Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Summing up!

 Simon is busy studying and finishing his assignment (something I -perhaps- miss now... lol...). The Uni is closed so he study home. I am too lazy to go out and about doing my exploring of the city's streets and corner so I propped my pillow up, bundle up under the blanket with hot water bottle inside for extra warmth and perhaps do a little Christmas sum up!

Thursday, 24 Dec 2004
Still a bit tired from our London Escapade 2 days ago. I rushed to church to volunteer preparing Community Christmas Dinner. We have about 100 people to feed for Christmas and another 100 for Boxing day - the day after Christmas. It was a great fun. I love mussing around in the kitchen and consider myself as a good help to our Chef Martin. Well, it turned out that most volunteer didn't make it and it was only Chef Martin, me and another woman, whom name I forgot by now. We prepared a traditional English Christmas Meal. Turkey with stuffing, Brussels sprout, potatoes, carrot, gammon as well as some more cookies, cakes and snacks for people to bring home. I was in charge for preparing Brussels sprout for both days as well as chopping tons of carrots. Then I helped Chef Martin for the most important task... tasting the turkey stuffing... lol... indeed the most satisfying task. My first encounter with Turkey (the big bird or chicken **giggling**) was in 2008 Thanksgiving Dinner at Diann Bailey's house.

Anyway, as soon as the cooking preparation is done. we headed out to the dinning room to set the table. We did a very nice job to beautify the simple dining room with colored table linen, choc in wrap that we made last week etc. Simon took a nice picture of the hard work when we head back to the church for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.

The Midnight Mass was very intimate with dimmed light and candle to infuse introspective and serene atmosphere. Surprisingly, I was asked to be the Cantor... or lead singer on one of the song, "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear".

What I've learned in the kitchen today was how stress free and simple preparation it is to cook a European food compared to Indonesian food. Goodness... We might have been half way finished with the food while Indonesian food had just reach the grinding of ingredients stage... lol... but one thing for sure... those tedious job of Indonesian food made it unbeatable in flavor and what a feast to the eye, tongue and stomach it is...

Friday, 25 Dec 2009

It's CHRISTMAS!!! I'm soooo happy. Simon and I exchanged presents and headed to Church. it was lovely day and we sang many songs. What warmed my heart so much was the look in Miillie and Talie's face. These are our pastor's children. Millie wanted a White Tiger Doll so much she cannot stop talking about it. And Tallie loves Dinosaurs and had drew great picture of them and even know much about their details. So Simon and I secretly get Millie a White Tiger Doll and a Dinosaur Sketch Tutorial Pack for Tallie. They brought it to church this morning and how they beam with happiness. We asked the parents not to tell them who this is from. Millie is now inseparable from Lakshmi, the White Tiger and Tallie drew more amazing picture of Dinosaur with more details to the muscle and movement. Aaahhh... I'm happy.

The service then continued with the Community Christmas which was having meal together. Those who came were those who have no one to celebrate Christmas with - most of them are old people where their children and grandchildren do not come to see them, the homeless people, and some new people in town. Simon and I sat together with 3 old but very nice people, Ann, Muriel and Thomas as well as Abby, an elderly woman in wheel chair. Toward the End I manage to steal a member of the neighboring table to engage with our table.. he he eh... his name is Andre from Poland. New to town still learning English.

The food was great, I know I helped cook it. The table was festive and people are happy with the chocolate bundle in their place mats. Also the church give-away Christmas presents everyone. I of course already know since I helped wrap everything up. he he he... absolute fun of a volunteer.. you got the sneak peek of everything. Anyway, after the mid-day meal - which instead of calling it Christmas Lunch, they called it Christmas Dinner - came the sing along session where everyone took part in it.

In the evening, Simon and I set table in our small and cramped kitchen with red table cloth and gold table runner. Aaahhh It looks very christmasy. Hhhhh.... **sighing with a smile**
I wish everyone had a wonderful and blessed Christmas as we did. Thank You, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So This is Christmas...

"... And what have you done... another year's over... the new one just begun..."

I've been humming to this song these last 2 days as well as this morning when I woke up.
I did wake up to humming this song out of the bed and wow... how it is true. I walked to our electric kettle and push the on button to boil the water. I fancy a hot cream tea this cold morning. Then I headed to my laptop, switched on and log on to my Facebook. Hhhhhhhhh.... (happy sigh).... My Facebook is flooded with Christmas greetings, cards and pictures. Thank you all who have sent me all those blessings. Just know one thing, I sat there looking at my screen with Biiiiggg smile and intense warmth feeling that I don't need that hot cream tea anymore.

If I look to my right, I see my husband's sleeping face from between our small christmas tree branches. Yes, we're still recovering from our intense London trip the other day. I smiled to the fact that... I'm a married woman. I know I am changed in one way or another such as... I am more fuzzy about domestic stuffs, enjoy... no wait... fall in love with cooking and I guess I felt more settle to have a firm ground to stand. I think I am so blessed. ** smiling**... I don't have a fairy tale kind of marriage where eveything is happily ever after forever. I am not saying that I am not happy too... but it's a different kind of happy.

It's not a Cinderella story as we read in books or watch on TV. After married to the prince, Cinderella realized that the Prince always (exageratting a bit) forgets to close all doors to cupboard, wardrobe or fridge. Since we are living in a shared house, I am always aggitated when my Prince turn the TV volume more than scale 4. H ehe he he.... then he will sniff and call me "Grouchy Grammma". Sometimes we have diffrent way of conveying what we mean and understand it differently... yes... misunderstanding that leads to sulking, a bit voice raising and refuse to talk to each other for sometime (never more than 1 day though)... trust me I hate this moment, one of the reason is... I have stiff neck for trying to avoid looking at me.

But undaubtedly, I am very happy... I mean very very very happy. There are more positive and beautiful things to be cherised and thankful about that those minor aggravated moments. That on certain things the Prince is neater and more organized than Cinderella. That the Mars and Venus principle are not constant and can be taken as it is.... I have a more Martian way on certain matter and He has some Venusian way on certain matter. That my Prince is always ever so helpful in domestic chores. And so on... the list goes on and on and on. **say this with big smile on my face**

So what have I done this year? Well.... I have done many many things... But what have I done to my God that would be pleasing to His heart? I guess I didn't give Him much joy than HE gave me. He have me more joy and blessings more than I can imagine. A continuous opportunity for me to learn from my mistakes to try to be a better me, a great marriage with a magnificent husband, a great family back home and new family found here in foreign land, opportunity for my study and self-improvement etc. Thank you Jesus for unlimited love and blessing YOU gave me.

And today is Christmas, the day to celebrate your coming to the World. Despite all those "intelligent" reasoning that christmas is pagan celebration and that YOU were not born in December. Whatever that is... I am celebrating my faith in YOU. My faith goes beyond that because by faith and by experiece I have seen the work of YOUR mighty hands. A few weeks ago we have a chat with a friend and she sort of snicker on the idea of "Leap of Faith" saying "So what do you expect? Do you think when you pray God will send money down from the sky?"... - I am flabergasted - I want to jump on her face and said "YES YES"... money (or whatever we need) might now falling literally from sky, but GOD provide and God use many channel and means to deliver it to us. Look at me and Simon, we put our faith to God and we have never never lack anything. God provide on the right time, never too late or too soon. And mind you, this is a chruch goers person who said this to me. It is sad when you "intelligize" faith and to see it merely as religion and a set of dogma to be scrutinized. It is sad when you see church as merely the building and as an organization. everything should come to a balance I say.

Anyway, I am very happy this Christmas. I enjoy it in a totally different way. oouuuppsss... I think I am late now. I am volunteering to help preparing community Christmas. It's a christmas celebration that provide food for homeless on Christmas day and a day after. I am going now.. Ciao

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas"

I have just posted this sentence in my Facebook status. Yes! Indeed... it began to feel like Christmas to me.
Then you asked me... Is it because of our small Christmas tree perched on a small table next to our bed? 
"No, not that", I say
Is it because of the Christmas Cards you received which you display nest to the tree?
"Hmmm, not exactly that"
Is it because Christmas decoration you can see everywhere?"
"No No Not That too"
"Is it because all the yummy goodies, chocolate, biscuits, cookies and food you have baked?"
"Ha ha ha ha... certainly not... I don't even have a proper kitchen to roll the dough or bake cake"
"I know ... it is the carol song you sang!"
"Not that too... Which reminds me... I have caroling to go to this afternoon. But No not that"
"Uhmmmm, the snow... It is winter in wonderland - white Christmasy, right?
You scratch your head, beginning to feel irritated at me and at this guessing game...
I know soon you'll sulk and abandon this posting of mine. So OK... Let me tell you why...

.... silent ....

"Weeeeeeeellllllll",  you raised one eyebrow and make your 'well' go long with a hit of agitation

"I...", I stopped again. "I....", and stop again. "I don't think I know how to put it in words", I hear me say.

"I mean... few days ago I was irritated with the commercialized Christmas. But I think I am beginning to 'feel' the Christmas spirit. Not in the Christmas tree, not the decoration in the street corner - well, Brighton is not very festive in decoration either - Not the Cookies, which I have no place and apparatus to bake and certainly not the beautiful fluffy white snow - somehow lost a bit of it's beauty when they turned to mud that stick to your boots and magically transformed into icy road which... of course... makes walking ridiculously difficult. he he eh... I love snow still... Well... YEAH! I'm from a country with no snow unless in our highest mountain.OK OK OK OK... unimportant information.... Now back to the Feeeeeelllingg of Christmas.

Simon and I found ourselves doing very different things that we usually do.

We volunteered at Drop-In center that serves hot food to the homeless. Now, this is new for us.
We do not book a fancy restaurant for Christmas Dinner or spend humongous amount of money for Dinner party or food. We join the 2 days of Community Christmas arranged by our church, URC Brighthelm. It is to provide dinner, sit and eat together with homeless, lonely people and who ever it is who came.
The idea of us, substituting our money with unconditional giving really make this Christmas Special for me.

We have several Christmas cards now beautifully stand next to our tree reminds us how much love we receive from people. It's not about how many Christmas Card you receive but imagine this, We are new in this country still we find people lovingly wrote our address and send one card for us. the cards warmed our room more than the radiator... :-)

The tree, the decorations, the card etc are just the icing of the cake.
This Christmas I am blessed to be close to God once more, to understand and experience the spirit of Christmas in thanksgiving and in other things that matter more than money.
My husband and I witness God's work when we put our faith in God. We are never lack in ANYTHING. God always provide.
More and more I realized my shortcomings and have began to take one step at a time to be a better person.
I am fortunate to realize I have to put Jesus on the center stage to make my Christmas worth celebrating.
But how to do this... I found it difficult to put into words... you have to experience it...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Killed Me

I recently began my voluntary work as assistant to an After school children club that focus on teaching children creative writing. Ha! I am in love with the class and with the children. These are primary school children aged 5 - 14 years old. I have worked with 2 groups so far... the young ones (5-8) and 9 - 14 group. Just yesterday, I was put to helped a boy of 6 years old with his story. He still struggle with his writing so he told me his story and I wrote it down. We are to make a story out of a series of pictures on the Wall. The pictures were from one of the famous children book but He made an absolutelly different take of the original story. I think I prefer his story better than the original one.

The slightly older group were wicked!!! They are amazingly great!... We did a group colaborative writing and came up with 8 piece of short stories in 5 minutes. It was amazing! Awesome Kids... I was really having a blast myself. I am looking forward to work with them again on our next meeting.

Below I will type one of the result of our short story where 7 people writing it and I was in charge in rounding it up...


     He raised the knife to strike but found he couldn't. It was too hard. He'd came this far. Somehow, it just wasn't right. And now he stood in the open alley. He considered for the first time fleeing... running back down. Running home. Running away.
     No. He resisted. With his jaw set and the feeling of not running away, he drove the knife into jack's chest. The blood gushed out far quicker than Ollie had imagined it would. He attempted to stop but the force driving his hand was much stronger than his. He saw Jack's face mirrored in the steel kitchen wall. Strangely... it was Ollie's own face. Ashen white and stunned.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A comment on "A life to Live" = A life worth living Share

I recently started a what I called The Writing Blog. The purpose is a thematic sharing page between me and my friends, especially my friends in English Department Ambon, My students at my English course at home as well as my other friends who will find the blog useful for them to keep writing (even though only 1 passage) in English. I suggested 1 theme to write each week and sent the notification to all I thought will be interested. I get some reply back and I found myself warmed by their responses. Some are funny, some are sad... but through that I and hopefully those who read learn about different way we live and experience.

This week theme is A life to Live.. So far there are 9 comments but what I want to share here is my father's comment I found on it this morning. What I thought first that the blog will help others to practice English etc... Praise God! It has become a voice of God telling me how beautiful and blessed my life is, with great parents, family and friends. Thank you Daddy and Mum for being the greatest parents who always remind me of what is important in life. So I am going to post this week theme and my father reply to it below. But you can also welcome to check the Writing Blog site. May it be a blessings to you.

A Life to Live

England is a land of intrestingness… :) The weather is grey and not so sunny and bright as in America, but still it possess a great nuance. It’s like a set of mystery movie and picture. There’s something I like here that you might find a bit peculiar. I like the cemetery or the grave yards. I am fascinated by the eery yet serene feeling when I look at it. It is beautiful as it will hamper a wide spread of grounds with jutted carved headstones and statues of angel. I find the trees surround it very charming in their big and stronghold roots.

Most of all when I look at the graves, they remind me of LIFE.. yes life… not death. It reminds me of how shot life is and what I would want to do with it. I wonder what will people think of me when the saw my headstone one day. Thus, it propels me to be a better person.

OK… now think about yourself. What do you think/want people to remember you for, when you die one day…

I know, it’s kinda scary thought of death… but it will be a good start to get better, right?

Very well, Write away friends!


----- My Father's Comment -----

Dear Eny

A life to live seems to be a simple theme, but in reality it is hard to put something down into words about a life someone is living. Many people do not even know why they are here in this world, why they are alive; they thought it is just because a woman gave birth to them so they are here on earth. On what reason and on what purpose they are being created, they simply don’t know. The thing is, some people dont even want to know why. Is it a choice for them to be (a)live? Do they even have other choices as well. I am not talking from the point of view of a Christian, but from the eyes of a common earthling. For a (true) Christian it is clear and without any doubt knows and understands the purpose of being created and how to live his life. He is being created on behalf of and because of the LOVE of the Father to him/her, and to live a life is living in the grace and blessing of the Heavenly Father in patient preparation for the eternally life together with the Father in His Kingdom, for His Kingdom must be filled with people he loved.
Living a life is living surrounded by all the beauty of the creation, the sun, the clouds, the rainbow, trees, mountains and valleys, birds, bees, people, family, neighbours, etc.

Do you remember the trip 3 hour trip by motorbike from Halong to town during the extremely hard times of our life; the civil war in 1999 – 2005. We had to leave home a 05.30 or 06.00 in the early morning; me to my office and you to college? Arriving home in late afternoon or sometimes in the evenings depends on the weather and the condition of the motorbike? Remember when we must slide down by motorbike from the top of a mountain through mud and rain, remember when we must climb a steep mountain-side by holding on roots of trees arriving in town all wet and covered by mud? Remember when we sometimes must sleep at uncle Senry’s house because we were too tired to travel through the mountains back home. In fact it wasn’t even our home, it was a refugee’s place we called home, for we have no home no more.

But through it all do you remember when we on our way by motorbike in the early morning, always stopped for a while to admire the colors of the splendid sunrise from behind the island of Nusalaut, and thanked God for He is such a great painter. We thanked Him for we enjoyed His creation which gave us strength to continue our trip, our life through those uncertain days. Do you remember our favourite place on the top of the mountain, before entering Hutumury, where we used to stop end enjoy the view, pray, and thank the Father for His care and love. We didn’t have much during those days, but He was so wonderful pouring our hearts with richness of His creation. We felt like we had everything, those days.

Do you remember the time when we celebrate Christmas Eve, in Halong during the conflict years, where our dinner only consists of some poor rice porridge? There were no Christmas tree, no presents, no new clothes, no nothing. Those are the passage of the life we’ve lived.

And now, when we look back upon all those days we’ve lived, we do realize there is nothing else we would like to go through, what has happen during our lives is priceless, it is not to be compared with anything else.

The life to live for me, for you, your husband, my family are the days of certainty, no doubt many events are awaiting ahead, good ones, bad ones but all above all, that’s the life to live.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in Christmas

It's the last week of November means Thanksgiving is near.. In fact... it is tomorrow.
YAY!!! to friends and family who celebrate it.

What comes to me when I have the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving last year was how similar it is to our Christmas celebration in Ambon and Indonesia. We will remember the bountiful food and the importance of gathering together as family around the table to share the food full of thanks giving in our hearts (sounds like a song... hmmmm).

Hmmm... thinking of Thanksgiving make me miss Christmas in Ambon, Indonesia, more and more. These last few days I've been fed up with all this christmas-y cheer here in UK. All day long the TV, the Newspapers, The magazines, the billboards all adorned in festive-what they called- Christmas theme. but I loathed all those... And as Christian (as the sermon this Sunday echod) I am slightly offended.

Some of you probably have sent herds of Christmas cards, but did you notice that more and more cards said "Seasons Greeting" instead of "Christmas Greetings". And Christmas is nothing but presents and gifts... A commercial vandalism to the message of Christmas... One of the TV Commercial... Christmas is not Christmas without ***** (name of shopping place)... or... "Come on! It's Christmas buy those luxurious treat"... And worst of all... I am sad to see so-called-father christmas is a fat guy in red shouting ho ho ho wiggling his belly. Please Christian people do not trade Jesus for Santa Claus or Sinterclass.

Someone said well... what can you do, Christmas is a culture now... another said it's a habit... another said It's public thing... well... think whatever you like... As Christian I am offended, sad and angry because it is us, the Christians, who allow such degradation to the real meaning of Christmas that supposed to be more than just a gifts and presents in pretty wrapping.

Where is Jesus? Despite all the snicker, awkward smile and rolled eyes I receive when I say this... as well as a lurched to a 'intelligent' discussion about the existence of Jesus and the history of Christmas Day.... I have faith in Jesus. I am a Christian and that is my faith.

It is what faith is all about. Hebrew 11: 1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".. It is beautifully translated in Indonesian language in much deeper meaning "Faith is the basis of everything we hoped for and proof of everything we do not see-cannot see-have not seen". Who are you to judge me wrong for at the end of the day when Jesus come as the crowned King, the Mighty Judge of universe, you and I will be given our reward for being faithful. 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith".

I feel the celebration here in UK is just a commercial christmas-y, a seasonal celebration and fallen so far off from the spirit of Christmas - thanks giving for the faith we shared, the love of God came down to earth as human and sacrifice for us, the love that surpass the act of giving present.

It is the love that is shared together around the table of family meal instead of grand Christmas dinner with "party like a celebrity" and ended up drunk in the morning of Christmas... or missing Christmas morning church service because we are too busy opening present from the fat man in red.... give me a break... where is this fat man in other times of the year when food are scarce in our plate... I wonder if at these times the food or money or job will be dropped from the chimney or be found in the Christmas socks.

This year thanksgiving and Christmas I am thankful for:
- Extraordinary Family and friends. Near and Far... and our little family.. just the two of us.
- Christmas Tradition that still remember the true Christian spirit.
- Each moment that God reminded me of what is important in life.
- Each little and enormous blessings I receive in life
- Each mistakes God helped me to mend

I will miss:
- The coming around the table on Christmas eve dinner holding hands in bowed heads to pray in thanks giving for God's blessing this year and years to come. And then hugs and kissed each other and ask forgiveness if there are grudges we still keep for one another.
- Playing firecrackers and kembang api and air mancur with nieces, nephew, brother, sisters, neighbors while waiting for 12 midnight for a Christmas eve prayer together as family.
- Came out after 12 to the sound of cannonballs from ships, church bells rings loudly from every direction, big fire works in the sky and hopping to next door neighbors for a Merry Christmas Greeting. Sometimes we pull chair and sit out side with family and friends.. bring the cookie jar, tea or lemonade outside to share together.
- Waking up in early Christmas morning and rushed to church with our new dress. Joining the herds of people on the street also heading to church for Christmas morning service
- Then the day continue with receiving visits from family and friends and little children. Take turn to go and visit our relatives.
- the homemade foods and cookies!!!! No store bought and factory made cookies and cake can beat these massive array of food. December air will be filled with cake and cookies smell.

Aahhh... In spirit of thanksgiving for God's wondrous blessing I wish All who celebrate Thanksgiving a bountiful blessing and togetherness... and to all of us who celebrate Christmas, may you find the true meaning of Christmas this year!!!