Monday, August 4, 2014

Long Time No See!

Two years and two months. That's how long it's been since my last post and to be honest, until recently, I didn't even remember I had this blog. Someone, a friend, reminded me of it and I suddenly found myself missing it. I don't even know who I'm writing all this for but hey, maybe I'm writing it for myself. Maybe it's for my grandkids to read one day if blogs like this still exists in the future. Maybe it's for when I'm super old (like a hundred) and senile and can't remember what my life was like when I was young. Not that I'm that young anymore. Hah. The crazy thing is, very little has changed since my last post. I'll tell you what's changed: we moved into the new house just before Christmas in 2012 and had a lot of problems adjusting to being on our own. For one, we didn't have dependable Tarmi to cook up great food for us every night. Plus, we never had to deal with garbage, security fees, neighborhood watch (siskamling we call it here), and gas/pipe/water/leak problems. But I think we've adjusted well so far, thank God. What has also changed is that I don't have any kids in Kindergarten anymore. Princess K started 1st grade a few week ago so we're officially a preschool-free household. Is this a "yay" or an "ouch" - I can't quite decide yet. Oh, and another thing that has changed is that my brother Lance and his wife had a baby last year so I have a cute, cuddly, chubby little baby nephew named Mika Oliver. I tease my brother all the time that he is such a big fan of my daughter Mikaela, that he just cut her name short and made it for a boy. He insists this isn't the case; he's a big fan of F1 racing driver Mika Hakkinnen. Well, he can believe what he wants - I'll believe what I want. What hasn't changed: (1) My traveling - I am so blessed that my work includes traveling all the time. Over the past 2 years, aside from the obvious and usual Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and New York, I've had the opportunity to visit London as well which I loved - though my love for New York will never be replaced by any other city in the world. (2) My obsession with TV series - I'm still a huge fan of White Collar (though my heart shattered into a million pieces when I learned that it'll end after season six - boohoo!), Hart of Dixie, Pretty Little Liars, Suits, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, Hot in Cleveland, HIMYM (the ending was not good at all. I can't believe that's how they ended it), and a bunch of others that I religiously watch - and now I've added these American series with Kdrama. Don't wince - they're good when you find the right ones! They are sometimes so good and addictive because as it's Asian and sometimes they hit a little closer to home. Ones I've loved so far are I Hear Your Voice (just finished it at 3 in the morning - sleep be damned!), You're All Surrounded, Dream High and My Love from the Star. Emotional roller coasters - each and every one of them. I cried, laughed, panicked and swooned with the characters; (3) My writing - Book no. 2 still has not been published; what's changed is that I am not sad about it anymore. Sometimes, you just have to realize that maybe somethings are not meant to be. Maybe one day I'll just do a blog of short stories and see where that goes. Being a writer doesn't always mean the end-game is to be published. That's not the route for every writer on the planet, and I'm OK with that. I really am. I'm still so super into writing that I find myself replying to office emails with twists and hyperbolic statements. Case in point: an email I wrote to a colleague earlier today, "Dear so and so, I'm have a memory capacity issues these days - what's not recent gets put into a hard drive in my brain and locked into storage my brain's attic. I need hints and clues to extract them as the storage boxes are pretty dusty with spider webs all over them." - I don't know if she found this hilarious or borderline insane, but whatever. I need an outlet for these thoughts somehow, and I guess my friends just need to be able to deal with it. (4) My kids - They're still as amazing as ever. They change everyday of course, learning new things, growing up, finding new ways to amuse me and Mike. But they are still the same cheeky, happy little kids who warm up my heart with every smile. Matt is obsessed with Godzilla at the moment and made a home movie called Mattzilla where he's the Godzilla, stomping all over Jakarta - haha. K is so girlie these days that she sits in front of the mirror and does make-up tutorials, although she forbids me to post anything on YouTube. I wouldn't want to, but I just like to tease her and say I will. So - that's about it folks. I've missed out on writing this blog for more than 2 years, but now you're all caught up! xx

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birthday Blues

In the weeks leading to my miracle boy's 8th birthday, I am feeling more and more like a terrible mother. Not only am I so insanely busy with work this month, but I'm also going to be traveling to another one of my Paris trips. And this time, I'll be traveling ON his birthday. The guilt is eating me alive, yet with the building of our house and everything, putting my foot down and telling the boss I can't travel is not exactly an option either. There is just no way I'd be able to skip this trip. I'm already skipping a June trip because it clashes with Michael's travel schedule; I can't even imagine telling my boss I have to pass on this one too. Matthew, bless his heart, was very understanding when I broke the news to him. He simply said that he still wanted to bring a cake to school, and made me promise that he and his friends could still play laser tag when I'm back to celebrate his birthday. He was so sweet about it, I couldn't help but bawl my eyes out. How did I get this lucky? Still, no matter how understanding he was (is) about this whole trip, I can't shake that rotten feeling of guilt and shame that he'll be celebrating the day of his miraculous birth with me being on the other end side of the world. I just hope he doesn't hate me when he's older and realize I suck at doing the mom thing.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leap of Faith

When I was about fifteen years old, I had my entire life figured out. Like (almost) every other 15 year-old girl on the planet, I wrote in my diary, listing the things that would happen to me: I would get married at 25 - my diary entry said I'd marry Joey McIntyre but whatever - I would have five kids (3 boys and 2 girls; I obviously had no clue what pregnancy and childbirth was be like!), I would be a successful entertainment magazine editor, I'd have a few New York Times best selling novels and thus I'd be rich. I also specified that I'd have a big house, a humungous walk-in closet and I'd have a kitchen that was made for royalty. Bold, right?

Fast forward about ten years later (plus a few more... then add a few more to that...), with a few items crossed out on that list. I did get married at precisely 25 years old, even though I didn't remember anything about my list at the time. It just happened that way, and obviously I had completely outgrown Joey McIntyre by then (my husband doesn't believe me though). I have two kids and not five, and I am completely fine with it. I'm not a New York Times best-selling novelist just yet, but I still hope I have a chance someday, and as for entertainment magazines, well, I'm not an editor, but I do manage a 2-page article about celebrities and the watches they wear. Good enough for me.

I had minimal bitterness about not fulfilling everything on my list. I mean, come on, I was 15 anyway. I realized even then, as I was writing the list, that some of the things I wanted were things I might not be able to accomplish. How much did I really know about life back then? I was just listing things I thought were cool from things that I had read and things I saw on television. But, out of everything I listed (about 25 things), I did have one dream I still wanted. My own house.

When my husband and I got married, we thought we'd be living with his parents temporarily. We gave ourselves two years max to save up enough and go buy our own house. Seven and a half years and two kids later, we still lived with my in-laws and space was running out. Blame it on the economy, blame it on my shopping habits - whatever. We didn't manage to save up what we were supposed to, and we were still living in their house.

When we came into the eighth year of marriage (this year), we finally made the decision to just risk it all and go for it. Sure, we kept worrying about not having enough to pay for everything: the down payment for the contractors, monthly loan installments, the new furniture, while still having to pay for school, art classes, computer classes and ballet lessons for the kids. But a wise person once told us, things only happen when we take that leap of faith. I guess it's like when baby birds are pushed off trees so they force themselves to flap their wings and fly. If their parents never pushed them over the edge, they'd never know they could fly.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, 2 weeks ago, the contractors started building our house. We're ecstatic! We have managed 2 out of the 5 payments to the contractor so far, and afterwards will still have a hefty loan to pay, but things look good. We even have some supporters (who shall remain nameless) who have been so extremely generous to us, so we won't have to worry about a few expenses. We're looking at a completion date of April 2012, which means next year's Christmas dinner can be at my house! Woo-hoo!

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, if you believe it, you'll see it. Take that leap of faith. If you've worked hard and prayed for it, you'll see it happen.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Worry-wart 2.0

It's been ages since I've updated this blog! I can't believe it's been that long! No, wait. Let me rephrase that. I can't believe it's APRIL already! Where did all the time go? How do we just continue to pass through the days just like that.

Since it's April now, I've passed one birthday party already for my daughter - she turned three in February. I feel like I slept through the last year, all of a sudden, boom, she's THREE. She acts and speaks like she's thirteen instead of three though to be honest. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. And even though April has just started, May is just around the corner, lurking around.

May 26th will mark my son Matthew's seventh birthday. He is so sure that we'll through him this huge birthday party at McDonald's now that daddy dearest works there. He thinks that birthdays are the only time we all celebrate him (well, aside from when we celebrate him winning art competitions and stuff) but here's what he doesn't realize: we celebrate every single day of his life.

I'm not going to go into the details of how he was born and stuff because I've written about that a million times already. I don't need to repeat his birthweight and scares and stuff. What I do need to say here is that every single day, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have him, and how worrying really gets me nowhere.

The other day I shared this with my friends: all I have ever wanted (and still want) for Matthew is for him to be normal. NORMAL - in every sense of the word. His birth, his premature condition, his hearing, none of this was or is normal, and I pray everyday that he gets a normal life like every kid in he world. And you know what? He actually is leading a normal life - I've just been to wrapped up in my worries to actually realize it!

A few weeks ago, his teacher sent me a text message, informing me that he had thrown away one of his friends' glasses. At first, I was horrified. My son, the lovable and sweet Matthew, threw someone's glasses away on purpose? He made the kid cry? But then, it hit me. My son was acting NORMAL - he was just following what the other kids were doing. They were all teasing this kid with glasses (poor kid!) and he was just being a part of his group of friends and took part in it too. This sounds TERRIBLE, I know this, but for me, the bigger picture was that he was acting like a normal kid under peer pressure!

If by rejoicing to this fact it makes me a bad parent, well, whatever. What can I say? Call it whatever you want but when you're constantly worried that your kid doesn't turn out normal and he actually goes out and acts normal, how could you not be ecstatic??

For the record, I did apologize to the kid's mother and Matthew did get into trouble for his behavior. He apologized to the kid too, and promised never to do it again. He's back to being that sweet kid again, and I've reduced my level of worry these days. I think.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Up in the Air

A long time ago, when I was a lot younger (and single!) I dreamt that my job would take me traveling around the world. I wanted to be a journalist because (a) I love to write and (b) I wanted to travel the world without actually having to cough up my own money to do it. Well, fast forward so many years later (I'm not going to say how many), my job has taken me to most of the countries I've wanted to visit at least once in my life, and I consider myself pretty darn lucky.

Scratch that -- I consider myself at this point quite confused.

One the one hand, yes, absolutely, with my love of traveling, getting on and off airplanes should be a joy and a lot of people would actually kill for my job. For crying out loud, Paris 6 times a year! But on the other hand, with my schedule for the next few months, the thought of that smell you smell once you board a plane really makes me kinda sick these days. Add to that the fact that I feel so insanely guilty for leaving the kids all the time - yeah, I totally forget sometimes how "lucky" I am.

I shouldn't be complaining, really. I've gotten so many Facebook comments every time I post that I am traveling about how envious people are at me (or my job, not me per se). And hey, with the amount of packing I do, I can now qualify to be a professional packer or something. Heck, I can probably pack with blindfolds on these days! And it doesn't hurt that I'm getting a pretty decent amount of frequent flyer points these days. On top of that, I also have friends who better replicate George Clooney in his Up in the Air character - they literally barely see land these days and are always flying to and from somewhere. Their best meals have consisted of airport lounge food! I am definitely not jealous of them!

But... on the occasional off day (like today), when I'm packing in the middle of the night have the rare opportunity to watch my children fall asleep in my arms, I tell myself I should try and travel less (though it's not entirely within my control). And, to watch the nanny roll her eyes when I tell her I'm going again is not really that pleasant to see. Or, listening to my husband tell me I'm going to miss another school meeting.

Turns out, it's all for the best that my husband decided to quit his job and do his own thing this year because he now has time to do all these parent-teacher school meetings! Who would have thought?

Just to fill you in on my travel schedule over the next few months: Singapore, Surabaya, Singapore, Paris, Geneva, Paris and Paris again... All between now and February 2011. Yikes, just reading all those destinations gave me shivers.

So is the glass half full or half empty? Am I lucky or am I unfortunate? Shall this just be left undecided and be considered just another typical dramatic rant of mine?

Yeah - the last one, probably.

But, I'll say this: when New Year's comes around and it's time for another round of resolutions, I think one of mine will be to ask my boss if I could tone down the traveling a bit. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Confessions of a Worry-wart (a.k.a. a Mom)

I woke up panting in bed this morning, having just had a bad dream. I dreamt that my son Matthew was running around screaming and in panic because he couldn't find me, while I was screaming behind him trying to catch up and calling his name, but he just couldn't hear me. When I finally caught up to him, we were both out of breath and both crying our eyes out, frustrated and frightened at the same time.

Why did I have this dream, you ask?
I'm not a dream expert, so you may not want to come to me when you want your dreams interpreted, but I know exactly why I had this particular dream.

See, we found out that my son has moderate hearing loss and needs hearing aids just before he started his first year of primary school. We went through a number of doctors and a gazillion tests, and at the end of the day, he still needed hearing aids so we got them for him. I was unfortunately in Paris the day we actually had to come and pick them up, so I didn't see him wear them the first time around. But the minute I saw the picture that my husband sent to me on my BlackBerry, I'll be honest with you, I burst into tears.

I have been having so many mixed feelings about this whole situation. On one hand, yes, I want him to be able to hear and speak like any other kid his age. I want him to be able to understand when we talk to him without me having to speak loudly and slowly to his face. I want to be able to hug him from behind and whisper "I love you" in his hear without him having to turn around and look at me like I was just trying to tickle his ear - so if hearing aids are the answer to all that, then yeah, I figured, let's do it. But on the other hand, I just don't want him to be different either. I don't want these things attached to his ears be something that kids can tease him about.

About a week ago, when I shared this with a trusted friend - who I admire and look up to - she told me, "What's the difference with kids who have to wear glasses? It's the same, it's just that hearing aids are less common than glasses," which I thought was profound. It made me feel a heck of a lot better at the time, but now I wish more people thought that way. When I shared Matthew's situation with some other friends, they looked at me with pity and said, "We hope he'll be OK with wearing that ugly thing." (Note to self: this very much proves the theory that what kinds of friends you hang out with truly does matter. You hang with the negative, you think negatively. You hang with the positive, and your whole outlook on life is entirely different).

I'm not going to lie, I worry for my son.

He's a cheerful boy, always happy and smiley, and is always positive about everything. He has no reservations about going up to other kids and asking them to play, and he has gotten along wonderfully with his new classmates at school. He is very confident and I never want this to change so I certainly don't want the hearing aids to change him into the opposite of all those things. But I guess everything that comes after this is beyond what I can control. For now, what I can do is encourage him to keep being the way he is, tell him that it's alright to be different and that everyone is different one way or another, and tell him how much we love him and how great we think he is. And of course, I can pray for him, the way I pray for him every day. The rest, I guess, is up to society. I really hope kids these days are better equipped with dealing with differences, not like how they used to be when I was growing up. I hope to God that kids these days are considerate, respectful and kindhearted. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It's funny how things work out sometimes. My friends and I are sometimes so busy, so wrapped up in our everyday lives that we miss out on bonding time and catching up time. Time passes by, and all of a sudden you realize months have passed and you haven't seen your friends in ages.

A couple that my husband and I are good friends with - who are amazing photographers & creative artists by the way - have been traveling throughout the year and we have hardly seen them. I, being the busy body I am, have also been traveling quite a fair bit, so I've missed a few get togther sessions myself. But this month - yesterday to be exact - I had the rare opportunity of hanging out with them and having some wine and a decent conversation... in Paris! We're all from Jakarta, and yet we actually get to hang out in Paris.

They were traveling through Europe, and I was again on one of my many Paris business trips, and at the spur of the moment decided to meet each other for drinks after work. I can't tell you how excited I was! To actually be able to enjoy a decent amount of time talking to people outside the work circle and outside my family just seemed so precious and rare that I am actually writing a whole darn blog page about it!

It got me thinking: no matter how busy we are, we need to make time to spend quality time with our friends. Family is important - the most important in fact - and work is nearly just as important. But to me, friends are the people who keep you sane and on your feet. Friends (real friends, I mean) are those who take your mind off all your problems or who let you unload your problems onto them. When you fight with your in-laws or your parents drive you up the wall, you turn to friends and they'll crack up a joke that calms your nerves. Well, at least mine do, and I love them to bits for it.

This isn't really a profound or earth-shattering blog post, but I just really wanted to express how much I value my friends. I'd be nothing without them. I'm holding a glass of wine right, and I'm toasting to friendship. I hope you are too.