My dad

My dad (Ayah) pass away unexpended on Tuesday morning June 17th, 2012. He should not have died, he just text my mom few hrs. earlier, talking about the Ramadan preparation, taking my sister to work and how he’ll promise to pick my mom up from the airport on August 5th. Everything went so fast that night it seems blurry to me. I remember getting the news around 10:30pm, family and frantically trying to get hold of anybody back home.. then finally hear the truth after talking to my crying sister. I remember the pain, so unbearable, it actually physically hurt. I remember how my mom keeps on fainted the whole night… he should not have died… there are many plans left….

Here I am writing this memorial for my dad’s memory book and it shouldn’t be that way.  My dad should not have died on Tuesday morning July 17th 2012. He was 65 years old and although he’s been complaining a minor chest pain lately, he’s fine. Then this, he died of a heart attack… leaving us here.

Losing my Father is one of the most difficult things I have gone through.  As I am writing this today, I realize how fortunate I was to have him as my Father.  There are not words to express his influence in my life. Ayah is (was) a great dad and a loving husband. He is also a wonderful grandfather. There are so many wonderful stories I could tell you, but there won’t be enough pages in this books… wonderful memories he left us with… and that memory keep him alive inside me, my mom, my sister and my two little girls, and among all people that loves him just as much. As Tyra often remind me, “grandpa will always be here with us” as he point to her chest.

I learned from him the value of education and hard work. One main lesson he gave me is that how as a woman, I should have skills, I should have a degree, a career, so I don’t depend on men and therefore no man will ever took me for granted and valued me. I am who I am today is because of my parents, because of my dad… he is no saint by any means, he’s human who made mistake and learned from them, but now I know he did the best he could with what he had. In many ways he succeeded better than most.

Family, relative and friends have said to me over and over again, how my dad was a great man, loving, kind and generous. Most of them remember how much he loves his family, how much he loves my mom and us his girls. He passionate about the world and history, he loves to play the piano or organ and sings, he loves to dance, him and my mom took samba, cha cha and salsa lesson together and enjoy it. Recently he enjoys cooking and I’m fortunate that I got to taste that! He is also very passionate about God, about Allah and never stop teaching me small little pray to get me through the day and difficult time…

He always reminds me to trust God with His plan. Remind me to achieve more and yet to stay humble, he assures me that all will be okay at the end. Now here I am, still filled with sadness, grief, and little anger. I need to remember his words, his advises, and most of us trust God that all will be okay.

There’s a saying in Indonesia rough translation is: “how a person live their life will be reflected when he die.” Hundreds have come and pay their respect, many cries with my family, some even wish is should’ve been them instead of him…  my sister told me that till this day we have not spend one cents on his funeral or memorial services. Everything has somehow been provided for us by relatives and family friends. From the cemetery plot, memorial service expenses, food expense…  all has been taking care of.. Everybody loves my dad. My Dad loved us, worked hard for many years for us, was liked by many people, and loved God.

 My dad passing was very quickly – just what he always wanted, no pain, no suffering – expect for the one he left behind. As if he knew his days were numbered, one of his last text messages to my mom was:

“Many people told me I’m unlucky for not having boys to carry my name. On the contrary, I am the luckiest father and man in the world, both our daughters grew up to be respectful daughters who took care of me and spoils me. When I was in Denver Sendie spoils me and her and Pheng never stops show me a good time. Now I’m back home, Acha did the same. Always make sure I have all I need, especially my favorite food. I’m sure both girls turn out well because of you, because of your upbringing. Thank you my love for raising our daughters’ right. I know you will be in their great hands.”

I love you daddy and I miss you so much….  Thank you for everything, for being the greatest dad a daughter can ask for, the greatest grandfather for my two little girls…  for all the wonderful memories you left us with… Until the day we meet again…

Apparently I’m conservative

I had lunch with one of my colleague/friend yesterday and somehow we end up talking about politics and religion. My friend is a reform Jewish and as you all know I’m a Muslim. She asked me what my religion means to me and how I feel about the negative connotation it has with the world.

As for the negative connotation, yeah, I’m pissed. Not at the world, but at the small group that caused that negative images of my religion. I hate when people call me moderate Muslim or moderate Islam. To me there’s only 1 – ONE Islam and that’s me. People often mistaken or confused some countries culture with Islam. Just because the majority population of that Country is Muslim it doesn’t mean that their culture is acceptable in Islam. Honor killing for example. It is not part of Islam teaching at all. Or the Jihad word that been misused by group of terrorist. Btw, I read the Quran from top to bottom and there are no mentions in it of the 72 virgin and pool of honey.

My religion is a big part of me, it define who I am and how I acted. I’m far from perfect, but with religion I have guidelines of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s acceptable and what is not and the realization there will be consequences later on.

That was my answer. She seems surprised. She said I was so easy going that she would never guess that I’m actually very conservative. Now that’s a first, no one has ever thought of me as conservative and I’m always leaning towards liberal more. I guess, I’m conservative when it comes to me, does it sound selfish? Maybe. In my mind, I have my choices and my believe and what I think it’s right or wrong based on it but I’m not one that will judge people based on their choices.  We are adult with realization of the consequences of our actions. God teaches us to Love and to Forgive and that’s what I tried to do.

The same feeling I have for my parents, love, respect and fear – especially to mom, is the same feeling I have for God and more knowing he’s capable of throwing my @$$ in hell 🙂

Why do I even talk about this? Who knows, I guess the conversation with my friend yesterday still stay in my mind. Her reaction when I bluntly told her I was still a virgin until I met my husband.

As for politics, I mention I always lean towards liberal more, my friends told me liberal is gutless. I chuckle at her comment. No matter what side you are on, left or right, at the end we all have a common goal to bring better life and better place for this country.

For friends and colleges who always engage in deep heat discussion of politics, I’d like to point out of what I think is the beauty of America. The wonderful result of democracy, each election here in US is unique and different and no same party will be in powers for more than 2 terms. I can’t imagine if 1 ideology stays in powers forever. Well, yes I can, look at Iraq, look at Indonesia during Soeharto regime or North Korea. When you look at that, you will realize how we have it “perfect” here in US. God Blesses the USA.


The beginning……

About a month ago just after we got back from Indonesia we went to Tyra’s school orientation. As we enter the Gymnasium there’s a huge banner on the wall writer “Welcome class of 2024” Somehow, there’s a lump on my throat and my eyes are getting warm and heavy,

Lost of words, I just sat there quietly while waiting for the orientation to start. My husband try to show me and introduce me with some of Tyra’s friend’s parents and teachers, I just shake their hands, smile and nod quietly.  Somehow I was just emotionally drained.

Finally the teachers and principal enter the podium. The first thing she said to us parents (jokingly) that “the world will not end; there is still a life after you drop of your kid at school.” Everyone was laughing. I think she meant that for a stay at home mom, because she continue with suggestion of shopping, going to the gym, pursuit hobbies etc..  

She’s then calling all students to stand at the stage and there she was, my Tyra among them. They were all looking so proud and I can’t help but shed tears at this point. If you can just see them, the future of the next generations standing there in the podium. I didn’t bring my camera with me – gosh I wish I did!

I didn’t pay much attention after that. My minds went circling back through time. When Tyra was born, her first steps, her first word … everything.

When did she grow up?? It seems only yesterday that she was born. I remember I used to watch her sleeps and just admire her beauty. The girl who comes crying to mommy with booboo and wants some comfort. It’s like she grown in a blink of an eye. Time really does slipping through my fingers.

By all mean, I wasn’t trying to stop it. How can I, by delaying her going to school? By keeping her in the bubble of home? How selfish… this is the cycle of life, this is her time.. this is part of the beginning of her time….

Yes, this is just the beginning, but that’s it. It’s the beginning of her journey. I know there will be more moment to come. All kind of thoughts just flashing through my heads…  things won’t be quite the same anymore. I say a quick prayer, that she will do well in school and life. She will be protected and surrounded by love and support.

 First day of school is approaching in just two weeks.  I hope I can contain myself better this time.

My mom used to sing me this song, and I remember she request this song as part of the song that played during my wedding… somehow it’s playing in my head the whole time.

Put on a happy face

“Annie” at the age of 5 yrs old already taught us to put on a happy face regardless of what inside.

That’s what I’ve been doing. I hate to be blogging about my problems and sorrow and down stuff, but this is part of me being honest to myself and to heal.

In collage, I was known as being very bubbly and easy going. I like the idea of I always be the one to go to when my friends are sad or need shoulder to cry on or someone they can trust. I guess since that time I tried to keep the same image as the go to person. I forgot I also have feelings and I also human that are not immune to sadness and hardship.

 I recently find myself in places where I’m the one who need helps and I’m the one who is sad and not happy. Yet, I keep it all inside and don’t share it with anybody. I’m afraid they will change their image about me. Girl that is always happy.

 I know I’m sad and unhappy and wanted to scream and ask for help but unable to. This stupid pride keeps on blocking the way! I turned into long hours or television watching any stupid shows I can find just to dull the pain, to block it out. I was hoping if I ignore it long enough it will eventually go away.

 Finally, I can’t just keep on ignoring it. There are these voices inside of me that keep on screaming at me calling me a loser, a coward for not speaking out. Until friends calls me out on it. Until that time I never realized how important it is to really sit with whatever it is you are feeling, whether it’s depression, anxiety, frustration, anger and self-doubt when they show up.

You can try to ignore it and hide from it but eventually, you’re going to have to face the tough stuff.

So where did it go wrong? The happy girl I once am, I have a good life, two beautiful girls, a husband, a great job and I’m very blessed with it.. where did it go wrong? Am I just that ungrateful?

 I know that part of it is just being overwhelmed with a lot life changing event that happening to me recently. I guess I just don’t deal with it as good as I should. I guess I’m just not strong enough.

There are still many questions linger, but now I know to face the demon and to talk it out. I won’t let this beat me. I will find and be that happy girl again.

And I thank my friends (again) for helping me reach that realization that I can’t do it alone and I don’t have to. The role has reverse and they will happily hold my hands during this tough and confusing time.

Today is best friend day, I quote from email a friend sent me, ‘Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.’ There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift

Also in honor of best friend day, I read a quote by Katybeth that I truly love:

 “As we grow older, more friends become best friends in different ways. There is a childhood best friend that knew you back in the days; the best friend that you raised your children with over the years; the best friend you may only talk to twice a year, but it only takes you a few moments to catch up; perhaps the best friend you gossip with at the office; or, perhaps, the sister or brother that was once a thorn in your side but grew up to be your best friend. While our list of best friends may have grown to include more people, what makes a friendship “best” is sharing our most important secrets, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and disappointments with each other throughout the day or over the years.”

To you all my blogging friend, you had helped me getting through this tough time too through your post and your comment. Thank You!


I will always be an immigrant

Yesterday something shocking happens to me, an incident that makes me sick to my stomach.  It literally makes me sick that I have to excuse myself from work.

I have expressed few times how I miss my family and how I wish I live closer to them. I love my family and I love my hometown. Is there’s anything’s wrong with that? It is not easy to just forget your past or where you come from. No matter how good you have it now. I do have it pretty well here. I have a great job, nice healthy family, a house, cars; I live in one of the most beautiful state in America.  I’m living the American dream – I guess that’s the term. 

For me the concept of family doesn’t just involve your child and your spouse. It’s much more than that.  I miss the sense of belonging. Belong to my parents, my sisters, brothers.. the whole big fat family I have in Indonesia.

I appreciate the life and the opportunities I have here in America and never once I said I have living here or I have America. Even as much as I miss Jakarta, the idea of just pack my bag and move is very hard. Otherwise it’s already been done a while back.  America has been my home for the past 10 years and I too love my life here.

Yesterday, a customer and I were having a nice chat and he asks how come he hasn’t seen me for a while. I share with him my vacation story. He’s then asked me if I wanted to move back home. This is what I said exactly: “I wish it was that easy, and I do want to go back home, just because of my family. My parents aren’t getting any younger and I wish to spend more time with them.”

Then out of nowhere and I did not see this coming, he said “Well, if you don’t appreciate what America gives you then you can just go home to your F-ing country. We don’t need people like you crowding the US and eat out of our hard earned money and live out of welfare.” He’s then continuing, “If you HATE America so bad then why you’re even here in the first place? You’re here just to steal our jobs take our money and go back home to whichever hole you’re belong!”

I was so shocked that I don’t know how to respond. I decided I don’t want to respond. I just told him have a good day and go back to my office where after few minutes I was literally in tears. People are comes and go to my office convince me that he’s a jerk and I should not listen to him and management will take actions…

At least he was honest on his opinion about me. I consider Denver and America as my home as well, but does Denver and America truly accept me? Or will I always be an outsider to them? Immigrant that will either live out of welfare of steals American jobs.

Even if its 1 person out of a million, it will still bothers me. Will I ever feel like I belong here? Only time will tell. Then it hit me that guy is wrong about me. I came here legally, I pay tax, I work hard, I have a degree damn it and work hard for my title and my position and I will not let people like that questioning me of who I am. I may live the American dream, but God knows I work very hard for it.

My first awards!

My first blogging award and I got two! VERSATILE BLOGGER & INCREDIBLY SWEET BLOGGER Awards!

I just can’t believe it. One of my fav blogger Diane from Simply Diane pass on that awards today and it truly made my day and sent me over the moon.  This must’ve been the feeling those actors have when they receive Oscar! Ha 🙂

In honor of Diane who nominate me, let me tell you a bit about Diane, you guys will love her blog! I first come across her post when she wrote about her son’s birthday and her story of his adoption. That story really touch my hearts and I just know I fall in love with her blog and I subscribe immediately. Day to day I look forward for her new post her story sometimes makes me feel like reading email from a good friend, a sister.. someone you really look up too. Diane also has featured on freshly pressed – not just once, twice – that I know of. Come and visit her blog I guarantee you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Back to the awards. I graciously and humbly accept these awards! Thank you Diane.

The rules in accepting these awards are as follows:

VERSATILE BLOGGER                                               INCREDIBLY SWEET BLOGGER

Link to person who gave you award                               Link to person who gave you award

List 7 random facts about yourself                                  Display Award

Pass award on to 15 new bloggers                                   List 5 truth about yourself

Let bloggers know they won                                             Pass award on to 5 bloggers

I have to tweak the rules a bit too, just because I don’t think I know 15 blogger. Sorry, I kinda the newbie here.  I will list 5 random facts about myself and I will choose 5 bloggers to pass on the awards to.

  1. I’m a very smart shopper. I believe most stuff is overpriced. I (Hardly) pay retail for anything. I know where to look and when to buy. Come to Denver and I’ll take you on a shopping journey with me.
  2. I’m a fat woman with attitude. I hate diet stuff! I hate diet sugar, diet soda, diet drinks.. I hate the taste of diet everything!
  3. I have to have rice at least once a day or my day just seems incomplete.
  4. I’m a hopeless romantic. Ask my husband.
  5. I don’t know how to write! Seriously. I look at blogging as my online diary – at first. Turn out that there’s more to blogging and I truly enjoy it. I’m still learning and I hope to get better at it.

I just love to receive these awards and love it more when I know I can pass it on. I have chosen 5 other blog that I enjoy reading, subscribe & visit often.  And in no particular order the awards goes to:

  1. Katybeth – My Odd Family. I first saw all the comment she left on Diane’s blog and her comment is FUNNY! Intrigue, I look up her blog and it is much funnier. She made me laugh till my cheek hurt! Not only that her blog is full on interesting information. I look forward to her El Morno everyday.
  2. MB – A Hmong Woman. Her stories just click with me. My husband is Hmong and I strive to learn everything I can about Hmong to educate myself and for a better understanding of the culture. MB gave me just that and more!
  3. Whatsayyou. I even haven’t got a change to add it to my blog roll! Whaysayyou left a comment in my blog few times and I visit her blog as well. And I love what I see or read! Her opinion on her life event is refreshing.
  4. Joymanifest. Her writing in infuse with Islamic point of view that I also share. When I’m in need of more spiritual reading and quote I went and check her blog. Her writing is very calming and educating.
  5. Last but of course not least. Paige Morgan – Slightly off balance. She claimed to be off balance but her willingness to admit it and write about it proof to us that she’s actually more balance than she think. I love reading her love affair with wine and how she turns our daily motherhood chaotic life in humor. It’s refreshing to know that we’re not in this alone. There are others who also share our story. Through Paige blog I discover Diane and from Diane to Katybeth and so on.. and so on….

Again, I’m very honor to accept these awards and what a privilege to have met such a wonderful blogger that I can call friends.

Keep writing!