Relationships Archives - Page 3 of 17 - Wedding, portrait photography & cinematic films: Stories.my

Challenges of a cross-cultural relationship

Posted by | Life, Musings, Relationships

JJ-02Over 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).

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Reminiscing: Portraits in Kelantan

Posted by | Life, Musings, Other Portraits, Portraits, Relationships

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!

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Happy 4th Father’s Day

Posted by | Family + Children Portraits, Life, Musings, Portraits, Relationships

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.

20150404_KRYSTA_KYLE_313Baking a cake

20150405_KRYSTA_KYLE_345Creating a mural on the wall for Krysta’s room

Alex_swimming-kids220151229-FAMILYHOLIDAY_AVILION-74Enjoying father-son time in Port Dickson

20160507-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-066Planning the Kyoto itinerary with Kyle

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My fourth year as a mom

Posted by | Life, Musings, Relationships

It’s my fourth day in Japan, attempting to have a somewhat ‘normal’ holiday with my husband and two kids. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy traveling with 2 toddlers, but we were determined! We packed light, left the stroller at home, and managed to fit 1 week’s worth of luggage and toys into a large bag, 1 handcarry size and 1 backpack.

20160506-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-051Alex and I have been relatively easygoing when it comes to raising our kids. We are not the super strict type of parent who must get their kid to bed by a certain time or the kind who whips out a hand sanitizer at every given opportunity (yup, we let them pick their food off the floor and eat it, if the floor looks relatively clean).

So I thought that this holiday would be pretty relaxing with not that much of an agenda. After all, I managed a company holiday with my kids when they were much younger… clingy baby and all.

Four days into my holiday, I find myself screaming at the kids… “Eat this… NO, don’t eat that! Don’t roll on the ground! Don’t pull your sister’s hair! Stop pinching your brother!” Yup, I’ve turned into a machine that barks orders every few minutes. (occassionally, the poor husband is also at the receiving end of these orders). Coincidentally, it’s also Mother’s Day today, and my 4th year of being a mom.

20160507-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-302But suddenly, these frustrations turn into little moments of joy when Krysta suddenly bursts into random phrases that sound like broken Japanese. Or when Kyle does a happy dance in the middle of a street as he hears buskers singing K-pop.

It’s at these times I realize I need to cherish the litte happy moments more than dwelling on the frustrations I feel. I’m just going to enjoy the next few days, and even if Kyle only decides to eat a diet of white rice and biscuits, I won’t get upset. I won’t complain as well when my needs are not met because it won’t be fair for Alex to deal with 2 toddlers and 1 adult who is never satisfied.

Enjoy the journey, not just the destinaton.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

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My heart overflows

Posted by | Family + Children Portraits, Life, Musings, Portraits, Relationships

When they laugh, I laugh with them. When they are sick, my heart goes out to them. How can one human love another so much? I guess God had to show the extent of His love for us through little children… I never fully understood it until I became a mother. Just the past one week, my kids have been really ill. It breaks my heart to see them suffer, yet I am so humoured when I experience little scenarios like these…

At 3am, when my daughter has high fever, she can still consume her orange Paracetamol, give a thumbs up and say…”NICE!”

When my son cries his heart out because he doesn’t want to take his medicine, his sister cheers him on by saying “You can DO IT, you can DO IT!”

They are so funny. While my children mean the world to me, it is my aim to be balanced in all my relationships.

I choose not to neglect my husband since it is so easy to do so after the children come. I remind myself that he needs to be shown love too, so I need to make an intentional effort to fill his emotional tank.

I choose to maintain my friendships with other people… friends who were very close in the past (before we had kids). If I end up living in my own island (where the world revolves around my family) and lose all other friendships, then I only have myself to blame.

I choose to care for my extended family and be grateful for all the things they have done for my family.

My heart is full.

20150925_FAMILY_PORTRAITS_ALEX_GRACE_013Thank you Jamie for these wonderful photos. Love how you have immortalised so many moments for our family.

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