Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Journey

Written on March 29, 2007

It all started with a friendship that changed into a relationship that got me this far. Not many people would understand us. Gladly my parents (especially my Mom) always support me in everything I believe in. Even my belief in our relationship varied from time to time as we braved the storms. The doubts stopped bothering me the second I decided that Arttu was the man I'd marry, the man I'd commit my whole self to eternally no matter what. Was it scary? The process of thinking whether he was the one or not was the most agitating and long one. Why? I had to think of LOTS of things, not just him and me, but the fact that I'd have to start from zero again and leave everything behind for us. However, once I decided that I would commit to him, I didn't look back and I just marched forward...with him beside me. No more doubts. The point of no return.

Even after we both made the decision to commit ourselves to each other, it didn't get any easier. We had to endure another separation after the wedding and honeymoon. The hardest part of it was that we didn't know how long the separation would take. My patience was wearing thin every now and then. Bitterness started to creep in as more and more storms hurled us, knocked us unconscious (well, at least there were times I wished I was knocked unconscious so I wouldn't have to feel a thing), whereas our waiting period seemed to be endless still. First we had trouble communicating as the internet connection between Asia and Europe was cut off by the hurricane in Taiwan. Secondly, my visa application was rejected, I was told to apply for a residence permit and it could take 3-4 months before I got the result. Even then (after all that waiting), there was no guarantee that I would definitely get the permit.

No light still at the end of the dark tunnel. Another tougher part of the waiting period was that we were half a world apart. I tried to think positive by starting to pack my suitcase, yet it still felt like a crazy thing to do still as I had no ticket yet in my hand. He tried to think positive by starting to prepare everything he could to welcome me there. We were both suffering but we couldn't really comfort each other in a realistic way. What a torment! My heart was with him, yet my body was trapped in Indonesia! I wish we'd never experience such a period again!

Then after trying (unsuccessfully) to be patient, we finally got the BRIGHT BEAM of light at the end of the tunnel. It was SO unexpected that we thought we were dreaming! I got a call from Finnish Embassy in Jakarta. I thought they'd call me for interview, but then the receptionist said that I got the permit already (in just 2 months!!!). HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!! I went numb for several minutes, then I started sending smses to Arttu and my closest friends (who'd all been praying for me and trying to comfort me whenever I felt as though I were in hell - God bless them all!!!) and then I started crying. Then I hurried to the train station to buy some train tickets for the next day as I had promised the Embassy's receptionist that I would come by the next day to get the permit.

Once Mom and I got back from Jakarta by train, I went to my trusted travel agency and bought the plane ticket for the next week. So I was busy preparing to move to Finland that I had no time to absorb the reality of it. I didn't really feel like moving THAT far even when each passing hour drew me closer to Arttu. It all felt so surreal.

Then came the day of the long journey to get to Arttu. I still didn't feel as though I was about to move half a world away. What did I feel? Nothing much. I began to think, "What should I be feeling now? Shouldn't I feel something? Chaos?" I still had no time to think yet after I said goodbye to my teary-eyed family and relatives who escorted me (May God bless them!!!) as the queue in front of KLM check-in desks was UNBELIEVABLE that they opened an emergency check-in desk to help quicken the process! I had queued already since around 5 pm, yet I could only get in the waiting lounge at around 6.30 pm (my flight left at 7.10 pm). And there was no empty seat left, so I had to stand the rest of the time!

And then on the plane I was jammed between two foreigners, so I couldn't do anything much. Only then I started to absorb some bits of reality. I started panicking a bit, wondering if I'd ever settle down and enjoy living in Finland when I knew the weather could be BITING cold (this is actually not true since in reality, I don't REALLY know how cold it can be when the temperature hits -20'C or even worse!!!), etc. etc, etc. But anyway, I told myself not to think and just to believe in the mercy of God that had helped me and Arttu got that far. God knows we could have gone insane during the waiting period, yet He gave us a MIRACLE!!!

Then finally I landed in Rovaniemi and Arttu came and hugged me there. I was still too tired to absorb things. The long leg of flight was the hardest one. I almost wished the plane could have flown faster. You see, our seats were near the "kitchen" and for some reason whenever they prepared meal for us, I caught a whiff of weird smell that made me feel nauseous. The food itself always tasted okay, but my stomach just couldn't handle that weird smell. When the plane was nearing Schiphol airport, I was seriously about to puke. Thank goodness I managed to hold it and do it in the airport's toilet. Phew!!!

Anyway, back to the topic. Now I've only been here two weeks. The first week felt weird. Still sort of unreal. I felt more like a tourist. However, entering the second week, I began to feel that this was truly my home. This is the beginning of the new journey. I know it won't be easy. I feel like a little child again, learning to do everything new. There was some frustration at the beginning (especially when dealing with bureaucracy), yet gladly Arttu's been so patient and supportive. Now I know why God didn't send me here alone (unlike for example Jul). Jul has the capacity to jump into new circles easily and she has the courage to do it, too. She LOVES socializing. Besides, she'd lived alone for quite some time, whereas I had never really left my safe nest at home.

Oh, by the way, now I know at least one reason why God only let me move to Finland 2 weeks ago. A few days after moving here, the days became SO sunny, especially now. Spring has come and it's helped me SO MUCH to learn to love this country. I know that I'll have to deal with the worst kind of weather later on, but for now, the sunny weather's like God's whisper of hope in my ear that He knows what I need to survive here...and that's all that matters for now.

P.S. Oh yeah, other than that, the hospitality and warmth of my in-laws have also helped me feel at home (even though I can't communicate with them yet as they can't speak English too well). Arttu's Mom REALLY reminds me of my own Mom, and his aunt reminds me of my aunt, too!!! ^__________________________^