Author Archives: Caely

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

Advertisements

Schools schools schools

I know being a parent is difficult at times, but right now the hardest thing I have to do is to do thorough checks on potential schools Zoe can attend. This is so hard. There are no schools that meet my requirements (read: there are no schools that measure to my standards). I, myself, went to a school whose neighborhood was filled with high criminality (read gangs including bikers and a lot of junkies/drunks). I still did good because my mom made it clear you don’t go anywhere unless you finish school properly. I was convinced that if you weren’t a straight A student, you’re a failure not only in school but also in life. So, I fought hard and always finished top 5% of my classes. Not good enough for Asian standards obviously but I felt good about it. My parents didn’t have a choice of sending me to a proper school but we made do.

Here I am and I want to give Zoe the best thing I can get. The problem is, most schools don’t even have teachers that are eligible to teach. It’s troubling for sure, given many, but far from everyone, youngsters today think school is a playground. Of course this damages class morale but I don’t want Zoe to struggle more than necessary. If anything, she is like her father. If things are too easy, she will get lazy. If things are too hard, she’ll give up. I have to choose wisely. Wish me luck ;)

//c_Cae; this is difficult indeed.

Desktop layout and the Overwatch Scrub Cup

Hi guys!
It’s been a while and I hear my muse whispering and urging me to write so here I am.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve signed up for an inofficial e-sports tournament in Overwatch. I never thought I’d like the game so much but I do and it feels great. Whenever I can, I spend my time on getting better at it. So, to challenge myself even more, I signed up for this Scrub Cup tourney. Each team is randomly assembled and are assigned a coach. With my team, dubbed Bird’s Eggs (because our coach’s nickname is Bird), we’ve practiced a bit and played our first match yesterday. The rules of the tournament is that you are not to exceed the in-game ranking value of 2700. Our enemy team were missing a player and had to find a substitute. What we didn’t know, was that this substitute actually had a much higher ranking than the tournament allows. This meant that the 2 hours we played had to be forfeited and re-played since the substitute violated the rules. It felt awful at first but it also taught me where my skill level is. Whenever I face someone above the ranks of 3300 (highest ranking the game allows in this point system  is 5000), I feel very much out of place. That’s when the game feels overwhelming to me. Anything below 3000 I can keep up with. This happening to our team on our first match definitely hurt the team morale a little bit but we won our game earlier today :)

Okay, enough about gaming. For a while now, I’ve unsuccessfully been trying to find a clean app that can display time, date and weather. Today, I got a tip on such an app and tada~

I’m still a bit dissatisfied with the weather part but I’m sure I’ll find a new one soon. And yes, that is an Aston Martin V8 Vantage from 2008 and yes, I’ve had this background since 2008. I will change it once this car stands in my driveway ;)

//c_Cae; soon, I’ll improve on Overwatch even more.

Speaking from the heart

When I started this blog, I really wanted it to be a feel good one but I also wanted it to be honest. I had already been blogging for a while before starting this one, but those were just digital versions of my personal diary. I think sometime after I stopped being a bartender, I grew to wanting to be more honest. Before that, I had always made sure to say whatever it would take to be accepted and liked by my company. Eventually, I realized that just turned me to another person dependent on whatever situation I was in. It wasn’t ideal and I would eventually turn into a person without essence. So, I stopped. I am sure many people struggle with this and it is incredibly hard to be as honest and genuine as possible at all times, but it is doable provided you have some people skills. With that said, I will just wear my heart on my sleeve here, even if it means it will get very personal at times.

I truly wish to be able to publish a lot more here than I currently do. My problem is that I overthink everything. A post like this one, has been in my head for a month and I am just now being able to word it. To keep you up to speed, the past month have meant work for me. Actual paid work. I went on a promo tour, promoting dietary supplements. At first, it was meant to be in the same city I live in but eventually turned out to be a much larger tour and I eventually ended up outside the county I was responsible for. It was an awesome tour, despite the encounters of a few racists, creeps and gropers. Most the time, the customers I met with in the supermarkets were curious and polite people. Those really made my days. I also did a good enough job that the company that hired me offered me a one day gig promoting Nescafé.

At the same time, Zoe kept telling me I shouldn’t work because she wanted to know that I was home all the time. It was assuring to her, knowing where her mom was. I had to reassure her, I would always be there for her even if sometimes I can’t be at home. I need to work so I have the money to sustain her and provide her with food, clothes and that new bed she so desperately wants for her birthday. She’s a stubborn little girl who knows exactly what she wants and I am very proud of her for that (and a lot of other things, of course). This also meant I was never left alone no matter what I was doing. One day, I had forgotten to turn my computer off before heading to work. When Zoe came home, she started crying because “mommy’s computer was on but mommy wasn’t here”. Yup, broke my mom heart but I made sure to make it up to her. She’s happy, but I worry she worries too much about things she shouldn’t worry about.

A lot of things also happened at home and with the rest of the family when I was working. Some of them are still going on. My parents’ divorce went through but dad refuses to move out. He blames mom for “letting the marriage fall apart”, as if a relationship is a one way street. He also made some ridiculous claims, that were clearly false, and tried desperately to make a stupid scene out of it. I ended up yelling at him for 15min over the phone one day because I strongly felt he crossed the line. I know; I shouldn’t yell at my dad but I also refuse to stand there and take shit like it’s a sweet summer breeze. He hasn’t spoken to me after that. I’m okay with a break from that, it’s stressful just seeing an incoming call from him.

On a lighter note, we celebrated my mom’s birthday last Saturday. She turned 60 and she does not look a day over 50. Unfortunately, the restaurant we went to let us down. Our food was too salty and cold. It was a shame but we kids are gonna make it up to her with a spa day and proper dinner. Just gotta wait in that paycheck. Dad also showed up at the dinner. Not only was he late but his presence also killed the mood we had. It was really unfortunate. We had originally planned a trip to California but the divorce killed those plans. Then we thought of taking mom to Paris. Paris is the city of her dreams and she has never been there. That got cancelled as well because all of the drama my dad caused. I dislike that he is the culprit here but as things are now, that’s what reality is. It’s hard to take in though because I’ve had this picture in my head that all adults in one’s life are immortal heroes. Sadly, that is a picture very distant from reality.

I’ve been relieving a lot of the emotional stress my mom is experiencing now. She hasn’t had anyone other than my siblings and I to talk to. She’s struggling with yet another family member fighting cancer. And losing. Her brother has been hospitalized and there’s nothing they can do. Mom feels like her own divorce is to be put aside as she and her siblings stand together in another losing battle to cancer. I love that they are united in this but it’s sad to see my uncle like this. He’s definitely the smartest of the bunch, although he and I aren’t close, I am close to his wife and daughter. His wife is actually my hairdresser and no one knows me or my hair better than she does. I just haven’t worked up the courage to call her. I want to but I also don’t want to be the one that triggers her crying. I did it once and I hate to see that beautiful face cry. I also don’t want to take up too much of her time. It’s so precious and I feel they should spend it all, just the three of them.

I hate this. This weekend was booked for a family dinner. A get together we haven’t had for a while, to celebrate the memory of my grandma but as things look now, that dinner is postponed. Emotionally, this is a roller coaster to say the least.

Other than all of this, I signed up for an Overwatch tournament. Matches start this week and I’m having so much fun with the 7 other strangers that’s assembled to a team to face off other teams. I don’t care how we do, we’re having fun and I am loving it. I aspire to take more girls to the pro-gaming scene. When I was watching the matches played in the Overwatch World Cup, it was astonishing how there were no girls on any team. Nope, can’t have that, so now I’m super-serious to get girls on that stage because we can’t have that in 2017.

//c_Cae; tournament is soon, just gotta keep my head up high AND KICK SOME ASS!

Lately

Fall has finally come. Days are rainy and grey. To be honest, I don’t mind. Most of this summer has been rainy and grey. Days like these I appreciate the time I can spend with myself. I have really grown to love my own company and it feels really good. It has nothing to do with me being an introvert, it’s just that I find it relaxing to be my own best friend. When I was younger, I didn’t like being alone. That feeling was awful, but I got to know myself and it has proven to me that it’s a great feeling to be able to enjoy yourself. Most my days are now filled with drinking my favorite tea (earl grey, by the way) and watching anime or various Hong Kong dramas. I want to stream but there’s little motivation to play games. To be honest, I have so many games I can choose from. I’d much rather sit down with my tea and watch my series. Or read a book. The balcony is almost cleaned up enough for me to sit out there with my tea, good music and an adventurous book. That’s all I really want to do this fall. Even during this winter, but I will stream. I just don’t know when because fall is my favorite season and it makes me all cozy. All that is missing are the colorful leaves on the ground. Then I’m all set.

//c_Cae; seasons come and go, just like people. 

Venting

Very personal post incoming. It’ll also be very long. You have been warned lol.

When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I remember coming home to a very unfamiliar atmosphere. My grandma was there and my mom was laying in bed too drunk to even notice I came home. I have never seen my mom drunk and that was the one and only time I witnessed it. I don’t remember where my siblings were but I remember my dad wasn’t home. I also don’t remember what was exactly spoken at the time. All I remember is that I had never seen my mom in such a state. When I grew a little older and had gotten into high school, I was told the truth about what happened. My mom had her heart broken and didn’t know where to go and so resorted to the bottle. I found out my dad had been cheating on her and the fights at home were probably more common than in any other healthy relationship. Sadly, that was what my siblings and I were taught through witnessing it over several years. The lesson that excessive fighting in a relationship is normal. It’s not, we know that now but we still think it’s weird family members and friends hug. Expressing feelings any other than anger is weird to us.

I remember my dad once brought my sister and I over to a friend of his on his day off. It was just a normal day and he said this friend had a daughter around our age that we could play with. We didn’t think much of it and tagged along. I still remember where she lived. She was a single mom with a little daughter named Shelley (not sure I spelled it right though). Again, we didn’t think much of it and probably thought it was nice to play with another kid. What didn’t occur to us was that our dad just walked in like it was his home and straight into the bedroom. I remember the adults leaving us in the living room. I don’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I was old enough to babysit for one kid. There I was, with two kids. Of course, we eventually got into a fight and we had to leave. It never occurred to me that this was the woman my dad was with while being married to my mom.

Many years after and up until the day my grandmother passed away, I was asked frequently by my grandmother if my dad was still “fiddling on the side”. I didn’t know, and I made sure to say so. My grandmother kept telling me I have siblings somewhere out there as a result of my dad’s affair. I know I resented my dad for doing that, for not being brave enough to face an end with my mom and move on. I absolutely despised it and it showed during my high school years. I know for sure my mom never forgave my dad for it and in all honesty, who would?

Sometime during my first year of high school, when the fights were most intense, my parents spoke of divorce. I didn’t fully understand at the time, it was all beyond me and I was a confused teenager. I do remember choosing to be with my mom because it made no sense to me to live with my dad because of various reasons. He’d yell at us kids for no apparent reason and was in a really dark place himself drowning in alcohol. To this day, I still have a hard time hearing the sound of a can opening because it brings back horrible memories. Violent memories. I still hate being unable to open a bathroom door. If a bathroom door lock doesn’t open, I’d panic. No amount of therapy has gotten me over it and sometimes I hate it. Most the time I think of it as a scar that is there to remind me never to repeat that to anyone in my proximity and to always be alert of such unnecessary behavior. If anything, it has made me wiser. The talks of divorce died and it all settled down. That year, my parents stopped sharing the same bedroom.

Let’s fast forward to this year. My mom decides she wants to live up to a promise she made to my cousin about attending said cousin’s wedding. The small issue is that the wedding is in Vietnam and my mom is first reluctant to go but us kids persuade her to go. She needs the vacation and what would be more fitting than to attend my cousin’s wedding and be with people that would cater her every need? She, if anyone, deserved it. My mom finally makes the decision to go and suddenly, my dad wants to tag along. Reluctantly, my mom agrees and I tell her to be careful because when dad is hangry, I kid you not, he would murder a cow. Nervously, I take them to the airport and see them off.

Three weeks go by and as I talk to my mother everyday (as per normal), I notice her increasing anxiety. I go to pick them up at the same airport I saw them off at and I pick up one anxious parent and a very angry parent. I try my best to coordinate and we make it back to their apartment. This was in May. Since, the fights have picked up like they did when I was in high school. This time, they actually managed to get worse. Threats were thrown left and right. Threats of humiliation and violence. It’s abusive and I ask my mom and brother to leave, even if temporary to just get out for a little while. They declined and things just got worse.

Finally, a new proposal of a divorce got on the table. I have, from day one, said that I will not believe it this time unless I see them both sign it and I’ll post the damn thing myself. Today, I am doing that. It feels good but there’s this part of me that keeps thinking. I’m a very emphatic person and at times, it’s difficult to handle. I’d rather just be sympathetic instead but it is what it is. For all that is going on, I’m once again with my mom on this. I don’t mean to paint my dad as the culprit here, even if he’s done many things wrong. I’m sure, that like the first time, I am missing out on a lot of the full story. However, I can’t bring myself to forgive what he has done, not in the past and not in the present. I actually want a genuine apology but I know that is not likely to happen because my dad is a very proud and righteous man. He’d never admit fault, ever. Despite knowing this and knowing that he won’t ever change his stupid and deranged vision of “my way or the highway” (the highway meaning being on the receiving end of his abuse), I still care. I still fucking care. I worry that he might not make it on his own. He doesn’t know how to pay bills. He doesn’t know where to go if he’s really injured or sick. I worry that he might not be able to care for himself having instant noodles for dinner, shoving it down with beer. It’s destructive, not only for him but for the people around him. I know that. I know his behavior is destructive, yet I care. I bloody care. I hate that. The voice in my head keeps telling me it makes me a better person for caring but then there’s another, smaller voice that tells me that I shouldn’t because in the end, letting such a destructive person have greater influence of your life is horrible. It’s a bad move. I’ve done it before and I’ve gotten burned several times. Yet I still care. I still fucking care.

//c_Cae; making sense of this emotional turmoil.

Current earworm

I was introduced to this song about a week ago. Ever since, I have not been able to get it out of my head. Thanks for introducing it to me. You know who you are. It’s not a bad song, it’s actually really good. I just wish it wouldn’t get stuck in my head like this, haha :)

//c_Cae; they say dreamers never die…