Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our memories and theirs.

(Warning: extremely cute pictures ahead)

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Yepp, pretty good fried chicken!

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I’ve always been.. tanned.

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photo 4 (2)
NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

photo 2 (7)

photo 3 (4)

That doll is my BFF 4 LYFE.

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1996 – 2013.

photo 5 (2)

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Isn't it interesting how most of our childhood memories don't belong to us? I mean, they're ours in the sense that they're about us, and to a certain extent, replay in our heads like actual memories, but when you think about it, they're often really a product of stories told or pictures taken which somehow swirl together for our brains to greedily plagiarize and make ours.

It is for that reason that I don't trust my early memories. Funny stories have been retold by parents and siblings so often that my own become distorted from the embellishments and reform in my head with details I wouldn't have been able to recall organically. For years, I had memories of my time in the US - memories I thought were my own for they came in spurts and stills of which I thought came with natural memories. It wasn't until recently that I found a box of old photographs with the "memories" I had being actually memories of the time I sifted through those photographs rather than the event itself, which to be honest, left me feeling rather cheated.

But that’s to be understood, of course. How is one at the age of 2 or 3 able to remember things that happened before we could supposedly think for our own?

With Chinese New Year looming and the realization that hey, this is it – the last Chinese New Year we would be celebrating before heading overseas, the last Chinese New Year we would be celebrating with all our relatives before everything changes, I suppose I’ve been giving it a little more thought. I know I seem dramatic because really, there will always be time when we come back, but who knows what could happen in between here and then?

My baby cousins would have grown up and probably wonder who this unfamiliar brown cousin who gushed a little too much was, and probably feel just as I felt when people I was seemingly related to came and told me that they remember me as a baby. And then maybe I’ll tell them stories of themselves when they were very very young, and maybe these stories would mix up in their head to form their own ‘memories’. Maybe they would realize that they do ‘remember’ me, only to find out much later on that it was because of all the pictures we took from years ago.

Maybe some of my other cousins would have gotten married, or maybe some of the newlyweds in my family would have gotten kids! Maybe, by then, I would have a boyfriend of 2 years who I could bring back to Taiping for Chinese New Year, and the relatives would gush over how I’ve grown up so much. Or maybe, by the time my sister comes back from the US, she would be engaged or even married *gasps*, and would have to give out her own angpao!

Maybe…

Maybe some of our relatives would have gone and taken in their last breath. Maybe fate would have stripped away some lives a little too early, or maybe relationships may have changed by then and a few family members wouldn’t be around. I know it isn’t auspicious to speak of these possibilities, but with the thought that this could be my last CNY for a few years, I don’t want to come back and regret the opportunities I didn’t take.

Well… sure. Maybe, nothing would change except the ages and hairstyles of everyone. And maybe the years would fly by and I would come back just the same, with my cousins still too young to remember forgetting me, and with the old swing by my grandparents’ house still there to play with, just a little worse for wear.

But, even so… the moments I will have this Chinese New Year are moments I’m going to hold on to. With my broken Hokkien and awful luck, I’ll gamble away those RM1s I get from my angpaos. I’ll wake up early for food in the morning ban san. I’ll hug and kiss my grandparents even if they find it a little strange, and I’ll relish each and every second of this CNY with my family, camwhoring with my siblings and making a ruckus in the car.

And when I look back some day in the future, I won’t have any regrets. And the memories I have of this time?

Well, those memories will be mine.

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