We’re now officially in December, and just like that, 2012 is almost over.
It’s the festive season, with Christmas and New Year’s just round the corner, and everybody starts slipping into a happier, lighter mood. We’re celebrating a year well lived, despite its difficulties and hardships, and looking forward to holidays with cherished loved ones and families. We rejoice in the long weekends December brings, and there’s a crackle of joy in the air, and a kind of bubbling in our hearts, like that of champagne just before the bottle is popped.
It’s the anticipation of a table full of favorite foods waiting for your arrival, and the excitement of sharing them with those gathered together.
I’ve gotten used to travelling home to Singapore just once a year, since my vacation days are usually reserved for Chinese New Year in Singapore, which typically takes place in January or February. During those few precious days I’m back in Singapore, I stuff myself full with local Singaporean delights, such as fried carrot cake, laksa, chicken rice, and nasi lemak. I eat more than my fill of roti prata, peranakan food, and Chinese New Year goodies, and still find that I can’t get enough of them.
I think I have the same relationship with my siblings, because siblings are like favorite foods.
Siblings are like favorite foods because no matter what happens, you don’t get sick of them, you never stop loving them, and there is a bond between us so strong, that in the same way memories are tied to our favorite foods, we are linked to our siblings in a way only a sibling can understand.
I always miss spending Christmas and ushering in the new year with my family. And even though we might have grown apart because of the distance and differing paths in life, one of the things I miss the most is hanging out and spending time with my two siblings, Valerie and Ronald.
The Three Musketeers
We were the “three musketeers” when we were young, ganging up with each other against my parents (in a playful way of course), and we had so much fun playing together – Pepsi Cola 1,2,3, hopscotch, jumping on the swing in my garden, Marco Polo, doing hula hoop competitions. A long time ago, before we grew up and made our own friends and started doing different activities, we were the gang of three, fortified by our sibling bond, a pyramid of trust and love no one could shake. Ronald, being the youngest of us three, was always the object of our sibling jokes, but he was good sport and didn’t always complain. Valerie, my dearest and only sister, who is three years younger than I am, shared many things with me – we exchanged watches, clothes, bags, and sometimes even shoes (until her feet grew one or two sizes larger than mine).
Of course, as time passed, we entered different schools and journeys of life, and naturally we spent lesser and lesser time with each other, despite still living in the same house. It’s funny how you don’t realize the importance of having your loved ones near you until you’re literally and physically removed from them.
When I first moved to Argentina, I was busy with my new life, new job, novel environment, and am guilty to say that I didn’t call home as much as I should have. However, after settling down and getting acustomed to life in Buenos Aires, I realized that I missed the comfort of having my siblings close at hand.
VALERIE – Brave and Strong One
I miss the late night talks with Valerie, when she would sit in my room on the third floor as I packed my luggage for one of my trips to Buenos Aires. I miss her coming to me and offering me a sip of her favorite Starbucks frauppucino, or hearing the sounds of her strumming the guitar from the room next to mine. Even though we may not have hung out alot the last few years that I was still living in Singapore, it was the simple comfort of knowing she was nearby, and the proximity that made everything feel safe.
Valerie has always been someone I look up to and admire for her strength and determination in anything she does.
In many aspects, she lives up to the definition of her name, which means “brave and strong one”. It was her dedication to netball, to playing the guitar, and to church activities that showed the inner strength glowing inside of her. She demonstrates her love and interests through pure actions, dedicating her time to activities which stir her spirit and attract her, and she’s exactly the sort of person who can accomplish anything she sets her heart to. She’s always been the fearless one, while I, despite being three years older than her, sometimes fall in her shadows and let her guide the way. She’s the fast one at driving, I am the turtle who crawls on the road because I am afraid to drive fast; she was the one who started galloping during our horseriding course in Buenos Aires last year, while I was too fearful of letting go and falling. And she was the one who comforted me and hugged me in my room when I cried before re-locating to Buenos Aires, telling me that things would go fine, and that I would be alright.
A heart so big it could burst
Valerie is fiercely loyal and full of affection, as can be seen with her relationship with young children like Lauren. She is a girl bursting with love, and although she may not always know how to show it, it doesn’t erase the fact that she is big-hearted and generous. She has a beautiful smile that can light up any room, and I remember the attention she would get as a kid, when all the adults would gather around her, patting her on her head and playing with this cute little bundle of joy. It was her desire to help others that made her choose to study psychology, and which motivated her to start a career in social work, where she helps teenagers find their purpose in life through music and other activities. She has composed many songs on her guitar, and some of the songs have touched me so much I cry listening to them, because you can hear her baring her heart for the world to hear, and hopefully be moved and helped by it.
Valerie is the most amazing sister anyone could ask for – her strength, determination and love are just some of the characteristics that make her so beautiful, both inside and out. I LOVE YOU VAL!!
RONALD – Powerful, mighty counsellor, ruler
What I miss about Ronald is our harmless bickering, our mutually narcissitic showing off of our art, blogs, and anything and everything possible. A graphics design student, Ronald has aptitude for drawing, painting, photography and digital art – he has amazing art creations which can take your breath away, and an ability to capture the essence of a circumstance in writing. In these ways, Ron and I are similar – we both love art, writing, and discussing issues over a cup of tea or coffee.
Ronald’s deep maturity far exceeds his young age
At 22 years old, Ron has managed to harness whatever experience he has had in life to become a deep thinking soul. There have been conversations in which he has left me amazed at his thoughts and his objectivity, as well as his ability to help me see things in a better light. Strongly devoted to church and friends, Ronald’s words, advice and spirituality are a steady branch in times of uncertainty. For that I am so grateful. He is also a gentleman – wise and gentle, treating everyone with the respect they deserve.
Did I mention that while digging around on Facebook for photos, I found out that Ronald might also be freelancing as a model??
Thank you Val & Ron for being the best siblings anyone could have! I love you both!!
You see, siblings are exactly like favorite foods –
They will always be special and favorite, and no matter how far apart you are, or how much time has spanned before you spend time with each other again, you will always love them and see them for the beautiful things they are and have the potential to be.