The Return of Hans

**All names and characters in this story are fictive.**

The last time Susan spoke with Hans was on Christmas day, 5 years ago. Hans is neither her best friend nor her special friend. He is simply a mutual friend, but he has been around her for 8 years. Susan doesn’t say much to him because she thinks if she has no special interest toward him, she should not try to get his attention. On the other hand, Hans occasionally sends a random message on important events, like birthday and Christmas. Not every year, it’s only when he feels he wants it.

Susan has been keeping herself busy with her job as a hospital director. Seeking a love mate is not her priority. She thinks getting married is a hassle and even if she decides to get married, finding the right guy seems a hard task for her, perhaps even harder than running a hospital. She fell in love twice in her life, but Cupid was not on her side. She had a nice guy back when she was in school, but she decided to let him go because she thought it was too early for her to commit in a romantic relationship. Hans was among the guys whom she was introduced with when she was in a college. Hans was a serious guy at that time, and perhaps still, and this somewhat scared Susan. A friend asked her why she did not want to date Hans, and Susan said Hans was too serious and appeared to be rigid. She disliked that kind of feeling. Too much expectation. Susan left every possible romantic relationship up in the air with any guys who is fond of her. This becomes her expertise. Love life is just not her thing, and she can’t explain why.

After so long not talking each other, Susan was surprised to hear news from Hans. Their conversation was about holiday activities, and as usual, Susan kept it short and simple. Two weeks after their first phone talk, Hans sent him a message. This time he said, “Hey, I will be back home for a vacation. A short visit, a week. Would it be okay if I visit your workplace when I am in town?” Susan kept that message, not sure what she would say. This morning, Susan replied. “Ok. Come to my workplace. I’ll send you the address.”

Three weeks later…

Hi, I’ve just arrived this morning. Are you busy this afternoon? Can I stop by?

Susan replies immediately. “Sure, How about 1 o’clock?” I have free time about an hour and after that I’ve got to see a client at 2.”

Yes. That sounds good to me! I will visit my sister after that.”

Hans’s little sister is married already, and she has three kids. Her little sister is a chatty person. Her personality is the opposite of Hans’s personality.

Beep..beep…

Yes.”

Maam, your guest is here. His name is Hans. Should I let him in?

Yes.”

Hey, Susan! Long time no see! You are looking great as always and doesn’t change that much since the last time I saw you.”

Hahaha.. how are you Hans? How’s life on the other side of the earth?

Both Susan and Hans are studying in the United States. They both worked in the States, but in different cities. Susan left home for good, while Hans remained in the States.

So, this is your office. Looking nice and you have a nice view from here.

Thank you! So, what’s up?”

” Nothing new. I saw your travel pictures on Instagram. It looked like you traveled to different places. Meanwhile, I worked like a hell. Your last picture on Instagram made me to come home.

What???

“Yes, I’ve always read your captions. The last picture made me booked a ticket. It’s last minute. But, it feels good to be back home.”

How long are you going to be in town?

A week. I have a few important meetings next week, so I must return to work next week.”

I see.”

Hm, are you dating anyone right now?

Nope.”

Why? You are not young anymore, you know?

Yes, I am aware of that, but I like to live this kind of life.

Are you serious??

Susan doesn’t know what to say. She smiles. She wonders why this guy is here and asks such a direct question.

Susan, I am here because I have been thinking of you all these years. The last time you rejected me was my devastating moment. I was mad at you, so I didn’t look for you for a while.”

“I see. I am sorry.”

However, you are always on my mind. I even remember your birthday. So, I still text you even if your answer is short.”

“I know. I am sorry again for giving you a hard time.”

“No, you don’t have to feel sorry. So, this is the reason I am coming home. I want to ask you to go on a date with me. What do you think?”

“Susan, listen to me. We both are not young anymore. You have impressed me so much years ago and still. Don’t you think we should try?”

“Hans, thank you for expressing your feeling. Can we talk about this another time?”

“Susan, what are you waiting for?”

“I just need more time. You come home and suddenly ask this type of question. I am not ready to answer.”

“Sigh. Fine, Susan. Let’s talk about it later. I’ve got to go. Let’s meet again before I fly back to the States.”

“Sure.”

Hans is still a guy with straight forward personality. Susan, again, feels the pressure. The same kind of pressure that Hans asked him years ago.

Susan remains quiet. She meets Hans one last time before he returns back to the States. They eat together and spend hours talking about almost anything. Hans could date another girl, but he insists on dating with her. Susan doesn’t get it, but Hans is a good guy. Even if she doesn’t end up with Hans or when he is giving up on her, Susan hopes that he will find a nice girl who will treat him like a king and treasure him like a diamond.

Should she accept him? Should she say no? Susan does not know when it is the right time to say “yes.” Her mouth is just so hard to say it.

Should?

Should a woman marry someone?

Should a guy marry someone?

Should we marry someone just because others think we should get married?

Should we worry with what others say to us?

Shouldn’t we choose the life we want to be?

Shouldn’t be okay if solitude life is good for now?

Shouldn’t be fine if marriage life with kids are not our priorities?

Should or should not is our choice. We should be able to decide our lives, what we want to do, with whom we want to live with, and more.

Sip It Like You Drink Your Coffee

Our lifestyles resemble coffee brands.

Our life issues remind us of the sizes of coffee cup that we choose when we drink coffee.

The way we handle the issues is similar to how we drink our coffee. Some like to sip it while it is still hot, fresh brewed. Some like to wait for a few minutes. Others like to drink it cold.

Eventually, each of us will sip and finish drinking our coffee. Life issues may not all gone completely, but it will slowly dissipate just like when we drink our coffee. It takes time.

Small Things Matter

There are times I feel tired and want to quit, but those tiny eyes that looked at me in awe, said something else. From the way they look at me, they want to say that I should not quit. Words may not come out from them, but eyes could talk.

I always believe that it is God’s grace that has made me doing things I have been doing all these years. I know it must be Him that brings me to this point. It is through the work that I do, that I learn to slow my pace and read the silent cue.

Thus, the moment I feel weak and tired, He constantly reminds me to keep moving forward. He does this through the children with whom I work. Small things matter. We celebrate small progress, because we hope to see more progress coming out from these children.

Be thankful for what you already have. Celebrate life because we do not know what is going to happen in the future. Appreciate those who have been with you through good and bad times. Pray hard whether you are happy or sad. Pray more when life storm hits you from all directions. Love your children regardless of their conditions. They know how you feel. They could feel whether you genuinely love them or not. Believe that nurture wins nature. If you have both, it’s good, but if nature isn’t that good, nurture them so that they could be useful when they are older.

33 Things You Want and/or Wish to Achieve in Your Life.

What would be on your lists if I were to ask you to write 33 things you wish you were doing it, or you have accomplished?

It took me a few weeks to compile, but here’s my 33 things:

#1. Study abroad

It was a privilege to be able to study abroad. On another note, it took courage, support (moral and financial), and perseverance to make it successful. If you are given an opportunity to study abroad, I suggest you to go for it.

#2. Go outside the comfort zone.

No one likes uncertainty, and so do I. It triggers anxiety, but doing something new could also benefit you. I experienced this moment when I had to move back to my hometown. The process of leaving the comfort zone was hard, but I actually was proud of myself once I passed the “storm.”

#3. The act of proving.

The decision whether to prove something to someone or not is solely based on individual’s personalities. I chose to prove because of numerous personal reasons. I continuously show to my loved ones that the work that I do is worthy and the life value that I have been holding on is not completely wrong.

#4. Travel more

I’ve always believe that traveling opens our minds and expand our knowledge. I think whenever possible, we should travel more to see what’s going on outside our communities. This is definitely something that I want to do more in the coming years.

#5. Wisdom

Getting older doesn’t guarantee us to be wise. It has to do with one’s ability to acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses, and to take criticism without judging. Practice, practice, and practice.

#6. Letting go

Keep the good and supportive ones and throw the bad ones. The rule applies to all segments in our lives.

#7. Become a philanthropist.

Ever since I learned about the meaning of the word “philantropist,” I have been dreaming to become a philanthropist one day. I have not accomplish this goal yet. It may take xx years to achieve this particular goal. But, who knows I could be a philanthropist?

#8. Passion

This is something that I am proud of myself. It took me 4 years to find my true passion. The searching process was unique and meaningful.

I am a forefront believer that when the work that we do is aligned with our passion, we are likely to give our best performance in the job and to the people with whom we work.

#9. Listen to and respect your parents.

It’s so easy for us to forget that we cannot be the person we are now without our parents’ guidance. Similarly, we tend to dismiss our parents’ advices just because we think we have higher education than our parents are. Little do we know that our parents know the dynamic of life better than we do, so they actually have wiser advices than what we think they are.

#10. Understand and accept that nothing in this world is eternal.

Something happened to our family 3 years ago. That event has taught me very valuable lesson.

I would say that this is an ongoing progress, too. I am learning to accept that one day my loved ones including me have to depart from this world. I am learning to accept that our loved ones cannot physically accompany us forever. This is a tough topic, but I am trying.

#11. Tell me about your first love.

First love, perhaps, is something that I cannot describe very well. Love is a broad term and everyone has his/her own unique love stories. Mine is dated back some years ago when I was still in a college. What bothered me so much at that time (and still, by the way), is to decide which one is better, to be loved or to love? I had beautiful two years love and friendship experience. Knowing that someone loved you that much was priceless and unimaginable. We know that what we want do not mean we could end up having it. This concept applied to my first college love story.

#12. Friends come and go.

Moving several times cost me a lot in terms of friendship. There’s always lose and gain. Keep the positive thinking.

#13. Explore hobbies.

Writing and blogging were among a few things I were interested in, but I did not have time to make them happened. The blogging started because I missed someone so badly, and the way to cure that feeling was to write.

#14. Patience

Most people were quick to think that I must be a patient person due to my job. The truth is that my patience is derived from years of practice and training. But, no, I am still far from perfect. Therefore, I need to practice more.

#15. Cooking

You could call me an eater rather than a cook. I would consider myself a decent cook, but I am just not really interested in expanding my skills. I cooked a lot in the past to push down the expenses. Now, I am not cooking as often as I used to do in the past.

#16. Act of kindness

Being a responsible citizen is not sufficient. One must exercise the act of kindness to others even to your enemies (if you have one) without asking to get paid in return.

This part is an ongoing process. Like wisdom and patience, the act of kindness requires positive attitudes and unselfishness. Now that’s hard.

#17. Relax and breathe

Work and house chores are exhausted but still bearable. Work, house chores and family matter are emotionally exhausted and could be unbearable. Practicing to simply relax and go with the flow is tough, but possible. Life goes on.

#18. Accounting skills.

This skill is highly important. Now that I have a big responsibility to run a place, I realize that I need to learn more and seek advices to ensure I have the money to manage the place and support myself.

#19. Sleep more

Oh, well! I need those quality sleeping time.

#20. Stay young!

…and be responsible. Aging is unavoidable, but having a spirit like young people do, added with tons of responsibility is a must. This spirit will keep us to move forward and do daily things on our own without bothering people.

#21. Healthy lifestyle

Busy life should not stop us from practicing healthy lifestyle. Cutting the consumption of unhealthy food and beverages and practicing positive thinking together with moderate exercise should be incorporated in our daily routine.

In the past, I could drink approximately 4 cups of coffee (grande-size cup) in one day. I reduced my portion to 2 small cups since 2 years ago.

#22. more action less unnecessary talking.

Speak concisely is one of the few things I have been practicing for sometimes. I like the idea because it allows me and the other conversation partners to have productive meeting.

#23. read more books.

I used to read more books when I was in a college. Barnes and Noble is my fave bookstore. I read less fiction and non-fiction books as my working hours are getting longer. I bought lots of books, but those books are for my students.

#24. Personal Robot

I wish I could have a robot that could help me running the household. This means I don’t need to deal with the household tasks and when I get home from work, dinner is ready and the house is clean.

#25. More money

Back when I was in school, I look forward on entering the days when I could earn my own money and had a privilege to spend+open my own saving account. I remembered vividly how good it felt on me to be able to buy things without relying on my parents’ money.

However, as I am getting older, I have to ensure that I earn more than enough, so that at the end of the days, I still have money left to put in a saving account. Adult’s life is complicated.

#26. Pray more

I pray everyday, but I still think I don’t pray harder.

Saying thank you is counted as prayer, but I need to do more than saying thank you.

When life turbulence keeps hitting from all directions, prayers need to go harder.

#27. Doing greater things

Make positive impacts in community has been my indirect goals for the past four years. I would like to broaden this impact so that many families in the community could receive more helps.

#28. Meeting fantastic people.

My definition of fantastic people is anyone who has brought tremendous impacts locally and globally. Anyone who is humble, yet so charismatic and could bring inspiration to anyone who hears and talks to him/her.

#29. Build a family.

This is either yay or nay. You have to put lots of efforts added with extra patience, support and love to build and maintain a family. So??

#30. Laugh more

Laugh is a medicine to wrinkle and depression and sickness. Therefore, as much as we frown a lot, we need to laugh more.

#31. Dare to acknowledge mistake and apologize.

This is very crucial both in work and personal-related matters.

#32. Make use of talent to the fullest.

God gives us talents. We need to use and cultivate those talents to help others and make our world healthier.

#33. Hakuna matata.

Don’t worry be happy.

Take the day one at a time.

Always believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

You are Still My Home

This the final chapter of the love story between Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. The three other previous stories could be assessed in this blog with the title “2gether is Better Than One,” “You are My Home,” and “On My Way to London.

London has been good to Gray. She loves the city and her new job. Gray admitted that it was not easy for her to interview parents about their journeys raising children with medical illnesses. She often had to hide her tears as she was listening to their stories. The editorial team at work has been helpful to her, and this has made Gray felt relieved. She kept herself busy and often forgot to call Sonny. She used to think about Sonny day and night, but now, she likes her solitude life here in London.

“Hey, Gray ! Your friend is here. He has been waiting for you all day long,” said Cassie, Gray’s housemate.

“What?? Who? I don’t expect any guests…”

“Well, he’s sitting on the couch and reading a book. Go see him.”

Gray enters the room and sees Sonny sitting in the living room. She is speechless.

“Hey, Gray! Long time no see you! No food in London?? You are super skinny!!” said Sonny as he walking toward Gray. He then hugged her tight and kissed her forehead. His heart feel warm and happy.

“What?!? You don’t say anything to me? Like how handsome I am now??” said Sonny. “Ha ha ha ha.”

“Why are you here?” asked Gray.

“Of course, I am here to visit you. I am jealous that you could fly to England meanwhile I am stuck at work.”

“But, you love your job.”

“Hahahaha, well, I love you more than my job.” replied Sonny.

Gray rolled her eyes as she heard this.

They both went out for dinner after that. Gray couldn’t believe that Sonny flew all the way from Singapore to London to see her. Sonny hasn’t changed that much. He is still a man with countless jokes, though he is completely a different person when he is on the job. She could tell how happy Sonny is from the look on his face and eyes.

Sonny, indeed, is a very happy guy at this moment. He just cannot hide his excitement from Gray. He doesn’t want to let go Gray’s hand from his hand. Occasionally, he pulls Gray closer and kisses her cheek. This sounds childish, but he is a happy guy. As he holds her hand, he is thinking, he doesn’t want to return to Singapore alone. He wants Gray to come back to Singapore with him. He just have to find the right time to convince Gray.

Sonny doesn’t have to wait because Gray actually senses that Sonny is hiding something from her, and she wants to know the truth now.

“Tell me again why you are here?”

“Hahahaha. I told you the reason.”

“No, it has to be something else.. do you get into a trouble back home??”

“Nooo!!! Hahaha” Sonny continues to laugh and shakes his head.

“You want the truth?” said Sonny

“Yes, please.”

“I am here to convince you to come home with me. I mean, I want us to live and build a family together.”

“You know I am sick right?” asked Gray

“Yes, I know, I am the one who has always been there for you. I still want to live with you.”

“What if I am too sick and cannot have kids?”

“Gray, I don’t care. We could buy a dog.”

“Now, what if I die?”

“Come on, Gray! You will not die. If you die, I still want to live with you before you die.”

“I don’t want to leave London.”

“I figure you will say this. I will still wait for you. I have to go back to S’pore this Friday, but I will visit you again soon. The point is I want you and I live together. Remember what I said in the past? Two is better than one. So, you can’t live here alone because I won’t let you live alone.”

Sonny hugs Gray and whispers, “Now, will you dance with me? Because I am tired arguing with you.”

They dance without a background music in the bedroom.

Sonny suddenly pulls out a Tiffany’s box and asks Gray to open it.

Inside the box, Gray sees a ring covered with diamonds.

“Because you are way too precious for me, so this ring represents how I feel about you and our journey. You could keep it, and please wear the ring on your way back home.”

“You are still and always be my home, Gray. Come home with me, because I am your home. You have to admit it.”

Thanksgiving: Past, Present, and Gear up for 2018

Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holiday season, always leave me with mixed feeling. This particular mixed feeling has been remained the same from time to time. It’s always the combination of happy because Christmas holiday is approaching and sad because this season reminds me of someone and something I have been wanting so much. Although the memories of past hope and love stay intact, time heals the wounds and disappointments. 

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the courage and mercy that God has been given to me. I surely could not make it this far without His kindness. It took a big courage to go back on track and build a strong foundation of a new life. I’ve learned that there is a beauty in every imperfect situation. This realization could and will happen when we acknowledge our weaknesses, ask for His guidance, and move forward. Once we move forward, we cannot look back on our past too often because we could forget what our goals are. 

We could look back on our past once we achieve at least 80% of our life goals. When we reach that point, we could compare and contrast, and then redefine our life purposes. 
Happy Thanksgiving!
Keep spreading the love because our world will remain and stay healthy when each of us share love with others