We are not so different

I met Rosa last Thursday.

And Kyle met David at the pool at Nana’s apartment. She was a friendly lady and I started a conversation with her, while we watched the boys play together in the children’s pool.

From our conversation, I found out that Rosa is a Korean and she is only here for a month to visit her hb who is a civil engineer working on the SMRT Downtown line. Rosa stays in Vancouver with her 2 other daughters and her MIL, and she only gets to spend some time with her hb thrice a year. Her hb’s job stints only last 3 to 4 years, and her family used to move from country to country with him.

After speaking to her for almost an hour, I asked if she would want to meet me this week to go out together, so that the boys can spend some time together. It was my first time doing something like that with a mom that I perceived to be a little different, as she was of a different nationality and age. I felt a little jittery that I will end up embarrassing myself for asking. But I felt compelled to ask her, when I found out she has no friends here, and while her hb is works in the day, she has been taking the bus on some days with David explore some place in Singapore. 

She was rather surprised when I asked, but told me that she would really like it. We exchanged mobile numbers, and her sms to me that evening after we parted ways was, "It was nice talking to u and thank you so much for your kindness."

I was rather surprised to have read that from the SMS, nevertheless, I was glad to see her appreciation. I was heartened that this first attempt at being slightly more thick-skinned than usual, to be willing to inconvenience my schedule a little for the week, and be a friend to someone I barely knew, seem to started on a positive note.

So Kyle and I met David and Rosa this morning, I brought them to Suntec City to check out the new play area and the boys had a great time.

Rosa and I chatted during lunch and shared about our lives, while the boys kept themselves occupied in the play room.

Then I realised that we are not so different after all.

Despite some cultural differences; she eats rice and sweet potatoes for breakfast, and then rice for  lunch and dinner, and must have Kim Chee at every meal. We shared some similarities towards some of our priorities in life.

I found out that as she moved around so much with her hb the last 20 years that all her kids are born in different countries, David in Vancouver, her teenage daughter in Kuwait and the oldest child who is of college age, is born in Korea. She became so tired moving around that she decided that she needed to give her kids some permanence in a home where they could grow up secure and build friendships. So 6 years ago, she made the choice to get a PR in Vancouver, and not return to Korea, for the sake of her kids.

It was a brave move. But it didn’t matter that she had to build a new life in a new country, learn a new language, get a new English name for herself and make new friends. Making these changes have been worthwhile. Her two daughters are now well adjusted and have a good education in Vancouver.

She expressed surprise that a mom who was 8 years younger than she is and someone who is of different culture will have so much similarities in our attitudes towards life. I told her that ultimately, we want the best for our children and our families. Sometimes we need to take the brave step to make a choice in our lives, a choice that might shake the security in our lives a little. Changes that require some sacrifices on our own lives and dreams, but it gets all worthwhile when we see that our children are secure and well adjusted.

I encouraged her that she needed to start thinking a little more about her own life, since David is growing up, and soon she would have more time on her hands. Consider taking classes in recreational centres in Vancouver, learn how to use the internet, maybe starting a blog and meet like-minded moms through online communities, or join a church fellowship group. Maybe even starting a hobby to cultivate an interest, or pursue a passion that can fuel a new business idea.

Although we make these sacrifices along the way, does not mean that our aspirations for our kids take over and there is no place for our own. Our aspirations do not die, instead, dreams only get re-aligned, particularly when we meet certain crossroads or life challenges.

All it needs is that different set of lens to perceive our lives, and each change that we encounter simply means that it opens up a whole lot of new possibilities for us.

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  1. this is a lovely, thought-provoking piece. i think it’s too easy for us to stay within our comfort zones and not reach out to others who might be in need in some way around you. good on you for doing that!
    beanbean´s last blog post ..Happy ONE, Little Meips!

    Rachel Reply:

    Yes I tend to want to stay in my comfort zone most of the time. Wasn’t easy to make the change but it turned out to b a meaningful experience for me.

  2. Woah, so she has very wide age differences between her kids! Almost like me. Most moms that I meet while out playing with my youngest are all so much younger.
    sam´s last blog post ..Hopping in the Wind

    Rachel Reply:

    Sam – I have another SAHM friend who is her age too n her kids age gap is pretty wide. But i get along pretty well with older moms..n it used to b the same when I was working full time. Guess I have an old soul..

  3. David looks adorable with that red hair… Haha!

    Love that you extended a friendly hand to a “stranger”… not sure I’d do the same in your shoes cos the awkwardness might kill me first 😛 But kudos to you!
    San´s last blog post ..Night-night time

    Rachel Reply:

    San – the reward far surpasses my effort truly. N most of all I made a new friend n Vancouver.

  4. That was a very sweet mothery gesture, Rach. I guess the gratification you receive is so much more than the thought of bearing any awkwardness. We shd def practise this more often. Just do what ur heart says n stop thking too much. I do agree n hope that when Ally grows older; I get to have more personal time n pursue my passion for myself. 😉
    Yvonne @Beadsyy’s Diary´s last blog post ..Daddy Mountain

    Rachel Reply:

    I am sure u will get more time to pursue your passions Yvonne. It was only when Kyle was almost 3 tat I started starting myplayschool.net, started taking up photography, making handmades.

    As for reaching out to a fellow mom, it sure didnt come natural to me. But after this experience I am encouraged tat the nxt time i will b able to look pass my own insecurities n b a friend.

  5. My husband mentioned to me that I’ve become ‘more friendlierer’ (with extra emphasis for good measure) since I’ve had the bub, especially with other mums.

    I think we all need ‘allies’ in matters of bringing up the kiddos, and sharing life experiences in general :)
    Regina´s last blog post ..A moment in my tummy… and a lifetime in my heart.

    Rachel Reply:

    Hehe…motherhood has changed me alot too. I am definitely friendlier n more thick skinned, n have no problems striking conversations with strangers these days.

    I am very encouraged by the interaction n inspired in our mom’s blogger group. So glad tat there is this place to build friendships with other moms.

  6. Yes, very nice of you to offer to spend some time with this lady. Everytime I feel inclined to offer to do something like that, I am afraid that I am intruding on the other person’s privacy (and what not) and never get around to doing it. Very nice post, this.
    Pamela Tan´s last blog post ..Theorectical Mummy Me