Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We Broke Up

I remembered J and I watched a movie called "Us and Them" when we were in Cork after our graduation. It's about a couple who broke up due to different circumstances, and reunited at a later stage in life. How their lives could have been if they did not break up. Kind of the same theme like LaLa Land...

"后来的我们什么都有,却 没了我们"
"We have everything we wanted in our future, but there's no us" -- which basically means they're not together anymore. Like the WongFu video "Strangers Again" about how two couples who used to be the most important person in each others' lives become strangers again. It's resembles how I felt because we were once so close; we shared all our dark secrets, night thoughts, aims, vision, goals and we pictured a life together...

We never talk during my first year in Cork. We were strangers..then we started chatting at FB messenger, to late 3am textings at WhatsApp, to our first actual date, our multiple vacations, survived medical school together, graduated med school together, endured housemanship respectively, met up every 2-3 months in our 2 years long distance relationship..and here we are, strangers again. How funny this cycle is; a person who I was once so familiar with, could be so distant now.

I trusted my gut feeling when everyone else told me the opposite. I had my doubts, but J always asked me to listen to his voice and listen to my heart. He proved his sincerity and genuineness. Our relationship blossomed and we became official at the end of May. First year in Cork was amazing. We had so many similarities, and our core values resonated with each other, yet different in certain ways but we always respected each others' boundaries.

Unfortunately, we broke up, on White Valentine's, exactly one month ago. 
Initially, the reasons were distance and differences in end goal. 
But I soon realised that these were all excuses, because I firmly believe that if two hearts are strong enough, they would find the reason to continue despite how slim the chances are. Funny how he initially ended things with me through text..

With further discussions through face-timing and texts, I guess I realised he fell out of love. We argued a lot, but I always chose to stay and worked things out. I released my emotions and my thoughts during every arguments, but when the other party is accommodating, they just agreed and try to please instead of having constructive, meaningful conversations. With the accumulation of things, I guess it finally blew up. I don't understand how someone could act like they're perfectly fine in a relationship to suddenly announce their feelings changed and they're now miserable and unhappy about how they were. 

I saw this from one of the online articles --
"Effort was never about the material things. Effort is how loved and valued you make them feel, whether you're together or apart. It's about her not having to tell you what she needs because you already know. It's about forehead kisses and cuddles on mornings because you know how grumpy she gets in the morning, but now when you wake her up right. It's about never making her feel like she puts in all the effort to make the relationship work. It's about making her a priority, no matter how busy your day gets. It's making them feel wanted and treating them the way they deserve."

I guess I felt the lack of effort shortly after our LDR commenced. I voiced it out multiple times, and girls are usually quite intuitive and sensitive to slight changes. I know guys tend to feel tired and repetitive if we kept arguing over the same thing. In my defence though, I felt like the reason why we fight over the same things is because the core issue wasn't resolved, hence it gets recycled. Ultimately, it's lack of communication from both parties. 

I still remembered he constantly reminded me that he was never bored with me, and that he's still feeling butterflies even though we're having LDR. In one of his letters, he mentioned that he's made up his mind to be physically with me, and we'll work towards our end goal of being together regardless of the obstacles, despite sacrificing certain comfort measures. Not that I will allow that, I've always encouraged him to do what's best for him, but it was really a sweet & heartwarming statement. He was so sure.. but somehow, things changed. They're merely words now, which I had hold on to.

Post break up, there's this phase where you'll feel like you're inadequate and unworthy of love. Because he used to be so certain about our future..and suddenly something changed. How in the world when two parties were in love, strived to be together, but failed miserably? You know that Hebe Tian's song.."明明你也很爱我,没理由爱不到结果". I had numerous sleepless nights and was constantly reflecting; Are we not doing enough?! Am I not doing enough? It's normal to think this way, because I did. 

"You know what's the worst thing about somebody breaking up with you? It's when you remember how little you thought about the people you broke up with and you realise that is how little they're thinking about you. You think that you're both in all this pain but they're just like -- Hey, I'm glad you're gone." -- Before Sunrise

I did a lot of self reflection and am aware of my shortcomings. There's no right or wrong in a relationship (unless it's cheating or abuse). I also believe that every relationships have ups and downs, and it takes two parties to make it work. It's easy to blame someone but everyone has flaws and  mistakes during a relationship. A good relationship is working together to overcome the obstacles and challenges in life. It's knowing despite everyone has their own opinions but still respect it, and trying to compromise, and to meet halfway. If you matter to someone, they'll make things work. I think I'm more disappointed than anything because there were a lot of uncertainties, and I knew it from the beginning. However, he tried so hard and he made me believe it's possible. I had hope.. I guess he believed it could worked as well in the first place. In the end, I guess distance magnified the problems we had, and the problems we never really communicated well. Up till the very end, I only had the closure after asking J numerously, trying to find the root of the problem. He did not really volunteer any information to me until I've asked repeatedly..

I have to say though, LDR is hard. It's even more challenging when both of our first love language is act of service. So naturally, it's difficult for both of us to feel loved. Also, I gets grumpy when we couldn't celebrate milestones or festivals together. Distance do matter but it's not main reason to give up on a relationship. After the relationship, all I could think of are our happy memories. He is a good guy, he loved me and I loved him back. There were so many moments in life that he played a role in and I'll forever be grateful for. The times where he comforted me when things went wrong during our travels, the times when I was anxious about exams in Cork or Brunei, the sweet surprises he did for me that melted my heart. Our memories in Belgium, London, Europe tour, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, Norway, Australia, Singapore and Brunei. Undeniably there were arguments during those travels, and obviously, I was upset, cried, threw tantrum, etc...but I chose to remember the good memories. Looking back, the unhappy memories and arguments were petty and relatively insignificant compared to the wonderful memories we had. It's never about what he gave, it's about what he made me feel. A customised charm with our picture, handmade only-one-in-the-world terrarium, homemade oats, cooked meals :) I think we both took each other for granted. I did, as well. We became complacent and we're both not as motivated as before. We might be too comfortable with each other..I definitely overlooked all the wonderful things that he'd done. Grass is always greener at the other side, they said. But the grass is actually greener at where you watered it. 

Fill your heart with full of love so that hate would not be present.  The memories were real and I don't want to deny them. I want to believe that when he said we will get married in the future and raise puppies together, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I believed that he meant it when he said all that, but somewhere along the lines, they somehow became just empty words now. They were real when he said it, just that things changed and he clearly did not feel the same way now. 

Moving on is different for everyone. Usually, it hurts when one party moves on faster and the other party hasn't. It hurts because it makes you feel like that person could throw away something so special so fast, forgets about it and moves on with life, as if the relationship meant nothing essentially. I've lost my best friend, my companion, and my lover...and it hurts a lot. But don't numb the pain. Don't pretend it's not there. Accept, embrace and grieve it. It's ok to feel sad, it's ok to feel hurt because all these emotions are solid proof that it happened. The effort and time you've put in, it meant something so when it didn't work out, obviously you lose a part of yourself as well.

"Imagine you have a thorn in your arm. Whenever you or somebody else touches it, it hurts. So you have two choices. You can either protect the thorn so it doesn't get touched, or you can simply tear it out. The second option makes more sense. Yes, you will feel pain taking the thorn out, but then it will be gone forever and once it's healed, you will feel no pain and will never have to worry about it again. The problem is that a lot of people choose the first option. They protect their thorn, cover it and run away from anything that could touch it. They pretend they're strong, nothing happened and jumped right into the next relationship. It's their decision whether they take life's challenges as opportunities to grow or not, or choose the way of safety and comfort, the less painful one." -- Madga Kay from Bravebell.com

So, I'm healing now. It hurts, but it's ok. I'm growing. I'm improving myself, to become a better person.

Love is a beautiful thing, and it's not supposed to end up like this. Love is the best thing we humans can do. Love is a choice. I've said this multiple times and we've talked about it numerously as well, so I'm sure we both agreed. Love is about external effort and energy, committing and choosing the person. It's an act, and not just words. It's loving someone and standing by someone when they're at the worst of times. Every relationship gets boring and the spark fades, but if you want someone to never give up on you, and love you unconditionally, you need to the same as well. You need to love someone even when they're being difficult and hard to love. That's the realist shit. Love is holding on, but it's holding on together. Falling in love is by chance, but staying in love is by choice. I'm always up for working thing out, if both of us could just communicate and express our honest feelings. But I can't force someone who doesn't choose me. 

J and I are still in good terms. We still talk occasionally. 
I never regret knowing him, and started a relationship with him. He showed me how much one could do for love when we first got together. How much effort that both of us have put in to make this relationship work. Him coming to Brunei, and me going to Singapore..all the sweet gestures and handmade presents (which I truly cherish and love).
There's approximately 7 billion people in this world and the world is so huge, what are the chances of meeting someone across the globe, and fall in love? I always believe in fate, and everything happens for a reason. I'll always be thankful for him, and I hope, he feels the same way too. We were each others' pillar of support in life at one point. To me, truly moving on from a relationship isn't ending the love I feel. It's wanting the best for him even if that means not being together. I believe the love we once had, has the capacity to shift and evolve into a different type of love that encompasses caring and compassion for the person who once had an important place in my life.

No one could predict the future. Life is always full of unexpected surprises; what we want in life constantly change according to the circumstances and our mindset. I hope one day, we'll meet up in person again, and we could chat about how much we have grown, and how our lives ended up becoming. Although we couldn't accompany each other in the future and be the support we once promised, I'm very grateful that you've appeared in my life and we've been through quite a journey. I wish you nothing but health and happiness. Thank you J, for all the memories and lessons in life.

相遇一场,又彼此相爱过,乃是一种缘分。希望我们都留住彼此最美好的记忆。谢谢你努力过。我也真的认真过。可惜不是你,  陪我到最后, 但也十分庆幸这段旅程中有你的陪伴。期待后来的你能快乐,可以真正的幸福,就算这幸福不是和我一起建立的。希望你的下一段旅程会更幸福。

For now, I will focus on myself. I'll take this as an experience and learning opportunity, and be the best version of myself ♥ If it's meant to be, it will be.

Singapore trip for J's Birthday

I've actually planned this for quite a while. I knew I'm going to Singapore for J's birthday, but I didn't want to celebrate it in SG again as we did it last year. I want to do something different, but I wasn't sure if J could apply for his leave, as it was the time when COVID-19 broke out in SG. When he confirmed that his leave was approved, I booked everything immediately (but with J's SG credit card heheh and paid him back afterwards :p)

J picked me up from airport and I remembered it wasn't a pleasant night, because of Covid-19 and my expectations of him keeping us safe as he'd promised. Also, I felt like my feelings and anxiety weren't acknowledged. I suppose SG was prepared, so J wasn't worried, but I was. Brunei didn't have a case back then and I was terrified that I'll be the first person to bring the virus back. I felt like my feelings were just being brushed off despite I've repeatedly voiced out my concerns and fears, hence it really upsets me & I broke down.

I guess we didn't really communicate well. Reflecting back, we both should have talked everything out. By that, I meant constructive deep conversation, and not just superficially.. 
A good conversation includes respecting each others' decision, and know that it's ok to feel the emotions. Conflicts / disputes aren't a bad thing; it's supposed to allow two parties understand each other better & put ourselves in their shoes. I guess, both of us failed in that sense.

On a brighter & happier note, we had lunch at The Coconut Club the next day. There's a long queue, but it was worth it. 

The Coconut Club
Nasi Lemak Chicken Breast / Leg set - SGD $14.80
Otak-otak - SGD $10.50
Chendol with red bean - SGD $5.30

Not the best nasi lemak I've had, but it was good, and the portion was generous. A plate was good for 2 people to share! We also ordered the chendol red bean for dessert :) 

Finally a picture with the merlion!! Been to SG so many times, and never ever have a picture with the merlion!! 

Celebrated J's advanced birthday with our Singaporean friends at Pepperoni Pizzeria. It was a rather funny experience, because we actually went to another branch at some secluded area. J was super confident that it was that branch as everyone has a car, but we should have confirmed before we departed! Ended up we were late for 30 minutes for the dinner, and I felt bad because I knew that they were gonna surprise him for his birthday xD

Thanks friends, and stay safe!

On the 8th Feb, we went to Batam for J's birthday getaway~
I've booked everything through a travel agent - WeekendGoWhere. I've actually researched and reviewed a few packages, and felt like that's the best offer. I regretted choosing the tour though, because initially I wanted to have a feel of Batam as it was our first visit here, and with a tour, I felt that we could experience the must-go places etc. However, the tour unfortunately was one of those tours that bring you to places & hoping you'll purchase the products so they'll get commissions in return. We visited the latex bed, Luwak coffee (which was interesting for J), Indonesia snacks store (which we incessantly munched on their free samples hehe)...the tour also included seafood lunch which we opted for an upgrade to have all the seafood fresh. 

Our ferry was BatamFast. It took approximately 45-50 minutes to reach Batam from Singapore. The ticket costed SGD $49 two way, but mine was inclusive in the tour package. You also have to pay for a compulsory ferry tax of $29 per pax. Our trip departed at 8am, so we had to be there around 7am. Initially, we wanted to use Grab, but the taxi never arrived..so we ended up troubling J's mother. Sorry auntie, and thank you so much!! 

Masks on for Covid 19!

I've booked a different accommodation from the original tour as I wanted some privacy for our trip. The hotel we stayed in was Woda Villa & Spa~ Unfortunately, the private pool villa was full and we had to share with 3 other people. The kids were so noisy, and J couldn't really sleep well at night T__T 

Lunch at Golden Prawn 933

For J's dinner, I've actually did extensive research on hotels that would decorate the venue for me. I've called & texted them to discuss re: decorations & menu. It was quite difficult as I was not in Batam so everything has to be done electronically. Some hotels did not even reply me!!
Would definitely recommend Biz Hotel (Contact no: +62 812-6829-6721). They delivered what they've promised me :) 

JWO Sky Longue @ 11th floor Biz Batam

Happy Birthday J!

Romantic Candlelight dinner set 
Avocado mayo tossed with dice smoked chicken

Leek and potato soup with garlic bread

Main Course:
Beef Sirloin steak served rosemary roasted potato, mixed vegetables and onion sauce


On the 9th, J's actual birthday, we had breakfast at Golden Hotel (opposite of Woda).
Birthday day with his new shirt I got him & his fave sunny side up double egg yolks
Happy Birthday J!

We then shopped around MegaMall, and bought a lot of Indonesian snacks & mi goreng (they have so many varieties compared to Brunei / SG!!). J also bought snacks for my family; thank you! I initially wanted to continue our annual tradition of baking J his birthday cake..but I've failed terribly this year. Supposed to bake a chocolate fudge cake for him, but it was quite bland, and the chocolate glazing wasn't melted properly as we didn't know how to use J's stove! The fruits that I bought to decorate the cake were also consumed, so everything was a disaster T_______T 
Hence, I bought a kek lapis original flavour as my contingency plan. Kek lapis has no preservative & freshly made with good quality butter. I'm so happy that J loves it and finished the whole cake in the following days~ <3
We had a simple birthday dinner with his family :) Happy Birthday J, although some details did not go as I've hoped/planned, I'm glad that I was able to celebrate your birthday with you. 

Last day in Singapore. J was on standby that day, but thankfully, he wasn't called in & we were able to spend some time together :)
Strangers' Reunion
Truffle Fries (SGD $12.90)
Florentine with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, poached eggs and mixed greens (SGD $17.90)

Celebrated advanced Valentine's date at Yardbird - according to Foodking NOC, they have the best fried chicken in Singapore.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Lewellyn's Fine Fried Chicken: 1/2 of their famous bird served with honey hot sauce (SGD $28)
Lobster & shrimp roll: Avocado, brioche, celery, house salt & vinegar chips (SGD $32)
House fries: house-made buttermilk ranch, bacon salt (SGD $10)

Also, finally visited Jewel & took pictures with the Vortex waterfall (it was under construction in January; and J said it was a sign for me to visit SG in Feb again & here I am~). Jewel is amazing, definitely deserves the title of the best & most beautiful airport in the world. 

Lady M
Rose Mille Crepe (SGD $11.70 including GST)
Prettiest Mille Crepe I've seen. The taste wasn't bad as well, but it was pricey!

Birds of Paradise
They have a lot of interesting flavours; like lemon grass, spiced pear.. the one I chose was White Chrysanthemum single scoop (SGD $4.70)
Brings back those memories, where J always brings me for gelatos/ice cream. It became our thing, to take a picture of the ice cream & collage them heheh

I hate the feeling every single time we had to part in the airport. Nevertheless, thanks for the hospitality and patience every time I visited Singapore. This trip was also our last trip together. I'm thankful that I was able to celebrate J's birthday together for one last time as his significant other. I hoped that at least when he reminisced on his birthday experiences, I was there for 3 years of celebrations :)

2019 in a blink of eye

2019 passed so quickly..

1. Internal Medicine Gala Night
Initially, wasn't keen to join but I'm glad I did. A reason to dress up :)
At that time, I have worked in Internal Medicine for 5 months.
Oh, and I've permed my hair (: Not exactly the curls I wanted but I can live with it. It grew on me eventually.
Medic8ion in Internal Medicine

2. Chinese New Year with family
My first CNY since I'm back in Brunei for good. What's more special was that Mel was also back. Finally reunited with her after 4 years apart!!
Also dyed my hair to a lighter shade - Milk tea brown

with Baby Oli~

3. J's 26th Birthday
Tradition - baking J his birthday cake; I baked Ferrero Rocher cake for his 25th birthday. 
For his 26th birthday, I've baked pandan yam cake..and finally able to use the korean buttercream I've learnt to practice. I practiced for at least 3 times before his actual cake. I was also worried about the temperature when I'm on plane that'll melt the buttercream. I was also anxious about the cake being smashed while I hold the luggage etc, and everything was great at the end hehe 
Sometimes I worried too much..
Didn't have a picture of J with the cake because he didn't bother taking it (and I was really upset tbh!) Pic from Mel who was so proud and stayed up late with me to complete the cake (& my mum too, big love!)

Read more on my SG trip here

4. Brunei's National Day
Was called to march for Brunei's National Day. Been ages since I last wore a headscarf (tudung). We had to buy our own cloth and make our own baju kurung!! It's quite an experience haha

5. New Zealand's trip for Mel's graduation
Amazing trip. Love every bit of it and so proud of my little sis too!!
Read more here

6. 2nd anniversary with J in Bangkok, Thailand
We survived 10 months of LDR, which we met up 3 times in between. 
J's first BKK trip. Our short but memorable experience - TruLove cafe with huskies, J's first Tuktuk ride, Thai massages (our last massage parlour caused folliculitis to J :/), and all the delicious authentic Thai food - read here

7. Survived my General Surgery rotation
6 months of GS completed. It's bearable and I genuinely enjoyed it because I had great support from my seniors. Was given the opportunities to suture & assist in a lot of surgeries. What an eye opening experience. 

The sisters I've gained during this rotation

My first group workout with the GS & ex-GS FYs
Almost died from the workout!

8. J's visit to Brunei
J survived 1 year of housemanship (Congratulations & good job!!), and had 4 months no-pay leave. He decided to visit me in September for 3 weeks, and then another week again in October. This meant a lot to me, because LDR was tough. Secretly though, I was hoping he would stay with me for 3 months xD 
I think by this time, we were way too comfortable with each other.. I worked by shifts, and he usually picked me up from work. I was expecting things to be like in Cork, when we were staying together, where we cooked together, and enjoyed spending time together.. but I guess because I was working, and he wasn't, so I expected & demanded a lot. We were also preparing for our exams at that time, and didn't go to a lot of dates. 
Looking back, we did have good memories together, and I missed those times. 

with my cousin's dog

Our monthsary dinner at Riwaz, and then we headed over to my cousin's place for some drinks. J puked all over my car, and in my apartment. But even when he was drunk, he professed his love to me which was really sweet :') I wasn't mad at all, and was happy the whole night hahah

With Nikie & Lexie; they've missed him (: 

In October, I finally had the chance to bring J to Jerudong Park. JP is huge, and used to have a lot of thrilling and fun rides. But without proper maintenance, it became run down..and now there's only a few rides functioning. Nevertheless, I was really happy that we went, because we've never been to any amusement park together. We rode the pirate ship, water splash, and Go-Kart. I don't have any of the photos because they're all in J's phone :/ What's essential is invisible to the eyes. They'll be memories in my heart that I'll forever cherished. 

9. My 26th Birthday + Australia trip
As I'll be celebrating my birthday with J in Australia, June celebrated my advanced birthday at Ximply Chriz. We also went to a Polish violin & piano duet concert at Laksamana College. Thanks for celebrating with me :) It means a lot to me <3

Spicy Sriracha chicken pasta

Spent my actual birthday with J in Melbourne, and had great memories in Australia. I can do brunches all day err day~ Detailed experience here

Had a belated celebration with the Critical care medicine team :)

10. Christmas & New Year Celebration
Annual Xmas / Advanced NY celebration with the girls.

Xmas gift exchange with the GS peeps (checkered shirt theme)

J's Christmas present
This came as a surprise :) Thank you J. The paper Xmas tree was really sweet because I've always wanted to have a Christmas tree & I felt like we've missed the chance when we were in Cork (our only celebration together). But I wish you were beside me, more than anything.