this week started with some disappointment for me. no, nothing happened to me or anyone near or close to me, but 2 things happened almost at the same time in 2 different parts of the world that broke my heart.

the first one i heard was about this woman at a hospital, waiting for her child who had typhus, dengue fever, and measles all at once. the child was only 1,5 years old. before admitting her child to this hospital, she had tried 3 other hospitals, all of which asked for a payment upfront (common for hospitals in the country where this happened). she’s a worker at a factory, so she doesn’t make that much money, which made it impossible for her to pay for those other 3 hospitals upfront upon admitting her child in. she was under a lot of stress since her child was very ill, and she did not know how in the world she could pay for all those hospital bills later, and since she had been waiting on her child at the hospital, she had missed work for days and was afraid that her boss was going to fire her. after a few days, the woman’s misery ended tragically. her child passed away.

the second one i heard was about another woman, with 3 children of her own, aged 1 – 6, who were all killed in an accident. that alone was sad enough, except that after further investigation, it was found out that she did it purposely. first she drove her car, with her 3 kids, to chase a bus where her lover (also the father of 2 of her children) was traveling in. she eventually managed to stop the bus, got in, and had a heated argument with her lover in the bus until the driver of the bus asked her to leave. she then drove her car past the bus, and somewhere after that she turned her car around, and sped up towards the bus to end her & her children’s life. the argument that the couple had was mainly about childcare.

where these things actually happened does not matter. those are true stories, that’s all there is to know.

i know that there are even worse news all around the world everyday, and i don’t usually even want to talk about it in my blog. this is supposed to be a ‘see the silver-lining’ kind of blog, after all. yet, i feel like i need to write these two down. maybe it’s because they happen so closely to each other, and in both stories, the victims are similar: little children. none of them happened in a country at war, and in both situations their lives were somewhat cut short consciously by adults. i don’t know. and i really don’t want to judge these stories, or the people in them.

i’m just brokenhearted. the truth is, this happens everywhere in the world, daily. it’s not that i just suddenly realized that fact, but i guess i just realized more and more how inhuman we humans have become. and at the same time, a human’s life become less and less appreciated. some are consumed by money, some are consumed by their own ego. it’s sad, seeing where we human beings are going to.

i guess i wanted to write this to remind myself, and anyone else who cares to read, that there is more to life than money and ego. i’m hoping that we humans are still capable of loving even without those 2 things. and lastly, on this All Hallows’ Eve i am praying for all those departed souls to rest in peace.

PS. i’m aware of different situations that people might have, mental illnesses, or physical, terminal illnesses. please know that those are not what i meant here, i apologize beforehand if my post offends anyone.

about Oma

Oma is a name i call my grandmum with.

Oma lived in Bandung, and that had always been our holiday destination from as long as i can remember, whether it be the school holidays (June-July) or the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. she lived alone, since my granddad had long gone, when my mum was still in her twenties. but she didn’t really live alone, because she actually leased some rooms in her house to college girls. i guess i meant that none of our other family members live in Bandung, so she was practically alone.

Oma was a great cook. her specialty was egg salad, but i also loved her pastel tutup (kind of like a pie), hutspot (hotchpot), and pea soup (much better than the canned pea soup, for sure!).

Oma loved monkeys (at least i believe so!). i remember when we were kids, as my sister & i, along with our 2 cousins, arrived at her house for the holidays, my grandmum happily greeted us and exclaimed, “i thought i saw 2 monkeys, but it turned out there’s 4 arriving at the same time!” later on, when she went to the states to go to one of our cousins’ wedding, she came home with a monkey stuffed toy for herself, the kind with a spot on its tummy that you can push, and you can hear the monkey sound. she loved this particular stuffed toy so much, and whenever we went there to her house, she would ask one of us to take it out from her glass shelf and push the tummy. together we would enjoy the monkey sound & laugh.

Oma loved making handcrafts. she started making all sorts of knitted animals (bears, mostly) when i was around 12 or 13. she would make these knitted animals as house or car decorations, and she would also make things like toilet paper holders and attach the knitted bear heads (or whatever else) on them. she sold these things in her own house, to people from her church, friends of the girls who rented her extra rooms, and even family members (like me). 😀

Oma loved Coca Cola so much, the doctor had to tell her to stop drinking it, otherwise her spine would get too weak from her osteoporosis. she became addicted to teh kotak ever since (a cold tea drink with jasmine flavour). she was also addicted to Pizza Hut, McD’s spaghetti, and all kinds of chocolate. i guess that was her secret recipe for her long life.

as she grew older, it was plain to see that she couldn’t live alone anymore. so we moved her to Jakarta, where she would live with my mum’s sister & her husband. gradually it became harder for her to walk, and her hearing also weakened.

but she still loved sewing. she would make dozens of fabric bags, that she would then sell to people at the hairdresser she always went to, friends and relatives of my mum’s sister. she said she couldn’t stand not doing anything, and sewing was the only thing she could still do & enjoyed doing, too.

Oma inspired most of my works. i was the number one fan of her handmade bags, i kept buying her latest “bag collection” that in the end she would give me the bags for free. 😀 when i started my own business, Ame No Machi boutique, she supported it by ordering some clothes from us. she gave me her old sewing magazines, the ones she managed to save from her old house in Bandung, even though i couldn’t sew yet that time. when i moved here, and finally learned to sew, she gave me her old sewing machine.

it’s not only my sewing works that she inspired me with. for some reason, whenever i write a story (the longer ones that i hope to one day be published), i would always have a “grandmum” character to accompany the main female character.

Oma had lived a long life of 98 years. this April she was supposed to turn 99. but for the past few months her health dropped down. she no longer sew bags, and earlier this week she was admitted to the hospital. last night she slipped into unconsciousness, but still i called my mum and asked her to put the mobile phone to Oma’s ear, so i could still tell her how much i love her.

today she was finally lost to us. i’d like to think that she lived a happy life, full of contentment & joy. i’d like to think she’s in a much better place now, together again with her beloved husband, my granddad whom i never met.


this picture is special to me, since it was taken by my sister’s late husband, Victor, in 2010. i hadn’t met Oma (or my other relatives, for that matter) for 3,5 years at that time, and this occasion where the picture was taken was the first time i met her again. she was wearing the blouse she ordered from my boutique, and i had chosen that fabric for her myself.

now i’d also like to think that Oma is together with Victor, too.

yes, i can see them all now in my head. maybe even together with Romppu. 🙂 may you rest in peace, Oma. thank you for all the beautiful memories, the laughter that we’ve shared, and for inspiring me. we will meet again one day.

letting go

once upon a time, there’s a very sweet dog named Romppu.

he’s my husband’s uncle’s dog, but he sometimes came over to our place and let us take care of him for a while when his owners were going out of town.

his favourite past times were sleeping, smacking his tongue quietly (so that he wouldn’t disturb others nor drool to the floor), and looking out the window to see the sceneries.

he was a quiet dog, and he’s always excited whenever we came back from going somewhere outside the house. he even got so excited to see me coming back from doing our laundry downstairs.

he was never interested in any other dog. whenever we went to take him out, if we met some other dog, he was more interested in the owner (especially little kids) than the dog.

he was always hopeful to get a few extra bites. whenever someone opened the fridge door, no matter how deep his sleep was, he would get up and start walking towards the fridge.

he was old.

and as years went by, he became more and more ill, the kind of illness that came with getting old. he became slower, a bit blind, and could no longer do much of anything else but sleep.

three weeks ago, we were told to be prepared to lose him. he had quite a painful tooth infection that needed to be operated, and yet because of his heart problem and old factor, it’s almost sure that when he’s put to sleep for the operation, he wouldn’t be able to wake up anymore. so the option was between the operation or putting him to sleep for good.

that night, as i was lying in my bed, my husband sleeping beside me, i suddenly heard the familiar dog-nails-on-the-floor sound from our kitchen, tip-tip-tip-tip, coming closer to our bedroom. i was surprised to hear it, i didn’t remember having Romppu at our house. my husband also woke up and heard his footsteps. and then Romppu appeared in our bedroom, excitedly running to my side of the bed, and i happily brushed his head and said “moi moi, Romppu!” (which could mean “hello” or “goodbye” in Finnish).

and then he ran again to the other side of the bed, where my husband was, and my husband petted his head as he also said “no moi, Romppu!”.

and then i got up from the bed, and felt like i knew what to do next. i went through the bathroom that connected our bedroom to the area of our apartment’s entrance door, knowing that Romppu would follow me. as i reached our apartment’s entrance door, i opened the door and said to Romppu, “you’re free to go now, Romppu. i’ll miss you, but just go now.”

he looked at me and then at the open door, and ran out a few meters… but then he turned around and looked back at me again. i kept saying, “bye bye, Romppu,” but he started running back towards me.

finally i knelt down and hugged him, and told him, “i love you, Romppu.” i stood up afterwards, and again said goodbye to him.

this time, he walked away and didn’t come back.

it was just a dream, but a very realistic one, that when i woke up, i knew it was my heart saying goodbye to him, and who knows… maybe it was also Romppu saying goodbye to both of us.

Romppu passed away last Thursday.

goodbye, Romppu. i hope you are at peace now, with no more pain.

i miss you already.


there are some days you want to remember for the rest of your life.

there are some days that you don’t want to remember at all.
there are some days that will just stay in your head no matter how much you want to forget it.
May 17, 2011 is the third kind for me. it’s the day when my sister’s husband passed away.
i’m not my sister, and i now live miles away from them, but the impact is just the same.
i want to forget this ever happened.
at the same time, i want to remember it. remember it well.
i want to wake myself up and tell myself it’s just a horrible nightmare.
at the same time, i want to sleep through all this and not having to face the world that will never be the same anymore.
i want to fast forward the time to the far future, when all this healing process is done.
at the same time, i want to rewind the time back to when everything was okay.
but i can’t do all those things. all i can do is go through it, step by step, just like everyone else in this life. we can’t cheat life, there’s no walkthrough nor cheat codes.
for 2 days i feel like i’ve been riding the biggest rollercoaster in life. i’ve cried, shouted in anger (to no one in particular), felt numb and out of tune with the rest of the world, and back to crying again. i’ve tried talking with my loved ones, and just being quiet with my loved ones.
now i’ll try to write it down. again, i have to say that i’m not my sister, who probably got the greatest impact of this all, and if you’re reading this & actually feel sad/the need to give your moral support, please, give them to her instead. she needs it more than i do.
the first time i met Victor, i thought he looked like a quiet penguin: white, with his beige ‘kupluk’ cap on all the time. one time (afterwards) when i & my sister went to some mall, we accidentally found a penguin toy with a yellow ‘kupluk’ cap, and it looked just like him!
as i got to know him, he wasn’t that quiet afterall. and when he did speak, he would let out the most meaningless jokes, that actually DID make me laugh.
…and how i remember his look to my sister on the day they got married. it must’ve taken a lot of love for a rocker guy to say “cheesy” vows to a woman in front of the whole church. but he did it. and even sang for her on the dinner reception too, even though (according to himself) he couldn’t sing.
when i just broke up with my last ex, i felt the need of a change of scenery. a place that i didn’t share with him. so my sister offered me to stay over at her place. her husband looked a bit surprised when he came home to their house and found me, but didn’t even ask questions, and i really appreciated that.
one time, one night, we got news from my sister that he had a motorbike accident. he was conscious almost the whole time, and i remember when they stitched his eyebrow, i took a picture of it, thinking that i would show it to him when it was all over since i knew he’d like that. i also still laugh sometimes when i remember that night when they were cleaning his wounds and he was in such pain, but instead of screaming & swearing he just made drumming sounds like “dududududuk tak dududuk tak!”. to this date, he’s the only person i know that can make a scary & sad moment like that so funny instead.
one day, when they were already living with my parents and me, he came home bringing some foods from his grandmum’s restaurant (i think). one of them was the infamous paniki. yes, bats. i was one of the few in our house who dared to try it (the other one was my dad. other than my sister’s husband himself of course). let me tell you, it’s one of the most delicious foods i’ve ever tasted in my whole life!
one of the last memories i have of him was when my sister was giving birth to Freya. my sister already broke her water early in the morning, but Freya wasn’t ready to come out yet. so they still had to wait for around 14 hours or so till the labouring process began. during that time, my sister was shouting out loud in pain, and once, i saw outside of the room that her husband hit the wall in anger, because there’s no one that could take the pain away from her beloved wife. i had no doubt in my mind that if he could, he would’ve gone through the labouring process himself instead of watching his wife being in pain like that. i don’t think i ever told this to my sister. well, sis, now you know.
after moving out from my parents’ place, miles away to the other side of the world, i only heard stories of him and them. sometimes i saw him through Skype when i talked to my mum and sister, and of course i met him too when i went to Indonesia last year.
i saw his works from the internet, photographs taken by him, and most of the time they touched me so that i started crying. pictures of kids living on the street, pictures of old men & women selling radios, chickens, sandals, everything, anything, to make a living. not many people take pictures of those kinds of things. simple, sad, but true things that are more often “meaningless” to people with cameras. he saw beauty in those things. and thanks to him, we saw beauty in those things too, through his pictures.
if i could defy the Almighty, i would say that he still has so much to give to us. to the whole world. he still has lots of things to show us, great things that he can do.
but none of us can defy Him. none of us know better than Him.
so with this writing, i will try to let him go.
on May 18, 2011, with the kind understanding of our apartment building’s master, a Finnish flag was raised half staff in front of our apartment. it is equivalent to the yellow flag in Indonesia.

when the flag was raised, first to the full height and then dropped to the middle part of the staff, the wind blew so that the flag waved beautifully. the sun shone from behind the grey clouds. my husband walked out to take pictures of the flag, because that’s what my sister’s husband would’ve done too: take pictures.

at the same time when the funeral began in Jakarta, we bid our goodbyes and prayed at the local church. the sun shone again from behind the windows of the church, and the candles were still & upright as if to lift his soul to the heavens.

i don’t know how long it will take for us to truly accept & believe the fact that he’s gone. i don’t know how to.

but i believe he is peaceful now up there.

we miss you already, Victor. really really miss you, and always will. till we meet again, keep making those meaningless jokes, eating those panikis, singing out of tune, taking pictures of simple things for the whole crowd of heaven.

saying goodbye.

i first heard the news on Sunday, and somehow i still believed that it was a lie or misunderstanding.
but when i heard the confirmation on Sunday night, i had to believe that it’s true.
you‘ve really left us and gone to the afterlife world.

3 days went for my brain to comprehend the news.
reading the story of your last few days here on earth didn’t help.
seeing other people’s comments and last messages to you also didn’t help.

i tried to remember all the conversations we had. it’s not much, and mostly only by Facebook messages, but you were there.
now, the messages are still there in my inbox. but you’re not here anymore.

i flew your VF account on Saturday night. the time when, in real life, you struggled with your life.
i didn’t even know what you were going through.
and hours after that, i got the news that you’re gone.

Avi, it didn’t seem right for me to write my goodbye to you through a thread on my Facebook inbox.
it also didn’t seem right for me to write it on the wall of your Facebook.
so i decided to write it here instead.

though we’re never physically met in real life, i do feel like i know you physically. how can i not? sometimes we are one in Virtual Flights world. you taught me almost everything i know in that game.

and through the Facebook notes (in which you’d usually tag me to also fill in), i’ve come to know more about you & your life.

from now on, whenever i fly in VF, i always feel like there’s an empty seat there next to me. a silent you, there, flying with us around the world.

because you are still silently there, in all of us.

rest in peace, Avi. have fun flying with your baby up there.
i will miss you a lot.

time to say goodbye?

i, my family, my friends, have had to say lots of goodbyes this year to those who are dear to us.

mulai dari ibunya anu, bapaknya ini, adiknya itu, kakaknya dia, oom ini, tante’s almost as if Death mercilessly just takes anyone & everyone away.

or then God loves those people so much that He (or She) decides to take them back to where they belong (= His/Her side).

i guess we’ll never know.

anehnya, gue seakan2 udh dapet premonisi ttg ini, walopun saat itu gue sndiri ga tau apa yg bakal terjadi.

taken from my January 15th 2008 blog:
“ga tau knapa, blakangan ini seiring dgn nyari kerjaan dan tes2 di skolah, tau2 jadi depresi sndiri (iyalah, masa’ depresi ngajak2 sekampung??).

aneh, padahal ga ada apa2, cuma emg waktu minggu lalu lagi PMS (dan skarang udh dapet…penting ya??).

lagi nonton film, tau2 pengen nangis. lagi mikir mo pake baju apa, tau2 sedih (ga ada hubungannya kan???). hmm..pokonya jadi nyaris gila sndiri deh (kyak sbelomnya belom cukup gila aja…)

tnyata kyaknya sluruh dunia (or org2 yg gue kenal, at least) lagi dirundung duka .
one of my ex-co-workers’ mother passed away, bbrp ortu kenalan2 gue juga tau2 pada berjatuhan sakit (ato berjatuh sakitan?? mboh lah), trus ada juga si Dince yg kena series of unfortunate events, temen2 sekelas gue juga pada sakit (ato anak2nya yg sakit).

yah, gue cuma bisa mendoakan supaya segala kemalangan itu segera berlalu dan mereka semua mendapat apa yg terbaik buat diri mereka masing2.”

well, i also don’t know why i have that feeling, but i suppose it prepares me in a way to face all those goodbyes.

for those who’d have left us just this year..i pray for you all.
istirahat yg tenang ya..we’ll meet again soon, i’m sure .