well, that first half of the summer certainly went by so quickly! don’t know whether to be happy or sad about it . so i’ll write them down here to somewhat elongate it.
June 2012 was nice. on the second last week of June, there’s the Midsummer holiday, which made my one-week summer holiday start earlier than it was supposed to. we went on a cruise to Stockholm, my first time going on a cruise in the summer! yes, it made a whole lot of difference than going on a cruise in the winter.
see, we could’ve never done that (taking a picture on the deck of the ship) in the winter.
the view when we passed Suomenlinna (Finnish fortress island) wouldn’t be as green as that.
okay, even when it’s dark like that in Stockholm, i still had a great time.
(more pics in the photo album later. when i feel like uploading them see below this entry for the update!)
it was cloudy and a bit windy when we left from Helsinki, but warm enough for me to be on the deck as we left. we enjoyed the view there until we passed the Suomenlinna, and then it was time to enjoy the ship itself: the restaurant for dinner, the tax free shop for sweets and stuffs.
when we got to Stockholm the next day, it was rainy and windy. *rolls eyes* go figure. but we were determined to reach our destination anyway, which was the Vaasa ship museum. it was a great museum, definitely worth all the walk in the rain! went to have lunch at Burger King afterwards (hey, don’t blame us…there’s no Burger Kings in Finland!), and visited the Old Town for about half an hour before we had to go back to the ship. yes, it was a nice trip, but the weather was awful.
on our way back to Helsinki, we encountered a storm in the middle of the open sea. apparently it was big enough to rock our ship pretty wildly, but i was so tired of all the walking and the rain that i slept right through it . which was probably a good thing.
after the cruise, we were high on sugars for a while, since all we got from the tax free shop was candies, chocolates, and more sweet snacks. i still had the rest of the week on holiday, so we took it easy at home… until my husband had an idea of what to get me for my birthday.
in case you’re wondering why i wasn’t all that excited when he told me about it, it’s because i couldn’t bike.
when i was 4 or 5, i sat on the passenger’s side of my sister’s bike, and one of my ankles got stuck in the bike’s back spokes. oh, how i remember the wound . had to learn how to walk again afterwards. some time after that, we left her bike in Bandung at our grandmom’s place for some reason i can’t remember. one time, i remember my dad tried to teach me how to bike, using my sister’s bike, in Bandung, him sitting on the passenger’s side and balancing the bike with his legs, while i try to push the pedals. but it was only for that once, and i didn’t get much further with that experience. back in Jakarta, where can you bike on a normal day? where can you learn how to bike unless you have some magical way of transporting your bike all the way to Senayan without you actually riding it, and then practice it there, and transport the bike back to your home?
well, anyway, that was my history with bikes (or the lack of it). i’ve gotten a bike as a present before, about 3 years ago. it was a great one, with big wheels and shift gears and all that. i got a helmet to motivate myself, and my husband patiently taught me how to ride a bike. i never managed to do it. i couldn’t find the balance, i was too scared, and then after a while, i got too tired of my own failure, that i gave up soon after.
so when my husband said he was going to give me a bike as a birthday present, my mind went, oh no… here we go again. when is he going to accept the fact that i just wasn’t born to bike???? but he told me about this new, stylish & trendy bike which have been pretty famous around here. they have high steers and small tires, and look very retro.
i was intrigued. we went to see the bikes at some stores, and when i finally saw one that’s cute, my husband told me to sit on it, just to try how it felt like. it felt friendly and humble, and after surveying all the other options, we finally decided to get it. so here it is, my first birthday present:
(picture borrowed from http://netanttila.fi)
the next day after we got the bike, as a practice, we went to 2 train stations away from our regular train station, me on my bike, my husband training me (= walking beside me). it took nearly 2 hours just to get there, with all the kids and adults looking and holding back their laughters at me. such an amazing sight, isn’t it? a 30 year old who couldn’t bike. it was another 2 hours for us to get home, but it didn’t matter to me. i wanted to show those people that i could do it, and i was more determined than ever to learn how to bike.
it was the third day that finally made the difference. on a nearby road in the middle of a small forest, right next to a school, i finally managed to bike some twenty meters on my own. i was so happy, that i wanted to keep going back and forth there on the same miracle road, but since it was raining, we finally decided to call it a day.
the fourth day, we went to another nearby school, this one big enough to have a parking space. i tried with all my might, to make a few rounds without putting my legs down on the ground, and after a few minutes, i finally got the hang of it. I LEARNED HOW TO BIKE!!!
30th of June, 2012. that was the date when i finally could ride a bike . and i was still 30 by that time, whoopee!
after being able to bike, i felt like biking everywhere, mwahahaha… so i started going to the train station every morning by bike, leave my bike there to take the train to work, and then when i come home from work i’ll ride the bike again home. i did this all the while learning how to stop properly (i’m sure you know that after learning how to ride a bike, the next step was learning how to stop properly), and for the next 2 weeks, i managed to do it just fine. the long summer holiday and my actual birthday was right in front of my eyes, when suddenly it happened.
it was my last day of work before the holiday, and it was just a daily routine by now to go to the station with my bike, where i would again leave it there and take the train to work. my husband was biking ahead of me, and suddenly the slope downhill near our house felt steep and scary… and i panicked and forgot how to stop the bike. what a classic event.
i jumped off the bike while it was still running down, which was completely idiotic and i highly do NOT recommend it to anyone. so the big fall against the asphalt was inevitable. in my state of shock, i went back to my bike, saw that the only thing broken from it was the reflector on the front side, and climbed back up & rode it all the way to station anyway, even with the burning pain on both knees. i knew i was bleeding, but i refused to give in to the pain, not when my holiday was that close!!
quickly walked to the pharmacy after i parked my bike, bought disinfectant tissues and band aids, and went into the train without missing a beat. it wasn’t until i cleaned the wounds (and actually rolled up my leggings) that i realized how big the wounds were. went to work normally, or as normal as one could be, in all the glory of pain and shock. i only had one thing in my mind: HOLIDAY IS COMING! i wasn’t going to let anything take my happiness away from me .
to make sure my happiness stayed with me, right after my working hours stopped, i went back to the fabric store… as a customer this time! bought lots of fabrics, and after i was done there, i even went to get new nail polish, just to feel good about myself. i’d be spending some time tending my ugly wounds, so a brightly coloured nail polish was needed to make myself feel (a bit) pretty.
if you think i’d then be traumatized with the accident, then i’d have to disappoint you. because i wasn’t . the very next day, after changing the band aids, we went biking all the way to Helsinki this time, to visit the Indonesian Bazaar at the embassy. i was scared, of course, i still want to live. but i love biking. and i didn’t want that kind of fall put an end to what i like doing, so i kept on going even when i sometimes fell again (or almost fell again).
it’s been a week now after the fall, and i’m still biking . my husband said that when he got me the bike, he thought that around this time, i would just be learning how to balance on the bike. look at what i’ve achieved so far. we’ve went to Helsinki, Tapiola, and everywhere else, all in 3 weeks. if that isn’t a great gift from God, i don’t know what is.
speaking of gifts, i got another one for my birthday from my mom-in-law.
it was one of those items i actually put on my wishlist entry. so what do we learn, boys and girls? wishes do come true. sometimes, at least .
i wore it on the day of my birthday to go to the city, even though i had 2 big patches of band aids on both knees, and even though it was raining the whole day, again. (i swear, i’ve had enough of the rain for now. yes, i know my internet nickname is Silverain, but please, God? a sunny summer would be very much appreciated.)
we ate these yummies:
the other half of the maki had slices of jalapenos, and the other half had fish roes, all of them had some sort of cream cheese (other than the obvious salmon slices, of course)…. oh, they’re just delicious. it was a great birthday, and a great way to officially start my holiday .
right now, there’s still 2 weeks of holiday ahead of me, and i can’t wait for my knees to get better so i can finally crouch & bend my legs to copy some patterns for my sewing projects! (that’s the low side of this whole wound-on-the-knees thing. i have dozens of new fabrics, and i can’t sew any of them into clothes yet.) so i’ve been sewing other things, things for home, mostly. we’ve also been visiting Ikea (= many times!) to jazz up the house a little. it was five years ago when we last did that. and of course, we’ve been riding our bikes here and there.
in fact, i feel like biking again now, just to release this itch on my knees . no rain this time, i hope!
PS. happy Ramadhan for all of you celebrating it! happy fasting, may God give you the patience & strength all the way to Eid al-Fitr!
update: our Stockholm pics can now be viewed here.