Monday, July 30, 2012

Catch Me Please!

I don't know when "the game" started, because it certainly didn't start the first year I moved here, so it must've started after that, but it's been fun doing it every once in a while he he he he...What kind of game am I talking about here? 

Well, the first time it happened, we had been hugging and kissing while standing up and holding each other for a while. Then when we were about to separate, I had this idea of letting myself fall backward and see if R2 would catch me hi hi...It was SO thrilling, you know? ;-D

The first time I did it, he was obviously surprised, but he caught me nonetheless. And of course I never did try to fall backward too fast for fear that if he had turned around quickly or if he was distracted by something else before he had a chance to catch me, then I would still have been able to regain my balance ha ha...but it was always SO MUCH FUN doing it over and over again (not often enough that it would be too boring or predictable he he...). 

There's something thrilling about being caught because you really have to trust the other person and know that he would catch you. Actually the last time I did it, he shook his head. Upon sensing his protest, I quickly said, "But I SHOULD make the best of our time, you see...I mean, who knows if I try it when we're way too old, then your reflexes may not be this good anymore and then I'd fall back like a log and hurt myself badly. At least now I can still count on the fact that you've got enough power to catch me - plus the good enough reflexes." 

And yeah, that shut him up HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI...Anyway, the weather has been pretty strange over here. It was SO moist for two days - really sticky and warm without too much sun and today it got cooler (and cloudier, too). I can see more and more leaves turning colours already, thinking that it may be autumn already ha ha...I'll take some pics later on, but now I need to relax 'coz I've had work for the past few days and I haven't had time to do anything much. Funny thing is that usually up here autumn came and went so fast. Now it seems that it's going to happen so gradually starting in summer! HA HA HA...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lab Experiments

When I was in Junior High School, we had Physics and Biology lab experiments. I don't remember anymore if we started on the first grade already or second grade, but we had to buy a white lab coat for this purpose. We were spread into several groups in alphabetical order, so I was in a group with my friends whose first names started with either an A, B, or C (remember that in Indo first name is more important than last name). 

I don't remember too much about Physics lab experiments other than a few glimpses of memories, because I find the Biology lab experiments to be more interesting. For example we got to dissect a frog, a fish, and a house lizard

Luckily, though, because there were at least 5 people in a group, only one of us had to dissect. After the deed was done, then usually we had to figure out the insides of the animals and then drew them in our lab notes and marked them according to their own colours. Yep, we had to bring colouring pencils to the labs, as well.

I remember being the one bringing a big bagful of live frogs from the traditional market where my Mom sold food. Because she knew the guy who sold the frogs (yes, we do eat cooked frogs in Indo), the school could get a special price, so in the morning before my Dad took me to school by motorcycle, we went to this market first to get the frogs. When my Mom sold food at this market, she was there already at around 5 or 6 am (and school started at 7 am), so there was enough time to go get them with my Mom's help.

Anyway, at the end of each school semester, we had lab tests as well. Other than the first semester, each of us had to pick a number before going into the lab. The numbers are written on pieces of paper which are then balled and then put in a big bowl, so it was pure luck which number you'd get. Everyone was really anxious because there were some experiments that we weren't really keen on doing on our own. After picking the number, we would get into the lab room and then go find the table with the same number on it. That was then the test that you had to do. 

I remember one of my close friends having to dissect a fish. YIKES!!!! Dissecting a fish was the worst because it smelled so strong and the fish was much bigger than the other animals and there was more blood and therefore more slimy compared to the other animals I mentioned above (I don't know what type of fish it was but it was big). She had to do the experiment near the sink due to the possible amount of blood produced during the experiment. I myself wouldn't mind having to dissect the frog, but didn't want to do the fish. Luckily that day I got something easy that didn't require any dissecting he he he...

One time we also had an experiment with cockroaches. EWWWWWWWW!!! I really HATE roaches, especially flying ones. They're just gross! I'm not 100% sure whether we did dissect it or not, but there was also another experiment where we had to put it inside a tube and nobody in our group wanted to do it, even though I was the only girl there ha ha ha ha...So finally one classmate of mine grudgingly did it, but because he was grossed out as well, the sneaky little thing managed to run away and that caused hysteria because all the girls near our table were screaming whereas the boys were all trying to get away from the roach instead of trying to catch it. Thus our lab teacher got angry and told us (our group) to catch it ASAP hi hi hi hi...What a memory! :-D

Well, not long after that, though, that classmate of mine managed to grab it again somehow and shove it into the tube (mind you, the tube is rather slim, so it's not that easy to shove the live roach into it!). We all felt so relieved once the poor little thing was safe and sound inside the closed tube. Phew!!!

Other than dissecting animals, we also used a microscope on many occasions. I found that interesting and exciting!!! Each group was given a microscope so each member could take turns to use it and then we had to draw what we saw in our lab book. However, if one of us broke something, then the group had to chip in to buy the same thing for the school. Nobody had ever damaged anything much other than a few tubes if I remember correctly, so it was all good.

In High School I had no lab experiments because on the second grade I chose to study more Economics than Biology or Physics, but I'll always have fond memories of my Junior High lab experiments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Busy Bee

Yesterday was a busy day for me. R2 and I went to Kelujärvi to spend time with the family 'coz his eldest bro came from the south to spend time with us. It was his birthday as well as FIL's 80th birthday, so after we had lunch together there with the big family, we headed out to visit FIL and brought him a cake. Unfortunately he wasn't in a good enough condition to open his eyes. He did, though, eat the cake and drink the coffee that MIL fed him - with closed eyes. 

It was not a particularly warm day, but every now and then when the sun came out from behind the clouds, we felt warm despite the rather cool wind. Daytime temperature was only about 15'C, but at least it wasn't raining. It did rain in the early morning, though. 

We all got to our place to eat and play cards until around 2.30 am ha ha ha ha...We played Uno and laughed so much that my cheeks started to hurt LOL!!! People can be so funny after they get tipsy hi hi hi hi...some of us had trouble following the game after a few drinks hi hi hi...I drank a little bit of orange cider, but mostly I had water, so I was fine until the end ha ha...R2 was the one calculating the points and after several rounds of game, he started making mistakes in counting our points, so we had to recheck the numbers. 

Anyway, I took some pics of a busy bee in Kelujärvi garden as well as a pic of the cake we bought for FIL. I'd never seen such a cake before ha ha ha ha...mostly 'coz I usually buy frozen ones instead of this type. It's called "Käpykakku". Käpy means pine cone and the inside of the cake is very interesting 'coz it's not like a regular cake. I forgot to take a pic of it, though, but I know that I'm gonna be looking for this cake again later on when we have something to celebrate 'coz I love it!!! :-D 

OK, without further ado, let me just share the pics...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthday Treat

Today is my bro's birthday and it reminded me of birthday treats (esp. for those over 18 years old). In Indo, it's common for the birthday boy/girl to treat others on their special day. I remember that when I was at the uni (I had been tutoring kids in my spare time so I had some savings), I asked some of my close friends to go to Pizza Hut to eat together on my birthday. My treat. 

FYI: For younger kids, it's common for the parents to pay for everything. I remember when I was in Junior High School (my allowance wasn't enough to treat my friends at a resto), I invited a few friends to our house and my Mom cooked all the food and ordered a cake and we just had fun eating and talking there. :-D
One close friend then moved to USA and she started working there. On her birthday, she brought a cake to her workplace. Her boss said to her, "Poor you! Why did you bring a cake on YOUR birthday? We're the ones who're supposed to treat you on your special day."

She was stunned. She had no idea that it's not common for people there to treat others on their birthdays. In fact, it's very common for your friends to chip in some money and pay for your dinner at your fave restaurant. 

Another friend moved to USA, but he wants to keep the Indonesian birthday treat tradition, so the American friends were so happy to be treated by this guy on his last birthday ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

What's the custom like in your country when it comes to birthday treats?

P.S. I'm not really big on birthdays. With my family, usually we just either dined out in a restaurant or ordered some food to eat together at home and we'd also order a cake from a deli. :-D Here in Finland oftentimes MIL buys me a cake and we'd eat it together. :-D 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. Getting 3 new novels (they're on a discount). Best of all, hubby paid for them HUA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...

2. Seeing two reindeer close-up while riding my bike from MIL's place today. They were busily eating while I took pics from a few metres away. :-D

3. Mom's told me that a relative of hers wants her to go with her on a trip. I'm glad to know that they're able to do such a thing in their old age.

4. Making chili tuna puff pastry again 'coz we both love 'em SO much (easy to make, too - I just need to buy a can of super delicious chili tuna and a bag of frozen puff pastry, defroste the pastry, then arrange the tuna on top of it and just shove 'em in the oven until they're golden brown. No need to add any more spices 'coz it's the right combo already). 

5. Finding some answers to some of the questions that have been bothering me for a while. :-D YAAAAYYY for enlightenment!!!

6. Went to bed later than R2 and when I came to bed, he turned around and held my hand. :-D

7. Delicious ice-cream on a special offer. Yum yum...:-D 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What's In A Name?

When my parents were younger (perhaps in their early twenties, I don't remember exactly anymore), they changed their names into Indonesian names officially. So in their original birth certificates, both of them had Chinese names. I know that Dad chose his own first name and surname because he had told us about it a few times and his siblings also used the same surname. Not sure who picked Mom's Indonesian names, though, but Mom has an Indonesian first name, middle name, and surname.

After I was born, my Dad registered my birth and told the official the name he and my Mom had chosen for me, but for some weird reason they didn't put my Dad's (Indo) surname in my birth certificate. The same thing happened to my brother. We're not the only victims, though, because I know so many of my schoolmates and also my brother's schoolmates who don't have any surnames. Our parents did give us middle names, so the middle names stayed in our birth certificate, but some of my schoolmates whose parents didn't give any middle names had only their first names written in their birth certificate.

A funny thing happened when I first applied for a passport back in 2000. In order to apply for a passport, we had to submit our parents' papers, including their birth certificates. When I received my passport, I realized that they had put my Dad's (Indo) surname. Probably because in many other countries, surname is such an important thing. 

I remember being called by Ms. (Dad's surname) at the airport in Singapore instead of being called Ms. Amel and I was surprised 'coz I had never used that surname before, so it sounded strange to me. FYI in Indo, normally they call people by their first names, though they'd add the word Mrs. or Mr. for older people or when you need to be polite. And in schools these days sometimes the single female teachers are called Ms. (First name) as well.

In Indonesia when a couple gets married, very rarely does anyone change their names officially so that they use their spouse's surname, although sometimes on some occasions the wife will be called as Mrs. X (for example) --- sometimes this happens when someone invites you to a wedding and on the envelope it'll be written: Mr. and Mrs. X.

Anyway, that's why when I moved to Finland with my residence permit, all my legal paperwork here has my Dad's surname on it, even though it's not written in my birth certificate. I did want to take R2's surname at some point, but it would be such a hassle 'coz then I'd have to change my bank card, ID card, passport, so I haven't done it (I know R2 doesn't mind, either).

I once daydreamed about tracking my ancestors and being able to draw a huge family tree, though it would be very hard to do, because I'm not sure in the old days everything was recorded well enough in the registry office (case in point: my Mom's elder siblings don't know their exact birth dates 'coz my grandparents didn't register their births right away). Besides, my Dad's dad came to Indo from mainland China, whereas my Mom's dad came to Indo from Singapore (dunno if he originated from mainland China as well or if he was born there already), but both my grandmas were born in Indonesia already, though I have no idea about their own parents.

A few weeks ago I watched a TV show about Kim Cattrall's effort to track down her ancestors and it made me daydream of my own ancestors. Who were they? Where did they come from? I may not be able to find out anything about them, but at least I can daydream. :-D Maybe one of them was a sailor who loved adventures. Maybe another one was a kungfu master/mistress (after all, Mom's dad was a medicine man) ha ha ha hahhhhh...Maybe another one was a tofu maker hi hi...ahem...OK, enough daydreaming for now...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. Went to visit MIL at her place yesterday and she looked much better. She was walking around the yard of the apartment complex (using two walking sticks for balance) when I arrived.

2. Knowing that MIL hasn't been totally alone ever since she got back home - that her sis had been there to help her out.

3. Ken, my bro's son, has started going to pre-school and the first day went very well. :-D

4. Going 27 kmh on my bike without having to do anything (because I was going down on a long slope) HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAHHHHH...

5. Having a nice, long chat at my friend's place.

6. Fresh cherries!!!!! There aren't any fresh cherries in Indo, so the first time I tasted them was a few years ago.

7. Feeling as a funny person when I'm with hubby, even though with others I don't especially feel that way (not that often anyway).

8. Cutting my hair shorter and feeling much lighter without having to spend a dime ha ha...

9. Being appreciated. :-D

10. Making a mistake at work and being forgiven for it. And letting it go. :-D

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Regional Language: Sundanese

While Indonesian language is Indonesia's official national language, but Indonesians have so many regional languages spoken in different areas. While I was a child, I learnt not only Indonesian but also Sundanese by immersion. Sundanese was also taught to us from Elementary School until Junior High School. I don't know how it's like nowadays at schools (not sure if they still teach Sundanese at schools), but if you come to my hometown, Bandung, you'll hear Sundanese spoken all over the place. 

As an nation that consists of lots of islands, it's no wonder that people from different islands (and even areas) had their own regional languages (this link says that there are over 300 regional/native languages in Indonsia). And even if you live in the same island, there are still differences dialects, though I guess this is a normal case for other languages in the world as well.

However, basically speaking Sundanese and Indonesian language are two different set of languages. Even if you understand Indonesian language, but if you hear me speak only in Sundanese, you would probably not have a clue what I'm saying (or maybe at the most you'll understand just a few words). If I hear someone use Javanese language or Makassarean language or Balinese language, I won't understand almost all of the words either.

Here's what it's said in Wikipedia: Sundanese Language.

Sundanese has two different forms: the "normal" form (the rather crude form) and the "polite" form. The polite form is really tough to learn (the vocabulary for the polite form is different than the normal form) and most people use the less polite form (or combining the polite and less polite form). If I talk to someone much older than me and they talk to me in Sundanese, I'd feel safer using Indonesian language rather than use the "normal" form of Sundanese. However, it's fine to use the normal form of Sundanese to speak to people your own age or younger than yourselves. 

I must tell you, though, that there are so many lovely, expressive words/phrases in Sundanese that are irreplaceable because there are no equivalents of those words/phrases in Indonesian language, so many times when I speak with my friends or Mom, I use a hodgepodge of Indonesian with Sundanese words in between - simply because those Sundanese words can explain what I'm trying to say better than any other words in Indonesian.

One friend of mine spent her childhood in the USA for a few years during childhood because her Dad continued his education there. That also resulted in the loss of those years learning Sundanese by immersion. Even though she did end up learning some Sundanese at school until Junior High, even until now she gets confused if we use too much Sundanese in our emails. Or it'd take her longer time to understand the Sundanese texts compared to Indonesian. 

Oh yeah, one more thing about Sundanese - the Sundanese scale comprises of "da-mi-na-ti-la-da" instead of "do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do". Before you get all confused, let me introduce you to some Sundanese songs then he he he he he... 
First song in two versions (the traditional one and the modern one) called "Mojang Priangan". Mojang = girl (if I still remember correctly it usually refers to an unmarried young woman). Priangan = the area that covers Bandung, West Bandung, Subang, Garut, Purwakarta, and Sumedang.

And another song in two versions as well: the traditional one and a more modern one (with Japanese influence and Japanese words). It's called "Es Lilin". Click here to find out a pic of es lilin.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Malware Scare

The other day I had a malware scare. The problematic link was Blogarama and when I went to the site, there was a notice that the site had been hacked by someone and that it had been used to spread malware. BIG THANKS to Elena who informed me about it, I deleted the link from my blog homepage, but after that I couldn't view my blogger homepage anymore nor leave comments on other people's blogs, either. When I tried to refresh the page, there was a notice saying that I should check my Firefox settings to find out if it had blocked the page.

At first I thought blogger was down, so I let it be, but yesterday after work when I tried logging in again, I still couldn't do it, so I asked R2 to check Firefox settings and he unblocked blogger. Phew! I was seriously starting to get depressed already, thinking I couldn't blog or leave any comments on other people's blogs, because blogging has been an important sanctuary to me, my link to sanity. :-D
Anyway, update on MIL: she's started walking using two walking sticks, but her leg is still swollen and bruised. Not sure when she's coming back home, but maybe sometime next week, I suppose. We shall see. At least everything's gone well so far, even though she said this time it hurt more than the other operations (she'd had two similar operations in the past if I'm not mistaken). But they've given her pain killers to help her deal with the pain and the doctor has specifically told her to ask for the pain killer ASAP because if she lets the pain become too much before she asks for the pill, it's not going to help her 'coz the pain will get even stronger. Anyway, I'll probably go visit her again tomorrow after work. 

Latest update on MIL: She just sent me an SMS, saying she'd go back home already on Monday. YAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!! Hope the rest of the recovery period goes well. :-D

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Foreign Language Learning

In my younger days, English was taught to students when they entered Junior High School (these days they're even daycare centres that uses English for kids as young as 1,5 years old). Junior High School = 13-15 years of age. However, I had become interested in learning English from a much younger age, so at first my parents tried to teach me some simple words with the help of some basic English books, but then they decided to send me to an English course at the age of 10.

In the course, I wasn't taught "grammar" per se. In fact, the teachers weren't allowed to teach us grammar and to tell us why certain words change whereas others stayed the same. They wanted us to absorb the "grammatical patterns" on our own. I spent about 1,5 years studying in this course (twice a week, don't remember anymore how many hours per session but it couldn't have been longer than 1,5 hours).

Each class had to present a kind of play or they could just sing a song after the semester was done and in the end all of us students would sing together. If I remember correctly, after the first semester was done, all we did was sang a song because we didn't know enough vocabulary yet in order to produce a play. Then after the second semester we had a short play and after the third one, we had a longer play for the audience (mostly the kids' parents and family members). For the third one, I had quite long texts that I had to remember by heart, but that was really fun! :-D

Anyway, then I entered Junior High School and only then I started to learn grammar properly, but I didn't learn it "enough" to be able to teach anyone else because the tests were done in such a way that we only had to choose/write down the right answers.

Only after I entered High School did I learn how to understand grammar in a more complicated way. You see, our English teacher wanted us to be able to explain why we chose a certain form for a certain word. She made the tests such that if we only gave her the correct form WITHOUT giving her the right explanation, she'd reduce our points. I was SO SO SO frustrated by this approach because in the past, I always got excellent marks whereas in High School, I still got good enough grades in English but I couldn't reach the "excellent" level that I longed to reach. Why did I bother so much? Because I cared.

In Junior High School, I could get excellent marks at English tests simply by using my "instinct", but in High School I could no longer do that. So in Junior High School if a friend asked me why I wrote A instead of B, I didn't know how to explain it to her (it did happen a few times). Little did I know that what my High School English teacher did would really help pave my way into the future. Only after I graduated and started tutoring English to little kids, I realized how much I owed what I could do then to my High School English teacher. I kept all her notes (very very thorough notes that she wrote down on the blackboard for us) during the years that I tutor English to kids. Of course the education and lovely lecturers that I got at the university helped me, too, but my High School English teacher was the first one that made such a deep impact towards the way I learnt a foreign language.

Anyhow, thankfully enough a few years back I found her through Facebook and I had a chance to thank her personally for what she'd done, even though at that time I felt as though she were "torturing" me he he he he...

Monday, July 02, 2012

Doomed to Love

This conversation happened in sauna yesterday. It hasn't been warm these days outside (plenty of rain and cloudy days), so it was really nice to be able to have sauna together and warm ourselves up. 

Me: (coming closer to R2's face, joking) I think you must be infected by something.
R2: What do you mean?
Me: Well, your eyes are red.
R2: Ah, well, I'm infected by you.
Me: Me? What kind of infection is that? (bracing myself to hear him tease me back)
R2: Doomed to love you.
Me: (nicely surprised) Really? I like the sound of that.
R2: Yeah, I'm doomed to love you.
Me: (grin) Hey, that means I should infect you even more with that virus.
R2: Yeah.