AFTER: May 6th, Tornado

So finals are finally over, I’m half a pharmacist now, and I have time for myself again. With 2 month of not having to go to school, I would be free and happy, right? Instead, I basically slept my days away and was exhausted as I struggled with insomnia and sleeping too much during the day.

Update:May 28th

So my birthday a few days ago was the most eventful in the 21 years of my life. Instead of being a coming of age day, it was more of a “you are now an adult and the fast moving freight train of being an adult is going to hit you in full force just because” kind of day. On my birthday, which was also my mom’s birthday, I decided to cook dinner. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I don’t cook, much less for more than one person. Cooking for myself is very simple. I throw a bit of veggies, some meat, a pack of instant noodles, and voila! Got my carbs, protein, and vitamins. On days where there are leftovers in the fridge, instant food! No need to heat it up. I am THAT simple you could say. (or lazy, if you look at it in another way) So cooking a meal for my family was a big upgrade. Funny side story: I was going to keep it a secret from my mom to surprise her for her birthday and not having her to do anything in the kitchen, but when I was about to leave the house to go grocery shopping, she comes back a few hours earlier than expected and is parking right before I step out the front door. I ran back into the house and pretended to still be asleep but I got caught because I texted her just minutes ago asking where she put the rice. So, it became a birthday girl shared task and she came along to shop for groceries and helped me prepare my ingredients. Kimbap and mushroom spinach risotto was the menu that night. I totally got my brother sick of rice, but there were no complaints nor bathroom emergencies so it was a success! That night, I was dead tired. Cooking sure needs a lot of muscle. My arm is still sore today but that’s probably because I have no muscle at all in my arms and don’t work out.

After dinner, I took a nap and then when I woke up my birthday was over. And that was when the drama began to start. My dad decided to go to the ER because he was experiencing chest pains. When I checked his blood pressure, it was 165/95. Something was wrong. So we drove to the nearest hospital and upon admission, his blood pressure was even higher at 183/129. Something was definitely wrong. So we spent the night there to get his blood tested and have his blood pressure and ECG monitored. His blood pressure slowly dropped and we were able to leave at 7:30 that morning. It was so uncomfortable falling asleep in a chair with armrests. My already sore muscles were even more sore the next day. Thankfully, all the tests were fine but it was an experience that gave me a shock. My dad was always the one everyone depended on, the cornerstone of the family. It took 2 days before the tears and worries hit me. By then, he had gone to the doctor to get it checked out and was back at work even the morning he was discharged so everything seemed fine. But after reality sat in, I wasn’t able to think clearly.

Like I was living in some sort of drama, my brain decided to call my dad’s coworker the day after he went back to work from the hospital. Why? Well thinking about it now, I would still have done the same, even if it seems like a rash insensible decision. And I didn’t even get to ask the main questions. I only got to ask how many tickets they had in total yesterday and he didn’t even answer my question. Like, don’t even pretend not to understand English. My dad told me the day he went to work after discharge, he had received 10 tickets to do. He jokingly asked his coworker if he had given him all the tickets that day (seems like they average 20 something tickets between 5 people to do per day) and his coworker said there was 20 something tickets (thus I asked him how many they had yesterday to confirm). So out of 5 people, my dad got half the tickets. AND 3 of which were VIP tickets. It does not make any sense in whatever way I try to think about it. When my dad asked him how many he gave himself, he said he did 2. *Insert chain of swearing* So my dad gave him 3 tickets back. He’s still doing more than that coworker is. Ok, not even thinking about my dad being discharged that same morning, it’s not even fair to do that to any coworker. Ok, let’s ignore the fact that my dad is double his age, works slow, and has English as his second language. Sure, he graduated from UBC in computer science. Sure, he has a good 25 years of experience under his belt. Sure, he seems to have less tickets than others. But that’s because he’s hardworking and is working on his tickets in and out of the office. Some of the tickets were in French and what does he do? Google translate to find his way. He works til late in the night and on weekends to try to do as much as he can to make up for being older and slower than others. Do those who do more work deserve to get more work? It’s not fair. This was what opened the faucet of tears that I guess was locked in that day.

But all in all,  I guess I can find goodness in all that happened. Because of the night in the ER, my dad’s been more conscious of his health and stress levels. I also got my mom to get a check up as she’s normally had high blood pressure but never got it checked out. She still tried to refuse, but hey, I think I’ve got good reason for her to get it checked out before she’s the one lying on the hospital bed. It’s a rude wake up call, but a good reminder nonetheless of how fragile life can be. And how things you hear about but never think can happen to you can easily happen to your loved ones or even yourself. And about his coworker, I’m so thankful that my dad has a good manager who appreciated my dad telling her what happened and being so understanding. As far as I know, it’s not the first time that coworker has done something tricky (not to mention him watching non-work-related videos at work and taking many breaks), but I believe that karma will get him someday. I don’t care about whatever he decides to do, as long as he doesn’t harm my dad in the process. Because my dad’s used his whole life to protect me and ensure that I am able to live well, I’m going to protect him in whatever way I can now that I am able to protect myself. Hopefully the majority of the storm has passed, and we can only get stronger as a family as we rebuild our emotions. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

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All the little things

Recently, I’ve realized that little things bother me a lot more than big things. It’s so much easier getting over huge challenges compared to the little bothersome things. I guess it’s easier to accept(?). But at the same time the little things all have such significance and huge stories behind them. Just like how paper cuts can hurt so much more than a bad scrape, especially when you run it under water. Probably because we expect the pain from the more obvious hurt on our body whereas a tiny paper cut has our pain levels non-subdued. At the same time, the little light in a dark room can illuminate the whole room up.

Most of this began around the time of my birthday (great timing I know). So not only was it an uneventful birthday with no birthday celebration this year and no reminder to my friends on Facebook since I had left it deactivated, it was a very thought provoking week I would say. When I went over to my aunt’s house to meet my cousin who had a present to give me, the first thing my aunt said was “Oh, so NOW you remember you have an aunt??” First of all, I do rarely go over with my mom and brother, and it is because of a dislike for how she treats my mom. Most of the time I’m just too tired to put on an act and fake smile and I definitely do not want to be rude in front of her so I just don’t go. What irked me was that I value family so much but I wasn’t doing a very good job of showing it. I could easily forget and forgive a friend but not a relative. I guess it’s harder to forgive those who hurt people closest to you.

Second, when my mom had stopped using the safe at this storage place, she told me about this ring that she would give me when I was 18 as a purity ring and showed it to me. It was big on me back then. It had my name inscribed on the inside and I was looking forward to getting it. But that day never came. I don’t know if she forgot or if she feels like I don’t need or deserve it or whatever but I’m already 20 and she hasn’t given it to me yet. It’s sort of sad in a way?

Also, my two best friends that I mentioned in my letter to 30 year old me forgot my birthday. I guess for some people it’s harder to remember birthdays without that Facebook reminder or they are too busy and preoccupied to remember, but it still hurt. I thought that of all my friends, they would be the ones to remember. Instead, other friends that I didn’t think would remember, did in fact, remember. There are those few people who made my birthday memorable despite not having much celebration. This got me thinking about how much people remember about others. Their birthday, their likes and dislikes, their personalities. It also got me wondering about what is important and who is important.

On the brighter side, I finally got to prove that it’s possible to shake the Koala’s march into a ball! It had bothered me so I went to get one to try for myself. I don’t like grey. I like to find out whether things are true or not. Whether things are possible or not. And I’ll do all that I can do to find out. I also got my mom to admit that she was wrong and that it was indeed possible to do it and that the video I showed her was not fake. Not that everything we read or watch is true, but sometimes we just need to believe and trust that not everyone is trying to lie to us.

And last but not least, I stayed up with my brother a few days ago like I frequently did to accompany him while he was studying, and it was well worth it. I was able to have a heart to heart talk with him and tell him about my horrible day. I also told him why I always stayed up with him while he was doing homework even if I had nothing to do. I think it surprised him a bit. He didn’t know that I was doing that because that’s what my dad would do for me when I used to stay up. But my dad seems to have gotten a lot older since and being on call is pretty stressful so I’ve taken up that role instead. We were also able to talk about our brother sister relationship and I feel like he understands me more after that talk. He knows I’m trying and that I’m not that good of a sister most of the time but I’m trying. He knows that I don’t have an example of a good older sister to follow and I guess he’s willing to go on this road with me to learn and discover how to be better siblings. And surprisingly, all my friends say that my relationship with  my brother is closer than their relationship with their siblings! I’m really glad to have such a mature and understanding brother that I can talk to like this.

All the little things can be discarded as little things or added up into big things. It’s up to how we interpret it. We can blow every little thing up or we can accept them and remind ourselves to look at the bigger picture, learn from it, and move on. It’s tough living with so many little things irking the poor brain, trust me.

Happy birthday lil bro :)

I value birthdays a lot. Every birthday is a special day that I celebrate to show my care for that person and for some reason, birthdays just seem very important to me. Maybe it’s because I always had birthday parties when I was younger and everyone would come to my house and there would be games and cake and goodie bags and presents. As I grew older, birthdays seemed to be a smaller celebration; a small dinner, a friend hangout, nothing extravagant. I think that is why I try to make birthdays the best I can. I realized recently that with my brother being a boy, his birthday is even less celebrated. Yes, he doesn’t like to have a big deal about it, not letting people know his birthday, but I think that it should still be a celebratory event! His friends would not so much as even give him a present! I’ve had countless memorable birthday parties with friends. So, I tried to make the most of my brother’s special day, a day for me to spoil him and embarrass him. Last year, I compiled a video with recordings of his friends saying happy birthday. However, his closest school friends didn’t even participate! This year, I decided to have some fun. Sometimes my self-conscious thinks that maybe I go out of my way for others’ birthday longing for someone to do the same for mine. But since I think of these ways to make it special, I might as well use it on my brother of all people. He’s my one and only brother! So this year, I made a scavenger hunt type of puzzle for him…

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Present #1 – The polar bear became a brown bear due to the fact that my brother himself left our oven on broil instead of bake. I made another one in time but that one was burnt even worse… But I think he likes it! 

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Present #2 – also burnt, but I put some white clay on top as “snow” to cover up the dark brown parts. 
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The very first gift I gave him, given a few weeks after he was born. My two-year-old self had chosen white instead of black. Now he’s grey, losing a nose, without his cola in hand, and missing some toes, but still the favourite of all stuffies.

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Present #3 – a copy of present #4 that I drew. I’m surprised it turned out so well honestly…it didn’t even take me that long, two hours max! 

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Present #4 – a “poster” I bought at my school’s poster sale. He and his polar bears…what can I say, it’s adorable!

As for what he’ll see tomorrow…I think it’ll just be slightly embarrassing for a grad to have his locker decorated in the grad hall like this, just slightly! And his real present or, the last and biggest final present is waiting inside. I hope he likes it and will forgive me for making it a big deal! 

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This may be his last birthday that I really celebrate. I don’t know whether he will leave for university next year and I definitely won’t have another chance to decorate his locker. I’ve had friends decorate my locker and I’ve decorated my friends’ lockers. Why shouldn’t he have such a memory to keep? I hope that for the birthdays to come, I can make it memorable as well. We only grow older, and every year, our life amount of birthdays decrease, becoming memories. Memories are made by ourselves. We can choose what to be remembered by.

I know I am a horrible sister most of the time and lose my temper easily, but I do love you and I hope that you will choose to remember me by these happy moments between us. I’m still learning and I promise to become the best sister that you can ever ask for. I love you, happy birthday my BIG little brother! 

One after another after another : Birthdays

As we get older, the collection of birthdays grow, and it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal after all. When we were young, birthdays were everything! The party, the presents, the birthday cake, the games. The excitement dies down, however, as we realize that getting older isn’t so much fun and carefree as expected. Birthday parties aren’t as common, the amount of invitations dwindle, and the excitement just isn’t there anymore! More responsibilities, more challenging situations, more decisions. Doesn’t help that we now realize that each day is just another day closer to dying eh? Anyways, now that I’m considered a young adult, growing up seems to have sped up exponentially. In a few years, I’ll be hopefully working full time, done my degree, ready to move out, etc. It seems like yesterday when I was going to elementary school, learning my times table, playing “house” with my friends. Unknowingly, time flies and every little moment can become one of those precious moments. Growing up, we realize how fragile life is and how we’re like a wave in the ocean, gone in a heartbeat. I’ve come to treasure all the happy memories and living in a way that I can look back at and smile at. It’s hard growing up, and like a friend said, I’ll grow up with SLOW maturity into a proper lady. Slowly but surely. Life is a journey that never ends. Even at 100, we can still grow up and become a better person. I just hope that as I transition this new chapter of life of adulthood, I will stay young at heart, gain maturity and wisdom, and continue to better myself. 

I’m so thankful for my friends. Birthdays are an excuse to see friends. And friends are the life jacket that is always there beside us in the turbulent waves of life. My best friends know who they are. They are the ones that will always keep in touch because something comes up and there’s no other person that I would want to talk to. They will always tell me the truth no matter how hard it is to hear it. And they’ll be the ones that I rush to respond to in their times of need. It’s kind of hard to believe that these are the friends that me as a third grader had found. The innocent heart of a child really  is the most precious and discerning sometimes. If you read this, I love you guys and I’ll always be here like you have always been for me! 

Last but not least, a shoutout to my mom: Happy birthday! I hope I’m the best present you’ve ever received and I know that sometimes I can be a real pain in the butt, but I promise to work hard and become the best present for you. I love you!

Holiday Cheer/Rant

It’s nearing Christmas. What can I say. Christmas carols on the radio, bright lights decorating houses, the snow that’s been falling, the decor everywhere… everyone is happy and bustling about. As always, I have the winter blues. It’s not that I don’t love Christmas, which I do, but I guess I think more during this season. Thinking back on the year: what happened, what I got and what I lost, what I wish to do, just thinking and thinking and thinking.

It was my brother’s birthday yesterday. I made a video compilation of his friends saying happy birthday to him. After school that day, he thanked me, and I felt so sad for him. You have no idea how much I wanted to give him a hug, do something for him, make him happy on his birthday. What happened was that no one said happy birthday to him. Of all the people that participated in the video, only three said happy birthday, and they aren’t even his close friends! At school, the people he hung out with didn’t mention anything and neither did they contribute to the video. It was in the last class that a guy one year older who he’s not that close with said happy birthday to him in math class, resulting in the whole class singing happy birthday. It’s sad isn’t it, that if our birthdays are not on Facebook, people don’t know our birthdays. How much is it really worth to have people say happy birthday to you on Facebook that they would otherwise not have cared about? Does anyone still care enough to remember and do something for their friend’s birthday?

Through all this thinking about birthdays, Christmas, and friends, I really saw how real friends are the ones who take the time to care, take the time to remember the little things, who find time for you. Everyone is busy. It’s life. But, it’s still possible to keep friendships and show someone just how much you care. When better to do that than over the holiday break? This Christmas, I’ll be thinking of ways to show my love and appreciation for my friends and family.