A Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

There are plenty of heartbreaks, distractions, disappointments and challenges that often make their way into our lives every once in a while.

Life isn’t easy.

Some of us may have it a little easier than the rest, while others often have it really rough.

Often, bad things can happen anyone. We don’t have control of many of these things that happen to us, however, we have control over how we respond to our trial.

So when you look at this glass of water, do you see a glass that is half empty or half full?

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I sold my home in Sept 2011. At first hb and I though our family could be comfortable in a new place for some time before settling down longer term in another home. But to reduce household commitments, and allow the chance for me to give a shot at my ‘dreams’, we went on to stay with my mom for close to 7 months and finally settled down in a new place in the east. A new room to be accurate, as my family shares common areas with 2 other ladies who live under the same roof.

If I choose to see my life like a glass half empty, this is what I will see…

– An old, dim and dreary flight of stairs leading to the house that I have been staying in for the past 3 weeks. The flight of steps leading to the house always have puddles of what K thinks is cat urine.

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– Common areas in the house consisting of two sofas, which is covered with a mishmash of recycled printed bedsheets and cardboard box,

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– this rusty old deckchair (which I think belongs to a junkyard) is the only thing I can sit on if I want to sun myself or read a book in the balcony.

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– TV channels like TCS 5 and 8 are non-existent in the room that my family stays in, and what about cable? If we want cable TV channels, we need to fork out $2000.00 just to get a new antenna fixed for the house.

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– Bed for hb comes in the form of a mattress, which will be propped against the wall in the day when he goes to work.

This used to be the mattress that I slept in when we stayed at my mom’s house the last 7 months. So hb and I don’t share a bed, and we have an additional room mate who is the biggest and noisiest ‘lamp-post’ who sleeps in the same bed as I do. Can someone remind me what does the word intimacy means?

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– What we use daily is stored in this wardrobe with 3 doors. The greatest trial a reformed clothes-horse can experience is to have minimal space for her own clothes.

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– K has his personal space sandwiched between the bed we sleep on and his toys stored in wooden trolley/shelf. I only have my work space on the study table between 9am-5pm on weekdays, no other personal space in the room for all other hours in the day, except for my side of the queen sized bed.

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– Going the loo does make me a little nervous sometimes, especially when I forget to put down the lid for the toilet bowl, or when I discover that K has left some ‘skid marks’ in the toilet bowl or the sides of the bathtub, when he tries to climb over the bathtub to wash himself.

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–  After I take my bath, I will scan the bathroom thoroughly to make sure that I pick up every strand of hair that I can spot on the floor or in the bathtub. I drop hair like crazy, so i have to ensure that I don’t have strands of hair all over the sink / floor of the bathroom.

Has this new arrangement been stressful? Initially.

How long will my family have to live here? I have no idea. Maybe things will change in the next 5-6 years. Well, if it doesn’t, I will be sharing a room with my teenage son.

Pondering over this things from a real but negative perspective sure doesn’t make me too joyful about the present state of the arrangements at home.

But It is really isn’t all bad when I choose to see a different perspective to my present situation.

Living in a room reminds me of my carefree days in university, where I rented a room and had to live with 5 other people in the same house. The only difference is that I now have my hb and our 5 year old staying in the room together and my landlady who lives in the same house as we do, is hb’s auntie.

Auntie A is a wonderful person to stay with, she is kind, considerate, loving and adores K to bits. So K now has an additional ‘grandma’. K loves her company and has been staying up late (even on weekdays) to want to wait for Auntie A and chat with her before she sleeps :)

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We have another house mate that stays in the same house, a china-born lady who has been staying with Auntie A for close to 6 months. She works really long hours, or when she is not at work, stays in the room most of the time and hardly ever eats (I hardly ever see her eat). She is not exactly the neatest person, so the little ‘rules’ that Auntie A puts in the bathroom, ensures that the common areas are kept clean and pleasant for everyone in the house.

Auntie A is a cat lover, and the cardboard and recycled bedsheets that are placed on the sofa is for Pat the cat, to ensure it doesn’t destroy the upholstery on the coach. Pat is my companion in the day when I work at home, so it does not get lonely in the day.

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There is a part time cleaner that comes weekly to clean up the common areas in the house, so the only housework I regularly do is to wash and iron hb, k’s and my clothes, cook once in a while, and keep our room clean and tidy. So really not having a whole house of my own is actually a good thing, considering I have been having domestic help since I was 12, and I don’t like doing household chores.

Even though I don’t own a house, have to stay with 2 other people (not part of my family unit) and have my family squeeze in a little room together. I still call this place my home.

I am so thankful that the 3 of us have a proper roof over our head, pay 40% less rental than the market rate and our home is located in a very convenient area in the east. There are plenty of amenities opposite to the estate, which includes cafes, restaurants, clinics, coffee shops, a supermarket and a convenience store. And it is just a stone’s throw away from Katong and Joo Chiat areas, so we never have to worry about not knowing where to go on the weekends whenever we want to eat out.

Besides, we get sea breezes from our room’s window anytime of the day and even get to see the sun rise in the mornings.

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What does the future hold for my family? I really don’t know, and I probably can’t tell you when will I ever get a place that I will be able to call my own.

My family’s trial has given me plenty of opportunities to teach K, that it doesn’t matter that we don’t have our own house. We still have a home. What matters are that we are together as a family, will never stop supporting and loving one another, regardless of the circumstance.

Many of you may have experienced or are still experiencing various trials and tribulations that are likely be more dramatic, heartbreaking and challenging. How have these tnt changed or moulded you into the person you have become and what life lessons has it taught you along the way?

Do link up and share your TnT stories in your blog!



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  1. Thanks for sharing so openly, Rachel. I agree that regardless of the circumstances, sticking together as a family is the most important thing of all. Hang in there!
    Jean´s last blog post ..Upcycling, and other craftiness.

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Jean!

  2. I like and agree with what you say about a house and a home. True, our house might not be outwardly what we’d like, but a home is where our loved ones are. We stayed with my parents for 2 years after the birth of jay and it was also a stressful period of juggling ma y different egos and opinions and when we moved out, thought financially more draining, offered us a chance ce to build our home and family as well.

    Praying for a turnaround in your situation soon. :)

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks for keeping prayers San!

  3. Thank you for your honesty. It’s not easy to stay positive and focus on the happy bits when everything seems to feel the exact opposite. You’re doing great, and I pray for a breakthrough that will come so quickly. Jia you!!
    Kless´s last blog post ..Sentosa KidzFlea 2013

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Kless!

  4. Dear Rachel,
    Thanks for sharing your story so honestly and openly. Hang in there and I’m sure the tough times will be over soon. I admire your courage to take the plunge and realize your dream. Not many people has the guts to do that, and you’re really an inspiration to me.

    As Sandra has mentioned it, home is where our loves ones are. It’s doesn’t matter where we stay, as long as we’re happy with our loved ones. That’s more important.

    All the best to you, Rachel!
    Emily´s last blog post ..The Maze Story

    Rachel Reply:

    Emily, wow..that’s an honour to have, to be able to inspire u with my story :) Your comment is a real encouragement for me, and spur me on to continue ‘fighting’ in this journey

  5. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story & I’m sure one day the rainbow will come after the rain. To be able to stay together with your loved ones will overcome all problem bit by bit.
    Amie´s last blog post ..World Largest S.E.A. Aquarium Marine Life Park

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Amie!

  6. Good sharing. I enjoyed reading, and boy, the view from your room is magnificent! I may have my own house, but I can never get a view like that.

    Always look on the bright side of life! :)
    Mabel´s last blog post ..First Time is Never Easy

    Rachel Reply:

    Haha…sometimes all it takes is a room with a view 😛

  7. I hope you’ll find a solution for your living situation soon! Hang in there. Ps half empty or half full? To kids, it’s just a glass of water, begging to be tipped over 😀

    Rachel Reply:

    thanks Adora!

  8. Finding the beauty in difficult circumstances is what makes one strong, positive and motivated.
    Cindy´s last blog post ..Lemon Custard Fruit Tart

    Rachel Reply:

    Indeed Cindy!

  9. Difficulty doesn’t stay long. strong positive spirit is. One thing for sure, K will learn through this positively.

    And you know we all in smb will give you big hugs and supports.

    [I think my TnT is no longer a TnT;)]
    pc´s last blog post ..The Hiatus

    Rachel Reply:

    Really encouraged by our supportive community of moms :)) Thanks PC

  10. Stay strong! You are the lucky one because you have the chance and you have the courage (and support) to “chase your dreams”! Very inspiring!

    In Chinese, we say, 时势造英雄. Once you pull through the tough period, you will be the heroic! Beat of luck!

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Tzer Jing!

  11. woah…perspective really makes a difference! I think of Paul in prison and read through his epistles and I get encouraged! Jiayou Rachel, I know He will see you through!!
    Mum’s the word´s last blog post ..Movie Review: Dreamworks’ The Croods

    Rachel Reply:

    Yes I believe so too Jiahui, in His perfect timing, not mine.

  12. Great sharing! It makes me appreciate what i’ve got right now. Was just feeling the blues coz it’s been extremely trying to cope with work and a baby and a lazy husband. But after reading your post, i count my blessings that i’m able to come back to my own home after a long day. U are doing a good job so hang in there!!
    Janice´s last blog post ..FTWM: Tons on my plate

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Janice.

  13. I admire your strength to see things in different perspective and perseverance to make the best out of the situation. It’s definitely not easy to make a home out of a home that does not belong to you. Hang in there Rach! Am sure there’ll be even better days ahead. And you will be blessed.

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Ade!

  14. Thank you for this heartfelt post, Rach. I love how you said that what matters most is that we are together as a family. I am living with my in laws and I have complained more than once to the hubby as I am already so used to having my own space and freedom in Sweden. It’s always different staying with others under one roof and there’s always a give and take there. I am still learning each day, though I do see the glass as half full (ok, for most of the time) and this post is a gentle reminder that I have a home, a loving hubby and two beautiful girls. You rock, Rach, for having the courage and determination to go for your dreams. Salute! Jia you and I’m sure the future for you is as bright as the sun!
    Summer´s last blog post ..Creativity 521 {linky party} #18 – Flower puzzles

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Summer for your encouraging comments :)

  15. hi.

    have been reading your blog for quite some time. just wanna drop a note this time round. you know.. though there are trials testing you now, but luckily u and ur family members are healthy to go through all these 😉

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Meiling for dropping this comment. Indeed it is important for a family to stand in support of one another whenever we face trials

  16. Hey Rach, thanks for sharing your life in the here and now. I can imagine how tough some days can get, and my prayers are with you guys too. No matter what, He promises to provide for our needs daily – how much more important are you than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field? Infinitely more…Bless you with all His goodness, and may His grace show you the meaning of these days and lead you into better ones soon.
    June´s last blog post ..Put worry and anxiety back where they belong

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks for keeping met in prayers June. Indeed I trust in His goodness and there will be better ones to come

  17. Rachel

    I always admire your positive outlook, how you always choose to turn lemons into lemonades. It’s inspiring to all moms regardles of our financial status; you remind us to press on & choose to be happy, you remind us to be appreciatetive with what we have. Funny thing is, my hub & I like to imagine ourselves renting a small room in a hdb. We wondered how it would be like having all 4 of us in one room. Actually, we liked the idea! It’s very cosy & forces the family to spend time together versus being spread out all over the house. Enjoy the moment, I imagine you’d have many interesting stories to tell your grand kids! 😀
    Homeschool@sg´s last blog post ..Write on!

  18. Very inspiring :) In life, it’s all about perspective, how we choose to see the bad or the good. And I like how faith has kept you going, perceiving only the better side of things. K cannot be more blessed than anything other than a mother as strong and persevering as you.
    Nadia´s last blog post ..Roasted Star Potatoes

  19. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. All I can say is that you really have my respect for choosing to find contentment and joy even when things may be difficult. Well, the good things that will come out of this is the closeness that you and your family will share, and having K grow up into someone who will not take things for granted. And at the end of the day, home is where the heart is. :) Hang in there!

  20. Rachel, I have come back to read this post many times. I often come across people whom I think complain too much over too little. You, on the other hand, are right on the opposite end of the spectrum, the pot at the end of the rainbow. Kudos to you. A warm hug for your son. And, if I knew your husband, I would grasp his hand and congratulate him on choosing the right woman as his wife.
    Leona Wong´s last blog post ..Ask and answer