And another light is forever extinguished

In my short time on this planet, I have slowly learned that death is a part of life. Last Friday, we lost another amazing musician and although I loved some of his music, I know there are fans out there that are devastated when they learned that Avicii had tragically passed away. I can’t imagine the pain his friends and family are going through. I understand it, but I can never grasp the burden that they now have to live with.

I admire Avicii. He brought a lot of inspiration to many artists out there, not to mention all the inspiration he brings to his fans. I use present sense because his legacy will live on. I admire most his humanitarian side, how he wished to help those who needed it. I also admire this little video clip I saw of him when he just broke through. When asked of why he didn’t live in a larger home, he humbly replied that this was all he needed and he’d much rather put his resources to help others. That humility is his legacy to me. His music will never die and neither will his legacy. Even if his light on this Earth has been extinguished, the fire he lit within us will forever burn bright.

//Cae; “he said one day, you’ll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember”


Protected: I miss you

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The thing with grieving

My first time experiencing losing a loved one, I was around 13. I had just gotten back from a 4 week first time vacation in Vietnam. There, I met my extended family. Some of my grandpa’s siblings and their families still live there and so does my dad’s family. It was my first time meeting my paternal grandparents and during the visit, I learned to know my cousins and even my mom’s cousins. One in particular, my (maternal) grandpa’s nephew, I got very close to. My siblings and I would nag my parents every day to take us see him because he’d take us on stupid adventures and make us laugh. We loved every single moment. However, not long after we got back to Sweden, we learned that he passed away due to an overdose. Suicide apparently. It broke all our hearts but that was my first.

My second visit to Vietnam was during my first year of high school. It wasn’t a fun trip. We went for the funeral of my paternal grandpa. He was a quiet man but according to my mom, he was a wise one. There’s something about losing a parent that changes people. I saw so many changes in my dad after that, most of them not for the better. To this day, I still say that my paternal grandparents would roll over in their graves should they see how my dad behaves nowadays. It may be rude, but it’s the truth.

However difficult the past was, the one that hit me hardest was the passing of my maternal grandma back in 2013. I remember that night as clear as if it happened yesterday. I had such difficulty going back to normal and it took me years to recover. Right up to my uncle’s passing last December, I thought I was doing well. That is, until I saw my grandma’s gravestone for the first time and how there was a reserved space next to it.  That broke me and I literally had to remove myself away from it. I was staring into blank space in my car for a little while before I could actually bother to start it and drive away. Grieving my grandmother was, and to some extent still is, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Time has definitely made it better but some things don’t go away entirely and I firmly believe that the ones that pass on are never really gone for as long as the living can remember them.

Then Annie passed away this February. There’s still so many feelings to process. Some days are way worse than others but most days, I find little things to smile for. Bet she would’ve wanted that. I did write an eulogy to her but I’ll wait before I make it public for everyone.

I thought it was terrible to grieve one person and it took me a while to realize that now, I’m grieving two (my uncle and Annie). Some days that really gets to me. I have to remember, though, that I have great friends that pick me up when I fall. And I’ll lean on you guys on the days where everything is overwhelming. I hope you know that you can lean on me when you need it, too.

Making matters a bit worse, my aunt Iris is worrying me. She was hospitalized last week and they found something wrong with her gallbladder. It had formed gallstones so she’s recovering from that. Beside that, doctors also found something worrisome with her uterus and ovaries. I really hope it’s not cancer, as that kind runs in our family. I’ll do my best to accompany her to her doctor’s appointments. Her Swedish is functional but when it comes to medical terms, it’s difficult so I interpret for her. Time will tell what is really going on in her body and I can only hope for the best while providing support in an already difficult time.

I’m glad this is isn’t my first time experiencing the overwhelming amount of emotional stress but I do wish that there was a button somewhere you could push so that you could regulate how much of it comes at you at once. Wishful thinking, most definitely, but it gives me hope that I can pull this through. And I will.

//c_Cae; soon my cough is gone entirely and I can sing again

Life and the flu

About 8 days ago, I woke up in fever, cough and I had no voice. At that moment, I thought to myself I couldn’t be that bad and like many colds, it would just pass after a few days. Little did I know that I’d be bedridden for 3 days, and 8 days after I lost my voice would still not be able to talk without a coughing fit as followup.

It’s what I’ve been doing the past week. Just laying either in bed or on the couch, with short moments by the computer. Getting tea is exhausting, not to mention I probably got minion sick as well. Kids are remarkable. First, she was knocked out cold when her fever hit. I gave her an aspirin and BAM, she’s up and running. I felt miserable when my fever hit and while I could at least follow a conversation, I was not feeling much better with aspirin.

I still cannot speak properly. Sometimes the thought of being able to triggers a coughing fit. I wish it to be over because I’m a little tired of communicating through text messages even at home. Most of all, I’m tired of my parents insisting to call me (instead of texting me), just to tell me I’m dying and I can’t leave minion behind. Hey, I got the flu. I’m in my finest years of my life. I’m not dying. It’s gonna take a lot more, although I understand their worry.

It just gets to me when they think I’m dying, provided recent events. I know I posted a password-protected post a little over a week ago. I’m not ready to make it public. Just know I lost a dear family member and because the protected post involves my brother’s feelings too, I do not want to make it public. A part of me wants to shield him from all this hurt but I can’t. Life will toss them his way all the time and he as to learn, regardless of my intentions of protecting him. Life will have its way and it will continue no matter whose story ends abruptly. I need to get better soon so I can see him and maybe cheer him up just a little bit. There’s so much I want to tell him in person. He’s stubborn and tells me he doesn’t need a hug. Lucky for him, I’m more stubborn so he can’t win this. This sister is gonna have her way and give her brother a hug. End of story :P

//c_Cae, at times, I even wanna buy him a puppy

Protected: Dear Annie

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Sensei and padawan adventures

As many of my readers know, Twitch has become a large part of my life. Twitch has brought me friends I never phantom to have.  Friends who are just as nerdy as me but still are incredibly resilient in their life stories. Strong individuals (looking at you coffee fam).

One of these people have been very patient with me when I ventured into playing Overwatch. I was really nervous because I had never played such a game before. I’d always stuck to my comfort zone of Japanese role playing games. This friend provided many useful tips and probably spent countless of hours to play with me. I wanted to improve and he knew, so we kept playing. Eventually, I actually got pretty decent at it and it just happened that I called him my sensei (jp for teacher) and I was his padawan.

Along with many other friends from the coffee fam, we started to talk about a serious meetup. Originally, we were gonna be 4 to meet up where I am but life happens and 2 of us had to postpone those plans. Sensei stuck to it though and he got here! I was too excited to even remember to make a sign as I picked him up at the airport. I reminisced when I picked up Frank at the very same airport and thought to myself how lucky I am to have such great friends.

Sensei spent a week here and during that week, we essentially ate a lot of great food and watched Overwatch streams. It might sound lame to some but to us it was awesome because it was exactly what we wanted to do. We really got to nerd it out. To me it felt great because I had someone to relate my Overwatch nerdness to. Now, Zoe won’t let me say Poggers because “that’s sensei’s thing”. Why is she so sassy?

Anyway, it felt awesome to have a friend that’s normally so far away that close and maybe sometime soon, I’ll have all of those four friends here and we can really nerd it out. We’re totally going back to that Star Wars café that I love so much. Back to the place where my own mug that says “You call me a bitch like it’s a bad thing”. Back to the place where a Stormtrooper will greet you by the cashier. To the place where a Hello Kitty in Dath Vader mask will stare you down as you sip your coffee. Soon.

//Cae; feeling incredibly fortunate with all my friends. Miles apart, together at heart <3


My 2017

I meant to post a year summary a few days ago but never got the time around to do so. In many ways, 2017 was a roller coaster, not just for me but for many I know. Despite that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find it in me to say that 2017 was a horrible year.

The first few months of 2017 was stressful and full of struggle. My thesis kept crashing and my data vanished several times. It was infuriating as much as it was frustrating. At some point, I had to re-do all calculations and it felt as if I could never finish. Hard work pays off, though, and I eventually made it to the finish line on May 18th. I defended it well, although in retrospect I could have done a way better job. It’s okay because I passed and I got to share it with friends. That was amazing. Right before I defended my thesis, I applied for a dream PhD position. A project that I had been longing to do since my second year at university. At that point, I wanted the project subject to be my Bachelor’s project. However, the world order wanted something else for me and I ended up doing a pilot study instead back then. I struggled a bit to write the application but my spirits were always lifted by colleagues and top notch recommendation letters. Despite my efforts, I was turned down for the position and it made me incredibly sad. I would have been perfectly fine if I had lost the position in any other way, but I was told my English was insufficient and I even had half the department backing me for the position. Not to mention my 2 really well written letters of recommendation from renowned scientists in the field. The rejection hit even harder when I learned that my biggest competitor withdrew his application for another job. It took me several months to recover from this and it still makes me a little angry when I think about it.

To make matters a bit worse, one of my biggest idols, Chester Bennington, committed suicide in mid July. It was horrible because he was part of a band whose music had helped me through the difficult stages that teenage me went through. In the midst of all this emotional turmoil, my uncle’s cancer came back and the entire family went crazy worried. At the same time, my parents struggled to get along after their vacation in Vietnam.

A great, but unanticipated thing happened in July, though. My stream took off and I made it into the affiliate program! I make money off of my stream now. It’s not a lot but it’s something!

Fall came and Zoe started at the new daycare. We saw an incredible character development in her and she was constantly praised for her English. Some even thought we had been living abroad. It was a delight to see how well she adapted to the new environment despite some conflicts with another child. Children will fight and we kept comforting her and teaching her how to deal with such conflicts.

Around this time, my parents’ conflict only grew larger to the point where I feared for my mother’s and brother’s safety. Eventually, they filed for divorce and while I am aware that divorces can be nasty, I’ve never seen someone give up so quickly just to completely make a U-turn and blame it all on the other side. I saw some true colors during the process and I still feel dreadful each time my dad calls me.

Zoe then turned 5 in November and I was struck by reality that she’s starting pre-school this coming August. Yeah, soon we’ll sit there with her homework. I’m not nervous at all. I really want to inspire her to be better and to know that school is an important part of life. I’m even looking forward to her teenage years because I still remember what it was like to be one and the struggles that come with it are so difficult to handle. I want to teach her that her mom will always be there for her even when she’ll claim to hate my guts. If there’s something I want to teach her, it’s that no matter what happens, as long as she confides in an adult she can trust, I’m sure she will be fine. If that person happens to be her mom, even better because I never had that and I want her to have it.

My parents’ divorce became more of a mess when my dad refused to move out and once he did, he kept coming back. We’re still struggling to have mom at least change the locks to prevent him from coming into the apartment. All he does is either sleep on the couch or yell when Zoe isn’t there. What’s the point of parting ways if you refuse to spend time apart from each other? I hope they both realize that soon. To make family matters worse, my uncle passed away Dec 23rd and the family has been pretty much a worse version of the emotional mess that they are. Conflicts are happening as no one seems to want to respect my uncle’s last wishes and no one seems to support my aunt in matters of the funeral. At least it’s going to happen on Jan 5th but the conflicts make me worry  about what will become of the relationship between my aunt and the rest of the family. My aunt always speaks her mind and it’s not very appreciated. At least I made it clear she will always remain family to me. She is my cousin’s mom, after all.

So to sum it up, despite all the dramatic things happening in 2017, I still can’t find it in me to say it was a horrible year. In many senses it was, but in just as many senses, it wasn’t. I have learned that this is what life is like and we are not here to hate the journey that is our lives, we’re here to learn things so we can pass them on to future generations. Let it be friends, family or just strangers from the streets – we’re here to share. To this end, I have nothing more to say other than love for the incredible amount of appreciation that I have been so fortunate to receive. What I wish for 2018 is that there will be even more appreciation, humility, kindness and joy in this world. We do live in the most peaceful times since the beginning of human history, let’s make the most of it!

//c_Cae; appreciation is our greatest need, make sure you show it