Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lunch and Laughter at Ling's

Today is my grand uncle's 74th birthday. And the family was invited to the customary lunch at Ling's Pavillion - our favourite Chinese cuisine haunt since many years. As it turned out there were only two of us representing the grandchildren category. My grand aunt, her two sons were there. My grand uncle's son and grandson were there. His sister's son and his wife were there. My grandmother and parents were there. And it was actually just right. The family sat across two long tables in the same corner as always, and the conversation evenly laid itself out.

We are a jolly bunch. Eating and talking is what we do best. And so there were many topics, jokes, exclamations and touching moments shared through the lunch. And the spread included peppered prawns, steamed prawns, crab, pork, Mandarin fish, another-kind-of fish, chicken wings, Chinese greens, dimsum, three types of rice (including bacon-rice), and pot noodles. The lunch started with Chinese tea and ended with delicious Dutch truffle cake with vanilla ice cream on honey noodles. I didn't overeat, remembering how I suffered the last time, being the glutton I was. It was a hearty meal and great company.

My grand uncle is old and slightly 'not there'. So even though at first he did not recognise me, when he did, he expressed his gratitude again and again for my being there on this day. He was thankful to everyone and very emotional. He didn't speak much through the meal, and kept mostly to himself and his glass of beer and coke. But I think it was comforting to having the friendly banter of familiar faces all around him, for him. There was laughter all around, and I think he enjoyed being cocooned in it as a silent observer.

I enjoyed being with my family. Lately I have become very close to everyone and I want to know all my relatives all over again. I suppose as we grow up, we all become different people and the people who were around you when you grew up, also change in perspective. I enjoyed discussing relationships and my boyfriend with my grandmother and grand aunt. I enjoyed sharing jokes with my parents and uncles. I cherish those few minutes I had alone with my grand uncle when we both arrived earlier than everybody else.

On the way back my uncle and his wife were kind enough to give me a ride. And we talked and talked and talked. It realy does help to have that sense of humour such that when you are in a conversation, the on-cue jokes just happen and even a long, long ride home doesn't seem like one, and everybody's in peels of laughter. We have decided that we are going to promote my aunt as an Accounts Tuition Coach and we are going to make an enterprise out of her so that they mint money and can move to town. And they will arrange for a special cable car that transports me back and forth. Just For Me. :) And of course, my brownies are an integral part of this plan (since I made mention of my baking talents). My brownies will be given in small tokens to students when they give their fees or pass their exams -- whichever hooks them onto the class faster. Also, while she is teaching I will be baby-sitting her two kids, along with my uncle, who will be cooking as well as counting the fees that come in. Infallible plan, no? I think it's going to be a hit.

Besides that, they would love it if I came over anytime and spent time with them, whether I'm low or simply want some good company. I will definitely take them up on that.

Cheers to more hearty times :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happily Now or Forever After?

My friend told me that his relationship is experiencing a roller coaster phase right now. They are hanging on by a thread, between mistrust and exasperation. They love each other, but now are reaching a point where they wonder if it is enough. I asked him why he was in this relationship. He said because he sees this going somewhere and the relationship having a bright future.

In love, we often reach a point in our relationships where we question where we are. This is the station way past Poppy Fields and Honeymoon Ville, a few kilometres after Conflict Junction. We finally step out of the whirlwind romance and take a moment to actually consider the present and its various possibilities.

Present: Am I happy? Do I love her? Do we laugh together? Is this good for me? Are we having fun together?
Am I unhappy? Is he not satisfying me? Is it insecurity I am feeling?

Possibilities: Will we get married? Is he The One? Will we move in? Could we have children some day? Will we buy a house and have a family? Will we be rich and content? Is this going downhill? Will she cheat on me? Will I be enough? What more do I need to complete the big picture?

All these questions are very important. But then I wonder what we're really focusing on. Are we happy with what we have or what we may have in the future?

Are we okay with weathering the unhappiness now, in the hope of having a 'happily ever after'? Or are we happy being with each other, irrespective of the 'ever after'?