Monday, 31 December 2007

Shocking NEWS!!!

Shocking enough for me, Josiah officially is able to walk!! He did his first step a day after Alice and Zonny bought him a wooden walker from ELC. (Praise the Lord, I had nearly buy one, but keep on delaying it, oh well... it's a blessing in disguise).

I wonder how many of us find this saying's is true.

Looking back on 2007

I've realise someone is putting on the link to this article on hardwarezone. Wondering why the link was saying something like "interesting blog about people who migrate from Singapore" as I am not mentioning about migrating at all at this entry. But you can certainly find a lot of traveling information, tax, and UK visa on my other blog entry. However I did pursue other interest like wedding photography, photoshop (a rather different style from XiaXue) art and design interior. Simply type,!

Finally, today is the last day of 2007. Before putting up this entry, I was thinking about how to summarise my year in 2007. It was an exciting year for both me and Yusdi as we had welcome ourselves on board as parents of little precious Josiah.
From two

To three!

Life would ever be the same when you have kids, as many sayings. And I reflect upon myself on how true it was. Suddenly everything that takes priority before may not mean anything now. I have to work around all of my schedule to fit his needs of love and attention. Me and Yusdi clearly recall all the night feeding, sleepless night when he refuses to sleep, all the distraction, all the financial headache. But needless to say that we praise God for giving us strength and wisdom to make it until the end of 2007! He had make all thing possible.

Not to mention that loads of things around us changed too. Some of my friend changing status from single to married, some had joined the parenthood club, those are a great happy memories of 2007. But 2007 does had it sad cloudy days. When I read my email and learned two (not one) of my friend had divorced. Another time is when I heard a friend, a faithful christian woman, decided to wed a non believers. And some other time is to see how God's people sometimes make a wrong decision and forsake a servant of God. But let's face it. Human do make mistake. But both me and Yusdi does learn a lot of lesson from all these mistakes. Thanks be to God to put trial and test along 2007 to teach us to TRUST him more.

We praise God who has lead us to meet such a great local, independent and fundamental church in Kettering. Pastor Roger Tooley and his family is such a dear friend to us now. It's been a great pleasure to know brother Rob and sister Jeweel, they are such an encouragement for us.

Yusdi's PhD has run smoothly as well, he had a great result by the end of this year, which is a pleasant surprise. Praise God for giving him such a helpful and understanding supervisor. We had a great time with many Christian brethren too this year. Agustina and Hendy were able to visit me while they are on business trip. Alice and Zonny arrived in UK 2 month ago, we had a great time of fellowship and chat all day about baby and breastfeeding.

And my quest on the net has been quite fruitful, I did found another "surviving" Christian like Ellena, and SingleMomForGod. Some people have labelled me of being fanatics towards my religion. But hey, you can't make Jesus who gave His life for us, just a side track whenever it's convenient. He ought to be the centre of your life and your mind. We owe our life to Him, and without Him we are nothing. I strongly believe being a Christian is not a part time job, and not only once a week duty or as much we are in church. I don't mind being fanatics if that's mean I am putting my God above my other priority. I had not rather being lukewarm and spat out by God at the end of the day.

And lastly, I wanted to mention, that today is a special day, not only it's the last day of the year, but because today, 23 years ago, God had given me a present of sisterhood. Although she is on the other end of the world, and we hardly meet at all, but thankfully I can rest assured one day in heaven we shall meet again. Happy Birthday to you sis..!! God bless!!

Sunday, 30 December 2007

A day out in Oxford

An excellent day of on the 30th December in Oxford. Though this is not Josiah's first conquest in Oxford, he is extremely excited entering various old buildings. However this is his first time in most of the Museum in Oxford.

This is a painting and painting's tag we took at Ashmolean Museum, I thought it's quite interesting idea of a paint.

Josiah at Natural History Museum

Yusdi's attempt to take the dino home for Josiah

A very badly taken pics of Josiah and Yusdi inside the museum (let me confess that I took this picture!)

Posing at St. Mary The Virgin

Cute Josiah in his woollen hat

Can't resist to take another snap

It was a fun day with Alice and Zonny with us, unfortunately we only took a few picture with our camera (most of it taken with their camera). Stay tune for more!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

My Parents Prayed

Dedicated to Zonny and Alice, and "son to be"(dunno the name yet unfortunately). It would be a new challenge to raise a Godly generation in this secular world, but remember one thing that will make a lot of difference.
A Parent's prayer!


While I grew up from babe to youth,
Before I knew to be afraid,
God placed a hedge around me
Because my parents prayed.

When I got a little older,
And sinful footsteps strayed,
I turned from all their teachings,
But still my parents prayed.

As my life went from bad to worse,
What an awful price I paid!
Sometimes it seemed so hopeless,
But still my parents prayed.

Then the Holy Spirit filled me,
And God's prompting I obeyed;
I repented of my sins
Because my parents prayed.

Christ Jesus came to my life,
Where ever since He's stayed;
Who knows where I might be today,
If my parents hadn't prayed?

So lift your children to the Lord,
And like me, they'll be swayed;
They, too, will be so thankful,
Because their parents prayed!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Our LOVE for Britain

As you probably have heard that we spent our Christmas in Wales this time of the year. It's been a great blessing for us to meet the Nicholson and also met their new addition to the family, Sarah Emily Nicholson.

We had a great Christmas dinner (thanks to multi talented cook, Abbie, the dinner was fantastic). Yusdi had a great time taking picture of the neighbourhood (the view from their house was breathtaking) and accidentally we capture the moon rise at about half past four. The moon was so big, and so bright, we nearly thought it was the sun.

It was generally gloomy and damp day from the 24th itself. The rain pours so much, which is not very usual thing to happen in the middle of winter. But who cares since we plan to have "indoor" activities this time. So yusdi spend time taking family picture for the Nicholson, while me and Abbie catching up with latest news about our brother and sister in Christ, Josiah and Daniel busy exchanging toys.

I am quite amaze with the way all these American missionaries lives. So far as my stay in far east, all this missionaries like Joe and Abbie are normally very well taken care of.

I mean financially.

For one thing people in far east much more sensitive to the Gospel. Churches in China, Singapore, Indonesia, and surrounding countries are sprouting like mushrooms after the rain. Even though in many of these countries missionaies are not most welcome and persecution against Christianity is a norm, however normally in 5-8 years the church will be able to support a fulltime national pastor. Another thing is because US dollar is much more stronger and hence the cost of life is much less in far east.

Things are very different here in UK. As much as my Pastor, Roger Tooley, in Kettering told me, he had seen 11 missionary from US returned back home for various reason. The people in UK are so immune to Gospel. The churches is normally have very small congregation, and consist of old folks and foreigners. Things get even thougher because US dollar currency falling off compared to British Pound Sterling. Worse still, after labouring 10-15 years, many of the church still doesn't come up with national pastor, some even still can't afford to pay the pastor's salary because the size or income of the congregation (you can imagine if your church consist of 80% retiree).

But again, I am amaze with the love that the Nicholson shared with me. Their love for people in UK, to see more British people get saved and serving The Lord, they are willing to live hand to mouth and choosing the cheapest option when buying almost anything. I would believe, my pastor, Roger Tooley and his family facing the same challenge. I saw Daniel, their oldest son, has very limited number of toys. As a parent, not being able to give your son the nicest thing you can think of sometimes can be heartwrenching experience. Yet, they believe we are serving an All-knowing Almighty God, he knows what is our needs and faithfully provide it.

I hope that many of us (whom may not be called to preach or to pastor a church), doing our bits by contributing our talent. Some people talented in earning money, I think that is nothing wrong with that, providing that one does it for the Lord. Or you can pray for missionary to UK like the Tooleys and the Nicholsons that God grant them wisdom and perseverance to spread His word in UK.

God bless you all, and have a happy Christmas 2007...!!!

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 10 : 14-15

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


C is for the Christ child lying in a manager.

H is for the Holy One who saved us all from danger.

R is to Remember Him who died that we may live.

I is to Inspire us that we may always give.

S is for joyful Songs and sacred hymns that praise.

T is to Thank the Lord for showing us the way.

M is for the Miracles that bless us each day.

A for Almighty, omnipotent Child, with power unrestrained, yet ever so mild.

S for our Savior, our Lord and our King, whos birth, life and death, our salvation did bring.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Do you speak Whales?

That's right, we are heading to Wales (and do you speak Welsh? just like in "Finding Nemo"), Llandudno and Abergale to meet Joe and Abbie Nicholson for Christmas! Yeay, can't wait to see them. I recalled we knew Joe and Abbie from GFA annual camp, and they are a young couple from states whom just arrived in Wales. We chatted quite a bit, may be one thing we are on the same age group. That time I was still pregnant and Daniel (their eldest son) is just 9 month's old. Gosh.... time does have wings!!!

I won't be blogging for awhile until the picture and highlight for our trip is ready. So, see you on awhile!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Greatest Gift

by Ron Hamilton

If I search thru the pages of history,
Look thru the halls of time,
Seeking for the greatest gift of all,
A gift to all mankind,
I would stop at a manger in Bethlehem;
Kneel in wonder there.
See a tiny present wrapped in love,
A gift beyond compare.
Oh, the greatest gift,
Oh, the greatest gift of all,
Sent from a loving Father
In the form of a child so small,
All the wealth of heaven's splendor,
Wrapped up in a child so tender-
Oh, the greatest gift in all the world is Jesus!

If I look for the gift that reigns supreme
Above the hills of time,
A gift to fulfill each prophet's dream,
The highest gift sublime,
If I ask every angel in Paradise,
"Where can it be found?"
Heaven's mighty host would start to swell,
Till earth and sky resound.
Oh, the greatest gift,
Oh, the greatest gift of all,
Sent by a loving Father
In the form of a child so small,
All the wealth of heaven's splendor,
Wrapped up in a child so tender-
Oh, the greatest gift in all the world is Jesus!

My Sanctuary...My bedroom

It is true that you need to spend more money to decorate THE room (in your house) where you spend most of your time in it. For me, THE room will be our bedroom. In fact we finished to redecorate our bedroom the last after all the other room. I spend quite a bit of time looking at stacks of magazine, Laura Ashley catalogue (doesn't mean I am buying from them), ebay, etc too look for ideas and estimated how much it will cost.

Since we decide to adopt "French" look for our house, I couldn't look too much in IKEA, Argos, Next or Habitat because they are mainly into modern-contemporary-retro looks. So my list of look-out store become Laura Ashley, Ampthill antiques shop and Marshall and Stewart. They are all an expensive store, a sofa from Laura ashley can range from 1000-3000 pound easily. I said to myself "Nah, it's gotta be a cheaper alternative".

So here is my checklist before decorating my bedroom.

1. Color patch.
I always match ALL of my furniture, carpets, wallpapers, paint to the main color theme. For my bedroom we choose, Gold, pale dusty pink, and gold brown shade. It make it easier to decide what to buy and not to buy. Remember, that color scheme is very important, don't buy a piece of furniture or wallpaper just because you like it if the color doesn't match the scheme.

2. The wallpaper and paint
Wallpaper playing important role in adding "ambience" in your bedroom. In fact most hotels, bed&breakfast, know this tricks. You must put on wallpaper even when the wallpaper is plain. Is there any difference with painted wall then? Yes, it is. That's what makes our house looks less cozy than those bed&breakfast. Wallpaper tends to add rich texture and hide uneven wall plaster which add "personality" to your room. However, I have to warn you that there is an art in putting it up.

We chose "magnolia" in natural from Laura Ashley. Refuse to pay hefty 25 pound a roll for this wallpaper I decide to buy from ebay! Yeah, I have to be thankful for half of my house come from it. Another tricks it wait until the sale (which Laura Ashley holds every now and then). Due to vertical pattern repeat, we decide to panel our room before adding the wallpaper. The result is this. Another wall we place a gold checks wallpaper which Laura Ashley discontinued (so we get it for 1.5 pound a roll!!!). However we decide to paint one of the wall with dark brown color. Because the color is dark, there is no point putting on wallpaper as you can't tell the difference until you touch it. We thought it will be too "loud" if we have all 4 walls to be panelled.

3. The carpet
Fortunately, our bedroom comes with carpet that matches the color of our patches. So one less heachache to be think off.

4. The bed
The main item in the bedroom, the bed... what kind of bed? My first choice land on Marshall and Stewart bedframe called Bouquet. However, this bed doesn't have any slat-base. And I have to fork another 300 pound for it. Which I think a bit silly (to get only bed base, not even mattresses). So my second choice come from cantori, called Pascia in glittery silver leaf. I waited until they have a great sale before buying it, trust me, it's worthed. In fact, we've posed quite a lot with it. Click here for one of the snaps.

5. Decide a focal point
It is important to have a focal point in a room. For our living room (and most of others) it's commonly the fireplace and over-mantle mirror on the top of it. We had decide to put our bed as the focal point. So we place it right on the centre of the room.

6. Dresser table, chest cabinet and armoire.
As I say, I decide to go for french themed-home. I decide to buy heavily carved cream furniture. First time I saw what I eye for in Milton Keynes, MK:centre. But, it was like 900 pound for a wardrobe??!! Can't believe that. So I went home and venture on ebay, and found exactly the same one for 350 pound. And then the story goes. (Ebay tips, when you buy a bunch of furniture from the same seller you bound to get better bargain if you ask for it, plus you save on delivery!). Another alternative is this, TRADE SECRETS. It's one of my biggest finding while surfing the net. You can get Laura Ashley, House of Fraser and John Lewis furniture for a fraction of its price (which means less than 50% of the real price). There is hardly any fault on it, because all these high-stress vendor can not resell a customer return goods, which lead to this warehouse at the end of the day.

7. Lighting.
All the while eversince I stepped my feet in England, I feel in love with french chandeliers. They are beautiful and elegant, glitters with crystal droplets and worn-look gold paint. I don't want my bedroom to be too bright, instead I wanted it too look dimm and elegant. So I choose a 3 arm chandelier (even though to brighten up my bedroom it needs at least 5 arm chandelier), and many other corner lamps/standing lamps from wilkinson. The result is this tranquil look. Beware of choosing the bulb or otherwise you'll end up with white-flash-light look room.

8. Window covering
Nothing much I can say about this, as my wallpaper is stand out as the main wall feature, I couldn't choose a fancy design for my curtain and roman blinds. I choose mostly plain for slight textured fabric to add the room ambience. I would suggest to use silk or taffeta material to add a richness of plain colour fabrics.

9. Last touch.
You can add rugs, it's a great way to cover empty spaces without have to spend much on furniture. An antique painting or print out picture is a great ideas to add things on plain walls. Adding flower bouquet or orchid is another thing that I wanted to do (but still have no time to do it yet!).

Friday, 21 December 2007

(Bible) NIV Why I don't use it

NIV Test

Try Answering These From Your NIV
INSTRUCTIONS:Using the New International Version Bible, answer the following questions to this NIV quiz.
Do not rely on your memory. As the Bible is the final authority, you must take the answer from the Bible verse (not from footnotes but from the text).

Fill in the missing words in Matthew 5:44. "Love your enemies,__________ them that curse you, ______________ to them that hate you, and pray for them that __________ and persecute you."

According to Matthew 17:21, what two things are required to cast out this type of demon?

According to Matthew 18:11, why did Jesus come to earth?

According to Matthew 27:2, what was Pilate's first name?

In Matthew 27:35, when the wicked soldiers parted His garments, they were fulfilling the words of the prophet. Copy what the prophet said in Matthew 27:35 from the NIV.

In Mark 3:15, Jesus gave the apostles power to cast out demons and to: ____________

According to Mark 7:16, what does a man need to be able to hear?
According to Luke 7:28, what was John? (teacher, prophet, carpenter, etc.). What is his title or last name?

In Luke 9:55, what did the disciples not know?
In Luke 9:56, what did the Son of man not come to do? According to this verse, what did He come to do?

In Luke 22:14, how many apostles were with Jesus?
According to Luke 23:38, in what three languages was the superscription written?

In Luke 24:42, what did they give Jesus to eat with His fish?
John 3:13 is a very important verse, proving the deity of Christ. According to this verse (as Jesus spoke), where is the Son of man?

What happened each year as told in John 5:4?
In John 7:50, what time of day did Nicodemus come to Jesus?

In Acts 8:37, what is the one requirement for baptism?

What did Saul ask Jesus in Acts 9:6?
Write the name of the man mentioned in Acts 15:34.

Study Acts 24:6-8. What would the Jew have done with Paul?
What was the chief captain's name? What did the chief captain command?

Copy Romans 16:24 word for word from the NIV.

First Timothy 3:16 is perhaps the greatest verse in the New Testament concerning the deity of Christ. In this verse, who was manifested in the flesh?

In the second part of First Peter 4:14, how do [they] speak of Christ? And, what do we Christians do?

Who are the three Persons of the Trinity in First John 5:7?

Revelation 1:11 is another very important verse that proves the deity of Christ. In the first part of this verse Jesus said, "I am the A______________ and O___________, the _________ and the _______:"

Conclusion: Little space is provided for your answers, but it's much more than needed. If you followed the instructions above, you not only failed the test, you receive a big goose egg.(These are all missing in the NIV.)
So now what do you think of your "accurate, easy to understand, up to date Bible"?If you would like to improve your score, and in fact score 100%, you can take this test using the Authorized (King James) Bible.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

GIMP reason why I use it.

Some people asked me what editor do I use to edit my photos. While many other has chosen to use Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. Because obviously it's hard to get a piratted software in UK and even if you do my company's loaned laptop will report me for installing something dodgy, I decided to try an open source freeware called GIMP.

When I told people I've been using GIMP, their reaction usually "Goodness, what is that?", "Man that's unix stuff", "Is it any better than photoshop?". Well let me get it right.

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, it is a raster graphics editor used to process digital graphics and photographs. Typical uses include creating graphics and logos, resizing and cropping photos, altering colors, combining multiple images, removing unwanted image features, and converting between different image formats. GIMP can also be used to create basic animated images in GIF format. It is often used as a free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop, the most widely used bitmap editor in the printing and graphics industries; however, it is not designed to be a Photoshop clone. And in fact, GIMP available for download even for windows! (

I would think GIMP is a very powerful editting tool. I am not a design graduate nor getting any professional qualification related to it, so to me there is no plus point of having 500 pound Adobe Photoshop to this FREEWARE. Anyway, I am not using a very complicated steps in editting my pictures.

GIMP is easy to use. Here is my proof. The previous images are a real softglow effect, that is not editted come fresh from camera. So how do I create such effect if I only have cheap camera? With GIMP it is only a click away, it calls "softglow" filter. The result is this.(Click to zoom in.)

Now let me get this right. A person who used to using CorelDraw or Adobe may find GIMP truly annoying. I did when my husband install this software on my laptop. It's simply because all the menu, dialog box, buttons and filter are on the wrong place and the name of the filter is different (even they are doing the same thing). It took me nearly a month to stop rantings when using it. But hey, it's not meant to be a clone of Adobe Photoshop.
Another thing is you need to think the way programmer thinks when you use GIMP. Unlike Photoshop whereby the UI is well thought off for designer mind, GIMP is clearly strive for functionality before looks. Now they are much better, you should see how does it looks 3 years ago!!!

Another thing I like about GIMP handy feature is Red Eye Removal. Before I have my Canon EOS Rebel, I always turn on the flash when taking picture to avoid blurry result. But then, it resulted on red eye spots on the shots. But GIMP saved me, here is the tutorial. Well, I may add more stuff on photo-editting. Till next time.

An introduction to molecular biology (part I)

My wife has been pestering me to contribute something for our blog. So I though I'll give you an overview of my PhD topic. Enjoy.....

The so called 'central dogma of molecular biology' states that information in a living cell flows from DNA to RNA to protein. DNA can be thought of as the information store in the cell. This information is encoded in the arrangement of 4 chemical letters that form the DNA. The information stored in the DNA is what is referred as the genetic make up of an organism.

On the other end of the spectrum, proteins are really the work horses or the machineries that run the cell. Most of the interesting stuff like immune response, metabolism, and even motility (cell movement) are at a large extend due to the working of many proteins.

Bridging between DNA and protein is RNA. Traditionally RNA has been viewed as merely an messenger between the two big guys. However recent discovery of the role of RNA interference (which by the way won the Nobel prize in biology) opens up a whole new world in our understanding of RNA.

To go back to our original discussion, the three players in cell are DNA, RNA, and protein. The process of creating RNA from DNA is called transcription, while the process of producing protein from RNA is called translation. These two processes are highly regulated (controlled). To illustrate this point, virtually all cells in your body contain exactly the same DNA (the same information), nonetheless some grew into brain cells, some into skin cells, others into muscle cells, etc, which meant that they have different composition of proteins. How is that possible? I'll tell you in the next post... :)


**click on the image to enlarge
(someone asking me why I post such a tiny picture, hey it's not tiny,
all you need to do is click on the thumbnail)

Last weekend it's been our pleasure to have Hendy, my ex-high school friend in SMUK III to come and spend a weekend with us. Even though we mainly hang around in mall (in Milton Keynes, as you can see in the pictures, it was like a pools of human) and church (you can see it on sis tammy blog), but it was indeed a great fellowship time. (I must admit I am stupid enough not bringing my own camera, but thankfully Hendy did bring his!!! yeay!) It's always been great to have another born again christian visiting or staying over. (The first was agustina I believe, too bad I hadn't start blogging yet that time).

I had not been very close to him last time in school. Put it this way, he is not one of my closest friend (I don't even know where he lives in Jakarta!). But it's a pleasant coincidence that he able to come to UK even to Northants and visit my family. It was a good time to know each other better as well as catching up with "latest affair" among our fellow SMUK III alumni (you know what I mean). But I don't know whether he felt the same way as me, because Josiah presistently pestering him, even try to grab some leg's hair. *Sigh*

And I guess sis tammy is right when she pointed out that God has sent him away from Indonesia to be able to play the piano for our church choir! Isn't that amazing. Anyway, needless to say that he is VERY competent pianist.

Well, next weekend, he'll be heading home to Jakarta. We'll hope that he had a save journey back home. And hopefully, next time he'll able to stay a little bit longer. (Well, may be not in the winter, this poor guy has to wear layers of clothes and looking with envious eyes towards a blonde girl with only mini skirt + black hose).

Hendy, it's been nice having you (I am sure pastor Tooley won't mind you come again and play for us!!!)

Monday, 17 December 2007

Cinta Mama (A Mother's Love)

Di sebuah jalan, di Ibu Kota sebuah negara di Amerika Selatan bernama Los Felidas, yang terletak di sebuah kawasan terkumuh di sebuah kota. Ada sebuah kisah yang menyebabkan jalan itu begitu dikenang orang, dan itu di mulai dari kisah seorang pengemis wanita yang juga Ibu seorang gadis kecil.

Tidak seorangpun yang tahu nama aslinya, tapi beberapa orang tahu sedikit masa lalunya. Dia bukan penduduk asli di daerah itu, melainkan di bawa oleh suaminya dari kampung halamannya, seperti kebanyakan kota besar di dunia ini.

Kehidupan masyarakat kota terlalu berat untuk mereka, dan belum setahun mereka di kota itu, mereka kehabisan seluruh uangnya, dan pada suatu pagi mereka sadar bahwa mereka tidak tahu dimana mereka tidur malam nanti dan tidak sepeserpun uang yang ada dikantong, padahal mereka sedang menggendong bayi mereka yang berumur satu tahun.Dalam keadaan panik dan putus asa, mereka berjalan dari satu jalan ke jalan lainnya tanpa henti dan akhirnya mereka tiba di sebuah jalan sepi dimana puing-puing sebuah toko seperti memberi mereka sedikit tempat untuk berteduh.

Saat itu angin Desember bertiup kencang, membawa titik-titik air yang dingin. Ketika mereka beristirahat di bawah atap toko itu, sang suami berkata, “saya harus meninggalkan kalian sekarang. Saya harus mendapatkan pekerjaan, apapun itu. Kalau tidak, malam nanti kita akan tidur di sini lagi,” ujar sang suami dan setelah mencium bayinya ia pergi, namun dia tidak pernah kembali lagi.

Tak seorangpun yang tahu pasti kemana pria itu pergi, tapi beberapa orang sepertinya melihatnya menumpang kapal yang menuju ke Afrika. Selama beberapa hari berikutnya sang Ibu yang malang itu terus menunggu kedatangan suaminya, dan bila malam, ia beserta bayinya tidur di emperan toko itu.

Pada hari ketiga, ketika ia sudah kehabisan susu, orang-orang yang lewat mulai memberi mereka uang receh, dan jadilah mereka pengemis di tempat itu selama 6 bulan berikutnya. Pada suatu hari, tergerak oleh semangat untuk mendapatkan kehidupan yang lebih baik, Ibu itu bangkit dan memutuskan untuk bekerja.

Masalahnya adalah dimanakah ia harus menitipkan anaknya, yang kini sudah hampir berumur dua tahun itu, dan tampak amat cantik jelita. Tampaknya tidak ada jalan lain kecuali meninggalkan anaknya itu di tempat itu sendiri, dan berharap agar nasib tidak memperburuk keadaan mereka berdua.

Suatu pagi dia berpesan pada anak gadisnya, agar ia tidak pergi ke mana-mana, tidak ikut siapapun yang mengajaknya pergi atau menawarkan gula-gula. Pendek kata, gadis kecil itu tidak boleh berhubungan dengan siapapun selama Ibunya tidak di tempat.
“Dalam beberapa hari Mama akan mendapatkan cukup uang untuk menyewa kamar kecil yang berpintu, dan kita tidak lagi tidur dengan hembusan angin di rambut kita,” katanya lalu pergi.
Gadis itu mematuhi pesan Ibunya dengan penuh kesungguhan. Maka sang Ibu mengatur kotak kardus dimana mereka tinggal selama tujuh bulan agar tampak kosong, dan membaringkan anaknya dengan hati-hati di dalamnya. Di sebelahnya ia meletakkan sepotong roti. Kemudian, dengan mata basah Ibu itu menuju ke pabrik sepatu, dimana kini ia bekerja sebagai pemotong kulit.

Begitulah kehidupan mereka selama beberapa hari, hingga di kantong sang Ibu kini terdapat cukup uang untuk menyewa sebuah kamar berpintu di daerah kumuh. Dengan suka cita, ia menuju ke penginapan orang-orang miskin itu, dan membayar uang muka untuk sewa kamarnya. Tapi siang itu juga sepasang suami istri pengemis yang moralnya amat rendah menculik gadis cilik itu dengan paksa, dan membawanya sejauh 300 kilometer ke pusat kota.
Di situ mereka mendandani gadis cilik itu dengan baju baru, membedaki wajahnya, menyisir rambutnya, dan membawanya ke sebuah rumah mewah di pusat kota. Di situlah gadis cilik itu dijual. Pembelinya adalah pasangan suami istri pengusaha yang kaya raya, yang tidak pernah bisa punya anak sendiri walaupun mereka telah menikah selama 18 tahun.

Mereka memberi nama anak gadis itu Serrafona, dan mereka memanjakannya dengan amat sangat. Di tengah-tengah kemewahan istana itulah gadis kecil itu tumbuh dewasa. Ia belajar kebiasaan-kebiasaan orang terpelajar seperti merangkai bunga, menulis puisi dan bermain piano. Ia juga bergabung dengan kalangan-kalangan kelas atas dan mengendarai Mercedes Benz ke manapun ia pergi.

Satu hal yang baru terjadi menyusul hal lainnya, dan bumi terus berputar tanpa kenal istirahat. Beberapa tahun sebelumnya, Ayahnya di angkat menjadi Gubernur di kota tersebut, sehingga pada saat umurnya yang ke-24, Serrafona dikenal sebagai anak gadis Gubernur yang amat jelita, yang pandai bermain piano, yang aktif di gereja, dan yang sedang menyelesaikan gelar dokternya.
Ia adalah figur gadis yang menjadi impian tiap pemuda, tapi cintanya direbut oleh seorang dokter muda yang welas asih, bernama Geraldo.
Setahun setelah perkawinan mereka. Ayahnya wafat, dan Serrafona beserta suaminya mewarisi beberapa perusahaan dan sebuah real-estate sebesar empat belas hektar yang diisi dengan taman bunga dan istana yang paling megah di kota itu. Menjelang hari ulang tahunnya yang ke-27, sesuatu terjadi yang merubah kehidupan wanita itu.

Pagi itu Serrafona sedang membersihkan kamar mendiang Ayahnya yang sudah tidak pernah dipakai lagi, dan di laci meja kerja ayahnya ia melihat selembar foto seorang anak bayi yang digendong sepasang suami istri.

Selimut yang dipakai untuk menggendong bayi itu lusuh, dan bayi itu sendiri tampak tidak terurus, karena walaupun wajahnya dilapisi bedak tetapi rambutnya itu tetap kusam. Sesuatu ditelinga kiri bayi itu membuat jantungnya berdegup kencang.

Ia mengambil kaca pembesar dan mengkonsentrasikan pandangannya pada telinga kiri itu. Kemudian ia membuka lemarinya sendiri, dan mengeluarkan sebuah kotak yang terbuat dari kayu mahoni. Di dalam kotak yang berukiran indah itu, dia menyimpan seluruh barang-barang pribadinya, dari kalung-kalung berlian hingga surat-surat pribadi.

Tapi di antara benda-benda mewah itu terdapat sesuatu terbungkus kapas kecil, sebentuk anting-anting melingkar yang amat sederhana, ringan dan bukan emas murni. Ibunya, almarhum memberinya benda itu sambil berpesan untuk tidak kehilangan benda itu.
Ia sempat bertanya, kalau itu anting-anting, dimana anting-anting satunya. Ibunya menjawab bahwa hanya itu yang ia punya. Serrafona menaruh anting-anting itu di dekat foto.
Sekali lagi ia mengerahkan seluruh kemampuan untuk melihatnya dan perlahan-lahan air matanya kemudian berlinang. Kini tak ada keragu-raguan lagi bahwa bayi itu adalah dirinya sendiri. Tapi kedua, pria dan wanita yang menggendongnya, yang tersenyum dibuat-buat, belum penah dilihatnya sama sekali.

Foto itu seolah-olah membuka pintu lebar-lebar pada ruangan yang selama ini berisi pertanyaan-pertanyaannya, misalnya kenapa bentuk wajahnya berbeda dengan wajah kedua orang tuanya? Kenapa ia tidak menuruni golongan darah Ayahnya? Saat itulah, sepotong ingatan yang sudah seperempat abad terpendam, berkilat di dalam benaknya. Bayangan seorang wanita membelai kepalanya dan mendekapnya tepat di dada.

Di ruangan itu mendadak Serrafona merasakan betapa dinginnya sekelilingnya tetapi ia juga merasa betapa hangatnya kasih sayang dan rasa aman yang dipancarkan dari dada wanita itu. Ia seolah merasakan dan mendengar lewat dekapan itu bahwa daripada berpisah lebih baik mereka mati bersama.
Matanya masih basah ketika ia keluar dari kamar dan menghampiri suaminya yang sedang membaca kora.
“Geraldo, saya adalah anak seorang pengemis, dan mungkinkah Ibuku masih ada di jalan sekarang, setelah umuku dua puluh lima tahun?” katanya sambil terisak.
Itu adalah awal dari kegiatan baru mereka mencari masa lalu Serrafona. Foto hitam-putih yang kabur itu diperbanyak hingga puluhan ribu lembar dan disebar ke seluruh jaringan kepolisian di seluruh negeri.

Sebagai anak satu-satunya dari bekas pejabat yang cukup berpengaruh di kota itu, Serrafonna mendapatkan dukungan dari seluruh kantor kearsipan, kantor surat kabar dan kantor catatan sipil. Ia membentuk yayasan-yayasan untuk mendapatkan data dari seluruh panti-panti orang jompo dan badan-badan sosial di seluruh negeri dan mencari data tentang seorang wanita.
Bulan demi bulan lewat, tapi tak ada perkembangan apapun dari usahanya itu. Mencari seorang wanita, yang mengemis dua puluh lima tahun yang lalu di negeri dengan populasi sembilan puluh juta orang bukan sesuatu yang segampang yang ia pikirkan. Tapi Serrafona tidak punya pikiran untuk menyerah. Dibantu suami tercintanya yang begitu penuh pengertian, mereka terus menerus meningkatkan pencarian mereka.

Kini, tiap kali bermobil, mereka sengaja memilih daerah-daerah kumuh, sekedar untuk lebih akrab dengan nasib baik. Terkadang ia berharap agar Ibunya sudah almarhum sehingga ia tidak terlalu menanggung dosa mengabaikannya selama seperempat abad. Tetapi ia tahu entah bagaimana, bahwa ibunya masih hidup, dan sedang menantinya sekarang. Ia memberitahu suaminya keyakinan itu berkali-kali, dan suaminya mengangguk-angguk penuh pengertian.
Pagi, siang dan sore ia selalu berdoa, “Tuhan, ijinkan saya untuk satu permintaan terbesar dalam hidup saya. Tolong pertemukan saya dengan Ibu saya.”Tuhan mendengarkan doa itu. Suatu sore mereka menerima kabar bahwa ada seorang wanita yang mungkin bisa membantu mereka menemukan Ibunya. Tanpa membuang waktu, mereka terbang ke tempat itu.
Sebuah rumah kumuh di daerah lampu merah, 600 km dari kota mereka. Sekali melihat, mereka tahu bahwa wanita yang separoh buta itu, yang kini terbaring sekarat, adalah wanita di dalam foto. Dengan suara putus-putus, wanita itu mengakui bahwa ia memang pernah mencuri seorang gadis kecil di tepi jalan, sekitar dua puluh lima tahun yang lalu.

Tidak banyak yang diingatnya, tapi di luar dugaan ia masih ingat kota dan bahkan potongan jalan dimana ia mengincar gadis kecil itu dan kemudian menculiknya. Serrafona memberi anak perempuan yang menjaga wanita itu sejumlah uang, dan malam itu juga mereka mengunjungi kota dimana Serrafonna diculik.

Mereka tinggal di sebuah hotel mewah dan mengerahkan orang-orang mereka untuk mencari nama jalan itu. Semalaman Serrafona tidak bisa tidur. Untuk kesekian kalinya ia bertanya-tanya kenapa ia begitu yakin bahwa Ibunya masih hidup sampai sekarang, dan sedang menunggunya, dan ia tetap tidak tahu apa jawabannya.

Dua hari lewat tanpa kabar. Pada hari ketiga, pukul 18.00 senja, mereka menerima telepon dari salah seorang staff mereka. “Tuhan maha kasih. Nyonya, kalau memang Tuhan mengijinkan, kami mungkin telah menemukan Ibu Nyonya. Hanya cepat sedikit, waktunya mungkin tidak banyak lagi,” ujar suara dari balik telepon itu.

Mobil mereka memasuki sebuah jalanan yang sepi, dipinggiran kota yang kumuh dan banyak angin. Rumah-rumah di sepanjang jalan itu tua-tua dan kusam. Satu, dua anak kecil tanpa baju bermain-main di tepi jalan. Dari jalanan pertama, mobil berbelok lagi ke jalanan yang lebih kecil, kemudian masih belok lagi ke jalanan berikutnya yang lebih kecil lagi. Semakin lama mereka masuk dalam lingkungan yang semakin menunjukkan kemiskinan.

Tubuh Serrafona gemetar, ia seolah bisa mendengar panggilan itu. “Lekas Serrafona, Mama menunggumu, sayang,” ujar panggilan itu. Ia mulai berdoa dalam hati, “Tuhan, beri saya setahun untuk melayani mama. Saya akan melakukan apa saja.”
Ketika mobil berbelok memasuki jalan yang lebih kecil, dan ia bisa membaui kemiskinan yang amat sangat, ia berdoa lagi, “Tuhan beri saya sebulan saja.”
Mobil belok lagi ke jalanan yang lebih kecil, dan angin yang penuh derita bertiup, berebut masuk melewati celah jendela mobil yang terbuka.
Ia mendengar lagi panggilan Mamanya, dan ia mulai menangis, “Tuhan, kalau sebulan terlalu banyak untukmu, cukup beri kami seminggu untuk saling memanjakan,” ujarnya lagi dalam hati.

Ketika mereka masuk belokan terakhir, tubuhnya menggigil begitu hebat sehingga Geraldo memeluknya erat-erat. Jalan itu bernama Los Felidas. Panjangnya sekitar 180 meter dan hanya kekumuhan yang tampak dari sisi ke sisi jalan, dari ujung ke ujung. Di tengah-tengah jalan itu, di depan puing-puing sebuah toko, tampak onggokan sampah dan kantong-kantong plastik, dan di tengah-tengahnya, terbaring seorang wanita tua dengan pakaian sehitam jelaga, tidak bergerak.

Mobil mereka berhenti di antara empat mobil mewah lainnya dan tiga buah mobil polisi. Di belakang mereka sebuah ambulans berhenti, diikuti empat mobil rumah sakit lain. Dari kanan-kiri muncul pengemis-pengemis yang segera memenuhi tempat itu.

“Belum bergerak dari tadi,” lapor salah seorang bawahanya. Pandangan Serrafona gelap tapi ia menguatkan dirinya untuk meraih kesadarannya dan turun. Suaminya dengan sigap sudah meloncat keluar, memburu Ibu mertuanya.

“Serrafona, kemari cepat! Ibumu masih hidup, tapi kau harus menguatkan hatimu,” ujar suaminya. Serrafona memandang tembok di hadapannya, dan ingat saat ia menyandarkan kepalanya ke situ.

Ia memandang lantai di kakinya dan ingat ketika ia belajar berjalan. Ia membaui bau jalanan yang busuk, tapi mengingatkannya pada masa kecilnya yang kelam. Air matanya mengalir ke luar ketika ia melihat suaminya menyuntikkan sesuatu ke tangan wanita yang terbaring itu dan memberinya isyarat untuk mendekat.

“Tuhan,” ia meminta dengan seluruh jiwa raganya, “beri kami waktu sehari saja, Tuhan. Biarlah saya membiarkan mama mendekap saya dan memberitahunya bahwa selama dua puluh lima tahun ini, hidup saya amat bahagia. Jadi mama tidak pernah menyia-nyiakan saya.”
Ia berlutut dan meraih kepala wanita itu ke dadanya. Wanita tua itu perlahan membuka matanya dan memandang keliling, ke arah kerumunan orang-orang berbaju mewah dan perlente, ke arah mobil-mobil yang mengkilat dan ke arah wajah penuh air mata yang tampak seperti wajahnya sendiri ketika ia masih muda dulu.

“Mama...” ia mendengar suara itu, dan ia tahu bahwa apa yang ditunggunya tiap malam, antara waras dan tidak, dan tiap hari, antara sadar dan tidak, kini menjadi kenyataan. Ia tersenyum, dan dengan seluruh kekuatan terakhirnya menarik lagi jiwanya yang akan lepas.
Perlahan ia membuka genggaman tangannya, tampak sebentuk anting-anting yang sudah menghitam. Serrafona mengangguk, dan tanpa perduli sekelilingnya ia berbaring di atas jalanan itu dan merebahkan kepalanya di dada mamanya.

“Mama, saya tinggal di istana dan makan enak tiap hari. Mama jangan pergi dulu. Apapun yang mama mau bisa kita lakukan bersama-sama. Mama ingin makan, ingin tidur, ingin bertamasya, apapun bisa kita bicarakan. Mama jangan pergi dulu... aku mohon... Mama... Mama... Mama” teriaknya.

Ketika telinganya menangkap detak jantung yang makin melemah, ia berdoa lagi kepada Tuhan, dan kini dengan penuh ketulusan yang mendalam, “Tuhan maha pengasih, penyayang, dan pemberi, Tuhan, berikan kami satu jam saja... satu jam saja... ”
Tapi dada yang didengarnya kini sudah sunyi, sesunyi senja dan puluhan orang yang membisu. Hanya senyum di wajahnya itu, yang menandakan bahwa penantiannya selama seperempat abad tidak berakhir dengan sia-sia.

By "abc"

You won't understand a mother's love until you become a "mother" :-)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Birthday Picture (PART 2)

We had a small celebration for Josiah birthday on 16th Dec in church. However, Josiah appear to be very frizzy and cranky because he had a very late sleep the day before. He is not too cooperative in posing for picture either.

Anyway, I think we do need to buy another lithium battery for our SLR camera because it's now only taking about an hour before it run out of power *sigh*. So these are the only picture we "managed" to take. No picture of yusdi because he is the one who is TAKING the picture!!!

And with this, we wanted to give thanks to the Lord for trusting little Josiah on our care. It's been a fun yet though first year for a first time parent like us. Yet God grace make it possible for both of us to pull through. When there is no relatives or friend to help you, He is indeed faithful and He is always there.

Both me and Yusdi have to say that we are so afraid we couldn't afford or couldn't managed to raise Josiah, but God prove that "impossible" is none on His dictionary. He gave me the nicest colleague, flexible working hour, a kind boss, a very helpful HR manager, He gave Yusdi loads of job offer and on the top of that He still spare us by giving Yusdi not one... but two scholarship. How KIND is that?

And another praise is Josiah was harldy sick at all, he is such a healthy and active baby. (You will find it quite amazing that I NEVER sterilise any of his "equipment", neither boil his water/milk). And I must admit he is pretty independent too (may be too independent). He hardly cries when I left him at the minder's house, he is very outgoing with his peers and elder kids, and he can eat almost anything now despite of having only 4 teeth!!!

It's always been our hope that he'll one day accepted the gift of salvation and make himself available to be used by God for His Glory. It's not easy to become a parent in today's society when everything, even other people who labelled themseves as Christian is not showing a Godly, Biblical standard. Our hope for Josiah is that he will grow to be a truth-loving man, a fundamentalist who willing to sacrifice anything for his faith. Happy Birthday Precious, may God gave us strength and wisdom to raise you into a Godly generation.