A Glimpse of Tuscany

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We made a short stop in Siena on our Italy trip, so we tried to make the best of our day there.  I had always wanted to see the countryside of Tuscany, so we booked a wine tasting tour and explored the region of Chianti.  We saw cypress trees lined up and vineyards that stretched for miles.  I saw but a glimpse, but it was enough.

My highlights:

IMG_7915(Wine tasting)

IMG_7966(Visiting a castle for the first time)

IMG_7985(Having dinner in the Piazza del Campo)

IMG_7988(This panna cotta)

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The Art of Florence

IMG_7781Florence, for me, is the city that felt the most immersed in art and in it’s history.  And although Sean and I visited two of their most well-known museums, the city itself is filled with sculptures and street art (if you look closely).  The cobblestone streets, and the beautifully aged buildings that lined the Arno River made for the most picturesque sunset.

My highlights:

IMG_7492(Visiting the Uffizi)

IMG_7569(Having lunch at Fiorino D’oro)

IMG_7657 IMG_7690(Day trip to Pisa – We just missed the rain!)

IMG_7758(Seeing Michelangelo’s David at the L’accademia)

IMG_7825(The view from Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset)

Venetian Charm

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Sean and I went on a ten day trip through Italy this past June, and out of the five cities we visited, Venice was our favourite.  I will never forget the moment when we stepped out of the train station for the first time and saw the beauty that is Venice.  There is something so charming about the city, and although we went during peak season and the narrow streets were flooded with tourists, I still loved every minute of our time there.

My highlights:

IMG_7092(Wandering the streets and alleyways)

IMG_7441(Having a night cap with Sean at Cafe Florian in St. Mark’s Square)

IMG_7313 (Taking a day trip to Burano)

IMG_6752(Eating two cups of our favourite gelato every day)

Three years ago, today…

louhing-028Before God, we promised to have and to hold each other from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.  Today, our wedding vows mean more to me than the day we said them.  I imagine as each year passes and we continue to walk through the joys and trials of life together, those words will become more and more meaningful.

I feel so loved and cherished by my husband everyday, and to me, there could be no greater gift.

Tonight, Sean and I are celebrating with dinner reservations at a tapas and drinks place downtown to reminisce our honeymoon in Spain.  I can’t wait!

It’s you and me all the way, b!

Love you now and always,

Heesunee

A Birthday in Boston

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We spent Sean’s 27th birthday in early August with close friends slurping oysters back at the Island Creek Oyster Bar in downtown Boston.  We went on a mini-road trip together, and explored the harbour front, feasted on lobsters and clam chowder and walked into little Italy, Chinatown, and of course, wandered our way around Quincy Market where the boys had $3 pints and the girls had $1 sangrias.  We didn’t get a chance to catch a game at Fenway Park, but that’ll just have to wait until our next visit.

Sean and I have been friends since we were fifteen and sixteen, and for as long as I can remember, he’s been the kind-hearted, hard-working and patient guy that he is today.  He is intelligent, funny and charming, and always makes life an adventure.  I try to remind him often that I’m so proud of him for all that he has accomplished in his life, and I try not to take for granted how hard he works to give us the life that we have.  I believe that God has tremendous plans for Sean, and in his faithfulness, nothing will stop him from realizing the biggest of dreams.  Sean is the most loving husband, grateful son, faithful brother, and loyal friend.  I am so lucky to have this handsome guy for a husband, and so blessed to be loved by him everyday.

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Happy Birthday to you, b.

With all my love, Heesunee

“A Grief Observed” – C.S. Lewis

SCAN0000Recently, I was engrossed in a small and unassuming book entitled A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis.  It is a heartbreaking, and honest account of the great loss of a man who proclaimed his faith to the world and who wrote about his journey through grief.  Everyone’s grief is different (so I’m told), and I believe it to be true, but all pain is pain.  All sorrow is sorrow, and we grieve those that we’ve lost, because we loved them.

C.S. Lewis lost his wife.  My Dad lost his love of more than thirty-three years.  This is something I couldn’t possibly understand, but just as my heart breaks for losing my Mom, my heart breaks just as deeply for my Dad.  My Dad’s fridge is still always filled with apples, because my Mom loved apples.  My Dad has photos of my Mom all throughout their house and lovingly remembers her in our conversations.  If my Mom was here today, she would tell my Dad that she is so proud of him for all that he’s done on his own.  She’d tell him that he’s been so strong for our family and that he is a great example for his daughter.

This past May 12th would have been my parents 34th wedding anniversary.  I’m sure that they would be the first to tell you that their marriage wasn’t perfect, but their love for each other was real.  The day that Sean asked my parents for my hand in marriage, my Dad told him, “Marriage is not about compromise, it’s about sacrifice.”  And that sacrifice that my Dad was talking about is what I was so privileged to see my whole life.

This past Father’s Day I meant to publish this post, but it just sat in my draft folder, until now.  It’s difficult to put into words how much of an inspiration my Dad has been to me.  He has taken on the role of Dad and “Mom” and I know he tries very hard to help fill the void of not having my Mom here.  My Dad packs food for Sean and I just as my Mom had always done, he always insists on putting money in our hands to buy nice meals while we’re away, and he thinks of what to buy Sean for his birthday three months in advance.  My Dad’s courage to do things on his own, challenges me to be less afraid.  I know that my Dad purposefully does things to help me worry less about him, and for this, I’m grateful.

When I see what my Dad has endured, and the courage that he has shown, it gives me strength to live a fulfilling life, one that both my Dad and Mom would be proud of.  When in the midst of pain, it is difficult to focus on our blessings, but my relationship with my Dad is a true gift from God.  I think it’s safe to say that I have the best relationship a daughter could possibly have with her Dad.  When I was little, he was my favourite play-mate, and now as an adult, he is the one I turn to for advice.  For me, there could be no better example of courage, sacrifice and kindness than my Dad.

On a side note, my Dad’s jokes are some of the funniest, and my Mom was his number one fan.  She would laugh so hard that she could barely make out the joke when telling it to me.  I never got the joke because she would never make it to the punch-line, but I’ll never forget the sound of her laugh, thanks to my Dad.

Thankful for My Mom

Mom and Me

Mother’s Day was a week ago today.  For weeks leading up to the day, I would purposely avoid card stores, I would quickly walk through the mall so as not to see the multitude of signs saying “The Perfect Gift for Mom” or flip through commercials that talked about celebrating mothers.  I was scared that if I let myself, I would become overwhelmed.  The truth is, I miss my Mom. Everyday.  Sometimes I drive alone in my car thinking of her and tears will stream down my face.  Everyday, I look at her photo by my bedside and I wish that she could hear me.  She used to always say to me, “Everything will be okay, because Mom’s here,” and I often lay in bed wishing that I could hear her say those words again.

My Mom loved me more than life itself, and if anything will fill the void in my heart from not having her here, it’s remembering how loved I truly was.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to have had a Mom who’s love was so unconditional and so powerful, and I thank God that He gave me the greatest Mom that there ever was.

My Mom always said that she had two kids: Sean (her son) and me (her daughter).  She loved Sean as she would her own son, and if she had to pick sides, it would be his.  She would always tell me to be kind to him and to treat him well.  She would always make sure that she prepared dinners keeping his tastes in mind and pack us food for days when we didn’t feel like cooking.  If Sean wasn’t feeling well, she would ask me three times a day if he was okay.  If Sean ever needed anything, she wanted to get it for him.  I’m grateful that Sean saw the love that my Mom had for him, and that my Mom got to know and trust the man that I’d be spending the rest of my life with.

 

God also gave me the most loving mother-in-law.  Sean’s Mum has always treated me like a daughter, and if there’s any woman who I could trust next to my own Mom, it would be his.  I know that she prays for us and thinks of us, and when the world forgets that pain is ongoing, she remembers.  She bought me the most beautiful pink roses on Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate her, so that maybe it would brighten my day.  I know that if my Mom was here, she would be so thankful that she is a part of my life.  I never take for granted the love that I have gained through Sean’s family.

 

There are days when my heart aches because my Mom wasn’t here to see me graduate, or she won’t be here when Sean and I begin to start a family, but my Mom never missed a moment in twenty-four years of my life.  She always took jobs that made it possible for her to pick me up from school, she never missed any of my performances at school or at church, and every birthday was special because of her.  On my wedding day, the first time she saw me all made up, she held me and said I looked so beautiful.  In every special moment to come, I’ll be thinking of my Mom and how thankful I am that she wouldn’t have missed that moment for the world.