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She

The year that we call 2017 will end in a few days. Reflecting the last 365 days, 2017 is the year that I wish was a bad dream. And someday I will wake up and have different 2017. Unfortunately, this is not a dream.

The first blow in 2017 come started at work in January 2017, and culminate on August. A project that we worked on was having so much trouble, because the company that I worked on seems like to make rules that killed itself slowly, and our colleagues like to save their own back by passing hot potato around. We started to get our act together in July, but it was too late. Customer halted the project. Part of us was relieved, but our company was not happy. Although I was involved indirectly in the project, my reputation was hit hard, and I was on the brink of losing my job.

While I was busy recovering the project, come the second blow. On April, Grace was hospitalized after having a symptom of rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and general tiredness. It turns out to be ketoacidosis, a blood poisoning of ketone, due to uncontrolled blood sugar. She was hospitalized for 2 days in high care unit, and another 2 days in general ward. It was the first time she was hospitalized, other than delivering our son. And it was  a life threatening condition. We had a fight, I was disappointed because she has been ignoring her health, and she was angry because according to her I wasn’t providing moral support that she needed.

Then the final blow come just 4 days before Christmas. Grace again hospitalized. Same symptom, same diagnosis. Again, she has been ignoring her health, and this time, it might cost us Christmas. Instead of celebrating Christmas at home, with good food, wine, laugh and chat, we might spend Christmas in hospital.

The year has been a bad dream, but I’m glad that it will end in a good way.

First, I didn’t lose my job. I lose my position, but few friends with influence who has seen how I work vouch for me, and took me under their wing. Those are the same friends who, when I took my position in 2016, questioned me on why I choose that position, that the position didn’t fit my characteristic.

Second, Grace survived both hospitalization. Yesterday, two days before Christmas, the doctor said she can go home on Christmas Eve. We will celebrate Christmas at home, singing Christmas song, with wine and food. I do wish, as my new year wish, that she started to get serious about he health.

Third, all of my parents are healthy and strong. My dad worried me a bit, as I realize how old has he become. I wish he can enjoy his life more, going out with whatever friends he has left, and travel, the things that he don’t have much chance to do in his younger days. My mom in law has also improved a lot from her heart attack, as proven by her ability to climb 100 stairs during her last trip to Hanoi.

Fourth, I started a business, selling coffee. I don’t see it as the first step to finally fulfilled my dream to have a bed and breakfast, and coffee shop. I see it as stepping stone, to get the network, and experience when I eventually open the business.

Fifth, of course, my son. He has grown strong, smart and big, beyond my imagination when he was born in 2011. There are many that I think as parent, he has a lot to catch up, like having more fun with his friends, taking shower by himself, learn to ride a bicycle and swimming. These are still the effort that we need him to do next year.

I wish 2018 will be nice to us. Until then, Merry Christmas……

Note: this year we also regret to see the passing of Bondan Winarno. I didn’t know him that well, but the 3 days we stayed at his home in Bali in May 2017 has exposed many of his experience that I respect. And he was instrumental in setting up Jalansutra community, where I met Grace. He passed away too young, too early.

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To be honest, it still feels weird to see my name written on the wedding invitation. My wedding  invitation, our wedding invitation.

Seven days to our wedding date, and we have been through the most tough weeks of the preparation. Last weekend wasn’t feels like weekend, as we so busy driving to test food, looking for parents’ dress, discussing make up for the bride, talking with the photographers, and watching our friends who will sing for us. Just to make sure that they won’t hurt anyone’s ear :D.

New Year was spent with finalizing the book for the holy matrimony, reviewing invitation list, printing labels, putting invitation in the envelope, and sticking the label. A little celebration in the middle of hectic chores, as we celebrate the passing year with a bottle of Champagne, and boxes of Royce.

One thought last week, that I think we have been cruel to our parents. We got a lot of helps from our friend, either voluntary or due to our request. But we never allowed our parents to contribute, to help in our big day.

We are grateful for what they’ve done for us. Taking care of us for 30 years was never easy. All we want is for them to give their blessings as we said our vows in front of the altar, with tears of happiness in their cheeks. But well, parents is forever parents, and no matter how old we are, we’re still kids for them.

Seven days to our wedding, we wish that we have through the lows, so that the days ahead would always better until the date came. After that, when all the guess have gone home, there will be only the 2 of us….

“So, what’s next”, I popped the question to her.

We are getting married in 3 weeks, in the first month of 2010. And marriage is not the end. It is a beginning of a new chapter in life, and we definitely don’t want to spoil it. There should be another great thing after marriage other than making babies.

That evening, we created our new bucket list. Not the list to be done in 2010, but a far greater list of what we want after the wedding. Some we wish to cross off  during the year, other might took years to complete. The list so far:

  1. A travel book and travel literature library, with attached coffee shop. Travelers are free to read the travel guides and literature over a cup of coffee and plate of snacks. We will keep a corner for ourself, for us to write our travel story
  2. To relive the nomad live, to live and work at a new city, country for at least 3-5 years before moving on. City list so far: Singapore, Melbourne, London
  3. To be able to work and make money at anytime, anywhere
  4. To have her own regular column about travel, architecture and food
  5. To have a furniture shop featuring works of non-famous designer. New designer with great talent but little opportunity will have the chance to feature their works.
  6. To travel round-the-world, fly to the east

Happy New Year 2010, hope that you cross off many things in 2009, and add even more in your bucket list for 2010

My 31st birthday turns out to be a cheerful one.  Exactly at 00:00, 3 person wished me a Happy Birthday. To one of them I promised a Birthday Wish.

Next, after the morning shower, the bank called me for a good news about my mortgage: the special rate is being extended. Suddenly I still see myself surfing at Bali beach next year, yaiy.

The traffic is at ease as well int he morning, since people has started their long holiday from the office. Some of them is babysitting their kids, because the nanny left for the long holiday. Another is travelling to their hometown to celebrate the biggest annual celebration in the country: The Eidl Fitr.

My Facebook wall is filled with birthday wishes as well, so full that I can’t even see yesterday’s notification, and had to scroll 3 pages just to thank them for the wishes. The same thing happened in the office, when they all crowd my desk to wish me a birthday.

The day is getting dark, and my 31st birthday will pass in couple of hours. Before it is too late, its my time to fulfill my promise to post my brithday wish.

“I wish that I can celebrate my 32nd birthday at my new nice small place I called home, with someone I would call my wife.”

A recollection, if I may say..

And it makes me think when was the last time I joined this kind church retreat gathering.. 10 or 15 years ago perhaps, ewwwhhhhh.

We have completed pre marital course session last week.

To my surprise, it was not as boring as I thought previously although sitting on flat folded chair for 16 hrs for straight two days absolutely make your bottom feel quite nasty.

Topics learned are basics, some important things you’ve used to ignore or even forget. How to build effective communication, spiritual things on family, how to educate your children, even they taught about basic sexuality session from church perspective. Warning to my anti sexist friends: some of these sessions might burn your head to toe depends on your belief.

The good thing about every session is sharing. Although the lectures taught one way theory but in between there are always sharing time from couples, neither the lectures neither the members. This is not about learning from expert how to build your perfect family, but by listening to other people stories about the ugly and bad things and how they survive, hoping that you’ll find your own strength and faith on your future family life. Because whether you agreed or not, it’s the family tie that bonds your heart and soul later in marriage life.

Another important things are, you were allowed (I said pushed) to express and exchange your feelings to your partner on a basic level which sometimes you never revealed to him or her. Daily routines, conversation, sharing, in any way probably did not touch the essential basic questions because you feel it too common neither why would such stupid questions be asked? In the end, it’s glad to know what your partner has revealed about your good and bad side wide open.

Me, I was interesting on seeing couples who attend this class. Those who dated foreigner, those who dated freelancer, those who talked too much, those who seem sweets and romantic. Couples whom I think smart and good partner, couples who seems the woman take control and vice versa, couples who has been through tough times, couples who survived stormy marriage and so on. And imagining marriage life they’ll enter with their partners, uh oh, I am not magician nor even God but certain funny and sweet feelings rushed my mind that time.

In the end, I was stunned of thingy reality of revelation. Sometimes I did not revealed such things I considered as private even to my close friend, but to new unknown people you’ve just met, bang! You were very fluent to tell about everything and your feelings especially.

The course and session had finished. Not only for legal certificate had we earned but hopefully another basic revelation on stepping into marriage life in the future. When the world seems too busy neither too smart to explore and conquest, returning to the first step always enlightening. We’re never smart enough to understand the mystery of His creation anyway.

I’m raising thank you pray, dear Lord.

Written by She on 18 August 2009

I spent the whole holiday week battling a very bad flu & cough. It isn’t common that I caught in such bad flu… in fact, I haven’t caught flu this bad since the last 3 years.

Then suddenly this morning she called, sms-ed, trying everything she can (telepathy if it is possible) to let me know that, she would come with hot chicken soup…. not only a bowl, but 2 large plastic of homemade chicken soup :D. The sausage floats as it is being heated, and sip of it really sooth my sore throat. I also love chipping on the carrots and small chunks of chicken.

Another portion of the soup for dinner makes me feel better already. Thank you very much for the soup >:D<

Rowing CartoonTo welcome the fasting month, we decided to went out of the city. The reason is, during fasting month and 1 week afterwards, we will be practically bounded in Jakarta. Restaurant will mostly closed, so there are no reason to go anywhere during the period.

But we have a different idea. I prefer Pramuka Island than Bandung, since just recently I was in Bandung. She prefer Bandung, due to lack of point of interest in Pramuka Island. So, when we can’t choose between two, we pick the third option: Krakatoa Volcano. Just realized now that it is really a good compromise of ocean (Pramuka Island) and Mountain (Town of Bandung) into Krakatoa Volcano, which is located at Sunda Strait.

So, with 2 backpack, we set off on Friday evening, anxious for another adventure trip ahead. And 3 days later we’re back to Jakarta, full of joy, and tons of pics uploaded at http://www.pbase.com/bennyc/in_lampung

*Photo taken from www.coastalwatersrec.com/content/view/16/51/ , hosted at http://imageshack.us/