Thursday, May 30, 2013

Preparation Before The Funeral

In Indonesia, usually Christians in my city Bandung tend to have the cremation or burial of their loved ones a few days after. The family would usually rent a room (or two if they think there'll be so many guests) in a funeral home and the casket and the body will be laid there for three days. On day three in the evening there'll usually be the "closing of the casket" ceremony after a sermon and then the next morning the casket will be brought to a cremation place or burial place.

During the three days of "open house for guests", the family members will be ready to accept the guests from morning till night (because soon after the death is found out, they'll immediately contact a newspaper to put an ad about the details of the funeral and where you can visit the family and pay respect to the deceased). The family members usually provide drinks (water) as well as snacks (sweets, peanuts) and fruit (usually oranges). Guests will come along with a gift of money, pay their respect, talk to the family members present there, and then go back home. The whole thing is a tiring event for the closest family members especially.

If the deceased is buried, on the fourth morning usually only the closest family members and their relatives will go and escort the body to the burial place. And afterwards usually the closest family members (the wife/husband of the deceased) would treat them lunch. 

Because my dad was cremated, they had arranged a specific date and time afterwards to bring the ashes and spread it to the sea, so my Mom and bro rented a car and a driver to take them there (Bandung is in the middle of Java island so it's rather far from the sea).

Here in Sodankylä apparently it's a whole different thing, even though I suppose things can also be done by request, but still...The funeral will be held on in a few weeks. Can't be done any sooner because the church is fully booked. Before the funeral, the church will ring the church bell on June 5th eighty times (the age of the deceased), so I'll be listening to that later on.

So we'll have a funeral service at the church, then the funeral will commence, then we'll all go to a certain place to eat. The option to eat depends on the family members: either to serve only coffee and sweet bread/cake or to serve those after serving a main course. MIL will have to talk to the catering service about what she wants.

On Wednesday first of all we went to buy the casket, then we went to church to book the funeral service. Because MIL hadn't booked any burial spot, we went there to look at the empty spots so that MIL could find a good place for FIL and herself (so she booked two plots because she wants to be laid to rest next to FIL).

After that the funeral home director had prepared FIL and laid him down in the casket, so we went there to say our last goodbye. MIL then proceeded to put on FIL's socks, covered FIL's face with a kind of face cover that was already provided, then the three of us (me, MIL, funeral home director) put the casket lid on top and then put some screws on them. Then along with BIL we lifted the casket on to the back of the funeral home director's car. MIL sat next to him in the car, whereas BIL and I followed it with his car (R2 had work whereas BIL and I were still on summer holiday). Once the casket was put in a cooler, we went back home using BIL's car.

MIL still has so many things to think about...writing down the list of people who may come (if no more than 28 people, then we'll be able to use the small chapel in the cemetery area - but if there are more than that, we must use the church), the menu for the guests after the funeral, then what kind of hymns to sing during the funeral service, ordering the tombstone, sorting out FIL's stuff etc.

Anyway, MIL seems to be doing better today. Calmer. Yesterday she was still understandably shaky, esp. in the morning. Anyway, preparing for things like this makes me think of my own mortality. What kind of ending do I want for myself? I'd rather have the cheapest and the most practical kind available - cremation if possible, though I'm not sure one can do it here in this village. Oh well, when the time comes, it all depends on whoever is available to take care of it. :-)

P.S. I've been browsing for flower wreaths/bouquets for hours 'coz apparently over here family members and guests would bring flower bouquets or wreaths to church. I've visited two flower shops here to find out about the models and prices, but basically speaking they can do pretty much anything per request (provided that they can get the flowers I want, because up here in the north the choices aren't as many as the south), so I really need to think of at least the colour combination of the flowers so that they can help me with the type of flowers. I also have to think of what to write on the card that'd go along with the flowers. It ain't an easy task, I tell ya (because I've never been to a funeral here and I don't really know the customs)!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Goodbye FIL!

Last night I found out that my father-in-law had passed away. I don't know the details yet, but the last time I visited him with MIL on Sunday, he was in a sad state. He had a hard time breathing and he couldn't even swallow yoghurt anymore. Couldn't sip a drink with a straw anymore. And he'd lost more weight. He's no more in pain and I'm glad for that, but I pray that MIL will get comfort and peace without any regrets. Mind you, MIL and FIL would have been married for 50 years soon.

Goodbye, father-in-law! You will be missed...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meet Elvis the Lynx!

During our trip to Kuusamo, we visited Kuusamo Predator Centre (click on the link to view the website - they also have photos and links to video clips of the animals). The centre has reindeer, lynxes, bears, and a fox. It has also web cams in different areas, so you are able to view the animals activities from within their cages. When we waited for our guide to take us around, we watched video clips of the animals from inside the coffee shop. It was fun to watch two bear cubs playing around in the yard!!! :-D :-D :-D

Anyway, if I remember correctly the centre used to be government funded, but nowadays not anymore. Here's a video clip of the lynx I fell in love with ha ha ha ha ha...Yes, I'm a cat person indeed!!! I've added annotations so that you can read some info, but you'd better watch it in a bigger version of the clip 'coz the text is kinda small. Enjoy!!!

P.S. I wanted to take clear pics of the lynx, but it was impossible 'coz we weren't allowed to be too near the cage (not near enough for me to be able to squeeze my camera lenses in between the cage wires to take a clear shot of it - thus I opted to just take a video clip of it). The reason was that the lynx would either be aggressive enough to claw us or it'd pee on us. Not a very good idea ha ha ha... 

P.P.S. LOVE our guide! :-D She was very informative and it's clear that she loves the animals living there. :-D

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Back from Kuusamo!

Hubby and I went for a week trip to Kuusamo (about 3 hours away by car to the south from here). We rented a cabin 'coz we found a good price for it and we just relaxed a lot during the week. That's also one reason why I haven't been blogging or blog-hopping too much. We did bring a laptop with us this time, but I didn't want to spend too much time online.

It was 24'C when we arrived there last Saturday and it was also around 24'C on Sunday. During the week the temperature went down to around 15'C during the day with some cool wind and it got colder during the night, but the sun was shining almost the entire week. :-D Friday morning was cloudy, but it got sunny during the evening (it went up to 18'C even in the evening). Now we're back in Sodankylä and its 20'C and cloudy. Not bad! :-D

Here are some photos that I took. The surrounding area of the cabin. We went for a walk around the area...

R2 watching some geese from afar...

A closer pic of one of the geese. :-D

A pic of me bowling. Photo taken without flash. Because we went in there at around 7 pm, they turned off the lights and then went for a bowling with bowling pins that glowed in the dark. Dunno what it's called in English, but it's called "hohtokeilaus" in Finnish. My first time bowling ever ha ha ha ha ha...

A sneak peek for the rescue centre that we visited (I'll write another post for it along with the video clips). The caretaker feeding a bear...

And a pic of a sleepy fox named Mikko. :-D Ain't he gorgeous? The caretaker said that they fed him lots of reindeer bones and salmon.

A pic of a reindeer and its youngling. It just so happened that two reindeer fawns were born the day before we visited the place he he...I didn't take a pic of the lynx, 'coz I thought it was better to take a video clip of it (couldn't get closer to the cage due to safety reasons).

OK, I'll go unpack now and cook and stuff. Lots of things to do still, but thankfully I still have another week of holiday to go he he he he he he...

Friday, May 24, 2013

3BT: Random Days

1. It took a wooden splinter in my ankle and a sore back to remind me of how amazingly the body works when it's fully well. That it takes so many muscles to move without pain when you try to get up from a lying down position and when you try to move around and change your positions. And the piece of wooden splinter reminds me of the fact that my body is still able to send me an "alarm" when something foreign is entering my body.

2. Yesterday hubby and I visited a couple of animals in captive, namely bears, a sleepy fox, and a lynx. I took some videos, but they have to wait until later. :-D Btw, I fell in love with the gorgeous lynx. :-D

3. We did go bowling and it was fun. :-D My first time ever!!! And I even accidentally scored a strike!!!! YEEEEAAAAHHHHH!!! :-D

4. Mirrow-like surfaces. They always take my breath away.

5. My Mom's going to visit some relatives with her sister and nieces. Glad to know she's going to have fun with them. :-D

6. Hot ginger-orange flavoured tea on a cool day. Mmmmmmmmm...

7. Getting along well with not only parents-in-laws but also BIL and SIL is a blessing. :-D

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stuff My Summer Holiday Is Made Of

1. Sleeping in. :-D

2. Sunbathing in the sun while reading a new novel I just bought.

3. Quality time with hubby without having to think of work (or without wondering if I'll get called to work to sub in for a sick coworker LOL!).

4. Ice-cream (the regular types that I like as well as tasting new flavours).

5. Hiking in a new area, taking the easy route (of course, we're not that sporty LOL!!!)

6. Finding two DVDs on a discount, one of which I saw last night.

7. Planning to go for a swim/bowling sometime this week.

8. Taking pics and finding bargain long johns. :-D

Friday, May 17, 2013

3BT: Random Days

1. After a long and crazy day at work, I came home at night in a famished state, but I was sweaty so I had to take a shower first, so I asked hubby to fry an egg for me so that it'd be ready right after my shower. :-D THANK YOU, hubby!!!

2. My bro asked me to give name suggestions for their second baby (along with the meanings). THANK YOU, bro, for involving me. I'm SO touched!!! Bless you!

3. A nice, long, restful sleep in the cabin where I could hear no noise at all where I saw a totally gorgeous sunset. Ahhhhh...what a wonderful world! 

4. Today has been a very sunny day at 22-24'C. I spent time sunbathing in the swing then spent a few hours mopping the floor and cleaning the windows wearing a tank top and shorts!!!! HA HAAAAA...

5. I got stared at by a very cute squirrel in MIL's garden LOL LOL!!!! 

6. My first batch of summer holiday has officially started. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!

Time To Say Goodbye?

My alzheimer-stricken FIL has been suffering from pneumonia for weeks and the docs have tried different types of antibiotics, but they didn't really help much. They tried the strongest type of antibiotics, but to no avail. His condition has been stable so far, but it seems that they've prepped MIL to say goodbye to him. He was supposed to be brought back to the main old people's home yesterday, but the doc has said that it would be unnecessary and that he'd take care of him in the hospital until his last breath. In the beginning of treatment he was still eating well, but gradually reacting less and less. Today I asked MIL about his condition and it seems that he hasn't been eating well anymore. So it seems that it's only a matter of time...

At least I'm glad that MIL has had time to let go, but I pray that she's given peace of mind and no regrets. After all, she's done all she can to be with him and to take care of him with so much love...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

BPPV Strikes Back #2

Just as I had been feeling almost perfectly well for the past 1,5 weeks, I had another BPPV extreme episode on Friday in the middle of work. It was very strange 'coz I wasn't feeling any dizziness at all before it all happened. I had been working for about 4,5 hours and then at the beginning of my lunch break, when I was about to warm up my food in the microwave, I felt the room spinning around me and I was so scared of falling down, so I had to hold on to the edge of the kitchen cabinets until the strong wave passed away. But right away nausea took in and I had to throw up in the toilet. 

I tried sitting down and then I started eating my food VERY VERY slowly 'coz I still felt nauseous and dizzy. Couldn't even finish my food and then I went to the toilet to throw up again. Great! I tried sitting down some more and it always felt better to close my eyes. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy, nauseous...I had left the anti motion sickness arm-bands at home 'coz I hadn't felt dizzy at all for 1,5 weeks. Too early to think I've been cured! Doh!!! 

I told my coworkers about it and then tried to be at the cashier after my break was over, but being there only made it worse 'coz I had to move around a lot and the nausea kept on going, so I asked the supervisor to be sent home (I threw up once more before going home). I didn't even dare ride my bike home. Though I was sure I could walk back home, it would be such a slow progress, so I called hubby to come and pick me up. Spent hours on the sofa, fell asleep for a while, browsed the internet for a while to try to find out what could have triggered that episode that came out of nowhere (as long as I stayed still it was fine and sitting down was no problem 'coz many sites suggests even sleeping in a half-sitting position). 

Saturday went to MIL's though I still felt like a "drunk" person (never been drunk before so dunno how it actually feels like, but many have described such a sensation). I felt like being on small waves or a swing, going back and forth or sideways the whole time. At one time I felt nauseous again, so I took an anti-motion sickness pill, which only made me MORE tired (nausea gone, though). Went back home and browsed around for more information and found out why I was so tired (even after the anti-motion sickness pill's effect had worn off). Found the answer from here:

"Fatigue. This is common with inner ear problems as the brain is putting all of its energy into keeping you balanced - where as in normal people balance is an automatic process.

No wonder!!! Slept 13 hours last night and right now I'm feeling better, though I still feel imbalanced and tired (I can feel my eyes being overworked by trying to adjust to the wrong signals sent by my body due to the problems in my inner ear). I've been trying to do Epley maneuver once a day, so hope that also helps.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Magic in the Air #2

Sometimes words just can't express the magic that we've witnessed in life, so I hope this time this short video clip that I'm sharing gives you a glimpse of the kind of magic I saw last night...It was so gorgeous that I wish each of you could be there and just bask in its breathtaking beauty...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Magic in the Air #1

There's magic in the air when someone blurts out something so funny and so unpredictable that just tickles the very core of you. The tickle comes from deep within and in a split second you just burst out in an unbridled wave of laughter followed by another wave and another wave and another wave. It's the kind of series of laughter that border on hysterical. And it's even more magical when you do all of that while lying on top of someone you love, someone you've vowed to love until death do you part.

There's magic in the air when you can hold that person in your arms and hear his heartbeats. To feel his warmth as he holds you back with all the fondness that he can muster. To feel a tad of exasperation when he imitates your facial expressions and uses your own words as weapons to tease you. And yet instead you can't help but giggle along with him until your cheeks get sore.

There's magic in the air in the familiar scent, posture, facial expressions, and antics of your heart's desire, enticing you to miss him more the longer you live with him. And even though sometimes he drives you mad, he makes you laugh so much and so easily that it's almost impossible for you to get really angry at him.

There's magic in the air in knowing that you belong, that you're accepted the way you are, that your whole self is very dear to someone. That even though you do drive him mad at times, he is willing to forgive you without ever bringing up your mistakes.

There's magic in the air when you realize that you're still given today to enjoy together with him. That you're still given an opportunity to embrace the present and feel all the magic floating in the air...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

3BT: Random Days

1. A customer bought a few stuff but then realized that she had 30 cents less than what she had to pay. When I was asking her what item she wanted to take out, the guy behind her immediately said, "Don't take anything. Here, let me just give you 30 cents." The woman thanked him profusely. :-D

Sure it wasn't a big amount of money, but not everyone would do that and it's lovely to witness something like that. :-D

2. My first batch of summer holiday is coming soon and we're going on a week cabin trip. WOOOHHHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Can't wait!!! :-D

3. Thankful that in this tough economy, we still have jobs and we're still able to do some budget trips on our holidays.

4. My BPPV symptoms have been much less and less severe in a short amount of time and I'm even thinking of exercising again. My body's itching for a real exercise. Here's to regaining health!!! :-D

5. A friend's dad's bypass surgery went very well and it seems that so far the recovery period has been well, too. HALLELUJAH!!!!

6. Reading this prayer that I found accidentally:

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

7.  Small epiphanies that allow me to understand some things even better than before. I cherish them with all my heart! :-D
8. Hubby for making me laugh a lot 'coz of his antics. :-D 

Addition: Just had a full blown exercise - sweating and all that. Now I feel VERY VERY fresh. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Feels WONDERFUL to be able to exercise again. :-D 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

On Pride

Pride. That word scares me, because there's a VEEERRRYYY thin line between "feeling good about one's achievement" and "arrogance". Pride scares me because I don't want to feel the "arrogant" kind of pride. A few years ago I found this quote that sums up what I want to feel about my "achievements". The quote says:

Don't take pride, take pleasure. 

Unfortunately I don't remember where I found it so I can't link it, but that quote really hit me deeply because I DO want and I CAN feel pleasure in my achievements. I DO want and I CAN feel joy when I've knocked down a challenge (jumping for joy like in the image below), but I want to stay away from the kind of pride that says that it's all about ME, MYSELF, and MY ABILITY. The kind of pride that wants me to SHOW OFF to others (as if punching your own chest proudly) that I AM able, capable, talented, etc. 

And I've been guilty of this kind of pride. This kind of pride doesn't even have to be shown verbally (meaning nobody may even know about it). It's what's inside my heart that tells me whether what I feel is simply pleasure/joy or the arrogant kind of pride. That's why I'm wary about distinguishing the two.

Pride scares me because there are too many "ugly" kinds of pride. Too proud to say sorry. Too proud to admit a mistake. Too proud to accept help. You name it!

My closest friends and I were discussing pride in our email exchange the other day and I find my answers from C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity". Let me just copy and paste the important parts:
Pleasure in being praised is not Pride.... The trouble begins when you pass from thinking, 'I have pleased him; all is well,' to thinking, 'What a fine person I must be to have done it.' The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached the bottom. That is why vanity, though it is the sort of Pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort.....
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably, all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

One of my close friends also gave me this quote taken from a mutual friend's FB status:
Humility is acknowledging our total dependence upon God and seeking His will for every decision. When people disagree with me, do I listen from my heart or argue my position? In my spirit, do I tend to cut off those who ignore me? Do I find it extremely difficult to admit when I am wrong? Do I give my opinions before I am asked for them? Am I quick to correct others when they make mistakes? (ARS session 2)

So, the quote I found years ago was really the best kind of way for me and may heaven help me in the process!!! 

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; 
true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
- Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Online Persona

Every now and then I get a bit worried about what other people perceive as my "persona" through my blogs. I remember when I met one blogger friend, she told me afterwards that she had expected me to laugh more "loudly" and more often like my writing style in my blog posts, 'coz I write "HA HA HA HA HA..." a lot he he he he he...---> see? :-D

In real life I'm not like that, though of course it depends on  the occasion and who you are to me. I think maybe in the blogosphere I'm more free to "unleash" my inner child, the persona that is available to those people who're very close to me. In real life when I meet strangers I'm more reserved, whereas I've been told of how "warm" and "happy-go-lucky" I seem to be as my blogger persona.

I remember one person once commented that it didn't cross her mind that I could be cranky (when I wrote in that particular blog post that I had been cranky). Oh, Arttu has often seen my cranky side (poor honey!), but he's bared each and every episode like a trooper he he he he he....Bless him!!!

One of Arttu's acquaintances once told me that I seemed to be wary when I met new people (he said he didn't know if it had to do with Indo culture or if it was just my personality), that I didn't let people in too quickly/too close. Well, that was probably also 'coz we met in a bar when hubby and his brother wanted to hang out there a few years back, so of course I was wary about meeting people there 'coz I didn't want strangers touching me while they were drunk, even if the strangers were my hubby's acquaintances (for example). Not that anyone was touching me, mind you, but let's just say that I was more wary of meeting people in a bar versus meeting them in a family party for example.

I was far more reserved when I was in Indo, but after moving to Finland I've learnt to be more open and more active in talking to people (things I wouldn't have dreamed of doing back in Indo). Probably because I do feel more need to build my "web of relations" here compared to when I was in Indo. In fact, I think in the beginning I was SO desperate, esp. when I was staying at home most of the time. Thus began the very active blogging period he he he he he he...I remember during that time I could write three or more posts within a day LOL!!!!

Anyway, I know that people probably know that there is a difference (or differences) between online images versus real life images, because after all what you see is only a small part of a person's life, but I guess I just want to talk about this matter anyway once and for all he he he...and I do try to incorporate as many sides of me as possible in my blog posts, though I think I tend to separate my infertility posts in my other blog because it's more practical that way. I find that the readers of this blog aren't the same as the readers of my infertility blog, so you may find other aspects of myself in that blog compared to this one.

introvert alert!

I'm jumping towards a different topic's about my benign vertigo. Two days ago R2 bought me a pair of Sea Bands (anti motion sickness bands) and I tried them at home. They helped me in stopping the nausea, though I still felt some dizziness (still feel some dizziness until now).

Yesterday at work I wore them all the time and I did feel more dizziness while being at the cashier 'coz I had to move around my head more often, but at least no nausea and I could survive until the end of my shift. Phew!!! :-D And I'm SO THANKFUL that the training that I was scheduled for next week is postponed (just found out about it yesterday). I was rather worried about it due to condition and a rather hectic schedule if the training wasn't postponed. THANK GOD!!! :-D