Christmas in Singapore…and Toronto!

It’s been a long week. My grandfather’s wake and funeral has come and gone. Such a trying event really brings out the best and worst in people. I’ve received plenty of food for thought just from the last week alone.

Although it wasn’t exactly an easy time, something good came out of it. For the first time in years, I reconnected with my cousins. It’s not that I haven’t met them in recent years, I have. But other than polite conversation, we have hardly talked or did anything together. In the last week, however, we not only spent time with each other almost 24/7, we worked together, and, as inappropriate as it may seem, given the context, we had fun together. There was a particular incident when, I think, all 6 of us suddenly reconnected. Somebody had started bemoaning the standard of his/her Chinese and this led to us comparing our O level Chinese results to see whose was worse. Then, one of my cousins (who incidentally just won gold for an event at the international robotics competition last week) claimed that when he was in Sweden for exchange program last year, he realized that he couldn’t write any chinese sentence without having one word that he cannot remember how to write. And to prove it, he took a piece of paper and asked us to give him any sentence to write. Zibin went first…and true enough, he couldn’t complete the sentence. We got more and more incredulous as the words he forgets get more and more basic (among the words he had trouble remembering were 只 and 后). And because we couldn’t believe it, we kept giving him more and more sentences to write and began testing ourselves to see what we ourselves can remember. I’m sure that had it not been for the circumstances we were in, we would have continued till we collapsed in laughter. A silly activity, I know…but it’s the first activity perhaps in 15 years, that had all of us huddled around, engaged in the same activity and enjoying ourselves.

And then, there’s the other thing. John managed to take leave till the end of the year. And so, quite suddenly, it has been decided that he, along with Cathy and Zibin, will be visiting Toronto from Dec 25 till the end of the year (and into the new year, for Zibin). And so, I’m returning to Toronto earlier than expected. In fact, we’ll be departing Singapore on Christmas morning, and arriving in Toronto on Christmas night. So, in a way, I’ll actually be spending Christmas both in Singapore, as well as in Toronto. Surprisingly apt for a person who has been feeling tugged between both cities, don’t you think? And although not my entire family will be with me, having both Zibin and John there, as well as Cathy, is quite wonderful enough for me!

It’s sad though, that there are friends whom I haven’t really managed to spend time with due in large part to these unexpected events and plans. But I’ll take what I receive with gratitude, rather than gripe ungratefully about what I did not get. Only 5.5 days left in Singapore. So little time, so much to do…

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