i cannot believe it will be 2014 tomorrow but i'm grateful for the chance to start anew.
2013 has been a most challenging year with many heartbreaking and trying moments. i learned that even the longest friendships may not stand the test of times and that friends you've made in the recent years can prove to be your biggest source of support during your greatest trials.
i'm most grateful to my family that has always been there come what may and for amazing coworkers who have literally seen me break down at work and who are always there to hear me talk about my troubles or rejoice with me.
here's a quick recap of this year's ups and downs:
at the start of 2013, i had the opportunity to be with my little sister as she opened her mission call, prepared to go to the temple and then received her own endowment.
and now, she has been out in taiwan serving the Lord for 8 months. time flies and i'm so glad we were able to skype her on christmas eve and am proud of the work she's done so far as well as her spiritual growth thus far. she is an amazing missionary!
us three sisters at the bountiful temple for sammie's endowment
skyping sister chen for christmas - best christmas gift!
in february, i had the chance to go back to singapore for chinese new year.
in 2012, we were all stuck in provo for CNY since we were all in school. i knew i would be graduated by 2013 and so i made a promise that i would return home for CNY in 2013 and i was indeed able to.
it was so amazing being home with family and spending more time with sammie before her mission.
it was also the last CNY that we would spend with my dearest ah po.
my ah po experienced much discomfort during CNY but she is such a warrior. she endured it all and is in my eyes (always) the strongest woman i ever knew.
in march, my first nightmare of the year started with the breakdown of my car.
the mechanic who had done the last oil change did not shut the cap tight and so all the oil leaked out and busted my engine.
there began a series of unpleasant phone calls and correspondence to figure out how much the car shop would pay and how to get it repaired without it costing a bomb.
it was the most emotionally draining period of my life dealing with irresponsible and unreasonable people and i barely got my car fixed more than a month later.
following which, one of my tires exploded on me in may and in november, someone hit my car (thankfully her insurance paid for the repairs in full since she was at fault).
and basically, my car has never worked right since march and so we sold it off and got a brand new 2014 toyota camry. all is made well in life again.
in april, just two months after my trip to singapore, i flew back to singapore again to say goodbye to my ah po.
i have never felt that nervous, urgent and unsettled on a flight home before. i prayed hard and seriously feared that i would not make it home in time to say goodbye.
but at the same time, i had faith in my ah po's ability to hold on because i've always known her to be such an amazingly strong woman.
we made it in time and she even held on two extra days so that she could say goodbye to the rest of our family members flying in from all over the world.
and on april 5, we said goodbye to the sweetest angel in our lives.
it was extremely difficult but i know she has gone to a better place with no more pain and that she is reunited with her loved ones.
the family bond i felt during her funeral was so strong and i knew that it was her last gift to us. she was always that glue that held us all together.
we still talk about her like she is still alive and that she is just far away from us. we love and miss her still.
rest in peace
in june, i officially entered the old club when i hit my quarter-life crisis haha.
such an occasion was celebrated with high tea and a staycation.
also in june, i made a crazy decision to just fly out to cali and visit my girlfriends.
we ate too much, hung out and just soaked up the sun. it was a lot of fun.
and this was just one of the many trips i took in the year of 2013.
in 2013, i also took MANY trips to vegas with friends, family, etc. as well as a family vacation with the parents!
jan vegas girls trip
may cousins vegas trip
june cali trip
sept end of summer lake las vegas trip
year end cali/vegas trip with the parents
in october, after much anticipation, we welcomed my baby nephew ian chan into this world.
he's the cutest thing that's happened in 2013 and it's such a pity he was not able to meet my sweet ah po. but i'm sure they saw each other up there and that she made sure he was ready to come into this world.
day two in this world: chubby cheeks wide awake
at his baby blessing at two months' old. such an auntie killer.
in 2013, i also started going to the gym and stretching regularly haha.
it feels good to have a good workout everyday as well as start getting my flexibility back.
in 2014, i hope to continue to do so. i also hope to get myself back into dance classes.
although i've had more than my fair share of hardships this year, i also know that i have been continually blessed through my trials and that i would not have been able to pull through them if not for my heavenly father. he constantly guides my life and gives me support and strength.
i've also had moments of joy and laughter and things to look forward in life in 2013.
here's to many more good things ahead in this new year and may we also have enough sorrow and pain in our lives so that we may know how to appreciate and cherish the beautiful things in our lives.