Exactly a year ago I was on a British Airways flight to London, having quit my teaching job with a comfortable salary. My girlfriends threw me a surprise farewell party where I cried because I didn’t know I might be running back home in two weeks. You see, apart from knowing I would have somewhere to live permanently in a small town in South Wales, nothing else was guaranteed.

But the love I had for R was strong enough to uproot me from Singapore to settle here, in a desperate bid to my our relationship work. I spent three months filling in application after application for jobs and going for interviews knowing I wouldn’t be the selected candidate. I sat in the library trawling through the net for job ads and reading books to pass time. I painted all the doors in the house.

If it hadn’t gotten a job, I expect I would have probably headed back to Singapore. I had enough of having to worry about my finances and my weekly phone calls back home to report another week had gone by without the promise of a job. Listening to my Mum grumble about me “wasting my time and youth doing nothing”. It was great hanging around doing nothing for a few weeks, but when they turn into months of fruitless job searching, it wasn’t really  so fun anymore.

At my darkest moment my luck turned. A random decision to get back in touch with the guy who interviewed me secured me a temporary part-time job, which was then offered to me on a permanent basis. That was also around the time when R and his mother moved into the new house, and we all started living together under one roof.

It was a difficult time when I think about it now, having to cope with a new job and living arrangement during the start of a very cold winter, but taking one day at a day, it didn’t seem so bad. There were arguments of course, cold wars and tears but it was all part of learning to live together. And shortly after that we opened a joint bank account.

In late January R went home with me to Singapore for Chinese New Year where he was formally introduced to all my family members for the first time. Grandma was wheelchair bound by this time and one of her toes had turned black. We persuaded her to have it removed after the festivities and take the recommended medication to improve the blood circulation in her leg.

I remember weeping all the way from the moment I was separated from my waving family by the glass doors of Terminal 3’s departure hall, to when I sat down on the airport coach back to the town. My family telephoned me a few weeks later to tell me Grandma had undergone surgery to remove her gangrous toe and I was somewhat relieved.

However, things just went downhill from there. Her wound wouldn’t heal because of insufficient blood supply to her foot and I was shocked by her weak physical state when I went home in May. I extended my originally nine-day trip to 15 days. R was very supportive and concerned about my grandmother throughout this time and said if I had to stay out there and take unpaid leave, we could manage on his salary alone.

When I returned from Singapore we went away to Edinburgh for a few days at the start of summer to celebrate 10 years of knowing each other. R  had no interest in Scotland prior to his visit but I think the wonderful scenery and beautiful city changed his mind. As for me, Edinburgh remains as one of my most favourite places to visit.

During our trip we made plans to work on the house, so I dug up the dying spring plants when we returned and gave the front garden a new makeover with pretty summer flowers. We also finally ordered a new L-shape sofa eight months after moving in. I am sometimes frustrated but on the whole very settled in and happy with work, and glad to know my efforts are recognised. In early July, R suddenly said, “Did you know in three months we would be married?” I hadn’t realised how quickly time had crept up on us.

Sadly my grandmother’s condition had yet again deteriorated. Just last Friday, she had a successful leg bypass operation to boost blood supply to her foot but she also had to remove some other bits of her foot which had turned bad.

The effects of this major surgery on her were tremendous. I was told she had an epileptic fit the next morning and she remains quite weak, tired and confused till now. A brain scan actually revealed that she has a tumour in her head, which we are unsure if had spread from the cancer cells from her breast tumour some years ago.

Whatever the nature of the tumour is, my family has decided there will be no more torturous operations for grandma. It hasn’t altered her personality or affected her motor skills or memory, and we just want her to recover from her leg bypass and enjoy whatever amount of time she has ahead of her. It is inevitable we will lose her one day, and I think we are all somewhat mentally prepared for it.

I cried my heart out after hearing the news yesterday, but I am surprisingly calm and positive now. All she ever wanted was to see me get married and I am even more determined for her to do that in 11 weeks.

Exactly a year since I left Singapore, I’m propped up against a couple of fluffy pillows on my bed after returning from the gym while the summer rain pelts down outside.

I am devastated to have been told I have caught on a Welsh accent and because of my job I can rattle off the names of all 22 Welsh counties faster than someone from Wales. I actually enjoy gardening like a Brit, something I never thought I’d love. I place more emphasis on family life than work life. I leave work at 430pm each day.

It is simply overwhelming when I sit down to think about how much has changed over the period of 12 months and how far my journey has taken me. Yet despite knowing I have somewhere to live permanently in a small town in South Wales, I have a relatively stable job, I will get married, I feel even more strongly that nothing should be taken for granted, for nothing, is guaranteed.

Explore posts in the same categories: Family, Life

3 Comments on “365”

  1. mszak1 Says:

    If you didnt try, you will never know… you gave yourself a shot at things and now you know… you are capable of having a strength that knows no bottom…

  2. Hazel Says:

    Your blog warms my heart with little snippets on life’s journeys and lessons. You have a good head on your shoulders and I know you’ll do just fine wherever you are. Hugs, dear friend!

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