Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Wales, in a glance

As the year came to an end, I guess it's a perfect entry to put a review of a nice place like north wales as a highlight of my end of year trip.
Do you know that Wales has a great concentration of castle per square miles? So, if you are a great fan of castle, I think wales is a place to go!
Here is a bit of the spoiler, more to come!

Christmas party

And this is the crowd for Christmas party this year.
Let me introduce the host, our new friend in Christ, the McLean (Steve, Marcia, Maggie and Gwyneth). Marcia is an excellent cook, she made a lovely layered salad. I don't like both mayonaise and vegetable yet she made me craving for both! And Steve glace the best ham I ever ate. Thank you for inviting us.
Unfortunately Gwen already asleep by the time we took this picture, but nevermind, here is her solo appearance.
Daniel with his crown.
Little Sarah, daddy's little girl.
And cute Maggie who loves help her mom to clean up and shop to Tesco. She was so animated and fun.
Can't resist to take more of her picture.
The most interesting bit is after the dinner, we sang few carols, and lo and behold... we are going to do a nativity scene!
However, is not us... but our children suppose to do it.
So steve read the verse from the bible that told the story about Jesus's birth and here is the actor and actress.
The sarah angel. But she decided to play with the doll house instead.
Josiah the wise men from east (probably China?) But he busy watching curious George.
So the only two actor and actress on the outfit were Maggie and Daniel.
Aren't they cute?
We had white elephant gift exchange as the closing. And so, that summarise our Christmas celecration this year.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Beautiful days....

Probably there is a little two word to describe our visit to Wales. Unlike my normal habit of taking holiday (compact, exhaustive and tiring), this time round, our vacation was sort of slow and relaxing. I enjoy every sunrise, take our time to eat breakfast, sharing various kind of meal, and short drive to castle and beaches.
I always enjoy being with the Nicholson. Not only because Josiah and Daniel, their eldest son, went along very well, but I feel I always learn a new things is that of Christian value or not, from them. And this really reminded me of the Liauws, my pastor's family back home.

Every morning Joe will cook us breakfast (we call it Nicholson bed and breakfast) and Abbie normally took the dinner, and we joke about the importance of men be able to cook. So my husband cook one dinner one time (without my help, he is the chef that day) and I am so glad no one died of food poisoning :-) and the Nicholson even give a top remark!

After our little ones go to bed, we chatted over tea and coffee. We discuss a lot of thing about christian doctrine (from bible translation, christmas celebration, to consuming alcohol etc), american politics, indonesian education, to hiking and travelling. I was so surprise that Joe was reading C.S Lewis book too for the sake of knowing.

All along through our discussion, although we probably even had different doctrinal stand on something, Abbie and Joe had never made an issue about it or make us feel uncomfortable. It's just like debating club, just reason together and see what other had to offer. This is a rare quality of fundamentalist whom tend to like to win argument no matter what or being stubborn in the name of conviction. I really appreciate Joe explaining his stand about bible translation, which somewhat probably different with what we used to hear in Indonesia, but it surely beneficial to know the other side of the coin. I don't feel difference make us less closer. In fact, I like Abbie's idea to say that we almost like their own family that they even plan to bring her parents around to our house next summer!

I also learn about caring for environment as the Nicholson try not only to recycle their trash but also to decompose it. This really alter my view about American who only cares about driving big cars with only 1 passanger or sometimes none, or probably too lazy even to walk to ATM machine that they have drive thru ATM.

Other thing that I've learn from the Nicholson, they also have a good habit of walking to
keep everyone in the family healthy. They have no dogs, but they often walk or hikes as a family which I think really show a good Christian value, that is not only to be health spiritually but also physically!

From the 25th, we basically jump from one fellowship meal to another. First with the McLean, then the Thomases, then they are hosting a big meal at their home. We also had our turn to mess up their kitchen, it's just feel so at home.

I was actually very impressed with their parenting skill. They had never yell to their kids in order for both Sarah (1 yo) and Daniel (3.5 yo) to obey. I remember as a kid, I hate to see a mom whom has an attitude of "Just obey what I say because I am your mom" (Fortunate enough my mom is not bossy).
I am amazed to see that Daniel always ask Abbie or Joe whether or not he is allowed to do certain thing. When they warn their kids, they just need to whisper in their ear and they'll obey. As a child, I had never potray myself offering help to my mom, hug my dad to say "I love you", walk down to my sister to prevent her from doing what is dangerous, learn to give credits for what God had done for him, or even to thank a stranger without being commanded by the parents. But I saw Daniel did all that! When we gave him the indonesian noddles he said "Thank you, I'll eat them all". And one morning when he woke up he said that God helped him to stay in bed all through the night (FYI Daniel is a bit of troubled sleeper). Well, I guess I need to learn a lot about parenting from them.

And when it's time to leave, we actually feel sad. I feel I never want to pack my stuff and leave. (My husband said he wanted to quickly retire in Abergale!).Daniel said to me "I come to your house later" knowing that we'll go home that day. My son cried when we walk out the door and wave goodbye.

This actually only our 4th meeting, hard to believe. Our meeting normally only last few days, so in total probably we only ever spent 2 weeks to grow from stranger to good friends. I suddenly reminded that some of my best of friend is thousands miles away and I only hear them from occasional email. Best friend sometimes is not someone you meet everyday, or everyweek, but it can be someone whom you see only once a year or even much less frequent than that. However far they are, they always occupy a special place in our heart.

Joe and Abbie, thank you for this friendship. I feel that you are God's way to comfort and ease my loneliness in this distant land. May God bless you and your family, always.... and have a wonderful new year.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas

As you open your gifts today, let us be reminded that Jesus Christ is the perfect gift from God to the world. And as we eat a fine food and fellowship with our loved ones, let us remember, that Jesus is the reason for us rejoicing.
Happy Christmas to all of you!
p.s: I'll be leaving to wales to meet the Nicholson, bye for now!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Finally, birthday pictures!

Happy birthday dear Josiah, finally you are two today. It's all felt like just yesterday he was born, his first smile, his first tooth, his first step, his first word and before I knew it, he probably will be graduating from uni soon.
Our birthday gift for Josiah, a bus shape tunnelled pop up tent.
I know it's hard to see from the picture, I don't know why I didn't take the picture from outside the tent.
The kids, there were suppose to be about 12 kids (from 4 different family), but because of change of date many 2 of the family couldn't come. But there is still 9 kids running around the house.
Caleb on Josiah's police car.
And again, the cake!
I didn't do a good job, but I suppose, this is the most fun moment. Josiah was so clueless that he suppose to blow out his birthday candle. So we got 8 kids to help him out.
Mind you that all of them were standing around the table and blow hard together. But I suppose the blow from kids on opposite direction canceling each other, so the candle doesn't went out as easy even when they blow hard. Yet another try...
After that let's cut the cake!
Leo is waiting...
People was discussing on HOW to cut the cake since the shape was a little weird.
Tammy took charge and start the first cut.
The art of having too many kids in 2 bedroom flat?
Crowd control, we let them watch "curious george".
So difficult to take a picture in a low lighted room, no tripod, and the object keep moving, arrrghhh!!!
But we'd really have fun. To those of you who came, thanks for coming. And also thank you for all the beautiful present. Hope to see you again next year!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Family picture

As the norm, every year we did an ameteur family picture, here is one of them (which unfortunately did in a rush, and with poor natural lighting because our bedroom just so dark without a strong sunlight from outside).
But still, better to have one than none.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The birthday cake

Finally I put out my camera again for some action.
The birthday boy....
Today is my son's birthday celebration. We had to push his birthday 1 week late due to sickness. Thank you for all of you who had been praying and send "get well soon" message, we are all well now!
Because I've not finished editing all the picture, here is some of the spoilers! Some of you had been wondering which cake we're getting at the end. Here it is. (And no, we didn't buy that 99 GBP cake...).
Don't ask me why he looks like covering his nose. Well, he was actually rubbing his nose ;-)
The cake look so much like the picture provided by Marks and Spencer website. Thanks to Mia for getting the cake. Fortunately the cake lasted for another 1 week without going bad or hard.
As everyone has figured out, it is noah's ark cake (however with no noah on it). His age, 2, fits well with the theme "get in the ark two-by-two".

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The "good looking" President

Months ago before America's presidency election ends, I was browsing the internet try to probe the likely-hood outcome of each candidate's vote. Their picture were virtually (and probably physically) everywhere. On the papers, on the net, in television and everyone was talking about it. They must be the most well known faces in the past few months.

I read about people responses to both candidate. Both to me had their own strength and weaknesses, but that's what makes election interesting. Anyway, while I am researching, there is a woman who make a statement that she decide to choose Senator Barrack Obama because.... he is better looking than Senator McCain. What kind of reason is that?!?!?! However, this trigger me thinking, is McCain that ugly? He might not be handsome now because of his age, but... how is he really looked when he was young?

And lo and behold... a surprise...

You must be thinking. "Is this a banner of the latest block buster movies? or is it a CD cover of a boys band?". This is a picture of a group of American Navy years ago. If yo give a closer look, you'll spot the young-good-looking senator McCain!
Still can see it??
Ok, let me crop the rest of the gank.... First time I saw this I was like.... "is this Tom Cruise's brother?".
He is seriously good looking, has a great figure, and....the best yet when he is wearing his full uniform such as this!

Oh my goodness....

Right, is that Richard Gere?
Don't you think if Senator McCain do his campaign with this set of picture he'll stand a better chance to win? well... at least probably he'll get my vote for being a good-looking president.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My birthday is coming

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year does a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer. It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.

Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.. But, do you want to know something?

I wasn't invited.

I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face .. and I wanted to be with them and share their table. In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.

They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" as if the party were in his honor! At midnight all the people began to hug each other;

I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?

I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left. Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.

Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart. I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party.

I'm still making the final arrangements. . Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you.

I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party.

Those who don't answer the invite, will be left outside.

Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon.

I Love you!

Share this message with your friends, before Christmas.
Forwarded letter by,
Simon Arie

Monday, 15 December 2008

Country Living

Country living... imagine the small brick cottage with a brook running behind the back yard. Imagine the noises birds made and the trickle of water from the river. Imagine the smells of dew and sheep on the air. People walk by slowly, greet each other and then left with a smile on their face. Imagine sitting next to a warm fireplace, reading your favorite books and relaxing your mind. What a simple life. I guess, I would love to retire in a countryside.It must be feeling like holiday everyday. Just laze around in such comfy welcoming ambience. This what I thought when I looked at "Cornwall" country living inspirational room by Laura Ashley.
Though probably the design works better for a cottage by the sea, but I guess I wouldn't mind to have a cottage on the mountain as well.
For everyone that had been wishing me well, thank you, I've made a slow recovery but I'll get there eventually.

(all images are property of

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Another 'too close for comfort' moment

I am always gladly surprised when I look back at how God has blessed me even when I was oblivious. This is another hidden blessing that I do not realize until today. 

I was employed by Adaptec Singapore before we left for the UK. This was August 2005. It was an OK job I suppose. The pay was good and the work was quite interesting. Everything seemed to run well with the company.

I was shocked to discover this press release when I was trying to update my CV today.

Sanmina-SCI today said it would sign a multi-year deal to build PC peripherals for Adaptec Inc. As part of the deal, Sanmina will also take over certain Singapore manufacturing assets and inventory from Adaptec. The deal is expected to close in January, although no financial terms were announced.
Under the agreement, Sanmina-SCI will build data protection, connectivity and storage products for Adaptec. Adaptec will take charges of up to $6 million to cover severance to its Singapore employees.

The news was dated 23rd December 2005, merely 4 months after I left. Thank God that I left before they start retrenching. I wonder what happened to my colleagues....

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

An art work!

Three of us has been really sick since monday night. Mainly fever and cough and sore throat. So, my apology for not updating the blog as often as I wanted. I've been off from work on Tuesday as well as tomorrow (Wednesday), and I didn't attend the Christmas dinner as well... due to the bug. We really appreciate all of your prayer from last week. Unfortunately my husband didn't get through his last interview round with OW. However, it has been a rewarding experience, we had never thought that he can go till the last round considering the market for management consulatancy really bad in London this year (and he had no MBA's whatsoever).
For a break, I let you see this.... wondering who she is?

She is my sister. This is an artwork by our cousin, as an attempt to help her to decide what her next hair style would be.