Bucket list

Bucket list

A good friend brought up the topic of bucket list.

“So what do you have on your bucket list?”

I was stunned momentarily. I did not know. It has been a long time since I reflected on this question. The definition of bucket list was even vague to me. Seemingly fighting a blank space in my memory, I asked myself, “I once had a bucket list… but… what was it?”

Google search: ‘Definition of bucket list’

Definition #1: A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. 

Definition #2: A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term “kicked the bucket” (urban dictionary)

Once upon a time, my bucket list consisted of skydiving, bungee jumping and I am sure that travelling around the world was part of it. The rest… obliterated.

However, today, what I envision for myself seems to indicate that I am in a completely different world. Like I have mentioned, I do not have an up-to-date bucket list but when I ask myself, what I would like to have/ to do in this lifetime, I came up with a rough list like this:

–          To have a pet dog

–          To have a small cottage with a big land where I can grow my own plants and vegetables

–          To live in the countryside (to be surrounded by nature)

–          To learn how to ride a horse on my own

–          To raise my own family

–          To have a career where flexibility allows me to dedicate time to my family and allows me to have at least a month of holiday in Singapore

–          To integrate the dreams of my husband with my own

Our desires, dreams and wants change with our reality. So does our bucket list. In my previous life time, achievement, success, money and status played a big role in my well-being. If I do not perform well, I am judged (by myself and others). Life was stable in the sense that my parents were there as a strong pillar of support. I was surrounded by loving family and friends whom provided great companionship. Career was taken care of i.e. I had a job where I could progress in over time. In the scenario where things were well anchored, my bucket list reflected actions which embraced adventure, thrill and excitement.

A flip of the coin, I landed myself in an all new environment with the need to learn a new language. I found myself without work for a good two and a half years. My ego crashed. I felt myself inutile. Financially strapped, I had to lead a frugal life (when I was not even a big spender to begin with). Surrounded by instabilities, I began to yearn for some stability. Who cares about risking my life jumping off a cliff or an airplane? I have found myself an amazing husband and the second part of my life has just started. As a young couple, we have many other adventures awaiting us.

I am glad to have reviewed this topic. It gives me a sense of where I am right now in life. It also made me realize that we do not need to have BIG goals in life to be happy. As humans, we evolve and adapt. Changes would occur over time and that means that my bucket list might alter in a few years time too. While noting down a list of things we would like to accomplish this life time, we should always remember to still embrace the present moment.

So, what would you like to have on your bucket list today?

Live like you were dying by Tim Mcgraw

 

Signing off with love,

Esther

 

Unguided Ramblings

I woke up staring in the direction of the window. The sun is up and the glare made it obvious that half the day has passed. I checked my cell phone that guards by me throughout the night. It has been my faithful alarm clock but since it is the ‘holidays’, it is on vacation as well. The time reads 1:15pm.

‘What time did I go to bed last night?’ I asked myself.

Holiday is pretty much defined as ‘a day on which one is exempted from work’. My holidays are based on Dan’s holidays because I do not have work, not officially anyway. Since last weekend was Easter, Dan had Friday, Monday and Tuesday off, which means late nights with no morning disturbances. Recently, I do not seem to be able to go pass 2am. My eyelids start to feel heavy and I start to act like a two years old grouchy kid. I know it is time for bed. So after sleeping for almost 11 hours, why do I wake up feeling numb? Where is that little brewing excitement in me when I actually get to sleep in because I know that I do not have to worry about the day and its schedule?

A few obvious reasons for being upset with myself for sleeping in:

  1. I have wasted half the day. What can I really do in the next 4 hours before the sun goes down?
  2. I am such a lazy arse. How can I sleep in till such a time when I don’t even work?
  3. What am I going to do today? What’s there to look forward to?

As we can see, I am hard on myself once again. The rational part of me knows that my body needed the sleep and that is why it could turn off the power button till rested. However, it is point number three that pokes at me consistently. My day seems the same every day. While many are envious that I do not have to work, I would remind them that the grass on the other field always look greener. I would not say that work is the key to happiness but I would say that it gives an outline to one’s life or something to focus on. A holiday escapade, as a solution to stressful work, is at least something to look forward to. When winter is all cold and gloomy, you appreciate the summer sun and warmth. When you are used to living in high-rise apartments, you appreciate the beauty of low-rise apartments. When you are surrounded by sky scrapers, you look at vast grasslands in awe. When you are busy in life, holidays and time-offs are like having sweet desserts where you savour every bit of it.

Friends are another important aspect of life. I never beg to differ but recently, the sense of loneliness felt greater than before. Quite a number of good friends whom I have made during my stay here have returned to their own countries. After returning from my trip to Singapore, it made me more conscious of the missing puzzles in my life. Making a new friend is like courtship. You meet up with the person once or twice and if the chemistry is there, you continue pursuing this new relationship. However, if the spark is missing, you just have to laissez tomber.

This is just a rambling blog since I don’t feel too well. I need to release my tangled thoughts and unsettled feelings so this is my dumping ground. I probably need to find myself some activities where I find purpose and I find friends. Or maybe just pick up new interests. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

A French music video to share:

Lisa LeBlanc: Aujourd’hui, ma vie c’est d’la marde (Today, my life is shit)

 

Signing off with love,

Esther

1 year and counting – A Tough Nut Rolling

Look around you; you are never alone. Do what you need to do. I am sure you will survive. ;p

Halloween party, Daniel’s birthday party… and it all began. Exactly 1 year ago, I landed in Montréal –Trudeau with one huge trolley luggage, a fully-stuffed bag pack and a laptop bag. Exiting the arrival hall, I jumped into the arms of my then boyfriend with a sense of relief. Travelling 27 hours alone, around the globe is not for the faint-hearted.

I am proud to have finally experienced the four seasons – autumn, winter, spring, summer and now back to autumn again. Before I decided to drop everything back home and made a leap to Montreal, I gave myself a lot of mental preparation on how tough the situation might be. The truth? Reality was much harder than the perceived thoughts. From personal experience, as an intended immigrant on a tourist visa, the 6th and 12th month have been the hardest part of the cycle. These were the times where I was engulfed in dark and depressing thoughts. The emotions kept swirling downwards and the rock-bottom did not seem to exist. Fortunately, with the nature of a cycle, the tough times passed and I resurfaced.

Taking a step back to observe what I have gone through, the hardest challenge had not been the situation itself. Instead, dealing with oneself had been the main challenge. The competitive and proud girl seemed to have taken a back seat, giving a chance to other parts of her to surface. Previously, the ego was hurt when people around me shared about their achievements, their frequent visits to restaurants, their newly acquired goods, their constant holidays etc. Today, the ego is able to accept that my situation is different and I have other blessings in life.

Coming from a highly strung and peer-pressured society, your achievements usually have to revolve around power, money and status. No one will actually give credit to you because you learned how to cook, learned how to take care of your own place or learned the basics of survival. Today, I have nothing to boast around worldly gains but I am thankful for a wonderful husband, supportive family and friends who assure me time and again that I am not alone. My bag of experiences and achievements all boils down to basic survival skills.

The list starts with:

  1. Getting to know Dan’s family and friends
  2. Adapting to my new environment (living with Dan’s parents)
  3. Understanding the transport system
  4. Familiarising with some practical and touristic places (since Dan was working and I had to do my own exploration)
  5. Searching for a school to study French (almost 0 knowledge in French then)
  6. Searching and moving out to our own apartment (not forgetting we had to paint the place and fill the place in with all the furniture and household appliances)
  7. Taking care of the house and the boy
  8. Learning how to cook a good variety of dishes and learning how to most efficiently prepare all the meals i.e. cooking 1 big pot of spaghetti sauce which can last for a few meals! ;p
  9. Finding out where I can get quality and cheap groceries (that means running to various supermarkets just to get what I need)
  10. Searching for alternative French classes which are more affordable
  11. Making new friends and building my own network of people (doesn’t help that most of my friends are not locals and hence some of them return to their countries at some point in time)
  12. Finding volunteer opportunities

And the list goes on.

Hence when people ask me what have I been doing, it is hard for me to put my finger on it because I don’t exactly have a static life. Things change. I always have to create new opportunities for myself. Life has not been the easiest but as the saying goes, ‘what doesn’t break you makes you stronger’.  Since I am still able to blog with sanity, I guess I can be considered an evolved survival. The adventure has still a long way to go.

My 3 biggest takeaways to sum up my year in Montreal:

a) Making the best out of the current situation – No point whining about things that I cannot do anything about.  There is also no fair ground in comparison of how it is in Montreal and how it would have been in Singapore. It is what it is. Suck it up!

b) Be proactive – Can’t wait for the apples to fall from the tree. Worse still, there are no apple trees to begin with. I have to start the planting process and be patient to bear the fruits of my labour.

c) Having a strong pillar of support – This would consist of the new and the old. Family and friends back in Singapore are always a source of comfort. However, they are not with me. I do need a circle of friends who are physically near me. It helps too to know that there people who are in similar situations like me. It is fun to go bargain hunting together and get creative with the activities which we do!

Well, who I am today?

Signing off with love as your young, energetic and creative housewife,

Esther

 

Happily Married!

All that happened seemed like it happened yesterday.

It seemed like I met Daniel yesterday.

It seemed like I made the decision to move to Montreal yesterday.

It seemed like I arrived in Montreal yesterday.

It seemed like Daniel proposed yesterday.

It seemed like we got married yesterday.

It seemed like our honeymoon just ended yesterday.

It seemed like my parents just went back to Singapore yesterday.

When one is busy, one never notices how the time just slips by one’s finger. As I have the time now to ponder and look back at all the events which have happened, I ask myself,’ how long has it been?’

Barely a year, I have accumulated the most intense experience of all time, from being in love to moving country. Now, I am officially a Mrs. with a golden band on my left. The usual question which I have been receiving, ‘How does it feel to be married?’  or’ How’s married life?’

Except for the official title, life pretty much remains the same. Ironically, it went back to the accustomed and comfortable routine with Daniel starting work last Friday. Since Dan and I have been living together before marriage, there are no major surprises in terms of living habits. However, marriage is just the beginning of a life-long commitment. There are still many things we need to learn about each other; to adapt to quirky habits of both; to bring continuous love and joy in this delicately shared bubble.

 

We made our vows during the wedding. We chose to go with the classic ones as it speaks the depth of marriage – I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. ‘

 

 

During the evening, we each also made an appreciation message which I would like to remember ten, twenty or even thirty years down the road.

From Esther to Daniel:

1 year ago, I thought that I would never be able to find a good man.

1 year ago, I did not think that I would get married this year.

1 year ago, I was still hoping and praying that I would meet my soulmate.

Today, count my blessings, I am standing right here with my all time favourite boy.

Thank you for loving me for who I am.

Thank you for being open with your thoughts and feelings.

Thank you for the joy and sadness.

Thank you for the constant reassurance, acknowledgement and appreciation.

Thank you for asking me to walk this journey with you.

 

From Daniel to Esther:

Short is sweet,

Mine’s a treat,

For I finally found,

Something profound,

Danger danger!

Don’t let her go, I thought

Don’t let her go, and her I brought.

Dear, we are what we were not,

And I’m finally what I could not.

I smile, you smile, they smile too,

Cuz you know, I can only look at you,

I love you…

Forever,

Just you

a picture taken by Dan’s friend, Yuji

There are still many photos and videos on the loose and I will have to gather them from family and friends. With a bit more time at hand now, I can catch up on blogging – Bachelorette party, wedding, visit from parents, honeymoon etc.

Signing off with love,

Esther