Friday, October 29, 2010

Exactly as it should be?

Every now and then, I drown in thoughts of "is this all?!?!" and "what's my role in this life?!"

Don't get me wrong, I DO truly appreciate my life right now. I mean, what more could a girl ask for? A comfortable life, loving and protective husband, great family back home, awesome friends all over the world. But then I get itchy and wonder, "this can't be all there is to life?!"

I leisurely get ready for class, do household chores slowly, or help out with the stuff I do at the restaurant at my own pace, while everyone around me is rushing around with a mission, a purpose, an aim. Everyone seems soooo busy, while I have all the time in the world.

For a while, I even hated going on FaceBook cos frenemies who used to be 'lower' than me (career-wise, at least) seemed to be doing well and being successful and having a fulfilling life and all. While now I am just a housewife.

This really is a case of be careful what you wish for. Two years ago, being in the rat race made me pray soooo fervently to be a taitai. Today, I'm not a taitai, of course. But I got my wish of not having to be stressed and working like a mad woman.

I even used to tell people how I never ever had a break, ever. You see, I was lucky in that I secured a job even before graduating from Uni, so the moment our last class was over, I started work the week after. I complained about it then though. Complained about the fact that I never had a break the way other people did. I complained about the fact that I had gone from secondary school straight to uni with not even a month's break, then from uni to work in less than a week, and then worked with no more than a week's break every year, for 8 years.

So from being the girl who was busy, stressed, busy, stressed, I have now been given the break I wanted all my life. But, as is often the case of the grass is greener on the other side, I am now bored. And also incredibly self conscious about the fact that I seem like the typical stay at home Asian wife married to a gwai-lo.

While this was the life I used to joke around with my ex colleagues about wanting to have, I just never realized how much inner strength and confidence someone must have to live a life like this.

It's not easy to face people when all you have is YOU. When there is nothing else, no job title, no glamor, really, truly, nothing else to define who you are but YOU.

In the past, it boosted my ego to no end when I could fluff my peacock-like feathers behind my very cool business card, or have people introduce me as, "Heather from XXXX. She's the XXXX, and in charge of XXXX." And the other person would be suitably impressed and ask me intelligent questions that I could answer wittily and humbly cos I'm don't want to appear too cocky, and then I would go home feeling oh-so-smug about myself.

These days, I'm just Heather, the chef's wife. And do you know how much more you have to try to be charming and smart and witty when you're JUST a wife to be taken seriously? Most new people you meet won't even deign to give you a second look. Well, not all. Some still give me the time of day here, cos I'm still a little cool like that. But being 'just a wife' has subjected me to quite a few strange questions. Here are just two cos I don't want to get all worked up thinking of the rest. 

1. How did you learn to speak English?
I promise you. If I was still Heather from XXXX, in charge of XXXX, no one would even think to ask such a stupid question. I promise you.
I realise too that if I was still Heather from XXXX, in charge of XXXX, I might also not take offence to this question cos I would be secure in my perceived esteemed position and all.

2. Did you marry for love or because you wanted to move to Europe?
OH! I swear someone asked me this! Took every inch of my self control to not slap the questionee silly!

*bristling just thinking of this question again*

Okay. What was the point of all this rambling again?

Ah. The point is that the past few months have been an incredibly wonderful character building exercise for me. I look back on the days of Heather from XXXX, in charge of XXXX fondly, of course. But most days, I'm learning to be comfortable with just being Heather. Wife.

Now that THAT lesson is (hopefully) over, and I've really, deeply learnt that all titles are superficial and all I have is me and that I should focus on developing myself internally and all those good things I try to repeat to myself after reading all the self help books I can get my hands on, it brings me back to the question in my first paragraph. "What's my role in this life?" "Shouldn't I be doing something to make a positive difference to the world?"

What frustrates me daily is that I have no clue what to do or what action to take. The thing with a career is that there is always a path. Now there's no career, so I haven't a clue what to do. Ideally, I'd love to work for an NGO or charity and find a way to contribute to society. But for now, my French/ Luxembourgish/ German is still not up to par. So I know that my language courses are what I need to focus on. Which I am doing now, of course.

But there are still so many other hours in the day when I have no idea what to do with myself. Which is hard to admit. Cos I'd love to seem like I'm extremely busy and all, like the rest of the cool people who don't have enough hours in a day, because there is just soooo much to do. I end up online window shopping.

Not that I want to do anything and everything just to keep myself busy, of course. Some people have tried to take advantage of my very available state to get me to work for free and such. I'm sorry, but my employers used to pay me very good money. Just because I'm 'just' a wife at this moment doesn't mean that I forgot my worth, ok?

I'm not after a career (though I DO miss the big fat paychecks I used to get in SH. *ahhhh... $$$$$$ my old friend, come back to meeeee....* ). I just want to wake up everyday with a purpose and go to bed feeling like I've fulfilled something, ya know? It's always been my dream to be part of something, an organization or group with a purpose bigger than just making money and climbing up the corporate ladder. To do something for the world. For humanity. In my idealistic mind, there is something so noble and fulfilling in jobs like that. How I find my way in that is the question I ask myself every single day.

Hubby reckons we should make babies. I tell him to touch wood and don't think crazy. Babies cost much more than actual online shopping.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hermit in Luxembourg

I know talking about the weather is not very original nor particularly interesting. But my life revolves around it so much I can't help it. I now REALLY understand how weather-chat is an ice-breaker.

Here are some lines anyone visiting Luxembourg can use to chat up with a stranger.


"Gosh! It's cold today, innit?" *accompanied by vigorous shudder*
"Did you know it was -3 last night?" *shake head woefully*
"The cars are frozen over!" *sucked in breath, with hand covering mouth*
"It's only October, and people already have to wear down jackets and mittens and hats?!?" *wide-eyed disbelief*
"I just wanna curl up in bed and not get out" *sulky pout or flirty wink depending on marital status*

 Grey grey everyday...

I'm becoming a hermit these days. I just want to lie on the sofa with super hubs and and vegetate. Going out is such a hassle, and worse, trying to breathe once I step out of the house is actually becoming physically painful.

6 more months of this &8§#!


Just checked and found out the temperatures are going up again. So this week's gonna be nice and warm-ish. 5 degrees! Yay!


Pretend young and act cute.
I find out when I'm out that my super real young bff Ella (aged 6 and a half), has the same outfit.
*so shy can die*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To die for

I have always believed in the power and beauty of shopping.

*Hello everybody. My name is Heather and I am a shopaholic*

When you shop, you can uncover some of the world's most beautiful and amazing things.

On my last trip to Paris with Mi and Kesh, we shopped so much, we were bound to uncover something special. And we did.

Here's our story.

We got 'stuck' at Galeries Lafayette one fateful afternoon and couldn't seem to find our way out. It was a maze in there, and Kesh followed us listlessly as Mi and I stopped every two minutes to exclaim, "Oh my! Look at this!"

Anyway. We shopped till a point where we could hardly feel our legs anymore, and we could also see that Kesh REALLY needed some nourishment, so we headed in the direction of the Lafayette foodcourt for some veryyyy quick refueling.

And by divine intervention, I was entranced by a stall which has changed my (culinary) life forever.

THE BEST EVER BREAD IN THE WORLD (in my humble bread snob opinion).

 What stole our hearts as we stood on the street outside Lafayette munching away and ignoring the snobbish Parisien looks at the Asians eating on the sidewalk.
Goat cheese, olive oil and walnut pizza-sized and styled bread. 
Every bite a heavenly pleasure.
The goat cheese! So wangi!
The walnuts! So sweet and crunchy!
And the bread! Oh the bread!

 Look at Mi's mile wide smile. 
She chose an olive-laden pizza-sized and styled bread. 
It changed her mind about olives forever, and I bet she'll salivate again at this picture.

We fell so in love, we had a dose almost everyday. 
The baguettes so yummy oh.

And their sandwiches.
The chicken! The sun-dried tomatoes! Perfection! Perfection! Perfection!
And the baguettes are just THE best I have ever had.
And I've had LOTS of baguettes here in this part of the world. 
Kayser has the best baguettes. Bar none.

Apple pastry. So fine!

Nom nom nom.
I love Eric Kayser so much that if given a choice between shopping and eating his bread, I'd take the bread.
THAT much.

*Hello everybody. My name is Heather and I am a Kayserholic* 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brown is winter's yellow

On Saturday, went out for dinner to celebrate our (almost) 6 months in Luxembourg and decided to give my daily blacks a rest.

Temperature: 3 degrees celcius.

Knowing that the restaurant was very well heated, I just needed to make sure that my coat was warm enough and that my boots were hardy enough for the walk to dinner.

Top: Bangkok
Riding Pants: Zara, Paris

 I miss Bangkok Platinum Mall and my funky (dirt cheap) finds.

Boots: Clarks, SH

All wrapped up. Coat: Zara, SH.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daily Dress, Literally

I've more or less abandoned my daily dress posts because dressing up has not been fun lately.

I moved out all my winter clothing, and my entire wardrobe stares back at me in varying shades of black, grey and brown. I tell you, my cupboard looks as depressing as the weather outside.

And because I walk to school everyday, my daily dress has become somewhat of a uniform, to deal with the very different temperatures indoors and outdoors. My school has an especially hot heating system, so while it might be very cold outside, it feels hotter than summer in class. Dressing for this is hell.

So, here's what I've decided to stick to for the time being.

Layer 1: Black tank, SH Market
Blue jeans (so I don't drown in black), Kookai, Lux

Layer 2: Kookai Cardi, Lux

Super comfy walking boots, Timberland, SH

Layer 3: NYC Jacket
All the things that make me smile, clockwise: 
Evil eye bracelet, asos. Snail earrings, asos. Watch, dyrberg/kern. Crystal necklace, dyrberg/kern.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy 26th Don Don

Don ah Don!

Used to be the bane of my existence for so many years :) how I used to eye him meanly because he was the cute, crazily adorable little baby that I felt had usurped my position in the family.  The 5, 6, 7 year old me was always torn between wanting to be a nice big sister and while trying to steal some spotlight from him cos I wasn't the one and only anymore. Ah! The struggles of a troubled young child's mind! :)

But it all got better when Kesh, Bryan and Paopei came along, cos us two were able to gang up and bully the younger ones. *evil grin*

It wasn't all bullying. We also got to act 'cute' in the name of being funky older ones who had to take care of the small ones.

Ah! Fat Fun Times!

Don Don's grown into a super fine and talented young man, and while so much has changed in both our lives, I still think back fondly to the good 'ol days. When he used to live in godforsaken Puchong and our curry fish head meals. Our we're-so-cool drunken nights (we must do this again soon, this time with Bryan). Our funny karaoke sessions. Shoppinggggggg.

He's too macho for me to be too mushy. But he knows I love him. Big time. :)

Happy birthday my dear Don Don! The future's gonna be awesome for you (and dear Starr). I can feel it in my blood! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Life, lately

Un boule chocolat, s'il vous plait!

Je m'appele Heather.
J'ai trente et un ans.
Mon pays c'est la Malaisie.
Je suis Malaisienne.
Mon mari est Français.
Mon habite à Belair au Luxembourg.
Je parle Anglais, Chinois, Malais, et un petit peu Français.
Aujourd'hui c'est neuf Octobre deux mille dix.
Je voudrais un baguette, s'il vous plait.
Je voudrais manger
J'ai faim

Paham ka?

This is what I've been up to lately. I can carry on a one-sided conversation very well in French right now. But heaven help the other person who tries to ask me a question ^_^ Some very nonsensical answers have come out of my mouth. 

So, because I have been French-ing all day long every single day, I have found an excuse to drown myself in a melodramatic Taiwanese TV series I watch on the internet when I come home from classes. I promise it is in the name of language and to keep my Mandarin going strong.

I swear it is not because I think the uber rich bad boy teeny bopper hero is cute and I swear double that I did NOT cry buckets when:
1. he turned good after falling in love with a sweet, innocent girl
2. they had to break up because his mother thought she was not good enough for him
3. he almost died while trying to get back with her
4. he got a brain tumour and was given one month to live
5. she had to lie and leave him because his mother said she would only be able to save him if she went away
6. he was heartbroken because he thought she left because she didn't love him anymore
7. she gave birth to their child in secret and their child is terribly wonderful but also very sick
8. she sits in her village home every night missing him terribly while he's recovering from his surgery which causes him to lose his memory
9. they met again but he doesn't remember her.
Everyone familiar with Taiwanese/ Korean love dramas will know how this pans out. But I'm hooked. Sigh. And here I thought I had become so sophisticated and grown up and Europeanised.

   A typical night at the Mahi Residence. 
Super hubs watching French TV while I sob like a baby at my laptop next to me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kesh turns 24

My sweet Kesh.

What can I say about her that everyone who knows her doesn't already know? Kind, pure hearted, hardworking, dedicated, loving, funny, patient, cheeky, dependable, sweet. Really, really, mostly sugar, no spice, and all things nice. An amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing woman who I proudly call my younger sister.

At my wedding, she was my maid of honor, and no one in the world could have done a better job :) I'm just so honored to be blessed with a sister like her (and Paopei too la, but that's another story for the 5th of January :p).

Over the years, we haven't changed much, have we? I'm still the crybaby oldest sister who leans on her all the time, and she's still the younger one who looks deep into my eyes steadily when i get over-emotional and holds me and hugs me, and just smiles.

circa 2004

circa 2005

circa 2006

Circa 2009

Circa 2010

Love you Kesh, so much. Big kiss and even bigger hugs. And I promise I don't cry, I promise! :p

Friday, October 1, 2010

Meet Lisa

Been incredibly busy this week. Classes have started, and tons of things are happening at the restaurant as well. I have an incredible backlog of pictures and (mentally) planned posts from the time Mi, Kesh and I were gallivanting around Europe, but till I get to (not procrastinating) and sorting them out, here's me and my long lost friend, Mona - who's very famous and pretty and that's why I look constipated trying to pose and smile like her.