Day 2 of Lunar New Year celebrations!
The day began with my uncle and aunt came for a house visit early in the morning. It’s nice to catch up with them about how our little cousin is doing. Kind of hard to believe that years ago, I sat in our granny’s living room with him, accompanying him while aunt was cooking. Now he’s all grown up and excelling in his academic studies. 🙂
After my uncle and aunt had left, my elder brother, his wifey, my mum and I went to the neighbourhood McDonalds for brunch. Dad… Well, he despises McDonalds, calling fast food ‘rubbish food’ but my brother was dying to try the Fortune Chicken burger with hashbrown! So… #YOLO, man.
My good luck neighbourhood cat was catching its peaceful afternoon nap when we were returning home after the rubbish food meal! (smirks) Look how its folding its paw inwards, super adorable~
Not long after we got home, another group of family friends arrived for a house visit! We’ve been friends for a long time, since the days we went to Marsiling for prayers every Sunday… When I was in primary four! So we’ve been friends for… 15 years, at the very least. Gosh.
And we’ve always met up every year, at least during the festive season. That’s commitment aye.
I was proven right when I say that the first day of CNY was for snoozing, as Day 2 turned out to be busier than we expected! My dad’s eldest brother called to say he is free and we went to visit them at Woodlands.
Although we don’t keep in touch regularly, I’m extremely grateful towards by uncles and aunts. They have been nothing but great help and emotional support during the few years we were busy preparing for my brothers’ weddings. They didn’t create problems but instead, offered great advice whenever needed.
Weddings can be emotionally grueling and financially exhaustive, especially for young couples, putting them as well as their families under a lot of stress. It’s times like this that you really see the true friends in your life – those who are willing to stand by you, listen to your rants, provide emotional support and at times, even devoting precious time, effort, resources and money (some relatives initiated that conversation but we didn’t actually use any money from others, really appreciate the thoughtfulness though).
As little as we may have kept in touch, my eldest uncle and aunt always knew the right things to say, the right position to take in our discussions. And for that, I’m eternally grateful to them. :)))
The trip to my uncle’s house made me see the kind of abrasive love tendencies that run in our genes. As my secondary school form teacher once put it, I may say something for the good of others, although it may sound hurtful at times. But it’s important to understand such tendencies because it makes me extra mindful when conveying my thoughts.
Sure, there’s always the argument about ‘be yourself’, ‘don’t change yourself for others’, but isn’t it great if you can become a better person?
The sad fact though, is how sometimes I know what I’m going to say is going to be emotionally abrasive but still say it anyway, either because I feel that it needs to be said or that it’s going to lead to something better in the relationship. It’s just about striking the right balance sometimes.
Back to the topic of house visit – have I mentioned how cute their dog is?!
Super disciplined and on silent mode throughout our entire visit (as well as last year’s). Apparently he only barks when its time for his walks. Whenever he gets a little too excited, you just have to open the door to his cage and he’d walk in, sit down and relax. Autopilot, totally. Goes to show how people can influence dogs without shouting like mad people or resorting to violence.
After the trip to Woodlands, we went back to our neighbourhood for a late dinner. Not many stalls were open so the choices were very limited. Had chicken cutlet (oh yeah haven’t return my brother the money) that was a little too greasy and skin-ful for my liking.
Chicken skin is yums but… I honestly feel like I’m much older now and need to start looking after my health. (pulls off the chicken skin and sat it aside a little sadly). But it was still a pretty decent meal!
We were talking about how ‘we are done with the house visits’ when mum and I suddenly thought of another elder we ought to visit. So… another phone call, another house visit in the neighbourhood!
A Little Regret
The visit to the elder’s house reminded me something that I thought is worth sharing with anyone reading this.
Back in the olden days, my dad would visit an elder’s house in the kampong. They were really close and helped my father a lot. When my brothers were young, they even went to the kampong house to play. I was too young and born too late, so… not for me.
But with urbanization, the granny moved into her son’s apartment in a HDB estate and we’d visit them every lunar new year.
I still remember how we went to see her room during our final visit there, as she sat on her bed and told us she’d keep the windows shut because of the cold wind. I remember sitting on the floor and noticing how dry and chapped her legs are, thinking to myself, I shall bring a bottle of moisturizer to help her skin get better next year.
But I never got the chance because not long after that, she was sent to an old folks home and then… it was death. I didn’t even get the chance to go to her funeral.
So as much as I prefer being alone and being at home, I feel the need to put in extra effort every lunar new year to prevent having such regrets ever again.
If you’re still young and hate house visits, just keep in mind that someday somehow, you may never need to go again. The people you see will not be around forever, and when you’re at their age in their shoes, you’d see why companionship during festive seasons is so important.
To put it in my abrasive character kind of wording, I’d say, take a chance to hold on to their hands, give them a smile, give their hands a tight squeeze while they are still warm. Don’t weep the loss only when the flesh is cold.