Category Archives: Wonders

The Art of Solitude

One of the skills I acquired from my solo travels was the art of solitude. Many times people had asked me “Aren’t you lonely?”, when we talked about my solo travels, and I would say yes, and no. I would be lying if I said never, as there are many times I wish there is someone with me to share a beautiful moment, to revel in a breathtaking view or to celebrate a serendipity. It is true that happiness shared is doubled. There were also times when I wished someone was there when I was down, or sick or in some kind of trouble. It is also true that sadness shared is halved.

Still, there are times when I really enjoyed the company of myself. There is no need for small talk, no need for compromise and no need for any sort of external interaction. You do not need any plans or any discussions, everything is done on the whim and in the moment just as you wish. These are one of the many good things about travelling solo. You just do what the hell you want and when.

But I digress, I am here to talk about the art of solitude. Besides my solo travels, I have also the opportunity to work with myself on a project and spent most of my time alone in the house trying to work things out and at the same time work myself out. I believe my prior short solo travels had helped me to cope with this solitary endeavour that I could never otherwise have done. After that I have also travelled extensively again alone to “find myself” and in the end, I went for a 10 days meditation to sort the whole mind thing out.

I am by nature an introvert, despite many friends would beg to differ, as I know myself. I spent many times in my childhood, after my interactive stint at my nanny’s, alone with myself and my thoughts. I pored over many books over many times, doing self-discovery in imaginary worlds with imaginary people or beings. I have no problem at all as a child living alone in the house in between school and when my family comes home. Now in this retrospect, I might have already honed the skills of solitude since then without realising it. Still, I was a child that was happy in her solitary explorations.

Solitude in Padova, Italy

Solitude in Padova, Italy

In solitude, one can understand oneself much better. Questioning one own’s thoughts and beliefs and not always in the mode of explaining yourself or trying to defend yourself, sometimes to a fault. It is also good to learn to be at peace with yourself. To accept things the way they are. To accept self the way you are. It is also good to understand how your mind works and your own strengths and weaknesses. With solitude comes the understanding of self and with that comes maturity and finally at some point, wisdom.

We can never truly master our own thoughts, meditation had thought me that much. I learnt to listen to my own thoughts and find that it has a mind of its own, pun sort of intended and that I don’t have that much control over it as I have thought before. Free will is an illusion and free thoughts are themselves elusive yet somehow a little creative. We know we make our thoughts but sometimes we ask, is it our thoughts that made us?

To this, I conclude, being able to appreciate solitary moments is one of the gifts of life. We were born alone in the womb* and we all die alone in the end. If we cannot reconcile this matter, we are then lost to ourselves. Although I do think that the meaning of our lives on this earth depends on others, the relationships and the difference we made in the lives of others, our true self is still inside ourselves. We are all interconnected yet we are also all individuals.

Love made the meaning of our lives here meaningful but solitude brings everything into perspective. Without it, we live without immersing, we sort of exist instead of conscious living. Only by accepting ourselves can we move to accept others in our lives and to give ourselves into theirs. Only by embracing solitude can we truly appreciate our relationships with others. Only by living alone can we truly live together with all the others.

* in exceptions to twins, triplets and so on.

Related readings:
Death
Life for Rent

Death.

What is death but not a reminder to live?

Where do we go after we die? Will we see the dead again? When will we die? And how would it be? That would be the question of everyone on the first encounter with death, especially of someone close to them.

I have asked this myself, time and time again, especially when my very own beloved grandmother, Ah Ma, passed away. I felt her leave as her body gave away. It was a strange feeling. Feeling of emptiness where a body now lays, only a shell. So yes, there must be a soul and our temporal physical body is nothing but a vehicle for us to experience this thing we call life. If death is such a natural part of birth and living, why then are we so afraid of it and why do we mourn about it?

“Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?”

Love
When we fall in love, it is like just like we say it, we fall. It is a sudden bang, a fall into the abyss of comforts. It hits us and then we are in it, envelope by happiness. Then everything seem more real, life seems more alive and you seem more you.

Grief
When we grief, it is a long and slow process. We do not fall. It is like standing at the edge, inching little by little towards the fall, but never truly getting there. The ledge appears at the news of a loved one’s death, but you never really believe it is there. Sometimes you brush against the tip of it and a huge darkness engulfs your heart. You knew deep inside that, that someone is gone, never again to be touched, to be laughed with, to be spoken to, and you weep.

Linger
Maybe sometimes we should allow grief to embrace us, and us to embrace it. To embrace pain is to acknowledge that we are only human. It is one of these moments that remind us truly where we stand in the grand scheme of things. We are nothing.

We are like a snowflake in a winter snowfall, a short glorious time when we get to descend onto earth, each with our own unique pattern. We shine in the reflection of the sun, we dance together with our fellows and we take over the land as we rest. Then we melt and became one again and then comes the time when we go back to where we came from, up in the clouds.

“…for you are dust, and to dust, you shall return”

To linger is to not discount the fact that the pain is real. To linger is not to discount the fact that the dead had once lived, and that the life is not gone after death. The memory remains in the ones you love.

“You die the second time when the last person who remembers you dies”

Now
So the only real meaning of this short snowlike existence is to love as furiously as you can and to leave as many good impressions to those around you as you can. How else is there to live in the knowing of one true end of every life, and that is death?

I think of my Ah Ma, now and then, and I believe I will never stop doing so.

“She crosses my mind like a spring cardinal that flies past the edge of your eye: startling, luminous, lovely, gone.”

My death
There will come a time when it is my turn to give away. To close my eyes and never have it open again. To go back to where I came from. To return and nourish the energy that sustains the universe, the everything.

“We die so that the world may continue to live.”

Quotes credits: John Updike, Genesis, Radiolab, Meghan O’Rourke and Sherwin B. Nuland. Also credits to brainpickings.org for many ruminations.

A Tribute to Ah Ma

Reposted from my food blog Tham Jiak
Previously published on 13 December 2005

I had many wonderful childhood memories with my father’s mother, who I called Ah Ma (Grandma in Hokkien). For one period of time, when I was 5, Ah Ma stayed with us in our rented house back in Taiping. That time, was when I had many quiet evenings with Ah Ma after my nursery school everyday. I still remember at one point of time, she was really into knitting, and would be sitting by the sofa everyday, knitting away. She would knit scarves, jacket and gloves, which she said is for my aunty and uncle away in Australia (we would never dream of wearing those in Malaysia’s hot weather, which would spell madness). I would usually sit by, just staring at her fascinated for hours. In due time, my impatience grew, and Ah Ma know she got to give me something to do or else I would not stay put. She gave me a knitting kit myself plus a block of wool and taught me the most basic in knitting. I set down to do my own version of a scarf. Well, I could not remember finishing a decent one, but little did I know, 7 years down the road, I would consult her again to refresh my memory and knit a scarf for my school project.

Then other times, when it was not knitting season, I would sit around listening to her talk. She taught me a lot of things, from general knowledge to stories of yesteryears. I even remember that I learnt to read the time from Ah Ma. For one, Ah Ma is very much educated unlike most old people here. I did not mean that old people here are uneducated, it is just that most of us Chinese here, at that time, does not have the luxury to get proper education and mostly would be working since young to feed themselves, like my mother’s mother who came from China. This is mainly because Ah Ma was born in a rich family and had proper education up till she was 12, where the war started and her whole family was forced to hide in plantations. From there, she had continued to read and learn herself. For a grandmother from her era, she can practically read any English book, watch documentaries and converse in it fluently, much to amazements of my friends. This is also partly because she is still quite young as she got married to my Ah Kong (Grandpa in Hokkien), when she was just merely 17.

From the stories I heard from her and also my dad and aunts, I had gather a pretty thorough life story of Ah Ma. Ah Ma is a first born in her family, and had been pretty bossy since young, acting as the big sister. She took care of her lot of young siblings and had assumed whole authority when the women and children had sought refuge in the plantations during war time. After that, peace came and the whole family moved out to town again (Taiping) and so happened she stayed right next door to my Ah Kong. Little did she know she would be marrying her neighbour, one of the richest man in Taiping, at the tender age of 17

My Ah Kong is another remarkable man. When he was just in his early twenties, his brother passed away leaving behind four children. Being a compassionate man, Ah Kong took them as his own kids and raised them the best he could. At that time, he was just venturing into tin ore business and he had already decided in his heart to just concentrate on career and treat all his nieces and nephews as his family. By the time he was nearly 30, he had became one of the most successful man in business. At that time, tin ore business is a flourishing in the rich soils of Taiping. So after being really stable in his business, someone decided it is time he thinks for himself. Therefore, he was introduced to the girl next door, my Ah Ma, and then, to make an arrange marriage short, they got married.

Ah Ma and I

Back to my Ah Ma, just imagine, at the age of 17, she was all of the sudden, married to a rich man and not only that, became a mother of four pretty grown up children. She could even be their sisters, but no, Ah Ma is more than that. For a young girl, she was pretty tough, trained from being a big sister since young, she assumes authority in the household quickly and took care of all the young ones. She then bears my Ah Kong, seven children all together, two daughters and five sons. It is a wonder how last time people can handle so many children altogether. I guess my Ah Ma had a big heart, as in overall, she would be giving love out to 11 kids now. According to Dad, Ah Ma treated them real strict, unlike how she had treated the 4 children earlier. Maybe it was her motherly instinct kicking in. Dad said, all of them would have to sit down to do their school work every night after dinner and no noise is allowed. By 9pm, all would have to be in bed and no objections allowed. Of course when they grew up, my Ah Ma tame down, don’t they always do?

As a grandmother, Ah Ma is a real softie. She had never once scolded any of her grandchildren and with her big heart still, she showered all of us with love. Once a while she does give some advice but she never nags for long. She had even taken care of my cousin brother his whole life, because his mother was away working in America.

Ah Ma cooks really good home cook food, we all says our home cook food is the best, and I guess it is true in our very own way. Food laboured with love is always the best. I am really lucky to be able to enjoy her cooking, as we stayed next to each other in Taiping, after the shift from the rented house. although she stopped cooking daily since my teens, for my uncles all objected it and wanted her to “heong fook” (which means enjoy prosperity) instead, she did whipped up some of my old favourites occasionally. One my favourite for all time is the Pork and Potato in Sweet Dark Soy Sauce. Oh, I must make it again, the way Ah Ma would, another worthy “exploring my origins” project. Ah Ma is not the type to cook fancy food. Her cooking style is in some ways like her roots, Cantonese, which is famous for simple yet delicious food. Cantonese people are good in bringing together simple few ingredients that complements real well and thus showcasing the authentic taste of each ingredient. It is never laden with spices, mostly just soy sauce or salt, as most flavours comes from the main ingredient itself. As far as I know, our famous Chinese soups mostly originated from the Cantonese who had brought together wholesome ingredients and brew to fuse all the wonderful flavours together which are light but a delight to the palate. It is from Ah Ma that I learnt to appreciate simple food, and I am really accustomed to food that is bland. When I go out to eat, I sometimes find food too salty or too sweet or too pungent. But of course, I still enjoy flavorful food laden with spices like the Indian and Malay cuisines, and some other more adventurous Chinese cuisines/ But when I seek for home cook food, I always crave for the simple fare of Ah Ma’s cooking.

Ah Ma had came a long way since, and now, as the oldest in the family tree, she is really well respected. During Chinese New Year, all relatives will gather at her house without fail. Every year, on the first day of New Year, her house would be full with relatives from far and wide, her brothers and sisters, her cousins, her four step-children and her own children, which all bring the next generations and some even with the following generations. Ah Ma had just become a great grandmother last month as my cousin; the first boy in the family just had a new born baby girl.

During the weekend, I had went back to celebrate Ah Ma’s 80th birthday, which was attended by relatives from near and far, even my aunt, uncle and cousin from Australia came back. We occupied about 3 wedding sized table, accounting to more than 30 people. What a bash it was and my dad had ordered nine dishes all together (which we found out that it was just too much later) and it was certainly a wonderful tummy-rubbing feast.


This video was posted in 2007 when I joined a food video competition, yes Ah Ma is cooking my favourite dish!


Related – Stories from the Heart: Ah Ma

Kaleidoscope, surreal living @ Ubud, Bali

I came to the chaotic and hippie Kaleidoscope from the rigid and structured Singapore, so it was pretty much a shock to me at the beginning. Nobody seems to be doing anything yet they seem to be doing many things. The whole place was painted with bright colours yet there seem to be a foreboding darkness. The quotes on the walls are inspirational yet the decays and molds are depressing. The place is full of people and calm energy yet it is somehow void of life and strength. There is so much going on with kids playing and people painting, planting and practising yoga, yet there is a sense of emptiness. It is full of mixed energies from the delusional to the inspirational. It is a bubbling cauldron of creations and destructions. It is somewhat like the surreal world where dreams and reality collide. The part where you see people pilling bricks on the crumbling wall of babel.

Kaleidoscope, Ubud, Bali

Home is where your heart is @ Kaleidoscope, Ubud, Bali

At night the place will turn into a magical place, when it is dark and you could not see all that is falling apart. What you have left is a peaceful house in the middle of a jungle, with the sounds of nature engulfing the place. I had an amazing discussion with some of the people at night, out in the jungle on the verandah. Heated debates in the cooling jungle breeze. The place starts to grow on me after I stayed the second night. Somehow you start to overlook all the dirt, the mess and the broken. You start to feel at home and just want to chill and do nothing much there. Unfortunately or fortunately, I still haven’t decide, I had to go anyhow because I would like to get some dip in the sea which I love before my short trip is done. I told the Australian hippie I debated over night with, that I had to go as the place starts to grow on me, and he commented later when he heard it again “ah so that is why you left, you are afraid of attachment”. Which he could be right, maybe I am running away from all the commitments and attachments? Maybe I am running from the sufferings or the fear of loss.

So I left the surreal Kaleidoscope. Now that I am reflecting back on it, it does put a smile on my face. As someone who loves surreal arts and surreal books, how much more beautiful it is than to experience surreality itself. Indeed it is not something you love at first sight, but with enough awe and appreciation you will see the beauty in it, the magic it brings to the people willing to surrender themselves into it. Kaleidoscope resembles life in a way, full of hopes and dreams and creations, yet there will always be destructions, imperfections and sufferings. Wabisabi, to see the beauty in the imperfect. Life can be wonderful and yet at the same time also suffering, maybe that is how it should be. The strife for dreams and creations despite all the loss and destructions is what makes life meaningful. So we beat on, day after day, like boats against the currents, to continue living the life that borders surreality.

Kaleidoscope, a community house in Ubud, Bali

Kaleidoscope, a community house in Ubud, Bali

My Nephew says the darnedest thing

“When I big like you d, you is it old like pho pho?” pho pho is grandma in Chinese

“Noooo” I’m not bout to agree I’ll be old so fast!

“Then you’re how?”

“When you big d…I’m just bigger”

Silence.

He turn to look at me, wide eyed. “Then you mah like giant?!?”

—-

If I Ever Had a Daughter

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her not to compromise herself. To know that she is worth it no matter what some people may try to show her otherwise.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her to follow her dreams even if it sounds ridiculous or impossible, cause if they are not then what dreams would it be?

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her not to care how others see her but care bout how she sees herself. Do things that will make yourself proud and don’t do things that make you feel worthless.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her she is beautiful no matter what the society depicts beauty is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not only me but many will find you beautiful as long as you smile from the soul.

If I ever had a daughter I will tell her to laugh, just laugh your hearts out and as loud as you like even if it is not ladylike, cause laughter is the door to heaven and only by embracing it you will feel real happiness.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her to throw caution to the wind sometimes and go for the adventure. Try things that you are afraid of, be bold and persist. The experience and reward at the end will be worth it, trust me.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her that you will fall in love and then be hurt real bad but fall in love anyway. If we don’t love and lost we will never learn the real meaning of being human. Without lost, we will never learn to appreciate love more. Be fearless when it comes to love. Love passionately even if it means it will hurt your deeply. Don’t give up on love.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her that it is alright not to know yourself, because life is a self-discovery. Learn all the time about yourself and know that you are changing all the time anyway.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her to lay her grounds, know her principles and stick by it through ups and downs. At the highest success be humble and at the lowest moments be strong and true.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell time is all we really had and sadly time is what we run out of too quickly too soon. Treasure your time, appreciate every moment and enjoy all the nows. They are all you have.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her that how you spend every day is how you spend your life. Choose your life wisely because you only have one chance to get it right.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her that to err is human, if you ever make mistakes too huge to forgive yourself, forgive anyway and learn to move on. You cannot erase the past but you can shape your future and choose what you do now. That is the most important.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her to follow her heart yet remember to let the head do some ruling. Sometimes the heart only knows the why but never really the how or when. Let the head be the sailor but your heart the compass.

If I ever had a daughter, I will tell her that if all else fails and even if the whole world is against her, I am always with her.

In my 20s I learn that…

Travel, it is the best education you can ever get.
Enjoy good coffee; cappuccino is good but when in doubt of the barista, get flat white. No sugar please.
Beer is actually really good and it is one of the best social drink.
Books are still the best thing that happened in this world.
Music second best.
Art is not just for the pretentious, find something you really appreciate, we are all different.
Money is just a means to an end and not the end to any means.
Just lying down staring at the stars will make you realize just how beautiful the world is and how small a part of it you are.
Flossing is crucial to your mouth hygiene.
Staring out into the horizon of the sea or from the mountain is one of the best soul cleansing tool.
Less you own the more freedom you have. Own less and experience more.
Change is the only constant.
There is so much suffering in this world yet there is nothing we can do about it.
Smile and greet strangers, you’ll be amaze how good it makes everyone feels.
if it’s appropriate, then strike up a conversation too, you will be pleasantly surprise by what comes out of it.
Time is the only real currency.
In the end, it is only those who stick around are worth it
and always be there for those you love, they are all you got.
It is tough to fulfil a childhood dream when possibilities were limitless, so far I have not learn how to fly
but you can actually make peace with your inner child and take up lessons to fly a plane instead.
Happiness is a state of mind, debatable by many, nevertheless I have learn how to constantly be in that state.
The world owes you nothing but you owe it to yourself to be who you want to be.
We are all just big kids and we never really grow up, we just need to pretend when we have kids of our own and when it’s their turn to pretend, you can become a kid again.
Fresh water is the best drink in the world.
Girl friends are your best accessories in this world
and they are probably the last you ever come by in this lifetime, so cherish them.
There are no chance encounters, those who touched you are meant to and likewise
so be compassionate and always be nice, you might only have one chance to make a difference in someone’s life.
Most opportunities only come once, seize it and ride the waves.
It’s better to love and lost than never to have loved at all.
It is ok to cry.
Feeling hurt and sad, with that tingling sensation engulfing the heart, reminds us that we are human.
Trust your intuition, it never lies.
Death is inevitable, and as soon as we embrace it only can we start truly living.
Hope is one of human’s greatest strength
Faith one of the most elusive.

Time and Space

As I walked back in the pouring rain, with wind blowing fiercely at me while I zip up my jacket and hold on tighter to the umbrella my good friend had just given me earlier, I couldn’t help but feel all snug and happy. Yes, in the most unlikely situation I am actually feeling really contented, almost as if I am snug under my duvet in my bed in the warmth. I had that blanketed sensation of comfort now in form of billowing wind and rain and cold.

I pattered on and as I passed the little field before the climb up the stairs to my newly rented apartment in Singapore, I heard the multitude of frogs crying loudly in the rain. It is exactly the same sound that I used to hear back in the days when I was a little kid studying in the back room of my home back in my hometown Taiping. I used to think it were cows crying in the raining night. Right at that moment I stopped right in my tracks as I traveled back in time to the little desk in my little room at the back of my little home in Taping. I stood right there in the middle of the storm and just let it all in, I feel that for a moment I had transcended time and space; I were in both different time and place in one moment.

Then I return to the present and I slowly started to climb up the stairs. I stopped at one of the steps and stare up to the dim lamp that is lightly illuminating the area. I have the sensation that at this moment I am committing a memory of this scene deep into the crevasses of my memory where someday in somewhere totally foreign and in a totally different time, there would be one little thing that would bring me traveling back in time to right at this space at this time. I just know it. I smiled to myself and continued once again up the stairs to my new home under the cold wind and pouring rain.

Cycle Everywhere : Persistence and Dreams

When I was young, I wanted a bicycle. I have always read about it, seen it in the movies and even once get to try out from my godsister’s bicycle (which I crashed into the gate while learning). From those times, I knew I wanted it. I want to have a bicycle. I want to have the freedom to cycle everywhere, sort of, not literally if I kid myself not.

Cycling on Old Wall of Xian, China

Cycling on Old Wall of Xian, China


So I planted the idea to my dad. But of course I would not be getting one immediately, no, my family could not afford that. That is why I had to let my dad know early towards my birthday. And as my birthday approaches, whenever he ask what I want, I would answer without a doubt – a bicycle. He would laugh at my persistence. The day comes and I went to him with a determined face. He was ready, bless him, and he took me to the bicycle shop. I get to choose from the cheapest range, a bicycle with a basket. It was nowhere the glory of the mountain bike that my god-sister have, but I didn’t mind. It’s a bicycle. That is all there is. In an innocence of a child, a bicycle is already a godsend. I chose mine in dark blue and as I lay my hands on it to push it out to the front, I was already in love before we even leave the shop.

And I cycled. Boy, did I cycled. My mum did not allow me to cycle out of the boundaries of my neighborhood, which actually means just a square of rows of houses. At that time I feel confined, I was supposed to cycle everywhere, but I didn’t mind, at least I could cycle. And little did I know, there are many ways to cycle around the same square, and many rounds you can take of the same route or not. I would cycle every weekend, both days, and I remember I would announce to my mum as I walked out and then I would cycle round and round and round. I could finish one round in 10 minutes and I would repeat for probably another 10 times, I don’t know, time does not matter then, only the sun does. As long the sun is there I continue to beat on and on with my little blue bike.

Cycling in Kampong Cham, Cambodia

Cycling in Kampong Cham, Cambodia

But before that, I remembered I had to learn how to cycle myself. Looking back, I am amazed by my own sheer of determination. I started with the little area of my house porch. Every day I would just move a few feet on it and would have to stop when I lose balance. Every day I inch a few more feet. I can’t remember how long it took for me to learn but soon I was able to cycle round and round my little porch, a porch that can only fit a car. So you can imagine when after I finally managed to convince my mum to release me to the neighborhood (though earlier I said confined me to it), it was heaven. The neighborhood became the ultimate playground and I was ecstatic. The little girl now can cycle everywhere, almost!

Long after as I have grown, and the bicycle had been relegated to a corner while I moved out to the city for my studies then my work, I no longer cycled. The city is no place for a bicycle, as we all know, and so it was not a need or a want. In fact, I was too busy discovering the new things in life and the new environment, now I am everywhere but without my bicycle. Little did I know, the time I finally go onto a bicycle again would be when I was traveling somewhere far away, somewhere unknown. When I got back onto a bicycle, a wave of familiar feeling rush over me while I was cycling through a place entirely foreign to me. It was nostalgic yet it was liberating, a new experience of an old feeling. I flashback to the time when I was inching feet by feet at my little porch and thank that persistence kid silently.

Cycling around Borobudur, Indonesia

Cycling around Borobudur, Indonesia

Then now I discover the joy of cycling again. As I traveled around the world, I cycled whenever I can. I just love the two wheels (apart from my first favourite choice which is my own feet as those are true freedom but that’s a post for another day). When I first went on my dream trip to the UK, I cycled around my godsister’s village discovering creeks and pastures of greens. When I was on a project in Netherlands, I rented a bicycle for a week to cycle to work, because I have been seeing everyone doing it and I could not envy no more and got myself one, then it got too cold by the end of the week to continue doing so. Then I cycled all the way from the town to the island of abandoned windmill and back, all in the cold. I cycled on an ancient wall circling an old city in China looking down at old houses and people. I cycled in a remote village in Cambodia in search of lost temples and elusive mountains. I cycled in the heart of Indonesia discovering villages and new hideout points to admire the gigantic ancient temple. I cycled around thousands and thousands of temples in Burma admiring them and chasing sunrise and sunsets.

Cycling in Bagan, Burma (Myanmar)

Cycling in Bagan, Burma (Myanmar)

Now I see that the little me was right then. Yes I wanted a bicycle to cycle everywhere, and so I did, I have cycled everywhere, and this time, literally.

My Favourite Phrases that is Not in English

C’est La Vie
French. Technically means such is life. When something happens in your life that is out of your expectation or control, you would have to accept it that such is life. Life has its own way sometimes.

Carpe Diem
French, meaning seize the moment. For those who embraces that life is short and that we should seize the moment as if it is our very last.

Wabisabi
Japanese. Seeing the beauty in imperfections. I love this phrase as it helps me to appreciate the little things, the ordinary things, and also the less than perfect things. If you can embrace it, you will see how truly beautiful life and the universe is in spite of reality.

Sine Qua Non
Latin. Means without which it cannot be or without which there is nothing. It applies to something or someone in life that you know if without, then all else cease to have meaning.

Namaste
Hindu/Nepalese with Sanskrit roots. Used for greetings among people with respect. In a deeper meaning and more eloquently describe, it meant acknowledging a soul in one as a soul in another; as it is believed that there is a divine spark in each of us. In this way you humble yourself to accept that we are no different from each other despite everything.

*to be updated as I stumble upon meaningful phrases