Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who Am I?

Who am I?

Am I the person who prepares the meals hoping it would turn out just right?
Am I the being who clears the table and wipes the dishes clean?
Am I the lady who washes, folds and irons the clothes?
Am I the mummy who brushes, bathes and dresses?
Am I the saviour who plants kisses and blows where it hurts?
Am I the woman who waits eagerly every day for him to return?
Am I the presence who loves with all her heart?
Am I the eager one who struggles to impress?

Who am I?

Am I just the above?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

My Nose Humbles Me

Inspiration comes from a steaming hot tub mixed with mint, pine and rosemary aromatherapy bubble bath and a 2008 French red. - Pu

My nose humbles me. I have thought about that many times in recent years. And as much insecurities and pain it has caused me, I thank the Lord for depriving me of a bridge. I started feeling 'ugly' about the time I had my first boyfriend (funny how that is). It was a phase; hey, everyone has an 'ugly phase'! Mine lasted about 3 years; after that I felt average, for the most part. And a few times in between pretty even, there were times I settled for 'cute'. Oh, before any judgement boils out from the bellies of some of you who are reading this, please know that I do not write this out of self- pity, nor do I expect any sympathy. Even more so, please do not scorn me for being so shallow. I was young. This comes directly from within me out onto your screen, as honest as I can ever be. Today, I am 32, I still have my insecurities and beautiful (externally) people still intimidate me, average people make me feel comfortable in my own skin (unless they are super smart, then I am back to feeling intimidated) and ugly people are just well, ugly. Ugly, of course, until you get to know them and if they are nice then suddenly they are not so ugly anymore. But hey, that happens to beautiful (on the outside) people too, if they suck on the inside, then somehow they become ugly on the outside as well. And before you start throwing your judgement at me again, beauty (and ugliness the same) is in the eye of the beholder. As cliche as that sounds, it's totally true. What's beautiful to you could be hideous to someone else.

Anyway, back to the nose. A dear friend once called it 'button nose'. Apparently that's supposed to be cute, maybe for a 2 year old! That's ok, to each his/her own. Twice in my life (believe it or not) has anyone ever (that I know of) mentioned or spoke of my nose in a negative and insulting way. The first from a boy called Mikhael in University who thought he was parading the latest trend with his thick black-rimmed glasses (not cool at all). I hardly knew him and could not call him a friend, but he had the audacity to come up to me one day during lunch and ask me, "Why is your nose like that?". In (shocked) reply, I calmly said, "I don't know. Genetics." What was he expecting? A tragic story of how a Sabahan 4WD Ninja rammed into my face one unfortunate afternoon? That was a real hurtful and awkward moment for me. Until then, the most I have felt from people (with regards to my not so gorgeous nose) is looks of avoidance. You know how when someone has a huge zit right at the tip of their nose and as hard as you try to avoid looking at it, somehow your eyes get drawn to it anyway? Yea, that. Haha! I SO know the feeling, totally unavoidable sometimes unless you have super strong will power.

The second time was years later. And I do not wish to go into details. This was like a sharp dagger piercing through my (I am tempted to say heart but would like to avoid cliche again) whole being and just breaking all 28 years of me into pieces right there. I don't know what felt worse, the incident that day or someone (very high on my, 'I love you' list) telling me, "You are SOOO ugly!" (disgusted look included). It's ok though, all is forgiven, though not forgotten. Hey, you can't forget everything! You don't want to risk forgetting the lessons you have learned from your experiences as well, right? In any case, if you are wondering, my heart has healed. And in case you are judging me and accusing me of being a 'drama queen', it's ok. Go ahead, judge me you judger.

How can a nose humble a person, you may wonder? Well, for one I can't possibly be accused of being 'hidung tinggi'. (On and off) since I was 15, I have wished for a 'normal' (hey, who's to say what's normal?) nose. I figured, I could accept my legs (though I wish they were longer), my hips (that were not boyishly narrow enough), my hair no matter how I had it didn't succeed in making me look any better. And hey, my grades that were never really good enough! Oh, the pressure of being 15 and a girl! As a teenager and a young adult, I judged myself based on my appearance, and to me that was pretty much based on my nose, right there at the centre of my face! But I exaggerate, really, it was not too bad, I had other things going for me. I had a good fit body. Genetics and swimming helped me there.

Anyway, a decade and a half later, I still look at my nose with disdain. Hey, it's the first thing I see when I look in the mirror, ok! It bothers me, yes but much less so now that I have matured. What I feel when I look in the mirror now (not a 100% of the time, I still have my bad days) is BLESSED. Totally blessed that the only real and outstanding flaw I find in my (outer) self, is my nose. And maybe to some of the few people who truly love me not even a flaw. But something beautiful and unique to Pu Ei.

The Lord, He has given me this perfectly functioning body. My neck that supports my head straight, a head that holds a brain that functions perfectly - controlling my complete limbs, 20 fingers and 20 toes. My spine that allows complete movement. Hair. I have hair. My speech that I may have endless conversations with my husband, and my sight that I may watch my children grow. My sense of smell that I may smell the yummy curry my mother-in-law has made and my sense of touch that I may embrace my parents. My healthy internal organs that carry out my internal processes efficiently. My body though having born two children is still in good shape. How could have this tiny 'flaw' or 'imperfection' have made me so miserable? How could I have allowed it? How could I be so shallow and insensitive? Well, I truly believe that God gave me my flaws (my nose especially) as a lesson. To keep me grounded. He has his ways of grounding His children. And He's had His way with me through the years. And I am grateful that it's actually been a not so tough journey of learing and self-discovery. What He has in store for me, I don't know....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our First Adventure: The Train Ride

Today the girls and I went on our first train ride into Duisburg town. I packed them nice, warm and snug in our 2-in-1 stroller (means single stroller with two babies in it) and off we went in search of adventure. It's a whole 5 minute walk to the train station. And 2 flights of stairs up to the platform. My plan was to unload the girls, get them to hold hands and walk up the stairs slowly by my side while I carried the stroller. Totally do-able but lucky us, we had a nice young gentleman offer his manly services and lug the stroller up for me while the three of us girls walked up the stairs hand-in-hand. That was a good start to an uncertain outing.

And so we reach the platform and well, it was nothing but a platform! I wondered where the ticket counter was, no one around to assist in times when the ticket machine didn't work. That's probably because the machine works all the time. So I decide to give my (very little) German a go and approach this older couple. "Entschuldigung, meine Deutsch ist nicht gut. Aber was bahnhof zu Konig-Heinrich Platz?" They seem to understand me and walk across to the information board. The man comes back and tells me the name of the station. He even helps me purchase the ticket from the machine, and buys me a 'kinder' (child) ticket. Not too sure if he did that on purpose or by accident, either way it saved me 0.90 euros. The lady tells me which platform to board the train and that it would arrive in 5 minutes, AND its only 1 stop away! What?? We were all prepared for an adventure! 1 WHOLE stop? Gee. Anyway, in exactly 5 minutes the train stops in front of us, we board and 3 minutes later we alight at our station. Very exciting journey indeed. Oh I shouldn't complain, 2 months from now and I will be grateful for this; the simplicity.

Thank goodness there are elevators at this station. Just when I am relieved that I need not worry about carrying the stroller down and not being able to 'hold' my little girls, the little girls start arguing over who gets to press the elevator button. Gah! Elil pressed it the first time, Nila got to press the button inside the lift. Ok, problem solved. So, how do we get to Konig-Heinrich Platz from here and how long will it take by foot? Again I practise my German, this time on an elderly lady. She understood me; of course it did not take too much, I just mentioned the street and she pointed straight then 'links' (left). Aha, another 5 minute walk! And so we were there. A long street with shops on either side, backerei's galore, a WOOLWORTH's, McDonald's (we had our lunch there btw), a mall and a Kartstadt (A German departmental store), C&A, H&M, Esprit. Not a giant mall, but decent - you won't get lost in it. The girls keep asking for Mega Mall, "when are we going to reach mega mall mummy?" asks Elil.

We walk into WOOLWORTH's, the first shop I see. We are comparing prices and quality in different stores, just so we know where to go and where not to. I tell the girls they get ONE thing each. Elil cannot make up her mind between Disney Princess handsoap or glittery, shiny fairy stickers. Nila made up her mind instantly with a Disney Princess mug. In the end, Elil chucked the handsoap for the stickers and Nila put her mug away and grabbed the princess handsoap from her big sis. Ahhh gotta love 'em! And so we walked around for a bit. Went into Hema, which had some pretty nice house stuff, a little more costly but also better in quality and look.

Soon it was time to go back, the girls had a playdate with Jordan (playdates? so soon? yup!). And so we had our McDonald's and back to the 'bahnhof' (station). Getting back was not as easy as getting there. I managed to get my ticket pretty easy because they have a language selection on the machine, that was great, I felt so efficient. Until, of course I could not find the correct platform to wait at. There were more than a dozen and I had no idea which line to take. We walked up and down the station, and asked for assistance from 2 people who like me had no idea. Finally, I find an information counter where they guide me in the right direction. Yay! In no time we are home and 15 minutes later we hear a ring at the door and there is Jordan with his face pressed against the glass. What a wonderful day we had! I look forward to the next adventure, maybe into Dusseldorf with daddy doo-doo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life Goes On

This morning I brought Elil and Nila to the park nearby. It is  the Duisburg-Wedau Sports Park and School. It is a ten minute walk away from our home and it's facilities are open to the public. The Duisburg Stadeum is right next door. There are also lakes where apparently they hold annual regattas. And jogging/cycling and walking friendly trails too. Several different play areas for children. Today the girls played in a wooden sunken-ship playground. The play area is covered in sand; the girls are not used to this, getting sand in their shoes. I let them run around barefoot. Connected to the sunken-ship is a man-made mini lake, with a stream and small waterfall running through it. It's a whole lot of fun for the kids. The girls could not resist the water and so I stripped them to their undies (totally unplanned) and they splished-splashed about in the cold water without feeling any cold. Lucky the sun was in and out so they didn't freeeze. Not too sure what the German lady watching us was thinking though. Not too impressed with this Asian lady allowing her kids to 'freeze' in the cold. They were fine, really they were.

This morning hubs left for Sargans, Switzerland. He will be back in 4 days. I miss him dearly. So soon after our big move and he's gone again. This is his third trip in the 16 days we have been here. I look forward to his return. It's time for us, the girls and I to have our 'daddy' back. He's been away far too long and too often in the past. These girls need more and more consistent hubby and daddy time. Never has his hugs and kisses felt so good and oh so fine. I was missing the electricity and power in that touch. Well, it's back now and hopefully back for good! *Sigh*

The 42"LG LCD (courtesy of hubs company) standing on the floor in our echoing (still pretty empty pre-furniture arriving) living room is on 12 hours a day. This is our only source of entertainment other than going out for a walk (sometimes the weather not permitting), or the sand box outside (again depending on weather conditions). All the girl's toys and most of their books are in the container awaiting clearance somewhere in Duisburg Port (i think). Thank God for the media player hubs got just before we moved. He's loaded it with a decent  (some indecent ones too, not for the kiddos of course) array of movies and cartoons sufficient for movie marathon after movie marathon and back again. Once our DVDs and Blue Rays get here, no more Tom and Jerry, Mr. Bean (animated or not) and Spongebob Square Pants for me. I have seen enough to last me 10 life-times!

With all that being said, I am grateful and feel so utterly blessed and I cannot thank the Lord enough. Thank You for me, for who I am (the good and the bad), thank You for the man I married (eventhough he truly drives me nuts at times I love him deeply), for the perfect little monkeys You have entrusted in my care, Thank You for the life we have had and enjoyed, for the future You have in store for us. I surrender us to Your care. Amen.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding.
                       In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New Beginnings

We have been relocated. Hubs, myself and the girls. Halfway around the world; Dusseldorf Germany to be exact. 10 nights now, away from our home in Damai Mewah. The holiday feeling has started to fade and so begins reality. I miss our home, the neighbourhood, the people who live in it still. I miss my family the most. This is going to sound so cliche but you don't realize how much you take the people you love for granted until you are miles and miles apart. The saddest part about the distance is that grandma/pati, grandpa/tata, aunties, uncles and cousins don't get to be apart of our lives, we won't get to grow up together. However, it would make reunions and family gatherings so much more rare and treasured.

I look forward to our new life in this part of the world, where every 3 months the season changes. Soon the colours of the leaves will change. Red, orange, pink, yellow, brown I tell Elil. She cannot fathom it. Everything we see on the side walk is amazing to her as we take our brisk walks in the cool and windy evenings. Hazelnuts that have fallen from the trees, all kinds of cones from the many pine trees, maple leaves, even pebbles are unique. They look forward to the snow, a white Christmas this year I hope. For now, the days are still long and so I put my sweet angels to bed when the sun is still out and they tell me, "...but its still early mummy!" They fall asleep so easily anyway, no more afternoon naps after a full day of school. Works well for me, bedtime is no longer a struggle. They love their bedtime stories still. Rhymes for Nila, they are short (she can only focus so long) and sweet. Mermaid and princess stories for Elil. Sometimes we have a little of reptiles and dinosaurs too just to spice things up.

When our first year is up, I intend to be apart of the working world again. Nila should be in school and I should have better grasp of the Deutsch language. Something simple, part-time maybe to pass my time and fill my pockets if only just a little. Good thing 1 Euro can go a long way, much longer than a Ringgit. I look forward to it. An adventure has just begun, a young family of four is on the wagon. We are in it together, through the good and bad, happy and sad. Wish us well, were on our way....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The day she left...pfft!

So 3 entries ago I blogged about how relieved I was that Novie had finally arrived. I was nervous having a stranger in my home, hoping and praying she had the heart and patience to assist with my two kiddos. Housework was not the concern. I'd have been grateful if she could use a washing machine and vacumn cleaner without too much assistance. It took a while for her to settle in comfortably with the family but eventually she did and I liked her, I truly did. She was great with Nila and Elil was fond of her. She was strong and helped out with the gardening. She was polite and didn't talk back or show a face (all except once which is forgivable I guess).

All was well until one fine day when my phone bill came in and I did the out of the ordinary; I looked at it. To my horror, the bill came up to 5 times its normal amout and as I looked at the breakdown I was disappointed to find several calls a day throughout the day to one number. A number that was unfamiliar to hubs and myself. Oh Novie Novie, why? I know I must confront her with this but how? Two days later soon after I put the kids down for the night, I go downstairs for a glass of water. I don't have a foot down the step when I hear the phone hang up. My heart is racing and I am so upset. I decide that I will have a chat with her the very next morning. Come morning I write the number down on a piece of paper and show it to her. "Do you know this number?" I say. She immediately admits to making the calls. To her "adik kandung" who works in Perak apparently. Of course I don't believe her. I give her a stern warning and she knows never to make phone calls to whoever behind my back ever again. She knows now that any calls she may want to make to her family whom she 'misses' must go through me. So that settles that or so I thought.

Days later after she had completed her chores she came up to me watching tv and asks me to sms her 'adik kandung'. She gives me 2 numbers, one I have never seen before. Apparently this brother of hers has two lines, ok whatever. "Take perlu sms", I say. I will call him immediately. Of course I want my chance to speak to 'brother' myself. A dude with a thick Indonesian accent picks up. Long story short, none of the information she gives me regarding her 'brother' matches. He has a different name, does not work in a Perak palm oil estate and has never met a Novie in his life! WTF! If there's one thing I truly despise, it's being lied to. It pisses me off to no end. I tell her what I know and wait for her explanation. She has none, no lie readily available in her brain. After several minutes however she manages another bogus story to which I tell her I know is lies. No more I said. No more calls. Period. I ask her if she likes being lied to. She replied no. And I tell her to go back to her room.

It takes me a few days but I manage to calm down. About a month and I forget the ordeal although another bill comes in with the same pattern except the number has changed. Looking at the dates, all the calls were made prior to our little chat so I say nothing of it. Things are back to normal between us or so I think. We celebrate Nila's birthday in April. However, one morning about a week after the party I am woken by a smiling Nila trying to climb on her mummy. I am exhausted from a heavily disrupted night and on mornings like these, I hand Nila over to Novie so I can get some shut eye before beginnning the day. This morning, I call to Novie and no reply. I go downstairs, I call her as I do so. No reply. No Novie. Panic sets in. I rush to check all the doors, everything still secure. I check her room. Gone are her things together with the sports bag she had when she first came. I run upstairs to look for her passport, my heart about to leap out of my chest. Its gone! Just like Novie, gone. I don't know how to feel. I try call hubs who is in Delhi, no answer. I call my mum. I know there's not much she can do being miles away but somehow that is always my first instinct. When in trouble, run to mummy. She calms me down and tells me I should inform my in-laws and also contact the agent who would know what to do. I do this and by late morning have my locks changed and lodged a police report. The agent needs to cancel her work permit with immigration. And that's really all I can do. No replacement maid or refund cozshe passed her 3 month guarantee period (such BS if you ask me considering we just paid close to 9k for her). Only later do I find out that there is an insurance that you can get to protect yourself. Later, too late.

And so that is my story after months of absence. Shes gone. And I am alone with the kids. I am struggling I must admit. I don't have a life. Am I able? I am. I know I can do it. Maidless. But I don't really want to do it. I am grumpy and over-exhausted. I am bitter at times and stressed and frustrated most of the time. I don't like being this way. And so I will update you once we get our next domestic help.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I can't upload pictures...

I am using a prehistoric (no bluetooth) laptop with a USB port that is not functioning. And so I cannot upload any pictures which makes blogging just a little less exciting. To top that off my 'E' key has just broken off. It flies off everytime I type 'e', which is pretty darn often. And so I have put the little plastic piece aside and am pressing the little rubber knob (which has just bouncd off btw). I'll get used to it. I have so many pictures I am super excited to post, so much has been happening, so much going on. At home and with the babies. And oh wonderful (not), now my exclamation mark is giving me problems!!!!!!!!!! Oh well. Anyhow, this is one of those super rare moments where I am able to collect my thoughts (somewhat) and (quickly) blog a little about my simple, blessed and fulfilled life....

Two is a small number but two children are truly a handful, especially if they're my kids....the demanding duo! My days and nights are filled with "Mummy, no I don't want to bath!" or "Can we go playground? Can? Can? Too hot? Too late?" or "No! I don't want breakfast!" or just plain "wahhhhhhhh...." Sometimes I feel like pulling my hair out or knocking my head against the wall. Sometimes I feel my knees and ankles buckling, close to collapsing as I walk down the stairs with either baby in my arms. But most of the times I look at these two little faces staring back at me and my heart just melts. And the very rare moment where I squeeze in a 10 minute power nap and regain my strength. But there are also the times when I am anxious for this phase to pass. The terrible 2's and the early unsettled months. I remember promising to myself not so long ago that I would never call this zone Elil is in the 'Terrible 2's'. How could I ever refer to my angel baby as terrible?? But now that I am smack in the middle of it, that's exactly how she can be at times, TERRIBLE. However, I am consoled by the fact that it is a phase and it shall pass and she is absolutely normal. Anyway, a lot of the time she is angel, especially in her sleep. Console. Console.

Every (every) night for 5 months solid, Nila has woken me up an average of 6-7 times. Either for feeds or just to be pacified. In the past weeks she has settled down and wakes an average of 3 times a night which may be horror for some mummies but is nothing short of a miracle for me. I do believe she is starting to settle and develop a more 'normal' sleeping habit. However, she now sleeps with us in the bed throughout the night so I am sure this has contributed to her adjustment. Now there are 4 in the bed, mummy, daddy and two angels. I say, time for a bigger bed, no?

The day after we got back from our wonderful trip to KK, work started in our kitchen. Elil waited three whole weeks for the 'uncles' to make our kitchen beautiful. Not my dream kitchen I must say but still a pretty great looking kitchen worthy of praise! Finally, I have a fully functional kitchen! Unfortunately, because my lappy not fully functional (like my new kitchen ;)), you won't be seeing pictures of it anytime soon. I have invited Ots and her clan over tomorrow for some cupcake making and decorating fun. Yum.