Monday, May 7, 2018

HELLO SINGAPORE;

it's time for a new adventure.
i can't believe it's been 10 years since i left Singapore as a wide-eyed girl in my teens not knowing what to expect about living overseas and away from my family.

i started college and had a blast with my newfound freedom - i learned to make friends, cook, make my own decisions (sometimes staying up till too late and then regretting it in class the next day), set my own curfew, etc.
(here are some photos from my transition: i loved looking through photos from freshman year)
my first apartment freshman year - the elms
freshman year in my first apartment, receiving my first package 
freshman year room decoration - looks so sad haha 
i actually really loved my roommates freshman year - 6 girls in a tiny apartment but everyone was so nice and we had so much fun together!
went on my first road trip and forgot to tell my roommates (also didn't have a cellphone then) so they freaked out haha
spent many random late nights at IHOP whenever the boys were hungry cause IHOP is open 24 hours
experienced my first corn maze
took up ballroom dancing
experienced snow for the first time 
went sledding for the first time

and then i got my first big girl job and started on a path of responsibilities and paying my own bills, getting my own apartment, furniture, etc. 
how has it been 5 1/2 years since i started this amazing job
if you can dream it, you can do it! 
building my own bed frame

it has not been an easy adventure.
there have been challenges along the way but it has been an amazing adventure.
living overseas has been one of the best decisions of my life.
i've learned so much about myself, learned to be independent and learned what's important in life and how to navigate through life (with lots of good food, travels and solid friends).
as much as America will always have a special place in my heart (no matter how i complain about certain things), it's time for home.

needless to say, i'm extremely nervous.
i have not lived at home for a long time and a lot of things have changed.
not to mention, i've never worked in Singapore or lived adult life in Singapore.
what credit card should i get? should i get a car and how do i go about that?
while people my age know how to navigate their way around adult life in Singapore, i'm literally starting from the beginning and that can be scary. 
there is a lot of navigating that remains ahead.
but my family and friends are still here and at least i know how to use the MRT haha.
but whatever lies ahead, my motto in life has always been, "it's an adventure!/adventure is out there."
so here we go.
it won't be easy (life isn't easy) but i hope people are kind along the way.
and honestly, looking at photos from my first year in college and remembering how much fun i had along the way while adapting to a whole new country and culture, i'm optimistic. 

a lot of people have asked me why i'm giving up the life i have in the U.S. to move back and why now?
if you know me well, home has always been my ultimate goal. 
along the way, i think people started to doubt that i would ever move home because year after year went by and i continued to work here.
there have been many points in my career that i was like okay i think this year is the year.
but time and time again, God told me, "not yet."
and so i waited.
last year after my trip back to Singapore for CNY, i felt a strong longing feeling that okay i'm done, i really want to go home.
and so i started the job hunt process.
but honestly, since i was always so busy at work and with social stuff, i would literally just apply for a handful of jobs here and there.
and really wasn't putting enough effort into it - typing up a cover letter quickly or just applying for all the jobs that only required you to submit your resume and fill up a short application.

and then suddenly at the beginning of the year, i had two really good opportunities come up and i was in full interview prep mode.
since all my interviews were scheduled for when i was back in Singapore for CNY, i felt like i couldn't even really enjoy myself properly.
everything went by so fast and the reality that i could be moving back to Singapore not long after my CNY vacation actually really scared me. 
it was almost like i started having cold feet and wasn't sure if i was doing the right thing anymore.
then the job offers came in and i could not sleep well or feel good about making a decision.
it was a horrible time but i finally decided to just press forward.

having the last two months to prep for my return home was amazing. 
i don't feel the same anxiety i did anymore and time has helped me ease into everything. 
i'm still slightly nervous (which is normal) but i'm excited for the adventure that lies ahead. 

needless to say, there are many things i'm going to miss.
i lived in the U.S. for 10 years and we all know 10 years is a long time. 
my friends asked me what i'm going to miss the most.
for sure that would be my little sister who is still living in the states (it's been so fun being roommates and doing everything together).
and then my friends said besides her since that's a given.
you know what, i'm definitely going to miss my car and driving on wide roads the most haha.
but, i'm also going to miss (not in any particular order): non-humid weather (hello sticky sweaty singapore haha), non-oily hair, my walk-in closet, $5 movies in the luxury recliner seats movie theaters, the dollar movie theater, my own office (hello office cubicle sigh), late night/last minute grocery runs, the freedom to drive to a friend's house late at night, dinner parties with friends, my amazing coworkers, the best boss ever, long weekend trips to LA/NYC, temple trips, unlimited data, cheap baking ingredients (i will never bake again because a block of cream cheese in Singapore is like $5), not sweating like mad when baking (again, i will never bake again), cheap gas, game nights with my friends, cheap and good shopping, american work culture, gospel-focused friends and so much more. i couldn't possibly list everything. 

thank you to the country that taught me to always be appreciative of good asian food, to learn how to cook the singaporean food i couldn't find here, to learn how to deal and negotiate with car salesmen, that gave me the best of friends over the years, that helped me learn to serve in my callings in church, that gave me the best first job experience and the best bosses and coworkers ever, that allowed me to visit Disneyland at least once a year as well as some of my favorite places like NYC, and many more. the list is endless.

i didn't tell a lot of people about this big decision in my life, simply because i consider myself to be a somewhat private person and didn't feel like i needed to broadcast it.
so if i didn't get to say bye to you in person, here's my announcement/goodbye.
thank you to everyone who made time to see me before i left, and for all the notes, gifts and kind words.
love the shih siblings! 
sophomore year roommates - 10 years ago! 
Disney girls reunion (missing Tawni) 
BFFs. as we were going our separate ways, we were like, 'we've lived apart before, we can do this' hahahaha 
going to miss our monthly fish outings 
we will keep in touch! and baby Liam, please don't grow up too fast! 
my second family <3 
who's going to play games with me now? 
the sweetest girl! i'm going to continue stalking your IG so make sure you post lots of instastories haha 
on my last day of work, my boss wouldn't let me pack and go home alone because she didn't want me to walk out alone. so she stayed and waited for me :) 
when you're great friends and show up to the same place at the same time haha 
see you in Asia! 
these girls <3<3<3

everyone, please come visit me in Singapore!
i seriously think one of the best things in life is continually crossing paths in different places in different points of my life.
my friends always like to tease me about literally always having a friend in any city i travel to.
and you know what, i love that!
we all move on in life and move apart but i always love those moments when we find ourselves in the same city and can catch up. 
so, don't be a stranger.
ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE

xoxo,
C

Saturday, March 24, 2018

2018 first quarter update;

wow, how has it been so long.
i looked at the title of my last post and it read 'year end adventures' and now we're almost at the end of the first quarter of the year.
needless to say the first quarter of the year has just been hectic.
january feels like a major blur to me - work wasn't super busy but i think i had a lot going on outside of work and was literally just waiting for the month to be over so i can go home to singapore for chinese new year. sorry january.
according to the photos that i have (see, friends, this is why i always have to take photos haha - pics or it didn't happen haha), this is what happened in january/early february before i went home to singapore:
finally got to watch a Broadway show at the Eccles Theater 
had hotpot and played games with the fish group 
made pineapple tarts 
caught up with the medical couple while they were in town 
attended a bunch of events for work 
had a successful EQ/RS activity despite the heavy snow 
lots of team work haha 
light refreshments - musubis and fried rice balls 
laksa night with our married friends 
random video call with the older sister featuring hilarious filters haha 
love hanging out with becka when she's in town 
finally caught up for dinner with these two // my panda outfit gift for baby fitzgerald 
random sunday fun with cute cute kalia and felicia <3

and then february was just pure bliss since most of it was spent in singapore!
so much eating involved as always and lots of family time playing games, etc. 
also a time for me to be ever grateful for my friends who i only see once a year but who always make the effort to still meet.
cause you know how if you don't meet up often or make it a point to keep in touch you just drift away and you don't really feel the need to prioritize that person anymore?
well, it's never like that with my singapore friends and that's when i know i have true friends for life!
this year instead of "when are you getting married?" i actually got more "when are you moving back?" questions and honestly, i feel a lot more loved when i get more of the latter question cause the first question is just plain kpo but with the second question i can feel their concern and their wanting me to be back so we can see each other more. 

this year was also the year our cousins clan on the paternal side was basically in full attendance cause maine was back home as well.
feels like it's been forever since we've had everyone in attendance like that.
made me think about when we were young - esp. reunion dinner when we were like oh maine is back, the prawn peeler is on duty then.
those memories.
seriously love my cousins so much!
beautiful sunset flying into san francisco
lunch treat with my mom's godparents - they were so sweet and kept expressing to us that they were so happy to be able to spend time with us 
annual meet-up with this one who is now in vancouver and lovin' life there 
CNY nails for the year of the doggie 
first time meeting baby cayson 
reunion dinner spread 
reunion dinner family photo 
cousins in full attendance! 
codenames time 
super cute CNY macarons 
annual photo with ah po 
with the maternal side cousins  
FAMILY <3 
i don't know why this was such a wide shot haha 
day two outfits 
jc friends // sc friends 
church friends <3
playing tourists 
2nd meet-up with the jc class clique - challenging ourselves to an escape room and apparently picked a super hard one. we're doing the harry potter one next time okay? 
 
role play murder mystery game set in 1943 old shanghai - it was so fun dressing up and actually going through the crime scene and searching for clues and all 
late night baking on our last night in singapore - doggie cookies for the doggie year 
last family photo of the trip after the airport as always

and then march has been busy busy busy!
work has been so overwhelming since i've been back.
not forgetting that i was deadly ill the first two weeks after i got back from singapore and so that made catching up even worse.
and the work hasn't slowed down. 
it's good to keep busy at work though.
and then i pretty much just chill on the weekends or run errands or declutter/clean haha. 
so here are the photos from march so far haha.
sound of music at the Eccles Theater was amazing! it brought back so many memories of us as young kids watching this show over and over again. i can still memorize so many songs and so many of the scenes. loved it so much! 
dropped by liz's baby shower literally just for a second to pass her a present. and then i didn't let her hug me and wouldn't let her stand too close to me cause i was so sick haha 
cooked laksa for our korean parents and they loved it so much! made pandan cake for dessert and that was a major hit too :)  
march EQ/RS activity where we made budaejigae - the teams had to play games to win the ingredients and it was really fun! 
yummy goodness boiling on the stove 
aaron... always making faces behind me... 
 
dinner + mahjong at their new place and chef woo (#PandanManZiChar) cooked yummy hor fun for us! so good! also, it had been ages since we played mahjong! keith is still as skillful as before. annoying... haha 
dinner + jordan river temple open house + nielsen's custard with this group = wednesday night well spent. it was such a good mid-week break. 

and there you go, photo overload but it could have been worse (lots of words without photos hahaha).
i still can't believe how fast 2018 is going by.
every year just moves faster and faster - horrifying haha.
april is already packed with many social stuff and it's actually going to be a super Disney-filled month with a Disney reunion with the Disney girls the second weekend of April and then a trip to Disneyland the third weekend (okay i just had to haha).
can't wait can't wait can't wait!

xoxo,
C