Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 7: My Ex

In order to avoid sounding bitter, I will make it brief.

My ex is an ex for a reason. For many reasons, actually.  

Suffice to say that with him in my life, I'd never be a published writer. He did not believe in my writing, and that made me lose my faith (thankfully, not entirely).

Oh my, I still sound bitter. ^_^

Day 6: A Stranger

Let me tell you a story about a stranger I met in Singapore, many, many years ago. About 20 years ago, I think, my family and I visited Singapore. As always, we went to our separate ways. My Papa would want to see electronics and gadgets. My Mama would prefer to go to the supermarkets or food courts. My younger brother would follow Papa or Mama, or he would see some toys. My youngest bro would either follow Papa or Mama, or browse the collection of musical instruments and games. And I, of course, as always was drawn to books and stationery.

We went to our separate ways and chose to meet near a food court. I went to the assigned place on the dot, but nobody was there yet. I bought some roasted chestnuts and sat on a bench, waiting.

Soon, a lady approached me and sat next to me. Maybe she was sixty or seventy, a teenager that I was thought everybody over 30 as ancient (oh, the shallowness of youth!). Maybe she was a worker there, I noticed her sweeping the floor or something. She was probably on her lunch break. She pointed at the roasted chestnuts I was holding, grinning then nodding. I nodded and smiled back. She asked me a question in Chinese, probably Hokkien dialect, I am not sure. I answered back in Mandarin, the standard sentence of "I am sorry, I do not speak Mandarin/Hokkien." She said, "Ah," as if meaning to say, "Too bad", but she just shrugged and smiled. 

She then began chatting in her own dialect. I answered in English. I don't think she really understood, but I kept talking in English. And she, in her dialect. I offered her some chestnuts, and she took one. She offered me something from her lunch box, and I ate some. We continued to converse in different languages. At that time, I thought we understood each other. Don't ask me why. It just happened.

When my family came, I told her I had to go, and waved. She waved back with a big, big smile, her wrinkles deepened, her eyes bright. I saw the light danced on her white hair, and I felt a pang of loss.

My parents asked me, "Who was she? What were you talking about? You seemed to have a lively chat with her."

I told the truth, and my parents just shook their heads in disbelief.

I never knew her name. But I learned something from her that day. I learned that a stranger could become a friend, even though only for a short time. I learned that no matter where you go, no matter what happens, you could always find a friendly face.

Day 5: My Dreams

One thing for sure, I have oh-so-many dreams.

Some will never, ever come true. As a fanciful person I have way too many impossible dreams. Some are downright silly, like dreaming one day I'd be able to fly without a gadget to help me. Or being able to teleport wherever I want. Or inventing some kind of device that would enable me to create dishes seemingly out of thin air. (I probably have watched too many Star Trek episodes.)

I have always dreamed of becoming a writer. It started with my love of reading. When I was a child, I read many books from Gramedia Pustaka Utama. "One day, I have to work here. Or publish my books here." Many years later, both wishes came true...

I have other dreams, but I am not too comfortable sharing all of them with the world. I believe that big dreams should be kept deep inside, and shared with selected few. If you blabber all of them to the world, it might seem as if you were bragging or exaggerating. The act would cheapen the dreams.

Sooo... I'll share only two of them here: one, to write and publish a book for children, and two, to write and publish a recipe book.

So mote it be, amen.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 4: My Youngest Brother

I have two younger brothers, but I've always been closer to my youngest. I get along fine with my younger brother, but he is the serious type. I am more laid back, I suppose.

My youngest brother and I are as thick as thieves, as you might say. Personality-wise we are more suited, and he and I share the same wicked sense of humor. You might not notice this when you meet him. He has this dead-pan face, and he rarely smiles. 

When we go out together, we'll notice something strange and then share a grin. We like to observe and we almost always notice some oddities at the same time. We also love our cats, sometimes too much.

Once, I let my cat gave birth to four healthy kittens in my closet... containing my precious underwear! (Darn that cat, she HAD to give birth among my most expensive bras and panties) I was too busy being a midwife (the firstborn was in breech position) to care. And once my brother let his cat gave birth in his bed. He had to sleep in another bad, a stiff one, but he didn't mind.  

I remember this one incident fondly. We were chatting---mind you, it was in the 90s, chatrooms were rare and we used an empty public chatroom---in Indonesian. We lived in different cities then, I moved to Java island for my studies, and my brother was still in Sumatra island. I couldn't really remember what we talked about. Just daily stuff, perhaps. Sharing about our lives and all. And then somebody joined the chat and exclaimed, "Hey, Klingons should be in Trekkie Chatroom!"

That person left before we could say... or to be exact, write anything.

Since then, whenever foreign people ask us what our nationalities are, our first answer would be, "We are Klingons."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Day 3: My Parents

I come from a pair of very musical parents. My parents met during a gig, my mom was playing the bass, my dad was playing violin (in another band). I consider my parents' love story inspiring enough to be written into a novel. This is the fictionalized story of their love: QueryPita. You can buy the book here. (Please, please, buy one or two? The royalties are for my parents, not for me!)

More or less, my parents helped me in shaping me into the woman I am now. Ever since I was a child, they have always listened to me. I grew up believing I could make a difference, my voice would be heard, thanks to them. I learned that changes come from within. And from them, I got this notion that you have to stand up for what you really believe in. 

My parents taught me that you and you alone are responsible for your own choices. So choose wisely. But when you make mistakes, do not linger in "what-ifs". We all make mistakes, and we can learn from them.

My mother passed away last year. Even now, thinking of her, makes my eyes watery. Sometimes when I am browsing the collection from a supermarket, or perusing the menu from a restaurant, I remember her. She had this fondness for food and recipes. I learned how to cook from her, the basics, I mean. But we are different. My mother really loved to cook, she loved spending hours in the kitchen to make fabulous meals. I, on the other hand, am not that diligent. I prefer to cook as practical and as fast as possible. 

I now realized my parents aren't conventional. And you know what they say, there's a possibility that you might mirror your parents, too, when teaching your kids.

And now my kids are beginning to think that their parents are different. They often see us staying up late (for deadlines, obviously), working, and sleeping till noon. They know how we like to play with words, especially the ones with double meaning. They see us as humans--with mistakes and quirks. And we always try to tell them the truth. No sugar-coating, if need be.

My daughter once told me this, "Your job involves reading books? Awesome!"

Yay for awesomeness!  
Match Up
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