinking and wishing them well from 9000 miles away.

 

Little Heart Melter

Today my sister told me something that made me smile. She came home late from work and asked Isaiah if he missed her today. His reply was, “Yes, my heart is happy to see you now.”

Kids, how blissfully innocent and genuine!

Did I also mention that while playing with him, he will look at you with his cute little baby eyes and go, Yiyi, I luff you. He’s really quite the puff ball of cuteness.

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Achievement unlocked!

This week has been the best week of 2014!

I have not only, gotten all A’s for all my assignments in the language class I’m taking, but also have been accepted into a Masters Program in Educational Psychology. The former is worth mentioning because I took a college class partly to ‘switch on my engines’, in preparation for graduate studies. It’s swell that I’ve done well, because it gives me greater confidence in doing well for Graduate School.

I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity to return to school again. I aspire to do more with my life and I feel that this is taking a HUGE step in the right direction. Once again tho, I must remind myself that the journey is as important as the destination. While I want to graduate well academically, I must make sure that I fully enjoy and embrace the learning process.

I’m enjoying the lovely spring weather and looking forward to making a trip back home to my lovely country, Singapore. I miss my family and friends dearly and can’t wait to see them again! Oh, and all the super-yummy-drool-worthy-delicious Singaporean food!!!

I feel so happy that my chest is ballooning in happiness. I’m not sure if that even makes any sense to anyone. However, it does to me!

Special mention must be given to my sweetie pie hubby and all who love me, for their constant support!

 

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

this

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and this instead!!

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Because! WE’RE GOING TO PARIS AND LONDON FOR OUR HONEYMOON!!!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!

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.

 

 

Back from wallowing in my mud pool

I took a short break from blogging, especially from Project Grateful because frankly I wasn’t all that happy. I was angry with a lot of things and I didn’t want to lie about being grateful while wallowing in my mud pool.

Anyhow, the storm has cleared and I am back! I must remember that nothing goes smoothly all the time and not let setbacks get me down. I always tell myself that, but sometimes its harder in practice!

So what cheered me up?????

I had a wonderful visit from my baby nephew Ice and his parents, together with a ‘surprise’ visit from Teresa a couple of days ago. That cheered me up tremendously! I guess I was a little homesick! Little Ice is so cute and had a good time bonding with Uncle kris. He really just gets cuter and cuter. He’s more interactive now and more his own person, no longer this doe eyed curious boy who’s content to look at the world from your arms. He reaches and grabs things, eats everything in sight! and just wouldn’t stop squirming around! Little moving ball of cuteness! Teresa was here because she was stranded in NYC for a while due to delayed and cancelled flights, poor her but I’m glad we got a couple of hours to talk and chill!

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Getting lots of kisses!IMG_5067

How can you NOT love this boy?

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Teresa and Me at the Brooklyn Bridge

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Martinus and Ice on the plane

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Ice perched on Yiyi’s shoulders, attempting to pull out all her hair!

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Martinus and Ice at the Staten Ferry

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Ice excited and happy at the Cuban restaurant

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Happy Uncle and Ice

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Normal Pic

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Bullying Pic

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Ice giving a ‘what are these adults doing’ look

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Macho father and nonchalant son

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The Kosasih’s arriving at JFK

Family

My eldest sister had a small health scare on Mother’s Day and that got me a little worried for a while. Thankfully its nothing serious. Paupauroooos,  please take good care of yourself in Singapore. I worry for you sometimes. I hope this little incident has given you impetus to take better care of yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day Mum! I’m very far away but I thought of you lots on Mother’s Day. I hope you enjoyed the card and will buy something nice for yourself with the small AP! Or maybe you’ll just go ahead and buy fruits for little Isaiah instead!

My 2nd sister, which also acts like a mum to me. She often goes, skirt too short, don’t swim out too far, your curfew is 12am.  She’s my little mother goose. She told me that she misses me everyday and that made me tear a little. She also celebrated her first mother’s day with little Isaiah, which I’m sure was very very special to her.

I miss my family all 9000 miles away and I hope everyone can be happy and healthy!

On the bright side, 3 of them are coming next year and maybe more will come the year after!

I love to clean the house and do laundry whenever I’m homesick. I think its because its gives me a sense of structure and control. #wierdhabits