Tag Archives: NYC

The first semblance of Fall

 

It’s been a while since I could open my windows and take in the cool breeze from the Hudson River. This summer in New York City has been so oppressive, and I’m just so thankful for the nice cool breeze today. Its around 24c now, which in american terms is around 75f. There is something so immeasurably simple, yet gratifying about the cool weather.

 

 

 

I woke up at 7am this morning and finished doing laundry, cleaned the house, made traditional Chinese ginseng chicken soup (for my salaryman), made healthy smoothie shakes for the both of us and its not even 11am. YAY! I love feeling like I have accomplished a lot before 12. Oh the possibilities for the rest of the day!

 

 

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(Ginseng chicken soup + my organized pantry and ‘heart shaped mittens’ from a dear friend)

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(This morning’s window situation)

 

So here I am, with my Singapore mug filled with aromatic coffee and a magazine, taking in the sunshine, glorious cool weather, with a heart filled with gratitude for my life. Its the little things, its always the little things.

 

Project Grateful 365: Day 52

Grateful for 2012

happiness-wordle

I am grateful for a list of things:

1) I was an Aunty for the first time. A PANK! Professional Auntie No Kids, you’ll get it if you read the Straits Times. ūüôā I spent 3 months with my precious micro sweetheart and enjoyed every single minute of being with him. He’s all cute and cuddly, with his wide eyed¬†innocence,¬†awfully¬†adorable deadpan and ‘blur’ looking expressions. I love him so very much!

2) I moved to another country for the first time. The only other time I lived overseas for an extended period of time was in 2005 where I moved to Vancouver for a student exchange program, such good memories ūüôā

3) I quit my first ever permanent job. Bittersweet I would say. I learnt a lot but was glad to leave and enjoy life for a while as a housewife/nanny/tai-tai!

4) I finally sorted and deleted photos my mountainous pile of photos. I went from 25,000 ¬†to 15,000. ¬†I had procrastinated for a loooooong time. The photos dated from 2005 to 2012. I feel very accomplished. Now, it took 7 years to delete unwanted photos, so it might take 14 years for me to label each and every one of them. I still can’t decide if I want to put that in my 2013 to do list.

5) I jolted myself out of my own¬†independent¬†comfort zone and decided to build my life with Kristopher. We moved in together and basically were married in all senses of the word as we waited for the US government to process the VISA papers so we can finally sign those papers in New York! (Fingers crossed, it will probably be in Feb 2013!!!!!!) It has been a long time coming, but we’re at the tail end of the first part and I’m positive that things will run smoothly from then on!

On the 23rd of Jan 2013, I will have completed the interview. Chances are high I will pass that because there is ABSOLUTELY no rational reason they would deny the VISA, given the overwhelming evidence we have of our loving relationship with one another. (I knew there were benefits to dating someone who records EVERYTHING in his life, yes EVERYTHING! Every single cent he spends and every thing he eats every single day is RECORDED!!!!)

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Anyways, so here we are: once I get the approval after I pass the K1 visa interview (somewhere) around Late Jan 2013 or Early Feb 2013, I can fly to the US (With the K1 visa), get married in city hall and with the marriage certificate, start applying for the I-485 (Adjustment of Status to get a Green Card), I-765 (Employment Pass), and I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative (As his wife) to remain in the US. I will get my conditional green card (it lasts 2 years) somewhere in October 2013. It will have taken us 17 months to get a green card that lasts 24 months.

I know it all sounds very unromantic and all, getting paper work and marching to city hall. Thankfully I’m not one of those girls who are caught up over what they call the ‘dream wedding’. To me the marriage is more important than the wedding. Honestly I’m unwilling to share that moment with another 100-500 people because to me, the marriage is about just the both of us. I much prefer events with close family and friends because these people mean the most to me.

That being said, I’m confident that getting married legally will still be an important milestone in our relationship: to pledge our eternal love for one another and to set it in stone with a legal binding document. ūüėõ

We did a cosy informal wedding/farewell party back in Singapore for my side of the family and I guess we’re going to do another cosy party for Kris’s relatives sometime in 2013/2014. (Who knows what other delays the Visa is going to bring really.) Food and alcohol are always good ways to bring people together. I think both of us dislike being the center of attention at parties, so we’re trying to make it as casual as possible. We want it to be a time for close family and friends to come, stuff their faces, and have fun. Then again, Kris’s parents have no demands on us to do anything, so we might just have a 4 person thing at city hall, just us both and his parents. We’ll see I guess!

6) I made a few friends both in the US and Singapore. Making friends is hard for me, I have plenty of¬†acquaintances¬†but very few people I consider friends. Facebook is not an indicator of friendship! ūüėõ¬†I’m actually hard to really know, behind my ‘deceptive’ bubbly persona. I have a strong¬†guttural¬†instinct when it comes to people and usually within the first 30 seconds, I know if that person is one that I would want to hang out with a second time. I’m fiercely loyal to the current friends/family I have and would always rather hang out with them or alone. I find it tiring to make new friends, especially people I need to socialise with but don’t really want too. So I’m rather happy to meet some people these year that I feel I can hang out with for many years to come!

All in all, it has been a good year for me lots of changes, lots of adjustments out of my comfort zone but it has taught me many little lessons. People say that the first year of marriage (or living with) your partner is the most difficult, I am proud to announce that I loved every bit of it! I look forward to building the rest of my new life with Kristopher!

I feel very blessed with everything that has happened this year and I look forward greatly to what 2013 has in store for me/us ūüėÄ

My wish for 2013 is for more peace/less violence, more financial equality and more smiles/joy/happiness around the globe!

#PeaceOUT

peace

Project Grateful 365: Day 35: 21 months of being engaged!

Today what I am grateful for is especially special! We celebrated our 21st month of being engaged yesterday with a broadway play –¬†Avenue¬†Q!

Our actual engagement  is actually March 14th, 2011. But decided to celebrate in advance since I managed to snag some front row RUSH tickets for like 30% the price. #thethriftyhousewifestrikesagain

Just for old times sake, decided to reminisce with some photos!

17th May 2009, His first bouquet of flowers for me ūüėÄ

Dec 2009, our first trip to Seoul

Hongkong April 2010

@Krabi 14th March 2011, where he proposed!

Official Engagement Photos 2011

Our engagement cum farewell cum wedding party in 2012. (This was for my friends and family in Singapore who are unfortunately unable to fly to the US for our legal marriage ceremony which is happening soon-ish!!!! :DDDDD )

Depending on visa papers, come Feb/March 2013 we’ll go to city hall and be officially married. (that sure took a while! but I’m glad after this final interview in the Singapore American Embassy, we no longer need to keep flying back and forth or be apart!!!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!)

In some ways, I feel like we’re officially married already. All our plans revolve around one another, more importantly we snap at each occasionally! Oh who am I kidding, at least once a week! haha! That my friends, is my definition of BEING MARRIED! I mean you’re not a real couple unless you’re snappy! But its okay, we always kiss and make up! The funny thing was Avenue Q had such a funny song about Love.

(Only those with a sense of humor will find it funny!)

REMEMBER KRISTOPHER! The golden rule to a marriage is

HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE

Tee Hee Hee

Jokes aside, it has been an awesome 21st months, trooping all across the globe, I’ve never been happier sweetheart!!!!!

Kristopher Ryan Beevers. I love you so very very much!

Project Grateful 365: Day 32: The learning of new ‘languages’; teaching

So yesterday, I was englightened to the fact that:

1) do***e-bag

2) sm**k

are very very bad words, I feel very *ashamed now* because I heard people using them and I thought it meant just like – you’re an ass/idiot.

I was told in very explicit terms what they really are, and I was like YIKES!!!!! I didn’t mean it that way!

Sorry if I offended anyone. Mental note to self, not every thing you hear on the streets can be repeated. My favourite thing I learnt on the streets is: COOL BEANS! Its so cute, I love it.

We speak the same language in Singapore and the US, but somehow its so similar yet so different. I find learning social nuances and ways of describing things very interesting and almost everyday I learn something new. I am proud to announce that I can actually listen in to conversations on the streets very clearly now. When I first visited this year, I was having a bit of difficulty listening to conversations that go-back-and-forth very quickly because I was just not used to the accent, but right now I can actually get it. Wooo Hooo!

Humor though, its a whole new ball game. I think I am very funny in my own way, but americans don’t get my humor, its very sad, only Kris will laugh. (My No.1 fan. YAYYY!) Some nice people will give me a polite half smile, but some just look at me like I’m some weirdo Asian from who-knows-where in the world. Some Americans who don’t travel, have no clue where Singapore is, but they are usually too polite to indicate otherwise. So I have been educating many about my awesome country! #patriotic

So today I am grateful that I get to learn about a new culture was in-depth-ly as I am right now. The opportunity to go to a new place and experience something (almost entirely) different from what I am used too. 

It has been a great city so far, there is no lack of activities for me to do and I’ve been meeting some nice Americans as well as people who are new immigrants like me and it has been a very culturally enriching experience. ūüôā

I like the feeling of being free in this country. Nobody to watch over me like a hawk, I can do pretty much whatever I want. Its a very liberating feeling, I feel like I was born to be free. People have commented that I’m a banana, Asian on the outside Westernized on the inside. I think that existed way before I met Kris though, even though I feel that it is now being concretized by him, most¬†definitely. I’ve always been¬†opinionated, liberal and willing to challenge authority for the things I’ve believed in. That unfortunately did not sit very well with the Confucian ethics of Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of my country, but that doesn’t mean I agree or like every aspect of it. I’m sure in time to come I will be annoyed with something in the US, actually I already am, the high taxes! The rough tax increase on the amount I make in Singapore in NYC, will be like a 15% jump up and I feel that teachers in Singapore don’t make that much comparative to the other professions and we work really hard! Or so I thought, then I¬†realized¬†that teachers in NYC public schools actually make a lot less after taxes!. So teachers in Singapore are actually paid pretty darn well comparatively to NYC.

But its okay, if you teach because of the money, you’re probably in the wrong profession. Someday teachers will have more leverage when the world sees how important they are. I feel like I can say that now, because I’m not a teacher currently and I would not be blowing my own trumpet. I feel that teaching is a very noble profession; because a good teacher requires a lot of heart, you need to discipline and sometimes its a very thankless job, because children who need to be disciplined do not see that and you will get so much crap from them, when you try to do the right thing. But soldier on comrades *hee hee*! for a cause you believe in! The best teachers I had are those that listened, told me things I didn’t want to hear at that time and yet always encouraged me to be the best that I can be. I hope to be one of those people.

Despite the ‘relatively low pay’, I want to go back to teaching because I feel like it is something that is meaningful, regardless of the financial renumeration. I firmly believe that money cannot buy happiness.¬†I feel that if I was in the correct organisation which allows me to be who I am, I would be an excellent educator. Maybe I should be my own boss. Have my own mission statements and my own vision! ¬†Which would probably be idealistic to a fault, but I’m going to make it work. Some day!

I spent many months thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I wanted to try other professions but I feel like this is what I am called to do. I finally have gotten rid of the nagging/buzzing feeling in my heart/head when I was considering options like going to law school, doing my MBA, doing a 2nd degree in educational psychology. So I think this is it, my final decision! Its a huge weight lifted off my chest.

*PS: M**, I know you think that being a lawyer is more prestigious, but the question is, do you want prestige? Or do you want me to be happy? At the end of the road, it doesn’t matter what¬†society¬†think of me, what matters is what I think of myself and whether I am proud of my own achievements.

**PPS: Although! Some people say that ……

Hahaha.

 

Review of ‘Lonely, I’m Not’

The play was about this high-powered corporate ninja who has a mental breakdown. After 4 years, he picks himself up and tries to find himself. He battles with inadequacy, a sense that that is something fundamentally wrong with himself. He dabbles with a girl who is wildly successful in her own right, but has issues of her own, possibly due to her overcompensating for her lack of sight.

My favorite character was the ex-wife/roommate/adoring intern. She played the fringe characters but executed the 3 roles superbly.

A better review can be found in the New York Times.

 

The most poignant phrase or should I say striking phrase in the move to me was this:

‘New Yorkers are obsessed with the idea of independence”

*cue¬†awkward oh-yes-its-true-laughter from the audience’

 

I have this nagging suspicion that in NYC:

Its okay if you’re a struggling artist with no end in sight

Its okay if you’re protesting against the 1% with no real inclination of what you’re protesting for

Its okay if you got laid off for the last 4 years due to the financial crisis and you’re still finding yourself.

Its okay if you date girls/multiple girls, boys, bisexuals whatever.

But you’re a total social outcast if you should signs of dependency/weakness/inability to take care of your self in shape or form/ aka you’re NOT independent.

I haven’t lived here long enough to make the above gospel truth, but that is my gut instinct.

I’m not sure about the other states, I think I need to move there to find out.

Maybe its an American thing, but I feel its way stronger in NYC (or other major  cities) which makes sense from a sociological point of view if you think about it.

Actually my next destination to live in is preferably Europe, maybe I can move to Eastern Europe to teach!

Back home in NYC again! Wheeeeeeee

The wonderful wonderful guy at immigration gave me a 90 day visa. With some degree of friendliness and sympathy to boot!  The heavens must have been watching over me!

So now I can hug Kris non stop for 80+ days! Wheeeeeeeeee

I can finally enjoy the shiny apartment and cook yummy meals for my bot! I have grand plans about being a macaroon chef!

I have a backlog of entries of my Bangkok trip and Japan which I promise to update soon! Well soon-ish ūüėõ Bangkok and Japan were super fun, the company was excellent and I have decided that these are my top 2 favourite cities in South East Asia and East Asia.

I did Japan alone for 3 nights and I realised that I like travelling alone, I mean I enjoyed the company when it was there, but I generally had no problems being alone. I enjoyed wandering along streets on my own, waking up/resting/sleeping eating whenever and wherever I went, had random conversations with random strangers. It was nice. I never thought I would enjoy travelling alone as much, but I just wanted to try it for the heck of it. Glad I did. Things to check off my bucket list ūüôā Japan was ¬†very tourist friendly too, I mean I cannot speak a word but everything there is designed so intelligently and¬†intuitively¬†that with a certain level of intellect (heh! heh!) I breezed through the city. It is¬†definitely¬†one of the more civilised countries in the world, the people are gracious and helpful when asked. Like any big cities, everyone is rushing off somewhere but everybody I asked for directions/help gave it so willingly and some went the extra mile to help me find my way. Restore my faith in human kind! Mild¬†exaggeration¬†is a woman’s¬†prerogative!

I am excited to go visit Kris’s parents and their calm and serene house next month and I’m SUPER excited to see his adorable grandma! This time maybe Kris will allow me to try a game of golf on my own and not hog the club and say ‘You’re too slow and we don’t want to hold up the people behind’. I shall wake him up at 6am and so that we’re the first one on the greens! ¬†*insert evil laugh*

I was especially touched to note that Anne and his sis gave me some¬†Christmas¬†presents (from Xmas 2011) and even baked some cookies (froze them) and was¬†exhilarated¬†to tear open my presents when I got to the apartment. I mean Xmas presents in April! Santa must really love me!¬†I haven’t eaten the cookies yet but it looks promising, all colourful and happy. The other Christmas presents were really well thought of and exactly what I like! Its really sweet when you know someone racked her brains to scout for presents that she knows are ‘YOU’. Its really the thought that counts! Thanks Anne and Kim!

Hmmmm cookies, I shall go warm some up now!