Life is…

Be kinds to others for everybody is fighting some kind of battle…

Taken from Yahoo Images

 We probably heard that once or few times in our lifetime. I am no exception and not to the saying either.

This year has been interesting to say the least. It starts off very good. Everything seems to start falls into places and I’m happy.

Comes March.. late march is when we heard about Kalia hearing problem. We learned that our beautiful baby girl is hard –hearing.

At that time, I don’t ever recall hearing more devastating news in my life.

I was so overwhelm with grief and guilt – for whatever reason. It wasn’t a good time.

 April came then things are slowly getting better again, both of my parents are here! I’m so happy I get to be a child again.

I love waking up to the sound of my parents talking about stuff over their breakfast.

It’s such a fond childhood memory where I wake up to see my dad with the newspaper and his cup of coffee on the table

And my mom sitting next to him while putting on make-up commenting on the news…

It’s comforting…

 Then June came, my dad have to leaves. He needs to go back to Indonesia to tidy up some business deal.

We made plan of him returning back in the fall so I can shows him beautiful CO during the fall season    

.. and its Tyra’s birthday as well.

We have so much plan….

 Then July came.. exactly one month after I say good bye to him at the airport, I have to say good bye to him again,..

This time forever…

God decided that it’s time for my dad to come back home for good. Leaving us here grieving, wondering why…

 Now we’re in October.. how time flew…

I survive the first holiday without my dad.. another one is around the corner..

 Leaves are changing, air is crispier. I wish my dad can see how beautiful it is here now..

I started remembering the plan we made…   promises I made to him.. 

 Life is cruel…

 Many – many times I wish I go back to my childhood.. When the life is so care free.

Playing and playing and playing with my friends…

 Life is cruel..

Then I remember something… a saying from Hadist

I said to Allah, I hate life.

Allah replied, who said love life. Love me and life will be beautiful.

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The day of forgiveness…

Most of you know that I’ve been fasting for the past month. Today is the last day of Ramadan, and even though (honestly) there are part o me that relieved the fasting part of it is over, but there are part of me that’s really sad that it is over. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslim, it is the month that all sins are forgiven, the time where we truly can redeem our self and reborn as new person that is sin free.

Tomorrow is EID or Eid Ul-Fitr [Eid in Arabic means festivity, whilst Fitr means purity] so to sum up its mean the festivity of purity. Victory is another word use a lot during the festivity. EID is also the day of forgiveness, the celebrations involved apologizing to others and forgiving those who have hurt you in turn.

This holy month always brings a mixed feeling for me. I have many – many fun loving memories of my childhood especially during this holiday. The house is glowing with decoration and the smells of the traditional holiday food cooking in the kitchen….

My Mom normally already picks the new prettiest clothes for us to wear for the celebration tomorrow and I can’t wait to wear it! That night all of the kids at the neighborhood come out and play and we chant Takbir – glory and praise to Allah, we play fireworks … it’s like a whole block party, even better, it’s the whole nationwide party cause majority of Indonesian is Muslim and we all celebrate EID!

Tonight the EID eve or end of Ramadan is one of the best night for me to have as a child… the whole atmosphere seems to filled with love, happiness, laughter, with Takbir always at the background. Can’t wait for tomorrow, the EID where after prayer we went and visit relatives asking for forgiveness and for us kids, we’ll get money!!! YAY!

To me, EID is a very beautiful holiday, it’s about thanksgiving, forgiveness and charity. No gift exchange involves, no material stuff. All pure humanitarian holiday from the heart. We supposed to ask forgiveness from each other. This is the year where I know I have the best parents ever. They will humbly ask forgiveness from us – their child. It’s always makes me cry when my mom and my dad will hugs me and ask for forgiveness – sincerely.

I mention earlier how I feel a bit down because again I spend holiday away from home… here in this place, where even most of my friend doesn’t share my excitement of this holiday – gosh I’m such a baby! I look at my family’s picture on Facebook on how the holiday is back home and it’s always bring tears….

Beside the normal pray I said, I also pray for peace and little hope maybe I will be given a change to celebrate next holiday with my family and share that special moment with my two girls. Amien.

Eid Mubarak to you all.

Last space shuttle is headed home…

I wasn’t paid too much attention to the launch of the Atlantis in 2006. I just had my first baby, we are in the process of moving from Colorado Springs to Denver. I remember the good news after the fear of the unknown. It was a happy ending. At that time, I promise that I will share my excitement and the memory with Tyra and my  future children when another moment comes.

Yesterday on the news, this headline catches my attention, The last space shuttle is headed home. I wasn’t paid much attention thinking “oh, Atlantis coming home.” Then people stared talking how this will be the last Nasa space shuttle program, that it was over and etc… I’m not sure how to react. It was spoken briefly and then we all move on with our daily activity. Not until I read Heidi’s post about this, It immediately took me back to my childhood memory and that when it hits me the promise I made to Tyra and to myself how I will continue the traditions especially now that we’re living here in America.

I have vivid memories of my childhood in Indonesia when my parents took me and my cousins to watch comet Haley goes through earth. I was very little that day and wasn’t really sure how to react. Then my dad talk to me about the comet, stars, the space and the astronauts. I was so fascinated by it.

Around the same time, (I can’t remember if it was earlier or later) I remember all of my family gather that night (it was night time in Indonesia) I was trying to fight sleeps because all of the family just so excited to witness history being made. We all glued to the TV watching the launch of Challenger. Sadly our cheers soon turn to tears when we heard it had exploded. I remember waking up to my cousins brother yelling that the Challenger had exploded, and I remember my Mom cry.

Then 2003 – I already live here in US with my husband and with friends we anxiously watch the Columbia launch. I still remember all the Astronauts with a huge smile on their faces waving goodbye. Once again, our hearts broke. The Columbia and her crew were lost during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003, and the we all mourned again…

Now, I feel like we all mourned again, people will never guess or know much about my fascination with the space. And maybe my fascination is mostly just based on childhood memory with my dad – my hero – and my family. Either way, it just hits me that this is something that I won’t be able to lok forward to share with Tyra. You know the saying “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” It’s kinda like that. Something you took for granted now that it end, it just hits you.

I can only wish that it’s temporary and that one day I will be able to re-create the memory with my children. In the meantime, I will tell Tyra and Kalia  a story, a great story of the space and hope I can do a great job fascinate them they way my dad does.

Just as the NASA Flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho said, “I try to look at that as an adventure, rather than focusing too much on the memories,”

Happy Birthday Jakarta

(From top, left to right): Jakarta Old Town, Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, Jakarta Skyline, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Monumen Nasional, Merdeka Palace, Istiqlal Mosque

Jakarta city that never sleeps, a place where I was born and raised. Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, my home country. Roughly 9,580,000 people live in Jakarta, including me at one point! All 10 million share a living area of roughly 681 SQ Kilometer (255 sq mi). This is according to Indonesia 2010 census bureau.

A city so unique with cultural and economical diversity.

Indonesia National Monument

 Jakarta, where you will find many – many  

exquisite, extravagant, top of the line malls and buildings and houses… and slums. My pride and my heart break.

Slums

One of the mall in Jakarta

I all those “uniqueness”, Jakarta will always hold a special place in my heart and today, Jakarta celebrates its 484 yrs birthday!

I assume the celebration PRJ – Pekan Raya Jakarta (Jakarta weekend festival) will be held. Last time I went to PRJ was 112 years go, and it was also during my husband 1st visit to Indonesia and I took him there.

Happy birthday Jakarta! Many wishes for you, and I hope to visit you again soon.

For more info, please visit this site

Patung Selamat Datang - the Welcome Monument

 

It is summer when…

1. I need to bring light jacket to work cause they blast the AC to match the temperature of the north pole!
2. Grocery store looking prettier with all those summer flowers they sell in front of the store.
3. Water melons are on sale!
4. Malls are full with teenagers hangin out.
5. Flip flops are on sale!
6. The smells of BBQ are in the air – especially during weekend.
7. Community pools are open and busy!
8. The cold are out and allergy seasons are in.
9. Corns are on sale!
10. I have excuses to relax at the spa getting manicure done on weekly basis.

Happy Summer y’all!!!!

So hard to say goodbye

I left home 10 years ago, I guess a part of me never really leaves. Everytime I left Jakarta, it took a piece of me. It takes a lot for me not to cry (too hard) at the airport cause that will make it much harder. Everybody cries at the airport as we say goodbye…. the whole time we’re driving to the airport, I try to look at outside as much as possible. Try to remember it one last time before I leaves.
 
I was born and raised there and it’s my home. It’s a city that never sleeps, city of 19 million people (roughly) the city that the traffic was so bad that you feel like you live on the road.. but it my city. It’s my home. I never thought of leaving Jakarta for so long or wondered if I’ll ever lived there again.  Regardless of all the bad, I am just so addicted to Jakarta, I miss the dynamic of life there, I miss the routine. Most of all, I miss my family, my whole family.
 
Of all the trips I took to Jakarta, I felt this particular one was one of the most emotional one to me. This time I have my own little family. My two little girls. How I’m so glad I can share my love and part of me with them. I can see they enjoy this trip as much as me maybe more with all people spoils them rotten! Tyra is old enough to experience the life there more and I’m so happy I can share part of my childhood with her. We took her to places that have momories for us, taste the food we love and more. As for Kalia, even though she still little, I’m sure she can sense all the love around her. She’s the baby that light up the house! Her laughter and giggle truly bring miracle and blessing for my family.
 
On a different note, one of my cousin brother is dying of cancer and even though he lives in different city, we manage to fly and see him. He still able to recognize me and told me he will fight till the end and never give up. I’m grateful I got a change to see him. His situation has worsen from what I heard. I pray for whatever best for him. God knows best and I leave the decision is God’s hand. I pray for his strenght, him and his family. My uncle also pass away while we’re there. We attend his funeral. I remember him and his smile when he was at my wedding, I remember his joke and now he’s gone. May he rest in peace.
 
All that good and the bad makes it so much harder to leave. I have a great job here in Denver and beautiful home, but it feel empty without family (other than my immediate) to share it with. Back home our family is such a close knit that we share everything together the good and the bad… I miss that. Even I am surrounded by a lot of great friends here but it’s different.
 
And also..
 
I wondered if I will see my parents again, will I see my family again, will all of them still be healthy enough the next time I visit?  Or even just a simple question as “when can I see them again?” I can only set a plan, but only God  decide.
 
I can’t ever seemed to find the answers, I don’t have control over my future, none of us do. I am just very grateful to Allah, that I have more than a girl can ask for, I have tastes the best of both world, having a great childhood and a great family and a life in America. It seem very selfish of me to ask for more, I know that no matter how hard everything may looked or sounded… there’s a reason for everything and  there’s always something about your life that you can be grateful of.
 
 In the meantime, I’m grateful that I have the best of both world..I know I’ll always have a place to call home, other than Denver, a place I will always look forward to come home to.
 
Nothing goodcomes without any sacrifice… this is my sacrifice.

The Dutch in me has “Sprechen….”

Why I’m afraid of Santa….

During Christmas time Tyra always got so excited about Santa. Just like any regular kids are. My mom made comment on how I was so different then, Both me and my sister were always afraid of Santa. I started remembering my childhood and if there’s a reason for me to be afraid of Santa.

Yes! It is Zwarte Piet or Black Pete! You probably are not familiar with Black Pete or Zwarte Piet in Dutch – being a Dutch descent our family adopt Christmas tradition just how grandmother know it, with Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete/Peter).

Dutch Christmas holiday story and  including my parents warn that while Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten will leave well-behaved children presents, they will punish those who have been naughty. For example they will take bad children and carry these children off in a burlap sack to be punish.

So why I was so scared of Santa even if I’ve been good? Well first of all Dutch Santa Claus is not the same with fatherly friendly figure that American people are used to, Sinterklaas is very serious, very stern and dress very proper with long religious robe (kind like that Pope is wearing) – he still bring gift and candy, but there’s no ho ho ho… famous line. We didn’t sit on his lap, we’re standing while he’s looking at us with serious eyes that can make you shiver inside and out and ask if you been a good girl or not.

Heres’ the sick part…. Your parents will already told him what kind of trouble you made throughout the year, so when you said “Yes, I’ve been a good girl, and Sinterklaas will say “Don’t you lie to me. I know you lock your sister in the bathroom!”

Did I mention Zwarte Piet?

I belive the story behind him is he’s the devil that Santa recruit to be his helper and no, he’s not cute like elf! He’s the devil. So he normally will stand stern behind Santa and his body and face will be painted black! Tell me what kid will not be scared of that image?! He’s known to be punishing the bad kids and give them coal. But even if you are a good girl, he still scares the “haha” out of you!

Don’t believe the story, read this. 🙂  or this.. 🙂

Needles say.. Christmas is always a fun tradition growing up too. Even though our family is Muslim but we also have relative who is Catholic and  Christiian and we always experience both religious holiday. Presents, money, new clothes, new toys, food what’s not to like? Even the Sinterklaas part is (kinda) fun. It is part of it so going through Christmas without Sinterklaas is just doesn’t feel right.

Well, last night I try to share with my husband my Christmas childhood story, and did more research to show it to him. I discover that a lot of people actually feel offended by Black Pete. They associate it with Dutch racism and colonial history. I personally don’t know what to comment on it. Back home we never thought of having black pete as part of the holiday as being racist. Somehow religion always have this idea of good is white and evil is black. He’s always part of Dutch Holiday tradition since the 15th century, I believe.

Unfortunately Dutch does have negative stereotype of their colonial past. Nobody can change that. People who knows and read history won’t even try to deny that and this is one example, many view black Pete as a racist caricature from the country’s colonial past.

Happy Holiday!!! or to keep up with the Dutch spirit,  Prettige Kerstfeest!!

Taken from Wikipedia

The fabulous five!

Tyra 1st day

My oldest daughter will turn five in about a week. It seems like time is sneaking up on me. Last night I look at her sleeping and I just cry, I still remember the day I gave birth to her, when I used to look at her while nursing and just in awe of how beautiful she is and the most amazing thing is the fact that she’s mine!

Her famous ducky face at 10 month old

 As a parent, all you can do is trying. I try to be a good mom, I try to give her enough attention, makes her happy, filled her childhood with happiness and good memories just like what my parents did to me. They are certain things I wish I can do better, but I know with all my heart that I tried my very best.

She's 1!!!

 I feel blessed and privilege that this first 5 years Tyra has shared with me have been wonderful, she’s a very loving child inside and out and I really couldn’t ask for more. Through her innocent eyes I can still the beauty of the world, how everything is like a wonderland full of wonder and beauty, with her I can still let my imagination run wild, one day I’m the queen, tomorrow I’m a pirate, a mermaid and the next day I’m the teacher etc….

2 yr old in Hmong outfit

 She has taught me so much, before her, I never knew I was capable of having that much love for one person, before her I never knew this inner strength I have within me, enough to hold any storm that come my way in order to protect her….  I will do whatever it takes to shield her from the ugliness for the world out there.. right now  she’s still believes in fairy tale and so be it….

Tyra 4 yr old

 She’s my great motivator, she’s my constant reminder of why I want to better myself, why I’m working so hard at work and school When I feel down and almost give up with school I just take one look at her and I know why I shouldn’t give up. It’s all for her. At the end of the day, the fruit of my labor are for my family, for my child. I’m not doing this out of the selfishness of me, I’m doing it for my family….

 She made me humble…

Tyra 3 yr old

 Looking at her and her little sister sleeping peacefully I said a little pray for them, for my family and myself for God to protect them always, to give me the strength to protect them, to always be there for them. When they realize that fairy tale is only in imagination, when they can see the ugliness of the world out there… I hope they know that I will always protect them no matter what.

My beautiful Tyra

Happy birthday my sweetheart…

The day I realize we turn into our parents…

There are so many things that our parents did and we vow we won’t be like them, but then we realize we did exactly what they did. Well here’s my story of one of those moment..

She’s your daughter! I always get a chuckle when my parents said that to each other. Normally when we’re in trouble. Ha! I can still remember vividly when either me or my sister got in some kinds of trouble my Mom will call my dad “Schat (it mean honey/darling in Dutch – I’m sure I just butchered the spelling though..) here’s your daughter!” or “Look at what your daughter did!” But when we’re good she’ll then brag about us “Look at what MY daughter did.” Hahahaha…. We joke about that…

This morning, apparently my four year old decide she’ll get rid of the tangle in her hair by cutting it! My husband caught her in the act and somehow got into argument with her – I love to see that! By 11 am he call me at work “Did you know what YOUR daughter did?” ahh,.. that your daughter/my daughter thing is just ring a bell to me…

Ahahahaha… the day we turn into our parents!!!