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This year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution, & I am going to try extra hard to stick to it. I only have one thing on my resolution & that is to loosen up my grip & my tight control over the caregiving of my little bean. This mostly means that I must worry less about my external family members meddling offering help in my role as a parent (i.e. pushing unsolicited advice, comparisons to other babies within our family, or any minor criticism). Since having a baby, I have had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the matriarch of my family is trying to push me out of my little bean’s life & take over as the primary caregiver. I really, really, really need to stop hyper focusing on this matriarch & just be the best parent to the little bean as I can be, in my own way.

I am a controlling person in my personal life, but I am actively working on loosening the reins in my life. I put this quote as my smartphone background wallpaper that says, “Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.” I think about this quote often, & sometimes I will abide by this quote, but I have been known to slip up very often & revert back to my OCD behaviors of micromanaging everything, especially in my little bean’s life. I have taken small strides these past couple of months in small ways. I talk to myself, inside my head, but also sometimes under my breath in a mumbled voice. I send myself verbal reminders. Often times I have resorted to immediately turning around & walk out of the room so I as not give myself reason(s) to nit-pick on trivial things. Other times, I will try to just go with the flow & deal with the aftermath later. Or I will force myself to mentally brush off any immediate jerk reactions/feelings. Jian also often pulls me aside to remind me that I am reverting back to my old habits, help me calm my internal discomfort, & help get some logic back into my senses.


Last year (I can’t believe I can say that now), our little trio took a second road trip to Las Vegas again to visit my oldest brother & sister-in-law right after Christmas…like, immediately…on Boxing Day. Our annual family tradition, per my late father’s request, is that no matter what our family would be together at our home (which is still the childhood home where most of us were born & raised) for the Christmas holiday. It didn’t matter what it took, we must all be together, & that was something that my dad adamantly stood by.

This past year was the very first time my brother & his family couldn’t come back to home base, but we were able to turn our holiday event into two separate events, & that ended up being more meaningful to us. Spending exclusive time with my big brother & sister-in-law has always been fun & meaningful, & this past Christmas break was just so memorable. Unfortunately, my little bean wasn’t able to spend the holidays with both of her older cousins (my brother’s two daughters) due to scheduling conflicts, but she did get to spend time with one of her cousins & also her two favorite dogs.

Visiting my brother & his family at their new place in Las Vegas doesn’t really feel like we are “in Vegas”. Even though we can spot random gambling places all over town, we still feel very far removed from the glitzy, touristy Vegas Strip. It’s so much fun discovering new places to eat & explore whenever we head over to my brother’s new place. We can’t wait until the next chance to visit his family again.


Oh my God, I am extremely excited that 2 sets of my closest friends are expecting babies of their own. Well, by the time you are reading this post, one set of my friends have already delivered their baby & are safely nestled at home with their menagerie of furry pets. The other set of friends are still waiting on their labor & delivery due date, so the circle of our friends are all collectively cheering them on from the sidelines. I, myself, am the happiest of them all. Not only does my little bean get to have new friends to play & grow up with, but I won’t feel so isolated in my immediate friend group by being the only mother to a young child.

I do have other friends who are already parents of much older children than my own, but in terms of my immediate circle of friends, Jian & I have been the only parents so far with a child under toddler age. Now Jian’s best friend & his wife (both of whom are extremely close friends of ours) have just welcomed their own little bean, a girl in fact. We just video chatted with our friends last night, & so far they have perfectly settled right in to being new parents.

We both could not be more happy for all of our friends, both of whom supposedly have similar delivery due dates (& are both expecting girls). Our little tight-knit friend group is now expanding into the next generation. It will be so exciting to see how all of our children will grow up together & interact with each other. I am curious to see how my little bean will take the lead as the oldest child in her group. She is bossy, so showing the other kids how to do things will be her specialty.


Since we are on the topic of children, my little bean attended her very first official children’s birthday party two weekends ago. This marked the first actual time she’s been around a large group of children near her age. My little bean has spent time with her first cousins, but none of them are close enough in age that they can interact easily with each other.

One of my friends & his wife hosted a birthday party for their 2-year old daughter at a public park, & there sure were a lot of kids at the party. My little bean was incredibly nervous & shy in the beginning, but then again, so were the other kids. Most of the kids at the party were born during the full-blown pandemic lockdown days (as was my little bean), so this was the most public interaction any of the kids have gotten so far.

A lot of the other kids were happily running around & playing games, but my little bean just wanted to stay close to mama & papa. It was a fun & festive party & a great way for our little bean to experience an event with kids her own age. It also gave Jian & myself a taste of what lies in our foreseeable future… a lot of tired parents huddled around the adult drinks station, while all the kids run around in controlled chaos, hyped up from eating too many sugary snacks. That is one thing I am not looking forward to.


This coming weekend, Jian is taking me & the little bean on a little 2-day road trip to Monterey Bay. We are all really excited to have this little family getaway after my mom’s extravagant birthday week, this past week, where so many people came to visit & celebrate my mom’s 76th birthday. My mom’s sister came to visit for the week. My brother came up for a few days, sans his newly-introduced girlfriend. Then, my sister & her whole brood popped by for a quick weekend jetset, which was great for the rest of us because we can only take being around my sister & her new husband in small doses. My mom had the time of her life being surrounded by the people closest to her & celebrating with her.

This quick weekend road trip will be a great break away from the grand matriarch, & it will also be a good time to get some fresh air & spend some quality family time out of the house with our little bean. Plus, it’ll be a good break for Jian before he starts his new job working for a subsidiary company under the Amazon corporate umbrella. I have been looking forward to this mini vacation all week. Our packing is all done & we are ready to go! Until next time, cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

given gift blog banner

This post is a follow-up of sorts to my last list blog post about gifts. The previous post was about a thoughtful gift I have received. This new post will be talking about a gift I have enjoyed giving to someone else.


SIDE NOTE: Sorry I’ve been absent from my blog these past few weeks. I’ve been going through a ton of medical appointments & doctor’s visits, & just haven’t had the time, or physical energy, to sit down & properly write. Over the past couple of weeks (approximately 1 month or so), I had been placed on a strict medication schedule & had been going to my doctor’s clinic at least 2 to 3 times per week. As for now, things in that aspect of my life are still up in the air, but the picture is slowly becoming more clear. Now is the time to wait for results & new steps to take on that particular journey. That’s all I am going to say for now.

As you may or may not know, I L-O-V-E being generous & giving gifts to other people, & I never ever expect anything in return. I just love the act of giving something cute & fun, &/or something meaningful & thoughtful to the people I truly care about. It’s not about shopping or spending the money. It’s all about seeing the surprised & happy reactions on the faces of the gift receivers.

When prompted by the 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal to choose one gift I enjoyed giving to someone else, I had a hard time deciding which one I should write about. I ended up choosing to write about something that is not just one item, but a series of items, & they’re also not really gifts, per se. They are actually handwritten letters…letters I’ve written to Jian. Heh, you probably have an idea about what kind of letters I’m hinting at here. So let’s not beat around the bush anymore & get straight to it, shall we?

To give you a brief glimpse into the early stages of my relationship with Jian, we used to talk on the phone with each other non-stop on the weekends, & I would write him old fashioned letters every week. Jian was at the very tail end of his college career, & I had already finished my schooling & was already working. (Let me remind all of you that I am the more mature-aged person in our relationship…by only a modest amount.)

love letters

a sample of the letters I wrote

It was the early 2000’s, & snail mail was still a ‘thing’. I wrote Jian cute letters, mostly writing flowery, romantic nonsense. I would use my most sickly sweet Hello Kitty-esque stationery & decorate it with a shitload of stickers & girly craft junk. What can I say? I was still in my early mhmmm-eens/ies (not revealing my true age here) & had rosy stars in my eyes…or in today’s terminology: 😍.

And, well, you know what? To this very day, Jian has kept every single one of those cloyingly sweet letters I wrote him. That just shows how much he really appreciated all of those words I wrote to him (even if he did find all of my stupid stickers annoying). I really love the fact that Jian continues to cherish all of the letters & cards that I write to him. It goes to show that he absorbed all of those heartfelt sentiments that I expressed to him, & he shows me his own heartfelt sentiments in return every single day.

I really cherish that time in our relationship where we were getting to know each other & build our relationship. Now, we couldn’t be a more stronger team. We are so in sync with each other that every day just feels so natural & second-nature to us both. So we’ll both continue on together & keep on going down our own path, making our own journey. Until next time, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

oldest friend blog banner

I am chugging along on my 99 Things That Bring Me Joy list train. This next stop brings me to the list of my oldest friend. Growing up, I didn’t have a large group of friends. I was an extremely shy child; so shy to the point where I spent a majority of my Kindergarten year of school cowering in the corner by the door of the classroom. I was so extremely shy & frightened to sit along with my classmates, that I spent the entire class period sitting in the corner between the front door & a table, doing & saying absolutely nothing the whole time. At the urging of my teacher (who was very gentle & kind), my parents tried to encourage me to engage with my fellow classmates, but like I always did when I was that scaredy-cat, little tyke, I bawled my eyes out. (I was an easy crier when I was a little kid.)

It wasn’t until I met a girl in my Kindergarten class who broke me out of my shell, & we became fast friends. Her family came all the way from Japan, & we were both two shy little girls with runny, sniffling noses who were both extremely into Hello Kitty & other cute Japanese things.

I don’t quite remember the details of how the two of us met or became such close friends in such a short amount of time, but we built a close friendship rather quickly. Since this girl came from one of the rare Japanese families to move into our neighborhood, both of our families bonded fast. I don’t know how, but my dad knew all of the Japanese speaking neighbors in our immediate neighborhood, & all of the moms got to know each other very well.

When we first met this family, my dad was thrilled to interact with a fellow neighbor who was also born & raised in Japan, someone he could freely speak Japanese to, who understood him. That’s how both of our dads became fast friends. Both of our moms also became good friends, with my mom teaching my friend’s mom how to speak English. My friend’s mom, in turn, taught my mom all about Japanese culture, & my mom was also able to pick up a few Japanese phrases here & there. I remember my friend had two older brothers who pretty much kept to themselves whenever I would hang out at their house, but like in true sibling nature, both brothers found us girls to be annoying (even though we never really bothered them).

I was super sad when my friend had announced after three years of living close by that her family was moving back to Japan. At that time, I had no idea what was going on or why my friend was all of a sudden moving back to Japan. Back in those days, especially when you’re a little kid, you never heard of the work-abroad program that was so popular in Japan. Big-time companies would send selected employees to work overseas for a maximum of three years, to build work experience & learn more about foreign business. My friend’s dad had come to the United States for his company’s work-abroad program, & the whole family moved to my neighborhood. I got to know this girl through school, & my parents got to know their family through all of the times we would spend at each other’s houses on play dates.

Ever since my friend had moved back to Japan, we have kept in touch over the years. We send each other greeting cards with letters written inside. I’ve traveled to Japan to visit her multiple times, & once stayed overnight at her parents’ (gorgeous & substantial) house in Tokyo. She has come back to visit the Bay Area a few times & take a walk down memory lane, checking out our old school grounds & passing by the house she once lived in.

A lot of time has passed between us, but we still keep in touch. My fondest memory was when my parents had planned a huge family reunion in Japan, & they had extended the invitation to my friend & her parents (her brothers were both studying & working abroad at the time). All of my extended family members came out, & we packed an entire Italian restaurant with our reunion group. My oldest brother (who is my dad’s first biological child) with his wife & two daughters were part of our travel group, along with my brother’s best friend (with wife & two daughters). My dad was extremely generous to invite my brother’s friend with his family to join us on our family reunion trip. It was so much fun interacting with my extended family & all of our friends.

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Here is a photo of my friend & I with our moms during my family’s huge reunion party circa 2006.

All in all, I am very thankful to call this girl my friend. We have both grown up so much from our days of sniffling noses & playing with Hello Kitty toys, but we’ve definitely stayed good friends throughout our time apart. There was another girl that I met in primary school after this friend had moved away, & we also became fast friends. We went through a shit ton of ups & downs (mostly downs), but I will leave that whole can of worms for a different blog post. I want this post to be happy & upbeat. So until the next time, cheers & T.G.I.F.!! (I really need a break this weekend.)

Today’s song of the day:

 

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