60 nights.

Greeting the last quarter of the year within our own private space still feels like a dream we spoke of many, many conversations ago. I still remember, somewhere in 2009, we were spending your lunch break together. I was lying on your shoulders while we sat at one of our usual bench spots not too far away from my home. You were clad in your uniform as you were serving the nation then. I kept looking at my watch to remind you to go when it was time, so that you won’t run late. The other part of me, didn’t want to hold on to the moment (and you) for too long. Our days and talk then were almost always centered around “what ifs” as well as me being left in tears when the double lives I was leading became more and more distinct.

Tomorrow marks our second 20th together as man and wife (traditionally). As much as every airline sale (still) makes me spend my time frantically sharking for the best tickets for my next escape, I have begun seeing adventures in the simple and everyday.

I don’t think I have been able to fully reply the question “how’s married life” to the many that have asked. Partly because I know I cannot answer the question without being specific and general is usually how most people would address a question like that. And also, a general answer wouldn’t be doing justice to this 2 months, would it?

I have so many favourites. Watching you get around with doing things that are under your department. When you get excited to bake. Your fascination with opening my “Christmas” presents that arrive nearly every other day. And even the (few) mornings when I have to force myself to get out of bed to prepare breakfast for you. But, aside from those, the feeling within when I get to see you off at the door (some) mornings and being home before you get back is indescribable.

We definitely haven’t figured it all out. We still sleep with our backs facing each other on some nights. But, when morning arrives, our hearts have a way of finding its path back to each other and that is keeping us going. Cheers to everything that is lying ahead for us, S.

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It feels like the days have been rolling non-stop, especially since April. It has been the case of rolling in the deep (pun unintended) since Melbourne in March. April saw renovation works beginning after multiple delays and a bad start. Outings revolved around choosing tiles, sanitary/electrical fittings, furniture and appliances. It was a day at a time before the month concluded with the momentous India trip.

It was a battle of another sort when we landed in +91. There is a reason why people say, “India is a country you either love or hate. There is no in-between.” I felt just that on Day 2 itself in Chennai. I couldn’t wait to be back home. I wished it had been 4 day trip to India, not a 14 day one. I still cannot believe I survived. I don’t know which was worse. 14 days in India or 14 days in Napier Prison. But, India taught me a hard lesson – “let go”.

We tried to slow down life when for the remaining of May and not making decisions for a while. But, carpentry didn’t get fabricated as planned (while we were away) and further delays greeted us when we arrived back home. The subsequent few days or rather nights, ended in the wee of hours of the morning with our carpenter. We tried to hold the rope tight without falling off and thanks to a weekend of birthday celebrations we had some breather.

June came, finally bearing the wedding invites, after a 2-week delay. It was another race. 800 invites over 1.5 months. Alongside with finalising the details and all the vendors for the ROM, quick dates, even if it was for 30-minutes, was something worth looking forward to. It was also the final lap to complete the renovation project before July arrived. We sprinted to the finish line and made it, just in the nick of time.

July begun with some of the toughest days I had to pull through. You end up realising that perception is a very scary word and most times, you have no control of the lens you are viewed with. I kept reminding myself to pick the right battles as the days went by. 8th of July 2017 was a dream that came true after a really long while. It was perfect in my eyes and more than what I could have imagined. Despite and inspite of all, I still stand by the fact that I have the best people standing behind me to hold me up. Hen’s in Jakarta felt like a reward for surviving thus far and for me to regain my steam for part 2. The high was a SINE curve. Good days and bad days kept alternating. Some nights ended with such heavy conversations you are left wondering, “wasn’t July supposed to be the best month of your life?”

August has barely rolled. But, I feel defeated. I’m exhausted from trying to be stronger than I feel. I have no more steam to get the engine going. 16 days and 20 hours to go before 20th August 2017 greets me. Do I need luck/divine intervention/energy? Let’s just say all of the above for starters, shall we?

“I don’t need you to light up my world. Just sit with me in the dark.”

Nostalgia.

This year has been filled with tremendous nostalgia with the memories of the past 2 years especially.

2015 begun with me taking the biggest trip of my life. One way ticket in tow and a few grand. Didn’t know when I was going to return but I just knew my visa was valid for 6-months. That meant, 16 July 2015 was the last day I could be in New Zealand’s soil. I knew I wanted to travel, to learn, to explore, to converse, to challenge myself, to grow, to become a stronger person. I didn’t know how. But, the only language I knew, then and now, was travel. Soon after I took off, travel mixed with love. The stakes were higher to succeed both individually as well as together. We had to make it work after all the risks we both took to set foot on this. We laughed, we fought, we cried. We travelled to the far ends of the road. Travelled till we became broke. Found ourselves jobs. Worked like dogs in a pack house doing shitty night-shift hours. Ended our night, or rather day, since it was nearly 4am, watching suits, drinking gin, falling deeper in love with each other and our (present) lives and then falling asleep on each other. Couple of weeks into the routine, crossroads hit us. It was either (for me, at least) to continue working another month or so, head to South Island and continue for another 90 days or fly back home. We fought being on opposite sides of the table. I fought for my homesickness, family, comfort, my best friend’s birthday I couldn’t miss even if I thought I could. You fought for us, to have me by your side and to make me stronger with your love. You let me win and agreed to flying home after a week in Sydney. S, those 90 days with you will always remain the closest in my heart, come what may. Even now, I think back on possibly what would remain to be greatest adventure of our lives and count my blessings twice, because I have you. Thank you, S, for that one decision you made, that made my “Yes, of course!” so easy.

The rest of 2015, saw days alternating between euphoria and nothingness. Hiding the details of my travel as S had to still remain as the shadow in my life. It felt impossible when all I wanted to do was yell and proclaim my love for him. Dabbled a bit in events and soon after, during a family holiday, S’s presence in my life got revealed. It felt as though someone had barged into my room and opened my closet without asking me. I wanted to be able to reveal my relationship on my own terms. But, I suppose, the cards never always get dealt in your favour, does it?

Within a matter of days, 2016 came knocking on our doors. Year begun rather rocky on many fronts. Switched back to engineering for an easier pocket. Took each day as it came. There were happy days, the ones that involved ignoring the huge white elephant in the room. There were silent, painful ones. The highlight of the first half of the year was managing to squeeze 2 travels with S, despite and in spite of everything. It took till June for things to settle on the home front. It felt like we had just begun to breathe when your last day at work got fixed. Blessing in disguise or not, we took it in our stride and planned for Melbourne in July. Attended the not-so-little sister’s 25th birthday bash and came back engaged! That bloody cold afternoon in Brighton Beach still feels so surreal and every moment is so vivid in my memory as if 25 July 2016 was just yesterday.

The months soon after, saw wedding preparations, house views and the whole works sprawled in front of us. Fast forward to today, 24 February 2017. Nearly 7 months since you proposed and 6 months to go, before we are traditionally married and are able to live under the same roof. It all feels like one huge whirlwind. But, there’s no one I’d rather be in with, than you. It’s finally coming together S. Like you always said.

30 minus 2.

Today I turn 28. Last year, my post was titled 26+1. But, this year, it felt like the reference to the BIG 30 although highly inevitable, seemed pretty accurate. The past year seems to have been the year where I fully transitioned into being an adult. As scary as decision-making was, I would say that I have done fairly well.

The culmination of our 7 years has been seen entirely in the past year alone – from the struggle of last December, to February, to June, to the proposal in Melbourne’s winter to our next phase, come the new year. I have to attest that the full credit of our relationship and my happiness goes to your patience, without which, we wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we stand today.

The past year also saw my brother moving out and transitioning to a new phase of life. All the wedding preparations and house setup makes me feel like November 2015 wasn’t too long ago – except a year has passed since. The home has grown so much more quiet that I can no longer recall the days in which there was one more person in the house to share the space and fight with. And in another 8 months or so, our family of 5 would be down to just 2, under one roof.

The past especially 5-6 months have been very hectic. My social life has taken a huge plunge. The people I used to meet every other day have been reduced to monthly meet-ups. My time is being stretched in so so many ways, but I know, beneath all of it, these are the ones I’ll count on anytime, any day. So thank you for bearing with me.

The past year saw me travelling to Boracay, Bangkok, Penang, Bali, Melbourne and Spain! I cannot believe we have actually ticked Tomatina off our bucket list!!! The next year would possibly see me travelling a lot less, so I’m glad we did Spain!

Thank you for the year that brought about a whole lot of changes. Some days, I wish time slowed down a bit, for me to relish and enjoy the moments just a little longer, before I had to jump to the next agenda on my plate. But, I suppose, you are never going to be fully ready for now. All I pray for, is that the coming year would be yet another wonderful one and for strength to get though with all that the year has to offer. The year ahead is going to be BIG. But, I know I have the best people surrounding me to make even the hardest moments seem surmountable. May the odds always be in our favour!

It’s happening all at once.

Over 3 months since my last post.

So much to share and so much to write.

I got engaged on my sister’s birthday while freezing my ass off!! Did a Great Ocean Road self-drive with the fiancé. My favourite costal drive in Australia!

Begun house hunting, ROM preparations, all while getting ready for my 16 day adventure in Spain! Spain was a blast minus the part I fell sick and struggled with my existence.

Took a while to get back to reality. But, I guess time has a funny way of kicking you back to where you need to be.

In another 3 months the year is will be drawing to an end. By then, I should have bought a house (!!!), gotten traditionally engaged, spent Christmas with the sister in Krabi sipping cocktails.

Can time slow down, yet spin so fast that August arrives soon. Cannot wait for the future to start (with you).

Sunday.

After nearly 2.5 months I spent the entire day home today.

Picking up The Sunday Times every Sunday morning was a ritual that had become part of the past for quite a while now. So, today, I decided to pick it up. I read skimmed through almost every other article but read and re-read just this one article unable to digest what I had just read.

It was about this lady who within a split second lost the two people her life revolved around. Her husband who suffered from some health problems decided to jump along with their autistic son so that she doesn’t have to suffer raising him alone.

I still remain unable to digest, let alone accept this. The only thought that formulates within me, as I try to even remotely put myself in her shoes, are along the lines of how grateful I am for everyone that surrounds me.

I’m ending my day curling up with “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. A reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Probably not the best way to spend a Sunday but the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.

Scaling your mountain.

I was part of a discussion today, on one’s attempt to scale K2. “A savage mountain that tries to kill you” according to an American climber. Ideas and questions got bounced off while we spoke on how we should fundraise.

And it got me thinking, what’s my mountain?

It isn’t on my bucket list actually, to climb a mountain. Not yet at least. I have always marvelled people putting their lives on the line and doing so, especially for a cause. But, that hasn’t inspired me yet to scale any, up till today.

And, today, he said “I want to show people anyone can do it if I can. After all, I got inspired by an ordinary man. He wasn’t a 5-star athlete, but just an ordinary man, like you and me.”

So, that moment got me setting my eyes on EBC. I’m not sure when I’m going to be embarking on it. But I will at some point. Possibly, in the next 3 years.

I might fail. I may come 100m shy of summit. I may not even embark at all. I may decide on something less challenging. Maybe Kinabalu, maybe Rinjani, maybe something else.

And, it just started raining. I reckon the Gods are already beginning to shower me with their blessings.

What is your mountain? It need not be a physical mountain. But, what are you looking to scale and conquer? What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is to live without feeling alive. Let’s start, shall we?

5/12.

April .jpg

April saw me being inspired on multiple occasions.

Attempted a 13km trek on an early Saturday morning. By early, I mean 7.45am. Got myself out of bed another 2 Saturdays for trek since.

Did brunch across the border at The Replacement Lodge on a lazy Sunday morning.

Life has settled into a routine of some sort. It’s not really a bad routine. Just a seemingly stagnant one.

I got reminded again that when one door closes, another opens up. After all, you only can wake up a sleeping person. Not one who pretends that he is sleeping.

Counting down to my travels that seem a distance away.

T – 73 days to Melbourne and T – 108 days to Holla Spain!

Shit.. it just got real.

14 December 2015 – the day I got swamped from all angles one after another, back to back. After just under 3 months into an entirely new field, I (better) understood the gravity of my job. I need to learn and move on and not let this one (or two) incidents make me question my performance and inflict self doubt upon myself. It serves as a reminder to double, triple confirm if needed before committing to anyone. As simple as the job may appear to be, it’s relationships that I’m left to mend if things end up turning ugly.  I will emerge out stronger. For now, I could really do with a break. So, typhoon please make your way out of Philippines pretty please.

Soldier on.

DSC09887Taken at Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse, Australia, 2012

If you want something bad enough, you will get it.

So, if you haven’t, it just means you haven’t wanted it bad enough.

Have faith and keep going.