Growing Up

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For my birthday,

I don’t need presents,

and please, no fancy parties.

ImageI DO want a cake, preferably homemade,

preferably with love by my mom,

and I DO want acknowledgment from my family that it’s my birthday.

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This year,

I had expected my grandmother to call me on THE day, asking to come over to celebrate my birthday with me.

The morning of THE day, the phone stayed silent.

By late afternoon of THE day, the phone remained silent.

My heart sunk.

My grandmother had forgotten my birthday.

I used to not care if she had forgotten.

But this year it DID matter because our relationship had improved significantly.

She meant more to me than I had realized.

I was hoping she shared that same feeling. I was hoping she would call me to wish me happy birthday.

I tried to brush aside my disappointment but the feeling lingered inside me.

After a few days, I finally got the courage to call her.

We chatted a bit. Then came the moment of truth.

I asked my grandmother if she remembered when was my birthday.

She responded with the correct date.

She said that she had waited all day on THE day for us to call her, to invite her over. She had my present all ready to go.

We never called.

I told her I was waiting for HER to call US.

She never called.

This is an example of how misunderstandings arise.

ImageCheers to growing up. Cheers to being another year older, another year wiser.

{Touch} Our Hands

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You used to admire my soft, delicate hands.

You said I was like a princess who never had to work.

You did all the work for me,

for everyone around you.

You spoiled us like royalty.

I grew older.

I became you.

My hands are no longer soft and delicate.

They are covered with calluses.

I often touch the calluses on my hands and wonder,

if I’d rather be the naive princess or the hardworking daughter.

I’d often wonder if my hands stayed soft and delicate,

if your hands would become coarser; your heart heavier.

My hand touches yours.

They match.

I won’t let go.

3 Small Apples…

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3 small apples from the tree in our yard.

1 apple fits perfectly into the crevice of my palm.

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There are 7 members in our family.

7 members

+

3 apples

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Sharing is caring.

I carefully select my apple slice and hold it like a newborn baby.

I give it a good look, inhale its scent, and pop it into my mouth.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

The apple is sweet, slightly tart, and fragrant.

I observe everyone’s expressions as they eat their slice.

They are smiling, laughing, and commenting how wonderful of our apple tree is to have produced such good-tasting fruit.

My lips curl up into a smile.

I overlook the fact that I only got a measly slice of apple.

This is satiety.

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Family + Happiness.

Mochi

ImageMy mother is almost perfect.

She is the most patient person I know.

When I suddenly became vegetarian, she wasn’t pleased but stuck by me.

When I turned vegan, she thought I was crazy but my hardheaded personality left her vulnerable and eventually, she conceded.

When I lost too much weight and began to looked emaciated, she begged me to stop torturing my body.

I took a step back and told myself it was okay to be a vegetarian. She took a step forward and embraced me for who I have become.

Mom,

Thank you. If you hadn’t stuck by me, I would have probably been in the hospital by now.

Your patience is endearing. It has allowed me to find myself.

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My mother is almost perfect.

She has such a generous heart, it’s contagious.

I used to be afraid of spending and giving too much; as if the people around me were going to take advantage of my generosity.

My mom taught me the importance of being happy; of enjoying happiness with the people you care about and love; how to trust the people I care and love.

Mom, 

Thank you. Your generosity has made me a more generous person. I’ve found happiness because of you.

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My mother is almost perfect.

Her flaw?

She immerses herself in so many projects but rarely completes something. I end up trailing behind her, trying to sweep up everything she starts.

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Like these mochi.

She wanted some. So she cooked some lotus seeds, mixed in a little brown sugar, and turned them into paste. My mom proceeded to mix the sweet rice flour with water and gave them to me to microwave.

And that was where she had left this project. With me.

So I proceeded, like usual, to finish things for her.

Lotus Paste Mochi

Paste

Boil dried lotus seeds with water in the pressure cooker. Once done, mix in enough brown sugar to taste. Set aside to cool.

Mochi

3 cups of sweet rice flour

3 cups of water

Mix the flour and water until well combined. MIcrowave for 5 minutes. Remove and mix well. If the batter seems a bit dry (which mine did), add more water (I added about 1 more cup of water). Place batter back into microwave for 5 more minutes.

Assembly

Lightly grease tray with oil. Sprinkle (more like drench) unsweetened coconut shreds onto tray until completely covered. Scoop mochi dough with ice cream scooper onto tray. Flatten dough and fill with lotus paste. Roll with more coconut shreds if dough is too sticky. Shape into balls and gently flatten into mochi.

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My mother is almost perfect.

But that’s okay, because she has made me into a better person.

Mom,

Thank you.

Something about You…

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I don’t know if you know,

but you’re one heck of

an ANNOYING,

HIGH-MAINTENANCE,

and IMMATURE,

sister.

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You always want this and that.

You call me to get you out of trouble.

You run me around in circles all day and all you say is:

“Thanks, Yo!”

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Well Sis, thank you for being polite,

but I’m tired.

I need more than good manners.

I need you to step up.

I’m ready to wave up my white flag,

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Yet, the flag gets stuck in my pocket every time I want to surrender.

 There is something about you.

Your child-like innocence,

Your happiness,

Your ability to bring out my silliness and happiness.

I’m captivated.

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So captivated that despite you had woke up super late this Saturday,

I had made you your favorite: waffles.

Classic Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated egg whites from yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.
  2. In a separate bowl, separate the egg whites from yolk. Beat the egg whites until foamy.
  3. Stir milk, oil, egg yolks and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  5. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

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I don’t know why I am willing to give you all I’ve got.

Sisterly love?

 I don’t know how you manage to goad me every time.

I have a soft heart?

There is something about you…

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You’re an ANNOYINGLY,

AMAZING

sister.

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 Thank you.

Grandmother and Me

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There is something interesting about the way relationships evolve.

My grandmother and I are strangers.

I have not always favored her mannerism.

She can be bluntly rude.

She can be annoyingly nosy.

She finds my cold, quiet attitude a bit daunting.

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Yet this woman has been able to change our relationship around.

She nudged me the other.

She said she has been forgetful lately; forgets to turn off the fire on the stove after she cooks.

“Can you give me a call every night to remind me to check my stove and other electric appliances?”

She gave me the “I’m a frail, helpless lady look.”

I conceded.

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I’m a person of my word.

I called her every night for 2 week straight.

I became her alarm clock.

Every time I called, the first thing she would say was, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m fine. I checked my stove. I turned off the fire.”

Calling her became a chore by the end of the second week.

Our conversations dwindled.

I didn’t want our phone calls to feel like another obligation.

I already had too much of those.

So didn’t call her one night.

She never followed-up with me to ask me why I didn’t call her.

Four days passed.

I suddenly thought of her Sunday morning.

I suddenly missed her.

I picked up the phone and called her.

We talked like old friends.

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