the wedding retrospective.

The wedding day slipped by so fast that it was a total haze. Even the days before it are a blur right now. I am going to try and record what I do remember about it, so that it doesn’t slip away.

The last 3 days were nuts. I don’t think I slept more than 6h per night in the 3 days of leave leading up to the wedding. In retrospect, I should have taken more leave. There was so much to do. Had to settle the angbaos (eh wedding couples have shitloads of angpows to give), write cheques for vendors, deliver the wedding wines, give vendors the final deets, send the car down for decorating, do my nails, writing the two speeches (omg that was hard), memorising the vows, etcetcetc, the list goes on.

I was happy that I was able to spend some time with my girls at the hen’s in those last 3 days. I originally didn’t want a hen’s, because (a) I hate being the centre of attention, (b) I didn’t have the bandwidth to plan one and (c) I didn’t want to trouble any of my bridesmaids to plan something as unimportant as a hen’s. But my dear dear MOH, T, badgered me about it (in a nice way!) and offered to do all the planning and get all the logistics for the hen’s. An offer I couldn’t resist. Hahaha. In the end we had such great fun. We had a popiah party with penis shaped ice and a penis straw. Sex stories and advice were what I remember most, as well as receiving skanky lingerie. Which I have not used. Clearly all my friends think I’m skanky. HAHA. Can’t blame them. The most useful thing I received was advice, that is, to always pee after sex. I did not know this. LOL. We had a bit of a food cockup at the hen’s – T ordered a ton of popiah, but we only saw one small box of popiah stuff. We were looking sadly at the spread and rationing the popiah (we started eating first as the rest were late), and because it was a really small, sad amount of popiah veggies left after we were half full, I decided to foodpanda Crystal Jade. More than $100 worth. After I hit “Order” and paid, my mom cheerily informed us that the other two (huge) portions of popiah were kept in the kitchen.

Me and T’s faces: (O.O) (O.o)
ROFL.

We ended up with SO MUCH FOOD. Which was good. We all ate without reservation. Yumyum.

I also did nails with T – treated her to a session at Kiyone + Lim since she flew all the way down, without her husband and kiddie, just for me! So touched you know. She was the first to book her flights and came in FOUR days before my wedding so she could help me. I have such great friends *happy tears*

And help she did. The night before she helped me to do up the remainder of the shit I couldn’t finish for the reception table, like the shadowboxes. She’s the creative kind so she did it really well. Her presence was also very calming in the madhouse, where my parents were also working on overdrive to clean up the place and decorate. My mom had baby’s breath ALL ALONG THE BANISTER okay. From 1st to 3rd floor. Lolololol. Sibei effort. It looked very preets in the pictures! And the whole house smelt lovely. V also took leave to help us out with the wedding. She’s my cousin’s girlfriend, the super creative sort and a very hard worker. She was such a great help too. I am actually tearing right now as I think of all the effort everyone went through to help me. I am so grateful and so sorry to them at the same time that they had to do all this nonsense and be so stressed just for one showy day. When she gets married to my cousin I will definitely return the favour.

I recall sleeping at 1 or 2am the night before the wedding. My makeup artist arrived at 4.45am. Obviously I didn’t shower. HAHA. In my defence, I showered just before I slept at 1-2am, so technically, my last bath was only about 3h ago. T stayed overnight at my place so she wouldn’t have to wake up so early.

My makeup artist normally looks super glam, but even she looked a bit shagged out at 4.50am. Haha. She did a great job nonetheless, I actually looked like a chio female for once. :3 Was very happy with what she did. The way she stuck my eyelids up – wish I could do that every day. People will stop saying I look sick / tired when I don’t draw my eyes. Hahaha.

I actually lost track of time from the moment I woke up for the wedding morning. I trusted that everything would be done on time, that everyone would time keep for me, and indeed they did. I have no idea if my bridesmaids were early or late, but I do know that they all arrived in good time for the gate crash. The gate crash was hilarious! I laughed so much I thought my falsies were gonna drop out. My friends are truly quite sadistic. Mwahahaha. The most memorable line was when P yelled out “I FIND YOUR LEGS VERY SEXY!” and L went “EH people’s father downstairs hor!”. Laugh until cry.

After that was photo-taking, which was another blur. And then the church ceremony, which was a lot of the priests, J and the marriage partners whispering to us very loudly every time we looked like we were going to walk in the wrong direction hhahahaha. Eternally grateful for them.

I installed a red carpet in church (last minute decision) because I was afraid that I or my bridesmaids would slip and fall while walking down the aisle. My church slopes downward from entrance to altar, and apparently a few brides have indeed slipped. The carpet, however, presented challenges of its own to a bride in a gigantic poofy dress. I had only practised walking on a smooth floor where the front of the dress naturally slides forward. The carpet, however, provides enough friction that the dress no longer slides forward, but hangs back just enough to be stepped on by the bride. YAY ME. I am already how chorlor. I had to horse kick my way down the aisle and pray I didn’t fall over. My mom was whispering to me out of the corner of her mouth to KICK! KICK THE DRESS! LOL. The more I got stuck, the more I panicked, and the faster I walked, and at one point I stumbled a teeny bit. HAHA. On hindsight this was a bad idea, I should have just walked slower. But, yunno, me = introvert = hates people looking at her = cannot think clearly when walking down the aisle. Dad and Mom also kept stepping on my dress, but can’t blame them, the aisle was very small. So in addition to kicking the part I was stepping on out of the way, I also had to kick hard enough that the parts Mom and Dad were stepping on were also dislodged. Thinking back, it was really very funny, although all that was on my mind then was FAK FAK DON’T FALL!! Horsekicks ftw.

Our 2 witnesses, aka our moms, forgot to stay behind for a picture with our Cert. Fr T was like, uhh where are your witnesses? To which P and I were like heehee shrugs who knows? Lalalala. No harm done, we just took with the priests instead.

Lunch reception. Didn’t make it past the third row out of 10 of the bistro tables. My intention was to slowly glide (haha, as if) through the bistro tables so I could mingle with my guests. But nope, that didn’t happen, by the time I got to the third row, someone would accost me and go “hay can we take peekchure!” And back to the backdrop I would go so that we all had nice peekchure. Then I would attempt to make my way through the bistro tables again. Rinse, repeat. I finally got to the 5th row when it was nearly time for us to leave for the bridal party shoot.

Some awkward moments:
1. Relatives I could not remember staring at me through the glass panel whilst I was in a classroom waiting for makeup touchup. When I came out, they held out their arms for a hug and I was like ohhkayyyy hugging people I don’t know now! What if they’re not even guests? But it turned out they were my dad’s aunts whom I hadn’t seen in fifteen billion Chinese New Years. So okay at least I hugged flesh and blood.
2. Relatives on B’s side (whom I very obviously have not met) coming up to me and saying “Hi!!! Do you know who I am??” exuberantly. No, of course I don’t, because we’ve never been introduced; I’m gonna do that to you the next time I see you when I don’t have bridal makeup on. See you recognise me not. Ha!
3. Le Boss, whom I wasn’t sure wanted a hug or not. In the end we settled for a picture together. No hugs. She looked lovely though.
4. Changing my shoes in the middle of the canteen. Bride’s feet hurt. Sorry. Unglamness ensued. Not sorry actually. Hahahaha.

Bridal shoot at Pasir Ris Park after. Was fun! J took some pics as a prelude. Was so nice. Can’t wait to see the actual pics. On this note, I love my photog. She’s so friendly and easygoing and professional at the same time. She hasn’t even billed me lol. We paid on the standard contract, but not sure if there are any extra hours to be paid up.

After that was some blessed rest at the hotel. Pranced around nekkid in the suite with T and P. T came with us to the suite cause we thought it would just be more expedient that way. She was super helpful – laced me into the evening dress, found my MUA when she couldn’t get into our suite area, and her presence was just so settling and comforting. Would probably have panicked more without her around. I miss having her around in Singapore.

MUA did a great job, as usual, I received so many compliments on how the hair and makeup really suited me. Gotta thank Y for the recommendation. I powdered P’s face (Yay Chacott powder) so he wouldn’t be shiny.

Awkward Moment #5: MUA was obviously pissed when P’s mom asked for lipstick. A small favour really, but I can also see why she was pissed. I mean, I paid for her to do my makeup, not P’s mom… but then it’s just lipstick. Owell. I actually offered her my lipstick already (Suquu lipstick okay) but she was obviously more interested in my MUA’s, so I let her be…

Oh! I’ve forgotten to mention my bouquet! I love my florist (Joyce, Ji Mei Florist, or is it JM?! I’m a bit confused). My hand bouquet was so pretty!! We had a minor crisis in the morning, but luckily I was forewarned – I had gold leaves in my bouquet, and they were happily falling off the night before like drunks off a wagon. I texted her, and she, like a superhero, said DON’T WORRY! I spray more leaves now to bring tomorrow! We will fix it! And fix it she did. It looked even better than when we first got it. She also did such a great job with the my pew and altar flowers, the scalloping, the arch, the canteen decor, and the backdrop. My mom (aka the Flower Connoisseur and Floral Director of My Wedding) was suitably pleased.

My planner (Sharol, Eternal Emotion) was also SUCH a great help. She and her colleague ownselfly volunteered to move all the tables and chairs from the canteen so the caterers could set up, arranged for my carpet at short notice, and generally made sure the day ran smoothly. The fact that our marriage partners S and C didn’t come after us after the wedding is testament to the fact that she did a good job.

The dinner also ran very smoothly. Happily, there was no need for alcohol control, cause we over-budgeted the alcohol by 7 bottles. HAHA. We had 2 bottles per table, and after watching the wine disappear like water into dry earth at another friend’s wedding, P and I told Sharol to open another 5 housepours if necessary. Thankfully, that was not necessary. I got good feedback on the wine from the older folk, who said it was well paired with Chinese food. Not so good feedback from the younger folk. The reds were specially recommended and imported by my sommelier friend, who actually took the time to study the menu and recommend the wine pairing. I really didn’t want to serve shit wine at the wedding. The whites, hee, were my own decision, and were very sweet, and a little fizzy, because I LIKE SWEET FIZZY WHITES THANKS. Whee! Still have one more bottle left from the wedding. Shall drink it one of these days.

Dinner was another mash of memory, I remember only being able to sit down until the 3rd course, after which Sharol chivvied us around on our programme. I got to eat cake though! My lovely yummy wedding cake from Winifred Kriste. In defiance of the strict diet that I was on before the wedding, I ate ALL THE BUTTERCREAM WOOHOO! And it felt good.

But yes back to the dinner. My emcees, N and her hubs, were hilarious. N’s Chinese reading skills were not as good as she assured me they were, however, so some parts were shortened to, uhh, eat cake. I found it funny. Not sure if P’s mom was similarly amused. But it’s all water under the bridge. We talked to so many people, I can’t remember who was there. A lot of people said the food was great. Not sure if they’re being polite, but hey, I appreciate the social grace! :D I really liked the food at food tasting, so I hope it was the same standard.
<– didn’t get to eat.

I have no regrets hiring the planner Sharol – I was happy that all our friends could sit down and enjoy the dinner rather than have to rush around arranging stuff for us. A few people questioned why I needed a planner… I suppose my answer would be that, at that time, I needed a planner for my own sanity. I was the only one who had oversight of the whole day, and I didn’t really have anyone I could spare to fill that role. Introvert = not that many friends, and all of my good friends were either in my bridal party or already filling roles. Hahaha. Also, I’m quite paiseh to trouble people, unless they push their help in my face. P found that a bit annoying I think, that I was quite unwilling to trouble friends to help. I have, however, no qualms troubling someone I’m paying to trouble. :3 So yes, no regrets on the planner! Especially as she actually did her job, unlike the one at N’s wedding.

After dinner. 3 of my bridesmaids came up with me to poke around the suite and help me out of my dress + hairpins + fake hair. Again, so grateful for these people. Without them I might be half bald trying to remove the fake hair. Lololol. Y went on a humsup rampage and stripped the Fullerton teddy bear, and also took compromising pictures of my chest in a NuBra as well as LL’s chest… suffice to say, there was really no fight lah. NuBra or no, LL’s chest always wins :3

We were flat out tired man, and suddenly ravenous, after we were finally alone in our room… so we ordered room service. Yumyum lasagna. My dad had also thoughtfully asked the restaurant to pack our uneaten portions from dinner, but it was really cold by the time we got round to eating it.

Next morning! We were so tired we missed breakfast. Dad said the brekkie spread was really good. (They also had a room in the hotel.) A small amount of drama caused by P’s sister thinking she left something in our tea ceremony room.

Ermagad tea ceremony. I nearly forgot to mention this. Also not very memorable. I don’t actually see the point of serving tea to people. Does it produce a marriage cert? No. Does it bring people joy? Well okay I suppose it does. Okay it has a point if someone enjoyed it.  didn’t really. All that kneeling was hard on my knees, and it’s particularly hard to get up from a kneeling position when you’re in heels and a tight skirt.

Okay almost at the end. We checked out and went home.

What was the happiest moment of my wedding? I generally remember feeling very very happy and grateful the whole day. I smiled a lot. My cheeks hurt. But we felt very loved. The best part was probably when, after the dinner, I took off my corset and skulked around the suite in my birthday suit. FREEDOM.

And now we’re in the best part of all – married life. The part I wish we didn’t need a wedding to get to. <3

 

 

 

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explodes.

Since about 1 month ago, my brain constantly feels like it wants to explode out of my eyeballs.

Since about 1 month ago, wedding + reno prep has also hit new levels of intensity.

I am going to chronicle all the crap that we’ve gone through regarding the wedding. Whoever came up with the idea that a wedding should be some gigantic event should be shot.

Deciding to get married

The original plan had always been to get married in 2018/2019, after P had settled down in his job. We realised that due to various factors, this was not a viable plan. After much discussion, we therefore narrowed down the wedding date to June 2017.

Church Venue

This was the first thing I settled. No church = no wedding, cause, yunno, Catholic. I called a total of 7 churches for our preferred date. None were available, and I also discovered that some churches did not take wedding bookings unless you were a parishioner there. Panic ensued. I asked for dates a week after the preferred date. Thankfully we found a church available. We went down that very day to pay the deposit.

This church (I’ll call this Church A) met our requirements of being (1) pretty and (2) having a large air-conditioned canteen. However, we later discovered that Church A did not have any support for weddings, had no wedding ministry, and that all their ministries did not do wedding services. You had to source everything, right down to the choir and altar servers, ON YOUR OWN. It also did not have a modern sound system, meaning, it could not play music off a CD. The secretariat was also, err, shall we say, unhelpful? Everything we asked, the answer was pretty much, NO, or WHY ARE YOU BEING DIFFICULT? Even when the question was merely, can you open a classroom for the bride to wait in before the march in?

Anyway, the final straw with Church A was when the secretariat informed me that the Church’s feast day was in the week leading up to my wedding day, i.e. no rehearsals could be held in the evenings. I had specifically asked as to whether rehearsal could be held the Thursday before my wedding as at the time of booking in September 2016 because we knew that quite a lot of our bridesmaids and groomsmen would be flying in for our wedding. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this in writing; confirmation was verbal at the time of payment of the deposit. Secretariat Lady suggested that I have the rehearsal the week prior. After checking with our bridal party, we found out that a total of THREE out of the 14 groomsmen/bridesmaids would be able to be present if the rehearsal were held the week before the wedding instead of the week of the wedding. Rehearse what har, with 3 people? We tried to explain this to the Secretariat, who adamantly said it was impossible. She further added that we had to be done with rehearsal by 8.00pm as the church closed then. That really was the end of the matter – my bridesmaids, at least, cannot be expected to reach earlier than 7.30pm, realistically.

So, I informed Secretariat Lady that we would be cancelling the booking, and that she could treat the $700 deposit as a donation to the Church. Her response did not even include a “thank you”. Rolls eyes.

By the grace of God, my own parish was still available on our wedding date. We hastily booked it. The attitude of all the secretariat staff in our parish was the total opposite of what we had received from Secretariat Lady – so much so that I nearly cried the first time I dealt with them, they were so kind. Stockholm Syndrome, anyone? Everything we wanted to do, the answer was either “yes”, or “let’s see whether we can help you check to make it so.”

The biggest problem with my parish is that the canteen was waaaaay too small to hold the number of guests we were anticipating. We explored (and are still exploring) various ways and means to increase or maximise the space in the canteen, which also happens to be in the basement and adjacent to the carpark (go figure, lol). It can actually only hold 150 people comfortably, and we are anticipating between 200-250 guests… Well…. We’ll figure this out by the wedding day.

Dinner Venue

So I never, ever, wanted a formal dinner banquet. I find these a pain in the ass to attend, and I hate this idea that people feel obligated to cover their cost of attendance at dinner. My ideal wedding has always been Church + lunch reception, followed by a dinner treat by me and P for our bridal party for their hard work on the first evening, and for our families on the second evening. Just a regular dinner, with no programme, where we can actually talk to people and not have them entertained by emcees and videos.

But is that what’s actually happening? YOU CAN BET YOUR ASS IT’SNOT.

What the plan is now: An (almost) full blown dinner banquet, just that it’s small, capped at family and VERY close friends ONLY, and sans stage.

There was some drama about this too! At the time I was venue hunting, I got everyone involved, i.e. my parents, P and P’s parents to estimate the number of guests they were likely to invite. P and I estimated fairly accurately. Our parents… not so much. We thought that a dinner of max 120 pax would be sufficient, and so I went looking around for venues on this basis.

I found two that met our requirements – both at good hotels, one being a small ballroom, and one being a restaurant in the hotel. P was in favour of the restaurant one. I was ambivalent, though leaning toward the small ballroom for various reasons. I asked P to check with his mother whether she would be ok with the restaurant venue. The MIL is the traditional kind. I wasn’t sure if she would be ok with the restaurant wedding concept – no stage, no visual projection. There were TV screens included in the package lah, but these were small screens, nothing like the big projectors you would get in a ballroom.

The MIL okayed the restaurant venue, so we proceeded to book it since it was the cheaper and more central option. Small Ballroom Venue was in Sentosa, which admittedly would have added a fair bit of time to our schedule. We traded out the screens for corkage, since we were agreed then that we had nothing to screen. We did not want a videographer and we found the childhood montage type things rather tacky.

The booking was made in Dec 2016. In Mar 2017, in a random conversation between P and MIL, it came up that the dinner was in a restaurant and there was no stage. The MIL “went into shock”.

Thus ensued frantic efforts on my part to obtain (1) AV projection, and (2) obtain SOMETHING to play on the screen. We finally agreed that it would probably make the most sense to get a videographer to do the church ceremony and the morning highlights. So of course, Madame had to go looking for reasonably priced videographers who produced quality work.

I think I spent a good 30 hours reviewing wedding videos after work, late into the night. I finally found one who had a reasonable half day package and seemed like someone we could work with. We met him one evening at Vivo, and hired him that very night in late March 2017.

The Bed

It also came up in conversation between P and the MIL that we had bought 2 single beds instead of one solid king bed to avoid motion transfer. The MIL was extremely unhappy about this and wanted us to buy a new bed that was one whole piece of king size bed.

I obviously refused. Thankfully P was on the same page. But to appease her he did say she could put some fengshui things to counter the bad effects of having separate beds. I blew my top. I did not believe in fengshui, and he, as a soon to be baptised Catholic, should not either.

The Tea Ceremony

Anyone who knows my Mother will know she is the No. 1 Bad Chinese – knows nuts about Chinese traditions and largely fails to follow most of them. I’m like this too. It therefore caught me totally off guard when she wanted to do a tea ceremony. How she broached the topic was, “Hey, I was thinking, for your tea ceremony, shall we do it the next day, on a yacht? I can book the yacht!”
Me: “Huh? What? Tea ceremony? We’re having a tea ceremony? For what?!”

It all went rapidly downhill from there.

Suffice to say I made the mistake of saying that we’d do it if P’s side wanted, cause I certainly didn’t want it and I didn’t understand why she was pushing me to do it when she had always said that she would never make me do anything for my wedding that I didn’t want to. She then went all miffed and said that in that case, she didn’t want a tea ceremony either.

Blah blah blah, and months on, obviously we are doing a tea ceremony. I’ve even bought a kua set for P and I to wear for it.

A wedding is not about what you want. It’s about what others want for you.

The GDL/SDJ/HL

I was staunchly against this when I had the energy to fight this.

I have no energy left.

Whatever the MIL wants, she can have in this regard.

Even if she wants to give me some farken ugly piglets as my SDJ, or she wants the whole shebang for the GDL, replete with dragon farken phoenix candles, she is welcome to do so. I will comply.

Because I am tired and I give up. No one cares what the bride wants, so the bride has stopped caring what she wants too.

At the start of this, the Mother actually told me that if MIL wants to do this, I am on my own, because she doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t want to do it. Way to leave me alone. But she has since retracted this it seems, because she later said to P to get MIL to give her a list of things our side needs to prepare or do.

The Invites

I stupidly decided to design my own.

I did design my own.

The invites are gorgeous. If I do say so myself.

But it took so much stress, so many nights of painting, so many more nights spent cleaning up and editing images (with shit programmes no less, because I don’t own Photoshop), and so many trips to that godforsaken place called Queensway for the printing that I’m not sure it was worth it.

And then of course there was the last minute request for Chinese invites from the MIL. Which I had to scramble to produce. And did, in time for printing. I am SuperBride.

The Father’s Attire

This is the latest of things to crop up.

The Father agreed 2 nights ago to tailor a charcoal grey suit for my wedding.

Last night he accused me of being disrespectful and said that I did not get to dictate what he wore.

I couldn’t help it. I screamed. I sobbed. In abject frustration. How can my own father not want to wear a nice fitting suit when walking me down the aisle? He doesn’t even own a white shirt! And his blazer was tailored 30 years ago. There are  no matching pants. I doubt the blazer fits. It looks incredibly dated. He’s probably going to pair it with a polo shirt.

When I am already stressed out managing the wedding practically all on my own, and when I have already broken down three times in the last month, why would you, as a parent, add to this stress? Why is it that all my friends know to just go with the plan and not stress the bride out further, but my own father does not?

Obviously I screamed and sobbed in private.

Because I am farken SuperBride.

 

 

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our catholic engaged encounter weekend.

After an extremely long hiatus (I’ve found greater joy writing a journal than blogging for the whole world to see), I’ve chosen to come back and blog about me and B’s Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend because there is just so little information about it on the Internet. Me being the typical Singaporean everything-also-must-prepare-in-spades type, that drove me absolutely crazy. And thus, I write this for all those who are intending to attend the CEE in preparation for their marriage.

So, read on for our CEE experience in detail!

You check in on Friday evening. You’re encouraged to do so by 7.30pm that Friday, although the programme proper begins at 8.00pm. We had dinner at home before heading out to our CEE location, which was at the Marriage Encounter House in Punggol, right next to the Saint Francis Xavier Seminary. I’ve heard that it’s not always held there – it’s also held at the SFX Seminary itself when the group is large. Our group was considered a smaller one – there were about 15+ couples (30+ individuals).

Upon arrival, we realised that we really need not have eaten at home before going there – they had originally promised a light meal, so we were thinking packed sandwiches or something of the sort, but no, there was actually a 4-course buffet spread! We didn’t really check out the food since we were already full, but we did see fried noodles and spring rolls.

We socialised a bit before the organisers called us into the Conference Room for the introductory stuff. B and I thought that this would just be self introductions, maybe an ice breaker or two, a prayer, and then bed. NOPE. Hahaha. There was the self introductions and a prayer, but they set us to work that very evening on the first two sessions in the workbook they gave us. We’re not supposed to give away the specific content, so I won’t say anything about that here, but suffice to say that you did need to utilise your brain for introspection and discussion with your partner. The workbook is very substantial okay, the content you cover over the 2 days and 2 nights spans 86-ish pages (with blank pages to write in in between, but still!!!).

The format of most of the sessions followed what we experienced that first night. For each session, there would be presentations by one of the two presenting couples conducting the session, with some input from the priest conducting the EE as well, if necessary (more often than not, the priest did give his input). Thereafter, we would split up to search our soul and answer the questions in the workbook in writing, girls in one location and boys in another location. We’re given a set time to answer the questions that varies with the complexity and number of the questions. When time is up, we join up with our partners and discuss our answers the questions. Where the answers differ, you are encouraged to engage your partner in a discussion on the different answers, to see if you can reach a consensus. You are also assured by the organisers that due to the nature and complexity of the questions (they are all very sensitive topics that are close to the heart, like finances, children etc), you may not necessarily reach a consensus during the EE, and indeed that is not the purpose of the programme – the purpose of EE is to help flag out the issues that couples need to consider before they commit to a lifelong marriage. There are follow up programmes you can sign up for to help you resolve the issues if you feel that is necessary, and the EE organisers inform you of these options at the end of the EE. (Which I found really awesome.)

There’s no correct answer to any of the questions. I had this vague impression that there would be someone checking on our answers to make sure they were in accordance with the Church’s teachings. That’s really not the case – there’s no one to check on whether you are taking the session seriously or just going through the motions, let alone what your answers are! Your answers are 100% private, to be shared between only you and your partner. What you get out of it is proportionate to the effort you are willing to put in. If you anyhow answer the questions, then the EE will not be helpful. B and I considered the questions in the workbook very seriously and thoroughly, so we discovered things about each other even though we had done self-help marriage prep material that was available online on our own even before the EE. I would strongly encourage everyone to do it seriously. I mean, you already paid the $240 and agreed to lock yourself in the closest thing to a desert island in Singapore (aka retreat house in Punggol lol) so you might as well make the most out of it!

We ended at about 11.15pm the first night, and around 11.00pm on the second night. Sibei shag. Most people came from work on Friday, so after showering, settling into the rooms, getting to know your roomie a bit, it’s past midnight before you know it. Wake up time for us was at 7.10am on Day 2, and 7.30am on Day 3. Get enough sleep before you go for the EE. It’s very tiring, and the brainpower used is many many, so I think you would find the going less painful if you’re well rested. B and I didn’t expect the EE to be so intense. I went into the EE not having rested well or sufficiently earlier that week – think 6 hours’ sleep at maximum between Sunday to Friday – so the Saturday sessions were really torturous for me. My eyes were heavy and I was battling a headache – although by a miracle, the headache didn’t worsen – usually I get bad headaches if I haven’t had enough sleep for more than 5 nights in a row. I like to think that God was with us :)

The room is basic but very clean. Most of the rooms are twin sharing (two single beds), although some have six to a room. There are no ensuite toilets, but there is a sink, so you can brush your teeth in peace. The shared toilets are also very clean (they don’t look clean because they’re kinda old, but they actually are). There are 5 toilet bowl cubicles and 5 shower cubicles at the toilet I used, and there was another toilet at the opposite end of the hall, which I didn’t see but I assume has the same number of cubicles. There’s air-conditioning in all the bedrooms. You room with a member of the same sex because you’re not married yet. We didn’t have any problems with mosquitoes. You get one pillow and one blanket. If you need extra, best to bring your own, because depending on the number of people there, they may not have extra (you basically have to take the extra from the other rooms if you need, and if all the beds are taken, then there won’t be any left over for you). There are electrical sockets, but as there were only 2 in my room, I strongly suggest you bring a multiplug. You also need to bring your own toiletries and hair dryer. There’s a towel rack and wire hangers in the room as well. Bedsheets and pillowcases are also provided. T0wels are not; bring your own.

Back on the topic of the itinerary. Day 2 (Saturday) started with a short mass, followed by breakfast, a multitude of sessions interrupted only by mealtimes, and finally a presentation on Natural Family Planning and a debrief for the next day. Saturday is THE most intense day of all. There are so many heavy, thought provoking sessions that really sap your energy. By dinner time, most of us were brain dead already lol. Sunday is a bit less shag, but this is an “everything is relative” thing – it’s still by no means a walk in the park. Sunday began with breakfast, followed by sessions, with the usual breaks for meals, and ended with a public sharing on our experience + mass + presentation of the pretty colour-printed EE Certificates. The public sharing is nothing to be afraid of – you can be as vague as you want and nobody will push you for more details. You can also be very detailed if that floats your boat.

Food was much better than I expected. My experience with retreats is that usually some volunteers cook the food, with the result that whether the food is good or bad is largely the luck of the draw… Hahaha. When I go on retreats, the point is not to eat good food right, so I can hardly complain. The food at the EE, however, is catered by quite a legit caterer. Every main meal was a 4 course buffet – a carb, 2 proteins, and a veg. They served breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper on Saturday. It’s impossible to get hungry. The standing joke is that EE actually stands for “Eat and Eat”! After attending it, I see why. LOL. The meals served on Sunday were the same, sans dinner and supper, since we end around dinner time.

My suggestions to people who intend to go for EE:

  1. SIGN UP EARLY. There are very limited places and they fill up very fast. Best to register a year in advance of your intended marriage date.
  2. Go with an open heart and mind. Take things seriously. You only can reap what you have sown. Nobody is going to force you to sow seeds at this course if you don’t want to.
  3. Be well rested before you attend. The sessions take a lot from you, and you must have the energy to give in order to make the most out of it. If you’re like me and find it difficult to sleep anywhere but home, lagi please sleep properly in the run-up to the EE.
  4. No need to bring any extra food or snacks. You will be waaaaay too full. All the time.
  5. Bring a multiplug. This is the one thing they don’t mention in their list.

 

How I felt about the EE.

I think every couple considering marriage should attend a good marriage preparation course. It pre-empts a lot of issues and highlights things for discussion. It helped us to evaluate our decision as to whether or not to proceed with the wedding better (fortunately, our answer is still yes :)). Although we had already reached consensus on most of the difficult issues due to our kiasu-ness in doing online marriage prep material, we still had one major outstanding issue to discuss and resolve, and we managed to resolve it at the EE. We also learnt new things and made new discoveries (one of them was a joint discovery, something neither of us had thought about before). It gave us the chance to do a full soul search and bare ourselves completely to each other. We felt so close spiritually after the EE, so  much so that it was really hard for us to part and go to our separate homes after it.

I think even non-Catholics can consider going for this EE. There is of course an element of God in this, it being a Catholic-run course, but Catholics being Catholics (the Singaporean ones at least are quite bochups about proselytising imo), the organisers are totally not pushy about religion (or anything really). The majority of the couples that attended our session were interfaith couples, so I think the organisers’ priority was to create a safe space for couples of all faiths to discuss their issues, including their spirituality. The presenting couples and the resident priest were all very careful to assure everyone before anything remotely religious happened that it was not a religious initiation ceremony or an attempt to convert anyone to Catholicism. The religious parts of it were also quite clearly flagged out so that no one would be startled. I’m Catholic myself, but I thought that was great. The people at our session were also really nice lah, so the conversations at mealtimes were lots of fun.

All in all, it’s a super intense and tiring weekend, but B and I really enjoyed it.We grew so much as a couple in the short span of 2 days and 2 nights. It was worth all the effort, headaches, and giving up 2 nights of good rest for. Coming from me, that means a lot, since sleep is one of the things that I rank very highly in my list of priorities! :3

 

 

 

 

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Faerie dust.

There is perhaps nothing quite so damaging as the realisation that what one does is mere sophistry. That the knowledge one has acquired through tertiary study and labour is but knowledge of an invented song and dance. At that, it bears note that the song and dance is not one that beautifies the world, enriching the enjoyment and imagination, but one born of strife and dissent. A dance none wish to learn. A song better left unsung. Save for us. We sprinkle the faerie dust and make believe we have an important task. Gandhi had it right. Our true form is a reaper, a reaper bathed in pixie dust.

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checking in.

The last time I blogged was in December 2013, about 2 months after I left the Firm. It’s now July 2014, and I’m in the midst navigating the second battle. This battle I chose was perhaps much easier to navigate, which was a pleasant surprise. I don’t feel pulled apart between gravity and the defiance thereof any more, though I can’t say I’ve achieved harmony. There are aspects about this battle that I feel powerless about. DK’s story about the Starfish Principle always comes to mind whenever I feel that what I can do is as small and insignificant as a drop in the ocean. The occasional bursts of genuine gratitude I get from doing this also keeps my engine chugging along.

Because this battle is proving rather peaceful, I have had the wherewithal to turn my time to other pursuits. That’s very enjoyable. For the time being I will ignore the cerebral cravings of my brain and simply enjoy being, in a way that was simply not available to me in Battle No. 1. Combine that with the fact that I am -finally- emotionally ready to take on new things in matters of the heart as of early this year, I have never felt freer, financially, spiritually, and physically.

Back in the game, but out of the race. It’s not a bad place to be.

Perhaps we haven’t arrived, Sunshine, but the process is more important than the destination.

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retrospectively speaking.

In the many years that have passed since I actively blogged here, I realise that I have changed a lot, and perhaps in some ways, not for the better.

I can now answer the question I posited my future self on 5 Jul 2010. Are we still defying gravity? No. We’re not. I’m not. We – or I – am trying to make peace with gravity now. Our gravity-defying days were over the moment we donned our office gear and signed our lives away with the flick of a pen.

Gravity however, is a false sense of rootedness; it keeps you anchored to the things of this world whilst forsaking that which the human spirit requires. It feeds the body, not the soul. Whereas the defiance of gravity brought about introspection and belief, gravity brought about a forgetfulness the moment my feet touched the ground. Now that I’m clutching on – temporarily – to balloons, I begin to remember what it was to defy gravity. That I was a better person then, with purer motives, deeper thoughts and a clearer sense of self. Back in the confines of gravity, I was lost; a machine that saw things in terms of efficiency and utility rather than humanity. But that person who defied gravity would always only look at Earth from a distance. What good then, was pure motive, deep thought, or clear sense of self? It had no practical application in space. Application could only be achieved under the control of gravity. By coming to terms with gravity and making peace with it. By being subject to it but not in its thrall.

I lost the first battle, and as such am clutching on to balloons for reprieve.

I will negotiate the second battle instead, wherever and whenever it may be, with a balloon firmly tied to one hand.

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back

So I have found new reason to post again here. The last year – 2012 – really flew by like the wind and I feel like I don’t remember it at all. Working life is scary in that you live for your next deadline, and every day is just an endless succession of files that your mind focuses on systematically, one after another. There’s hardly any time to take it all in. I am starting to understand very well the Tolstoyan complaint regarding city dwellers. We think we’re oh so sophisticated when our minds are screaming with noise and lacking the quietness of original thought. Sigh. Such is life isn’t it.

Anyway. I returned from Norway on the 1st day of CNY. The Mother, the Aunt and I went to catch the northern lights. God it was cold. Not as bad as Finland because of the Gulf Current, but still! The northern lights were worth it though. So was playing with the wolves and the arctic foxes at the Polar Zoo. Even though it did cost us the equivalent of a round trip plane ticket to London in total =.=

I’m feeling a little inadequate at work these days. I can’t seem to handle as much as I used to, and I keep getting headaches. Granted it’s the jet lag right now, but I really hope it passes soon

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