Hello to this (super overdue) first post of 2017! I swear I had the intention of writing sometime early in January, but I guess the intention wasn’t strong enough (hah) and I ended up delaying this entry till now, when a quarter of the year is nearly gone… where did all our time go?
For a quick location update, greetings from Birmingham, the UK! It’s Spring here. But in all honesty, it feels more like perpetual Winter if not for the occasional sightings of yellow Daffodils and hearing the sweet songs of birds every morning. The local shops have started selling gardening essentials for the upcoming planting period – strawberry (which we intend to buy this weekend), blueberry, raspberry and cherry tomato plants are out in full force. Clearly, it’s a beautiful time of rebirth and growth – the season for creation and beginnings has come.
A few months back, I was back in Asia but I was hardly stationary anywhere.
Out of the 6 months I was there, I was only back in my homeland, Singapore, for less than half the time. I spent close to a month in Bali, before travelling frequently to various cities in China doing my personal development training and coaching work. As the year ended, I spent my last day of 2016 counting down to the New Year in Birmingham, the UK. Upon my return to Singapore end January, I busied myself conducting leadership seminars for SIM University, revamping my business and creating new ideas.
As you can tell, it was all action and no rest back in Asia. And I loved it – it’s a privilege to be doing what I love doing the most and getting paid for it. It makes me feel alive, it leaves me wanting more. I could do this forever.
Now I am back in Birmingham, a place I never imagined spending parts of my 2017 in. Other than spending all April in California next month, it seems like I will be spending most of my Spring and Summer here. Ask me a few months back, and I would have absolutely no idea that this was in the plans.
Whatever made me leave the sunny tropical weather (which I obviously love) to spend time in the (not enticing at all) chilly cold must have been very, very compelling.
To cut to the chase and spare everyone the mushy details, I fell in love. Totally cheesy, but yes! This is what it is 🙂
You guys know me by now – whatever I do is always driven by Love. The Love for life, the Love to be free, the Love to be who I choose to be, the Love for my dreams. But moving to a new city for romantic Love is something new altogether. Foreign, exciting, but at the same time, very scary.
Just like many other things, there is no security blanket in taking this leap of faith. There is no guarantee because things and people are always fluid and changing. Thus, pressing the restart button to find a possible partnership with someone else is nothing less than daunting.
It stirs my heart with a weird concoction of joy and trepidation. Being vulnerable has always been a scary thing to me, and this time it’s no different.
For a start, let me introduce you to the protagonist of this story. His name is Balint 🙂
The beginning of this union sounds unbelievably like a scripted romantic movie plot (think Before Sunrise, since there was a train involved and we sorta only spent 24 hours together). I was on a train from Serbia to Hungary one afternoon. Halfway through the journey while engrossed in my Kindle reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a towering, handsome bloke broke my concentration when he asked if the seat opposite mine was taken. We started chatting for the rest of the remaining 3 hours journey, about everything and nothing (topics I remembered were feminism, something we both are passionate about, the galaxies, parallel universe(s) and a handful of other whimsical topics). We arrived in Budapest and he invited me to dinner. I declined, since I was rushing to meet some friends from the Nomad Cruise at a bar. Instead, I invited him to my gathering. We ended up hanging out for the next 20 hours (despite being severely sleep deprived and hungover at some point) before he took off to Birmingham where he is residing now and I left for Milan the day after. Truth be told, I never had any expectations of meeting this man again, nor was I looking for more as I was going through the phase of learning to love myself (as opposed to someone else). But he wrote me every single day even after I came back to Asia, we started talking regularly, and I eventually flew to Birmingham to visit him over the New Year. The rest is history.
I guess there is only one word to describe this entire episode and it is Serendipity. We don’t decide when Love comes and we can’t look for Love. Love looks for us.
These days, I haven’t felt a day less blessed. I am truly grateful and thankful for having this wonderful man in my life, someone who is incredibly patient with me, makes me laugh (when he’s not annoying me), and most importantly, makes everything feel like this is meant to be the way it is.
However, I’m not going to sugar-coat my words and say that everything has been a walk in the park. Funnily, relationships always bring the best and worst out of us. In fact, this union reminds me time and again how relationships take an incredible amount of effort to grow as a unit. I had spent the last few years learning to love and live with myself and the idea of being in a partnership and living with someone else again has become a distant concept. It’s no longer just about my existence, but our existence.
Things get a little more complicated when two strong-headed (aka stubborn) people meet – we both stand firm by our beliefs and don’t back down easily.
But day after day, I am learning.
To start, I’m learning a great deal about what respect and compromises are. To really see and understand another’s viewpoints and stands, even though I may personally disagree with them. To not get personal with things. To learn about agreeing to disagree. To learn about cultural differences and ways of doing things. To learn about fighting fair. To learn to constantly open my heart and trust that we both have our best intentions at heart. I learn his ways. He learns mine. We learn to be rock solid, strong and unshakable.
Moving to another city for another is no easy feat (Felicia, your courage still awes me day after day). On the superficial level, it looks like you simply choose to pack your bags and go. Yay to new adventures! However on a more realistic level, it also means the willingness to forego whatever that was working for you back where you were residing and going somewhere to create something new all over again. Opportunities, family, friends, work, a life. Yes, pressing the restart button all over again, but this time around without entertaining the thought of leaving on a whim, unlike how I could in the past since I was globetrotting all by myself. Someone else’s feelings, life and dreams are parts of the stakes now.
If we think learning how to love ourselves is magical, wait until we learn how to love someone else. There’s so much humility, grace and gentleness in it. It’s beautiful, really beautiful.
To my hunny bunny, thank you for teaching me so much about Love. That Love is patient and Love is kind. Love is compromise. Love is letting the small things go. Love is forgiving each other. Love is watching each other’s back. Love is picking battles. Love is having absolute faith and trust in each other. Love is letting go of control. Love is thinking not just for me, but us. Love is treating each other as equals. Love is unconditional. Love is supporting each other to our wildest dreams. Love is always choosing to believe in each other. Love is giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Love is always encouraging each other despite calling each other’s bluff. Love is being honest without the intention to hurt. Love is hugs and kisses. Love is the vulnerable intimacy that some of us have forgotten about. Love is being free with each other. Love is adventures. Love is conquering our joint worlds together. Love is creating the space for each of us to be the best individual we can be. Love is being independent. Love is unleashing our own powers so that we can support each other. Love is flying high and free in each other’s arms.
I love how you always make your stands and never give in to mine without a good fight. I love how you give us space for things to tide over by themselves. I love how you teach me how to fight fair. I love how you embrace the strong, ambitious and independent woman I am, always supporting me to be the best I can be. I love how you handle my occasional idiosyncrasies by making fun of me (in a dangerously skilful way…). I love how you are always so giving and thoughtful, and how your little gestures always make me joyfully teary. I love how you always make me feel like I’m yours. I love how you always stand by my side. I love how you always crack me up. Geez, I love hanging out with you so much because it can be SO, SO FUN (when you’re…I mean we’re not grumpy hahaha).
Like I’ve mentioned, there is really no guarantee to anything in the world, and I’ll be lying to you if I told you I haven’t asked myself if all that we are doing is worth it at all. But I had a moment, a defining one that made me comprehend that this is well worth my gamble and risk. Ironically, it came when we had a squabble. After the hurricane passed, I remembered lamenting to you about our differences. But you looked at me and simply said, “well, we will learn the ways of each other then”. And that’s it. We kissed and made up (out). And then made dinner or something. We moved up and on.
That incident reminded me that I have so much to learn about compromising, respecting and listening better. Also, instead of seeking differences, we should be seeking commonalities – it’s all a matter of perspectives. It’s not that hard if we choose to see them, and your statement reminded me that we will be doing that together. Just like many things in life, if we keep focusing on the scarcity between us, we will never see the abundance and magic we can create.
That was monumental to me.
I am writing this open letter to you because I am, in a way, fighting my own fears of being vulnerable. Baring my heart to another person has always been an inner tug-of-war but I’ve also learnt that we should always walk towards what scares us the most and take risks in life. I cannot think of a better way to express my gratitude of having you in my life now, and it is something that I do want the whole wide world to know 🙂
So thank you, my hunny bunny, for the amazing times we are having. We learn, discover, grow and play together. I am learning to love both you and myself wholly and fully, because the only way to unconditionally love someone else is to first love ourselves unconditionally and knowing we will always be in abundance to give. I know I have been guilty of focusing on the things I have missed out by being here, but it is really my own perspective and I should be celebrating this opportunity (hello London?!) more than anything else. You have always been patient with me and I can’t be more thankful of your love and affections.
Thank you for being you, I love you so much for you being you. I looked back on this entry I had written while still living in Argentina and it makes me all teary eyed sensing that you are part of the reason I am on this journey. Here’s to our many more adventures to come. All my love, hugs and kisses ❤