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Tomorrow, he is two

Dear C,

Tomorrow, you’d be two. In preparation for this monumental event that I’d be missing due to starting a new job and before I sat down to write this letter, I went back and read what I wrote last year. I didn’t leave you much words of wisdom last year, because I was overwhelmed at being a godmother.

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The second year of your life has been wonderful. We went to Osaka where you shared bread with your Godpa, laughed at our silly faces, cling on to us when Mama and Papa went to have their turn on the roller-coaster rides and your silly little giggles. I’ve also seen you at least once a quarter in the last year and for that, I am grateful.

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You’re amazing, my dear baby boy. I’m glad that I could really watch and see you develop your personality over the last year, both in person, via FaceTime and with constant updates from your Mama daily.

It amazes me at how well you could count, the way you say “bumpy roads” in your tiny little voice as we drive over humps, and the way you go “Mama, milk milk please?” when you need comforting.

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Your imagination intrigues me, for I’ve not seen many children your age play pretend the way you do. You are constantly cheeky, and you know that I’d allow you to get away with things as long as you flash me those puppy eyes and smiles.

You are also adventurous and have immense trust in your parents and godparents to know that you could do anything, and we will be there to catch you. When you came back the last time, you learned how to go down the big water slide on your own. By the end of our session at the water park, you would go down alone and handle the whole thing by yourself.

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You surprise me with how much empathy and love you have for people and things. I love how you can understand what we are telling you. When you were here recently, I remember how you looked at me through the glass window of the tube with your sad eyes knowing that you won’t see me for a few months.

I can imagine the years ahead of us as the problems and struggles you face grows. These are just a part of life and I cannot imagine how much you would learn and how much you would teach me, as a Godmother, about what it means to care and love in spite of the distance.

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You know much more than I think you do. You’ve also succeeded in shocking Godpa with your counting and I relish in the new words that you’ve picked up while we are apart. You are now a little sponge, and I am constantly hyper aware of what I do in your presence for fears that I might end up being a bad example to you.

I must admit that I glow with pride when your Mama tells me of new milestones or when someone spots your photos on my phone and tell me how handsome you look. So never doubt our love for you, not even for a second.

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You’ve given both Godpa and myself the joy of parenthood, and every time you call “Godma” or “Godpa”, you put a smile on our face and make our day.

Being your Godmother is the greatest joy of my life, C. You are kind, brave, smart and handsome. You are a light to your parents and ours, and it has been a privilege to witness your life and watch as you grow up. I cannot wait to see what the next year would hold for you.

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I love you, C. Happy Birthday! We’re really sorry we can’t be there with you to celebrate in person, but know that we are always here for you.

Yours forever,
Godma

Currently | September Edition

Quote of the month | Doesn’t matter how tough we are. Trauma always leaves a scar. It follows us home, it changes our lives, Trauma messes everybody up, but maybe that’s the point: All the pain and the fear and the crap. Maybe going through all of that is what keeps us moving forward, it’s what pushes us. Maybe we have to get a little messed up, before we can step up. – Grey’s Anatomy

Reading When I’m gone – Emily Bleeker. This is one of those books that got me all tied up in an emotional mess. How I wished my mum had left more letters, reading about cancer and the pains of the treatment takes me back. It’s so hard to read, yet, I couldn’t put this book down.

Listening to video of Shila Amzah singing one of my favourite Jay Chou song. It’s a song that is really hard to nail and you really need to pronounce every single word to really get it. Gosh! I’m loving her rendition.

Feeling really emotionally drained. My dad sold the family home 6 year post losing my mum and the packing the ensued hasn’t been easy. I stumble over things I thought I might never see again and those brought tears to my eyes.

Learning that the pain of losing a parent and friends aren’t made easier even with time. The house move has brought back tons of emotions, especially since it felt like yesterday when I started to lose people that I love.

Grateful that I have some physical memories in the form notes, folded origami and such that my mother has left behind of me. It’s moments like these that I’m grateful that I took the effort to keep all the tiny things that people would have thrown out.

Celebrating the end of another work chapter that officially ends this Friday. It’s been a tough and lonely journey this past 1.5 yers, and I honestly hope that things do get better in a new environment.

Missing the joys of having a piano in the house so that I can play on it and make all my woes go away.

Treasuring the quiet moments before I commence my new job. It’s off into the deep end with the new role, a part of me feels really frightened, the other part is just buzzing with excitement.

Growing up with C | 23 Months

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” – Shel Silverstein

“He’s awake, just swing by.” Those 5 words got us jumping out of bed, ignoring our own fatigue.

“Quickly! Book an Uber and get there before he gets grumpy”, B urged me as we left home.

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“Hi Auntie! We’re here! Nice to see you again”

Inside, the little one spotted and scrambled to safety (hiding behind mummy). We were strange faces despite the constant Whatsapp Video calls weekly, in all honesty, I wouldn’t blame him for feeling frightened.

“Who’s that?”

“Godma…. Godpa!”

When those words were uttered, B’s face lit up like a child who got the present he wanted for Christmas. I won’t deny it, those little words makes my heart swell up every time I hear them.

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Eventually, we started play time and C proceeded to stuff us with watermelon and strawberries that he loves. When we took out the toys that I got him from Japan (mainly toy cars), he was buzzing with excitement. He really took to the storybook toy with tracks and I’m really glad that he loves it.

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Eventually, we needed to leave home to join the rest of the crew at the Rugby pitch. It took a little coxing for us to get him up and running. Soon, he was just chattering about numbers, telling us to carry him up so he could press the elevator buttons.

“1…2…3…4…5…6…7……20”
Listening to him count made me smile at his development, he has shown how he has surpassed most kids I know at 2 years old who can’t really read or count.

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The car ride to the pitch was really funny because C would start counting lamp posts and he would go “Bumpy roads” whenever we cross a speed hump. Part of my brain can’t reconcile how a 18 month year old baby has grown up into a 23 months kid.

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I love C’s imagination, he is able to play pretend and actually enjoys it. Perhaps this is why B and myself loves him so much, he honestly tugs on our heart strings and gives us the satisfaction of being godparents.

We ran on the tracks, walked over drain covers and pretend that they are train tracks. 4 adults running and looking out for a child makes things really easier, and it reinforces on the common saying of “It takes a village to raise a child”.
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Thank you baby C for showing Godma and Godpa so much love as we learn and evolve our “parenting” styles. We aren’t perfect, but we try our level best to always spend time with you when you’re in the country and to fly out as often as we can to see you. Though we are apart right now, we love you and would always try to be there for you.

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Captured by S. Benjamin with his beautiful Sony A7M2

Filmshots | Japan

During our memorable trip to Japan last November, I took the chance to allow myself to view the world through my lens again. Lately, I’ve stopped photography for the most part and just allowed myself to be photograph only what I want to remember.

I want to remember, the blooming of these beautiful flowers even as the trees shed their leaves in preparation for Winter.f1000012

To remember my wonderful husband who is constantly behind the lens and always being my favourite travel partner.f1000022

Remember that moment when my best friend dressed up in a Kimono and walked the streets of Arashiyama. To celebrate our friendship and to be thankful that she is a wonderful Mama to my godson, C.f1000027f1000034


Filmshots is a series that showcases memories documented on film, to see more of those on these series, click here

Captured with the Nikon F2 and Portra 400

Exploring Japan | Himeiji Castle

One of the largest castles in Japan, Himeji Castle was one of Japan’s first UNESCO sites and a beautiful place that totally worth the trip out to visit. We were on the rail pass, so visiting Himeji from Osaka meant a 22 minutes ride on the Rapid Express Trains with no extra charges.

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The weather was beautiful when we visited. It was a nice change the fast paced city life that Osaka was all about, and fresh crisp air was just refreshing. We got ice cream from the vending machine and munched our way up to the castle.

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The climb to the top of the castle is not for the weak-hearted: slopes to the castle doors, steep staircases that are mega slippery. Yet, the view from the top is totally worth the climb. On a clear day, you could see the entire city.

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We also jumped at the opportunity to take the Shinkansen from Himeji to Kyoto, and paid a fortune for it. dsc05167dsc05169


Captured by S. Benjamin with his beautiful Sony A7M2

Wanderlust | Scenic Kyoto

Kyoto plays a huge part in Japan’s history, once a Capital city, it’s now a beautiful city steep in history and infused in nature. Many of Kyoto’s tourist attractions has been appearing on my instagram feed for years, and it would have been a real pity if we didn’t visit some of them.

We visited Kyoto on 2 separate days, and we loved it. On one of those days, we took the train to visit the Arashiyama bamboo forest, we were slightly disappointed that we couldn’t get a ticket for the Sagano Romantic Train, that was said to be the best way to view the autumn foilage.

To make up for the disappointment, we snacked on the delicious homemade Strawberry Mochi that was being sold in tiny carts and shopped in traditional stores of unique gifts.

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The crowds to the bamboo forest was staggering, especially when we have a child in tow, so we made a decision to pop into a random Udon place for lunch in hopes that the crowd would dissipate. The Udon was really yummy and C loved it!

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Our gamble to wait out paid off as we started our walk into the Bamboo Forest at 3pm and the crowd has lessened as tour buses carted away most of the tourist away.

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The forest was really cooling and a part of me wondered if the forest was deliberately planted instead of being a natural one. C fell asleep while we walked through the forest and it gave us time to soak in it’s beauty.dsc04989

As the evening approached, we went our separate ways. B & I went in search for a good cup of coffee at the % Coffee store that came highly recommended by friends.
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As we stood in line, we watched the sun set upon the riverside and the beautiful autumn colours giving us one last hurrah.dsc05057dsc05068dsc05060

On our second day in Kyoto, we had bid farewell to Clem, Jo and C earlier in the morning as they made their way back home to Australia. We took a detour to the Fushimi Inari Shrine on our way to the hotspring that we booked for the night.

The shrine is really famous as it is filled with beautiful Tori gates lined up in rows and it was a joy to just walk through it and read the inscriptions on the side of it. (If you read Japanese)

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Captured by S. Benjamin and myself with the Fujifilm X100T & iPhone 7

For the love of Kobe

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Mornings are usually best spent wandering down Osaka’s Kuromon Market eating up a feast. Even after a week, one can still wander down the Market and never get bored. Traveling with a child means taking things slow and we loved it.

We took the train from Osaka to Kobe via Kyoto. The ride was really enjoyable as it meant that we could take all the time we wanted and this makes a huge difference with a child in tow.

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We stopped at Kyoto for lunch, got really yummy chocolates from the Kit Kat Chocolatory and visited the Pokemon centre. If you’ve not figured out by now, we are basically 4 grown up kids gallivanting around Japan with a 14 month in tow.dsc04703

Kobe is a beauty. Whilst our main purpose was really to have Kobe Beef for dinner, we still managed to make our way up to the Kobe Ropeway and Herb Garden for an afternoon stroll.dsc04710dsc04718dsc04725dsc04734

The view from the top was breathtaking, but the ride up on the ropeway saw my Acrophobia taking root. So whilst we were ascending, the boys kept scaring me by shaking the cabin and I was almost in tears by the time we got off on the last station.

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Traveling with my best friend and family has been nothing short of awesome. It didn’t turn out as bad as we thought it would be and I really attribute it to our dynamics. Or, perhaps, it’s really because our main focus was to spend time with our godson.

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Our little country kid loved the walk. He was just running around, pointing at things and cooing in joy. Oh how wonderful it is to watch a child grow.dsc04772dsc04838dscf3124dscf3125

The autumn colours were really vibrant and the walk allowed for the clearing of our minds. As we took the long stroll through the park, I was hit by how peaceful and serene it was. dscf3146dscf3156dscf3177

Without my photographer husband, I would probably have forgotten about taking photos and be left with just memories in my mind. I’m really thankful that he is always around capturing these moments that I can treasure. dscf3181dscf3186dsc04855

On our way to dinner, we decided to take 2 different cabins so that we could spend quality time with our tiny family and I loved it. Night scenes like these are far rare and few, and the last time we did something like this was back in Seoul.dsc04869

Dinner was at a place called Steakland. It was possibly a good and economical option for us, considering how pricey Kobe beef could be. Even then, the beef was really juicy and delicious.dscf3193dsc04891dsc04895dsc04898

As we made our way to Osaka, we made a decision to split with my best friend’s family as it was past C’s bed time. Instead, we stopped by a Starbucks to warm ourselves and just simply chat about how things were in our lives. These conversations, they fill me up with hope for our future, it reminds me of why I married this wonderful man who understands me.dsc04917dsc04924


Captured by S. Benjamin with his beautiful Sony A7M2</em