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.