My Heart // Our Story


To You,

It doesn’t take much. A quick thought; a small memory; a reminder of where I’m from. It doesn’t take much for me to feel every emotion rush to my eyes that then smile with pride, while tearing up over lost time. Every memory leads to a story over someone truly wonderful and giving and wise.

No one person is perfect, that’s just not a thing. But he shined in his imperfections like every star that fills the night sky. He was and is my star, and even though he’s gone, he’s never left me or my family behind. The pride I have over his name, his voice, his fight and his smile is what solidifies my strength, my kindness, my mind and my story. He held tradition high, yet could step back to make criticism over the wrong doing of a country. He may have missed many family dinners, but he was busy working three jobs to spread food amongst all the tables. He may have broken my heart the day he didn’t come home, but he’s helped it grow every day since he passed.

In a time where people are hateful towards fellow humans; judgmental over skin color or gender or love choices; and ignorant towards refugees, immigrants, and minorities — All I can say is that my father was an Asian man; He was stateless at one point and an immigrant a few times over; He washed dishes throughout med school and helped so many when needed. My father epitomizes what so many are fearful of, and that carries on in me and my siblings. He was my father on earth and my angel since June 8, 1992. And so every year I re-introduce my father to you, because his story is ongoing and we’ll never let it stop.

Dad – as with every day that passes, I love and miss you, now and always xoxo

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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For my Husband and his Lady Love


“Her absence is no more emphatic in those places than anywhere else. It’s not local at all. I suppose if one were forbidden all salt one wouldn’t notice it much more in any one food more than another. Eating in general would be different, every day, at every meal. It is like that. The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

-C.S. Lewis,Β A Grief Observed

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xo

1992


To You,

Twenty-five years ago my father left this earth leaving behind more life and influence than can possibly be comprehended. I didn’t know then, but my father was soon to be the dream I forever chased throughout this world to continue his story of a life lived. Twenty-five years is a long time. Seven years is not in comparison to the extent that a human has the capability to live. I was 7 when my dad passed, and yet his stories have made it so that I’ve come to know him through every year of his shortened life.

He passed 25 years ago, and yet his life has extended a quarter century past his last breath. I have said so much about my father over these past years, and I don’t think I will ever be able to tell the story of his life to the extent that it is felt within my brother, sister, and I. He had his fears, and his faults; he was a specimen of health and strength, and although cancer and progressive illness took him away with a sweeping attack, it did not end his life and as such, his battle was never lost.

You see, he still lives in every story we tell, and in the many stories we have yet to write. Our life is not just ours to live, and when we live with the beauty and truth that my father’s life effervesced, our own chapters are then engraved onto every soul we choose to love. Twenty-five years ago we thought his life was over. But little did he know that his life was the perfect beginning to many more stories to come. And man, have we got some stories to tell.

Dad – as always – this one’s for you.

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Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

 

 

 

All the love to the Mamas


Yeah this one right here goes out to all the baby’s mamas, mamas
Mamas, mamas, baby mamas, mamas“…

To You,

A short little somethin’ somethin’ to wish all the mamas out there a Happy & Wonderful Mother’s Day! For all of you who mother, provide care, take care, and nurture – this day is for you, and we thank you πŸ™‚

And to my mama, the legend that she is – I’ll never know how you raised three out-of-the-box children to adulthood and beyond, and not one of us has been incarcerated to this day… it’s truly a miracle. You let us be us (whether that was best for society or not), and kept us polite, responsible, and appreciative. The only mistake you made was making us fearless, and that’s how you ended up with all three of us living in different continents, pursuing lives worth living and stories worth telling πŸ˜‰

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My ma proved that there is no excuse for laziness, no excuse for not being there for your family, and zero excuses for giving up. To us, everyday is mother’s day because she’s not stopped once to give us everything we could possibly need to survive our stories. …Including sending me side cash for my cheese fund – like I said, she gets what the real necessities in life are.

So to my Ma – Happy Mother’s Day! And enjoy your adventures in Australia πŸ™‚

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Departure Zone B


engagement

Three years ago.
A weekend in Chicago.
A marathon run.
Loud restaurants and big crowds.
A lost debit card.
Tourists at the galleries.

Bus rides to Indy.
Foiled plans.
A closed museum.
A long ride to the airport.

One plane ticket home.
A ring in a pocket.
The departure lounge of an airport.
A proposal.
A ‘Yes’.
A missed flight home.

Me + You on our immigration journey Home.

xo

Home Movies


To You,

The father of one of my best mates captured some video footage of our wedding ceremony back in April 2016. A few months later we received the homemade video clips on a couple CDs in the mail, and I clipped them together to make a wee home movie of our memorable day with music from my processional playing over the background noise.

It ain’t nothing fancy, but it’s just as sweet and true as any other wedding movie.

So please, take a few minutes to enjoy how we and a few family and friends spent a lovely Sunday in April.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

4.17.2016


To You,

On April 17, 2016, Patrick and I renewed our vows in a wedding and post-immigration celebration in front of our family and friends. We originally married on February 13, 2014 which commenced a whirlwind of immigration processing, and so this year we were finally able to round up the troops to celebrate in proper fashion.

With 52 of our closest family and friends who were able to attend, we held a ceremony and reception at the Strongwater Food & Spirits in Columbus, OH. We had guests travel in from the Midwest, East coast, West coast, Canada, England, and Australia for the occasion and I could not feel more blessed by the love and support of these few. To have my family in attendance was more than wonderful. To see my childhood friends in attendance was wonderful. To see my support group from my old workplace in attendance was wonderful.

There were many tears, lots of laughs, and good memories all around. And here are some pics that we’re finally able to share πŸ™‚

Thank you to everyone,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Photographer: David Morris, Indianapolis
Dress: Vera Wang White Collection purchased off TradesyVeil: Melinda Rose Designs, Made in the USA
Groom’s Suit: Custom design from Surmesur in Toronto
Bridesmaids’ Suits: Custom design from Surmesur in Toronto
Shoes: My mother’s wedding shoes
Jewelry: Family jewels lent my by family
Venue: Strongwater Food & Spirits in Columbus, OH
Flowers: Rose and Bredl in Columbus, OH
Hair & Make-up: Stylists from The Salon and Salon You in Belleville, ON

“To Chhuon”


It’s a rare and beautiful thing to come across a human being who can influence your entire life without even being around to see it; a person who can give you the encouragement to take risks without being able to be there to give you the push; a person who presents an endless series of stories without being able to tell you a single one.

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We speak of him often. His siblings and family share his stories of growing up, of traveling, of living life. His beautiful endeavours of raising his children, taking care of his wife, and planning ahead for our lives well beyond his. His selfless love provided in his profession and his home.

Although I continue to search for the words, there hasn’t been one that fully encapsulates his presence and affect. A fighter, a traveler, a dreamer, a creator, a hero, a friend, a doctor, a brother, a son, a husband, a father. I carry his heart, his dreams, his story. His name. There is no greater role that I have been given the gift to carry out than that of being his daughter.

Dad, I love you now and always. And 24 years on, not a day goes by that we don’t miss you. So here’s to you.

Love, Me xo

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1,348 days worth raising your glass to


To You,

Time goes by pretty fast when you’re having fun. Or so I’ve heard. Apparently, it can also go by pretty fast when you’re asking yourself “what the hell am I doing here” nearly everyday for a few months, followed by another few months of, “I cannot believe I moved here..”, to “how did we make it this long apart?” So, to each their own, you know.. time passes in happiness and misery.

[What a useless life motto, eh?]

..But, in the end, we are here. And I did move here. And we did somehow make it this long apart.

One thousand three hundred and forty eight days.

I started dating Patrick in June 2011. We were together nearly everyday from then until September 2011 when I moved to England for my postgraduate studies. And we didn’t live in the same country until those 1,348 days later.

[My well spoken husband just chimed in with, “Yeah! F*ck you, cheaters!” He’s sweet like that. And committed. And does not take kindly to anyone who uses long distance as an excuse for their infidelities.]

Today marks one year since I was legally able to immigrate and move to the United States (seriously – I still have to look at this handsome bloke’s face beside me to remind myself why sometimes). It has been a difficult year for me (sometimes, his pretty face doesn’t do it… that’s when I remind myself that airports still exist to take me places away from here). We were married nearly 1.5 years before we moved in together for the first time, and that in itself is amazingly euphoric. Like, euphoric as in when you take some hallucinogens, and everything is sparkly and floaty and bright, and then the walls start caving in and zombies are taking over the neighborhood and have already claimed your right leg as their own. (My husband just reminded me that I can’t speak from experience. But I’ve had some gnarly cold medicine before.. and ooo boy lemme tell you stories!….)

Long story short, I cannot put our relationship into words. I cannot rationalize our time spent apart. I will never be able to explain the pain and stress and complete exhaustion we endured to get here. People who know me know that I do not take marriage lightly. I don’t take relationships lightly. And when I left Patrick in Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2011, I did not say good-bye lightly.

In reality, we are not meant to be. We’re not “soul mates”. We did not promise to make this work, no matter how long it took. We took each day just as that – day by day. And each day that we built upon a strong foundation of trust, we committed to each other that much more.Β  It was hell. It’s still not easy. But, as my husband gives me a bouquet of flowers and simply states “I’m glad you’re here”, it reminds me that we have come a long way. Only few can appreciate this. But they’re a good few. πŸ™‚

Thanks for having me, babe.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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2011, Chicago O’Hare

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June 2012, London, UK

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February 2014, USA

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February 2014, USA

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May 31, 2015 – U.S. Border

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April 17, 2016 – USA

Why, hello there!


To You,

This would be so much better if I had some thought-provoking, influential words to re-introduce these writings to you. Like, Adele lyrics-good. Or something to the extent of a Ghandi speech; a robust collective of sentimental sentences to make your eyeballs shed those salty tears.

But I don’t. I’ve been off for around 7 months, and honestly, I hadn’t realized it had been that long! There’s been so much chaos.. of mundane events.. crazy dullness.. like, insane day-to-day happenings. Basically, I’ve been learning how to have a day-to-day relationship with my husband, and oddly enough, it’s been exhausting. We’ve been so used the ridiculous situation we were in for 4 years of long distance, and now that we’re in one homely abode, we’ve been trying to adjust to the normalcy. Dinners together. Drives to work. Grocery shopping. So, although for us it’s been nuts, emotional, and overwhelming, for you it would have been stories on the craziness of cooking up some leftovers together. And staying in watching an episode of Making a Murderer on Netflix. (Okay, to be honest, it may have been like 4-6 episodes in one sitting..Yeah.)

I’ll be re-capping on what we’ve been through, creative projects we’re working on, and all the other weird stories on what it’s like to move in with your spouse after being married for 18 months.

But today – it was time to come back, because yesterday was our 2-year wedding anniversary. And remembering what we have been through together, and still realizing that there are few people who really understand what we’ve been through, I got that itch. Not like an uncomfortable itch that requires an ointment or anything – I’m not here to get that personal with you folks. But that itch to get back to writing. We have Part II of our wedding coming up in a couple of months where close friends and family have been invited to celebrate our journey, and come together for us to thank them personally for being there for us, and supporting us through what has been scientifically proven to cause complete insanity, and be diagnosed as a case of plain stupidity. But yesterday, we celebrated our wedding anniversary together which we were not able to do last year due to immigration processing. And so here I am, remembering how this blog came into fruition over 4 years ago.

There are no words that really sum up how yesterday felt. We’ve had a couple of truly rough months which are smoothing out gradually, and yesterday emphasized the amount of work we have put into this relationship, and how hard it has been. No amount of trust, respect, admiration, support, and love has been spared throughout our relationship. We have invested our life into each other these past four years, something we don’t recommend to others to do ever, but something we will never regret nor take for granted.

So I’ll leave this here with some lovely photos to cheese this shit up some more πŸ˜‰ I’ll be back, keeping this blog thing up again. No more slacking for this lass!

Lots of love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Everybody needs a little sunshine in their life. And Corgis. Sunshine and corgis.


To You,

My Mr. Husband-Face and Corgi-child Emma Bear made an unexpected trip up to Canada to support me through some unexpected stress surrounding immigration last week. I will follow-up with a post regarding the unbelievable stress we endured and conquered during that week, but for now some photos I snapped with my dad’s 35mm Chinon from our well-needed hike through the Little Bluff Conservation Area in Picton, Ontario.

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Beautiful day for a hike, chip trucks, and good ol’ fashioned fresh air.

Peace,

Lots of love, Vic Louise xoxoxo

First Year


One year momento. I photographed my ring with my dress. xo

Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  One year momento. I photographed my ring with my dress. xo

To You,

I’m not a huge birthday person – I don’t get excited for my birthday, and truly haven’t celebrated it in quite a few years. Other people’s birthdays I excite over, but never really my own (although my husband wishes to change this for me).

But today, I am excited. I have been giddy all week looking like a crazy person experiencing drug induced euphoria! Today is my one year wedding anniversary! One year ago I went to Indianapolis with mostly family and a couple co-workers knowing that I was eloping and marrying my most favorite of people πŸ™‚

I have been emotional and down these past few weeks knowing that my beloved husband-face and I would not be able to see each other for our first anniversary as a married couple, but over the past few days I am just elated to say that I have been married to this amazing, studly, inspiring, super-awesome-cool-dude of a husband, Mr. Husband-Face for one year. It has been one of the hardest years – mentally and emotionally – with going through immigration and marriage apart. But today we can celebrate our achievements as a couple. I am so privileged to know this man, to call him my best friend and to forever call him my husband.

Happy Anniversary to Us! We have fought hard through this past year – and that deserves a few smiles πŸ™‚

Much love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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Flowers from my husband-face.

Flowers from my husband-face.

2014: The Year of Commitment, Change, Challenge, and Corgis (but really – what year isn’t the year of Corgis, right?)


To You,

2014 was hard. It was lovely, and it was challenging, and it was hard. 2014 for me was the beginning of truly realizing the value and the triumph of commitment, love, and relationships. It was a year where I’ve begun to realize that perhaps my personal relationships with friends – new and old – went to the wayside a little bit, but only due to the true commitment I chose to put towards my first year of marriage, a long-distanced marriage. I’ve lost consistent touch with some, but my husband and I have been through so much together these past few years of being a couple, and now together in marriage I had to choose to put all I possibly could into getting through this year of immigration with him. They say the first year is the hardest – but it’s not, really if you ask me. Every year from here on out we will have to choose how much we wish to commit to our lives together, not just in the first. Our first year of being married I will say is the toughest as it sits in its own category of having to endure our first year completely apart without knowing how long this process of me moving to the U.S to be with my husband and step-daughter will take. But if nothing else, 2014 was the year I chose to commit to my husband, dedicate all my time into building a long-distance however solid relationship with my step-daughter, and pushing myself to figure out how to be a solid wife to my husband from afar. I want this year to be over, but not because I don’t value all that its challenged me with and taught me along the way, but because 2014 was battled through only to commence a triumphant 2015 with my husband.

So, cheers to you and yours this New Year’s Eve! I hope the culmination of 2014 brings many learned lessons to your growth, and that 2015 only makes you stronger.

Much Love to you all!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo new years 2014fb3fb6fb9IMG_9811_Small163Small_Indy201420140614_130542rain3Thanksgiving2014_6_webThanksgiving2014_15_webIndyOct2014-6_small47dec2014

A gorgeous book from my husband. Arrow through the heart, indeed.

A gorgeous book from my husband. Arrow through the heart, indeed.

A little box filled with things of "home" sent from Idaho - from her home, my future home, and my ancestral home.

A little box filled with things of “home” sent from Idaho – from her home, my future home, and my ancestral home.

xoxo

Thanks For Listening, Babe


To You,

The people that listen to you are the people you need to keep around. And it’s not just about hearing you, but understanding and responding to what it is that you say. Nowadays people listen, engage, and disperse, never really absorbing the words that flow from your chords… but when someone does – let your heart and head appreciate those individuals. I’ve had some rough days dealing with immigration woes and difficulties surrounding the limitations this situation deals me, and I’m in need of a friend, my best friend, to be there for me. He always is, never a doubt, but this past week he demonstrated the ideals of what a best friend and partner should be. What we should all attain to be – as a wife, what I always work hard to be.

On Sunday of last week, my husband surprised me by showing up to my workplace with a coffee in hand and my insanely missed Corgi in tow. Not only did I desperately need a coffee, but my husband as well πŸ˜‰ He surprised me by planning a trip up here for 5 days, and it was the happiest I had been in a long time. I’ve needed his company so badly these past few months, having many miserable nights unable to sleep, unable to deal with silly immigration stress. And there he was, a huge smile on his face and a coffee in hand, here to hang out with his wife for a few days. Amazeballs.

It’s been hard this holiday season knowing I wouldn’t be seeing him or my step-daughter, but just him showing up here made my heart giddy πŸ™‚ This man is my favourite, my bestest, my heart, and my smile. And to make things even more sappy, I came home from work on Tuesday to him decorating my apartment with Christmas lights and garland – as he put it, maybe I would feel more at home and cheery looking at holiday decorations this next week.

7 6Best friends listen. They absorb, and they respond. He’s not perfect. And he can definitely be a wee bit of a jerk every now and again, but as I told him, he’s the most wonderful husband because everything he did for me this week was everything I needed from anybody as of late, and he was the one to respond. He always is. And I always will for him.

3 4 8 dec2014Happy Days to all of you, always!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Canadian Thanksgiving in the Good Ol’ US of A


I spent my Canadian Thanksgiving this year with my husband and step-daughter in Indiana, something of which we have never celebrated together, and of course, something that bewildered my 7-year-old American step-daughter. Although for the first portion of the weekend she would refer to it as “Thanksgiving” while explicitly demonstrating strongly accented quotation marks with her little fingers when using the term, by the end of the weekend she was excited to confuse her classmates the next day with Thanksgiving leftovers and homemade apple pie (win for Canada). It was a beautiful weekend starting out with watching her last soccer game of the season, and then heading to the apple orchard to stock up on pie-worthy apples and apple cider and prepping for our feast the following day. I’m lucky to have married an amazing chef of a husband (I use the term lucky, but let’s face it – good cooking skills were a part of the marrying criteria), and he assisted me in cooking a beautiful organic chicken (no turkeys to be found this time of year) with an apple brandy basting mix (amazing recipe found here )

xo

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My husband’s lovely neighbours caught wind of us celebrating my national holiday, and brought us over this deliciously plated greetings!Thanksgiving2014_7_web Thanksgiving2014_18_web Thanksgiving2014_17_web Thanksgiving2014_19_web Thanksgiving2014_14_web Thanksgiving2014_15_web Thanksgiving2014_23_web Thanksgiving2014_26_web