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About Me

About Me
CrystalPhuong.net is a Personal Style & Travel Blog based in Singapore, written by Crystal Phuong. The blog was nominated FOUR times in Top 10 Best Fashion Blogs in the annual Singapore Blog Award from 2012- 2015, voted as one of the Best Lifestyle Blogs in Singapore in 2013 by Hotelclub.com, and Best Travel Blogs in 2016 by Foodpanda.com. Crystal hopes to connect and inspire young women to lead a healthy and happy life. Be confident, be positive, and be kind.
Showing posts with label Love-life story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love-life story. Show all posts


Let me start this post with a punch line: I'm engaged! 

Over the last 17 years since I left Vietnam, I have listened to the question "When will you get married?" countless times. My simple answer was, "One day, I'll talk about marriage when I'm ready." Today is the day. 

Every Lunar New Year, the same question came up again from multiple people. Whenever my parents introduced me to their friends, after the question, "How old is she?", "What's she doing?" was "Is she married?". First, I was ok as I was used to it. It's my culture. Then, I got irritated when people started telling me how to live my life and advising me, "You quickly find a husband, have kids, and take care of the family. Don't work too much and travel too much." It got worse when people made jokes about women who are 30 years old and above unmarried being left on the shelf pass the "expiry date." How did I deal with these jokes? I ignored. 

In Vietnam and other Asian countries, many women want to get married because they are under family and societal pressure; they want to have kids by a certain age, change their passports by getting married to a foreign man, and want to change their life. Growing up in a country where marriage is a must-be done by a certain age, I fell into the same belief that marriage is the ultimate life goal of a woman. I set an ideal timeline for myself when I'd like to get married. 23, 25, 27. 29 years old. Those are considered auspicious ages for a girl to get married. I tried to follow this advice, but I failed. Every time I failed, I questioned myself, "Why?". Dad told me that I was too stubborn, too strong. He was very worried about me. Mom said I should be more realistic, less picky, and stop daydreaming. Then, some of my married friends told me, "If you want to find a husband, he might be boring. As long as he takes care of you, it's good enough. If you want to have a fun, passionate, and adventurous type of man, they'll always have commitment issues. You need to lower your expectation."

For years, I've been wondering, "Am I too demanding?", "Should I be more accommodating in the relationship?" "Should I reduce the number of boxes on my "Ideal Husband" list?", "Do I have a commitment issue?" After running away from a few marriage proposals, at 30, I started questioning myself, "Why do I want to get married?". Then, I came up with several reasons. I wanted to get married because I was getting older, I wanted to get married because my parents wanted to get married. I wanted to get married so that I could have a better life. I wanted to get married because I wanted to have kids. I wanted to get married so I could get a new passport. Lastly, I wanted to get married because I wanted to wear a wedding dress (this is the silliest one). 

Nothing's wrong with the reasons above. Everyone's needs are different, and everyone has the right to decide what works best for them. But when I took a step back and looked at what marriage really meant to me, I realized these were the wrong reasons for me to get married. By the time I turned 35, my view on marriage had changed, and so did my ideal type of life partner. Family, relatives, and friends stopped asking me when I'd get married (they got tired eventually). My parents slowly understood my perspectives. I'm not the typical, traditional Asian woman whose life and happiness depend on her husband. I have my own life and decide who deserves the VIP ticket to join me on this ride. I stopped comparing my life with people my age who married early and now have 2-3 grown-up kids with a big house and car.

Everyone has their timing. I'm not ahead or behind. I'm where exactly I need to be. Instead of waiting for my future husband to show up, I chose to focus on my career, finance, mental and physical health, and happiness. Work became my best friend to distract me from the negative thoughts about the unforeseeable future. I was at the mental stage that I would be fine being single if I couldn't find anyone worth getting married to. I no longer want to get married so I can have financial stability. I make and manage my own money. If I want to have kids, many options are available nowadays for single moms-wanna-be. I don't need a man to make me happy because I'm already happy being alone. If someone comes along who adds more value, more fun, and more experiences to my life, that's great! If not, I'd rather fly solo. I'm not asking for millions of dollars in their bank account, a big house, a car, a business class ticket, or luxury vacations. Integrity, kindness, intelligence, love, open communication, and patience are some qualities I was hoping to see in a man. Why would I need to lower my expectations to meet somebody's low standards? I found it hard to understand that advice.

I stopped talking about my love life publicly 7 years ago. Not because I didn't want to or believe in love. I feared it would end quickly as soon as I made the relationship public. It happened a few times in the past, making me think that some evil spirits from another universe cursed me. Despite going through many heart-breaking experiences and ups and downs in the relationship, I still believe in true love. I believe there is someone out there who is my equal and made just for me, someone who loves wholeheartedly and cares deeply, who is compassionate, respectful, loyal, and truthful. I just hadn't met him yet, I thought. But I was wrong. 

I already met him 13 years ago. I'll share the story about how we met in another blog post. Despite the short first meeting, the unique situation of how we met, the timezone difference, and the thousands of miles apart, we remained friends. He was the one who always reached out to wish me Happy Birthday and Happy New Year and checked in to see if I was ok. I kept him in the friend zone for a long time until one fine day in 2022; we met again after five years at a train station. It felt like coming home. I felt safe, comfortable, and free. I didn't have to hold the weight of the world inside me. I didn't have to tiptoe around him and filter my words before communicating. He watched me grow from the young girl who struggled to find out what I wanted in life to the woman I am now, who knows what I want and goes for it. I was so busy looking for a Prince Charming, not realize he was walking side by side with me all these years. 

To my fiance, thank you for showering me with a ridiculous amount of love every day. You accept me for who I am and are forever my number 1 fan (this is your words). You laugh at my silly jokes, cheer me on my tough days, and show me how easy yet profound love can be. I can't help but think we were made for each other. God is good. He let us go through many "tests" and made us become a better version of ourselves before we met each other again. I'm excited about our next chapter together, and I can't wait to marry my best friend! 

This is the easiest Yes I've ever said in my life. 

To all the girls and women out there who are still hoping to find your Prince Charming, don't give up Hope. Everything will happen when the time is right. Greg & I first met in 2009, but we didn't end up being together until 2022. Don't change so people will like you. Change only to improve yourself. Be yourself, and the right people will find you. Good luck! 

Crystal Phuong

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Story written on Vietnamese Women's Day 20th Oct

Story written on Vietnamese Women's Day 20th Oct

She was born in a small poor village far away from the Hanoi capital in the years of 1950s. That was the time the war was going on fiercely everywhere in Vietnam. Her childhood was nothing besides taking care of another 1 younger brother and sister and running away from bombs and ammunition while her mom was caught and tortured barbarously by the enemy. But that couldn't stop the small girl to grow up and became one of the most beautiful ladies in that village. Many guys wanted to date her out but she didn't really feel for anyone except for the guy next village who always dressed up neatly and came to play with her brother. She then moved. They got married in 1978 without many dates. A year later, the husband had to join the army and left her alone with 4 months pregnancy. She carried herself and baby through all the hard time with monthly salary just around $20. There was the period that she ate boiled eggs and banana everyday not just for herself while hungry but also for the baby growing up in her body. She didn't complain even a single word about her carefree mother-in-law also to her mother. She stood on her own strength to deliver the first child without her husband asides. Two years later, her husband went back to share with her all the pains and heaviness of life. She then felt better because at least she wasn't alone even though her husband wasn't the type of caring and sweet men. She didn't wish for that, she just wanted him to stay with her, to share with her all difficulties. That's her happiness. They then had another daughter next 2 years. This time, life wasn't that bad. Her job seemed stable and got her good income. She became the main income source of her family as her husband happened to be retrenched. He volunteered to be house-husband to take care of the kids. But Luck didn't stay long with them. Due to some serious politic problems in her company, she was forced to retire early without any benefit. The whole family fell down as if from the sky to the ground and this forced an active woman like her had to stay at home and took care of her kids again for the husband went out to look for a job. He luckily got a job as long journey-bus driver from the North to the South. Each journey would take him a week to come back home. Sleeplessness, tiring, pressuring consistently plus lacking money for the family's spending, the husband became so easy to explode. He was hot-tempered before and now it was worse. He got angry with her every time from the smallest thing which did not get into his way or if she didn't obey him. Perhaps, it's because he was over-stressed and felt that he was the only one who earned for family and the wife did nothing. They were having a fight everytime he went back home til the 2 children were scared and hated their father so much. They thought "Mom did nothing wrong but Dad kept scolding her". Until the extend, she coudn't take it any longer. She decided to divorce, to release herself. Putting the divorce letter on the table, she asked the husband to sign on. They fought again and the husband insisted not to do so. She didn't care because it was not important to her anymore. It was enough for her. "From the day I gave birth our first son until today, we have had 2 children, I never get any care from your mom. What about yourself! Not even a single word to ask "What do you want? How do you feel? It's nothing besides cursing, beating and pressuring me. I cant take it anymore"- she said in tears. Her husband didn't say any word even though he wanted her to stay back, but his man ego prevented him doing so. She walked out but the moment she saw her 15 years old son and 11 years old daughter were kneeing down at the main door, crying so hard that they couldnt speak a proper word: "Mom, please don't go, don't leave us"....She coudn't control herself anymore. Hugging the two kids so tightly, she was just like them crying non-stop. And then, she took the luggage, went back the room again. At this moment, she knew that her heart was death. She just lived for the sake of her childrens. That's all! ......to be continue
21st Oct: Updated part II:
Day by day, the two children also grew up. They seemed understand that something went wrong between Dad and Mon that's why they tried their best to behave well in front of Mom and Dad just to make sure that they wouldn't quarrel because of them. Mom became so quiet. She still took care of family well but they hardly saw a sweet and loving smile of Mom for Daddy anymore. But yet, she didn't complain anything. After the day she wrote a divorce letter, her husband seemed very shocked at her reaction even though he didn't speak it out. Perhaps he couldn't realized how much suffer his wife had to undergo, and how bad his temper was...He silently changed himself a bit but still owed her a "Sorry". After 5 years being a bus driver, the husband had a chance to change job as his friend recommended him to do a new business. But this business didn't go well as they expected. After it failed, the friend ran away to leave the couple with many debts, tons of steel and old machine which couldn't be sold out. It was all because of their inexperience, because of their eager to run away from poverty. They didn't study any business course before, didn't have chance to enroll university or college. The couple, then had to sell their own house to pay for the debt and rent out a small flat for 4 people to survive. Such a tough time ever for them! 5 years, 10 years later, those debts were still chasing after the small family. She has had a good job as sales manager in a international company after so many job changing. Her two kids now become adults. They graduated from good universities and had a good job. At least they could support their parents now. And surprisingly, the husband changed completely after having a good talk to her. She said softly and slowly: "Honey, we have to change. We can't fight and quarrel each other like last time. We are getting old and soon will have 3rd generation. Our children both are now mature enough. They will have boyfriend and girlfriend. We can't let them feel shame because of us in front of their boyfriend, girlfriend. You have to control your temper so everyone will be happy"...He couldn't say anything, but she knew his quietness means agreement. She knew that she has win! Nowadays, every times if having any problem, she will at least can talk to her daughter, her son. They understand her, they encourage and always support her. That's all she has. There was one time, her daughter asked: "Mom, why last time Daddy treated you very badly, you wanted to divorce him, but you didn't do it. How could you stand Daddy for so long. Nowadays, many young couples break up and I don't know why?" She just smiled and answered: "It's all because of you and your brother, because of Family, I couldn't break up with your Dad. You know your father is not romantic and caring type. For more than 30 years of being husband and wife, he never know how to take for me a glass of water when i'm tired, no flower, no birthday wish...but your father is the one who put family at first. He did everything for both of you and family. That's what i appreciated and that's why i still can stand him til now. At least, he is getting better and better now, becomes more calm and caring. That's too good for me though" The daughter looked at her for a while, she knew that her mom is happy. At least, all her effort, pain and sorrow are now paid off. Sometimes, they have family dinner in the weekend, the daughter always asks Daddy must hold Mommy's hand, Daddy must say sorry to Mom if he is wrong, Daddy must not scold Mom, must buy Mom's birthday present, etc....And that are more precious to her than anything else in this world!
My story is ended here! I hope it is a happy ending as you guys wish. But just a moment! Are you guys gonna wait to know who is this Woman in the story? She is just one of millions Vietnamese woman definitely, a very typical traditional model of Vietnamese woman who live everything for family, scarify everything (youth, beauty) for family. That's the reason why
VIETNAM HAS 2 BIG DAYS CALLED "WOMEN'S DAY". It's on 8th March and 20th October every year? What they are doing during these 2 days:
1. Women cook and do housework everyday BUT on Women's day, it's men's duties. (not compulsory but any man who loves their wife enough will do so) 2. In office, Women will receive lot of flower, wishes from male colleagues, sometimes a company dinner which bosses foot the bill. 3. Women say Right means it's right. If it's not right, look back at the first statement. bla bla bla..... Some men might feel jealous and worry if on this day, the wife will control over him, but look! 365 DAYS IN A YEAR, THEY LIVE 363 DAYS FOR YOU AND THERE ARE ONLY 2 DAYS SHE LIVE FOR HERSELF. Does that sound fair to her? You gotta think back carefully and think again about how to treat your Mom, your wife, your gf better. Anyway, back to my story and the question given by my reader "Is Vietnamese Women's Day created because of this touching story". No, it's not! It has another history behind. This story is just written naturally on the occasion of Women's Day with all feelings from bottom of my heart to this Women whom I admire the most! She is HERE!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The beautiful smile of her after so many years has now come back!
After 30 years of being husband and wife, this is the first wedding photo ever they took. This is also an anniversary for their weeding. I don't know 30 years anniversary would called Silver or Gold Anniversary but to me, This is a Diamond Anniversary. ~The end~ :)

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[name=Crystal Phuong] [img=https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEie2fJIeV0maiu1iSZBqXUcw3MA0I5aIOIFkNquz-3I9TubKru_nT6RtBidB9SShTMn6L8YRjDf8q3JtWSNcG2Z4aHEUT51k5X5eyzYXHwKUDM_Rglx1_kBrnE0wIbuRq2Gmr6Ngg/w345-c-h245/Crystal-Phuong] [description=Singapore Travel & Lifestyle Blogger, hoping to connect and inspire young women to lead a healthy and happy life] (facebook=https://facebook.com/crystalphuong) (twitter=https://twitter.com/ncrystalicious) (instagram=https://instagram.com/crystalphuong)