Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Family life

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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At times I wish I had more family living near me, or a greater extended family sprawled around the world.  I have always dreamt of having an older brother to rely on (or a gay best friend).  Since I tend to connect a lot better with guys, I have always wanted to have one who was very, very close to me in a platonic way.  Unfortunately, though such figures have come and gone, I can’t really claim one guy who I can run to when I am hurt or scared or just have a great secret to share.  More than that though, I wish that my cousins and I were closer.  When I was young, I would always follow them around so closely that they nicknamed me their shadow.  It was true enough, since I only got to see them once a year for a few weeks and that was my only tie to my background.

I have lived my life very much alone, or in a tiny family unit consisting of me and my parents.  I always love to have people over to my house simply because nobody ever visits!  It’s always just me, my mom, my dad, and for some years, my cats.  There are no random second cousins or great aunts, twice removed who can swingby to say hi.  In fact, there isn’t a single other person in our family in the country, from either side of the family.  So, other than the summers that I got to go back to China in my childhood, I’ve hardly ever seen my relatives.  Lately, I have also spent a lot of my time on my own, first as I went off to college, then as my dad moved back to China, then as I studied abroad in England, then as my mom moved back to China as well, and finally as I moved out to Singapore to work.

Granted, I am not alone alone.  Yet, I have had nobody I can call family in the same country as me for the past two and a half years, but for the few months my mom came to visit, the couple of weeks my dad has spent back, and the lucky few days that some of my aunts and uncles got to come watch me graduate from UCLA.  Family, after all, are the only people who are linked to you from day 1.  And in my life, they are the only ones who have always been there, even if it was largely in the background and rather out of reach.  But year after year, they are there, growing in their own ways, and eventually we will catch up again.  For me, friendship has not worked out quite that way, since each move brought another group of people to leave behind.  I can never claim a best friend from my childhood who watched me grow up.  The only people who truly watched me grow up were my parents.

I have certainly been blessed with a lot of wonderful people in my life, but once again I find that they come and go.  I’m so used to people leaving my life and becoming a great memory that I didn’t even notice I do that, until a close friend pointed it out.  Perhaps I got too conditioned to having to leave people behind with every move we made over the years.  I don’t have the mindset that makes me think of someone, pick up the phone and call them, or drop them an e-mail to catch up.  Instead, I just wonder whatever happened to them and how they are doing.  I am always grateful when I do hear from a long-lost friend and get to see how they are doing in their lives.  I love that we are becoming a more globally connected world now and facebook was the first social media tool that allowed me to get in touch with friends from lives past.  I also love that you don’t need to be maintaining a conversation with each other to keep tabs on and be able to find each other years down the line.

I like to dream about a handful of aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins bustling around during Chinese New Year, as the whole family makes time to be together.  Sadly, I’ve only been in China once during that time of year since I left (which was when I was too young to remember anything anyway) and I don’t recall a thing about it.  My dad has told me that to truly experience Chinese festivities, I need to spend Chinese New Year back in his hometown, the little place that he grew up in.  Now that truly has small town flair in its celebrations, with all the stops pulled!  Maybe if I have time next year, I can make it come true, in the second Year of the Ox that I will experience since the one I was born in.  2010 will be an important year for me because I will have gone through two full Chinese zodiac cycles.  I’m sure that has some sort of significance.

Someday, I’d like to be able to gather with all my relatives (or at least one representative from each family unit).  But over the years, even our not-so-big family has had trouble reuniting as my cousins married off and started to create their own little families.  Between work, children, spouses, and friends, it’s hard to find time to get together like we used to when everyone lived in the same town and the only ones missing were me and my parents.  Now I’m embarking on my own life as well, sacrificing time with loved ones in hopesof building a strong foundation for a successful future.  Work is hardly as flexible as tertiary education was, with more hours and less ease of changing schedules.  Plus, there’s a lot less time off per annum.  On the other hand, I am very fortunate to be working for a company that would, like no other, work with me to try to make it happen, if I so chose.  One of the things I will miss most about education is the lovely summer months filled with enrichment learning, extracurricular fun, and personal fulfillment.

Despite all this daydreaming about a huge family, I still don’t want more than two or three kids, if only because I don’t know if I can handle any more.  Growing up so independent and with all the attention focused on me makes it difficult for me to conceive how it would be with a handful of children running amok.  The grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it?  And that is why I wish I had a companion to grow up with, whether sibling, cousin living nearby, or best friend from childhood.  But, because I know there is this tendency to think that the other way is so much better, I do recognize the benefits of only childhood.  Thus, I don’t want to overcompensate by having so many kids I don’t know what to do with myself.  Instead, to create that feel, I’d like to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other and the kids can play together.  This would also be a great way to expose them to how others live their lives, especially if it’s a multicultural communit

Love in midair… the ups and downs of Valentine’s Day

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,
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In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d include a cute thing Panda and I came across today as we were wandering the windy roads of Bel Air and driving up and down Mulholland Drive trying to find the best scenic overlooks.  The plane continued on to spell something like Mio, but we lost sight of it, so I never did figure it out.

As for my post-Valentine’s Day report, all in all it was a most splendid day, starting at the painfully early hour of 8 and lasting until midnight.  We got a delicious dim sum brunch before wandering the roads and discovering some random places.  We hung out for a bit before heading out to Santa Monica, where we were going to have dinner.  At first we tried Benihana’s, but the wait was two hours!  -___-  So, we went over to Buddha’s Belly instead, where they told us it was a 45-minute wait, but we got seating in no more than 20.

I love that place because of its chocolate fondue dessert platter.  The food is always interesting and has a fresh taste I’m not used to, since it’s an Asian fusion type of place.  They have the coolest plates and bowls too (and I, ever so easy to entertain, am immensely amused by this fact).  Following that, it was getting late, so we headed back towards campus to hang out some more.

In the morning, Panda had given me a card that I wanted to read when we had peace and quiet alone to enjoy.  So, sitting together at night, I opened the card and he read it to me.  It was seriously the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.  He had managed to find a card with a really long quote that described his feelings for me wonderfully.  Then, his message was so eloquent and heartfelt it made me cry (with joy, of course).  It was the best end to a spectacular day.

Now that I look at this picture, I realize I should have taken a panoramic picture to share the immensity of this valley.  This is the view from the Bel Air Presbyterian Church, looking out on the San Fernando Valley.

When I got home, I found an e-mail from Katana, outlining her contrasting experience: after painstakingly preparing gifts for her boyfriend to present today, she got the ultimate letdown when he didn’t even remember the occasion.  It’s a sad thing when one person cares so much and the other puts in no effort.  For such a memorable day, my Valentine’s was nearly just as dismal.

You see, last weekend when I was visiting Panda, I tried casually asking him what he was doing this Saturday – he was headed home for the long weekend.  Crushed, we then spent the next hour or so talking about why I was upset with him.  It’s not so much that I need to celebrate the holiday, but I did want to see him and it hurt when it seemed like he didn’t even bother to think about it.  Had I not asked, I may very well have been alone today, moping at home.

So, though I had a fabulous time, it didn’t come without a fight.  I often need to give Panda a little push (or big shove) in the right direction for him to get a clue as to what he’s supposed to do.  No, I don’t ask for gifts from him and yes, I pay for my own meals.  I’m not into material things; I much prefer his time and attention.  Then there are things like these where the consideration should at least be discussed, but he just doesn’t seem to understand that it’s important to me.  I mean, it is an internationally recognized holiday after all, whether you like to celebrate it or not.  Doesn’t that at least deserve a mention?  Sometimes it amazes me how thick-headed guys can be.

I suppose this is something I should get used to, always throwing out clues and hinting about what he should be doing and resorting to outright telling him when he doesn’t pick up on the signals.  Successful relationships need good communication and it seems that extra effort is needed when it comes to this particular area.  It just would be nice if he could figure it out on his own and surprise me (like he did with that card) a little more often.  Perhaps he’ll learn with time…  When it comes down to it though, it’s like he said – we will work together and work to understand each other.

Marriage: a broken institution?

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,
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I’ve gotten the feeling that Millenials are jaded by the idea of marriage.  Or, at least, have such high standards and low expectations that they’re rather pessimistic about the whole idea.  Call it realism if you want.  Or it may just be cynicism.

This issue seems to stem from our generation growing up hearing the sad statistics of high divorce rates.  Of course, many also grew up in such households, having to live a life in single-parent homes, bouncing between parents, and dealing with step-parents and siblings.  Perhaps that is why this generation seems so much more against marrying (especially at a young age).

Too many of our parents rushed into marriage and it either failed or they are unhappy together.  Now, I used to be deathly afraid of commitment despite no family history of bad relationships (only one relative has gotten divorced and it didn’t seem nasty), but when I found Panda, it worked.  This whole relationship thing wasn’t as terrible as I imagined it to be.  Likewise, for marriage, I think that it comes down to the right feeling.

If it feels right, why avoid it? Sometimes you’re just ready to make that leap of faith.  And that is what any relationship is – faith in yourself, faith in your partner, and faith in your union.  You need to trust yourself and your significant other to make it work.  Sure, you may be too young and inexperienced for that judgment call, but if you’ve thought long and hard, if you’ve both talked about it, and you both feel comfortable, it can be a beautiful thing.

You can never be fully prepared for marriage and all the complications that it entails.  I don’t judge people based on what age they choose to get married.  For some, it works.  Statistically, younger couples are more likely to separate, but that tends to be an issue of maturity.  If you don’t know yourself well enough and you don’t understand your partner, it’s not going to work no matter what other factors there are.

Sadly, there are a lot of practical reasons that drive couples to the altar: finances, convenience, right of kin, etc.  Some marriages are carried out due to necessity or pressure, but you shouldn’t get hitched for such mundane reasons.  After all, marriage should be a celebration of love and devotion.

So why does it seem that getting married actually tears many couples apart?  Stability.  Though it’s great to have in our lives, if that’s all you have in a relationship, it stagnates.  So many couples feel their relationship diminish over the years, if only because they know they have each other to depend on, through thick and thin.  So they stop trying.

It shouldn’t be so easy though.  Relationships should constantly be evolving and changing as the individuals do.  The moment you stop working on it, you have doomed it.  Think of it as a process rather than a goal to be reached.

Marriage as an institution needs a major makeover if it is to survive.  Though, perhaps it doesn’t need to be saved and Gen Z can come to age in a society where couples get legal civil unions.  I wouldn’t mind a secular institution that allows gay unions as well.

Fresh outlook

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Well, with a new year, I thought I’d start something new.  Recently I’ve been inspired by my best friend “Katana” to do more blogging.  Since she moved out to Kansas I haven’t gotten to see her much, so reading her blogs are a great way to stay in touch (and entertained!).  She’s made a career out of life in the blogosphere and while my hopes are not exactly along those lines, I’d also like to write more like she does.  Granted, I still have my personal handwritten journal to take care of (and that I’ve neglected for a long time), but there’s nothing quite like blogging to capture the small things in life.  I find it’s a great place to explore my thoughts in a more immediate way.

Though I kept another LiveJournal a few years back, I think it’s time to use a different domain for this new chapter in my life.  Maybe I can track my progress as a recent graduate, looking for a job and figuring out where to lead my life.  I know where I think my life is going to go is going to change a lot before it settles anywhere and I’m ready to explore what there is out there for me to do.  I can also follow the development of my relationship (the first!) and how my hopes and expectations evolve over time.

Ok, so… where am I in my life?  I just graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Economics.  I’m looking for jobs nearby (preferably in Westwood, otherwise in Los Angeles somewhere) in marketing or administrative work.  I want to work for two or three years before going to business school for my MBA.  After that I’d like to get into upper level management, get the experience to see what it takes to run a company before branching off and getting into entrepreneurial work.  The first thing I want to do at that point is start an environmental consulting firm focused on conservation and recycling.  I’ve also toyed with the idea of a vocational school for athletes and a craft/party store complete with classes.  But that will be on the back burner for many more years to come.

Well, at least that was my 10-20 year plan.  More recently I’ve been considering an opportunity to start up a branch of a Singaporean company (Caelan & Sage) here in California with my Singaporean “twin” – let’s call her Marylin.  However, there’s a lot of research, preparation, and information I need to look into before I go forth with this.  It would be lovely to get a head start on my dreams of entrepreneurial success though.  I have high hopes and dreams, though I’m trying to stay grounded and be practical about this.  However, I am fresh out of uni and ready to conquer the world!  Ultimately I just want to learn and grow, then take that to inspire and motivate people, as well as create happy work environments.

As for my personal life, it’s the first time in my life that I am happily seeing someone.  I’ll refer to him as Panda.  He is an amazing person and I’m really lucky to have met him.  I’m still grappling with this concept: someone likes me and is good to me?!  I’ve made some poor decisions in the past, leading to some unfortunate experiences, which makes me appreciate this all the more.  My other best friend, “Elle,” bluntly showed her shock when she heard I’d found someone who treated me well.  She’s happy for me, of course, but she’s seen me go through some less than savory characters and never really get into a relationship.  I’ve also been known to run from any guy who shows interest in me, so she’s glad that I still like this one!

The world has a lot to offer and I have my fair share to contribute.  Onward!

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