Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Deck the halls.

I count my regrets in sleeps, in the hours that pass by with my eyes closed and mouth unglamorously wide open. Each hour asleep is an hour away from my family, an hour closer to the UK, with its blustering winds and naked trees and water ready to drink straight from the tap. It’s funny how quickly a week can pass, yet how long it can feel as habits that felt forgotten in the midst of the hustle and bustle of LSE life slip back through the cracks that resulted from being flung back and forth across oceans. And as overdramatic as it may sound to someone who has flown much further and for much longer, coming home for the first time since going overseas to study is a milestone that does more than mark ‘the first return’’.

It’s a milestone that gives me a chance to reappreciate the things I only realized I missed the moment I went abroad, like how the cracks in my scaly skin disappear in the presence of Malaysia’s humidity and how the water we bathe in feel a thousand times better than the warmest shower in the UK, and even the way I get my eggs poached back home and the cute requests from my brother to give him back rubs. It’s a milestone that makes each visit to my grandparents’ even more memorable, and maybe even a little heart wrenching as grandpa smiles sadly when my sister tells him she’ll only graduate in another seven years, then chuckles and says that he might not be around by then.

My urge to speak better Mandarin and Hokkien became even stronger since coming home, maybe as a result of wanting to understand my grandparents better or maybe a product of wanting a more solid “Chinese identity” in a country where English is as staple as rice. And in the week that has passed, with Christmas celebrated amongst family with presents and a tree, and with trips to Penang, Ipoh, and Taiping, two of which are the parents’ hometowns and one which was where I grew up, the milestone became a sort of graduation ceremony from teenagehood to the world of two decades, complete with family and old friends in familiar backgrounds of the past, and with familiar food in our stomachs.

I have a lot of goals for the new year, because there’s just something about beginnings which makes us all feel as though we have a chance to start anew. I’ll keep with my Goals for each month, but this time with pre-determined ones so I don’t just decide to make up my mind to do something on a whim.

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I’ll probably talk a little bit more about the year I’ve had in another post but I just wanna write a little about the Christmas I had back home! For starters, I feel really fortunate to be able to spend it in this lovely house, surrounded my family. My sister flew back from the US for two weeks and it was the first time in over half a year that the house was filled with all three kids again! Open-mouthed smile 

I’m sure I’ve written this before in the previous years but Christmas is a pretty big deal in the Khoo household, and all the relatives usually gather together the night before for a round of Secret Santa!

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Presents under the tree! Open-mouthed smile 

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Woohoo, family!!

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With my present, which turned out to be a Sushi King membership and a RM20 voucher to come with it! Winking smile Seems like Santa knows me well! Open-mouthed smile Annnnnnnd, I look like a grandmother here.

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A little more grandmother than my actual grandmother too, if that’s possible!

But besides the Khoo clan festivities, every Christmas is filled with our own little mini present session amongst the family. We either assemble around the tree the night before or meet up in the morning before church to unwrap them all! Open-mouthed smile Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile 

And as cliche as this sounds, what I look forward to the most on Christmas is the reactions of my family members as they receive their presents! I love giving presents on Christmas because EVERYONE gets one! Birthdays are great for giving too, of course but it’s always more personal and not everyone gets to partake in the joy of taking something and giving something too!

This year, we spent Christmas morning in church, and then watched Frozen which was so wonderful!!! Open-mouthed smile Open-mouthed smile 

My sister and I were squealing throughout the movie and were smiling so broadly, I swear if any child saw our shiny eyes and inane smiles in the dark of the cinema, their magical Frozen experience would have been ruined! But thank God no one tore their eyes away from the screen, hahaha, and no crying children resulted!

BUT GAH. The music in the movie was just brilliant and the message was really good too. It’s one of those movies that end well and nowadays most movies just build you up to a hype then.. let you die down.. sadly. BUT NOH! Not this one! So if you haven’t, do watch it!

Eheheh. But before the movie session… PRESENT TIME!

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Oooooo! HAHA, look at the fancy wrappings on all the other presents except the red one at the back. Hahah, who do you think wrapped that? Smile with tongue out 

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Long-time blog readers have probably watched Dom grow up. Look at him now!! Surprised smile 

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And look at my sister with her hair all chopped off! Surprised smile 

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Ehehhe, and since I’m usually the one holding the camera I got to take a separate picture standing up. Smile with tongue out 

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Brother bear in the shirt I got for him! LOL, so lame right but I didn’t know what else to get! The worse part was… I bought that shirt in Spain! Who me?

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And then brother bear with his much cooler Miami Heat jersey from the sister. Open-mouthed smile 

As for me, I got wonderful things this year!

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Book from the brother, and bathrobe set from the sister! And an Estee Lauder make up kit from the parents. I got Guess sandals as well but they aren’t pictured here.

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In my favourite colour! Open-mouthed smile It comes with an eye mask too. Heheh, so those in the UK, be prepared to see this very comfortable looking Smurf every time you knock on my room door. Smile with tongue out 

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And here’s the make-up kit!

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OooooOOOOOoooOO! Hahaha, I guess my parents felt it was time I finally learnt how to put on a little makeup. I’ve been surviving the past few years of parties and performances thanks to the kindness of my friends and teachers.. but NO MORE. LOL, okay no la, I still have to learn but maybe one day I’ll be able to fly with my own wings lolololol.

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And on the day after Christmas, we went out as a family to run some errands, and the next thing I knew..

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I came home with this! Surprised smile Surprised smile Surprised smile 

Heheh, it’s in gold. *chuckles* *sniffles* *snorts*

I was using an iPhone 4 before this so I’m still getting used to the wonderful camera and pretty iOS7 interface. Open-mouthed smile 

That was Christmas! It became very dramatic and heartfelt at the end of the day when the whole family sat together and shared, but it was also that element that was more memorable, more so than the gifts or the laughter. (LOL, despite the ratio of it being mentioned in this post. Smile with tongue out)

So, yeah. I count my regrets in sleeps.. because every moment asleep is a moment away from this wonderful family.

4 comments:

  1. Why do I feel like Dom is flexing in each of his photos?

    [nitpick]And btw, that's not a Miami Heat jersey, it's a Miami Heat shooting shirt.[/nitpick]

    Happy Xmas to the Khoo clan, and have a wonderful 2014 ahead!

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    1. LOL he probably is! Ahaha in the first photo la at least :p His "presents" this year ;)

      Hahaha and thanks you fussy person!

      Have a great year too, Mr Ihsan! Have a great one!

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  2. Hi, i visited your blog and i find it well. I applyed for 2014 courses in England. I want to become your friend because I also like travelling. I'm going to fly for England, if my asking is accepted.
    facebook: erwann folly teko. will you send me invitation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there! Haha, how about you drop me an email instead? I prefer to keep my Facebook for personal friends. :)

      Delete