Just a Saturday Morning

Woke up, read my book, got into an argument, had some coffee, back to reading my book, then I painted my nails in the childish color of lavender.

I felt the need to write about something important, but then thought I’d leave that for a weekday.

TubHubs is outside helping our landlord with some outdoor chores. Pretty difficult to stay upset at someone who helps other people do things for no personal gain. Okay, maybe some personal gain; he likes being outside in the sun.

It still amazes me how far I’ve come. If this had happened six years ago, I’d be bitching about the insignificant argument as if it was the end of the world. Four years ago, I would have resolutely told myself not to talk to him again for the entire day. Two years ago, I’d be throwing out “let’s just break up!” lines every which way.

But today, I’m somehow able to see our argument for what it was: a short, insignificant moment in which we disagree with each other about something, and then we moved on.

It’s funny–now that I’ve gotten to this point, I remember all the times my friend of 16 years has had to tell me, “I get that you’re upset, but what happened isn’t really the end of the world. Things will fix itself and everything will be fine.”

And this makes me think: how often did I feel too much? How often did I let my emotions get the better of me and wrecked havoc on my daily happiness?

The last time I really had to have a real, tear-filled “complain-fest”, was over two years ago. Somehow within that time, I stopped taking everything so seriously and things stopped looking like they were insurmountable, ever. Now when I get upset, or annoyed, I’m able to just think, it’s not that big a deal and just.. move on with my day.

It seems ridiculous to write about this; it probably even sounds immature that I didn’t learn to let things go until I was in my late twenties. But I’m just glad that I did evolve, even if it might have been later than everyone else.

Home Towns

I wrote this in response to someone’s question about my hometown.


I currently live in Stamford, CT, USA. I came here in 2013 in order to be with my husband. He’d moved here in 2012 for work.

Our favorite restaurant changes with the season. Currently it’s Dinosaur BBQ. We don’t really have a favorite anything else because Stamford is not really our scene.

We go to the movie theatre a lot; and there are 2 Cineplex theatres here. Our favorite of the 2 is the one in the mall because it’s not as shabby.

We spent a lot of time at the Stamford Nature Center one year in Spring, now we spend our weekends up North a bit at a new State park we found.

I see this one bus driver, Charlie, a lot. He’s always cheerful. Doesn’t have that, “I hate my job” vibe that most bus drivers have. he talks too much though.

I see this other bus driver, I call him Parrot guy because I think he has a parrot. He constantly has a scar over his nose and it always looks like it’s a new scar. I’ve taken his bus for 6 months now, and the wound always heals a bit and then looks fresh again. I’m sure he probably doesn’t have a parrot and it might be some other story; but I’d like to think he has a grumpy parrot who pecks him and he’s grumpy back.

He used to be grumpy whenever I saw him, but I started smiling and asking him how his day was all the time. He started smiling back, and whenever he saw it’s me boarding the bus, he’d laugh and say “hey!” I hope I’ve made his day a little better.

I don’t like living here, to be honest. We’re planning to move to Australia at one point, which I’m really looking forward to.

Before we came here, we lived in Vancouver. There are countless interesting things to do in Vancouver that it would take a whole hour just to write them out.

Before that, I lived in Taipei, Taiwan (where I was born). My favorite restaurant there was this chain steak house; because they have unlimited free soda. My brother and I once went in there with a paper cup and filled up on our way home from elementary school; the waitress chased us out. Free soda was for paying customers only.

In Taipei, we lived by this huge river with a dam. We took walks along the dam most nights after dinner. We’d walk up to the skate park and our aunt would teach us how to roller skate. Lots of great memories from there, too.

Like the time I took in a stray puppy (snuck it in my back pack, kept it at school, then took it home with me) and hid it in my closet for a whole week. I moved it to my brother’s closet at one point because I was afraid it would poop on my clothes. It ended up pooping on his jacket. That’s when we moved the puppy into a card board box in our room (with the help of our aunt).

It took a whole week before Dad found the puppy. He then helped us construct a more secure box. A couple days later, Mom found out, and that was the end of keeping Puppy. Mom didn’t like animals, so we had to return it back to the wild.

In Taipei, in the 90’s, there were A LOT of stray dogs roaming about. I think animal control back then wasn’t very well funded.

I always get stumped by the Home Town question, because I have two. I have childhood memories from Taipei and Vancouver. Then when we include where I live now, or have lived, then there’s a lot more.

I used to hate moving around. I felt displaced a lot and never felt like I belonged. Since I’ve met my husband, I’ve come to enjoy it. I think my mind has re-centered what it thinks of as “home” to just “husband”. Now it feels like it doesn’t really matter where we live; it feels like home as long as we’re there together.

My Writing Process – And How It Led to an Uncomfortable Argument

Confounded

When people ask me what my writing process is, I have no idea.

Recently Hubs tried to help me through a long stretch of writer’s block by giving me a daily writing exercise. While I appreciate the thought, I wasn’t able to continue with the exercise after just a week.

What happened? Did I get lazy? Did I get so stuck for words that I couldn’t even write even just a paragraph a day?

Not really. The opposite happened. I stumbled across a topic that I enjoyed writing about so much that it became a full short story project. The project went from a one-day project to a one week project.

The Argument

The Hubs made an observation tonight about “see what happened the moment you took the daily exercise into your own hands; you stopped doing it.”

I resented the implication. I explained what I had been doing.

And he insisted his point; that I should have stuck to writing short daily exercises so that it became a routine.

What he wasn’t seeing was that I was using the time I spent writing the short daily exercises on the work that’s inspired me. I said that I simply didn’t have the time in my day between my day job & my writing projects to complete the daily exercise he held me accountable for.

I told him so; only to be met with, “you can use whatever excuse you want. You can always make time.”

At that point I got up from our week night talk and said, “fine, I’ll go write right now. I should be making time to be writing, right? Then I don’t need to spend time talking to you about this.”

Immature? Yes, I thought so. I was upset. I felt that he wasn’t hearing me. I also felt that he wasn’t the best person to give me writing advice; I resented the implications that he made towards me lacking discipline.

The Process

Even though the discussion upset me, I took away from it what I could. I need to write, every day. Doesn’t matter what, doesn’t matter where. So… expect to see a lot more content here as I continue this uphill struggle with getting these words out of my head.

Very True

The best thing for a relationship is looking back at day one and seeing what brought you two together and see if those feelings are still there. People get too comfortable in relationships sometimes and forget to make the other person feel wanted.

The Blame Game and Why It Destroys Relationships

The most frequently asked question in any personal argument: Whose fault is it?

The short answer: Everyone’s. Every person who has had anything to do with a situation has some fault in how things turned out. There is no single cause and effect. There are many.

So asking “whose fault” it is is not productive in resolving a situation.

Some may disagree. Some say that by determining to whom the fault may be laid, that is the person the hurt party may receive compensation in exchange for the damage dealt.

But in the case of disagreements in personal relationships, damage is dealt to every party. There is no clear aggressor and defender. Every person had a purpose and a need, and they acted upon it.

It’s when we forget this that we forget to empathize. We think only of the hurts dealt to ourselves and ignore the other’s original intention.

So next time you find yourself feeling resentful and angry with your partner, your friend, your family for something THEY have done to YOU, think first: why did they do it? Was it intentional? And will it be productive to accuse them of hurting you on purpose?

No, chances are, the other person becomes defensive and they start counting off in their head all the wrongs that YOU’VE dealt THEM. Invariably they’ll try to defend themselves with something like, “but what about that time you…”

What follows then is your utter disbelieve that this person would have the AUDACITY to blame YOU for something THEY did… and on and on it would go.

So instead of going down that road, next time, just take a minute and think: did the other person mean to hurt you? No? Okay. Talk to them about why you are hurt. Acknowledge that they meant no harm. Ask them to try avoid stepping on your toes next time. If there is confusion? Well. Talk, rinse, repeat.

November

It’s finally November! Jamie and I are leaving for Australia in a couple of days.

We argued pretty harshly last Friday. All started with him starting a ranked match RTS game while I was half way through getting dinner ready. Now? I feel more mellow. I feel like I just adjusted my expectations. I get a certain schedule in my head and I feel angry when something doesn’t go along on my schedule.

But that’s too much to expect of another human being, I think. When I’m co-existing with somebody, I need to have buffer room for their own timeline. I give buffer room to our developers at work so that we can all get things done on time. I should do the same for people I love. I can’t expect everyone to operate on my time schedule. I need to remember that I can’t control everything.

Adjusting

It definitely takes some adjusting to now that I’m back in Stamford.

Things are quite a bit more complicated now that we’re married. When I look at our taxes and visas, it seems like such a big mess.

Reporting my Canadian taxes seems easy. There’s just one spouse section on which I report that he is not a Canadian citizen/resident and then I just report his income in Canadian dollars.

Reporting our US taxes is going to be  giant pain, and here’s why

  1. We’re both foreign nationals living in USA. He’s Australian and I’m Canadian. So we have to figure out what status to report our taxes under. Technically we’re considered non-immigrants when it comes to our Visas, but for Tax purposes, we are considered resident aliens.
  2. Work. We don’t know how to report income from my work.

I didn’t realise that being married was such a big headache. I suppose it isn’t usually until you marry an Australian and a Canadian together in the USA.

We need an accountant. I’m going to find one that actually doesn’t suck. Hmm. I wonder where I can find a good accountant. Probably through immigration services?

Ever After

Every person has one piece of art that they identify with so deeply that it becomes their major inspiration. For me, this movie is it. I have a VHS copy as well as a DVD copy. I watched this movie over and over again–so much that my little brother (who adored me when he was toddler and wanted to do everything I did) and I were able to play out the entire movie, line for line.

While the movie in its entirety is wonderful in itself, the scene that drew me in was the moment Danielle asked her step mother whether she’s ever loved her at all. The step mother’s response? “How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?”

My New Name

My New Name

I have a married name now. It’s weird that I didn’t feel married until I saw the name on this envelope, addressed by my HUSBAND.

I’m so married.