Tuesday, October 20, 2015

3BT: Random Days

1. Went aurora chasing two days after the previous post's big aurora, but that time the aurora wasn't as strong, so I couldn't capture the photos too well even though I had my camera and small tripod with me. However, I did manage to see reddish colour and I could see the progression of when the aurora started dancing right above the horizon before it moved further up to above my head. Here's a collage of the not-so-good photos (but at least you can see the crazy shapes the aurora can make).

2. Hubby managed to take a day off, so we went for a weekend trip to Levi and had a relaxing time there.

3. I've booked a massage for preparation to go back to work. Work is going to be super hectic during the first two weeks of the store being re-opened after the renovation, so I feel that I need a fit body for that.

4. I'm planning to send my mom to Finland next year for a visit and this thought is really exciting for me. The only thing we both need to secure first is a permission from our bosses to have the holiday at the same time as my mom's visit he he he...since she can't handle the cold, it has to be in summer.

5. Finding ginger candies at a supermarket in Levi. They're exactly like the ones I like from Indo, so even though they're expensive, I bought two packs of them HA HA HA HA...

P.S. Here's another one of the aurora photos taken with my camera (I don't have any wide lens, so can only capture bits and pieces).


Friday, October 09, 2015

My First Big Aurora

Two nights ago as I was going to turn off my computer and go to sleep, I noticed several aurora notifications from the local meteorologist site (I'm subscribed to get the notifications). When I noticed the high numbers, I realized that the Northern Lights must have been strong ones, so I ran outside and yep, despite the fact that our place was surrounded by street lights here and there (that dampened the colour and brilliance of the dancing lights), I could see their movements very clearly across the sky. I had seen them a few times before, but they were much weaker and then they were gone in a few minutes, so I never tried taking photos of them. So I ran back inside and grabbed my mobile phone as I wouldn't know how long they would last. Unfortunately my camera's battery hadn't been recharged, so I had to be happy with my mobile camera, though I doubted that it would be able to take any decent photos at all.

I tried taking photos using different modes. Fireworks: nope, night mode without tripod: nope, videotaping: nope. Just black, black, black. So I did the only thing I could do: automatic mode with flash. The first few photos were blurry, but I could see some green, so I learnt to hold my mobile more steadily and in between the photo taking session, I had to learn to hold my breath as well. You see, if I had breathed out when I held my mobile upward to the sky, my cold breath would go up and cover the camera LOL!!! If I had breathed in, my hand would shake a little. But I must say it was worth all the holding back of my breath HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...

The Northern Lights kept on dancing around the whole sky for hours, though I only stayed there for about half an hour. Amazing, though I couldn't see the green that clearly (more like very pale green/whitish) due to the many street lights around me. I didn't want to bother going farther away to find a darker place as I didn't want to miss it at all. My neck was sore after coming back as I had to look up the whole time I was out. They say that tonight there will be another strong show and I'm recharging my regular camera at the moment, wishing that it won't be cloudy tonight. We shall see how it goes.

In the meantime, here's a collage I made of the few decent photos I managed to take with my mobile. They aren't good enough to be printed, but at least you can see how they keep moving around and changing shapes. FYI, the ones on the second row are vertical photos. 

Here's one vertical photo in its original size (notice the street light below as a guide to let you know just how long the aurora is):

If you want to see other more amazing photos from across Finland, here's the link (click on each photo to see a bigger version): Aurora.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Two Separate Paths

Time and time again I've felt stumped when people say to me that they'll pray for us to have children or that they hope that we'll get a miracle pregnancy. Even when I've told them that I've considered our family complete, they'd insist, "But you WILL be happy if you get pregnant". I know they mean well, but they just don't understand that this path we've been walking on for the past few years is a separate path than the still-hoping path. There's only one person so far that I've talked to that understands that they're two very separate paths and how getting pregnant means a total redirection of life and the birth of (pun intended) mixed feelings.

You see, even though technically speaking I can still get pregnant as I'm still young enough (though I  never did get pregnant when we were seriously trying), this path we've been walking on is more similar to the path of those people who've had enough kids and the kids are already in Junior High/High School, so their focus in life is totally different. Will they be happy if the wife suddenly gets (miraculously) pregnant? I'm not saying she wouldn't, but it's not going to be the same as when the couple were seriously trying to get pregnant when they were younger (when they felt that their family wasn't complete yet). That's where we are at - well, minus the kids.

We're content. We no longer feel like we're missing something. And believe me, it's not easy to get to this stage when the world won't let us forget how rewarding and fulfilling parenthood can be and how those who are non-parents just don't get it. Just look at how people have judged the non-parents who are in politics, even writers***. I remember years back a famous female writer died and in the comment section of an article on her death and books, some people argued that she wasn't such a good writer because she wasn't a mother. This was one of the things that made me feel that I was seriously lacking something as a woman back then when I was still dying to join the Motherhood Club. The battle with the questions "Am I less than a woman because I'm not a mother? Don't I know what true/conditional love is because I'm not a mother?" was harsh.

In the letter I wrote to my mom almost two years ago when she suddenly started sending me messages about praying for us to have children, I explained to her that those kinds of prayers weren't helpful at all. In fact, it only made me feel like our family wasn't complete and that we were still missing something. Her prayers also made me feel like she was pitying us and it wasn't helpful, either. After all the time and effort it took us to finally reach this point when we're at peace with what we don't have and after all the time and grief work it took us to finally feel whole again as human beings, well-meaning (hopeful) words about a miracle pregnancy don't do us any good.  

What's funny about dealing with people who still insist on praying for us to have children is that they can be defensive when I ask them to pray for something else instead. In my mind, what's the use of praying for something when the person himself/herself isn't even trying to get it and the person himself/herself doesn't even put any efforts to get it? Isn't it absurd? Why is it with people that they keep trying to fix someone else's (assumed) problem when the other party doesn't even feel it is a problem (anymore)? 

Yes, we both have a hole in our hearts due to infertility and childlessness, but other people's prayers/hope for a miracle pregnancy only make us feel as though they were pointing to our hearts and say, "But look, there's a hole in your hearts! I want you to have children so that the hole in your hearts can be filled." What they don't realize is that we don't consider the hole to be something that has to be filled anymore. The hole has shaped us in unique ways and taught us important lessons in life, just like parenthood has shaped and taught parents in different ways. The hole doesn't feel like a curse anymore. In fact, we are now able to be thankful for the lessons given by the hole, and for that, I think other people should be glad for us.

I'm going to end this post with Brene Brown's animation on Empathy. 

*** P.S. I'm well-aware that even parents judge other parents. I suppose as long as there are humans on earth, people (sadly) won't stop judging other people no matter what, but from where I'm standing, sometimes it does feel like parents hold a trump card whenever I read comments like that. After all, how many times have you heard/read people start a sentence with "as a parent" or "as a mom"?