Two of Us

And we turn seven

!(imgcenter)https://yannisms.com/pix/movies/love_actually.jpg!

There is something about the movie Love Actually that gets to me.

Every year since 2003, I have watched it at least once and every time, I turn into a blubbering mess of tears, sobs and smiles. It happens when Karen (Emma Thompson) finds out that the gold necklace her husband had bought was not meant for her, when she tells him that he is not only a fool but has made her entire life with him seems foolish, when Daniel (Liam Neeson) gives a eulogy at his wife’s funeral, when little Sam dashes through Heathrow airport in search of his love, when Mark (Andrew Lincoln) expresses his love for his best friend’s wife, Juliet (Keira Knightley).

It’s a soppy, soppy movie and I have fallen right into it.

…..

In less than 24 hours, Jimmy and I will turn seven. Unbelievably so but true indeed.

To be honest, this is not a perfect relationship. Those who know me will know that this has been nothing like a fairytale love and I have never portrayed it as such.

Truth is, we both work very hard at this relationship. Whatever we have today is based on a lot of trust, love, honesty, compromise and effort. There are times when we falter and lose the focus to try. We fight, stop listening and forget about understanding each other. But we always bounce back right into the rhythm and move on, improving as we go.

He is not the perfect man to me, and I am sure I am not his idea of perfect either. Sometimes, I wish he could be more sensitive, more romantic, less curt and be more of a listening ear than a preaching voice. And he probably has a million other traits to ask of me too.

But that is the beauty of love – it’s when you look past all these “flaws” and see the person for who he is and still accept him unconditionally. I know I can never change him to become my idea of what a perfect partner should and this has stopped becoming my goal ever since I shed my childish notions and opened my eyes.

……

The highlight of this year has to be the purchase of our first house together. It signifies our shared step into the future and although I am apprehensive about the responsibilities this brings, I am also feeling the excitement at going beyond our current relationship.

I can’t wait for him to put that ring on my finger and call me his wife, and I say that without embarrassment. He is the person whom I want to spend forever with, to hold hands with when wrinkles deepen in our faces and grey hair cover our heads. I don’t care if we will never drive fancy cars or live in big houses, if we will always be eating at hawker centres and never buying branded goods as long as we are together and happy.

I knew that when I was 19 and at 25, I understand it now.

…..

I’m just really happy to be where I am today, to be standing with this man and counting down to a new year. We may never be the perfect couple, we will always fight and whinge but I’m glad I am doing it with him.

Dear boyfriend, I don’t know what exactly it was that made you fall for the 18-year-old me but I am glad you saw something in the two of us and made me believe in it too. Happy anniversary and I love you much much!

Two of Us

Stuck in reverse

The conversation flowed, the atmosphere was cosy and comfortable. We ate, chatted, laughed, exchanged memories and reminisced. In many ways, it was like the first date that I have not had for the longest time except that it was a sparkling date between two people who eventually became friends.

And when we parted ways, I was almost sorry to see him go, especially since he would be leaving town for at least a year. Which, in a way, is rather strange given how our contact had been limited for the past few years. If not for his imminent departure, I doubt we would have even met up today.

I have said before that I do not regret my decision although I do regret the hurt I had caused to someone so funny, kind and sweet. And tonight, I felt that regret acutely because I was once again reminded of how genuine a person he is. I am deeply sorry for my lack of patience and tact, my willfulness and my insensitivity.

The little spark was still there, sort of, but things are very different now. I knew then that it wouldn’t have worked and that is probably true. I would never have grown to love him as much as I loved him, and it would always be a one-sided affair. But a certain level of camaraderie was there and it was hard to shake it off.

I’m glad that we didn’t take it far. Because then, it would always be something sweet and tender that we never had, rather than a broken reminder of the past.

I wish you shelter from the storm
A cozy fire to keep you warm
But most of all when snowflakes fall
I wish you love

Friends

The Christmas goose

(Otherwise known as A Very Long Blog Post)

That’s me, I am the goose.
Not because I resemble the bird in any way but because like the poor bird, I am so overfed that you can now extract my liver for premium foie gras.

Christmas Eve
Christmas started innocuously enough. The pouring rain truly dampened my spirits and I was restless and grumpy.

“!(imgcenter)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/126/332348904_0a739bea01_m.jpg!(Christmas friends!)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyliew/332348904/

After caroling at the Grand Hyatt hotel (which had a strangely rapturous reaction from the audience), the bunch of us made our way to Modestos to pig out on giant pizzas. Unfortunately, we finished our meal in record time and started singing at the restaurant. Okay, so we drew some annoyed glares but to be fair, I think most of the patrons were rather pleased with our harmony.

Then, we walked down Orchard Road, starting our very own countdown to Christmas five minutes too late and singing carols as we walked, while passers-by stared, cheered and sang along.

Was it madness? Definitely. But it was also one heck of a night, something I would not be forgetting in a hurry.

The boyfriend drove me home and in the warm comforts of my little room, we exchanged presents.

“!(imgcenter)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/333975535_fd81b77eee_m.jpg!(Presents galore)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/333975535/

He bought me the Nike yoga bag which I had briefly mentioned my liking for! It was a Nike Christmas for the both of us since I had gotten him the Nike+iPod sport kit, especially bought in New York by a friend of mine who was there for a business trip. The sport kit was a hint, boyfriend. Hint, hint!

It’s Christmas time!
On Christmas day proper, we trundled down to Raffles Hotel for the reunion session. Can I just say that the Chorale seniors had more fun than the JC singers did? Looking at their faces and body language, not many seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was carol after carol, sung with deadened and bored expressions. Where was the excitement, the buzz, the passion?

On another note, I fell in love with the boyfriend all over again, as he stood in front of the crowd and sang his solo for Gaudete. His lovely voice made me want to throw my arms around him and plant a smacking kiss on his lips.

After that, it was dinner at Cafe Brio’s with the gang. We ate and laughed and chatted and the mood was relaxing and festive. The food was replenished quickly and the conversation flowed. When it came to the gift exchange, we were all excited and raring to go.

“!(imgcenter)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/147/333833681_8c0e8f0eb4_m.jpg!(With all my presents)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyliew/333833681/

I FEEL LOVED! Trevor, the sweetheart, was my secret Santa and he bought me an Escada perfume set! I wasn’t really expecting anything expensive, least of all from him, and it took me by such sweet surprise. Sniffs. He’s really been one of my bestest friends in the world and I am truly blessed to have him in my life.

And so, Christmas ended with me snuggling in bed with the boyfriend and playing Viva Pinata and Uno on a borrowed XBOX 360.

What a great Christmas it was!

The organised chaos

The eve of Christmas

“!(imgcenter)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/157/331021342_140e1ed357_m.jpg!(Blown, dry)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/331021342/

So the clock has ticked tocked its way to December 24 and it’s officially Christmas eve.

I have gotten myself a new haircut, a long overdue one, I must say, and have ended up looking more juvenile than ever. Gill, my stylist, kept grinning and calling me his princess but I think he is just heaping praises on his own “masterpiece”. Oh well, at least the big, blown-dried look was something temporary which I had grown to enjoy too little, too late.

Too little, too late. How true of life.

Oddly enough, something akin to fear and anxiety gripped me the entire day. The whole “do I want to live my life this way” question surfaced in my brain and it hasn’t left since then. I am (only) 25, is this what I really want out of my life? I want to feel alive, hopeful, loved, desired, idealistic, excitement, joy, anticipation. I don’t want to look back and regret not ever doing this or that.

I couldn’t shake it off, it hounded me like a pack of hungry wolves after a juicy prey, stalking me like my shadow. Maybe I just like the chase and only the chase, because I am greedy and want to have it all.

And it’s still echoing in my mind now.

Everything Else

It’s Christmas time!

Christmas tree

Originally uploaded by macbiff.

I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (Baby it’s cold outside)
This evening has been (Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice (I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

It’s freezing indoors, the rain pelting on the windows forming a gentle rhythm that’s strangely hypnotic on my sleepy mind. I’m sitting in front of my computer with a hot, steaming drink and wearing a snug coat that’s keeping me warm.

I love Christmas.
There is just something in the air that makes me go all gooey and fuzzy inside.
And the dresses, oh the dresses!

There’s really no better time in the year than Christmastime (other than my birthday ho ho).

Everything Else

Beauty and the Beast

!(img)https://yannisms.com/pix/movies/beauty_beast.jpg!

It may sound rather strange given how there are so many good movies out in the past 15 years but my favourite movie is still Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, shown to the whole world in 1991.

Given how my mother used to work at the candy/drinks counter of The Cathay, before its transformation into the uber cool place of today, it is not really surprising how movies are such a big part of my life. Even when she stopped working there, movies were still a treat in our lives especially when it came to Disney’s animated films.

We caught Beauty and the Beast when I was 10 years old, two years after the screening of another favourite, The Little Mermaid. But it was Beauty that stayed in my mind for the longest time, its themes, beautiful visuals, haunting music and tender romance resonating in my young mind.

I loved how the old woman’s curse was measured in the form of an enchanted rose, how the underdog (Beast) rose to defeat the villain (Gaston), how Belle was not your typical princess and damsel in disguise, how the show clearly illustrated that people sometimes are not who they seem to be, how lovable Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and Chip and Beast’s dog were, how funny the lyrics were, how the movie made me cry when Beast died and how I had silently cheered to see Beauty and Beast dance at the end while looking lovingly into each other’s eyes.

I used to pretend that I was Belle because she, like me, loved reading books and was a little different from the rest of the people. I had lost my father so I understood what it meant to be in a single-parent family battling perception and loneliness. I memorised all her lines, all her songs, to the point that every little inflection and emotion in her voice was glued in my brain.

The movie was magic to me and it still is, today. When there was an IMAX theatre re-release of the movie in 2002, the boyfriend brought me to watch it on my birthday and it still made me tear a little. It’s a magical feeling that modern films cannot replicate, even with their technological wizardry and fancy cast. Sadly, the Disney animated films released subsequently were never of the same technique and standards as before.

Most importantly, the movie showed me how love is simple and goes beyond the superficiality of looks and riches. It’s not about the size of the diamond or the home, it’s all about the other person being able to make you laugh, feel loved and best of all, become a better person than you were before meeting him/her.