Saturday, April 12, 2014

Different stages of my life

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I have an overactive imagination and restless mind.. well, that's what Le Hubby tells me.

He always asks me to write short stories or create a fictional universe and write books about it... But it takes up too much time & effort. It's already so hard to blog about stuff when I have a full time job.

I also like to ask myself stupid random questions. I also like to think about the answers and argue the pros & cons in my head. Sometimes I stare into space and have full conversations in my head (which may make me appear to look a bit crazy because my facial expressions will change according to what's going on in my head).

Sometimes I will ask Le Hubby some of those random questions and hear what he has to say. For example:"Which is worse - pregnant teenage daughter OR teenage son who made a girl pregnant?". 

Then we will discuss about our views and see if we are at a common understanding on certain issues. We usually do it in the car while he's driving. Come to think about it, most of our lengthy conversations are held in his car! He is driving so he cannot be distracted by other stuff (like phone, computer, etc), and I am just sitting there so I can shoot questions at him and discuss about my random questions. Hahahahahhaa!

Today while walking to work, a question suddenly popped up in my brain:
"Have you ever thought about categorizing and viewing a person's life into different stages?".

I asked Le hubby the same question when he came to pick me up from work.. And without a pause he said: "Forever alone and now..  forever with you".

So sweet hor? (ɔˆ ³(ˆ⌣ˆc)

For me, my first thought was:
Baby, child, teenager, young adult, working adult, senior.. then you die.

Then I thought about other ways to categorize the stages of a person's life and I came up with:
Single, Attached, Married, Divorced/Widowed".

To me, the word "Divorce" simply doesn't exist in my dictionary. It's just gonna be "death till us part" which means you transit from Married to Widowed or Married to Dead, depending on who dies first.

What's the point of getting married and making a vow to commit your life to a person in front of so many witnesses (your friends & family), not to mention spending so much time, effort & money to hold a 1 day (or for our case, 2 days) wedding, then go through the messy & painful journey to severe the relationship?

There's a very good website that explains how marriage is a covenant and not a contract. An excerpt from the website:

Contracts are based on protection and mistrust. They allow the parties involved to look for loop holes and exist clauses, and are centered on your rights and protection. A covenant refers to two or more parties bound together. (....) a bond between two parties carries with it the concept of “cleaving,” or sticking together like Super Glue!
Differences between a contract & a covenant:
Contract: What do I get?
Covenant: What can I give?
Contract: I’ll meet you halfway.
Covenant: I’ll give you 100% plus.
Contract: I have to
Covenant: I want to
A covenant marriage is intended by God to be a lifelong relationship exemplifying unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity, and growth. A covenant is an eternal commitment with God. People can negotiate out of contracts, but not out of a covenant. The heart of covenant marriage is “the steadfast love of the Lord,” which comes from the very heart of God and “never ceases” (Lam. 3:22, RSV).
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Well, no matter what.. shit happens sometimes right? Your spouse cheats on you, your spouse abuse you, your spouse changed into a evil person that you don't know anymore and the only way out of your misery is to end the marriage.

Sounds simple in theory right?

Putting aside the Christian faith and breaking your vows.. It is simple if you don't have children.. cos it's straightforward. Sign the papers, divide your stuff, fight over who gets to keep the sofa or the dog, and get out of each other's lives.

But what if you have children? The psychological impact of a divorce on a child, especially a ugly divorce, is just... bad. As a child of parents who went through an ugly divorce, plus being manipulated by both parents in their stupid divorce game and in the end left high & dry, I understand fully the pain & drama.

I hold my wedding vows very solemnly and I expect the same from Le Hubby. My parents had a failed marriage and I've also seen many failed marriages so I am very determined to make mine work. This world is full of decaying morals and broken promises.

I believe strongly in the phrase "death till us part" because that's the only valid reason my husband can have for leaving me. I can't control or dictate when he is going to die (or when I am going to die) because that is in God's hands. But the rest is in our hands. We have to work together to make our marriage work because it is a partnership. A commitment and a solemn vow that both of us made together.

Also, I will not be swept up in the trend that marriage is just an act of signing a piece of paper. Especially in Singapore where so many people get married for the sake of applying for a HDB flat! A lot of couples I know didn't even think of getting married if it is not mandatory by law to have a marriage certificate before they can get the keys to their HDB flat!

Seriously.. is that what marriage is about nowadays? ヽ(●゚´Д`゚●)ノ゚

Instead of "I want to marry you because I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and only you", it's "Let's spend $10 to apply for a flat ok! When we get successfully get the allotment for the HDB flat then we get married ok?".

So the prerequisite now for a marriage is the HDB confirmation letter that you have successfully balloted for a flat? Do you want the reason of your marriage to be based on that? "Oh, I married your father because I needed his name to apply to buy a HDB flat and without the marriage certificate we cannot collect the keys."

Well, Le hubby and I have tried 4 times to apply for a HDB flat through the BTO process but failed.. I blame it on him because he voted for the opposition party instead of PAP during the elections.. Hahahaha! But in any case, I trust that God has a better plan for us and maybe a better option will come up in the future. Buying a house is not like buying a dress.. we can't exchange it or send it for a refund. But despite not having a flat, we still proceeded with the wedding because our reason for getting married is not because of the house.

When I had to look for a new place to stay after being evicted, the rental prices were sky high. I ended up renting a room at Recreation Lane for $1500 a month which was bleeding me dry. It was the only place I could find which allows me to bring Chloe along and though I could get a cheaper room for $800 elsewhere, I refused to give up my dog. Le hubby offered to pay for half my rental or even move in with him, but I refused because I didn't want our relationship to be based on other factors. I don't want him or his parents or anyone else to think that I am with him because I want to make use of him. I want to be with him because I love him and he's the one for me.

So I stayed at that place for 17 months and struggled really hard to make ends meet because honestly I don't earn a lot of money, I don't have parents or family to rely on, I don't have any savings and I had to come up with money for the wedding in a short period of time. Luckily I had my night shift allowance which gave me enough money to pay my rent, and I lost enough weight to fit into my gowns because I had so little sleep & so much stress at work. Though my health suffered and I was hospitalized, I got 2 months of paid hospitalization leave to settle into my new home and also have time to accompany Mama Chew to the market so we can have bonding time and I can learn how to manage a family so I can manage my own next time. During the time I always ask God why is my life so difficult and why can't I have a normal family life like many other people... but through the bitterness & the pain, I've learnt to appreciate the sweet.

I am so happy staying with Le hubby and his family now. Though I still want our own place someday so I can play homemaker and do "wifey stuff". It's been years since I lived in a proper home and his family is awesome! Simple things that Le hubby & his sisters take for granted sometimes are so precious to me. Things like having dinner at home with his parents everyday, no need to pay expensive rental fee every month, no need to buy groceries or daily essentials like toilet paper/detergent, no need to wash or iron my clothes cos they have a domestic helper, no need to do housework. I give Mama Chew a small allowance (same amount as Le Hubby) every month to chip in for utilities and groceries though she doesn't expect everything from me. His parents are not calculative and treats me really well. #solucky #Godlovesme

Mama Chew keeps her children's money & jewelry and even use their savings to invest to grow. I call Le hubby's savings account that Mama keep for him as his "Mama Chew bank account", while Mama Chew calls it his "娶老婆帐户", which literally translates to "marry a wife fund". When we needed money to pay for our wedding last year, we used up all our savings and that still wasn't enough cos it was a huge sum.

Luckily Le hubby had his "marry a wife fund" cos almost 1/4 of the money we needed came from that account! Both of us shared the expenses for the wedding. He bought the wedding bands and the engagement ring which was already five figure sum. I paid for my wedding gowns, shoes & makeup artist. The rest we split almost 50/50 from our joint account where we dumped our savings in so it's easier to make payments to the vendors and keep track from a single account.

His parents very kindly offered to help us pay for some of the wedding expenses cos initially we planned to ROM first then save up before we do the dinner banquet (which is so expensive, I feel like crying whenever I think of the bill that we signed) but they insisted that we do everything together because even though the marriage certificate is a legal document, they are traditionalists who don't recognize a marriage until there's a wedding banquet. They also have many old fashioned friends who think the same way. Moreover Le hubby is their eldest child and only son.

In fact, though Mama Chew did not interfered with our wedding preparations, she had specific requests for the venue of our dinner banquet:

  1. Cannot be in Sentosa because it is very inaccessible for the older folks
  2. Must be beside or near an MRT Station for guests who don't drive
  3. Must be a 5 star hotel, cannot be country club or Chinese restaurant
  4. The food must be good

Considering I only had 5 months to look and confirm the venue, I think I did well with my choice to have it at Grand Hyatt Singapore because it meets all her requirements. My other choices were Capella Singapore (cannot because it's in Sentosa!), Fullerton Hotel (fully booked), St Regis (crazy expensive!) or Mandarin Oriental (weird ballroom shape).

Le hubby & I decided to pay for everything ourselves even though we have to empty our bank accounts (hope to earn the money back soon!) cos it's not fair to make his parents fork out money for our wedding. So we compromised on having only 26 tables for our wedding dinner instead of the initial forecasted 40 to 50 tables.

My dad didn't even give me anything for my wedding. No words of blessings, no angbao, no jewelry, nothing.  His wife (not my mother) said that he don't have to give me anything because he is my father. Well, I don't expect anything from him or my mother because I've been living alone without their assistance or love or concern for the past 8 years.. but honestly? Empty handed? You don't even go to your friend's wedding empty handed.. let alone your own daughter right? It's not like he's poor. He's a freaking millionaire with so many businesses! Will it kill him to buy me a $100 gold bracelet as a memento?

Even my mum's brother went to borrow money to buy me a gold bracelet! I was horrified when my Emama told me because I am not close to him and he is not well-to-do at all! But it goes to show what a great father I have when my uncle, whom I only see less than 5 times in my entire life, went to buy me a gold bracelet so he can give it to me during the tea ceremony.

Personally I think my dad considers it a big gift & giving me lots of face when he agreed to walk me down the aisle during our church wedding.

When we decided to have a church wedding, I called him and met up with him to ask nicely in person if he can walk me down the aisle, which I think most fathers will be happy to do it right? His outright answer was "Why must I? Can I don't do it?".

(メ`д´)┫WAH LAO EH!! 

I was so pissed off that I kept silent for a while. I've never asked him for anything in the past 8 years of my life and all I want is him to spend 5 mins to hold my hand to give me over to my husband in church and he gave me such a stupid & callous answer. I told him "No you can't. I only have one father and I cannot find a replacement. It must be you." and he was still unwilling to do it until I said "Forget it.. I'll just walk down alone myself". He was surprised by what I said, then horrified when I said "People will think my father is dead because that's the only reason why the bride walks down the aisle alone.". His superstitious side got the better of him and I think he would rather put up with walking me down the aisle then want people to think that he is dead or something. Cut story short, he walked me down the aisle and considered it my wedding gift. He asked for 1 table during our wedding banquet and requested to sit far away in the corner. He did not come on stage during the toast, he did not say anything to me, and Le hubby remembered him asking for the complimentary parking coupon before walking away. Wow. Thanks Dad!

My mother better than my dad.. at least she bought me a gold bracelet (she even send me pictures of a few designs to let me choose) to give me during the tea ceremony (which my dad refused to attend) and she was supportive & participated actively in the wedding ceremony. She came to my house in the morning during the gatecrash, sat with my dad & his wife at church on the same row without causing a scene, and behaved like the perfect mother during the wedding dinner banquet. Well, there were some issues that I was unhappy with her about, but compared to my dad she was great.

Anyway, the wedding drama is over and they are both out of my life again. I am happy and hope it stays that way because they are so toxic to be around. God gave me really wonderful parents-in-law to compensate for the shitty parents I have.

So.. how do you categorize the stages of your life?

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