Friday, June 9, 2017

Getting Glorious Unicorn Hair in Singapore


The reign of my kaleidoscopic mane is coming to an end. It's about time I switched back to bland brown again. What an end of an era. No more rainbow, unicorn, mermaid type hair. I've done it all and I'm done damaging my hair.

Tis bittersweet.

It was an adventure though. I never knew how I'd end up looking after a whole day in a chair, I never knew how it'd change in a few weeks... it was exciting. I have to say though, my current and final look is my favourite.


Circa 2017

To commemorate this momentous occasion, I thought I'd do a little ode to my hair followed by some tips for those of you what want to go wild with colour.

First, to express my greatest love and deepest apologies to my hair, a haiku:


"Lady Magnificent of The Wild Marshes"

Blow as the wind must
A fleeting rainbow of change
Abomination.

Woah, that took a dark turn there.

But thank you Lady Magnificent of The Wild Marshes. Thank you for enduring the years of torture I put you through, glowing in the darkness and filling my life with joy. It is time for you to rest now.

On to my journey for multi-hued hair. It's an expensive journey let me tell you this.

Sure, like me, you could start out with a bottle of Manic Panic, gingerly dipping your unbleached ends into the pot before folding it with aluminium foil:

circa 2012: Manic Panic and Aluminium Foil
Carried away by the success of your first attempt, you'll want to go professional. My first go was at Salon Vim, simply cause I read some blogger reviews. It was great, I had five colours in my hair for the first time.

Circa 2014: Clashed beautifully with a H&M coat. Salon Vim
That was the first time they bleached my hair. Trying to save money, I didn't go for treatments, I didn't cut my hair, I just let it grow out and ruined it. I eventually had to chop it off because it started to break off whenever I combed it. I also didn't have time to waste blow drying my hair. Then we started planning the wedding. I wanted to go all out, so I did this:

Circa 2015: InVogue (I loved this hair salon. It's closed now :( sad)
My wedding photos came out amazing:

Circa 2015: John15 Photography, Gown: Yvonne Creative Hair and MU: Jaclyn Tan
SERIOUSLY AMAZING!

Circa 2015: John15 Photography, Gown: Yvonne Creative Hair and MU: Jaclyn Tan 
Then my hair started dying. Like DIE-ING. (not dye-ing)

I had let my hair fade into disarray. The bleached ends were dyed over and over again, I didn't use treatment, and I still curled or straightened it with a hot iron.

So in case you don't know when to stop, here are some symptoms of ruined hair:

This is what dead hair looks like.
1) The ends of your hair break - Brushing your hair becomes a torture, short, coloured ends break off as your run a no-tangle brush through your hair. They have frayed ends and when you hold it up to the light, you can see right through them.

2) Your hair gets really really bushy - Frizz-explosion. Your mane simply can't be tamed, especially the bleached portions. It's so dry! It's hay!

3) Your hair melts (that's right, MELTS) - when your wash your hair with hot water, it gets really soft and smooth, as though you've coated it liberally in conditioner. But once dry, it feels sticky and refuses to be combed through properly as though the ends have been... melted together.

To be honest, I didn't know how bad it was until my ex-beauty editor, the lovely Simone, sent me to Sam Chok to fix my locks. I was to be the part of the story that talks about how to stylish input colour into your hair in the workplace without looking tacky. I obviously needed help.

Sam Chok and Carol, then at Chev Vous, fixed my hair. They removed the green, all the while tsking at the unbearable state of my hair, and turned repaired it. I went to the shoot looking like this:

Getting my hair done at Chez Vous
Getting all made up for the photo shoot










Look at how gorgeous my hair looks!

←Taken just after my hair was done.

Taken just before the shoot. That's Larry the makeup extraordinaire →




I LOVED my hair.

So I went back to Sam for my wedding and had more pink put in.



And that was the last, for the whole of 2016, of my long, rainbow locks. I went back to an ordinary cut. You don't need to see it. I looked like every Asian on the street.

But then I freelanced for a bit, got a new job...  Spent more time taking photos of food than of anything else and got bored of my bland hair again. I needed to pop in some colour again. So... I went back to Sam! The hair maestro agreed to go on a hair journey with me. So the months of wild rainbow unicorn mermaid hair began:

Pictures from the process:

 

and seven hours in the chair lead to this:

The dream team: Louis, Sam and Carol

It was dark by the time I left.

A couple of months later, the pink had all but faded, leaving behind the darker colours. I had a wash and a blowout:


Then I went for a second round. A lighter, softer pink, and added some oceanic colours underneath.



 Then it finally accumulated to the final, and most impressive mermaid hair that I simply ADORE.

Honestly, I'm quite sad about letting it go. Streaks of yellow, two shades of blue, some purples and a tad of green.

CHECK OUT SAM CHOK FOR AMAZING HAIR.


Sam's really amazing. Not only does he help conceptualise (so every new hair style I come home with is a surprise), he gives so many good tips to ensure your hair is well taken care of, he also follows up the week after to check on your hair and checks if you need a complimentary touch-up. The dude lives and breathes the mastery of hair so you're not just getting a hairstylist, you're getting a hair maestro. He sometimes throws scientific or fancy hair words at me and I'm lost, but they are tips I take seriously. Don't take advantage of his kindness okay!


Follow him on Facebook here and if you want his direct number to get your hair done, don't hesitate to contact him at +65 8699-9954. He's a genius with all sorts of hair.

Anyway it's time for this madness to come to an end. I've gotta grow up and go back to something a little more manageable, and cheaper. haha. If I learned anything from this journey it is how to take care of my hair and how to ensure my hair looks good. A good hair cut and a good hair day can make all the difference in making/breaking your attitude for a whole week! Toss in a professional shampoo (with a couple of head massages) and a glorious blowout and you're set to take over the world. I mean look, how Wonder Woman stole the show from Superman and Batman in the unmentionable shit DC movie:



What a woman!

But I digress.

I owe y'all some FAQs on dying your hair in Singapore.

HOW TO GET GLORIOUS UNICORN HAIR IN SINGAPORE FAQ

1) How much does it cost?
If you decide to dye your hair on your own, it's really affordable. Do it at home without bleaching your hair and it's under $20. Do it with bleach and you're looking at about $50. Head to a mid-range salon and you're looking at $150 - $300 depending on the length of your hair and how much bleach they need to use. Look at $400 - $600 for a good quality hair salon with a fantastic hair job.

2) How do I do it on my own?
The dye itself isn't expensive. You can get Manic Panic, La Riche Directions and a shit ton of other brands online and at box shops for under $20. They're also really good quality and are usually vegan so it's safe for your hair. The only trouble is that it won't really show up on dark Asian hair. Bleach it yourself and you might ruin your hair for life.

3) I've already bleached my hair, but it's really dry and dead and the colour goes really quickly.
That's cause these semi-permanent colours don't last forever and, depending on the colour used, your hair quality and your hair care routine. Colours like pink and purple fade really quickly, while blue and green seemingly last forever. If your hair's really porous and weak, there's a chance the colour clings on longer. Finally, if your hair's really dead, you can revive it, but it's an expensive, long-suffering process. Let me tell you this, hair care is not for the weak.

4) Okay then, so how do I care for my hair?
 - First, washing your hair every day in Singapore is the norm, cause of the humidity, but if you want the colour to stay, you should only wash your hair every alternate day. *GASP!* GROSS! Suck it up.
 - Treatment, treatment, treatment. Your hair has lost all its protein, and in the words of Sam, "lipids". These bad boys are the ones that give your hair shine, read more about them here. You need to put it back with some keratin treatment. Replace your hair conditioner with treatment. It's more expensive but... suck it up. Also, use treatment oil before you sleep on the day you wash your hair.
 - Use your hair dryer to dry your hair, it helps it dry evenly. If you air dry your hair, the outer layer might dry, but each strand of hair, right in the centre, it might still be wet, and that's not good at all. Leads to frizz.
- You shouldn't swim or put your hair out under the sun. You're helping it fade even quicker.

5) How long does your hair colour last?
Like I said, it really depends on the colour. But the longest has been three to four months, the shortest, just a few days.

6) Where can I go to dye my hair?
Hands down, I'd say go straight to Sam Chok at Passion. He's not super affordable, but if you want top quality, go there. I don't really know anywhere else cheaper, cause... after experiencing cheap, mid-range and expensive, there's really a clear difference in how your hair is managed and the looks you get.

Okay, if you have any questions. Drop it in the comments down below.

And to Amanda, 30 years from now, you had flipping amazing hair for a good, long, period of time.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Making A Weekly Meal Plan Fun

On the menu:




It's a ton of fun to start a weekly meal plan. You get to plan a menu, cook and hopefully save some money and lose some weight!

I've been on it for a while:






So I thought it'd be interesting to give you a look at what goes into my weekly meal plan.

Basically, it's just one big meal split into four or five days. I usually do four days. Cause I only have four square containers.

All meals have to be under $10 with at least some form of vegetable in them. So this week, I made:

  Sweet Potato Tater Tots and Rice-Pop Chicken Fillets 
On a Bed of Vegetable Sticks 
with Homemade Peri-Peri Dip

Makes four servings

INGREDIENTS
- 3 Carrots
- 5 stalks of Celery
- 2 Green Capsicum
- Cheddar Cheese
- 12 Chicken fillets
- 5 Sweet Potatoes
- Homemade dip:
1/4 cup Peri-peri sauce
1/2 cup herb aioli
1/8 cup honey
- 2 Eggs
- Your favourite chicken coating (breadcrumbs or spiced flour)
- Rice Krispies
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Oil

PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER
1) Wash, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks.
2) Boil till cooked in salted water (you'll know it's done when a fork passed through easily and it can be crumbled). Once done, drain and set aside to cool.
3) While waiting for the potatoes to cook, cut the carrots, celery, and capsicum into sticks, roughly about the same length. Wash, then set aside.
4) Sprinkle cheddar and some salt and pepper over the potatoes, then using a fork or butter knife, cut into the potato mix to create a crumbly, chunky texture of the mixture.
5) Shape the potato mix into little tater tot shapes. Squeeze with your fingers to get it in the right size.
6) Dip the tots into egg wash before coating it in some spiced flour or the coating of your choice.
Tip: Remember, egg wash first, then roll the tater tot in its new coating on a separate dish!
7) Add oil to a hot pan, enough to cover the tater tots up 3/4 of the way. Once it's hot, pop the little tots in. Fry till golden brown.
8) Once that is done, keep the oil and take out the chicken fillets. Usually, they should be cut into the perfect size for you. In another dish, mix rice krispies with parmesan cheese.
9) Like the tater tots, coat the chicken in egg wash then coat in rice krispies and parmesan cheese.
10) Pop into the hot frying pan, flip it and cook till the rice pops turn golden brown.
Tip: You might have to scoop out the bits that didn't stick to the chicken in the oil. They'll burn and turn black very quickly!
11) In another bowl, mix all the dip ingredients together. Taste and add/subtract what you need. Once done, spoon the mixture into four separate plastic baggies. Tie it close.
12) To serve, place the greens at the bottom. Cover them with some plastic or wrap to keep them crisp. Place the tater tots and chicken on top on the divider. Top off with the bag of homemade dip, shut the lid and pop it into the fridge.

It was a ton of fun making this. I watched a really shitty Jennifer Love Hewitt television show (The Client List?) while chopping and stuff. So at least I had something to do.

While weight loss is 100% NOT GONNA HAPPEN, I did save money. In total, I spent $29.60 for the meal. Some items I already had, others, like the fresh produce, I purchased. Hoorah, per day each meal cost me $7.40 and is ridiculously filling. Lots of fibre too.

What do you put into your own weekly meal plan? Let me know!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Short Devotional On Easter Sunday


On Good Friday, I was prompted again that Jesus died on the cross for me, a sacrifice that took away my sin. On Easter Sunday, I am reminded to rejoice, for He is risen and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. On this weekend, I am reminded that the bible is a long and heavy testament of love that culminates in the ultimate sacrifice. It is an ode to God's devotion to us, and a reminder that for as long as I live, no matter the tribulations, I am never alone. 


I am thankful for God's grace and mercy, for the people He has placed in my life, for the church that has taught me to love, for the creatures that have taught me to be kind and the stories that have taught me to live. I am grateful, that no matter the trials, no matter how much I complain and no matter the worry I face, things just work out in the end because God's hand is in my life.

The spirit of God lives within us. I know today that it is all about acceptance, being willing to let yourself be healed by Jesus's blood, to let the spirit of God work within you and to let go of your worries. But for God so loved the world, He gave His only begotton Son. What more your worries? The bible, despite the drama, is the history of love. God wants us to know that He is there to carry our burdens for us, that He will do anything for us! 


It is never easy letting go of the need to depend on the things you see, but stop fighting the urge to let go, some things are just out of your control. 

Let go. Let God. 


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Sunday, February 12, 2017

[RECIPE]: Ayam Buah Keluak

It's that time of the year again! I whip out all the ingredients for one of the best dishes in the world: Ayam Buah Keluak. 

You'll find plenty of recipes floating about the great interwebs, but they're not wrong. See, every Peranakan family adds its own special touch to the dish. Abel's family, for example, uses Babi (pork) but my family uses Ayam (chicken). His family pops in plenty of the nut's meat into the gravy, my family just allows it deep out slowly. My family fries the buah keluak meat, his family steams it. 

All different, all very delicious. 

Here's my recipe:


INGREDIENTS
Tools:
- A big plastic tub
- A brand-new clothes brush (strong bristles)
- A hammer with a flat, chisel-like edge
- Blender
- Frying pan
- Big pot

Seasoning:
- salt
- pepper
- five-spice powder

Buah Keluak:
- 1 bag of Buah Keluak nuts (usually comes with about 30-40 nuts)
For those who don't know where to get these:  
I buy them from this guy called Peter Wee at the Katong Antique House, $15 a bag every Chinese New Year.
According to a lot of people, including some of my in-laws, I can get nuts at Tekka Market and other places, but my grandmother used to buy from this dude, so I do that now too.

- 8 prawns, deshelled, deveined and minced

Rempah:



- 20 shallots, chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
-  
8 lemongrass, chopped- 3 - 4 candlenuts (adjust according to how thick you want your rempah to be)
- 1 tsp belacan, fried
- a knob blue ginger, sliced
a knob of tumeric
- 2 - 3 candlenuts
- 10 dried chillis, soaked and deseeded
- 10 fresh chillis,
- 3-5 chilli padi (adjust according to your spicy manliness)

Other ingredients:
- oil for frying
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 assam skin - dried tamarind skin (adjust according to taste)
- 2 - 3 limau purut (lime leaves)
- rock sugar (adjust according to taste)
- 5 chicken thighs, chopped

STEPS
Prepare Buah Keluak



1. Dump all the Buah Keluak nuts into a tub of clean water. Scrub with a brush, hard. Once they're clean, soak in clean water. Change the water and scrub the nuts daily for the next 10 days. This has to be done to wash away any traces of cyanide (I hear its cyanide lah). (Yes, that's right. Dem nuts have trace amounts of poison.)
2. After 10 days of dumping out scummy brown water, scrub for a final time, pour out all the water and put aside.
3. Take out your hammer and start cracking open the top of the nut (that's the smooth opening of the nut). Toss away the broken bits of shell, dig out the meat and place the meat in another bowl. Scrap the buah keluak clean.
Notes about cleaning buah keluak: 
1. Buah Keluak should smell like... pungent sour plums, but some have no smell at all! If you notice a fishy, repulsive scent, toss the whole nut. It's bad. 
 2. Clear the shell from the opening completely. It makes it easier to stuff the meat back and to dig out when ready to eat. 
3. After you've cleaned it, prep the meat immediately. Empty shells left to dry grow fuzzy white mold within an hour. It's hell, cause you're gonna have to start the whole 10 day process AGAIN. 
4. Once you've emptied all the shells, take five-spice powder and salt. Sprinkle liberally over the meat. Add the minced prawn. Mix well.
5. Add oil to a hot pan, fry mixture till fragrant and dry (not too dry!). It should resemble a crumbly (but still moist) cookie dough.
6. Let the mixture cool for a while and go wash your empty Buah Keluak shells.
7. Stuff the cooked mixture back into the shells. Smooth the top to give it a nice shape.
8. Place into a plastic bag and into the freezer.

Prepare Rempah



1. In a blender (unfortunately I don't have time to tombok. - That means "pound" with mortar and pestle), blend the shallots, garlic and belacan. Set aside.
2. Blend the lemongrass, ginger, tumeric, 2 candlenuts. Dump in the shallots, garlic and belacan mixture. Blend again. It should form a paste. Add a candlenut if it's too watery. Set mixture aside.
3. Mix all the chillis together to form cili boh (chilli paste). Set half aside and leave half in the blender.
4. Add the first mixture into the cili boh. Add the remaining cili boh into the rempah according to how spicy you want it to be.
5. Dry fry the mixture (that means no oil) in a hot pan to allow access moisture to evaporate.
5. Once done, place into a container and store in the fridge for when you need it.

Finish Up



1. Take the chopped chicken thighs and marinade with rempah.
2. Add oil to a hot hot hot wok/pot. Fry the chicken thigh to crisp the edges a little. Set the chicken aside.
3. Add more oil and dump your rempah in. It should sizzle like your butt in denim shorts.
4. Fry till fragrant and till you notice the oil separating from the rempah. If your rempah gets too dry, just add more oil.
5. Toss the chicken back in there, then add the water and chicken stock. Cover and leave to boil merrily on medium heat.
6. After about 5 minutes, add in the limau purut and assam skin. Cover again and leave to simmer merrily.
7. Uncover and taste. Add more water or chicken stock if necessary. Add in rock sugar for sweetness. Adjust according to taste.
8. Once it hits the flavour you want, leave it to cool. Place mixture into fridge or leave it chilling on the stove.
9. Heat up again the next day. It will be perfect then.
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Married and homeless in Singapore

As someone who's waiting for her HDB BTO flat to be built, I can honestly tell you, the most frustrating question that I've gotten is this:

"So... When will your house be ready?"


Never. Never is my answer.

Abel and I have played the waiting game for a good long time. Since Jan 2014 in fact. THAT'S THREE FLIPPING YEARS AND THE HOUSE STILL ISN'T READY YET.

Calm down Amanda. Okay. Okay. Yeah, Jesus. OKAY I'M CALM.

The process to own a home in Singapore, when dumbed down and made simple with an impressive array of acronyms, is something like this:

1) Apply for BTO / DBSS / EC
2) Apply for HLE
3) Pick a HDB unit
4) Apply for ROM
5) Pay with CPF before moving in

I've done you the kindness of linking each acronym to an article about its meaning.

But though it might seem like five simple steps, it really is a tedious wait of AT LEAST five years. See, steps 1 to 3 could take about half a year to settle, depending on your luck of the draw, but steps 4 to 5, the most crucial, can last many years.

Why?

Well see. Picture being ready to spend the rest of your life with someone. You've done the whole "travelled with him/her and am ready to settle down" bit. The logical thing to do would be to move in together right?

According to the bureaucratic laws of the average Singaporean, you can't. You have to apply first.

Our red-tape strewn housing system (due to the unfortunate population-to-land ratio) has determined that to move in together and get married you'll need to ballot. That's right. In Singapore, to move into our boxy-little public housing (much better than most of the world and the most affordable!) you have to queue, and you have to join a lucky draw to determine your position in the queue! That's not even counting the fact that it is highly likely that you might not even end up in the queue at all, which relinquishes all chances of even picking a home for that round of ballots.

Try saying that in one breath.

But let's say you do get a number to join the queue, that's not the end of it. You're basically queuing for an IDEA of something. The houses aren't built yet. So you pour over brochures and layouts of what the building could look like and determine the units that you might potentially pick. Then you play the waiting game. Perhaps you're number 666 (Number were picked to express my frustration at this devilish system) out of 1,500 potential owners and there are only nine hundred units available. Then you're going to have to hope that the first 665 don't pick the units that you want.

WHAT?!

Yes. All this could span between three months to a year.

Now let's be optimistic and say that you did get your unit and your housing loan came through (of which requires an ungodly amount of papers - payslips and what not, as proof of your ability to afford a housing loan). Then it's time to wait for your house to be built. From scratch. From a plot of dingy land.

Now my brain tells me very sensibly and honestly that I should stop complaining and be grateful. I mean, good public housing is unheard of in most parts of the world. Affordable QUALITY housing? Even less heard of! One has to be patient to enjoy good things.

But my heart. My poor, blessed heart is screaming NO.

See, you need to remember that this is a country where people can't afford to live away from their parents and buy/rent their own home. It's not just our Asian-family sensibilities that get in the way of that. Financially and practically, it makes no sense to live away from them unless your parents don't live here at all.

But that also means that a couple that wants to get married can't get their own home till after three to five years! No point getting married before getting your house right?

Longest, engagement, ever.

What many have dubbed as the "Singapore way of getting married", is really, to me, the death of romance. But it is also this utter practicality that makes Singaporeans so successful. Would you rather rich robots or penniless poets? The truth is, you can't live on love alone.

Punggol Bayview, the home upon which we await with bated breath. (TOP Q4 2018)
But we are not devoid of options. There are couples, like Abel and myself for example, and a few other friends we know, who have gotten married first then waited the five years out together. Without having a place to live.

Once again, you have options:

1) You can choose to rent, spend a senseless amount of money every month.
2) You can live with your in-laws, and risk potential problems - there's a reason why the bible says leave and cleave.
3) You can stay apart. (The stupidest option for a married couple in my opinion).
So now you can choose. Stay engaged for a really long time, or get married and feel sort of... lost.

Because that's how I feel now.

Being the impractical moron that I am and the emotional wreck that I am, I told Abel we can't lose the romance. Since he'd proposed, why wait? Why draw out a long engagement when we knew were wanted to be with each other? He agreed.

When we got married, Abel and I were pretty optimistic. But we had run through the options of renting (waste of money and no money), buying a resale first and selling it before our BTO comes (possible but pointless as it was predicted that the market will just get worse when we're looking to sell) and finally landing on staying with the in-laws.

My house, stuffed to the brim with a hormonal teenager and a grumpy young adult, was no space for a young married couple. Not to say the least my angry father who lost his temper at the slightest things. No. No. No. So it fell upon Abel's home. As the only child, his room boasted a queen-sized bed, I'd only be competing with his dad for the toilet. Why not? I agreed.

What a mistake.

My in-laws are great. They are welcoming people who have always been lovely to me, but let's be honest, a ton of problems arrive with living with your in-laws.

1) They're not used to your habits and you're not used to theirs
2) You can never argue with your husband in front of them, which leads to the next and the most important point
3) You can never really comfortable, because you can never be yourself 
It took a toll man.

While all that was bad, what I felt the most was this feeling of not belonging anywhere. I felt so lost most of the time. Nothing of real importance (putting aside clothes and other superficial things) was mine. The bed was Abel's old bed, the room, though painted, was Abel's. The wardrobe was his, the toilet, his dad's. (You have no idea how important a toilet is to me.) The kitchen, not mine! I couldn't be comfortable no matter the things I used to decorate the space or the kitchen tools I bought. Not even bringing Hachi could make me feel better.

I felt like a squatter in someone else's home. Forever indebted, forever useless.

It was then I realised that I was going to have to do this for the next few years. It made me even more miserable. I couldn't return home either because my parents had thrown out my bed and replaced it with a desk for my sister.


My motto in life became "boh bian lor." Loosely translated: "no choice."

It made me crazy. Abel and I quarrelled frequently. I spent a lot of time at the playground crying at night. I lost the will the to work out. I never went home first without him and I hardly left the room to do anything. It was awkward. It was strange. I was also going through a job transition during that period of time. Finally, I think Abel and I decided to try renting again.

We found a gorgeous apartment in Geylang. A condo studio apartment, $1,600. We counted. We could afford it, but barely. After a long, drawn-out quarrel, we decided that we wouldn't go for it. My ever-sensible husband made the wise choice of forgoing that splendid apartment. I bemoaned its loss and longed to have a place to call my own.

Then I became jobless (you can read about my experience here) and after working in SPH for so long, I felt a part of myself die. Something else that was mine, gone. Then my Macbook died. My one and only tool of trade. I was done. I had hit rock bottom. I swear. There was this profound sense of loss, not knowing where I was going and feeling as though life was meaningless. All the regrets I had came pouring out. 2016 was the year of STUPID decisions, STUPID people, STUPID problems and a hundred other stupid things. I really lost it I think.

But after that bout of depression, I had to move on right? I just sucked it up. Got freelance work, a cheaper computer (which I'm still using btw) and continued living as I did. Existing.

Then something happened. My grandfather passed away.

I loved him. He was a great grandfather. Not a perfect man, but there's no such thing right?  He passed away peacefully, and his funeral was carried out by people who loved him. Then my grandmother, Por Por, who had lost the man she loved, offered something that changed everything.

She offered her home.

My grandparents sleep slept in separate rooms, Por Por in the common room, Ah Kong in the master bedroom. She told my mum that she thought it would be a good idea for Abel and I to move in with her. Without hesitation, my wonderful husband agreed. He forgo living with his family to live with Por Por, someone he only saw for dinners on alternate Sundays.

For that, I'll always be grateful. For that, I know he is a wonderful husband. (But it also makes me feel guilty for a lot of other things sometimes heh.)

We aired out the room, repainted the space. Bought a $163 Ikea wardrobe, raided the As-Is department in Ikea (heaven for poor couples) and installed a new toilet bowl.

The process was cleansing. 

Not as big as it looks. But just as bright as it appears.

I felt as though it was mine. A proper space to call my own. We had repainted and redone it with our own hands! Sure everything else belonged to Por Por, but this room was ours. The TOILET was ours. I didn't have to wait for someone else to use it, I wasn't accountable to someone else aside from my husband! I could bomb it, fart it in and clean it without feeling like I'm cleaning someone else's shit (literally).

This huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Then I finally got a job, we went on our honeymoon to Sweden and Iceland (you can read about the trip here) and everything else fell into place. I'm not as stressed anymore. I see my parents once in a while, I see Abel's parents once in a while, things are good! My hair looks good, my skin is fantastic, I just need to work on my weight and finances.

I even made a terrarium!

So calming hor.

Thanks to a loving family and loving husband, I survived. There are a lot of fortunate ones. Those rich, those who can afford to buy private housing or resale. Those who don't have to wait because they managed to get a sale-of-balance flat.

But it made me think, what about all the other younger Singaporeans out there waiting to get married because their home isn't ready? Those already married but living with their in-laws or struggling to make ends meet because of rent?

If you're out there, I just want you to know that you're not alone. You're not alone in thinking that you're selfish for wanting more. You're not alone in thinking that things could have been done better. You're not alone in feeling guilty for not putting in more effort with your in-laws. But more importantly, I want you to know that you did not make the wrong choice getting married without a house.

Because what is humanity without love?

All my problems could have been solved if we had been patient and decided to get married later. But we didn't. We made the choice and we lived with the consequences. And I remember, no matter how bad it got, I was always reminded that at the end of the day I'll survive and I'll be happy again because I am married to my husband. I don't regret my choice, and I will never regret my choice.


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