As a blogger, particularly if you have ‘made it’, you feel compelled to explain why you’ve been missing in action and what you got up to. And so this post is about why I’ve been missing in action and ta-daaa I’m back! Just kidding. I am definitely nowhere near making it in the blogosphere. But you need to think, feel and act like you are already at your destination in order to get there. You know, start doing and acting like the job you want and all that jazz?!
Hello, my lovelies, welcome back to my blog! And welcome me back to my blog!!! I took an unprecedented time off from blogging back in July and have been struggling to write. Time certainly plays a huge factor. I had so much going on in my professional and personal life. I had so many thoughts and ideas for my writing which left me feeling paralysed from starting. You know when you have tonnes of things to get through but you don’t know where to start?
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Why I’ve been missing in action and where have I been?
By the way, just setting some expectations from the outset, there’s no big review here. It’s just about me and my thoughts on getting on with the everyday mundane stuff. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t. Either way, I hope my stories will at least bring you a little escapism from your own everyday mundane stuff. 🙂
So why I’ve been missing in action? Because I went back home to Australia to visit my family, for the first time since the pandemic!! Since we moved to London (nearly a decade ago), I try to go back home every 12-18 months, but the last time I went back was in 2018! I was meant to go back for my best friend’s wedding in April 2020. That didn’t happen obviously.
The last time I went home was four years ago
Four years is not a very long time, yet not exactly short either. But a lot had happened in the family. I lost my beloved grandmother and uncle who was like my second father in so many ways (you can read about it here). One of my aunties had a stroke and left one side of her limbs paralysed. Of course, there have been happy news too. My sister-in-law gave birth to the cutest baby ever!! Our first baby in the family. My parents are over the moon to be grandparents!! I am so blessed to be there to celebrate his first birthday with him!!
I was ecstatic when Australia finally reopened their border and abolished all the Covid-19 rules. But I was also feeling quite apprehensive and anxious about going back. One for the 24hr flight with a mask on, and two for the unknowns of what to expect coming back home. I played through all sorts of scenarios in my head. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what it was actually like to be back in Australia.
So I boarded a plane and arrived at a place of foreign familiarity
If you’re like me and live in your head just a bit too much, then you’ll know what I mean when I say my head was overreacting to the scenarios and amplified the impact of everything. In my head, everything was different and everyone has changed, and I was a stranger in my own home. But the reality was nothing like that! It was something in between I guess.
Physically, not much has changed and I felt like I never left. Sure, we’ve all had a few more wrinkles on our faces and a few more white hair since the last time we met. And kids have grown into fine and capable young adults. We all just naturally morphed in we where I left off.
Emotionally, it felt like I arrived at a place of foreign familiarity. Everything looks the same yet feels somewhat different. We’ve all grown in our own ways and not necessarily in the same direction or by the same increments. But the one thing that has not changed, and I hope it will never change, is how we interact and connect with each other. Family will always be family!
Cooking together is when we have our deepest conversations happen
In our Teow Chew culture, we love to feed people. The fact that when we greet each other, it’s not hello, how are you, it’s “have you eaten?” says it all! haha
With feeding, comes cooking. So we, the ladies in the house, spent a lot of time cooking and feeding the family. And I mean A LOT of time planning, shopping and cooking. My grandma had 9 children, who have subsequently had their children and a few are now grandparents, like my parents! So we are literally feeding 20+ people every meal.
I guess we just love the process of cooking together. Most of our deep and meaningful conversations happen during our cooking time. And of course, there is also plenty of venting and gossiping. Family politics is real! It wouldn’t be a normal family otherwise. I guess this is how we communicate and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But it is also during these times, that I felt the hole and emptiness left by my grandma and uncle. The loss and the guilt within me for not being around to spend time with them in their final years, particularly my uncle.
There were a lot of laughter, tears and plenty of bitter-sweet moments, but we were really just living in the present and feeling blessed that we were finally able to spend time with each other again!
I’ve been putting off blogging but now I’m back
After a short three weeks, it was time for us to pack our bags, said a sad farewell to the family and boarded our plane back to London. 🙁
Looking back, it’s been almost a decade since we packed our lives into two suitcases and moved to London to live this ex-pat life. And it doesn’t get easier. This place of foreign familiarity is where I always find myself every time I go back home. I often wonder if that gap is widening…
Have you experienced moving to another country? Are you also living away from your family? Can you relate? How do you juggle between living your life and for your family? That emotional conflict between living for yourself versus living for your family or your parents?
I’ve been putting off blogging because I had a lot of emotions to deal with and I wasn’t sure how to put them into words. But I am back now and I hope to get back to my posting schedule.
Since we’ve been back, we just do what we usually do best… pure indulgence! 🙂
So cool to learn that you’re Teochew. In fact, it’s rare to see some form of Chinese culture on WordPress, especially if you just explore the platform through the Reader. I’m fortunate that Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, so I’m friends with all types of Chinese, from Hakka to Cantonese. I’m half Cantonese myself.
Anyway, welcome back to the blogosphere, and here’s to getting back to your routine!
Yeahhhh I hope to instil more cultural awareness to my blog posts especially Chinese Teochew! 🙂 I love that Malaysia is so culturally diverse. Most of my Malaysian friends speak at least 3 or 4 languages!! It’s so cool!! And I so do you?!
Thanks so much for stopping Stuart. I always appreciate your words of wisdom! Cheers to getting back on schedule! 😅