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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We all know about the straw that broke the camel's back. A straw is too light to break anything but because even a straw carries some weight (else it would float), when it is added to the top of a very heavy pile on the camel's back, the weight sends the scales tipping one way and down goes the camel.

Breaking point, in short. Or better yet, known as Tipping Point (coined by the famous writer Malcom Gladwell). Usually a series of small and seemingly unimportant events that put together, lead up to THE crash.

I told my CEB yesterday quite bluntly, my view on the difference between a wife and a mother. A mother loves you no matter what, because her blood runs through your veins and you are a reflection of her upbringing of you. If you are a beast to her, she would blame herself and not you because you are that way either by nature or nurture, both of which she had a hand.

A wife on the other hand, has promised to love you but still has the right, lawfully and ethically, to stop loving you and walk away when you've quite completely and literally, bashed every single last drop of love in the love bank with a fist to her face, or just as cruelly, a fist to her heart/soul.

Now, my mother-in-law was the one who made the above very clear to me over dinner. Not in those words of course. She told me never to complain about her son because I had chosen him whereas she hadn't any choice but to love him. My mother also told me that once I was "married out", I should never come running back to my childhood home but work things out with whoever I'd given myself to. No doubt these were "pearls of wisdom" bestowed upon them during an era long gone where women were dependent on men, but nonetheless, all this has, together with the past 3 months of marriage life (blissful for the most part it has been), made me think very hard and long about my choice 3 months ago, and about the person I'd chosen to marry. And before God, family and friends no less.

My CEB is relatively easy to love, don't get me wrong. It is just that I am finally learning that love is one thing but marriage is another thing altogether. The "we love each other so let's get married and live forever happily ever after" is bullsh*t. Marriage is hard work and love doesn't get the work done. It motivates you to pull your weight to do the work but without respect, support, encouragement, appreciation or acknowledgement, you end up dropping the ball or just not caring any more.

And the biggest difference between love and marriage is that love can be happily one-sided, but for a marriage to succeed - that can't happen without both pitching in.

So how does my long ramble above tie in with the start of the post about the straw that broke the camel's back? I guess I'm finding out that in any relationship, especially a marriage, the little things really count and...not just count but add up at the end of the day. And although one tries to forgive and forget, every "little" tiff/spat/quarrel, every angry, thoughtless, harsh, and worse, mean, words goes towards adding just a bit more weight on the provincial camel's back, pushes the relationship just this bit closer to the edge of the cliff. There is always a choice how to react - play the blame game and make the other feel worse, or pitch in to fix the problem and have a constructive talk later. And there is a consequence tied to each decision.

In short, how we choose to react, say to each other, do for each other, while seemingly small/unimportant, brings the relationship either closer to or further from the edge of this cliff. And then all that is needed is that little straw, or just a light tap before the camel crumbles or one tumbles off the cliff.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The third month

I'm sitting in the same place where I sat when I wrote the post on our second monthnivresary. And what would you know - I'm now writing a post to mark our third monthniversary.

It was a really rough third month - we had a week apart cos of my work (and next month, we are going to have about 10 days apart cos of my work again but hey, it's the month for our honeymoon :D ).

And then that we had the mother of all quarrels - never before and never again, alright? Let's not hurt this relationship we have, or each other like that again, especially since we have taken vows to be together till death do us part. If we have chosen to be together, and since we live but once anyway, let's make our life journey together as a couple, the most enjoyable we can :)

I can't wait for the long weekend we will spending in Bali, the land of love - the flight takes off in less than 3 hours!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A most wonderful birthday

I feel exactly like how my nua nua buaya toy looks below - hats off to the husband who never fails to amaze me with his creativity when it comes to arranging the buaya toy.

It was a simply awesome day from start to end, 12 hours of which was spent at Marina Bay Sands.

There was a birthday lunch from my 1 and only dearest sister at a fabulous Jap restaurant, Hide Yamamoto, followed by 4 hours of self-loving at Salon 360 where I spent SGD360 on myself - a full body massage, a facial, hair treatment and some light make-up thingy.

And after that, despite my CEB being sick and slightly late, he took me out for a really nice and indulgent birthday dinner at Cut by Wolfgang Puck.

I would write more about the day and food but I am too sleepy from the feasting. So I'll end this post by thanking God for all the blessings he has given me, last but not least, this man I call my husband snoozing next to me as I turn one year older.

Dear God, despite the relentless march of time passing us by year after year, please grant my CEB and me, as much time together as a loving couple as possible.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wiped out

The husband has fallen asleep next to me, one hand on my lap. I like looking at him sleep, his lips are always upturned just this bit gently. And the best part is that he isn't coughing any more - thank goodness for the cough medicine which knocks him out cold.

The poor dude - I would gladly exchange places with my CEB if I could. But since I can't, the least I could do and did, was to boil honey ginseng drink for him this morning, cook shi quan herbal soup for dinner and give him some manuka honey before bedtime. In addition to making sure that he took his med, cough drops and rubbing vicks under his nose - a sick husband, esp a sick buaya, is quite a handful.

I will be a year older in fifteen minutes, by the way.

My CEB bought a laptop today and gave it to me. He said he would also get me the iPhone5 the first month it launches, as the other part of my birthday present. That should be fun - I told him I wanted the phone in its original condition - the husband has a knack of playing with/taking apart all IT gadgets that come his way.

But all that aside, what my CEB had done on Sat with me, was the best gift of all. We had gone to TTSH in the morning and I felt the desire to attend Novena, something I had not done for more than a year. Maybe it was also the timing - because we finished shopping in time for the 1pm Novena.

It may sound silly but it took me 2 tries before I dared to ask my CEB to go to church with me. I was afraid of rejection, and also expected to be rebuked harshly since both of us had reached the common understanding that we would not try to convert each other.

But it is clear that I gave my CEB less credit than he deserved because after I prayed silently for courage to ask my CEB to go to church, asked him hesitantly if he could please go to church for half an hour with me, and was bracing myself for the expected "Can we not? Can don't go? Can you go yourself I meet you later" etc etc

My wonderful CEB instead answered "Can I say no? Okay lor"

And he went with me willingly. It is really hard not to love and respect this most open-minded husband I have.

Even if right after attending church...
My CEB solemnly "It is God's "whale" (will) that I marry the whale".
Me !@!#@$@$@
My CEB "Maybe the Holy Grail was not found because God meant the Holy Whale" (points to me and laughs)
Me !@!#@$@ UGH!!@!@#

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rise of Planet of the Apes (2011) Movie

Definitely 1 of the better movies around with a fast paced story line and good acting by primates and humans alike.:)

Ape alone weak, Apes together strong.

Well "said", Caesar.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The day my CEB married me, I promised before God to be true to my CEB in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. We also promised to love each other and honour each other all the days of our lives.

It has been almost 3 months since that day. And I'm feeling awful and guilty that there have been days when I did not behave lovingly to my CEB, and worse, days when I did not honor him with my words and/or actions.

Especially the last quarrel we had. It was the worst I've ever had with my CEB in all our time together. It doesn't matter who was right or wrong.But I know that I was wrong to say and do everything that I did that day. I was wrong to allow his actions to dictate my reaction. While I cannot control how my CEB decides to treat me, sometimes thoughtlessly which really sucks, I can control how I decide to respond to the treatment.

I responded badly, very badly that day. And to say that I am feeling ashamed, awful, remorseful and guilty is an understatement. What I said and did is going to stay with me forever, and are things that I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for.

You see, my CEB invokes in me a strong sense of love and affection, one that borders on being protective. Not that my CEB needs me to take care of him, he is too much of a guy for that. I am glad my CEB doesn't need me at all, because this means that he being with me is because he wants to be. Does that even make sense? But anyway, to have that sort of feeling about him and then being the source and cause of hurting him is a double whammy to the guilt button.

He said he was sorry. I said I was sorry. But the damage is already done. As with all quarrels. I can't take back what I said and did. And neither can he. There was no love or honor how we treated each other that day. :(

Monday, August 15, 2011

Having a buaya around the house

When the ceiling light in our master bedroom went kaput yesterday morning without any prior warning, it brought to mind this joke:

A: It only takes one lawyer to change your light bulb to his light bulb.
Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

My CEB was around so.....

Q: How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb????
A:Three. One to hold the ladder, one to hold the light bulb, and the third to interpret the Japanese text.

And since there were only 2 buayas around....

But nah, the husband got the ladder from the yard, climbed up and took the light lid off to unscrew the busted light bulb, bought a new light bulb and climbed back up to fix the light. All by himself.

If it was the first time he was changing a light bulb, he certainly didn't let it show. Three cheers for the cheese-eating buaya indeed!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Travel light so you can sing in the robber's face

I have a splitting headache that is keeping me awake at this ungodly hour despite my desire to fall into blissful slumber.

I guess it is to do with everything said and done earlier today. Esp the packing which made me realize how much stuff I'd acquired over the years and how, none of it really matters, is really important or is even, stuff that I need.

It made think of this quote I'd come across "Travel light so you can sing in the robber's face." Of course, the quote doesn't refer only to the pointless acquisition of material stuff, but a way of living life so that one does not fear death (the robber).

And that made me think of the movie "Up in the air" where the lead compared relationships to burdens that one is obliged to shoulder, weighing one down.

I guess my problem is that I don't travel light. So when the robber comes, I lose a lot more than I would have if I had not acquired so much. And end up feeling doubly miserable and desolate.

Today was a good day. Even though I am very sad, it was good. Because it was a turning-the-corner day, the day I face up to the fact that I've made a mistake, the day I understood exactly where I stood, the day I resolved not to be stupid any more, and the day I'm going to start travelling very very light.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time to come home

This song has been playing in my head, or rather, just the very catchy opening lines:

In a matter of hours, I will be dragging my huge (and v likely "overweight") luggage once more across the tired concourse of the airport, presenting my huge (and most likely "overweight") self at the check-in counter, clearing customs and then boarding the plane back to Singapore. Despite my stated pref for an aisle seat, I've ended up with a middle seat this time. Bummer.

The novelty of travelling has quite worn off. Except for the month I got married, I've been away from home for a stretch of 5 days or more, once a month, since I joined this new company. Not that I am complaining about all the travel which has been such an eye-opener and an opportunity for growth. It is the hassle of getting to the airport, checking in and waiting around to board the plane which I have grown to dread. Add that to lugging around my laptop for work (thou shall never let the co's laptop be parted from oneself), a handbag and a suitcase that weighs a ton, travelling for work is a far cry from travelling for pleasure.

But since work can be combined with whatever little pleasure that one can afford, I almost extended my stay over the weekend at my own expense because of a very attractive hotel promotion I received in the email. I say almost because...

Me "Eh dear, I think this weekend I am not coming back"
My CEB (long silence)
Me "Sale still going on and there is a hotel promotion"
My CEB "Grrrrr"
Me (ignores my CEB)

1 day later
My CEB "Me sick...caught a cold"
Me "Okay, take care"
My CEB "When are you coming home to take care of your husband?"
Me (ignores my CEB)

And sometime later the same day
My CEB "My wife don't love me"
Me "Your wife loves you very much"
My CEB "Sick...need TLC"
Me "In short you want me to come back asap without extending right"
My CEB *grinz

Yes, my CEB is the Manja-King indeed :P
It is time to come home, and home is in this case, where the heart is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

46 and going strong

Happy 46th National Day, Singapore!

I'm in a foreign land working on what is a public holiday in Singapore. A public holiday to celebrate the day Singapore declared itself as an independent nation, a different country from this very same foreign land I am in.

And being here makes me so proud to be Singaporean, and so grateful to all the people who brought Singapore to where we are today. Long Live Singapore!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Fat or dead?

Dead. I choose death over being an out-of-control, "double-chinny" "face-stuffer".

When I was in secondary school, despite my struggle with the language, I wrote a Chinese essay "Yi Ge Pang Ren De Tong Ku" (A Fat Person's Pain). I was fat then, qualifying year after year for the "Tough and Fit" program (TAF Club), some sick person's idea of a joke - spell TAF the other way and you get FAT... only fat people would get automatic membership to that club, big Yay!

Anyway, my clothes are really tight. I've gained so much weight that when I looked in the hotel mirror this morning, I don't like me anymore. :( I really don't. I hate the re-appearance of what appears to be another chin (and how does that benefit me huh), the size of my arms which makes my sleeves feel snug (and these same sleeves used to be loose!), and the shape of my thighs. Oh, and don't get me started on....the tummy region. My CEB has most unkindly told me that I have an extra boob with an inverted nipple. How is that for romance huh.

I need to get back on the treadmill. I've stopped exercising since I got together with my CEB. I also need to stop the "hand to mouth", "me-see-me-devour" behaviour I've developed of late. The cooking isn't the cause of the recent explosion in size. The feasting when travelling for work is. After a long hard day of work, there is nothing one wants more than a nice good meal (usually in room dining) before laying down to rest, extended tummy and all, in the soft comfort of a hotel bed. My ex-cfo (and my beloved ex-boss) used to get up at 5.30am to use the hotel gym when we travelled for work. I thought they were truely admirable, now I think they are demi-Gods.

I guess it is time for a PLAN. I've learnt from my beloved ex-boss that the only way to get control back in my life and stop the hysterics is to have a PLAN. It was with HER plans that I managed to have all I have in my life. So, if I want to include a decent body to the things I have, I need a plan.

God save me from this fat suit.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Why have a husband

This will be my 4th and last post written at the airport while waiting for my CEB's flight to land - his flight was delayed for an hour for take off like mine was - all the pictures were pre-loaded into blogger from my personal computer before I flew off (saved as 4 separate draft posts) yesterday.

And if the title of this post screams "Trouble in The Slog's Little Paradise" to you, you wouldn't be totally wrong. 1 of the worst quarrels we've ever had last week triggered a reflection on why I got married. Not why I married my CEB but why get married at all, this "stuck together thing".

It's easy for my CEB - when my CEB does something really nice for me and I thank him, he usually replies with " Why have a wife if not to love (her)". There is this song by a boy band with the lyrics "Nobody wants to be lonely, nobody wants to be alone". Having a companion is powerful enough motivation for one to get hitched but companionship can be obtained without the shackles of a wedding band. Loving someone is again another "reason" but love doesn't happen with or without that piece of paper.

I think the secondary reason I got married was because I was ready to start a family (and yeah, like my current work schedule will allow that with the travelling at least once a month for a week). The primary reason though was because I was happy to say to my loved ones, my friends, the world, that this man is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, the one out of all the men in my life whom I will love and honor, stay with through thick and thin till death do us part.

So going back to the quarrel, it was over a matter which I hadn't realised meant so much to my CEB. I was thoughtless, and unknowingly, I'd hurt my CEB - one of the rare times that a buaya's tough hide can be pierced. It didn't help that my CEB refused to talk to me or hint what was behind the stone-walling till I ran out of (1) guesses (and inevitably disclosing a purchase I hadn't meant to tell him about - a thermal pot). And (2) patience with him. (My CEB is usually most direct and his pure stubborn refusal to communicate what was wrong this time infuriated me past normal reason.

Anyway, I packed my bags. Or rather I left the room to pack for this trip because I knew if I shared the same room with him a little longer, I might end up saying something I couldn't take back. But I didn't leave the house that night of course - the thing about marriage is that you can't just leave your partner no matter how bad the quarrels are, unless of course there is violence or unfaithfulness. Like it or not, getting married means you have to stay and work out your problems with each other instead of running home to your parents like a little kid.

And that was what I kept saying to my unusually furious CEB throughout his stony silence - tell me what's wrong and let's work it out, we shouldn't be punishing each other and our relationship. It took me the better part of 2 hours to pry what was wrong out of my CEB, and it isn't that I've mellowed with age or love him beyond reason that I didn't give up trying to find out what was wrong or explode with rage at his stubborn refusal to communicate, much as I was tempted to.

I kept myself in check (ooo humble pie chokes going down) because earlier that same evening, my CEB had turned up at my parent's place to have dinner and fix the computer as we'd agreed earlier despite his "silent protest" from the day before. Before we were married, when we quarrelled, my CEB would just cancel all plans that we had made regardless of whether these plans involved his side of the family or mine. This was 1 of the things I told him I wouldn't stand for - as the Chinese saying goes "Jia Chou Bu Ke Wai Yang" (do not wash your dirty linen in public). Now that after marriage my CEB and I are a "Xiao Jia Ting" (small family), all the more we shouldn't embarrass ourselves and our spouse in front of their families by involving or affecting them in our quarrels. And truth be told, I was very impressed and proud of my CEB that he put up a merry good show in front of my mum...until we got home when he gave me that "stony silence" again which drove me to tears of frustration.

Marriage doth change a person indeed, and in the case of my CEB and myself, for the better it seems. And although it goes without saying that I love my CEB, I only realised the extent of how much when I included him on the very short list of pp I would take the place of willingly if something evil were to befall them. It doesn't matter if there is reciprocity, if they would or would not do the same for me - that should never be a factor when it comes to true love.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Madam Kwan's @ Suria KLCC

Many of my fellow countrymen have recommended that I have at least one meal at Madam Kwan and until the last trip, despite my frequently pausing before its restaurant's entrance, I've resisted having a meal at the restaurant because of its "zi cha" menu. Stuff like Otah, Nasi Lemak, Assam Prawns, all these I've eaten all too often, whether locally or in JB.

However, simply because we've never eaten at Madam Kwan before, we decided to join the crowd in the restaurant and have at least one meal there.

So we did. And a rather expensive and unremarkable affair it turned out to be. Good enough food but definitely overpriced given the quality and type of food served. I'll tell you how much the meal above turned out to be - RM111 - and the only item not shown is my longan drink which cost RM5. The nasi lemak was RM15+, the nasi bojari RM 22.90, kangkong (small) RM14.50 and the plate of assam prawns (large) was RM 37.50.

It was more than enough food for the both of us, and the food was decent enough without being extraordinary BUT I would definitely not recommend this restaurant to my fellow countrymen given the prices, unremarkable service and interior decor, and the type of food served.

Iketeru @ Hilton Hotel KL Sentral

At the recommendation of a friend who is a Jap-food lover and because we were staying at Meridien which is just next to, and conveniently connected to Hilton Hotel (they share the same swimming pools), my CEB and I decided to have dinner and lunch at Iketeru last month.

My CEB had flown in on a Fri afternoon and was starving because he hadn't had a chance to grab a bite before his flight. However, the prices on the menu certainly gave pause to his appetite. And mine as well. As it was one of the rare times I was feeling healthy, I ordered the black cod from the teppenyaki menu. It came done excellently but the portion wasn't very much for RM50.

I also ordered a plate of shitake mushrooms from the teppenyaki menu for us to share and that was amore reasonably priced at RM17. I would definitely recommend this delicious dish with its crisp garlic chips at the side.
My CEB ordered the gyu katsu curry which he proclaimed delicious after a few mouthfuls. This again was reasonably priced (as compared to the rest of the menu) at just RM60. Even with the complimentary green tea (free flow), the bill for dinner came up to almost RM160. I don't think I'll be in a hurry to go back to Iketeru until I have deeper pockets!

The next day, we went back for the recommended Sunday buffet lunch and despite the cost RM131.10 per pax (inclusive of tax), the restaurant was pretty fully booked. Lunch started at 12 and ended about 2.30pm, and unlike the normal buffets where the food is laid out, most of the food had to be ordered off the menu alacarte style. There was quite a nice variety with teppenyaki, noodles, rice and even some soups on the menu. Sashimi on the other hand, as well as the makis had to be ordered from the chefs behind the glass-covered counters.

From a websearch of the restaurant, it seems that Iketeru is one of the more famous Japanese restaurants in KL, and indeed the quality of each dish we had testifies to that. Do not expect quantity though (even for the buffets where each order means just enough and not in excess).

The last meal at home for a week

I know. All my posts are all so "domesticated". So much for all the reviews of places, food, movies and books huh. I did warn though in a post at the start of this year that this blog wouldn't really be what it had been because of the 2 major changes - new job and a marriage. Call me naive but I never thought that both would have such a large impact upon my life/lifestyle. Maybe the job, yes. But definitely not marriage. I admit now that I was wrong. I can now use a washing machine/hang up clothes/iron clothes, and even cook.

Or rather, I am happy to do all these, I want to while our current lifestyles (job and family status) allow us to. With another job, with another member of the family, I would not have the opportunity. So while my CEB grouses about having to eat his (insert pet name)'s home-cooked foor which is just edible and involves cleaning up, he plays a supportive enough role in eating most of the food and even cleaning. Maybe he realises too that everything is temporary and nothing should be taken for granted, not even the opportunity to eat his wife's cooking.

Anyway, the day before my next travel (yes I am in an airport now waiting for my CEB to arrive for the weekend), I decided to cook dinner. I'd takenthe beef karubi chips from the freezer in the morning before I left for work so it was a matter of marinating them in kikoman's teriyaki sauce for about 20mins once I got back in the evening.

During lunch, my colleague and I had gone to the mall near our workplace to run some errands and I had picked up a packet of about 13 glass prawns which I thought would be a nice addition to the vegetable dish I was intending to cook. Since googling the words stir fry and prawns threw up a recipe by my now favourite cooking website www.noobcook.com . it was just a matter of following the recipe step by step.

I had a packet of dou miao from our supermarket shopping on Sunday, the last packet of vegetable in the fridge and while it looked like quite a bit of veg, when cooked, there was just enough for my CEB and me.

I had a nice new frying pan from Tefal which I'd acquired last Friday and used a couple of times (I cooked lunch and dinner on Sunday but was too busy and tired to take photos). Cooking the prawns was incredibly easy - they turned red rather quickly in the oil and it was just a qn of making sure they were not over-cooked. I don't know if I did a good job of that though because the prawns turned out rather firm.

After adding Eu Yan Sang's mushroom xo sauce to the prawns in the frying pan, I poured the prawns into a bowl and then used the left over oil and sauce to stir fry the dou miao. And then I put the two together to look like this. As I said, the veg shrunk considerably after frying.

To be honest, after cooking the prawns and veg, I was most hesitant about cooking the karubi chips as well but since I'd already marinated the same and would be gone for more than a week, it didn't make financial sense to let the beef go to waste so I put them in the frying pan too. And added some Chinese wine. Which turned out to be a mistake because the resulting gravy for the beef karbu chips turned out to be far too salty to be edible.

So, all that cooking took about one and a half hours. The chicken curry on the table was from my mom, left overs from dinner the night before at my mum's. Put together with the rest of the food I'd cooked that evening, to say that my CEB and I overate for dinner would be a gross understatement. We finished everything, except the bread. And my CEB said he was happy. Which was enough reward for me.

To be able to cook not out of choice but because one wants to makes all the difference. I think if I didn't want to, all the washing and cleaning up would make me most miserable. But maybe one of the positive things that came out of being married is wanting to try, having the opportunity to, and actually enjoying it just a bit.

Time to pack my bags again - another week gone

I'm travelling again for work in a matter of hours. I've only just finished packing because I'll be gone for more than a week this time. My CEB is curled up asleep against me as I type this and I believe I'm going to miss the husband bad enough to cut short the trip if possible.

The last trip up north for work, my CEB bought a plane ticket to join me for a couple of days. Or rather, he gets me to do the work of buying the tickets. (click here) Only the knowledge that my CEB is genuinely sincere about joining me, as well as genuinely lazy about doing such stuff moves me to help the fella.

We met up with a mutual friend, her hubby and her kid for dinner when we were there. Her hubby bought us dinner at some Korean restaurant at the Ampang area. And we had loads of fun playing with her very adorable little girl and taking pictures.

It almost made me want to have my own kid. And my CEB felt the same way despite his all along wanting to put kids on hold so he could have more time with me, to enjoy us being a couple. In fact, once while cuddling up to me in bed, he said that a child would only be in the way, and between us.

But this inclination to have a child soon didn't last after the trip because when we got back to Singapore and were"fun-ning"around in bed (I was tickling him), my CEB said " Get back to your side of the bed". Yeah, that really is the way to go...to fatherhood...NOT!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Eat Pray Love (2010) Movie

I finally got to watch the whole movie after buying the DVD eons ago. The book was widely popular in the bookstores then, and the movie came out shortly after but I hadn't made an effort to get either. Until my beloved ex-boss told me that she thought of me when she was reading the book, and recommended that I read it too.

So because my CEB wasn’t home early last night, I took the opportunity to pop the DVD in the player and catch the movie on my own. (My CEB hates this sort of movies). Briefly, JR’s character leaves her first marriage, a husband who loves her, to find herself. She then gets together with an aspiring actor, with whom she was wildly infatuated with, and then desperately and unhappily out of love. She goes to Italy to find herself, to do nothing but enjoy life. And then to India for spirituality and finally to Bali where she finds love again.

And I could relate to each of her relationships. Probably that is why my beloved ex-boss who knows me so well, thought of me when she read the book.

There is a scene where JR’s character said “The only thing more impossible than staying was leaving” as she realized the extent of her discontent and unhappiness with her husband and her marriage. Despite all the wonderful memories that they had, and the home they created together. And despite how much the husband still loved her as was evident when he refused to sign the divorce papers “I’ll wait for you…all I want is you”.

It reminded me of how I felt when I left men who had loved me– a combination of feeling just awful and guilty but still saying goodbye. Not to be true to myself, not to find myself, not just because I didn’t love them anymore, but because staying another day was unbearable and no matter how hard I tried and looked, I couldn’t see a future with them. The idea of waking up, coming home to, sleeping with them every single day and night of the rest of my life had become so abhorrent that I felt physically ill, mentally broken, spiritually desolate.

But like JR’s character, I need time to forgive myself. I doubt they have fully forgiven me either. Or rather, I know they have not forgiven or forgotten me. Esp the one whom I doubted loved me. It breaks my heart now to realize that all I do for my CEB out of love now, is what he had done for me all the time. And which I had thought as calculated acts to win my heart. Only now do I realize how very much effort he made, and how very much he had loved and cherished me. Something I could not ever reciprocate.

And if you asked me now, even without my CEB, what would I do with this realization, my answer would still be the same – I could never go back to a ruined relationship. You only cut your fingers picking up the broken pieces.

So, I want to end this post with a quote from the movie. "To have broken heart means you have tried for something.” I hope this comforts you as it had comforted me in some strange way.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A lesson after marriage

Other than learning how to cook and use a washing machine, one of the other lessons that I've learnt after marriage is...that it can no longer be "him, his things, me, my things". It really is about us. My CEB'S cares, dreams, woes and problems are as much mine as they are his. His feelings, his needs - those should be my priorities, not housework, not my own selfish wants.

This may seem like "Duh" but it is a relevation to yours truly. It isn't that I don't know how to share (or at least I hope so). It is just that I find it easier to manage a relationship when things are clearly segregated - yours is yours and mine is mine. Don't touch mine and don't give me your problems. I won't give you my problems or bother about your things. That was my Happily Ever After solution. After the end of my longest relationship where I had given and shared everything freely. Only to have it all thrown pumpkin-style right back in my face when the guy wanted variety. Such is life, eh.

With my CEB, I tried this solution too before marriage - I didn't ask more than I wanted to know, and I even specifically told him not to tell me about certain things ie we would not rub into each other's face what we were doing which might upset the other party. Someone once told me that this was the only way a marriage could work. Closing the one eye. And the irony is that the guy I was with for the longest time had begged me to close that same eye - he wanted the marriage with me but the right to screw around outside. He said that as long as he came back to me every night without bringing home the cow, I had no right to kick up a fuss about his drinking milk of a different kind outside.

I couldn't accept that. I wouldn't stand for it. When you love someone, really love someone, all these matters. And when you don't, you don't care about what the fella does or feels.

So maybe my Happy Ever After solution was my way of keeping from being hurt again. It didn't work too well though in the next relationships that followed. Maybe it even contributed to their breakdown because I was holding back giving my all.

But with my CEB, while I prescribed to this solution before marriage, over time, I grew to love him. And trust him. I kind of forgot about this solution of "yours is yours mine is mine". But like with all relationships, nothing is a smooth ride and while I was gone in Melbourne, I was brought down to earth with a hard bump. And so I embraced the solution once again - because without it, I was only setting myself up for hurt, disappointment and unhappiness. Indeed it was fortunate because in March, again we had another huge tiff where I was only too happy to leave for the States. And the solution kept me sane.

If you have watched the movie "Revolutionary Road", there is a scene where Leonardo's character confesses to Kate's character that he had slept with someone else in the city quite a few times. She asks "Why". He says he doesn't know, he was just lonely, he didn't feel wanted etc. And she says "I don't mean why you slept with her. I mean why are you telling me?" This conversation deteriorates into an even uglier scene where he admits he told her because he wants her to care, to know whether she still loves him to care. She confesses that she no longer loves him to which he asks her why is she then still carrying his child. Well, the movie ends with her inducing an abortion knowing of the risks and haemorraghing to death.

And so back to my relevation. I guess I've come to the reluctant acceptance that in a marriage, I can't say to my CEB that his problems are his own and not to tell me about them. Part of being one half of a couple, according to my good ex-colleague and my beloved ex-boss is that you have to challenge your other half to be a better person, you have to give positive encouragement.

In short, you can't de-link and lead separate lifes while staying together in the same house. We aren't housemates. We aren't just partners or best friends. We are husband and wife. And I don't think my Happy Ever After solution goes hand in hand with holy matrimony. It probably is relationship-sustaining, but not life-giving.