Category : Family

11 posts

My brother and I have an eight year age difference, him being the older one. So when I was a kid, he was a teenager. Being like a typical brother, he picked on me and teased me and tried to make me angry or cry, all the time. For this and that, I remember crying to my mom and having him yelled at for not acting his age & more responsible. Even to this very day, as a 30 year old and me as a 22 year old, he still annoys the heck out of me sometimes with his occasional child-like mentality, lol. Sometimes I feel like the older sister. We’ve had disagreements where I once thought I would never talk to him again. You know, the typical sibling kind of thing.

Besides all of the very, very, very annoyed/furious states he did leave me in and still leaves me in sometimes nowadays, the best random moments with him I can name off the top of my head are: times when he would stand up for me, once when he surprised me with a copy of a Harry Potter book that was just newly released because I was in bed all day from my wisdom teeth surgery, all the times he would take me home from school and drive me places, the video games I’d watch him play, the movies we’d watch, and the video games we would play together.

Anyway! Like I said, when I was a little kid, he picked on me all the time. The hilarious thing that I still remember to this day is the fact that him constantly picking on me started showing up in my dreams as well! One night I had a dream that he was picking on me again; I think taking or breaking something that was mine. I think it was a huge fish? You know how incoherent dreams can be sometimes. :p But anyways, that led to me crying out, “That’s mine! That’s my fish!” and ending up in tears. I woke up from the dream (or I guess nightmare!) crying. The next day, my family reported that they heard me screaming from a nightmare the previous night. LOL. My brother’s room is downstairs and mine is all the way upstairs, but the fact that he, too, heard my screaming shows that it was a pretty upsetting nightmare to me! And thus, like I said, his bullying even permeated through my dreams. :p I wonder if lots of little kids end up having funny nightmares about their older siblings too.

You know, when I was younger I used to hand-make my mom a card for Mother’s Day and that would be the only thing I’d give her. My mom is the type of person who doesn’t really appreciate store-bought gifts and she is extremely practical. Even if I were to buy her a practical gift, she would think it’s a waste of money. That’s the typical Asian mom for you, haha. My family doesn’t really celebrate anything that much, and Mother’s Day isn’t an exception. Now that I’m older (age is always relative, of course), I admit I don’t spend much time making hand-made cards anymore, but that’s because now I choose to spend the time making other presents for my mom.

When I was young, it didn’t seem like my mom appreciated my hand-made cards that much. I think one year I didn’t make her one at all because I never got around to making one. Surprisingly, my mom asked me why I didn’t make her a card that year. !._. So after that I realized that she did appreciate the little things I made for her, even if she didn’t show it much, and I continued giving her cards every year.

Now that I’m 22, I’ve learned to appreciate and love my mom much more than when I was 13 years old. It seems cliche but you really do learn to appreciate your parents much more when you get more mature. I mean, I still loved my parents as a teenager, but I got in way more arguments with them and didn’t really see too far into the future. Then once I get over that hump, I started to see how old my parents are getting and how much they’ve done to make me happy, and the fact that I want them to be happy as well.

So although holidays aren’t the only day to appreciate your family, I never miss the opportunity to participate in the festivities and show ’em that I care. This year for Mother’s Day, I gave her a cute card and I made her a Sudoku book & a little book for grocery lists.

Cover page

My mom loves Sudoku puzzles. She finished the little paperback puzzle book she had and likes to work on them at work when there’s downtime. I decided making a Sudoku book would be great for her. I chose to bind the book using rings so that it’d be easier to flip back pages and remove or add new pages as needed. I cut out felt for the lettering on the cover.


The front and back covers are made of cardboard, and I blanket-stitched colored felt over the cardboard pieces. I added a little pencil holder in the back cover, haha. 8-) The Sudoku puzzles were printed off of the internet. Since there were about 25 pages to be cut in half and 50 pages to be hole-punched, my hole-puncher and scissors at home seemed a little inefficient. Since I had to go to school anyways, I went to look for a paper slicer and hole-puncher and the library, and they had them! Wish I discovered that a long time ago. The hole-puncher was a commercial one, so it could hole-punch a whole stack of papers at once.


I also experimented with making a mini-book with a cardboard cover thanks to this tutorial. It’s a pretty awesome way to use your cardboard; you should try it! It’s a great way to recycle scrap papers as well. I made her a little book for grocery lists because she’s always forgetting about what she was supposed to buy at the market. :p


If I could do something differently, I would have made sure my stitching along the edges would be more uniform and evenly spaced. I practiced my embroidery a bit, as you can see. I’m definitely a newbie at it, but I was relieved when my mom didn’t have any trouble reading what the letters were, LOL. ^_^ She seemed really happy when I gave these to her, so I’m super happy too. ^_^

My holiday was actually less hectic than most people’s, but I still had a great time. ^_^I was going to split up this post into two different ones, but I realized that if I don’t write them both at once, I will end up being lazy and not post one of them…or both. lol. So I’m combining it into one post. :/


My 22nd birthday was on December 22nd (haha). Honestly, I don’t look forward to the numbers anymore, LOL. I think 21 is the last milestone age you will look forward to in life, hahah. After that you just start feeling old without any benefits. :p Anyway, the actual day of my birthday, my boyfriend took me out for something we saved up our stomachs for – all you can eat sushi! If you don’t know by now, I am IN LOVE with sushi. Anyway, I have eaten AYCE sushi before and I was on the verge of throwing up due to how full I was (I really wanted to get my money’s worth LOL). So this time I ate enough to feel really satisfied but not to tip over into sickeningly full. :p We ordered a ton of nigiri, which is the best deal you can get out of the AYCE price. We ordered one baked roll and it was just full of imitation crab and tons of rice…really filling and not worth it. Nigiri was the way to go so we stuck with that for the rest of the evening. We also had a few delicious appetizers, like edamame, fried calamari, baked mussels, and fried oysters. There was also green tea ice cream for dessert – which tasted like plain vanilla to me – except green, lol.

The experience I had at the restaurant was great, except for one incident with the waitress. First of all, we ordered a roll, but it didn’t seem to be coming for a long time, until she told me in really broken English (she didn’t seem to know much English) – which I barely understood – that our roll was sent to the wrong table. I smiled and said it was fine. It really was; we had plenty of food to keep us busy till they made us a new one, which we did get eventually.

Scallop roll & Fried Oysters

Much later, one of the sushi chefs came to our table to deliver a different roll. We definitely did not order it because after eating the first roll, we decided no more tiring and filling rolls for us. So we told him we did not order it and he went back to behind the counter, confused. The waitress came back to us and said, “You order baked salmon roll?” I told her I did not. She asked again, as if asking again would suddenly change my mind. I told her, again, that we did not order it. Asked the boyfriend and confirmed that neither of us ordered it. With that she didn’t say anything more, but walked away with rolling eyes and disgust in her face. As if we were a bunch of hooligans who liked ordering things for fun and pretending like we did not order them. Ummm, yeah, excuse me lady, you just gave our order to the wrong table earlier, and you’re saying that there is no possibility that you made another mistake again? Mistakes are not a problem, but rolling your eyes and wrongly accusing your customers is really unacceptable. The really funny part? Maybe 5 minutes later, I heard someone deliver the very same “baked salmon roll” to the table right next to us. Ummm, yeah. I don’t think I need to say any more. Whatever, I had great sushi and filled up my belly – one lady with a sorry attitude isn’t going to ruin my birthday.

For Christmas Eve I spent the evening with my boyfriend going to neighborhoods along the beach. I wanted to go there because these beach houses are very expensive, so naturally, their inhabitants are well off and like to decorate their beautiful houses. It was the first time that I took notice of houses as big and nice as these. I didn’t take any pictures (should have!), but they were lovely. Sometimes I would yell at my boyfriend, “Look at that one!! IT’S HUGE!!! Is that one house or two???? Is that even a house, maybe it’s a community center???” haha. 8-)

It was rather late at night – around 9 or 10pm (and remember, this was Christmas Eve), so there were barely any people on the streets, but it was really fun getting out of the car and walking around for a bit. The air was crisp and chilly, so we walked hand in hand and shared my gloves. So our free hands each had my glove on it. We were very sickeningly cute, I’m sure. haha. After we were ready to head back home, we went to see if our favorite hole-in-the-wall donut shop was still open (normally they are open 24 hours). And they were! Aww. I hope they continue to have good business. There was a strange man sitting in the corner of their shop at a table with tons of books. I’m not sure if he was a hobo or not, but it was kind of interesting. Anyways, we went back to my house and had a Daria marathon while eating our sugary donuts. ^_^

Christmas Tree

On Christmas day, my family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, but we had a Vietnamese memorial type thing for my deceased grandmother (on my mother’s side). Normally on Christmas day we usually don’t do anything (we don’t even have presents! lol. under our tree all the gifts belonged to my mom given to her from work), but I guess Christmas this year coincided with when the memorial was going to be. Some relatives came over, and it is our tradition that you eat only vegetarian food on that day (my brother dreads this tradition each year because he is a strict carnivore). In Vietnamese culture, the death anniversary is more like a celebration for family to get together, so don’t think that my Christmas was absolutely depressing, haha.

It was actually quite nice being able to see my two cousins – they are the closest to my age of all my relatives). The hilarious part was watching my female cousin try to play Left4Dead for the first time. I give her kudos, because I didn’t even give it a try. She was playing a dual screen team type thing with her brother (who is experienced with the game) and it was hilarious because her camera angle was either one of two things: the floor, or the ceiling. We had great laughs. ^_^ We also played a few games of Little Big Planet. I love that game; it’s so family friendly and cute.

The following day after Christmas, my two cousins (one male, one female) I mentioned earlier, plus my brother and I, hung out for the entire day. My brother and her brother are the most indecisive and picky people in the world. Let me demonstrate. Original plans to go to one place after going through a list of restaurants we might dine at: rejected because they thought it would be boring with no stores that would interest them. Okay, fine. Went to a different mall that had a food court – variety of food is bound to make everyone happy. Come lunch time: rejected, they wanted AYCE Korean BBQ instead. Okay, so we went there. 1 hr and 30 min wait? Umm, we’re starving, no thanks. So we opted for Japanese food instead, and went to this restaurant, spending a few minutes looking over the menu outside. Wait, the restaurant is closed. Okay, let’s go somewhere else. Which also happens to be a Japanese restaurant. We drive there, look at the door. Restaurant is closed. LOL, OH MY GOODNESS. We were starving and grumpy people by then, so we decided to just go to the restaurant next door. FINALLY, we were able to eat. Hahaha. So, why do you think we had such bad luck at the Japanese restaurants? Because they all seem to close in between lunch and dinner hours, so they were closed from 2:30 until 5:00. Oh my gooooodness. It was just too sad and funny. Next time, we’re yelping the hours before we go. *sweatdrop*

You know when you’ve been away from blogging for a certain period of time (long or short), and after this period you just don’t know where to begin? I feel that way frequently…especially after something so serious that happened to us recently… and this time is no different! I know writing something that long and emotional probably scared away a lot of visitors (I don’t blame ’em), but for the kind people who reached out to me with comforting words, it really was touching and I really appreciated it. Sometimes a few words can really make you feel less lonely and sad, you know?

Before that ordeal happened, I had so much to write about. It being summer vacation and all (which is coming to an end soon), I did so many things and had so much writing to catch up on. After my dad’s unemployment and my family’s constant quarreling, it just built up an immediate writer’s block for me and I didn’t feel interested in writing all that I had planned anymore. I can’t believe it’s been 18 days already since I last wrote! I figured now is the best time to try to write once more. A foot in the door is usually the hardest part…the rest usually follows naturally and easily. I think the more emotional bits might be reserved for private postings…but putting that aside, I have a lot of posts that I will write and publish that are entirely unrelated.

It feels really weird, and weird is the best word I can use right now to describe how I’m feeling. One moment I will be out doing something fun with my boyfriend – he really makes me forget everything bad – but another moment I’m reminded of how bad our situation might turn into. I wake up almost every morning to arguing downstairs. It’s hard to find a balance in your life, especially when you’re just the “kid” of the family. How much should you devote to your college education, along with your family’s money issues (along with your own), the disintegrating relationship between your family members, and just enjoying the simple things you used to enjoy? Whenever I go out to have a bit of fun, I feel guilty. Really guilty.

I’m trying really hard not to feel guilty when I just enjoy the normal things that normal people do. So, I’m not going to let my blog die because of the stuff that has gone down. It’s okay for me to be happy even at a time like this. Things could be much worse. I’m going to start writing the stuff I was supposed to write a while ago…if I can remember them all.

I guess I’ll begin now. Today my family (Mom, brother, aunt, two cousins, and I. This excludes both of our family’s fathers since they weren’t interested in this sort of thing) went to see a play: Pride and Prejudice. My mom got us the tickets for free because one of her kind clients from work gave her the tickets. My goal was to finish the novel by the time we watched the play, but I started reading it a bit too late and only got halfway. It was still useful though, because I could instantly recognize the lines directly from the book, and I was already introduced to each character through my reading. I definitely plan to finish the novel, by the way.

The play was actually very enjoyable! I didn’t have too many expectations. I was just happy to spend some time with my family at a special event. The actors and actresses were very good, and some very tall might I add. Their speaking was exceptional because they didn’t have any microphones, but their very swift words were crystal clear, very well enunciated, and full of gusto. My favorite actors were the ones playing ridiculous characters, such as Mrs. Bennet or Mr. Collins. They delivered really well and really nailed their characters. It was very obvious they were talented actors and worked very hard. Imagine doing that every night’s show! They must be dreadfully tired. I’m glad my family got to watch the play together.

On a side note, I used to be in love with theater and drama (and choir). It used to be my dream, being up on stage in broadway shows! I had a small bit of lime light in middle school and high school in choir, musical theatre, and various plays, but that’s as far as it went. It’s natural to think of “what could have been” but ultimately I enjoyed everything and don’t have much regret…hopefully!

This morning, I woke up to yelling and arguing between my mom, dad, and brother. Hearing all of the problems about money and all of the verbal abuse…I just laid in bed and couldn’t help crying.

I hate it when there are arguments because you can hear everything in this house. I can hear someone talking if they aren’t being quiet. If they are being quiet, I can hear some type of mumbling. Loud arguments and angry voices come crystal clear, no matter where you are…door closed or not. I don’t post emotionally personal & money-related entries too often nowadays, so I feel a little vulnerable, but it’s also one of those times where I’m at one of my lows and I wish someone would listen to me (or in this case, read). Things are all over the place. Which is what this blog entry will be.

My dad was laid off from work about a week ago, which is really going to hit our family hard. He had that job for half of his life, but one day he was called in and it was also his last. No severance pay for all those years of being a loyal employee, not even a notice in advance that he was going to be laid off. Of course my dad would feel emotionally upset about that, and even more is we are all going to feel the effects, financially.

My dad’s job gave our family most of our income. My older brother still lives off of my parents and is about to be entering his 30’s, but he has never, ever gotten a job before besides helping my dad out at work. My mom works really hard, but her income only pays for groceries and smaller things like that. So that is really freaking scary. There is his untaken vacation pay, but that is only enough to pay the bills in the short run. I know there is unemployment pay, but I don’t know anything about that, having never encountered something like this before…so I don’t even know how much my dad can get or how long it will last. I can’t imagine what is beyond that, and it’s really scary.

And now the situation gets even more complicated. My dad has the idea that he can start up this small business/job thing, but everyone in my family is walking on a fine line right now. My dad claims he will build up the business. My brother and mother worry that he will not build up, because he’s already had this small business (we’ll call this job2) for years and it hasn’t made too much money – possibly due to the idea that my dad prefers being home and not working. My father has the defense of working his other – before he was laid off – job from 7am-5pm), but the odds are against him when we consider the days and nights where he pushes job2 off to my brother while he stays at home to sing karaoke (don’t ask) in front of his computer for hours straight. The business was bringing in more debt than it was bringing money in, so he had planned to sell all the equipment and lease out the space once and for all. However, my dad seemed to be too stubborn to sell this business (job2) so to this day it has still not been sold.

Before this ordeal, he even wanted to retire from his well-paying job & just focus on the possibly failing job2, even though we really need his income to pay off the house and live off of (well the irony is now he got that wish, but it came very untimely). It’s hard to say what my dad will ultimately choose, if my brother will finally get a job of his own, if my brother will just end up helping my dad with job2, or if both my brother and dad will just have to go out and look for another job, or if my brother and dad can even find a decent job in this economy. In the end, if we can’t pay the bills, my dad said he’d sell the business (job2). If that isn’t enough, we’ll sell the house. Oh god. I have lived in this house for almost my entire life and it’s really heartbreaking. I have to remind myself, it’s just a house. But when I do, somehow I just find tears in my eyes.

On top of the money problem, my parents are still in that possibly permanent phase of their relationship where they go out with their friends together, and pay the bills together, but they obviously can’t stand each other for very long anymore. I can’t remember the last time my dad slept in the master bedroom together with my mom. It’s probably been at least 6 years now. My dad doesn’t do any household duties and I think he sees his only duty as bringing in the money while my mother has to work and do everything else, such as take care of the kids, cook, clean the house, get the cars fixed, pay the bills, buy groceries, call in somebody to fix the house, etc. It’s overwhelming, I’m sure. It’s no doubt that everyone appreciates my dad for the money he brings to this house – we would not be living in such comfort without him. I just think that there’s more to being a dad and husband than bringing in the money.

I think my mother brought up the suggestion that my dad take care of the house more since he is now unemployed and relaxing at home, but my dad lashed back at her for saying that. Honestly. I think all my mom wanted was some equality, love, and respect. Wash the dishes sometimes, or at least don’t leave dirty dishes at your computer until it grows mold. Don’t expect Mom to cook all the time when she’s tired. Don’t leave your dirty clothes all over the house for Mom to pick up. Don’t spend all of your money on stocks (equivalent to gambling in our opinion) and electronics when we are struggling to pay the bills. If you make a mess, clean it, rather than ignoring it so someone else can step in it and clean it. Call up the technician to fix something broken in the house, or do it yourself, rather than ignoring it until Mom has to do it, even though she has no idea how to go about it. Don’t slam the door when Mom is sleeping. Close the door when you take a piss in the bathroom. Turn off the light to conserve electricity when you go to sleep.

Do you see my point? I don’t think my mom was asking for too much. Some wives can be real “feminists” and expect their men to do everything! My mom, on the other hand…I feel like all she wanted was a man who could be respectful, dependable, and just help out sometimes. She is not out of line, because my dad is not known for being considerate to other people (specifically in our family…when it comes to his friends, he jumps head first before anything) and does not know how to take care of himself, let alone other people. I think what he does best is working, but when he comes home, he doesn’t do anything to help out or make my mom happy. If I told you all the stories about my dad at home (my boyfriend has heard far more than enough), he would make your blood boil.

All these years I’ve been worried over my university expenses, which I’m still worried about, but now there is the added worry of how the heck does my family take care of bills and necessities?

To give perspective, this is my cost from just school alone. Note that my parents have not saved a dime for my college tuition (a conflict that I still hold back inside with mixed feelings). Here is tuition (strictly tuition for the school year, not including summer school, transportation, housing, books, etc.) in the last few years that I’ve been in college:

  • 2008-2009: $8,774.50*
  • 2009-2010: $9,984.00
  • 2010-2011: $11,927.25
  • 2011-2012: $13,970.00

*I dormed my first year of college so my total for tuition AND housing for 2008-2009 was $23,845.50.

This is ridiculous. It almost drives me to tears. Higher education is getting so ridiculously expensive. With every generation, it’s getting so much worse. The United States of America – people dream of living here, but the fact is, we are in serious, serious debt. February 12, 2010 the USA was $14.294 trillion in debt. I will admit I know nothing about politics and government and the latest news, but why is it that the poor must suffer in repaying this debt, while the rich get richer? (median CEO salary was $10.8 million) It makes me sick to my stomach.

The application for FAFSA (federal financial aid for college students) was due back in March and what they give you is based on income from the previous year. Tax forms are proof of your family’s income, and tax forms are based on last year. F***, I think I’m just screwed. My dad barely lost his job this year. T_T This is the worst timing ever because this year will be my last year of college. His unemployment will do nothing for my financial aid. It will be too late. I need to talk to the financial aid office soon, but I have a feeling that there is not much that can be done for me.

I wish I could say, “Please help,” but there’s really no one to ask. I know it will be okay in the end. I just don’t know how many sacrifices and tears it will take to finally get there.