On My Way to London 

This is the third part of the fictional stories of Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. All names here are fictive.Both the first and second parts of the stories could be accessed on this blog

Sonny Sunshine couldn’t believe what he has just heard on the phone. Gray is off to London for 6 months to interview and photograph families of children with serious medical illnesses. This girl always does something unthinkable. He never imagined that Gray would dare to leave him for this project. Sonny had a long day at work, but this one is the hardest of them all. He sighed, put down his phone and recalled the first time they met. 

It was Sunday night in April when he met Gray at the church. They sat on the same row and apparently their cars were also parked next to each other. Gray had a flat tire that night and Sonny helped her by calling his friend, who owns car service, to come and fix Gray’s tire. They exchanged business cards and two days later Gray called him and offered to treat him lunch as a way to say thank you. Gray who worked in the non-profit foundation at that time invited him to her foundation’s social events on monthly basis. Sometimes, Sonny felt tired of responding to her invitations, but he did not want to sound unfriendly to her. Checking on Gray’s LinkedIn profile, she indeed is a smart woman with long lists of achievement. He noticed that Gray liked him just by looking at the way she was staring at him. This was not the first time he had female friends who grew fond of him, but Gray definitely was not his preferred one. Sonny decided to ignore her invitations and chats, though it did not last long

Gray found so many excuses to keep in touch with Sonny. He wondered why this girl did not leave him alone. He knew at least some legitimate guys laid eyes on her, but she just ignored them. Sonny wanted to trade space with some of those guys. He deliberately screwed up things and acted somewhat childish to make Gray giving up on him. Unfortunately, all of those tactics did not work

It was not until he changed to a new phone and open his unused LINE account that he learned Gray has been leaving him thousand unread notes addressed to him on her timeline. He seldom opened LINE and so he did not know that LINE users could customize their timeline’s audience. He read those notes from bottom to top and spent the whole day to read everything. The last note was written 6 months ago from the date he read it. The note stated that Gray asked for his prayer as she was heading to hospital.

Sonny thought long and hard. He could not understand why Gray did this to him. Who would write thousand of notes online and did not tell the intended recipient about those notes???? He shook his head again in disbelief as he skimmed through his LINE

Sonny’s attitude toward Gray changed since then. He was more genuine and nicer to her than before. He slowly showed Gray his true behaviors not the fake ones. Gray never wrote on LINE again, but she did not bother Sonny as often as she used to be. This made Sonny felt weird because he has been used to be annoyed by Gray’s endless excuses and invitations. He wondered if he slowly became interested in her. No way, he thought. 


Once he learned about Gray’s conditions, Sonny accompanied Gray to almost every doctor’ or lab’s appointment. They both knew the lump was not cancerous cell but they knew it could change at any moment. Understanding the fact that it could become a cancer made Gray feeling down. Life was hard both for Sonny and Gray during those time periods because Sonny had to go back and forth between two cities to care for Gray’s health. His contractor’s job required him to travel and check construction sites. Likewise, Gray could sense how Sonny became irritated and overwhelmed with these changes. He tried to make up the time he was away, but perhaps he was too tired that Gray knew he treated her as if she was his “construction job” that needed to be supervised

The week Gray decided to take the project in London, Sonny was out of town. He is usually gone for 4 days and stay with Gray for 3 days. This pattern has been going on for a few years. He never left Gray longer than a week, but this time he had to complete this final touch of his construction work. Gray used to call him everyday before she found out her condition. Now, it’s Sonny’s turn. He usually checks on her 3x in a day when he is out of town, and when he is in town, he will come over and cook dinner for her

Sonny’s faraway thought is stopped when he hears his phone is beeping. He grabs his phone from desk and sees that Gray is sending him a message. She wrote “Hey, I arrived in London. We rent a house in suburb area. There are 2 other students who are in this project. I am going to change my number. I will send you my new number along with the address. Take care!”  

Sonny was browsing on the travel website as he read Gray’s message. He searched for outbound flights to London. Five minutes later, he secured his reservation. He booked one way flight from Singapore to London. His flight is two days from now. He could see the Singapore flyer from his window. Pretty night, he thought, but it was meaningless without Gray. There is a smile on his face. This time is a genuine warm smile. Gray’s birthday is on August 18. He wants to be there to surprise her. He needs a vacation anyway, and London is just perfect for him. 

Mother’s Unconditional Love

It has been a pleasure on my part to share with mothers both the joy and worries of raising children. I am far from being a mother, but I always have a special spot for any mothers who love their children unconditionally, including my own Mama. My definition of unconditional love is to care for and provide healthy learning opportunities for a child to grow to be a better- responsible person. 

This definition of unconditional love is ingrained in my mind and so, it breaks my heart when I learn that a mother has to fight against cancer, so that she could continue to provide care for her children. It makes me think what could have been done to prevent this from happening. It also makes me think what if I am in her shoes, or what if something is happened to my own Mama. I understand that sometimes event like illness happens unexpectedly. Saying “it would be okay” to a sick mother would not truly comfort her. Acknowledging her pain and worries, and at the same time saying “you could do it, you could survive, and let’s pray” sounds possible and likable. Offering help such as picking up her children from school or taking the children out for outing could relieve some of the burden. Of course you could help something else, the lists are endless. The point is to do it genuinely and with a big heart. 

Above anything else, even if you are a mother or a father now, you need to always love and respect your parents especially mother. It’s because regardless of race and culture, mother is the person who has been longing for us long before we were placed in her womb and continued to care for us even after we left her womb. Events such as death and illness are unavoidable, but reciprocal unconditional love between mother and child could cure any pain and sorrow. Their spirits are up when they know that we love them as dearly as they love us. 

2 gether is Better Than One

Gray Cloud’s heart filled with dark clouds after her doctor’s appointment. She felt sad upon learning that the lump underneath her armpit could turn into a cancerous cell sometimes in the future. No need surgery for now just a careful watch that was the doctor said. Too rush to remove the lump could trigger more lumps development. Gray Cloud kept this information to herself. 

Sonny Sunshine is Gray Cloud’s best friend. People often think that they are dating, though the reality they are not dating. Gray knows that Sonny likes him, and she enjoys his company, too. Gray prefers to keep their friendship status as best friends because dating looks scary to her. Now that she knows about the lump and its risks, she is sure she wants to live alone. Gray thinks solitude is not a bad thing. 

Sonny Sunshine’s personality is the opposite of Gray Cloud’s personality. Sonny looks cheerful most of the time. His daily job is to make Gray either laugh or mad at him. When Gray is mad, Sonny will laugh hard and they both end up laughing together. Sonny knows that Gray is a person who is very serious especially when she is working, and because of this, he likes to keep their interaction stress-free. Sonny is a serious hard-working guy, too, but he seldom shows it in front of Gray. He likes to act silly and joke a lot when he is around Gray. 

  
The day after doctor’s appointment, Sonny noticed something was not right with Gray. As usual, Gray kept it to herself. He came up with a tactic to get Gray talking to him what is bothering her. Sonny asked Gray to be his girl friend. Gray rejected the proposal, but she declined to say the reason. Sonny insisted that he should know the reason why he got rejected. 

After a week of unsuccessful attempt, Sonny accidentally saw Gray was browsing about cancer treatment. Sonny pointed to the screen and asked Gray to explain to him. Tears were running down on her cheeks as she told Sonny what the doctor said to her last week. Sonny gave Gray a hug and told her that he would take care of her with and without cancer. Sonny convinced Gray that she would be okay and that the lump would not turn into a cancerous cell. Gray Cloud is no longer feeling cloudy after hearing Sonny’s words, “Let me love you just the way you are. Together is better than one.” 

The Complexity of Parents and Children Relationship 

Parents and children often think differently. What parents want from the child may not be the child’s preference. Likewise, culture also influences how parents raise their children and put expectation on them. All of these get tricky as the child gets older. It will even more challenging when the child grows up in a culture that is different from his/her original culture. Argument or clash could arise because the child has a different point of view from his/her parents. Both sides will argue that they are doing the right things. Both sides want to win. 

On another note, children still and should respect their parents even though they have disagreement over things. This is tough, but children must continue to exercise putting effort to adjust and negotiate with their parents in order to reduce argument. Family relationship is complicated and tough. It takes everyone’s effort to maintain equilibrium.

Life is good when one could manage both family and work life in the most neutral and healthy ways. Can you do it? 

What is your ideal spouse? 

When I was young, I wanted to marry a prince charming.

When I was 15, I said I wanted to marry an architect because he could build me a nice house.

When I was 19, I wanted to marry a guy with a job and stable income.

When I was 25, I wanted to marry a guy with a job, stable income, but also someone who would travel near and far with me. 

Now, I simply want to live with reliable and financially stable guy who share similar passion and dream. 

The list could go on and on. The ideal spouse is the one who could adapt to various life-challenging situations and still love you just the way you are.

Something about Nightmare 

Have you ever had a nightmare and you wish you didn’t have it on the first place? I hate the kind of nightmare where I am involuntary separated from someone special in that dream. I don’t like hearing the word “death,” too, because I am not ready losing people who are close to me. So, a nightmare that is about one’s death is definitely not my preferred dream. 

I am told that everybody including me would die. Death is a part of the natural human’s life cycle. I should not be scared, right? But, it’s hard to not feel scared and worried. 

The nightmare kept me awake all night. It makes me feel nervous the next day because I am afraid what if the nightmare turns real. I am just not ready to be separated from someone who means the world to me. I am hoping to get answers. 

This morning, I sat on the church. The sermon talked how God loves us more than a mother loves her baby. The priest also told us to not be worry because God is merciful. And so, it came to my understanding that God owns our life, and He loves us dearly. Losing someone due to death is a sad thing, but it will not be a forever sad. Good thing will come up, like rainbow after rain. Don’t think it too hard, but knowing that it will happen and when it happens, God will make it beautiful in His ways. 

Ways to Create Productive and Progressive Community

When I think about human’s ideal condition, I picture a human with healthy cognitive and mental functioning living in healthy and safe environment. This description reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which consist of psychological needs, safety needs, love, self esteem, and self actualization. The hierarchy shows that human needs to have all of these to become a person with optimal performance. The psychological and safety needs, in my opinion, are the two most important needs that must be fulfilled and nurtured as early as possible and maintained in the long run. Productive and progressive community could be established when the people who live in it meet their basic needs and are nurtured. 

However, we know that a truly perfect condition is rarely happened due to numerous reasons, and as a result, supportive elements are needed to create acceptable living condition that could foster the growth of healthy population. What I am going to discuss here is solely based on my opinion and experience working with families. Through this writing, I hope to share with you how parents and/or primary caregivers have important roles in shaping a person’s personalities and nurture his/her skills into a responsible adult. I also want to show how adults such as, teachers, doctors, and government play supportive roles in helping a person to reach his/her full capacity. 

Situation 1:

Ronald (imaginative name), is living with his parents and three other siblings in a rented house. Mother is a stay-at-home mother, while father works full-time as an office manager. A lot of crimes in their neighborhood, but the family can’t move because of their limited budgets. Family owns a car, and this car is used by the mother to transport children to school. Mother helps Ronald and his siblings with their school assignments. Mother is making sure that all children eat properly and have clean clothes. She rarely buys new clothes unless she has extra money left. She doesn’t feel shame, when a friend or a neighbor donates clothes and toys to her children. She and her husband want to ensure that Ronald and his siblings could get proper education and graduate from colleges. They believe that having a good education and degree could help their children to get a better job and thus earn more money. 

Situation 2

Sandra (imaginative name) is the only child in her family. Her parents are both working in offices. Sandra lives in a nice house and safe neighborhood. Parents are way to busy that they do not spend time with Sandra. No one is supervising her school work and her social circles. Sandra’s friends manipulate her and encourage her to smoke and drink alcohols though she is still young. One day Sandra’s teacher caught her smoking weed and drinking beers at the school parking lot. Sandra is then placed on school detention and have to go through medical tests. Parents are blaming each other because of this. They feel shame because their daughter is taking drugs and is almost expelled by the school. 

Situation 3

Rin (imaginative name), is an orphan child. Her parents were dead when they tried to escape from the war in their city. Rin was found by the Red Cross relief worker and has been stayed at the camp since then. Nurses and doctors took care of Rin because of her trauma and malnutrition. She attends school at the camp and soon will be moved to another city that is not affected by the war. Her social worker is searching for a foster family who could care for her wellbeing. Rin finally lives with her foster family, but she still feels scared of them. Her social worker convinces Rin that she will be all right and the worker will check on her on monthly basis. Her foster family is responsible for providing basic living needs such as food, clothing, safe house, education. Rin still needs to see a counselor to help her with her trauma. 

Situation 4

Rocky (imaginative name) is a child with learning disabilities. Rocky’s parents hire a tutor to help him with academic work. Little did they know that this tutor often called Rocky name, like  “stupid,” and often said”you never ever able to graduate.” Rocky has been begging to his parents to not bring the tutor home. His parents thought he was just lazy and did not investigate more. Years later, Rocky turns into a moody depressed young boy. He likes to hit anyone who doesn’t agree with him. When he beats another person, he says “stupid, stupid, stupid guy.” Rocky is taken to the police station due to his behaviors. 

These 4 situations are just a glimpse of examples from countless possible situations that could happen to any human beings. The common theme from these 4 situations is that safe and healthy nurturing environments could lead to positive and better outcomes. When supportive elements are not present, even the naturally good conditions could turn into bad conditions. 
It is crucial for parents to spend time with their children on consistent and daily basis. Small things like eating together, reading books could create bond and foster positive interaction. 

It is also important for educators to provide healthy learning experience for students in the classrooms. Acknowledging students’ difficulties and working together to solve the problems in the neutral and healthy ways are always encouraged. 
Mental health and health practitioners need to educate and spread awareness to community about the importance of creating safe and healthy environment for children by discussing about the long term benefits of creating and maintaining safe environment for children. 
Law enforcement and government need to coordinate all segments and work together to promote healthy environment by ensuring that community members have enough food and proper housing and create safe communities. 

Finally, the above scenarios require all of us as a community to work and collaborate with each other to create healthy-safe environment and maintain it in the long run. The maintaining process requires every member in the community to educate and remind each other what is right, just, and positive for our community.