Looking forward

Hello little Allie! On 1st January 2020.

2020 started on a very busy note, especially on the work front.

I had six work trips planned in the first three months, and lots of research projects to run.

Three of the six trips were to cities I have never been to before – Mumbai, Johannesburg and Jedah. While it looked exciting on paper, I was feeling quite nervous and overwhelmed.

I managed to visit Mumbai in January and Sydney in February before the pandemic became a global threat. We were watching the news everyday for updates on travel bans.

The hubs wanted me to cancel all my trips, but there was no direction from the management to allow us to do so.. eventually I decided to tell the management I would not be traveling because my family comes first, and eventually no one got to travel because the ban set in.

It was quite a relief for me, not having to travel for work. Besides the fact that I get a nice, big hotel room to myself when I’m on business trips, and the consumers I get to meet, I don’t quite enjoy traveling for work.

It’s worse if the girls are sick when I travel, as with Allie this year when I was in Sydney. She was sick and refusing her medicine. Clarissa stayed over at my mum’s place so the hubs could focus on taking care of Allie.

We resorted to asking her paediatrician to give her meds during the follow-up visit.. and it became much easier after that.

Very, very thankful for the support and reassurance from my family, though I’d still wish I’m right beside them.

Work was very tough.

Selfish budget planning led to an unprecedented number of researches and studies I had to lead and run.

From March to July, I worked more than 12 hours everyday, made worse with the Circuit Breaker.

Having the girls at home with us was equal parts stress and joy.

I set up a daily schedule to put some method to the madness, and I’d like to think it helped.

Things got better when the girls went back to school. But the hours remained long, there was little or no mental break. Work basically sucked.

Yet 2020 is the year I learn that while I do have an ego, my ego is not as big as my key priority in life: my family and I.

I’ve also learned to let go of my pride sometimes, pick my battles and stop allowing myself to be affected by things and people I cannot control.

I’m so glad for both the quantity and quality of time we have with the girls. Even when I was working right to their bedtime, I was able to have mini breaks for hugs or showertime, or to entertain seat-sharing or lap-sitting requests.

I didn’t manage to fulfill my resolutions for this year to exercise more regularly. I tried doing body combat again at the start of circuit breaker and was feeling quite good.. until I wasn’t feeling that good again because of recurring gastric issues and lethargy in general.

Bit the bullet and saw a wellness/nutrition doctor, did a food allergy test and discovered that my body does not react well to dairy, corn, egg white, barley, wheat and something as random as aloe vera.

The good news is that coffee and tea are ok! 😂 There is always a silver lining.

I don’t know when I’d feel 100% again but I’m really trying my darnest to be well, not only for my own sake but also for the girls and the hubs.

Start Up: Han Jipyeong aka Good boy aka Mr Dimples

2020 is also the year I got reacquainted with Korean dramas. And this guy here is quite a gem! *gushes* 🤣

There’s something about Korean dramas that comfort us in times of stress and chaos.

📷: Clarissa

That said, I think I need to find a proper hobby. And I’m wondering if rock-climbing could be an option?

Mostly I wanted to show Clarissa it can be done, but I found it quite enjoyable, surprisingly.

I’m still considering, mostly because I’m not sure if I can commit the time for this.

With Clarissa finishing pre-school and entering Primary One, 2021 is going to be a year of changes, not only for her, but for everyone in the family.

First day of N2!

Allie, who has just started N2, would have to learn to be more independent, whether it is washing up, going to school or taking the school bus on her own.

Clarissa’s “big girl” wallet with pocket money!

Clarissa would have to learn to navigate a very different and new world of teachers, classmates, homework, routine and relationships with people.

I’m worried about so many things, but I’ll have to let nature take its course sometimes, and also trust that she is strong and capable of adapting to these changes.

Life is definitely going to get very busy, but I hope we will always be close. I’ve been enjoying her company and our mini dates so much, and likewise for her. I want to always have time for hugs and chitchats with her.

Likewise with Allie, who’s turning into a cheeky, sassy threenager.

The girls would be their own in the new year for most parts of the day, in different schools with different schedules, but I hope they remain close!

Jiejie’s teeth-brushing service: “Allie, say Eeeeee..”
Jiejie’s shoe-wearing service.
Jiejie’s hair-styling service.
Growing milk moustaches together.
Fries monsters + Jiejie’s feeding service.

We would have to make the best use of our evenings and weekends!

📷: Clarissa

For the two of us as parents and partners, there would be a learning curve too, as we work through the new routine.

It’s going to be tough for the hubs to wake up much earlier than usual to chauffeur the girls to separate schools, and for the two of us to take turns picking Clarissa up from student care.

At the same time, I want to support his resolution to start keeping fit again. It’s important to him and it’s important to us.

I hope everything works out eventually.

There would be lots of packing and unpacking coming our way.

On one hand I can’t wait to move into our new place. On the other hand, I’m nervous about all the moving while juggling work and new school routines.

Self care is important too, and while it seems frivolous, I hope I can take a day off every month to go for a facial and a massage. I hope I can exercise at least once a week. I hope I get the mental breaks I need.

The recent MBTI test I did revealed that I’m 90% Introvert.. 😅 The percentage has been increasing over the years, and I guess it’s a sign that I need to spend time with myself before I have the energy to take care of my family.

I guess this pretty much sums up 2020. A wild ride, but kinda fun because we have our family, friends and a lot of love.

2021 is not going to be easy, but may we all remain steadfast and strong, and may it be mostly sunny.