Yesterday it was snowing so heavily. Today it's snowing still. I've never seen so much snow before. Everything is white, white, white...and the snow truck has been busy clearing up snow from the streets and apartment buildings' parking lots. The prediction says that there's around 100-125 cm of snow in Lapland.
Anyway, I still can't contact my parents. Today my uncle's body was cremated. Maybe I'll try calling them again tomorrow. My Mom must be the one person who's going to miss my uncle so much. Let me tell you some bits about what I remember about my uncle. My uncle is my Dad's youngest brother. They are 12 years apart since my Dad was the second child in the family.
I remember vaguely when my uncle suffered from a bent neck. I was too young to remember why, but his head was turned sideways (I forgot whether it was to the left or right) for a LONG time (I think for several years). He went to some expert masseurs to get it fixed and had to endure a lot of pain during the massage therapies. Poor uncle! But eventually he was healed!!! :-D
My uncle was the only child in my Dad's family who graduated from the university. My Mom reminded my Dad to give some money to my uncle when he was doing his thesis. Before my parents got married, my Dad gave him money for his studies in exchange for my uncle's doing my Dad's laundry. Remember that back then they had no washing machine, so it wasn't a piece of cake!
Anyhow, my uncle worked in a bank in Bandung for a while, and after working there for years, he got promoted and he was transferred to the Jakarta office. He had worked in the bank for the rest of his life. I think he moved to a different bank once in Bandung, but he stayed on in the second one until his early retirement. About three years ago, he was offered to take an early retirement, so he did. The official retirement age would be 55 years old. Well, I guess it was a good decision for him.
He moved back to Bandung afterwards since he had 2 houses there. He lived in one of them ever since 2005 and he'd been close to Mom since then. Yeah, even though he's Dad's brother, but he was actually closer to my Mom. He'd call Mom and they'd speak for hours like old friends...or Mom would call him and they'd speak for hours. As you know, my Mom sells food in a traditional market in Bandung, and sometimes when there were leftovers, she'd call my uncle to get it. After all, my uncle lived alone and he loved my Mom's food. He'd eagerly come to our house to get the food and to talk. Sometimes he'd come to our house for no specific reason than to talk, as well.
I remember him coming over our house near my wedding day and he asked me with a curious smile on his face, "So, how did Arttu propose you?"
That was a question I didn't expect. I explained that he just asked me if I wanted to be his wife. He looked a bit confused then. Probably he had expected a more elaborate answer. After all, in Chinese tradition, a family proposal is something that's complicated.
He was among those people who represented my family when we proposed to my brother's girlfriend. He was so happy to be able to come. Right after the party was over, he still hung out in our house for a talk. We started talking about the wedding cost and everything. Funny thing was that when he heard the rough budget calculation for my brother's wedding, he gasped and said, "Oh dear...a wedding costs THAT much?!?!?! I never knew that! No wonder I never got married." And he laughed while saying those words.
I also remember Chinese New Year 2006. Since Mom knew that my uncle would be all alone in his house, we decided to bring some food and visit him (normally it's the younger people who visit the older people, not the other way around). We had a LONG talk on the dining room table. It was SO MUCH FUN!
And after I moved to Finland, my brother told me that my uncle was SO excited about my brother's wedding. After all, he'd be one of those people who helped out during the reception. He stayed a night in our house so that he didn't have to go all the way from his house to ours on my brother's wedding day. Since my parents had sold their car, my uncle had escorted my Dad on his motorcycle to give out some wedding invitations to my Dad's closest friends. He was also the one who had helped my Dad get through with the wedding schedule.
After he retired, sometimes he also gave my parents some money "to buy medicine, he said". Even before he retired, sometimes he also transferred money to my Mom's bank account. When he found out that the traditional market where my Mom sells food was about to be renovated, so my Mom had to buy a new booth (table), which was quite expensive, he transferred money to her account. Even though my Mom had told him that she had had enough money for that specific purpose, he still transferred some money to her. We truly appreciated this.
Well, I sure hope that he had enjoyed his retirement years and I'm glad that he had been close to my parents ever since he moved back to Bandung.
Farewell, Dear Uncle!!! Your memories live on in my heart and mind...