Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Wisdom for Your Soul

Tomorrow I'm going to the cabin (my in-laws') with my hubby and spend a night there. Then on Saturday eve we're going to Arttu's nephew's graduation party. The first "family" party I'll ever attend here. Would be interesting to know what'll happen then. Yikes!!! So probably I can't write blogs until Sunday. We'll see. But I just want to share another WONDERFUL poem I've kept in a CD ever since I read it years back. :-))))

Some Wisdom for Your Soul

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own.
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us
to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you're telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life from God's presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "YES"!!

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer (A Native American Elder)

The Dirt, The Grime, The Diamond Within

Just wanna write about me. Ever since the "incident" with my group of closest friends, I'm still trying to find ways to balance my life. Right after I wrote "Rest in Peace", thoughts and emotions barraged me.

I'm a melancholic and phlegmatic. The last test I took (based on Personality Tree by Florence Littauer) told me that I'm 80% melancholic and 20% phlegmatic. Maybe the percentage's changed now, but my core is still melancholic. My primary love language is quality time (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman). So, what does that make me? An intense person. In my group of closest friends, I think I'm the only one who has the biggest percentage of melancholicness. The rest of them are mostly Sanguine/Choleric or Phlegmatic. Thus, I think compared to them, I'm still the most intense person.

Here's an excerpt from Florence Littauer:

God could have made us all Sanguines.
We could have lots of fun but accomplish little.
He could have made us all Melancholies.
We would have been organized and charted but not very cheerful.
He could have made us all Cholerics.
We would have been set to lead, but impatient that no one would follow!
He could have made us all Phlegmatics.
We would have had a peaceful world but not much enthusiasm for life.
We need each temperament for the total function of the body.
Each part should do its work to unify the action and produce harmonious results.
-Florence Littauer in The Gift of Encouraging Words

I've had a few issues in the past with some of the girls in my group of closest friends, mainly because I over-analyze and over-assuming. But hey, the bottom line is that you can't have a close-knit group of GIRLS without expecting trouble every now and then, right? Basically GLADLY we've always been able to sort them out. I think one of them once said that I was an extreme person. If I think of something, I have to think of the worst case scenario, as well. And I have to think of it from as many angles as I can possibly think about.

Maybe you can also say that I'm mentally masochistic. Even though the "incident" made me experience the most intense battles in my brain, I kinda enjoy it. One of the reasons why I enjoy it is because it's all about me. I'm the one who has to rediscover me and it doesn't involve anyone else (for example the problem is not about our dying parents or such things where we're helpless). The problem is me and thus I can do something about it. Other than that, obviously I KNOW I'd reach another level when I've conquered this problem later (just like playing computer games, you have to beat the "enemies" in level 1 before you can go to level 2, and you'll gain more strength from beating all the enemies, and so on...).

I've known since I was young that I could possibly keep score cards due to my nature. Why? Simply because I can remember things chronologically better than Sanguines, for example, especially when it comes to things I consider important. And since my primary love language is quality time, I got hurt when I realized that I couldn't get enough quality time with them as they were far busier than me (my love tank kept on running low, thus it got easier and easier for me to keep the score cards and thus it made me feel bitchy and needy). I know it's unfair to keep score cards, but now I just want to talk about facts about myself from my own point of view. I wish I could remember less, but that's not possible. But I am trying to throw away the score cards and I'm trying to revise my expectations. As one friend keeps on telling me, there're always two sides of the coin. Your strength can be your weakness and vice versa.

I used to be so cynical. In fact, one friend once wrote me, "Keep sharing your funny cynical side!" on a card. I think I've grown out of the cynicism, yet it's still my latent enemy. When things go rough, cynicism will show its ugly head, body, and tail and mock me full force and try to merge with me again. But I will NEVER let it win. :-)))

I don't know yet the answers that I'm trying to find. I don't know yet how my friendship with them would be like later and how I'm going to find the balance. Right now I've told them that I'm taking a break to meditate, to find my way back to me. Flexibility has never been my forte. I thrive on stability (the very thing that people might consider boring). I dislike changes, even though I know changes are inevitable. I don't try to stop changes to come, but I know it's going to take time for me to adjust myself.

I guess what hurt me about the fact that my friends now prefer verbal exchange rather than written exchange is the fact that I'm not financially able to call them or meet them face-to-face as often as I want to. I thrive on knowing people intimately. I've always yearned to be able to read people's minds (not all the time, just when I think it'd be beneficial for us both - either to help me understand them better or respond to them better). But what I didn't count was that people change. Situations change. What hurt me the most was probably the fact that I needed my friends more than they needed me now. Now I have to learn to be content with my being. After all, my Mom keeps on saying, "We all start the journey alone, then we meet a companion, then the companion dies or we die first, thus we end the journey alone as well." Of course friends come and go in between the phases of life, but basically I just need to learn to be content BEING, without attaching my identity to anyone or anything else.

At first I wasn't planning on telling my husband about the "incident" as I knew I'd cry in front of him. But anyway, two nights ago he knew there was something on my mind, so finally I told him what had happened. He then checked up on me the next day by dropping by (even though he had said earlier that he wouldn't come home for lunch). Bless his heart!!!

Still a LONG way to go to climb this mountain...but I know I'm not alone. :-)))) And as a wise friend once said, "You might feel like a coal now because you're covered by dirt and grime, but you're still a diamond within."

I'm welcoming this journey to wipe away the dirt and grime once more.

P.S. Funny thing just happened. I had this image of my husband coming home during lunch break, bringing me a package from a Finnish online store (I bought a summer jacket and a bigger bag). And guess what? He did come home earlier just to drop it by and he said he just wanted to check up on me again. I told him that I KNEW somehow that he'd be bringing me that package today. He just smiled and said, "Really?" :-))))

Pachelbel's "Loose" Canon


The Grammy Award Winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet with variations on this baroque classic...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Aiyahhh...a $1M gold bathtub stolen from a hotel???

Stumbled upon this just as I was signing off from my yahoo mail account.

Who Stole the Gold Bathtub?

Anyone who has info about this crime, please report to your local police station HE HE HE...LOL!!!


Let me copy my friend's post in her blog here. Simply because it's BEAUTIFUL!!!


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting, "I'm clean living'."
I'm whispering, "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

by Maya Angelou

Let me revise this by saying that the original poem was NOT written by Maya Angelou, but Carol Wimmer. If you want to read more, go here: Carol Wimmer.

The original poem was this:


When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Interesting Facts!

Oh yeah, me again. Just want to post these interesting facts based on the surveys done in 2004.

The average population density in Lapland in 2004 was 2 people per square kilometre.

The average population density in Bandung in 2004 was 14,976 people per square kilometre.

YIKEEEESSSS!!!!!! No wonder I feel as though the world has suddenly "exploded" into a vaster space here he he he...LOL!!!

A Smile A Day: Interactive Time #2!

Today I just want to think about the most touching compliments we've ever received in our lifetime. It can be anything. Just something that makes us feel good and something that makes us feel that we have done something right every now and then (hopefully more often than that he he).

Well, I'd love to start today with those thoughts in here's my list:

1. When I was told that I had made someone become a better man.
2. When I was told that I brought luck into someone's life.
3. When my Mom said that she was proud of my cooking "expertise" now. (I'm no expert yet, I'm telling you, but it meant A LOT to receive those words just due to the fact that my Mom's a HELL of a cook who encouraged me to keep on enjoying my cooking experiments!!!)
4. When I was told that I made someone believe in dreams and made that person believe that he/she could reach them.
5. When I was told that my emails made someone could not help but to reply me ASAP.
6. When I was told that I looked pretty and sexy (from the look of his eyes) even though I just woke up and I hadn't brushed my teeth.
7. When I was told that I was the link that connected some people with one another.

I guess that's all I can remember so far. Now I'm hungry so it's time for me to eat!!! So, what are the most remembered or most touching compliments you've received in your life?


This morning I woke up earlier and found something that I thought should be shared here.

Young women and men must be aware of two dangerous "DRAGONS" - activism and materialism. Activism says, "You are what you have accomplished." Materialism says, "You are what you have acquired or accumulated." Both activism and materialism produce misery or destroy lives.

The Bible shows that our worth in God's eyes has nothing to do with how successful we are by this world's standards or how much we have accumulated. Our worth is found in the fact that God created us in His image and gave us the authority to rule over the earth as His representatives. (Gen. 1: 27-30, Ps 8)

Excerpt taken from: Finishing Well.

Then I also stumbled upon this which made me smile. Something that had nothing to do with what I was trying to find.

Do you think that religion is always good?

In some ways religion can be dangerous and damaging.

Instead of bringing us to God, it can keep us away from God.

Here's the link to the rest of the passage: Parable of the Talents.

And here's also some lines that I LOVE so much that I HAVE to write them down here. :-)))

Not ours to know the reason why
Unanswered is our prayer,
But ours to wait for God’s own time—
To lift the cross we bear. —Anon.

When we pray, God wraps us in His loving arms. - Bill Crowder.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rest In Peace

Have you ever felt something deep down and then suddenly someone points it out to you in such a way (as if that person were holding a BIG neon sign in front of you) that it just knocks the air out of your lungs? I'm sure you have. Well, that's what I've just experienced a little while ago (literally).

You see, I have this tight-knit group of closest/best friends (there are six of them) from my school days. We still keep in touch via internet, although one of them doesn't have an internet connection at home, so we can only keep in touch via snail mail or SMS or phone calls. Anyway, recently I've realized deep down that it's getting harder and harder for me to understand them, as our paths in life are now SO diverse and different.

I have always been the kind of person who LOVES jotting down my thoughts on paper. Not everybody likes it. I have always been the kind of person who LOVES talking about thoughts and what-ifs. Not everybody enjoys it, either. Some people prefer to talk about reality instead of imaginary situations. Some people love writing about their thoughts, not just about their daily lives. Some people prefer TALKING about their thoughts instead of writing them.

Well, my friends and I used to be able to talk and write about thoughts and deeper thoughts. We used to be able to talk about anything either in person or in emails. We used to be able to talk about what-ifs either in person or in emails. However, now most of them are busy (naturally busier than I am), almost each one of us is countries apart with one another, and some of them have found out that talking is more effective than writing due to several reasons, including the lack of time. Some of them have found out that there's no big need to write about deeper thoughts and what-ifs anymore. Some of them are sometimes too busy to respond to my emails (at least not as often as I hoped for or maybe I just ask too much from them or maybe I write too much).

And that hurts. That realization hurts. Why? Because it's getting harder and harder for me to understand them. And thus it's getting harder and harder for me to dig into their MINDS (yeah, I LOVE digging into people's innermost minds). Thus they'll turn more towards other people who understand them better in specific areas that they think I won't understand too much. It's not that I want to understand EVERY LITTLE THING about them (I'm not THAT crazy - yet). However, I think it's important for me to do so (as best as I can, anyway) so that I can respond to them better. I mean, let's face it, how can I respond WELL to anyone if I don't understand them or their situation???? Thus I feel as though I had less and less to give to them. Thus I feel as though we were growing apart mentally.

Is that how life is for everybody? I don't know. Anyone willing to tell me if that's the case or not? Am I insane for feeling sad? Am I overreacting? Well, one way or another, I guess I should just give myself time to mourn the loss. That's why I'd just post this sign here...

This is another thing I should learn now...letting go of my expectations and letting life run its course and not trying to grasp my friends in my tight little fist and just letting them fly as close or far as they want to...

(Side note: Geez, this is the first post where I'm TOTALLY honest with myself without editing too much of what I've written down.)

Interactive Time!

Let's make this post a bit more interactive, shall we? I hope people wouldn't mind submitting their thoughts, anyway. :-)))

Moving to a VERY different country certainly has its ups and downs. I think in life sometimes we learn something for the first time, but sometimes we re-learn things in a deeper way or in a different way.

These are the things I've been learning or re-learning in a deeper way so far (after having lived here for 2,5 months):
1. To TRULY accept my weaknesses, mistakes, and failures.
2. To laugh at myself, my mistakes, and my "stupidity" (yeah, I realize it's easier to laugh at somebody else's mistakes and folly - not a good trait to admit).
3. To accept myself as is (again), not learning to accept myself after I've accomplished this or that.
4. To cook and bake (sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed).
5. To be good to myself (not beating myself up too much or not cursing myself too much; giving myself some slack) so that I can move on and start to improve myself.
6. To enjoy the simple joys in life. For example, something AWESOME happened last night. I think Midnight Sun's already here in Sodankylä. As my hubby and I were about to sleep at around midnight, I heard the birds chirping happily. Yes, at midnight, can you believe it?!?!?! It was SO lovely and amazing. Birds chirping at midnight as it was still bright out there. WOW!!!
7. To dare make mistakes, especially when it comes to practising Finnish. I've always been someone who's afraid at making mistakes (for fear of being laughed at), so now I'm beginning to let go of my perfectionism.
8. To stop having assumptions about anything as best as I can.

I guess that's all for now. The things I can remember. What about you? What have you learnt or re-learnt this past week, month, few months, year? Anything particular that you want to share with me? Feel free to express yourself. :-)))

Monday, May 28, 2007

Quotation Time!!!

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.

We will be judged by 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.'

Hungry not only for bread -- but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing -- but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks -- but homeless because of rejection.

It is easy to love people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
--- Mother Teresa

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches.
If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise,
since everyone suffers.
To suffering must be added mourning,
understanding, patience, love, openness,
and a willingness to remain vulnerable.
--- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites,
so that you will have two wings to fly - not one.

--- Rumi

Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten.
And seeing them...he cried, "Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?"
God said, "I did do something. I made you."

--- Sufi Teaching

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.
--- Chinese Proverb

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Believe It Or Not

Recently I remember so vividly a testimony given by a guest priest in my old church (side note: old church = the last church in which I was a member back in Bandung, Indo, before I moved to Finland).

Sometime last year there were several churches burned by some Moslem fanatics. The priest had an appointment in one church in a housing complex.

As this topic's pretty delicate, I just wanna say that I'm not writing this to portray the Moslems (or Indonesia) in a negative way. I used to live with my parents in a small alley and we had more Moslems as neighbours and we got along VERY well with them. And I LOVE Indonesia!!! Just read on and you'll find out what I want to say. It IS true, though, that the government is giving a hard time to people who want to build churches back in Indo. They will try their best not to give the stamp of approval for new churches. It's a pretty complicated issue and I won't write in details about that. I also want to state that I have no grudge against the government as I believe that there are also positive sides resulting from such an "oppression" (or whatever term you want to use).

Anyhow, back to the the priest was driving to the housing complex where apparently there was a riot going on. Some people were checking up on every car coming in and out of the complex. The priest was naturally sweaty (yep, he's only human) because on the windshield there was a Christian eye-catching sticker. He sent a quick prayer to God and then decided to go through with it. Some guys noticed the sticker when he was about to enter the gate to the complex and they started yelling, "A Christian! Burn the car! Burn the car!" while crowding around the car.

Then all of a sudden came out a Moslem leader from one of the houses. He told them to tell the priest to park the car in his driveway. He then greeted the priest as though they were best friends. Then he forbade the younger guys to bother the priest. Then the priest got on with his business and when he got back to the Moslem leader's house to get his car, he noticed that the same guys who'd threatened him had actually washed his car! Neat, eh? Thus he went home safely. He said that the Moslem leader would probably have been confused afterwards as they had NEVER met before!!!

Believe it or not. :-))))

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some More Pics from Finland

Yeah, the first three pics are the same. View from our apt. window. However, check out the sky and the clouds. I LOVE looking at the sky and the clouds. :-))) Yeah, I'm a freak! LOL!!! (Oh, almost forgot, click on the pics to see a bigger version)

Yep, these are strawberries. We decided to just mix them with some sugar and water. VERY VERY delicious!!!

Don't Try This At Home!!!

When I was at the uni, I once had an experiment. I've always been a rebel, but there was a period of time when I just sort of "challenged" everything I believed in. One of those things was religion or God. I didn't remember exactly why I did it. All I remember was that out of the blue I decided to think that God didn't exist and lived as though God hadn't existed. I guess I must've been thinking about the "what if" question: What if there were no God?

I tried living and thinking like that for a few months. At first it felt SO liberating. I could forget about everything that priests had told me and all the Christian theories I'd learnt. Then after some time, it made me feel confused. It's hard to explain what I felt at that time. The best explanation I can give is this:

Have you ever denied yourself, your own existence? Well, my experiment made me feel MUCH worse than that. MUCH MUCH more.

I couldn't stand living at the end of the few months. I couldn't stand being myself. I felt as though I was REALLY lost and arid.

Then something reminded me of what I had personally experienced years back. When I was in Junior High, I was somewhat active at church. I joined one of the youth ministries at church and then I also joined the weekly prayer meeting. I TRULY loved that prayer meeting. We'd all sit down on the carpet and then we'd close our eyes and we'd just sing songs and pray without doing anything else for 1,5 hours. We'd cry when we felt God's touch. I know this might sound odd to someone who's never experienced it.

Well, there were times when I had a troubled mind, I could cry my eyes out during that kind of prayer meeting until my tears ran dry (literally!) and every time the meeting ended, I always felt my burdens lifted. I could feel God's overwhelming peace surrounding me. My problems were still there, but at least I could see them in a different light and I could face them with a clear head.

So, the conclusion of the experiment was that I know God exists from my own personal experiences. :-)))

Healing Myself

As a follow-up to my other blog entitled "Evil", I'm almost 100% healed. Basically I just took time off from the world and be totally selfish. And I did ask for more attention from my beloved, so that helped, too. :-))) I realize now that the problem actually consisted of tiny incidents that I thought didn't bother me THAT much. As usual, once you disregard such incidents, they build up and suddenly you explode in a way that baffle yourself. I started to think of one single reason as to why I felt like shit the other day. I couldn't find it. I kept on going circles and circles. And now after I took time off from most people, I'm at peace with myself again. The road to healing has been opened and I'm now walking on it. It IS tough to accept yourself just as you are sometimes, especially when you look at your surroundings and you feel SO small. It IS tough to try to understand other people when you FEEL that they've simply considered you as an "invisible" person. The questions that bothered me so much were these, "Do I even matter? Does everything I've ever said or done or given matter at all in the long run?"

Then I stumbled upon this quotation:

The success of love is in the loving - it is NOT in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.
- Mother Teresa

And I also read her speech here: Mother Teresa's Speech - Oslo 1979.

The quotation and her speech REALLY moved me and comforted me. It hurts to think that what I've done would be "forgotten" or "unappreciated", but I have to do it as though I were doing it to God himself. It won't be easy, but I know God'll understand whenever I feel like shit. I know that at least He would understand. And when I started talking to my hubby about this topic, it also comforted me because he understood the feeling. And THANKS to Michelle, as well, who comforted me by commenting on that particular blog. It also helped me feel better. God bless you!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Coining - An Indonesian Habit

Anybody ever heard of this term? Coining (kerokan) is a traditional way for Indonesians to help you feel better when you feel that you have a gassy stomach but you can't let the gas out through natural ways. You use a coin to scrape your back (actually someone else has to do it for you) and make diagonal red lines all over your back (so it looks like you draw a red skeleton on your back). Normally you rub some oil/balm first diagonally from the middle to the left and right of your back before scraping it with a coin. Once you're done, you'll feel WARM all over your back and usually you can (sorry) fart again and it'd feel good. :-))))

Obviously foreigners would consider it a nasty habit. My own husband think it was weird. Here's what happened. Yesterday it was SO sunny, so I decided to take a walk wearing my new summer jacket I wanted to test. The jacket wasn't wind-proof, but it was warm enough to walk outside when it was around 12'C. I even began to sweat a bit afterwards. However, during the evening I started to have a slight headache (I HATE headaches) and my stomach did feel gassy. I knew when I needed coining, as my Mom used to do it back home. I tried taking a ginger tablet to help me let out the gas, but it just whirled around inside my stomach (yeah, I could hear the noise). So I asked my husband to do it for me.

He looked at me weirdly, even though I had told him before we were married that I would need his help to do it (I'd sent him a picture of what it looked like) if I ever needed coining. After some begging, he finally relented. LOL! Funny thing was that the first time he did it, he rubbed some balm across my back from the center to the left, then he scraped it with the coin just ONCE!!! I told him to do it over and over again to make red lines. He didn't want to hurt me, so he started to scrape me REALLY gently. Naturally I asked him to do it harder and harder. He said, "Oh dear, you're a masochist!" NOOOO, I'm NOT a masochist but that's the way coining is supposed to be done. :-)))

After he finished doing it, I joked to him, "Well, now I can tell people what you've done to me and show these red marks."

He replied, "Yeah, right, and then they'd take me to jail or something 'coz they thought I'd hurt you."

Funny stuff happens when you try to introduce a traditional thing to another person who's not used to it he he...Oh yeah, scientifically speaking, coining makes you feel good 'coz when the coin scrapes all over your back, it actually presses some acupuncture points on your back.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Evil is in me
The most devastating kind

It knows all my weaknesses
So it prods each and every one of them

With the most debilitating spear


And over

God, it hurts so badly!

I let all my voices have a debate
Until it's high time for me to heal again.


Wanna hear the voice of evil inside me? Here of my darkest moments...

Ever try to do something well and then when you see other people's work, you get SO discouraged 'coz their result is so out of your league? You realize that you're only a beginner, a novice. There are times when it seems that what you're doing doesn't really matter, at least that's the accusation brought by your own mind. Then other negative thoughts start to shout at you, louder and louder. You beat yourself up to a pulp, yet there's still another voice inside you that says, "Get real, woman! Please have enough grace and kindness for yourself, shall we?"

I'm welcoming this bloody battle, though. I know there's something good that I'll find after this storm has passed. Having more spare time than others can sometimes feel like a curse. You try to give your best but then nobody seems to have enough time to acknowledge it. I don't want praises, but I want to know that my existence is acknowledged. But by wanting the acknowledgement, I feel SO selfish and self-absorbed. Thus I start to beat myself up again. And the obnoxious cycle continues.

This is one of the moments when I think (again, for the umpteenth time) that the world is sick to the bones. People are so busy nowadays that they can't focus on anything too much. Minutes come whirling by so that everything becomes a blur, except those things you consider "important". Or maybe it's just me who's sick by having this kind of thought. Maybe people are meant to be SO busy because most people are SO busy anyway. Maybe I'm the one who's sick because I have so much spare time and I'm not as busy as others.

One way or another, I know that I'm sick and I need to heal.

Today is a VERY sunny day and I truly enjoyed walking outside and enjoying the new life bursting around me. The grass's getting greener and greener and nature seems to be comforting me. I still LOVE this life no matter how sick the world is. ^______________________________^

P.S. At first I was reluctant to post this as I didn't want to spread "negativity" but I guess it's good to share the negative emotions even before I conquer the battle. :-)))

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Some Things You Should Know About Indo

1. In the big cities, the malls and fashion outlets are open from either 9 to 9 or 10 to 10 every day, including weekends. In some Bandung malls, you have to pay if you go to the toilets (around € 0.08 or $0.1). The only days they are closed are on HUGE national holidays like Lebaran Day or New Year.

2. Living together is still a taboo thing in Indonesia. Surely a few people do it, but it's not a common thing to do. Kids still mostly stay with their parents until they get married, unless they work or study in another city, then they'll rent a room.

3. The cost of renting an apartment is WAY more expensive than the cost of renting a house.

4. Pirated CDs and DVDs are sold freely. Of course every now and then the police would arrest them, but then they'll bribe the police and then the markets are open again in no time. For an unrich nation like Indo, it'd be crazy to have to buy original DVDs just to enjoy movies at home. I mean, nowadays it's already HARD to survive on one income if you have a family with one kid (if your hubby's not a manager or the owner of a thriving business or something like that). If you still have to buy original CDs or DVDs, then you won't eat or you can't save money anymore. Let's get real here! The cost of buying one pirated CD/DVD is only around €0.41 or $0.51, whereas the cost of buying one original DVD would be around €3.50 or $4.30 (sometimes even more than that!). The cost of watching movies at the cinema in Bandung area would be around €1.25 or $1.50 (on weekends the tickets cost more than that). So, even though sometimes the quality of the pirated CD/DVD sucks BIG TIME, it still is the most affordable option anyway.

5. As a follow-up to Vince's comment for my other post, I think one thing that's similar about Finland and Indonesia is this (if what I read about Finland is correct, that is): If you visit someone in Indo and the host/hostess serves you something, you'd better at least try some he he he...

Okay, I think I should stop here and start learning Finnish. I'll add more stuff later on when I remember more.

Prewedding Photography Trend in Indo

The above trend must've started sometime after 2001. I remember it as one of my ex uni friend got married that year and she didn't have a prewedding semi-candid photo session. If you wonder why there's such a trend, let me break down an example of the "regular" Chinese wedding day schedule.

05.00 The bride goes to the bridal salon to get her hair and make up done (usually that's also where she puts on her wedding gown) - usually a photographer follows her around and takes candid pics. (If there are LOTS of weddings that day and your beauty salon is booked fully, then sometimes you have to go there at 4 am)
06.30 The groom goes to the bridal salon to get his hair done (and they powder his face, too!) Yeah, go figure!!!
07.15 The groom goes back to his own house to have a photo session there (the mother "pretends" to put on his suit and then they take more pics together) - usually another photographer of the same company goes to his house to take the pics.
08.00 The bride goes back to her own house or a hotel room (if she lives in a small alley, it'll be inconvenient to go back to her own house, so normally she rents a hotel room).
09.00 The groom comes to pick up the bride in the hotel room, escorted by his two bestmen. They have more photo sessions, then the bestmen leave.
10.00 They may all go to a photo studio to take family pics.
11.30 If the wedding ceremony at church is held in the morning, then they go to church.
13.00 They go back to the hotel to relax and have lunch.
14.30 The bride and groom go back to the bridal salon to get a make-up retouch.
15.30 They go back to the hotel to have a tea-pai ceremony. Some people choose not to do this kind of ceremony, so they'll just go somewhere to have an outdoor photo session or they'll take more pics around the hotel. What's a tea-pai ceremony? It's a kind of ceremony where the siblings of the bride and grooms' parents come to a certain room and then the bride and groom will serve them tea/wine and then they'll give angpao (a red envelope containing money) to the bride and groom as a present. Sometimes they can also give jewelleries if they want to. It's a symbol of giving "financial capital" for the newlyweds. However, nowadays some people don't like doing this kind of ceremony as there will be a kind of "moral" burden afterwards, as they will feel "obligated" to give as much to the sons and daughters of the givers when they're married later on.
17.30 They go to the restaurant/hotel to have the wedding party.
18.00 Wedding party begins and usually ends at around 9 pm.

So, now at least you understand why there's a need for a prewedding photo session, right? Especially since it's usually a semi-candid photo session. Well, to give you a glimpse of what prewedding photography session is like, let me just give links to two such photographers.

Photo by Sondhiar
The Moment Photography

Normally they offer packages (prewedding photo session plus the photo session on the D-day plus gorgeous albums of both photo session). There are SO MANY packages that such photographers offer. Prices range from affordable to "only for well-to-do people". The couple can choose where and when the prewedding photo session would be done. If they choose to do it in another city/place, then they have to pay for the photographer's accomodation and other expenses as well. If they choose to do it in their own city, then they only have to pay the fee to go into the certain locations that they choose (yeah, the owners of those locations have now commercialized everything!!!).

Normally couples choose to have the prewedding photo session a few months before their D-day. Why? Because normally they choose an outdoor theme and they'd get sunburned because of that. Since most Indo people LOVE having fair skin (as opposed to westerners who'd die to get bronze skin), especially the brides would normally want to have as fair and smooth skin as possible on D-day (no suntan lines, please).

I think the cheapest prewedding photo session (only, without the D-day photo session) in Bandung in 2006 would cost around €330 or $400. I think the last time I checked, the most expensive prewedding photo session only would cost around €830 or $1020. Yep, the marriage business is a HUGE thing in Indo. I think the average TOTAL wedding cost in Indo (if you get married in a restaurant, which is MUCH cheaper than getting married in a rented building or a hotel ballroom and if you invite only around 400 people and you pick the cheapest of everything - the gown, the suit, the beauty salon, etc.) would cost at least €4,500 or $5,550. Shocked?

Well, if the bride and groom are lucky, they'd get back almost all the total cost from the angpao given by the guests. I think back in the 90's, almost all bride and grooms would get back all the total cost of the party (well, back then the cost of everything wasn't as expensive anyway and there was no prewedding photo session thingie). However, since the economic depression a few years back, people's ability to give has decreased greatly. I can say that these days there are more people who feel "relieved" if they're not invited to a wedding party, as it can be a HUGE burden if you're invited to 4 wedding parties a month or even more --- it DOES happen sometimes, you know??? So, these days I think brides and grooms can't expect too much from the guests.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Tribute to My Mom

Simply because I MISS my Mom, let me just re-post this blog (copied from my other blog in Friendster).

What'd I be without her? If I could be half the woman that she is (as a mother, wife, citizen, human) when I reach her age, I'd be satisfied. She's a multi-talented woman with her weaknesses and strengths (though her strengths always outdo her weaknesses). Mom's my bridge, my mentor, my friend. I like the way I can talk to her about lots of things without losing myself as a person. I like the way I can discuss lots of topics with her without having to show every little secret. I like the way she held on to us when we still needed her hand to hold on to and the way she let us go when it was time for us to walk alone. I like the way I'm given trust to grow on my own without being grabbed on too tightly. I love the way she teaches us, because it doesn't make us feel as though we were just kids who knew nothing in this world. I love the way she treats us as individuals, not kids. I love the way she lets me fly to reach my dreams. I love the way she supports me, even though sometimes she thinks way too far ahead that she worries too much about possibilities.

I love the way she bridges the gap between me and my conventional Dad. I, the Rebel, won't be able to be my own person without Mom. I like the way she becomes my friend without losing her identity as a mother. I wouldn't want it any other way. I love the way she laughs out loud as if she didn't have a care in the world. I love the way she understands me or tries to understand me. I admire her ability to forgive and forget. I love the way we joke about stuff. I love the freedom I've enjoyed since I was a kid.

All my life Mom's vast social connections have helped me in so many ways. I, the Introvert, have enjoyed the sheer benefits of Mom's versatility and connections. More than anything, I'll always be so eternally grateful for her having been there for me and my brother during our childhood. She could have rented a kiosk at the market back then, but she postponed her dream so that she could be with us and teach us until we were old enough to be left alone. I never contemplated her sacrifices until I heard firsthand my friend's experiences as a mother. I know that someday when I become a mother myself, I'll be even more grateful for everything she's done for me, for us, for her family.

Thank you, Mom, for everything. I will cherish you forever.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Traditional Chinese Proposal

Well, since I'm a Chinese descendant, let me tell you something about a traditional Chinese proposal. Unlike the regular "western" proposal where only the guy proposes to the girl (or vice versa 'coz this is a modern world), Chinese people in Indo still follow some Chinese tradition when it comes to proposing.

Normally both families set up a proposal date. The proposal date can be held up to a year before the wedding. Normally the girl would object to being "proposed" like this if they haven't talked about the possibility of getting married sometime next year, as some people consider it "a loss" if the girl's being proposed WAY before there's a possibility of marriage. It's like "being tied up" without any clear future plan (remember the image of the carrot dangling in front of the donkey - not good, right?).

The proposal can be held either at the girl's house or at a restaurant. Usually the guy comes to the girl's house (or the appointed resto) with his parents and some relatives/siblings. The number of people coming to the girl's house (or resto) has to be even (don't ask me why), so it has to be 6, 8, or 10. As number 4 is considered bad luck for Chinese (it represents death), they tend to avoid it.

Well, before the appointed date, the guy has to prepare several things. He and his family have to prepare gifts for the girl and family. Normally they pack the gifts in huge heart-shaped boxes. Again the number of the boxes has to be even, so either 2 or 4 or 6. What do they have to put inside the boxes? Normally even-numbered oranges, apples and they'd scatter some sweets and also packages of traditional Chinese delicacy called "koya". They also have to bring either a necklace and pendant or a bracelet to "seal the deal".

The necklace and pendant or bracelet have to be made of either yellow gold or white gold. The trend nowadays veers more to white gold (it's become more fashionable in Indo for the last few years). Sometimes the girl gets to choose it on her own (if the guy's family allows her to), but sometimes the guy's mother chooses it for her (so that it'd be a surprise).

Here's what happens on the appointed date. The guy comes to the girl's house (or the resto) along with his gang, then they shake hands with the girl's family and the guy gives the boxes to the girl's family (they've appointed the people who'll receive the gifts). Then the gifts will be put on a table so that the girl's family members and relatives can see them clearly. Then before they enjoy the meal (usually the girl's family has prepared the meal or they are the ones who pay the resto bill if the proposal's held at a resto), the guy's Dad would give a short speech to convey their intention of proposing the girl.

After that, the girl's Dad would accept the proposal, and then the guy would put the necklace/bracelet on the girl's neck/wrist. Sometimes the pendant on the necklace consists of Chinese characters that say "luck" or something like that (unfortunately I don't speak or read Chinese) and the girl is supposed to wear the necklace/bracelet all the time to show everybody else that she's "taken".

On that day, sometimes they also talk about the wedding details while enjoying the meal. There they also get to know each other's relatives. When it's all over, the guy's family and relatives would say goodbye and the girl's family would give back half of the boxes to the guy. I used to wonder why, but now I understand the reason. The guy has to give something to the relatives who've been kind enough to go to the girl's house (or the resto), so that's why the girl gives back half of the boxes. Well, if the guy gives the girl 4 boxes, then she'll give back 2 boxes.

To give you a clearer idea of what the proposal's all about, you can view my brother's proposal pics in this site: A Chinese Proposal.

Yeah, go figure. Weird tradition indeed even though I've begun to understand some positive points in doing it. And it doesn't end there yet. There'll be another one of this kind of gift-giving tradition that's usually held not long before the actual wedding. Then the groom has to give lots more things to the girl he he he he...Nowadays people want to have it more compact, so they prefer to combine the two traditions and appoint the date right before the actual wedding (for example a week or a month before the actual wedding).

Anyway, there was one funny incident that happened after my wedding in Indo. One of my uncles asked me this question, "How did Arttu propose you?" I told him that he just asked me if I wanted to be his wife. It was clear that he was baffled he he he...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Scared of Exotic Food?

WARNING: For anyone who just had dinner or a meal, DO NOT read this blog! It might cause your stomach to turn. And for anyone who's HUNGRY, DO NOT read this blog as well. Read it at your own risk.

Two days ago I decided to make an Indonesian snack for us both. When my hubby went home from work, he asked me what they were. (I'll add the pics later) I told him to try one. Then he asked suspiciously, "Is there any frog meat inside?" I replied, "Yep, frogs, snails, snakes." (Actually I made a dough out of flour and the filling consisted of vermicelli, peas, beef, carrots, mushrooms)

Yeah, a funny thing about inter-cultural marriage is food. Whenever I try to cook something "exotic", he'll ask me what it is and I'll do my best to tease him. *evil grin*

What do people back in Indo eat? Yes, they eat snails, frogs, and a few people like eating dog meat, as well. They also eat snakes, cow's intestines, cow's brain, cow's tongue, and chicken feet. I ABSOLUTELY adore frogs, cow's intestines, cow's brain, cow's tongue, and chicken feet (especially my Mom's version of those food). I've never tried dog meat, though. They say it makes your belly feel like burning after you eat it. Snails? Yep, tried it once but not too fond of it he he...

If I remember other odd things about this topic, I'll surely post 'em later. :-)))

Friday, May 18, 2007

Inside the Room of My Soul

What Your Soul Really Looks Like

You are very passionate and quite temperamental. While you can be moody, you always crave comfort.

You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.

You see yourself with pretty objective eyes. How you view yourself is almost exactly how other people view you.

Your near future is a lot like the present, and as far as you're concerned, that's a very good thing.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

My Love Element

Your Love Element Is Wood

In love, you tend to gently dominate and guide your partner.

For you, love is all about sharing goals and future plans.

You attract others with creativity and vision.

Your flirting style is defined by your honesty and assertiveness.

Growth and improvement are the cornerstones of your love life.

You may focus on goals too much in relationships, but you never come out of them with a loss.

You connect best with: Water

Avoid: Metal

You and another Wood element: will be doomed to a stormy relationship

Sisu, Sauna, Salmiakki (Guts, Sauna, Salmiac)

It's past midnight already but the sun is still not setting yet. I wonder how it'd feel like to enjoy Midnight Sun during summer and then to have less and less sunshine during the long winter. Oh well...adventure, adventure. ;-D

Why am I writing this blog at such an ungodly hour again? Yep, you got it. Coffee. Today was a holiday so we went to my in-laws' place again and as usual we were served coffee. ;-D

Anyway, there are some things here that I wanna share from my Asian perspective (a non-native who'd lived her ENTIRE life in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia).

1. The air here is very dry. My throat gets dry so easily, so even during the night I keep on feeling thirsty. Apparently the air makes me keep my mouth open during sleep. The result? Every morning when I wake up, my teeth are DRY!!! Maybe someday we'd better buy a humidifier for our bedroom he he...

2. I'm still not used to this late sunset. It makes me unaware of time. I have to keep on glancing at the clock just to make sure I still know what time it is. Maybe during Midnight Sun period, I will be even more confused. LOL!

3. It's funny that you have to actually BUY plastic bags at the grocery store. In Indo, we don't have to buy plastic bags in grocery stores, supermarkets, or even traditional markets. Well, due to inflation, naturally the quality of the plastic bags gets worse and worse there, but still the plastic bags are free.

4. Whenever Finnish people go to private stores, they'd say "hi" to the owners or shopkeepers. When they leave the stores, they also say goodbye. When they are about to pay groceries at the cashier, they also say "hi" and upon leaving the cashier, they also say goodbye. None of this exchange ever happened in Indo.

5. Mother's Day and Father's Day are considered important here (at least that's what I think anyway from the info I gather from TV and elsewhere).
It's a good thing. :-))) Unfortunately in Indo, those two days are just like any other day.

6. As Sodankylä's a small town, obviously there are no malls here (as I have posted earlier), so there are only private stores and supermarkets. One of the problems I had at first when I moved here was my bladder! The cold weather and my "small" bladder made me feel uneasy whenever I wanted to go around town on foot longer than 45 minutes. The thing is, the only public toilets I can find downtown are near gas stations and if I'm NOT near gas stations when my bladder's full, I can be in DEEP trouble.

7. Sauna!!! Boy, I LOVE sauna. It makes me relaxed and it's just nice to be able to feel "HOT" on such cold days he he he...

8. Salmiac. Now this is one thing I don't get. I've tried different types of salmiac but until now I STILL don't like it. My hubby keeps on trying to persuade me to try to like it, but na-a-a-ah. When I first visited Finland back in 2004, I brought back home a few small boxes of classic salmiac. My friends tried it and also my family, but most of them didn't like it AT ALL. The only people who liked it back then was my Dad, my Dad's younger sister and her family. I'm amazed at my hubby who can eat salmiac as though it were candy! Tsk tsk tsk...

9. Sisu. Ah...I can't say that I have guts. I'm more of a calculated planner, but I THINK moving to Finland from halfway around the world (and leaving EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY behind) was the most gutsy decision I had ever taken in my entire life.

10. I'm still amazed at how much space there is in this country, especially in the outskirts of small towns or villages. There's one thing I realized recently as well. Remember what I told you about the feeling of being swallowed up by the sky, especially when passing by two vast stretches of open fields on my left and right as we drive by? There are NO hills or mountains (or tall buildings) blocking my view!!! Back in Bandung, where there are SO many mountains surrounding the city (plus LOADS and LOADS of tall buildings huddled up near one another), the sky always seems so narrow, limited, obstructed. Ahhh...I LOVE Bandung, but now I'm enjoying the wide open space that Finland has to offer.

I guess it's time for me to go to sleep he he he...I'll add more later. :-))))

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Midnight "Me Time"

Darn coffee kept me awake again (my bad he he...) so let me just spend some time here before I try to go back to sleep again. Sometimes I'm tempted to drink coffee even when I know I shouldn't. It'd be okay if I drink coffee in the morning, but if I drink even only a cup of coffee in the evening, then this is what happens.

Oh well...there are a couple of things that I wanna write down. Just random thoughts, actually.

1. I LOVE the feeling of being SWALLOWED UP by the sky here in Finland. I never felt that way back in Bandung, as I lived with my parents in a small alley where houses' walls stuck together so if there were a fire, then it'd be VERY dangerous. There are no buildings higher than 3 stories in Sodankylä, especially around Kelujärvi (where my in-laws live). There are lots of vast stretches of land there and whenever we drive to and from Kelujärvi, I can see the sky enveloping us and the world really seems unbelievably HUGE.

2. I LOVE sitting on Arttu's lap. If you ever see us like that (probably never as I won't feel comfy showing off affection in front of other people), you'd think of a father and a daughter ha ha...Why? Because I'm only 145 cm, whereas Arttu's 177 cm. Another reason why I love sitting on his lap is because his body is SO MUCH warmer than mine, so if I feel a bit cool or cold, he's like my personal "blanket" he he...

3. A while ago my friends and I were talking about God's ways in our lives. I think that life is mostly like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. You know, the kind of book where you get to choose what to do next in some parts (like forks in the paths of our lives), so there are several endings depending on what you choose. I think in most cases, God gives us the freedom to choose, whereas in some cases everything depends on Him.

4. I think I'm luckily enjoying my Mum's "karma". She's a GREAT cook and she loves feeding people (if you ever come to our house in Indo, Mum'll DEFINITELY give you some food). She sells food in the traditional market in Bandung and if there are leftovers, she'd give them away to relatives and neighbours. And now my mother-in-law LOVES giving us food every time we visit them on Saturdays. Well, the good thing about it is that it drives me to experiment on cooking and baking so that I can at least bring something for her to try. :-)))

5. It's GOOD to have dreams and goals in life to boost us, but sometimes having too many wishes (in an obsessive way) can be the source of your sorrow, as well, if you don't seem to get nearer to getting them. Especially if you see people around you and they've actually gotten what you wish for "seemingly" effortlessly.

Okay, enough for tonight. I'll continue again later. :-))) Sweet dreams, everybody!

Sharing Self-Loath

Written on April 12, 2007 - again I decided to post this from my other blogsite just in case someone out there is experiencing a similar situation.

Earlier today I had a talk with one of my closest friends (she'd have shared this herself if she had more time). She said she'd recently beginning to gradually win over the devil. She said that she'd been pushing herself to the limit, wanting to be better and better. Yep, naturally depression came barraging her mind. Her self-esteem took a beating. It got harder and harder to feel satisfied with herself and to accept her weaknesses. Whatever she did, she felt as though it hadn't been good enough since she grumbled while doing it. She began to start looking for excuses for herself. She felt SO tired of everything that she felt as if she had wanted to die.

However, slowly, she began to be reminded that those negative thoughts were the fruit of the devil's work. The devil wanted to ruin all the good things she'd been doing by infiltrating her own mind with negative thoughts.

And then someone reminded her that no matter how "trivial" or "unimportant" the things we did, they mattered to GOD! She said that for some time it was SO hard for her to see God's hands, but when reading Anita's email, she said that she was reminded again of what she said herself once to us all (Bandung Girl Triad), "If you can't see God's hands, trust His heart." She said she'd been trusting God's heart all the time, yet sometimes she still felt tired and upset. However, she said that we were all only humans, so we need not try to be more than that.

Oh yeah, she wanted to share these verses:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions NEVER fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.

Lamentations 3:22-35

Ahhhh...lately I've also experienced something similar. I'd been condemning myself about lots of things, mostly about cooking and making stupid mistakes. However, once I let go my "crazy" expectations, my burdens began to feel lighter. Besides, I was also reminded that God LOVES ME THE WAY I AM. Jesus came to earth because of the sinners (that's ME, the ever-imperfect!!!)

I began to think, "If God loves me the way I am, how come it's SO darn hard for me to love myself the way I am, zits and all?" In this ever-competitive world, you want to keep up with don't want to be left behind, you keep striving to be better and have more and more have more and more stretch...but what do they all mean if they can't make you love yourself?

It never really crossed my mind that the devil may be the one doing this (trapping us with self-loathing, self-condemning, destruction of self-esteem), but I knew that I had to learn to love myself over and over again so that I could love others more, as well. Without any love for myself, how can I give to others?

Now at least I can say this: I am nothing. But I am loved. I am SO LOVED. I am LOVED ABUNDANTLY. VASTLY. I am LOVED FOREVER. God loves me the way I am. Arttu loves me the way I am. My WHOLE family love me the way I am. My friends love me the way I am. And I love ME, even I'm nothing, even I'm nothing but me.

I LOVE quality time moments. I LOVE the late night chit-chat between me and my husband. We can really have GREAT fun together by giggling over nothing or we can just talk about our own thoughts. I LOVE the fact that my husband cares enough about what I think and feel that he keeps on asking me about how I feel every now and then (and he also reads my blog, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR THAT, SWEETHEART!!!). I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE because of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UR SIMPLY THE BEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTT!!!! MMMMWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH...Ahem...

Back on track...

Today I have made a new friend. I never thought I could find a friend this fast in this foreign country, knowing that I'd been such a hermit back in Indo (lazy and reluctant in socializing). God, it felt GOOD to be able to talk "intelligently" with someone else other than Arttu. It felt GOOD to be able to joke with someone who understood. It felt REALLY GOOD to talk to someone who'd been in the same boat, who'd been there, done that before., AMAZING, MAGICAL and I wanna THANK GOD for everything!!!!

Baby Steps

Written on April 4, 2007 - I decided to put this also in this site as it may struck a chord with someone out there who's experiencing a similar situation.

If you think I'm going to talk about real babies, then stop reading this blog immediately 'coz I'm gonna talk about figurative baby steps. I've been here for 3 weeks and so far I'm still trying to learn VERY SLOWLY. It feels a bit as though I were reborn again. Different country, weather, customs, language, EVERYTHING!

It's scary to think that if my hubby's gone (for any kind of reason) now or soon, I'll basically be drowned in "deep shit". After being a somewhat independent woman back in Indo for years, the feeling of being dependent on my hubby for MANY things is not a much-welcomed one. I know it can't be helped, yet I'm still trying to learn to get used to it.

Other than that, I have to learn to embrace my weaknesses. There have been SO many STUPID mistakes that I made in the past 3 weeks (correction: in JUST 3 weeks!). Gladly my hubby's always been understanding enough. However, that doesn't change the way I feel about myself. I try not to succumb to my extreme "dark" ends, 'coz I know I have to cut myself some slack (otherwise I'm DOOMED!). Let me tell you, feeling like a small child (and a stupid one, too, 'coz I'm not really a child), can be numbing. I DO NOT want to be numb. I DO NOT want to be bitter. I DO NOT want to compare myself to others, especially NOW that I have nothing to be proud of. (side note: Well, in most cases, I shouldn't compare myself with anyone anyway, as it can be "lethal")

What makes you feel proud of yourself? Your family? Wealth? House? Achievements? Kids? It seems that all our lives we're driven to achieve, achieve, and achieve in order to feel worthy. Well, right now I have nothing much to be proud of myself, but I WILL NOT let it get in the way of preserving my own self-worth. I am worthy simply because I was born into this world. I am worthy simply because I am alive (and still entrusted with the gift of life). I have to keep repeating those sentences in my head every day to keep me sane. I've also been listening to gospel songs to refresh my spirit and be strengthened (Thank GOD for ADSL connection!!!).

I'm writing this blog with the hope that if someone out there is experiencing a similar situation, he or she knows that he or she is not alone. I haven't really had a bad day, actually. It's just that maybe I'm a bit of a control freak. I dislike situations where I'm helpless. However, I'm trying to learn to enjoy every bit of it. Sure there may be tears (of frustration or condemnation), yet I'll keep in mind God's whisper of hope for me to keep me going strong.

Baby steps...right now I can only do baby steps. I hope God'll give both of us patience, understanding, and wisdom as I start walking with baby steps and hopefully gain more confidence as time goes by. I should learn to see this world again from a child's point of view...with wonder and curiosity and zest to learn more and more and more things.

Now let me just send this prayer to heaven...

God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change...
COURAGE to change the things I can...
And WISDOM to know the difference...