This Blog Turns 1!🎉

Exactly one year ago today, I embarked on this blogging journey to find my voice as a writer and to authentically document my life, as well as some of the new ideas I picked up along the way. Thank you for your loving and encouraging support through this work in progress—I am indescribably grateful.

A lot has happened this year, so I thought I would provide a quick follow-up on some events that I have mentioned but never wrote about again.


Spring has finally arrived in Vancouver! With the sun’s warmth and the crisp, sweet air infused with a mixture of blossoms, I am slowly emerging from my grief. Instead of aching from not ever being able to interact with my Grandparents, I have healed enough to appreciate the indelible love that will always be with me, now immortalized and transcending space and time.

Lifelong Learnership

I started my master’s degree but decided to take a break when my grandma’s health plummeted. I plan to return to it next fall, once I’ve cleared enough cognitive space for it.

Despite taking a break from school, I haven’t stopped learning altogether. I’ve learned from a myriad of other sources, from books to podcasts, and I would say it has been a fruitful year.

However, my most cherished learning experience this year has been the book club that we formed. It has been an indescribably intimate and invigorating experience, reading books through my friends’ eyes.

Closures and Reconciliations

Over the past year, two of my exes that I hadn’t heard from reached out to me. Although those chapters have long closed for me and I have found closure in my own way, it was still nice to hear their perspective on what had transpired.

Then, there was also this:

Part of me wants to help him get the closure he needs, but another part of me is unsure if there is anything I can offer. I feel that we have had enough conversations about why we didn’t and couldn’t work out, and the rest is up to him to let go?

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.

George Orwell

Where to Next?

Grappling with the deaths of my grandparents, some core aspects of myself were shaken. I assessed and reassessed the axioms that governed me and couldn’t be sure which ones I want to continue to hold onto.

What do I want to accomplish at the end of this journey that is life?
How do I want to contribute to this world?
Who do I want to have by my side?

As I continue to ruminate on these quintessential life questions, I will keep documenting them here.

Thank You💙

Thank you for being here: for your compassion in the past, and for your support in the future. I feel so fortunate to have this space to dock my thoughts—and on those days that were too heavy to soldier on—to have your warm comments to cheer me on.💙

My Scattered Brain

“You can’t see the future coming — not the terrors, for sure, but you also can’t see the wonders that are coming, the moments of light-soaked joy that await each of us.”

John Green

Sunday, Feb 12, 2023

Today I felt a strong urge to write. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to write, partly because work has been insanely busy, partly because I haven’t read or thought of an idea I felt compelled to share.

To be honest, I don’t have an intriguing idea to share this time either, just some half baked thoughts I wanted to park here, until further development. I am also an external processor, so perhaps by the end of this entry, some progress could have been made. Without further ado, I present to you: My Scattered Brain.

Chapter 1
Reconnecting With the “Love of My Life”

A couple months ago I started talking to my ex again, the one with whom I had pined to share the rest of my life’s adventures; the one who, when our relationship didn’t work out, I had to travel around the world so as to collect the remnants of my heart for nearly two years before I was ready to love again. Yeah, him. He, who, when I was finally no longer in love with, still felt envious of his new girlfriend who got to bask in his undivided attention, his warm, unfathomably grand, love.

I remember I used to rehearse our re-connection in my mind.
What would I say?
How would I feel?
Would he still be my kryptonite?
Did he still remember much about us?

You see, it had been a while since I last thought about our reunion, and so when he messaged, my heart naturally skipped a beat. A lot of feelings came flooding. I viscerally remembered the butterflies I felt each and every time I saw his name appearing on my notification. However, this time, after I searched in the depth of my heart, I realized it was nothing more than just a shadow reaction from the past. There was no part of me that want to be with him—ever—again.

We carried on a casual conversation, catching up on the last few years we had lost. We updated each other on our new adventures, shared some of our triumphs and failures in relationships, discussed our new investment strategies, and ways in which we have grown as people. The conversation flowed seamlessly, for, he is a great conversationalist. He was still the witty, well-read, and humorous; and while I could see how that could be so dangerously alluring and charming, I no longer felt any romantic spark. In fact, I felt relieved that I was no longer in that dynamic, in which I was regularly waiting for our reunion, since he was constantly traveling, constantly coming and going. I spent so much of my life yearning to be in his arms that I had missed so much of the life I was living.

Shortly after we started talking I knew, without resounding certainty that—he was not the love of my life.

Chapter 2
The Impermanence of Love

I often say, “the only constant in my life is change.” This paradox simultaneously bemuses me and terrifies me.

Perhaps, romantic love, too, is impermanent and fleeting.

Perhaps, there is no such thing as “the love of my life.” There is only, “the love of my life right now.”

It pains my heart to even remotely ruminate on the possibility of it being true.

What do you mean there is no such thing as the love of my life? I see it in the people around me, what do you mean I can’t have it, too?” my heart earnestly protested.

But maybe this adaptability is the double-edge sword of my life. While I can adequately pivot and let go of what no longer serves me, I also don’t get to savour the comforting reward of permanence.

Chapter 3
Karmic Cycles of Life, or the Lack Thereof

Friday, March 03, 2023

Clearly, I lost my train of thought from the last time I wrote, so I figured I’d start a new one.

In Jay Shetty’s 8 Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It, and Let It Go, he talks about this karmic cycle of love. The term “karmic” is not used in a supernatural sense, but rather in how our actions have natural consequences that can affect our relationships with others. He gave the example of lying about going to a party to a spouse, only to run into the spouse’s friend at the party and have their lie exposed. In this example, the “karmic” consequence of deceit would be a fracture in the trust of the relationship. It was an interesting take on “karma” but I am not sure if I fully agree with it.

In any case, that chapter of the book had me thinking about another one of my ex, one who cheated.

For over three and a half years, we were in a serious, committed relationship, and we made a great team. He was steadfast at building the next phase of his career, so while he focused on his work, I took care of the personal aspects of our life together. This included organizing (large) parties, buying gifts, and maintaining relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Our partnership was solid, and we complemented each other’s strengths. Together, we created a happy life that was filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories. We’d also attend networking events together, in which I’d be his wingwoman—a role I thoroughly loved and was good at.

It always felt like I was helping him build his empire, so after many conversations, we decided to buy a place together as a symbol of building a shared future.

I was naive to think a land deed would be enough to physically bind two people together. After he cheated on me, he suggested marriage as a way to fix things. But it was too late for me. I had already reached a point of no return. I could no longer envision myself sharing a life with someone who’d choose to hurt me so deeply for some short-term excitement. Upset and livid, he gave me two options: either buy out the entire property, which he knew I couldn’t afford, or sell my half to him at the original price, even though the value had increased since our purchase. Ultimately, I chose to sell my half to him.

I’m not sure if there were any karmic consequences for him. The place had nearly doubled in price, and his career still thriving. To be honest, I don’t wish any karmic consequence upon him either. I was just reminded of this past when I read about Jay Shetty’s take on karmic cycles. But as I said, this is just a scattered-brain entry.

Chapter 4

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Research finds the experience of keeping a secret is akin to carrying a physical weight.
How heavy are yours?

Some secrets can derail us from the people we aspire to be.
Are yours?

Who do you want to be?
Who do I want to be?

Dazed and Confused

My Andie

In the last month, a couple people have proffered that I be theirs.

“I want you to be mine,” they said, despite not having the slightest clue as to how they’d steward me. We don’t even claim ownership over a pet without knowing how to properly steward them, yet some men seem to think women would require less commitment than a pet?

I think I would have found it more romantic if they were to have first asked me what it’d take for me to remotely consider being theirs. But I guess that would have ended up nowhere either, for I would’ve shared with them this quote from Jane Eyre:

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will

Jane Eyre

Right. At this point, you probably think I am impossible. But I am not! I was once upon a time someone’s ‘My Andie’; though, it was a long time ago now.

I remembered how he used to call me “My Andie”—more notably, how I allowed him to call me his. I retraced our story back to the beginning, to figure out what was different about him, about that relationship.

He wasn’t the first (or the only) person who tried to call me theirs, but why he was the only one to whom I surrendered my independence?

I remembered the very first time when I landed in LAX, he was already waiting for me, flowers in his hands. He teared up when he saw me—long distance had that effect on lovers. He gave me an American SIM that was already paid for, in case I didn’t have a roaming plan. When I arrived at his, there were snacks and drinks that I had briefly mentioned previously in our conversations, crisp linens and fresh towels, as well as a few other small gifts that he had collected whenever he had thought of me—nothing extravagant but all ever so thoughtful: travel size lotion, a book, resistance bands for working out (because I used to use them every day).

When I come across pictures he’s taken of me, I’d see how profoundly loved I was through his eyes. Although we no longer have the same love for each other, it was the best souvenir he could’ve given me.

At that time he was still consulting for a firm, so every now and then he would have to go into the office for meetings. While he worked, I used to wander the city alone. He gave me his credit card, insistent that he took care of all my Uber and other expenses. I never used the card; it was never about the money. How much could Uber rides have cost? It was his generosity in offering me the best of his resources—time, attention, energy, affection, money—instead of what was leftover of them.

He understood both the hopeless romantic, as well as the pragmatic logistician in me, and meticulously planned our adventures accordingly—remembering all my travel preferences and dietary sensitivities. He took care of me down to every quantum detail.

I think it was in those quantum details that he’d won me over. It was the first, and only time, I felt someone else was invested in taking better care of me than I did myself. So when he called me his Andie, I relaxed into it, without much, or any, protest.

For the best of my life, I refuse to belong to anyone, or even to anywhere. I am ardent about being free. Don’t get me wrong, I have been in a few committed relationships, just not one in which I felt that I belonged to them. Even in my readings, I often resonate with characters that are transient in nature:

Other people were destined to keep leaving, over and over again.—Alix Ohlin


I should have known even then that the sea was written in him, that there would be some sort of leaving.— Let the Great World Spin

In my heart and mind, I feel unmoored, unanchored. Though, I still am unsure of why.

I wonder if it is because I am never fully willing to relinquish my fierce independence and unfettered freedom? Or, perhaps it is because I struggle to entrust myself to someone else?

And this, is how we have arrived at: Andie Untamed.

The Light We Carry

These days my heart and mind are at war.

While my mind is vehemently trying to rid me of my romanticism, my heart is shrieking in painful protest. As I attempt to re-evaluate the axioms that have governed how I used to best live my life, I have been met with a grave sense of loss, of angst. I am no longer certain that—loving well—is how I want to be remembered by.

My mind wrestles with questions such as:

“To whom does it matter how I loved?”

“What if I choose selfishness this time around, and prioritize my own desires first?”

“What if monogamous romantic relationships are just manipulated social constructs that religions use to puppet their believers? And my obstinate resolve in achieving them is only yielding me endless heartbreak and disillusion?”

When is enough, enough?”

Struggling to find my footing, I haven’t been able to find a book that consoles and anchors my heart, until I came across Michelle Obama‘s The Light We Carry. Her voice has served as a soothing and gentle reminder of the person I aspired to be.

When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it

–Michelle Obama

Through her words, I feel seen. I feel more at ease with how much my mind has been oscillating between “it’s all too much” and “I’ve got this”, between “I love LOVE” and “LOVE doesn’t pay bills”, so on and so forth.

I still have no concrete answer to my own questions, which means I am still standing at an impasse—the most psychologically excruciating place for my mind to be. But here I am, learning to sit in this discomfort once again, focusing on small things one day at a time.

So while the light within me may have been temporarily dimmed, I am on a quest to find the fire that will reignite my soul and set it alight once more.

Until then, THANK YOU for being a part of this journey with me. If you, too, are grappling between feeling overwhelmed and “I got this”, know that you are not alone! With one foot in front of the other, we are going to get there. Perhaps not at the timing that we would’ve liked, but we will get there. Keep shining❤️✨

How to Reassess Your Stagnant Beliefs and Make Your Life Extraordinary?

“This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we truly believe in, and those we never think to question.”

― Orson Scott Card

I recently came across this quote that has left my spirit rather restless.
When it comes to beliefs that I feel unapologetically convicted about, my confirmation bias tends to take over, rendering my judgements unreliable. How does one rectify one’s obstinate—and perhaps what ought to be obsolete—beliefs, to improve oneself?

Exhibit A of a Stagnant Belief of mine: My Romantic Ideologies.

I am a romantic, who pretends not to be. My personalities swing like pendulums between idealism and pragmatism. There are my hopes and dreams for people, for my relationships, for the future, and then there are my crude understanding of the reality. Whenever I hear stories about how relationships fail to work, I am reminded of the obsolescence of romanticism. Since I’ve read the quote above a few weeks ago, I have been seriously considering abandoning my romantic ideologies, I just haven’t quite figured out how yet.

And if I may be a hundred percent transparent, a huge part of me preemptively mourns and weeps for the loss of that romantic part of me. After all, if I am no longer a romantic, would I still be me?

Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.

– Alex Hormozi

This was another quote I came across recently that has really resonated with me. It has succinctly captured a powerful concept that I couldn’t quite articulate well myself; it is the notion that: both the quality AND quantity we invest into our goals define how successful we will be at it. Alex Hormozi said that doing 100 repetition of anything well, will result in noticeable improvements, however incremental it may be. It is not any one workout that we do is impressive, rather, the culmination of workouts that we day in and day out, devote ourselves to, that make a difference.

Have I devoted enough time and energy into the goals that I vehemently care about? Have you? If not, what we some of the accountability measures we can implement to ensure that we are doing our due diligence to be better, rather than waiting passively, praying and hoping that our desired goals would miraculously manifest themselves?

Showing up for myself💪


Friday night—lights dimmed, music loud, slightly inebriated, you saw him walking towards you. “Hey” he leaned in, his voice a rich baritone. “Can I buy you a drink?”

You caught a whiff of his cologne, musky sandalwood. Your favourite. You can feel the tinge of excitement in your chest, the very first telltale sign of a thrilling love adventure. “Sure,” you said, fervently containing your wandering mind.

He put his hand on your waist as he ordered a drink from the bartender. You took a closer look at him: fresh haircut, smooth complexion, understated designer pieces, crisp blazer without so much as a hairline wrinkle. You smiled, attempting to mask how much you appreciated his attention to detail, and taste in the finer things. But most importantly, how he fixed his gaze on you, how attentively he listened, how enamored he seemed—how special he made you feel.

One, then two, then three drinks later, your friends have already gone home. But the conversation was so scintillating, you couldn’t bring yourself to leave. So you stayed. You talked about investment, about travel, about exercise, about books, about all the things that enchant your heart. Before you know it, the bar was about to close.

“Wanna come over to my place for a couple more drinks? I am just a few minutes away.” he asked unassumingly and earnestly.

Your heart skipped a beat, partially at how fondly you have grown of him, partially at the impasse you are now faced with. “Do I go? What will I tell my husband?” What up to then had only been a fleeting flirtatious encounter has suddenly developed into something with potential. “It’s just a couple more drinks. There’s nothing wrong with making new friends as long as I don’t cross the line,” you nonchalantly convinced yourself, muffling out the voice in your head that was screaming, “YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE!”

Chocolate, Vanilla, Choose.

Recently I have learned an acronym “MBA”, which stands for Married But Available, that has unsettled me in unexpected ways. The concept in and of itself is repulsive to me. Being a hopeless romantic myself, raised in a family wherein my parents are engrossed (yes, engrossed, tunnel-visioned, head-over-heels, the whole nine yards) in each other, I am reluctant to imagine marital dynamic in any other fashion.

That said, I am not naive and oblivious to the realities of life. I understand that what my parents have is precious and rare, that in fact, most marriages are not like that. I also understand how easy it is to acquiesce to temptation. How, it is not about choosing to hurt the person you are married to, rather, it is just not choosing them. I’d like to believe that most people are not malicious nor cruel. If they cheat on their spouses, their intention was most likely to follow their heart, to indulge in the heat and to chase thrill of the moment.

What unsettled me was how easy it is to forgo these socially constructed moral guidelines, and how capable we are of unintentionally hurting the people that we care deeply about, just by chasing the desires of our heart.

Do you ever face temptations? Or are you unfazed by them?

What They Don’t Tell You About Death

“He passed peacefully in his sleep,” is what we tell our relatives when we inform them of Grandpa’s passing. It’s not not-true. Grandpa did pass away peacefully. But what was left out was the harrowing process of witnessing his life slowly diminish in front of our eyes. No one really talks about that aspect of death: the laboured breathing, the lips and extremities turning purple, the body cleansing itself of all its bowel contents, the vitals so weak that they cannot be measured by machines and therefore the families having to frequently hold a mirror underneath the nose of our loved one to detect their faint breath—or the lack thereof.

People also don’t talk about the intricate procedures that ensued immediately after the person passes. Who do you call to issue a death certificate? Where does the body go before it gets buried or cremated? What if you want a funeral with open-casket? Where do you find a respectful embalmer? Who will be writing the eulogies? What about religious rituals, if there were any?

How do grief-stricken families navigate all this?

And just when you finally made it through all the ceremonies, grief sets in—prodigiously and mercilessly. You start to notice the stark void that the people whom you loved had left behind.

She understood loss and how it leaves a hole in the soul that can never be filled.

Santa Montefiore

I wrote Grandpa’s eulogy on Saturday. As I recounted all the memories we shared, my brain was stuck in a loop. How can I effectively and succinctly encapsulate such love? How can anyone?

During the process of writing, I also reflected again on my own eulogy; as in, how do I want to be remembered? In teaching, we commonly employ Backward Design when we plan our units. (We take a look at all the curricular goals we want to achieve by the end of the year, and backward engineer our lessons to ensure we cover all necessary grounds.) So perhaps because it is already deeply steeped into my thinking process, I live my life by how I want to be remembered at the end of my life.

I want to be remembered as having love well.

What about you? What governs your behaviour and how you best live your life?

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

– Chuck Palahniuk

Briefly Gorgeous

Caution: You are about to enter a raw, unrefined, fragmented, still-being-processed post. It may induce great confusion and even frustration. Proceed at your own risk.
I am posting it this way because life is not neat and tidy, neither is how I feel right now.

Cheers, to vulnerability.

August 24, 2022

I retraced my footsteps back to exactly a year ago today, ordering the exact same drink, sitting on the exact same bench, and finished reading this book that I had started more than a year ago. Much has changed since then, though I am still fascinated by the idea of how one single act has the butterfly effect of changing the entire trajectory of one’s day, one’s year, and even one’s life.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, a year is short. But because life is what happens in the little moments, I am often caught in this paradoxical situation of focusing on the big picture while savouring the minute details.

A year ago today, I had recently broke up with my ex, to whom I was briefly engaged. I started dating casually and one of the people I was seeing suggested that we read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous together. So I did. I brought the book with me to other dates. Is it ironic that one of the dates that the book went on with me outlasted the person I was reading the book with?

While I am not a subscriber to “Everything Happens for a Reason”, I do think that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Some action-reaction, cause-and-effect, and the general proclivity of the atoms and molecules render us here. Though, this would also mean that free-will, may or may not be, just an illusion? Like I said, this post is written raw and unrefined. I will continue to ruminate on it.

Thank you for reading my irresponsible, scattered thoughts. I’ll be back with more eloquence next time!

We all fall prey to nonsense at times,
and sometimes, we are fool enough to even love it.

To Love or Be Loved


But that’s just my ego talking. I understand that the heart wants what it wants. It’s not always corroborated by logic. Besides, who says they’d want to be emphatically loved anyways? That is only my naive, simplistic assumption.

Most hypocritical of all: I, too, am guilty of letting the people who had emphatically loved me and cherished me go.

I am one of those said fools.

That is all. Just trying to hold the grief of my grandma, and ‘I Am Enough,’ in the same thought.

What would YOU choose? To love or be loved?

The sky became a screen, shot through with pinpricked stars. Beneath it, I felt small and lost.

—A House in the Sky

Rubicon, Point of No Return

Rubicon, also known as Point of No Return (PNR) was a reference dating way back to Julius Caesar, at River Rubicon, where he had reached a point from which he could only move forward and continue on with his current course.

Rubicon is a notion that is ubiquitous in our daily lives: from aviation, to investment strategies, to the biological markup of who we are (called R points, beyond which “cells are committed to DNA synthesis and they no longer require the extracellular growth factors during the remainder of the cell cycle”). Perhaps the only place where Rubicon does not concretely exist, is in our brain, due to the brain’s neuroplastic nature. However, in order to safeguard our sanity, it is not uncommon for people to set up arbitrary mental Rubicons. For instance, to avoid losing all of myself in a romantic relationship, I would implement Rubicons as a signal to my obstinate self to GIVE UP when things are too far gone, and my heart too far broken. Once I’ve arrived at my designated Rubicon, where I fully accepted and embraced a future without my partner in it, then the relationship would start its imminent countdown to the expiration date.

Oh and, let’s not forget, there is also:
Death—the ultimate Rubicon, the most irrevocable commitment to action.

alea iacta est (“the die is cast”)