Friday, December 28, 2012

Another Christmas Overview

Our Christmas went peacefully as usual. This year because I didn't have to work, we managed to do some trips before enjoying our time together at MIL's place. On Christmas eve, we picked up MIL to go visit the graves. We lit some candles (we went to two different graveyards where they had MIL's parents' graves as well as FIL's parents' graves),

This is the graveyard near the old church:

It was -20'C that day and the sky had some pinkish colour at around 1 pm. Here are two views:


Then we went to visit FIL at the old people's home. He had just had lunch and he was given some coffee and joulutorttu in the kitchen.We gave him some Christmas gifts and then after we moved him to bed, he went to sleep right away, so we left and visited MIL's elder half-sister (who's also her very close friend). We gave her some chocolate and then we went back to MIL's place because BIL and SIL had promised to come at around 4 pm.We had the traditional Christmas food in Finland and then played some cards, but BIL and SIL had to leave earlier because they were going to spend Christmas with SIL's side of the family. 

MIL had asked me to buy some red wine, so I bought a bottle of French red wine, though I wasn't really sure if it was good or not because when I went to the store, there were SO many different types with different explanations, so I just chose one of them ha ha...R2 said that it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't too good, either ha ha ha...I only tasted a little 'coz I'm afraid of the rash happening again like what happened on my first Christmas in Finland.  

Anyway, after sauna we opened our gifts and R2 did get tricked!!! He thought I only gave him one gift, but I had hidden the second one in my bag. He opened the gift and thought that he only got a Donald Duck book. Only after that I gave him the second gift, which was his actual gift: a computer game he he he...He's been gaming it ever since we came back home! :-D

We stayed up late playing cards (not as late as the previous years, though! I guess we're getting older and we get tired more easily LOOOOOLLLL!!!) and then I had fun watching three squirrels chasing one another outside of MIL's apartment. They were SO cute!!!

Here's a pic of one of them. It was so dark outside already so it was hard to get a good pic. Thus I had to tamper with the pic and turned it into sepia mode:

And on Christmas day I saw a punatulkku (bullfinch) among the trees. It was SO vivid due to its red colour among the whiteness of snow. Here's a pic of it...I also had to tamper with the pic to make it brighter. Otherwise it'd look so dark.

Before Christmas I tried taking pics of natural snowflake forms on my bike, but it was SO hard. I just want to show you that when the temperature is colder and it snows, the snowflakes retain their original forms for a while when they land on non-warm spots (like this pic I took of my bike bag). It isn't the best pic (again the darkness didn't help me capture the snowflake form as well as I could), but I suppose this should do...

OK, enough for now. I'm now busy working again until New Year's eve, so not too much time to relax until then he he...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have a Blessed Christmas!

After all the rush at work, it's time for me to get a few days' of rest to celebrate Jesus' birth...I wanna share with you these two blessings this time...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Childhood Memory: Glutinous Rice Balls in Ginger Soup

When we were younger, we used to help Mom prepare some glutinous rice balls. On certain days of the year, she'd try to sell lots of these at the traditional market where she made a living. Making glutinous rice balls in ginger soup itself isn't that hard, but when you're trying to sell at least dozens of bags of them (a bag would consist of 20-25 balls), it can be a tough task, especially for children.

Here's a recipe that I found online: Glutinous Rice Balls in Ginger Soup. The ones we made were without fillings, so they'd be smaller than those in this pic and my Mom would use food colouring to make different types: chocolate (using chocolate powder), white (original colour), pink, and green (using a dash of red and green food colouring). 

Anyway, one day my Mom asked for our help to make hundreds and hundreds of these balls (she never forced us to help, mind you!). Being kids, of course we were so excited to help. Who wouldn't? Even Ken, my bro's son, loves helping out. In fact, today he did make these balls as well - that was what prompted me to write this post hi hi...But now that my Mom has retired, she doesn't have to make too many balls anymore. Just enough for the family and to give out to some relatives. 

Let's zoom back to the past, shall we? Anyway, Mom had separated the four colours in different bowls and she told us to pick which colours we wanted. Being the youngest one in the family, my brother was the slowest one because his hands were smaller than ours. At first he was so excited, but after some time had passed by, after watching how fast the others (me, Dad, and esp. Mom) managed to make the balls, he started comparing how much dough we had left in our own bowls. After realizing that he had the most dough still, he got stressed out and he started crying. He bawled and said, "I'm never going to finish this!!!!!!!!!"

Poor boy...Mom finally let him stop and take a rest and she took the dough that was given to him and continued making the balls efficiently. In the future after this incident, whenever we gathered together to help Mom make more balls, we'd remember it fondly (well, except perhaps my bro who would probably wish everybody else had forgotten about it LOL!!!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. The last Christmas gift package that I ordered arrived already yesterday. Phew!!! Just in time for Christmas he he...

2. I've got surprise gifts and Christmas cards this year. THANK YOU, people!

3. A customer bought a big sack of dog food and said, "This is Christmas food." It made me laugh instantly! :-D

4. We've booked a trip for our spring holiday next year. WOOOOHHHHHHHHOOOOOO!!! :-D THANKFUL to have a chance to do a trip again!

5. Slathering lotion all over hubby's legs in winter and hearing no protest.

6. After serving an English-speaking customer, I turned to the next one and accidentally mentioned the sum in English, which prompted us both to laugh at the same time HA HA HA HA...Some days it takes my brain a longer time to switch back to Finnish LOL!!!

7. Hearing, "Don't run! You don't have to rush! I'm not in a hurry" when I try to come back to the till as quickly as possible. 

8. Finding Jeruk Bali (Balinese Orange) aka Hunajapomelo which took me straight back to my childhood 'coz I used to eat a lot of it when I was a child - and we used to turn the thick skin into a toy. Ah...lovely memories!!! :-D

8. Looking at cute/funny cat pictures (well, mainly cat pics but there are some other animals, too). Makes me go ooh-aah-ing. Mmmmmmmm...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Dunno where to start. I've been silent mainly because of some news I heard about a friend who's fallen ill. At first it seemed to be a regular illness, but then it was discovered to have been an autoimmune disease. This kind of news is jarring enough to make me feel like I'm at a stoplight. The world is still moving at its own pace around me, but I'm focused on the red light that may change the whole world for my friend. 

When I finally let the light turn green again, it felt weird. Somewhere out there right at this moment someone is laughing, another is crying, another gives birth, another loses a loved one, another is thinking of suicide, another is enjoying a honeymoon, another is having a promotion, another loses a job...We'll never know what will happen to us next. 

Being childless-not-by-choice, I've sometimes thought about how we'll end up in the future and trying to "see" too far ahead is totally scary, especially if I wonder who's gonna fight for my right when I'm too old and sick to be able to do it for myself (read my post on Mercy). It's better to just focus on the present, make the best of what we have right now than feeling worried about what may not actually happen. 

After IF, I don't even dare talk about miracles to my friend. If God wills, He can erase her illness, but many times God doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter anymore why God chooses to act a certain way or why He doesn't help us the way we want Him to. What matters most is that I know He knows best and He cares and He will give enough grace and peace beyond understanding in whatever circumstances one has to face if one believes in Him and asks for it. 

This is the prayer I sent to my friend..

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Translating Project Done!

WOOOHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Just have to write this quick post to let you all know that the translating project is now done!!!! I've just burned the file to a CD to give to the writer. It was quite a struggle in parts 'coz I just had to research on some of the things before finally figuring out what exactly was going on in the story and what kind of terms I should use, but it was a good exercise, though I think I want to take a break from doing this kind of heavy translating jobs for a while HA HA HA HA HA HA...

But anyway, come and cheer with me:


3BT: Random Days

1. Hubby had a pre-Christmas weekend party in Luosto with his online gaming buddies. When I was going to work and he was preparing to go there, I told him, "Have fun, but not too much fun that you won't remember coming home."

He said without missing a beat, "But the fun part is coming home after the party." heart melted right away. :-D He's not often verbally romantic, but he does drop "romantic verbal bombs" like these every now and then and it always catches me by surprise. :-D

2. Reading these words that made me laugh: "You're incapable of being destroyed. Like a cockroach." ROFL ROFL ROFL!!!!!!!!!

3. My appreciative and thoughtful direct superior who is fair in treating us all.

4. Watching snowflake patterns on my bike saddle when I had to run some errands downtown.

5. My first attempt at recreating Zuppa Soup was a success (and I found a cheap ceramics bowl that could be put in the oven). WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

6. I made some oven baked pancake (actually pannukakku) and I'm going to eat it soon with some strawberry jam. The smell is spreading to the other rooms, too...mmmmhhhh...

7. Dark Belgian chocolate that just melts in the mouth. I've never had anything like that before. Today I bought a few more packages of the same chocolate for Christmas gifts (and for us as well LOL!). HEAVENLY!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ABBA's Greatest Hits

After my Dad bought a second-hand car from his sister and he started taking us to our respective schools, we'd always listen to the tape playing ABBA's Greatest Hits over and over again. In the mornings we'd first go to my brother's High School because it was farther away than mine. Back then Bandung wasn't as crowded as nowadays. Being a sleepyhead that I am, I'd always close my eyes in the car until I got to school, because I'm just NOT a morning person ha ha ha...

My brother was supposedly getting a motorcycle and a motorcycle's driver's license at the age of 15, but due to the unforeseen motorcycle accident happened to my cousin prior to his 21th birthday that led to his instant death, my parents decided to wait it up until he was 17 years old before they gave him a motorcycle. Due to the horror of my cousin's death, my brother didn't even complain about my parents' decision. RIP, my beloved cousin!!! 

Anyway, these days whenever I hear ABBA's songs, my mind always turned back to that period of time. I remember the first time my Dad took us to schools by car, he was still so nervous that on a stretch of road (actually there was a traffic light and the light was red) that was a bit uphill, the car went down a little so he had to pull up the hand brake. I got a bit nervous myself, but thankfully the car behind us was farther away so that nothing bad happened.

My Dad loved singing. Even though he never sang while driving the car, he'd sing his heart out at home, changing the lyrics as he goes (chuckle). He was never out of tune, though. :-D

Tonight I'm walking down memory lane while listening to ABBA's songs on's for you, Dad!!! You'd have turned 70 years old in a few weeks. THANKS for having been my Dad...You are MISSED!!!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Family Ties

I feel like I've lived in quite a "safe bubble" my entire life. When I was younger, my parents would take me to school and pick me up again from there. I was only allowed to start using the public transit when I was 12 y.o. However, my Dad still insisted on taking us to school before he went to work anyway. When I was in High School Dad bought a secondhand car from his younger sister on installment, so he took us to school by car, though starting in Junior High we could go back home by public transit ourselves.

When I went to university, my Dad still sometimes took me there because at that time he had started working as an insurance agent, so his working hours were pretty flexible. Even the parking guy at the university remembered my Dad's face because he took me there many times over. When my brother started going to the same university (different faculty, though), sometimes he'd give me a ride if our schedule matched. :-)

After graduation, I continued working as a part-time English tutor and then I started having the job as a translator. Then after a while I decided that I was fed up being an English tutor and I wanted to try working in a company. An opportunity came and I was invited for an interview. The factory where I had to have the interview couldn't be reached by public transit, so my Dad took me there - and my Mom and brother went along with me because they wanted to support me and because they were so curious about it all (it was my first job interview ever anyway) HA HA HA HA HA HA...

P.S. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the job, so I quit after only being there for 7 weeks and from then on I focused my time on translating books instead. 

Maybe it's such an embarrassing thing for some people, but for me, it wasn't embarrassing. Maybe because I'd been having this dream of travelling abroad and even living abroad since I was a child, so I always had this thought in my mind, "They can't keep doing it for me when I'm far away, so I may as well just let them love me this way while we still live together." After all, by then I was already in love with R2 and I was thinking that if our relationship worked out, I would definitely have to leave Indo.  

Anyway, the first time I started teaching in an English course at the university at around 19 y.o., my parents took me there. They just wanted to know where the course was. One of my lecturers recruited me to teach at her English course (the course was open for kids from the age of 5 to 12 y.o.), so she had told me to come there at a certain time and date. When my parents and I arrived there, she wasn't there yet, but the secretary was there. Mind you...I had Demi Moore's hair in Ghost at that time (and I'm only 145 cm)...upon seeing me with my parents, the secretary greeted us and immediately asked, "Oh, are you here to enroll in one of our English courses?" LOL LOL LOL!!!

Imagine her surprise when she found out I was there to TEACH!!!!! ROFL ROFL ROFL...anyway, I'm glad I have so many memories of being with my parents and I'm REALLY thankful for their efforts in spending time with me. My Mom also accompanied me every time I had to go to Jakarta to apply for my visa and when I had to prepare for the paperwork before I could get married with R2 as well as the paperwork after I got married before I could move to Finland. My family's not perfect and my parents aren't big on saying "I love you" or "I'm proud of you" and they're not even big on hugs, but I never doubt their love for me because of the way they lavish us with their time, attention, and support. After all, quality time is my primary love languages.

Ah, my cup is overflowing with gratitude...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. Writing this note for hubby (I had an evening shift that day): "Just eat me all up 'coz your wife is going to cook something else tomorrow, OK? Signed: The Slaughtered Lamb. :-D" ---> I had cooked some lamb the day before and there was some left in the fridge, but I knew that he would be worried whether he should eat it all up or leave me a little piece of it, so I stuck the note on top of the box containing the lamb meat. I'm glad to know the note made him smile. :-D Hubby, you INSPIRE me!

2. Had a brilliant idea to trick hubby again on Christmas. ROFL ROFL!!! I'll write about it later on after Christmas if it works!!! I'm just SOOOOO excited!!!

3. Bro told me he woke up earlier specially on my birthday to say a prayer for me. My heart melted!!!

4. My Mom sent me a bday SMS and she also sent prayers. THANKS A LOT, Mom!

5. My closest friends send me birthday greetings and them really touched me deeply and one of them made me laugh by writing down how we first met. :-D More mushy mushy feelings...

6. Watching the frozen snowflakes on my bike saddle and bag when the temperature outside was about -20'C. Amazing artwork!!!

7. Falling in love with characters in books/stories/movies...ahhhhh...I know they're not real, but there are just so many unreal things that are so adorable he he...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Birthday Cabin Trip: Crunchy Snow

I asked for the whole weekend off so that we could spend time at the cabin. Fortunately for us, for the past few days the temperature had dropped down a lot compared to the days before. That meant that it was easier to walk along the snowy path towards the lake he he...because the snow had frozen quite well so that our feet stayed on top of the snow quite well.

We arrived at the cabin at around 5 pm and it was already so dark. There was a beautiful orange full moon hanging low above the horizon and it was a starry night as well! The temperature was -18'C. Funnily enough, the inside of the cabin was only about -6'C he he he...

Here's a pic of R2 trying to get some water from the frozen lake for the sauna. We were afraid it'd be so hard to get the water again, but thankfully the ice layer wasn't too thick. I remember one time it took maybe half an hour for him to use the tools before we could get some water (we almost gave up and R2 was sweating so much after all the hard work!!!):

By the time we got the cabin ready, I saw a halo around the moon, but it was SO hard to get good pics of it. One of the reasons was that when it got that cold, it was hard to press the button of the camera after a while. My fingers were freeeeezzzziiinnngggg after taking lots of pics (some of them were failures!). Here are some pics anyway...

Can you see the stars in the next pic? My monitor's setting is a bit darker than normal, so I'm not sure if it's still too dark or not...hmmmmhhh...

Woke up at around 10.30 am the next day. The sun had just started rising by then and it was gorgeous. Here are a few sunrise pics I took.

And we left the cabin at around 13.30 (around the time when the sun was just about to set). Here is a pic of the lovely pinkish sky at sunset:

Oh yeah, on Friday morning I made some cupcakes from a cupcake mix (with sourcream topping plus brown sugar sprinkles). Easy to make and yummy enough for us ha's the pic!

And here are some pics of tilhi/waxwings. I stood only a few steps away from them, can you believe it? One of the perks of living in Lapland ha ha ha ha...Aren't they SO cute and round??? :-D It got so dark already by then so I had to fix the pics a little...Hope you enjoy the pics! :-D

P.S. As you probably notice, there's not that much snow left 'coz until a few weeks ago the temperature got really warm, so most of the snow had melted! However, yesterday in southern Finland there was snowstorm in many places that brought so much snow (as much as 35 cm or so in Helsinki if I remember correctly).