Monday, January 30, 2012


Lately I've been thinking about blessings and how sometimes when someone says "I'm blessed" in specific ways that we are deprived of, it may make us feel that they have earned the blessings and that we aren't doing something good enough to make us earn those blessings. And vice versa...

Today a light bulb flicked in my head and I created this using a pic I took a few years ago:

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Child's Innocent Embrace

The other day at work an old lady came to pay for her groceries, but she said to me that she didn't want the milk carton that she took 'coz she had taken the wrong one. Mind you that the milk section was at the back of the store, so I told her to just leave it at the cashier so that I could return it to the original place later on.

After serving a few more customers, there was nobody in line, so I took the milk carton and ran to the back of the store 'coz I didn't want the next customers to wait too long for me to get back. While running on the fourth aisle with the milk carton in my hand, I spotted a little girl in the middle. She was standing there in the middle of the aisle, halfway between me and where the rest of the milk was at the back of the store.

We locked our gaze at one point and we realized who it was we were looking at. She's this little girl who's been really friendly to me ever since we met at the store 1,5 years ago. Her parents are also very friendly and she has a little sister. At that time, her parents and little sister were near the milk section.

Anyway, when the little girl saw me, she smiled so widely and started RUNNING towards me with arms wide open...In my hurry, I couldn't break her heart. She probably thought that I was running towards her!!! (FYI: She did this once when they were at the store and she saw me from afar) So when we were close to each other, I stopped, knelt down, and gave her a hug.

I was a bit worried what her parents might think of me hugging her, but from the side of my eyes, I could see them turning around at us and laughing. Phew!!! She really made my day that day! :-D Before then, all we had ever exchanged were words and smiles and occasionally I gave them some candies he he...

Anyhow, here are some photos I took with my mobile camera (not such good quality), but anyway...

2nd pic: The sun peeping from behind the trees at around 2.30 pm yesterday. Felt marvelous to be able to see it again after such a long time!

3rd pic: The back of a hotel in Sodankylä.

4th pic: Very light pinkish sky.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. Hearing a female customer said, "Look! Your fave sweets are on sale!" to her hubby. And the hubby bought 12 packs of them. :-D What made me think it was beautiful was the fact that the wife was focused on what the hubby liked.

2. We've just booked a short trip to Vienna for our upcoming spring holiday (and after bargaining at work, I've finally gotten the permission to have the 6 days off).

3. Planning, browsing through the internet to find out what kind of fun things we can do there and daydreaming. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

4. Seeing an icicle hanging from the roof - plus funny-shaped snow.

5. Watching the lazy snow falling slowly from inside our kitchen window...the world felt hush hush and so serene...

6. Have been craving for KFC chicken for a while now and finally today I had time and energy to make some. They came out VERY VERY delicious. Yum...

7. Finding out already what hubby needs (to be his March birthday gift) and ordering it already while there're still winter sales ('coz what needs is a winter sweater). Plus finding a good deal on the sweater! :-D

8. Stealing hubby's warmth under the blanket at nights by putting my cold feet on his warm thigh. Ah, to feel the warmth of his body at night is just pure bliss...

9. Indonesian ear cleaning tool is THE BEST!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Pics

I haven't been taking as many pics lately, but here are some pics I took near Christmas and New Year...

1st pic: A pink rose with glitters...

2nd pic: A table for three on Christmas Eve.

3rd pic: The snowflake covered with snowflakes ha ha...

4th pic: R2 had to work hard cleaning the snow from the yard...

5th pic: You should click the pic to see it in a bigger version. Notice the marks on the snow?

6th pic: Those are a hare's tracks. :-D

7th pic: Spending New Year's Eve at MIL's place. :-D

Hope you enjoyed the pics, folks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

*cross-posted with my infertility blog*

The day after I received news about my Dad's death, I felt this urge to tell the whole world about it. One reason was probably 'coz it felt surreal to me. I mean, I didn't see his body and I wasn't there at the funeral home. I wasn't there at all to help out and my life here in Finland continued as if nothing had happened. I think telling the world (well, mostly through FB announcement) about it has helped me remember that my Dad no longer lives on earth.

Another reason was probably because my world will never be the same anymore and I want other people to know that. Funny thing was that if I compared my grief with my infertility grief, I accepted my Dad's death MUCH better than my infertility grief.

First of all, I had had time to prepare for my Dad's death and also opportunities to let him know how much I appreciated him. Secondly, his death was a natural one and he didn't have to suffer long. Thirdly, other people readily acknowledged his death and my grief and thus I got the kind of warm support that I needed.

When tragedy strikes, it feels like your universe is going on a different pace and rhythm. You notice that there are cracks and perhaps even holes all around you. Your whole world has changed. Perhaps you've even stopped living your life for a while though other people don't even realize that. Anyhow, the trouble with infertility is that it's an ambiguous loss that sparks off disenfranchise grief (click on the link to read what it means) and it took us by surprise (a hit below the belt so to speak). When I first realized that (gasp!) we could be infertile, I felt that my whole universe started cracking...and then with each month appeared one hole after another, each with different size and depth.

At that time around our journey, I also felt the urge to let the world know about the changes in our universe. It didn't help when I tried telling some people about the cracks and holes created by infertility 'coz they made me feel like I was delusional. In their eyes, those cracks and holes were invisible. And the "wrong" things they said felt like they were poking the holes (involuntarily making them bigger) or even ripping off the cracks, making me feel defensive or even angry. Or both.

But at that time, I couldn't help feeling that I was really making such a big deal out of my cracks and holes 'coz if they are blind to them, there must be other invisible cracks and holes in other people's universes as well that I may have involuntarily poked and prodded and ripped off and that made me feel guilty for lashing out on them or for being defensive. That realization also made me feel guilty for all the past wrong things I may have said to them.

However, this thought in turn made me feel angrier and frustrated 'coz I felt that I had valid reasons to be grieving in the first place and I was denied the support that a grieving person needed. Thus the cycle of doom continued...Anger, jealousy, frustration, guilt, grief, sorrow, despair, self-hate, self-loathe, self-blame, doubt, name by one tumbling one after another and sometimes many of them bursting out all at once and becoming a concoction from hell.

To be fair, there were some people who did acknowledge there were holes and cracks, but more often than not, the things they said made me feel like they were suggesting band-Aids to cover them up to "heal" my universe. After some time, I felt like giving up in "educating" the world about our universe and what it may entail. (FYI, every once in a while I still try to do this, but not with the same concoction from hell like before).

Side note: For those of you who want to know the list on what not to say to an infertile, here are some links:

What Not To Say to An Infertile
Infertility Etiquette

What helped the most was probably - after a long and twisted journey before coming to the decision so trust me, it wasn't easy to make a decision like this - surrendering ourselves to a future without kids (thanks to all the prayers - I specifically asked some friends to pray The Serenity Prayer for us - and the fact that God has answered those prayers by giving us both a united voice in terms of what to do or not do and in time we could let go of that particular dream).

Our universe will never be the same, but we've stopped focusing on the cracks and holes and focusing more on looking at each other and trying to find ways to make each other happy and spending time together. We try our best to cherish every moment 'coz nobody knows when death is coming to get us...what would be the sweetest ending for our story is if God chooses to take us from earth together at the same time. :-D

Monday, January 16, 2012

3BT: Random Days

1. My Dad's funeral home services, cremation and the scattering of the ashes went fine and there were so many people coming to pay respect.

2. Seeing some white hair on hubby's beard and head.

3. When I told hubby that the white hair must be a sign of wisdom, he rolled his eyes and that made me laugh. :-D

4. Receiving a thick hard-cover book on Sodankylä from a dear customer (the same pappa who's given me plants/flowers 4 times already). BLESS him, BLESS him, BLESS him!!!

5. Having a chance to give that pappa a box of chocolate the day before Christmas when the store was a little less busy.

6. Rereading some of my blog's old posts and being reminded of how far I've gone since then and how many wonderful people I've met through blogging.

7. Reminiscing on the many bittersweet memories that have shaped me since I moved to Finland. :-D

8. Can't help laughing so much every time I'm reminded of this scene in The Simpsons cartoon series:

Homer: Go get Lassie!
Bart: Who's Lassie?
Homer: Doh! I mean Lisa!


9. Hubby's sensitivity towards my mood and my needs. I wasn't feeling well the other day and he helped me coin my back and then spent time on the sofa (holding each other and talking) before I went to bed earlier than he did. He also spent so much time holding me and patting my back when I grieved my Dad's death.

10. Time and time again I can't help feeling grateful that hubby very rarely complains about anything at all. How nice it is not to hear complaints from someone who lives with you!

11. Still time and time again I feel blessed to have a hubby who doesn't get caught up in my mood easily, so every time I'm in a bad, cranky mood, he makes it easier for me to control myself. He is even creative enough to make me laugh when I'm that way.

12. For having a hubby who's never played rough on me, who's never belittled me, who's never told me what to do, who's never given me unsolicited advice.

13. Those people who just know the right things to say and who say them in times of need. BLESS them!

14. Buying MIL some flowers that I had never seen before and then hearing her say, "I've been wanting to get these myself when I saw the ad!" :-D

15. Reading a book while "doing my thing" in the toilet is a bliss. Plus the toilet is warm enough in winter.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reminiscining Dad...

I've been feeling unwell the past few days and finally I start feeling like human again now. Called Mom today (the first time I talked to her after Dad's passing) and there are just some things that made me choke and cry...I'm writing them here more for my own that I'll never forget...

1. While Dad was being taken to the car during the heart attack to go to the hospital, he was screaming in pain and one neighbour kid heard it and told her Mom, "Look, Opa's screaming, Mom!" But at that time her Mom was too busy to pay attention (it didn't help that it was raining so hard that day and it made everybody else stay inside).

The next day, when they heard about my Dad's passing, the little girl broke out in tears and said, "See, Mom? I told you that there was something wrong with opa yesterday. Now there'll be nobody else who's going to greet me every day."

I don't know this particular girl, but it seems that every day when Dad went out to play chess somewhere, he passed by their house and he always greeted her.

When I heard this story, I wanted to yell to heaven, "See, Dad, how many lives you've touched?" And I could feel him smiling from up there...

2. Earlier that day he said to Mom, "I prayed for Ken (bro's son) so that he'll get healthy. You know, I've had a wonderful life and everything I've ever wished for. Our kids are both married and they're good kids."

for all the memories...

I'll make sure your legacy lives on in us...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Year Started With A Bang (read: Dad's Death)

Today I finished work and I was tempted to check my mobile. I've been working for 1,5 years now and I could count with one hand how many times I checked my mobile right after work (before coming home, I mean). There were 4 messages from my bro and Mom.

The first one told me that Dad was screaming in pain earlier today in Indo and that they took him to the emergency room at a hospital. Then the other messages was about his passing about two hours after they took him to the hospital.

Actually when they arrived at the hospital, there was no pulse, but they managed to "revive" him. It happened a few times and finally the doctor said that he checked Dad's pupils and they showed no brain activity, so he wouldn't recommend keeping him alive with the machine, but he said it was all up to the family. In the end he went anyway in peace. He died of a heart attack.

The first thing I felt (probably simultaneously as the shock wave) was a HUGE wave of relief that Dad didn't have to suffer long before God took him away. Then started the tears. I had to lock myself in the toilet and let out what I needed to let out while replying to the messages. After I could control myself somewhat and dabbed my eyes with water and tissue to make sure they didn't look too weird, I went out, did a little shopping, and went home.

When I got back home, R2 greeted me and I told him what happened, then he held me tightly. He patted my back and held me tightly...more tears coming...We spent so much time in each other's arms while I retold him what I had heard from my SIL about what had happened.

It's really weird what I've been feeling after I heard the news...relief, grief, joy (because he can't feel any more pain now), a tad melancholy and longing. All the wonderful memories flashing back. He's my dad and I'm honoured to be his daughter. We might not always see eye to eye, but his legacy will live on through me and my brother.

I have no regrets nor guilt about anything, though. The last time I spoke to him on the phone was a day before his 69th birthday on Dec 27th, 2011 (I couldn't call him on his birthday 'coz I had an evening shift) and that was the only time I had the guts to verbally tell him my appreciation and how he had made a difference in my life. Before that time, I chickened out and I could only tell him how I felt in a lengthy email. I didn't know what made me say those things to him on the phone that day, but now I'm even more glad I did it.

Anyway, rest in peace, dear Dad. You're probably enjoying yourself up there, though. Can't wait to see you there again. Until we meet again...

P.S. The below pic was taken on his birthday a few years ago.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Say What You Want

Back when I was young, I used to think that if people cared enough about me, they should have known what I expected/wished for even when I didn't say a word about it. Boy I was in for a lot of disappointment hi hi...

Since the moment I realized how big of a mistake that was, I've learnt to say out right what I want. It's a long journey, but as time goes by it gets easier and easier to do so. Before my last birthday, I had told R2 that I wanted him to write me a love letter. He grumbled and didn't seem interested at all, but he surprised me by writing me a love email on my birthday anyway (which made me cry tears of joy and I printed).

Now I'm a firm believer of saying what I want in order to create a win-win situation. Some people may think it's "not fun" to do in a relationship, but for me it's the other way around. I don't want R2 to have to guess what I want and then after spending money and thoughts on getting the gift, he'll still have to deal with my disappointment. Life is already filled with problems, so why make life even harder?

I'm not saying that I don't appreciate or need or give surprises (and I'm not saying that R2 never gives me surprises). That's not it. But for important things that I want or need, I'd rather just tell the other person rather than wishing for it secretly.

Anyhow, let me translate his love letter (it's written in Finnish) just because I'm feeling nostalgic...

Happy birthday, my love!

We've been together now for almost 5 years and our 5th wedding anniversary is behind us. I can honestly say that I have never regretted our decision to lead a life together.

If I had to live my life all over again after knowing what I know now, I wouldn't change anything, because if I changed something then I may not end up living with you. Even though there are things in my life that I'd want to change, choices that I wouldn't have chosen otherwise, I would still choose the same things to make sure that I end up with you anyway, because I don't want to be anywhere else but beside you even at this very moment.

I love you. Maybe I don't show it as often as I should and maybe at times I grumble at you, but you're not the reason why I grumble. The biggest reason I grumble is stress from work. Work always gets in the way of enjoying my spare time. That is why I always want to get as far away from here as possible whenever I have longer holidays. I want to forget everything about work issues so that I can focus more on being with you.

The thought of a life without you makes me feel terribly sad. Life won't be life anymore. Home won't be a home anymore, because you're my home and I always miss you whenever I'm somewhere else. I miss you when you're at work and I'm at home alone. Even watching TV is boring without you next to me.

Thank you for being the biggest part of my life.
Thank you for being you.
I love you from the bottom of my heart.

Eternally yours,