It’s Time To Reflect And Look Forward

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NYE is the time for me to reflect and look forward…2015 is an amazing year for me. I’m grateful for receiving lots of wonderful surprises even though there are some unpredictable ups and downs in my life. I’m happy to find myself finally becoming the person I always wanted to be. To appreciate ups and downs in my life that I let it be my mentor to guide me walking in the path I envisioned. I know there is a long road ahead of me. Whatever it is, I’ll always smile through it.

Let me take a moment to appreciate each and every single one of you who has been greatly supportive of me. I believe I can finally be the person I always wanted to be is because of you. Your support and motivation encourages me to be the best I can be and keep doing what I love. Thank you very much!

Here I am wishing you a very Happy New Year! May you be blessed with bliss, love, good health, and prosperity! Enjoy! ❤

*Don’t know why my photo becomes all blurry…You can click to see a clearer picture if you are interested. 😉

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Reconnecting With My Birth Story – The Meaningful Dragon

I thank my mom for making Mid-Autumn Festival an extra special day for me. A day she wasn’t worried about how heavily pregnant she was to go out and celebrate the wonderful festival with her loving husband and her little princess right inside her tummy. A day she wasn’t worried about the troubles that may cause her if I decided to see the world on that day. All she wanted was to show me her love by taking me on an adventure to enjoy the spirits of the festival.

The curiosity of seeing what she saw on that day has been haunting me for a long time, but I never take the time to go out and enjoy the spirits of it until this year.

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I was trying to keep my expectation as low as possible, but the beautiful lights from Chinese wreath kept me thinking what would happen as I explored.

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Drum rolling perked up an exciting ambiance while keeping me awake from dreaming too much. Performers all started to entertain us by holding festive lanterns one by one.

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Fire Dragon Dance finally began after much anticipation. The smoke from the Dragon permeated the place while a thousand of people cheered the performance. Photographers ran up and down to capture the perfect moment. The place became much more chaotic than usual, but nothing could stop me from connecting with the Dragon. The Dragon that I saw as my mom – a powerful woman who lights up my life with laughter, love and kindness…whose Chinese horoscope happened to be a powerful Dragon as well…

The dance was short but memorable. People might forget it after some time, but the feelings of it kept growing on me.

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The smell of the smoke, the image of the dragon and the noise of cheering never seemed to fade away until I saw chains of festive lights shining in the darkness. A moment reminded me of the magic of the Universe. There are billions of people in the world, but I was long destined to be the daughter of my loving parents.

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Exploring the place with how proud I was to be their daughter made my adventure truly special. I didn’t know if it was coincidence. The place was somehow decorated with a traditional theme to make me feel as if I traveled back in time when I was still rolling inside my mom’s tummy. Neon signboards with some names that could only be seen back in the day and lanterns designed in a traditional way were presented in front of me all at once. Such a scene added a delighting note to my beautiful memories.

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I thought the delighting scene already wrapped up my night beautifully, but a joyous moment came in suddenly when I saw lion dance lanterns. It was colorful and moving that seemed to celebrate my birth.

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It was also a moment when I seemed to see my mom smiling and crying happily. Holding a fragile little me gently in her arms without forgetting to act as a powerful dragon to protect me from day 1 until now.

*Post note: You all know I already shared my birthday post here on WordPress. Mid-Autumn Festival is actually my lunar birthday. Although I rarely celebrate it, I think it would be amazing to dedicate this post to my parents especially my mom.

Porto Trip – Part 5 (The Art Of Wandering)

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The sound of seagulls squawking awakened the adventurous side of me. The one who usually prefers a well-planned travel itinerary finally changed for a day to experience the art of wandering. Wandering aimlessly left me extremely nervous at first, but then I learnt to trust the magic of Universe.

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Instead of planning where I should head to, I knew the path itself would lead me to where I supposed to be. Having a carefree mind while walking down the street allowed me to see things from a different perspective. The more I walked, the more I felt as if the whole city was smiling at me.

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I had no idea whether it was the positive energy I received from walking down the street or the magic of the Universe sent to the Cafe of my dream – Majestic Cafe. Whatever the case, I knew it must be a place where I meant to encounter.

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A sense of romance permeated the cafe – dimly chandeliers and Art Nouveau decorations were perfect settings to intoxicate anyone who walked in. I was almost drowned in the world of romance until their waitress woke me up from daydreaming to take my order.

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I would have gone back to daydreaming, but my order finally arrived. The smell of Rabanadas Majestic Style (French toast in Majestic Style) kept me awake and made me realized that it was the time to enjoy it.

I felt the love floating in my mouth when I first tasted it. Every bite of the French toast gave me delightful warmth and sweetness that melted my heart completely.

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The feeling of love left me wanting more…A cup of tea would be the best to complement the taste of the French toast, but a glass of Sangria was perfect to continue the feeling of love.

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When the Sangria traveled down my throat, I could feel the alcohol slowly running through my veins. A blurry image of Belle Époque kept flashing in my head…I couldn’t help it but to think of its old charm. It made me forget how busy the cafe was. It was a moment when everyone was frozen, except me and the cafe dancing to a romantic song.

“Excuse me! Would you like another drink?”, the waitress asked. There I knew I should leave my fantasy behind and let the magic of Universe take me to another destination.

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Just left the cafe, I saw a small crowd moving towards the same direction…I didn’t even question where they headed to, but simply followed them. After all the traveling, I reached a place where I believed it was a fairy tale. Grasses at its finest, trees at its tallest, sunbeam was caught by the luscious greens radiated a ray of hope.  However, nothing quite like the smell of seashore.

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I still couldn’t understand how the smell of it led me to a world with palm trees waving their hands in the breeze and clouds drifting in and out to catch my attention. I would like to stay here longer to enjoy the relaxing vibes, but the smell of seashore kept haunting my mind.

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The smell of it was no longer haunting my mind after I found my final destination – Pergola da Foz.

I stood aside to soak up the romantic atmosphere as a breeze gently touched my skin. It was a moment when I felt the presence of my Prince. He hugged me from behind while we listened to the sound of waves together. Our love seeped through every corner of the Pergola. There I knew the sparks we had would be ignited forever…

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It sat deep in my heart and kept me content when travelling back home. It also made me proud of myself getting out of my comfort zone to experience the art of wandering.

The experience of wandering changed my perspective about traveling. It left me more than just romance. It was a gift with treasures – the unexpected, the excitement, the joy and the love were all wrapped in one.

Overwhelming Birthday Love

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I believe I was the luckiest birthday girl. Before my clock was hitting 12am HK time (my official birthday 18th September), a good friend of mine from Sydney already said me happy birthday via whatsapp at 12am Sydney time. Then, I received “red eggs” and red pockets from my mum early in the morning. My birthday blessings had never stopped. In fact, it was just the beginning. I was overwhelmed to receive tons of birthday messages from friends, family, relatives and you guys (my fellow bloggers and Instagram friends). I even got lovely friends doing birthday prayers for me. Can someone pinch my face and tell me it was real?

My lovely friends took me to a popular restaurant later that day. I rarely go to pub/bar/club as I don’t usually drink. Even if I drink, I tend to choose cocktails with a light amount of alcohol. However, I must say the mini bar section of this restaurant looked pretty cool.

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Starting my birthday night with drinking a glass of pineapple infused iced tea. Can you believe that I actually stayed sober on my birthday? 😀 In fact, I ordered Mojito as my drink at first (I would love to order Virgin Mojito if they have). It tasted nothing like a regular Mojito and all I could taste was alcohol which I wasn’t a fan of. JK insisted to swap the drink with me since it was my birthday. How lucky I was!!! The pineapple infused iced tea didn’t disappoint me at all. It was ice-cold and a bit tangy exactly how I liked it.

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I thought it would be cool to show you some of the food we had that night. However, the color of lighting kept changing a whole night and I wasn’t able to take a good shot of all the food. Well, I guess you already had an idea of what we had by just looking at these few pictures.

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We were very full after having our dinner and it was time for us to enjoy the beautiful view here. Well, I wish they cleaned their windows properly so that you could see how beautiful it was.

Honestly, I was already very happy that they treated me to a nice dinner. But, they decided to make me even happier by giving me a birthday bouquet. I was speechless to see how stunning it was and it even had my favorite white roses in it.

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The most speechless moment came in when they asked the waiter to serve me the most beautiful birthday cake I’ve ever seen. Massive thanks to JK who designed the graphic and got it tailed-made at the cake shop. It was not only beautiful, but it also had wonderful meanings behind it. As they know how much I love traveling, hot air balloon and the globe were especially designed to wish me travel around the world as my job. Honestly, my eyes were getting teary to receive this meaningful birthday cake. I was completely stuck in the moment of awesomeness.

P.S. All the birthday wishes and surprises I received truly made my birthday an unforgettable one. I’m beyond blessed to be spoiled by all of you. My sincere thanks to you all for making me the happiest and luckiest birthday girl!!! ❤

More Than Just My Birthday

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I know very well not everyone take his or her birthday seriously, but I’m quite the opposite. Birthday has always been a big thing to me. It is not only my birthday, but also a day to appreciate my parents bringing me to this beautiful world. Obviously, it is not the only day I appreciate it but it just has a special meaning.

I celebrate my birthday each year as usual, but somehow I just wanted to make it extra special last year and thus I decided blogging. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I got to know all of you my amazing friends who give me love and support through ups and downs of my life. Taking your time to read, comment, like, and even send me personal emails. I know it can be very time-consuming, but none of you never stopped doing so because of that. Your support has been my greatest motivation to keep doing what I am doing. This has been an amazing journey for me. It allows me to connect with you through art, photography, and stories. Most importantly, it allows me to stay true to who I am.

Although it is my birthday today, it is no longer my birthday. I would like to make it our birthday as to thank each of you (my fellow bloggers and Instagram friends) for all your love and support.

Let’s get the birthday celebration started!!! 😉 Shall we?

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My mum started celebrating my birthday by giving me “red eggs” and red pockets for a few years already. It is a very traditional way to celebrate birthday in Chinese culture. She usually places it in front of my room door so that I can feel the joy of it early in the morning. As we are celebrating our birthday together, please come and take a bite. Don’t forget to take your red pockets! 😉

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The best part of the traditional birthday celebration this year is the birthday note my mum left me. “Wish you (piggy younger sister) a happy birthday and a good health!”, written by piggy mama. I always call my mum piggy mama, but never thought she would take it seriously. How cute she is!!! 🙂

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Well, it’s my birthday so how can I not to treat myself with a nice birthday gift especially when I haven’t created any digital art pieces for a long time?!?!?

I would like to stick to the birthday theme “red” and thus the art piece I created was mainly covered with a red color. Also, the color of red often symbolizes luck and joy in our culture. I think it’s perfect to wish myself/you a wonderful year with good luck and joy. What makes even more special was the original photo itself. It was taken during my Porto trip, which I see it as a trip of “dream comes true”. Using this particular photo as a base for creating this digital art is to advocate the positive thoughts of “dreams can always come true”.  With me looking up to intensify the meaning behind the art – hope is always around.  All these positive meanings were well blended in this art will sure make this year filled with dreams, hope and happiness.

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Apart from birthday gift and celebration, I think it would be awesome to show you how I looked like as a baby. I don’t mind to share it, but please make a promise to me not to laugh at how chubby I was. 😀 I always ask my mum what she had when she was having me in her belly to make me this chubby. I looked more like a ball than a baby seriously lol. 😛

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I was not only  a chubby ball, but also  a happy baby. I kept eating, laughing and sleeping most of the time.

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I told you that birthday is a big thing to me (to my family and relatives also). Look how excited we were when blowing out all the candles before sharing the birthday cake!

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From left to right – my elder brother, elder cousin brother, younger cousin brother, me

Not only did we like to celebrate birthday together, but we also liked going to the park together. Let me tell you a secret (shh…please don’t tell anyone). I saw my younger cousin brother as my future husband while he saw me as his future wife at that time.  Obviously, the dream has remained as a dream. He is already happily married.

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Wish us a wonderful birthday! 🙂 🙂 🙂

*Sorry for not making this post as cohesive as I can, but I was way too happy and I had no idea what I was doing lol! But well, one thing for sure I would like to give you a big thumb up for being my amazing friends!!! ❤

Porto Trip – Part 4 (A Tribute To My Beloved Grandparents)

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The moment I saw this elderly couple at the winery, I couldn’t help it but to think of my grandparents. They always wanted travel together, but they never had a chance to do so. My grandfather spent more than half of his life on earning money to raise his family. By the time he earned enough to retire, his health started to deteriorate unable to travel. I know I can’t turn back the hands of time and make him alive to travel with grandma, but I would like to dedicate this post to them.

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They could hardly sleep last night as they were too excited to visit winery. By the time they arrived the winery, they acted as if it was their first school trip. Their vast curiosity encouraged them to keep looking around and touching whatever it was around them.

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Their inner active child had never stopped until it was the time for wine tasting. They sat patiently and waited to be served with the wine. Both of them coincidentally took a small sniff of the wine and swirled it before tasting.  When each sip of the wine slowly evaporated in their mouth, they started remembering the first wine they had together at their wedding.

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All good memories kept flashing in their head. Then, he looked at the window when hugging her from behind.  ‘Remember what I promised you when little princess was born?’, he asked. She looked down and nodded with a smile on her face.

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I was surprised to find out the promise he made was to have a boat trip with us. What made me even more surprised was he already started channeling my travel desire on the day I was born. The mesmerizing picture of peaceful Douro River, colorful Porto boats and magnificent Dom Luís I Bridge altogether was the main reason why I wanted to travel to Porto 2 years ago.

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They asked me to sit in between them and held my hands tightly when enjoying an amazing view of Douro River. I almost felt bad to be in this position until I saw how satisfied they were. I guess it just reminded them of the wonderful time they had when I was very little. Although they seemed to be living in their good old memories, they never forgot to teach me a life lesson as usual. “Never be afraid of all the challenging bridges you may face in your life because they will always teach you something valuable”, they pointed at the bridges we saw during our trip and said.

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As I saw how much they enjoyed teaching me a life lesson, I somehow felt like teaching them how to say “hi” in English. They were shy to say it at first, but eventually took the courage to say it aloud to the travelers on another boat “hhh…Hi”.  However, our trip was about to end. They both obviously seemed a bit upset about it, so I offered them a cable car ride to cheer them up.

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Luckily, they accepted my offer with full of excitement. He gently held our hands when we first entered the cable car. He even asked grandma to lean on his chest if she ever felt scared of the ride. I knew she wasn’t scared at all, but she still pretended to be just to make him feel good.

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I thought it would be awesome to capture the moment when she leaned on his chest, but they stopped me doing it immediately. They took a picture of me instead. It was sweet to see him using his left hand to hold half of my camera while she used her right hand to hold the other half of it. “It feels good to see you’re all grown up now”, they looked at me with tears in their eyes and said. What they said completely melted my heart and made me promise to myself to be the best granddaughter as I could be.

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I never made empty promises and therefore I took them to Miradouro da Serra do Pilar to make them even happier after the cable car ride. It was a place where they could enjoy a panoramic view of Porto. They were speechless to see how breathtaking it looked and asked me to pinch their face to ensure what they saw was real. I knew It was the time for them to spend some quality time with each other.

I sat aside soaking up the sun to be grateful for having them as my grandparents. All they did for me was more than just memories. I believe it will make me a better person.

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Time flies when you’re having fun. I couldn’t believe the sun started to set. All boats decided to rest after working hard for a whole day. Threads of yellow and orange lights in the sky slowly prepared us for a romantic night. Clouds kept rolling in to cover Porto with darkness gradually.

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When the city was covered by a complete darkness, city lights glistened as twinkling stars in the sky.  It became much more romantic than usual to allure them coming closer to the river. He wrapped her in his arms as a gentle breeze brushed up their face. ‘You will always be the woman of my life’, he looked at her with sparks in his eyes and said.  She couldn’t react, but to be deeply intoxicated by his love.

 

Travel Throwback Series – Amsterdam Part 2

Many people asked me why Amsterdam is one of the places I like the most. As cliche as it sounds, the reasons why I love Amsterdam so much simply because of its delicious food, wonderful people and how beautiful it is.

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Meeting a cute furry friend was a big surprise of my trip – honestly,  not all cats are friendly to strangers but I was fortunate enough to meet this cutie pie. He acted like we’ve been friends forever allowing me to massage him, play with him, take pictures with him…He was happy with whatever I did. 🙂

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Although cats have always been the love of my life, delicious food definitely holds a special place in my heart. How can you resist the temptation when they are trying to seduce you? lol 😛

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Wandering around the city, I realized the charm Amsterdam has isn’t only its beauty but also how much it can change. At some busy spots, you will see people busy running errands. At the touristy areas, you will see people are busy striking a pose for photos. What I found amusing the most was the time when walking pass “I amsterdam” letters, people went crazy climbing up and down the letters just to show how cool they looked in photos.

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After having seen the busy side of Amsterdam, I didn’t expect it to become all quiet and serene just few blocks down the road. With the scene of serene and light breeze, I immediately closed my eyes to enjoy the moment. That peaceful moment sat deep in my heart gently wiping all my worries away.

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With peace of mind, I continued to wander. There I found a rapid change in Amsterdam again. From it was all quiet and serene to a vibrant city. Hot pink roses were at full bloom while green leaves turned luscious green. Flags of different countries were not only hung to show respect, but also revealed the vibrancy of each country.

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After exploring the city continuously, the sun started to set. It was the time when the romantic vibes started to emerge as well.

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The true romance emerged in the dark with beautiful lights being reflected in the river.

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Under the romantic atmosphere and with the help of cupid, the couple couldn’t care less about the thoughts of others…kissing passionately…Me as a witness could only be a jealous girl with the wish of same wonder happened on me. Unfortunately, nothing happened. 😦

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Without the help of cupid, I could only treat myself to have some ice-cream 😛 I was having the ice-cream with my heart and soul just to take my bitterness away.

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Voila! Instantly became a happy Khloe (you can never underestimate the magic of dessert) lol 😀

I had so much fun doing Amsterdam throwback series, but sadly the series have already come to the end. However, I’ll do another travel throwback series so stay tuned for that! Enjoy your day my lovely friends! 🙂

When Spring Brings In Good Old Memories

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I always thought what I love the most about Spring was only when the plants went luscious green and the flowers started blooming. It is a scene I always fancy since it gives me rejuvenating feelings which I feel like everything has begun to reborn. I still have the same feelings about it. However, my thoughts about Spring has changed slightly when I walked pass Clausena Lansium tree my grandfather planted unintentionally long back. He threw a seed of Clausena Lansium in our backyard after having the fruits of Clausena Lansium more than twenty years ago and it somehow grew into a big Clausena Lansium tree. Unfortunately, he can’t be here to see this tree is still going strong even after so many years. However, I’m glad that my grandfather left this precious gift to my grandmother who can still feel his presence and spirits through this luscious tree. I know it means more than just a gift. In fact, it is what feeds her soul. It seriously means a lot to her. I truly hope the tree keeps growing healthily! Also, I would like to thank the sun and the bees for taking extra care of this precious tree apart from the massive amount of care she has been putting into! ❤ Moreover, I would like to thank Spring for bringing me good old memories which made it extra special! 😉

The Sweetest Love

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My grandma has never changed a bit from I was a kid until now. She has always been genuine, loving and caring. She always spent a massive amount of time taking care of my grandfather who had stroke and diabetes before I was born. His physical movement had become limited and he needed to use a wheelchair if he wanted to go somewhere a bit far after having the stroke. He also needed to follow a special diet because of diabetes. My grandma knew she couldn’t take him back to the time when he had no stroke and diabetes, but all she knew was taking good care of him might prevent his case to go worse. From that time onwards, she handled everything related to him from a simple daily activity to a more complicated tasks. She helped him to put on his clothes and bathe. She was fully in charge of his diet to ensure every single meal he had was nutritious enough  to keep him healthy. She took him to a hospital for constant regular check-ups and wherever he wanted to go. Anything could help comfort him and make him happy, she would do it without any complaints.

Unfortunately, he had his second stroke which left him unconscious when I  was only 7 years old. Even though he was in a serious condition, my grandma was very strong and she didn’t cry a single tear. She just focused on praying hard for him and hope he would get better. He finally became conscious after a week something and told her to be well-prepared if anything happened to him again. Then, he passed away 2 days after. Although she didn’t cry much, I knew it was the toughest time of her life to lose someone she loves the most in a short period of time. I must say she was incredibly strong. She remained positive and went back to her regular routines of taking care of my brother and I right after the funeral. It was a time when my grandma and I started to develop a great bond between each other. One day, I told my grandma that I wanted to sleep with her. In fact, I didn’t want her to feel lonely without my grandfather sleeping next to her. She started to feel the love I have for her and taking good care of me has become one of her favorite things to do. She took me to school, made me delicious meals, buy me toys that I wanted…Gradually, my happiness has become all that matters to her. All these years, she wants nothing but to see me happy.

As her 92nd birthday is approaching, I’ve been stressing on what to buy her lately.  However, there is nothing she is lack of in terms of all the material things. I figured making her a hand-made birthday card with the digital art I made and other photos we took together is much more meaningful than anything else. Choosing this artwork with me smiling for the birthday card is most appropriate as she loves to see my smiling face. My smile is a reflection of all the hard work she put into making me happy. The messy background represents how much she protected me from all the noises that might be harmful to me in order to keep me happy. This artwork will be an artwork represented the love between us is unconditional and the love I received from her is the sweetest love I’ve ever had in my life.

I love you grandma!!! ❤

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With love,

xoxoxo your granddaughter Khloe ❤ 🙂 ❤