As photographers and videographers, we are behind the scenes a lot. We’re more comfortable behind the camera than being in front of it. But recently, we did a fun shoot when we were in Cameron Highlands. Four girls (my current full time team!) sharing fun facts about each other! We will be releasing these videos over time, but to kick it off, we’re starting with Jamie *just because I can muahaha*
10 years ago, the adventure began when we said our vows to journey together through the calm seas and raging storms. Ever since then, we’ve gone through adventures together as we camped in the freezing White Dessert in Egypt and cycled through pitch black darkness to view the sunrise over temples in Bagan, Myanmar. We’ve also experienced challenging moments as my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after my wedding and deteriorated through the years until the remnant of the strong man he was, was gone.
We’ve worked through differences, argued about which way to press the toothpaste, made conscious decisions on how to live life God’s way and also shed tears of joy when our two children, Krysta and Kyle were born. (we also shed tears when we had to carry them through the streets of Japan recently, but that’s another story).
I can’t believe 10 years flew by, just like that. Some people say we hardly aged, but that’s a lie. I think my wrinkles are a testament to how much wiser I am now, but also how much joy I experience in life, through the relationships I share with friends and family. I learnt that it takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage exciting… the routines of life can easily drown you and soon, you start to take person next to you for granted. Even more so after kids arrive, as our focus tends to be on the children, hardly the spouse.
So we’ve done things like go on planned dates, holidays alone, random hugs in the middle of the day… just because.
Ever since I was a young child, I have been an idealist. I want to believe with all my heart that love can flourish and grow stronger through the years… that marriage can indeed prosper even when I am old and grey.
And so the adventure continues…
On the 13th of August, we had a party at our home to celebrate 10 years of marriage and moving in to a new home. We were blessed to have family and friends pray for us as we acknowledge God’s goodness in our lives over the past 10 years. Pr Kee from DUMC who married us 10 years ago prayed for us, and Pr Shaun from Kingdomcity KL blessed our home as we use the space to connect with people from all walks of life. Rachel and Jin Ann’s team did a great job with the styling (and yummy desserts!) and Michelle exercised her magic make up skills on myself and Krysta (who was delighted to have curly hair for one day). I am also appreciative of Jennifer, Chi Yin, Nigel and Johan who took some of these amazing photos you see here.
Over a year ago, I met Joseph while rock climbing. As much as I would like to say that I fell, he caught me and we fell instantly in love.. that was not the case. Like many Malaysian (or Asian) relationships, it started off at a mamak with some friends.
Fast forward 9 months into the relationship, it is safe to say that being in a cross cultural relationship is enriching and fun, yet it comes with its own set of challenges. I forgot to mention that Joseph is Filipino and I am, of course, as Malaysian as a girl can be. When I was younger, I always had this idea about dating a foreigner. I have always enjoyed getting to know people from different cultures and I thought how much fun it would be if that was a lifetime thing.
Obviously, I was naive. Every relationship has its challenges, and adding cultural differences into the equation is like asking for more work to do! Learning and adjusting to each other’s worldview, lifestyles and beliefs wasn’t as easy as I thought. Food habits was one of the first hurdle I had to learn to accommodate. Not only do Filipinos refer to ‘dinner’ as ‘supper’, their taste in food are at the extreme ends. Something that is bordering diabetic to me is not sweet enough for him; something that is bland to him is too salty for me. Although English is our first language, Joseph had to adjust to my Manglish slangs. Teaching him the difference between lah, meh, mah etc was quite a challenge. There were even times when he had to ask, “Like this cannot.. lah..? ..meh?? ..leh???”.
Despite our differences, I’m ever thankful that we share the most important thing, which is our love for Christ. It is not only about sharing the same faith, it is sharing the same values and principles that are fundamental to both our lives.
I am no expert in relationships, but what I have learnt so far is that: communication is key; and having the support of your family and closest friends is more important than you think. At the end of the day, it is all about choosing to love a person, and making that choice is a daily decision in which you have to let your selfish desires go. And when I’m at the altar, I can finally say, “I choose you!” (pun intended – but probably only Pokemon players can understand).
A year ago, the Stories team headed to a small village in Kelantan to photograph portraits for the families affected by the devastating 2014 flood. We were just so blessed to be able to meet these families and to replace precious family photos that were lost in the flood. We braved the Hari Raya jam and drove up north, to a place we had never visited before and ate Raya kuih with families who welcomed us with open arms. Have a look at the behind the scenes video that describes more about what took place over the few days we were there. It was a one of a kind experience for all of us. Wishing a great time of family bonding for everyone celebrating Raya!
This morning, I woke up in bed, 73km away from home at a town called Port Dickson, body still sore from last night’s wedding shoot. I thought of my kids at home, being cared for by my Indonesian helper the night before as my husband is away in New Zealand, setting up the Integricity NZ office. I drove home, packed my kids to church single handedly and was reminded about how much Alex is missed this Father’s day.
I cannot imagine life as a working single parent, and I take my hats off to those moms who had to fill the role of a mother and father to their kids because of various circumstances, or vice versa. Having a father figure is so important to every child. I am so glad that Alex is the kind of man who takes time to do simple things with our children, whether it is baking a cake, painting some eggshells, reading books to my son so that he can potty train him at the same time or carrying them on his shoulders when they are tired.
He is the kind of man who would gladly step up and help a friend in need, one who is generous and a person who truly cares. I hope our children will catch these traits from their dad as they grow up. We miss you, dad this Father’s day. Come home soon.