If you follow this blog, you’ll know that my sister Mimi is an integral part of my life. More than half of my blog posts includes or mentions her in one way or another. That’s because she’s the closest person to me besides my husband, and much of my life experiences have been shared with her….even though she lives thousands of miles away from me.
Mimi is not just my sister. She is my confidante, my role model, and my best friend. I’ve looked up to her my whole life, even during a period of time when we had very different goals in our vastly different lives. When we were little, I was always at her heels, admiring everything she did and eagerly following suit. When we were teenagers, I did everything I could to get her attention, secretly hoping she’d still find me as a fun companion amidst her expanding group of friends in school. When she was off the college, I found excuses to drive 4 hours down to San Luis Obispo to visit. When she married off to Hong Kong right after college, I felt an immense grief to see her leave. That grief turned to anger and disappointment which I bottled up for years.
In hindsight, I was angry that I lost my best friend. I was angry she chose to leave, and disappointed that climbing up the corporate ladder was more important to her than her little sis. Yes, I was in my “me me me” mode, and I very much wished I could stomp my feet, throw a tantrum, and had her close to me again. Life didn’t seem very fair at the time.
We stayed in touch mostly by phone (that was 17 years ago) but in reality, we grew further and further apart. I was too busy finishing off my college degree at Cal and partying, while Mimi became more and more successful in her investment banking world. We saw each other a few times a year, but even when we were physically together, our relationship wasn’t quite the same. I no longer felt like I could confide in her, nor could I count on her to understand me. Her values and goals as an overachiever were not things I could relate to.
Fast forward to 2006, when we both became pregnant, and for the first time in 12 years, we were living in close proximity to one another again, because Mimi decided to give birth in the States. Without the pressure of work, my sister became the fun loving and happy person that she once was, and we spent precious time together preparing ourselves for motherhood. I think we spent nearly everyday together for 2 months before the girls were born. Those were, without a doubt, some of my best lifetime memories.
Mimi and Brianne left for Hong Kong right after Brianne turned 1 month old. I must have cried for weeks. As hard as it was to send my sister off after graduation in 1997, it was a million times harder to send her and my newborn niece off in 2007. I was simply devastated that we weren’t able to raise our daughters together in one city.
Ofcourse, life goes on, whether we like it or not. We kept up with each other by phone, email, and social media. We sent each other photos of our babies almost daily, and shared funny stories. Then, my sister went back to her high powered and demanding job at Goldman Sachs and once again reverted back to being a fierce tiger. Apparently, such traits are essential to survive in Hong Kong. I was disappointed once again. I didn’t understand her values. Her outlook of life and what it means didn’t align with mine one bit. I didn’t like the way she talked to people. Her fuse was short to none, and I found myself constantly tip toeing around her so that I wouldn’t tick her off. Time spent with her became stressful for me. I still loved her dearly, but couldn’t help wondering where the “real” Mimi went. She had a lot of money and power, lived in a beautiful ocean view house, had a chauffeur and live-in maid, drove fancy cars, and went on luxurious vacations….but yet, I could tell she was not happy at all. In fact, I could sense just how miserable and empty she was inside, and that was incredibly saddening for me. I wanted so badly to help her recognize the old adage that “money cannot buy you happiness” but I was at a loss of what to say or do.
And then, a miracle happened in 2012. And as with all miracles, it was actually God’s amazing plan for us. I won’t go through the entire story, but in short, Mimi quit her job, moved here with Brianne for a year to work on a start up, failed (which, by the way, was the best thing that happened to her), got baptized as a devoted Christian, and changed her entire outlook to life.
The most amazing part? I was around to witness it all. It’s true that it’s very hard for people (especially adults) to change, but it’s equally true that if you try hard enough, you will seek the change you want for yourself. My sister is living proof of that. Her strong faith in God helped her to see things differently. She took action to live a happier, and more fulfilling life….a purposeful life with God at the center of her heart.
Talk about a transformation. The once tough, aggressive Mimi who had zero patience for anyone and anything that got in her way began to soften up. The once impatient Mimi who found most enjoyable things in life to be a “waste of time” began to slow down to smell the flowers. She began to view people and things in a different lens. A gentler, prettier lens. She began to appreciate the little things in life…simple picnics with the girls, baking in the kitchen, quiet walks, painting and writing. Perhaps it wasn’t so much a transformation than it was a reveal of whom she’d been all along, that genuine self that was buried deeply underneath her strive to “succeed” by our society’s terms.
I’m so happy for my sister, because she’s able to do what so many of us desire to do, but are afraid to. She’s still the role model for me as I struggle to find a healthy balance in my life. Today, Mimi is a full-time wife and mother, writes a weekly column about love, relationships and parenting for Apple Daily, and is heavily involved with her church. I’m her biggest fan, and reading her articles on a weekly basis just wasn’t enough for me, so I began encouraging her to start her own blog, where the depth of her writing wouldn’t be restricted to a certain number of word requirements. She’s got such an intriguing and observant perspective to life right now which I think many of us can relate to and benefit from. In her new blog, she writes in both Chinese and English, and besides sharing her own perspectives, she has guest bloggers (including yours truly!) write on various topics as well.
With that….I invite you to hop on over to Mimi’s new blog! Enjoy!!