He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving, Moving!

Last 15th Dec 2010 I was driving in the middle of
the night, early morning of the 16th, actually, to pick up my
husband and two teens from the airport, when this was what I encountered: A
house being moved by a prime mover along the small roads in New Lynn and unto
the North-Western Motorway! (Blurred photo taken by my right hand while driving with my
left. ) Whoa,... never seen such a
phenomenon since I was a kid in the Philippines when nipa huts (houses made of
bamboo and dried nipa fronds neatly tied up) were physically moved by a group
of able-bodied men - friends and family members of the owners of the house! There
would be a leader who shouts, “Lift!” when it’s time to lift and move the hut
and “Stop!” when it’s time to have a rest after some steps of moving. It takes
quite some time and lots of muscle and brawn doing this kind of community
effort but there’s a meal to share at the end when the job is done. It’s both
hard work and fun for the whole community. While the men sweat it out, the
women will be preparing the food and the children would be watching and
cheering the thrilling exercise of such a move – a whole house walking on many
feet! We used to call it “ligaw balay” in our local language and it’s known as
“bayanihan” in Tagalog, the Filipino national language. Now, with the advent of
modern technology, such community effort has been replaced by prime movers, at
least in New Zealand!
In the Philippines,
they have altogether given up the idea of moving a whole house. In fact, nipa
huts are fast disappearing, being replaced by the more sturdy and permanent concrete
and planks or concrete and GI (galvanized iron) sheets or tiles.

Our family has been moving house so often that we tend to
look at ourselves as nomads living off our bags. It’s quite unpleasant and
stressful and we do lose or break a few of our things in the process. However,
this last move has stripped us of our material possessions so much that it’s
quite humbling. I have watched a few movies on the Holocaust and I saw another
one, just last night, on board our flight from Auckland to LA via Qantas
airlines, and I am kind of able to imagine how devastating and humbling it must
have been for those unfortunate, yet precious people of God. I won’t dare to
elaborate, as the Holocaust – the literal, total giving over as in a burnt
offering - of the Jewish people, is for me, a solemn event in the history of
the Jewish people, too profoundly painful and private for anyone to casually
talk about. So, in a little way, this, our recent move has done something like
that to the persons of myself and the members of my family – some amount of devastation
and humbling, maybe much, in fact, depending on how we individually got
affected by the experience.

We do not understand why we are moving here to the US at the worse
of times in the financial annals of this country, as well as in terms of
weather – there’s an ongoing national recession in the past year or two and a
local blizzard within the past few days in the northeastern coast where we are
headed. We left Auckland in the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere and
we’re arriving in New Jersey, with a view to settling down in neighboring New
York city, in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere. If we had our
way we would be enjoying tropical weather in Southeast
 Asia from now till March and we would move here only then, when
the winter is safely past. But immigration requires us to enter the US together with our eldest child who has to be
back to his studies in New Hampshire
by 3rd of Jan 2011. Besides that, our second child has to be settled
in a new home in New York,
if she is to be ready to start her college education in a university there by the
end of the same month, January 2011. Just like most people, we would also want
to be in control of our circumstances but more often than not there are other
things that control our moves, and I believe God has got to be very much
involved in all these. He has plans that He is still working out for us and we
don’t understand at the moment, yet have to fully cooperate with Him.

I am not
excited about the prospects of living in a small apartment in New York, of waddling in deep snow,
fully-bundled up, not having a car, with my children in tow. I don’t look forward
to sharing laundry facilities at the basement of an apartment building, or
rushing to catch a bus or train. Being a person who grew up in a small town
near the equator, I don’t look forward to fashionable, cosmopolitan and grimly
cold New York.
But as a friend had voiced it, “You need to do what you have to do for your
children.” Probably, such is what we mothers are for: We have lost all rights
when we became parents, even the right to be sick or tired, or disheartened.
But one thought that encourages me is the fact that God is with us and among
us, and goes ahead of us, wherever we go. May we never lose sight of such a
bright thought. So, let’s keep looking up to Him and here’s to everyone of us,
for a cheerful and bright new year ahead! :-) 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yeshua (Jesus)

I am going through my tons of diary books because I have to throw them away. I have copied excerpts which are important to me and that's about it. I have no hope of keeping those diaries... oh who cares, I hardly read them again anyway.

When the children were growing up, I think in the Christmas of 2006, I made a Christmas Cantata for our Cell Group in K. Lumpur. It was performed by the children in our cell group at our Christmas party at the home of our host family. There was no time to practice so I prepared my two older children to read the narration parts, we practiced the songs before hand and played the tape for everyone to follow at the performance, and the rest was participated by the other children and all the adults, too. I just made many copies so anyone who can read can participate. The songs were in a tape which is still here but we have no tape player anymore. But the script of that Cantata is pasted in one of my diaries:


Yeshua (Jesus)

Two thousand years ago, in the small town of Bethlehem, a baby boy was born to a poor traveling couple.  Many babies are born every day but this one was special. For thousands of years long before His birth, the prophets spoke of Him. The prophecies were recorded and compiled by scribes. Later, His life and teachings were also written by His apostles. All those writings have now been put together into a book. Today we call that book the Bible. This book has changed the lives of millions. Who was this Baby?

A star out of Jacob   A scepter out of Israel   The consolation of Israel God's Holy Child  The Holy One and the Just   The Holy One of Israel    The Holy one of God   THE SON OF GOD    The Son of the Highest   The Son of Righteousness   His name is: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace    The Son of David    The root and Offspring of David  The bright morning star    The LION OF THE TRIBE of JUDAH     The Son of Man    The Fear of Isaac    The seed of a woman, born of a virgin    The last Adam    Conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost The Word of God that Became Flesh  There were angels and shepherds at His birth    Wise men from the East came to worship Him and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh   Born in a stable, laid in a manger    Lord of Glory     Immanuel - God with Us

His birth brought joy to the world but sorrow as well. His birth caused the death of other babies. He had to flee for His life. This child was set for the fall and rising again of many; a sign which would be spoken against.

A light for the Gentiles     The glory of Israel    The arm of the Lord      The Horn of Salvation   The lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world  The Way, the Truth and the Life    Salvation is found in no other name but His name    The Lord our Righteousness A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief    The only Mediator between God and men   Rejected by His own people    God's beloved Son    Despised and rejected of men  The desire of all nations  Rejected of men   He carried our griefs and sorrows    The faithful Son     The faithful Witness  He was wounded for our transgressions     He was bruised for our iniquities     The chastisement of our peace was upon Him    By His stripes we are healed     The Lord our Healer     The author of Eternal Salvation    The author and finisher of our Faith    The Redeemer    The Saviour     The Messiah    The Christ of God   The Rock    The Almighty      The Creator    The Alpha and Omega    The Glory of the Lord     The Light of the World     The Bread of Life    The Image of God     He is called Faithful and True    King of the Jews   King of the Ages    Mighty One    Mighty God   Ruler of kings of the earth    KING OF KINGS     Lord of Lords    

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Mean As Wattie's Peas!"

Dated 28th Nov 2010

My children, especially the two older ones, loved frozen
Wattie’s Peas when we were still in Malaysia. They would snack on it at any
time and although it was a bit pricey I thought it’s a really healthy snack,
so, I was certainly thankful for Wattie’s Peas!

When we came here I realized it’s a Kiwi brand and, just
like most of the things here in NZ, it’s more expensive to buy here than abroad,
although Malaysia only imports this product from here! Hmmm, the intricacies of
economics! And soon, I stopped buying it because my children totally lost
interest in it. When my older boy comes for holiday here I would load the freezer with
bags of it and they hardly get touched by the time he leaves again. Then we
realized, actually, it’s the hot weather in Malaysia which makes Wattie’s Peas
so sweet and delicious over there!! They eat it like eating ice cream or ice
block, to cool down from the Malaysian heat. Because it’s cold almost all the
time here, my children didn’t find it a “comfort food” anymore. Now they are
more into the “warming” foods which comes in the form of fries. I was shopping
at Pak n Save last week when I realized it took us 2 years to make up our minds
on which brand is the best for every “fry product” they eat. I was jogging
through the list in my brain while I was shopping and realized we take four
different brands: Pam’s Chicken Tenders, Watties Thick Cut Fries, Ingham’s
Chicken Tempura Nuggets and McCain’s Potato Wedges. And my daughter voiced out
the very thought that was in my mind: We will have to go through the same
process again in the US to find out which brand of each product we eat would be
the most acceptable to their palate. Two years. Yes, you take at least two
years to do that. And it won’t be just for food items, but also for shampoos,
soaps, cleaning liquids, toilet paper, cleaning accessories like sponges and
vacuum bags, even leggings, lotions, etc, etc. – practically every product we
use. Grrrr… am definitely not looking forward to that!

Annoying as it might be, this is actually just a peripheral
issue. (Annoying as, mean as, bad as, etc as… that’s another thing - learning
local English! It’s only lately that I found out it’s actually “mean as,” not
“mean ass,” or “bad as,” not “bad ass,” etc. :-D Yeah, I actually thought Kiwis
speak mean. :-D
Oh well, two years – took me two years to figure that out!! And to think in my
first year here I could understand only 50% of what they say – mean Kiwi
English!!) Well, yup, peripheral issues!!

The other day, my son was so grumpy going to school on a
Friday morning that I asked him if he had enough sleep the night before. He
said he was just grumpy because he didn’t want to go to America. This was
around the fifth or sixth time he had expressed this, and the most recent time
before this one was his status line in his FB. I knew this was serious and he
needed help.

On the way home from school that day he was quite upbeat
because his class gave him a “good-bye” card signed by almost all his
classmates. I believe it would be his most precious possession, next to his
computer, in the next months, or even years. So, I said, “So Jed, now you
really have to leave because your class already said ‘good-bye’ to you!” And he
said, “Mommy, that’s really dry! Just dry!!” Oooops! He had always said my
jokes are dry but they still laugh about them because “Mommy is just being Mommy”,
but this time, I knew I had struck the wrong chord. So, I said, “Ok (son), we
need to talk.”

That was when I found out how pissed off he was over this
whole thing of moving (again!) especially when he has already found friends,
real friends! He meets up with them or visits them in their homes to play
computer games, eat fish and chips and most recently, play some sport!! After
he has preferred to remain cooped in his room just playing online computer
games for the past two years, this has been a welcome change for me, a breath
of fresh air!! Yes, it took two years for him to find his own circle of
friends, and now, we’re leaving. There was nothing I could do - to persuade or explain about our move - that could
pacify him.  We explored all
possibilities, even that of leaving him with a family friend who has a son who goes
to the same school as his, to be on “home stay” with them. He wasn’t happy with
that because he knows he can’t bear being away from his own family and I would
be thinking of him night and day, him being still so young. But I had made it
clear to him that I, as principal applicant, will have to go to get this
immigration visa for the whole family, and he knows he has to come along with
me. But I was able to come up with a solution to our dilemma: I told him we
give ourselves one year to explore this move. IF after one year, for any reason
at all, he thinks life over there just sucks and isn’t working out for him, I
promised to bring him back here and stay with him until he finishes high
school, which would mean my younger daughter will have to come along with us. Of course, in
the event that happens, the three of us will lose our immigration visas and my
husband will have to petition us three and we’ll repeat the whole process
(again!) , if we three later decide to join them there. I know this sounds
really silly but I had to make this promise just to pacify him and feel good
about moving, or even for him to feel good about taking the Malaysian holiday
together with his older sister, while he misses out on the prize-giving for his class. I
could only praise God when we reached that amicable solution, and I was so
relieved! That pacified him because he knows I always keep my promise. So
there, from the trivial to the critical, the peripheral to the central issues, adjustments
at all levels are going to be made, and I just pray we will survive this move.
For the moment, that is the level of faith I have on this move.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Honour of the 29 at Pike River Mine

Dated 24th Nov 2010

Our family mourns, with the rest of the nation of New Zealand, over the loss of the lives of the 29 miners, after the second blast happened yesterday. May our Lord bless their souls for eternal peace. Our prayers and thoughts are with them, their families, loved ones and friends. They were fathers, husbands, uncles, sons, grandsons, brothers, and friends to many, especially to the people of West Coast. Our thoughts are with you all. Today is indeed, a dark, sad day for all of us.


The 29 killed in the Pike River Coal mine disasterhttp://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/8383356/the-29-killed-in-the-pike-river-coal-mine-disaster/


In honour of the 29 miners, the national flag is at half-mast in my daughter's school today.

One Day in the Life of Famous Me!

Dated 22nd Nov 2010

Two years ago around this time I woke up from a nap just
like I did this evening but I was soooo homesick I wondered why. We had just come
to NZ that time and settling down to our routine here. My husband had gone away
for business and wouldn’t be back for another 8 weeks and I was on my own. It
was a Saturday evening as well and by that following Monday I got the
information from my elder sister that my Mom had fallen very ill that day (Saturday)
and had to be hospitalized the following day, Sunday. Then I understood why I
had suddenly felt so homesick. My Mom was longing for her children. Later that
week she was diagnosed to have colon cancer and ten months later, she passed
away. :(

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like even just one
year down the road and sometimes I wonder what I was doing a year ago. I never
thought that my life would make its twists and turns like it did, all these
years. When I was a newly-married bride in 1988-89 I was studying Japanese with
other foreign students and/or their spouses (I was among the spouses category)
at my husband’s university, Tokyo University. A teacher of ours, who was
Japanese of course, was so proud and happy for her daughter to have the opportunity to be an exchange student in a
city called Auckland. She showed us in the map where Auckland was and she was
so excited about it. I knew mentally where Auckland was but I never thought
that 20 years down the road I would be
living here as well. It’s funny because I feel NZ is very much just like Japan.
The latter is isolated, to a certain extent, culturally from the rest of the
world while NZ, also to a certain extent, is isolated geographically from the
rest of humankind. About a year after that, when we were living in Tsukuba, a city
just outside Tokyo, where my husband was a post-doctoral fellow at the Japanese
Public Works Research Institute, we got acquainted with another post-doctoral
fellow named Greg, and he was from Christchurch. It was from Greg that we
learned that the Kiwi fruit and the Kiwi bird were named after the Kiwis, the
New Zealanders, not the other way around. Before that we have never heard of a
people called Kiwis, only Kiwi fruit and Kiwi bird. :-)

Someday, I’ll be wondering what I was doing around this time
in 2010! So, I thought, maybe I should write a detailed account of what a
typical day is for me, at this point in my life.

Well, yesterday, Friday, I was awakened by my daughter, as
usual. She always wakes up at the first glimmer of daylight, no matter what
time she slept the night before, and that also means she wakes up ahead of me,
all the time. She got up, pulled down my blanket and said, “Mommy, it’s time
for you to wake up!” “Oh, you wake up too early, Joche,” I moaned, pulling up
my blanket again. She insisted that I wake up and tries to pull down my blanket
again. So I said, “Give me five minutes, Joche,” That usually keeps her quiet
for a while but 10-15 minutes later she would pester me again and her chatter
for the day begins: “Today I have what?” “School,” I moaned. “Yaaay!! I go to
school where?” Silence. “I go to Bruce McLa____?” “Bruce McLaren.” “Today I
have what? “School.” “Yaaay!!” etc. And the autistic “conversation” goes
on,  punctuated by my, “(Daughte), stop!”
“Say?” “Just stop it.” “Say?”  Silence.
“Say?” Silence. (louder now) “Say?” … “Do you want a smack?”  “Nooo, don’t!” “Silence, at least for a few
minutes, and then it starts all over again until we get to school.

After I sent her to school I came back and realized on my
way home that I forgot to go to her school’s office to check for myself if
somebody had turned in her school jacket which she lost on Wednesday. So I
resolved to do that when I pick her up after school. I thought losing her
school uniform jacket means that would be one item less for me to think about –
to sell or to give away. But the day before, Thursday, her teacher gave me a
“replacement” jacket for her and it was one size smaller and quite stained. I
washed it that night and it wasn’t quite dry yesterday morning and so I made
her wear her own jumper. Her teacher wasn’t happy with that and daughter herself immediately took it off and kept it in her bag
when she got to school. Oooops. :(

The other night (Thursday night) I actually prayed that we would
find her jacket again. I have retrieved lost items before when I prayed and I
thought, this should be no exception. But I know that in terms of probability,
chances are, it won’t get returned. I remember younger son’s jumper which he lost also
around this time last year when it was getting warmer. He took it off and
dumped it on top of his bag because he was feeling too warm in it while he
played in school. After they finished playing his jumper was gone. Although it
was properly labelled with his name, and I had inquired at their school’s
office, that jumper was never found again. And then there’s the case of my older
daughter’s bag which she checked in at her school’s library. The CCTV
actually recorded the group of girls who took it and although they were
eventually pressured to return all its contents, the cash, her cell phone’s sim
card and the bag itself were never returned. That case was reported to the
police. And then there’s the case of my cap which I threw into the trolley with
my shopping in Pak n Save. By the time I checked out my shopping, it was gone,
though it had a name on it. I left my contact details with their Information
service just in case somebody "picked it up" and returned it but that hat was
never heard of again. So, as far as our NZ experience on lost items was concerned,
the odds o
f finding younger daughter’s jacket again were just against it.

Anyway, I went back home and had my breakfast while I
checked and answered emails, mostly related to our moving activities. I did our
laundry and then it was time to pick up my older daughter. She was having exams yesterday
and she finished early – 12:30pm. By the time we got back I had a few minutes
to start cooking lunch and had a few minutes for a quick nap, or I will fall
asleep while driving. When I looked at the clock I figured I would have twenty
minutes of snoozing time. But ten minutes into my catnap I was awakened by my
daughter’s cries of, “Oh my God, … Oh no… Mommy!!... the nurse!!...” She
sounded so distressed I couldn’t help but wake up and then she really started
sobbing. “Mommy, that nurse, the nice one, named Jane…” (we had talked about
her being so nice before and we remember her so well because she’s my
daughter’s namesake and she had a very British accent), “the one at City Med
who gave the jabs to Daddy and Jed and to me as well, she died!!! She was
cycling on the road and a lorry hit her!!” (You may like to check 19th
Nov., Friday’s headline story about the British nurse working at City Med on
Albert St.) “But she was so nice!!!” Then slowly, recovering from my slumber, I
remembered her sweet smiling face. I thought she was too nice for a nurse, too
pleasant, like transported from another planet. She was the one who took my
blood pressure, weight, etc. but the nurse who gave me my jab was different one. I do remember my husband and son saying how good that “Jane” nurse
was because one of the two jabs she gave them was supposed to really hurt but
when they had it, they thought, “Was that it? It didn’t hurt at all!” She’s
really good at her job. I remember mine was administered by another nurse and
that really hurt. :( She was the very first medical person who “handled”
us in our series of tests related to our Medical Exam that day, and she made
the experience, unexpectedly, a pleasant one. My daughter  was so
distraught over the news… and I thought, what if I’m the mother of this young
woman (she was 27). I would be thinking, “My daughter went so far away on a
working holiday and suddenly I get the news that she’s gone – an accident!" How
tragic. :( O.o
She must be inconsolable. To be honest, I think there are too many of this type of road accidents here in NZ - accidents related to people doing sports on very busy roads. I think people should avoid public roads, especially busy ones, when doing sports. Public roads and sports just don't mix. But then again, I am just a "transplant" in this country. I really don't understand how people here think. But what a great loss of such a beautiful and talented person. Nurses / people like Jane are difficult to come by in this planet. Our family mourn the loss of her. When my older daughter told my older son about "nurse Jane" he said, "She won't be able to do my Med Exam then." :( It was time for us to go to pick my younger daughter up, so, I told
older daughter I had to leave and she better come with me or she will feel worse without
anyone to talk with if she stayed home. So, that’s what she did.


Friends grieve for 'wonderful' nurse


White roses for our wonderful Nurse Jane. God bless her soul.


When we picked younger daughter up from school her teacher said the jacket still
has not been found. I told her that I had washed the replacement jacket and it didn’t
dry up in time in the morning but I will make sure she wears it on Monday. But
this time I remembered to pass by the school office and they allowed us to go
through all the “found” items they stored in a bin. There were so many of those
jumpers, some quite old, like they’ve been there for ages without anyone
claiming them, and a few didn’t even have names. Finally, we got to the bottom
of the pile and I told older daughter, “I don’t think we’d find it. This last one looks
really old.” But alas, to our amazement, the last jacket at the bottom of the
pile turned out to be hers!! I couldn’t quite believe it but older daughter said,
“Mommy, it says “(younger daughter's name)” – she meant the tag which I myself had written on the
brand label. Then I thought, “Wow, God answered my prayers… though I’m really
bad. He hasn’t forgotten me.” :-) It was indeed the coolest thing ever, in ages. God
touched my heart again. I know I don’t deserve it. :-) God is sooo good. :-)

We had lunch when we got home and younger daughter had a long nap. She
slept so long and so deep that we couldn’t wake her up for our Friday night
outing. So, we left her behind with her brother. Older daughter had to do some
shopping for small presents to take back to her friends in Malaysia for their
holiday end of this month. I ended up sitting somewhere in the Mall alone,
until she finished, and the shops had almost closed. She had a quick McDonald’s
dinner (I already had mine at home) and we had a long talk – just a mother and
daughter bonding time together. It’s funny because we had watched Pocahontas 2
the night before and she realized that she liked the love story of Pocahontas
and John Rolfe. (I knew she was identifying herself there because her first
love didn’t turn out well. Another answered prayer!  :-) ) She said she knows why many girls like John Smith
more than John Rolfe… that sequel story was a shocker for young girls like her.
Well, she was much younger when she first saw that movie. She said because the
original movie developed the Pocahontas–John Smith love story so well, it was
disappointing that she ended up marrying somebody else – John Rolfe. But then,
that is actually accurate, historically. It’s just a reality of life! She said,
“John Smith turned out to be a jerk!” :( We talked more about
love stories and marriage and I asked her if she wants to read the blog I wrote
on advice for a lasting marriage (“Soul-Mate or Soul-Grate, 1st Oct
2010), and she blurted out: “But I don’t want YOUR kind of marriage, Mommy!
It’s baaadddd! It’s one of my biggest fears…!!” :-D >.< bwahahaaa and bwahahaaa some
more. I know, I know, I should be the last person to give advice on that, so,
oh well, we had the best laughs that night, in ages! At least this time the
Friday night ended in laughter. The two Fridays previous to this were crying

Disney's Pocahontas and John Rolfe in Pocahontas 2.

So, yes, that’s the typical day of my life nowadays, and you
ask what’s “famous” about me then? Nothing. I’m just pretending to be one!
Bwahahaa!!!:-D :-D

Note: This new MySpace is really bad. I can't even put links in this blog anymore... : ( : ( How primitive it has become.
And the fonts! I can see the my fonts are varied as I set them while editing, but once the blog gets published all the text are in the same font!! Bugger.
(Gripe, ...and gripe some more.) ~.~ O.o

It's Been a Year

 Dated 4th Dec 2010

This bush - in bloom again!

It's been a year. I have been reading my diary and my daughter and I first visited her present school on 18th Nov last year. That time the bush above was in bloom, and now it's in bloom again! I usually park in front of this bush when I drop or pick her up. It can't be seen in the photo but there were birds and bees drinking nectar from the flowers when I took this photo. It's truly a beauty to behold! And it's Spring again. 

(Was able to take a close-up of this bush. There are two birds in this photo; can you see them? Alas, these photos were taken behind my car windscreen.)

On the 24th Nov 2009 when I enrolled her at Arohanui Special School there were many of the above flower blooming on the road in front of that school. I picked one as a memento of that momentous day for us. After all, we worked so hard and waited so long to get the funding to get her enrolled in that special school, not to mention me having to "serve" detention days in a mainstream school, attending it with her every school day for one year and one term. : ( So that was a kind of "day of liberty" for me!?

Incidentally, on the night of that same day I got the email from my sister informing us that we have become eligible to submit our application for immigration to the US. I actually didn't want to read the whole email with all the attachments with it because I was just not ready to think about moving again. Not when we have just settled younger daughter in a school just right for her!!? O.o It's not a matter of liking this place or not, it's a matter of me just tired of moving.

Well, it's been really fast and not only one year is over, it's been two years that we have been here in West Auckland and we have actually only started to learn to get to know this place. Because of the one year and one term "detention" I had in daughter's first school I had so little time to get to know people nor see this place. Besides, it's been lately only that my older daughter decided to change her Friday church routine (Youth Church) to attending church with us on Sundays. That makes her available on Friday nights and gives us the chance to go out as a family on Friday nights, a tradition we used to have in Malaysia.

In the past few months we found out that the Mall doesn't close at 5 pm everyday, but rather only on most days. On Thursdays and Fridays it closes at 9 pm. That's one of the major discoveries we had on our Friday night outings. :-) We find that really odd because in Asia where we come from, malls usually have extended hours on weekends rather than on weekdays. We find it so frustrating that by the time we have finished the chores we need to do at home on weekends, we only have an hour left before the malls close!

When we first came here we went to a mall near our house one late night and we found out that the only shops that remain open until late are the liquor and video shops. So we figured, this is how they chillax on late nights here - they buy booze and borrow a video and then go home and drink while watching the movie?? Hmmm, no wonder there are so many problems related to alcohol here. We also find it very difficult to find a good bookstore.  Also, in Asia, young people hang out at the mall on wekends. Here, they have nowhere to go because the malls close so early. No wonder the youth here are so bored.

But having been set free from "doing time", I discovered a few other things on my own. The Pacifica shops actually sell food that are similar to our Filipino food! Yummm! The best stick bread (baguette) is not found in Pak n Save or Countdown but from a small bakery in front of my daughter's school! You can find lots of cheap and really useful stuff from the "$2 Shop." You can find "small fish" - the kind we eat - from a Filipino shop somehwere away from the malls. Fish and Chips and Meat Pies are not so bad as quick lunches, especially when you're really hungry! >.<

Finally, I also had the chance to take the train from the city! But I guess that would be the first and last, no more chances left. : ( I have also learned to take the bus from my daughter's school to Henderson and to our house, and back!! Whoa! I felt so proud of myself doing that when I dropped my car at the mechanic for repair. But alas, all these we learned only after two years, just when we are about to leave again. : (

So you probably wonder if I'm sentimental about leaving this place? Actually, places are very similar to one another. They all have malls, libraries, parks, resorts, schools, etc. I don't usually get attached to a place. Instead it's the seasons of my life that baffle me, and the loneliness that haunts me anywhere I go. You might meet people and make friends along the way but having the gift of a true friend who can be there when desperately needed is so hard to find. That kind of gift only God Himself can give. That is why, no matter what, no matter where, I am thankful that I have God in my life. So there. Lonely Planet? Rather, I think any place can be the loneliest one on Planet Earth, unless you have God on your side. :-)


BTW, that was some awesome fireworks we saw tonight (not much noise though). We watched it for 45 min. on top of the hill up our road - happy Guy Fawkes! :-)

58 Days

 Dated 31st Oct 2010

58 days is all I have left. That’s all I have left for West Auckland, for New Zealand, for the Southern Hemisphere. Most likely, I will never pass this way again. Although I have this pattern of visiting / living in a place twice, there had been a few places, too, where I never went back again, so far. I have no family in this city. I have a cousin in Wellington but he’s here on a work permit which can expire anytime and he’s single. We never even got to seeing each other in the two years my family and I have been here. Although the government of New Zealand has granted my family indefinite returning visas (unconditional permanent residency), which means we can always come back and live here anytime, we really have no practical reasons to come
back. We had gone as far south as Wellington and we had planned to visit the South Island this past school holidays but because of the recent, huge Canterbury earthquake we decided to let it pass. So, if ever we come back it would probably just to see the South Island, which is really a remote thing, because it would cost us a lot of money to travel back here and there are
always other similar places we haven’t seen and would like to visit, if all we want is just a holiday. Probably, the only reason we would ever come back here is if we find that life in the Big Apple is not the kind of life we want and we would like to go back to the Wilderness. But then again, we can always go back to our own Jungles in Southeast Asia.

Seagulls at our neighbourhood park, "here today and gone tomorrow."

58 days. I never thought that when my elder son booked his ticket for the 28th of Dec. to go back to school, all our future plans would be pegged to that date. I am just so thankful that the Consulate here agreed to reschedule our interview to an earlier date, so my husband can be with us and we all do the interview together, except of course for my older son, because that actually bought us 18 more days to prepare for that exodus on the 28th ofDec. That gives us 18 more precious days to plan, pack
and say good-bye to our dear friends here in Auckland.

Birthday party decors, "here today and gone tomorrow."

We always thought it would be forever. When our family finally moved into our own property 5 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, we thought that would be home for us till we pass on from this earth. But only one year later we realized we needed to move because of the political upheaval in that country, our younger children’s education, especially the two youngest ones,and for me, that somehow the way of life in a Western country would give me the chance to work outside the home again, if and when our youngest is settled in a happy, secure place when I am out at work. That was when we started the works on coming here.

When we came here we had such great hopes, that this too would be home forever for us. But just some months into our stay here, I for one, realized this may not really be home forever for us after all. My husband had considered wrapping up his business in KL and audaciously plunging in here, finding a job and making it work, so we can all be together as a family. But I had always had my reservations. I thought we better keep our other foot outside of this country because if and when we decide we want to move out in the future, it would be very difficult for us to get out again with no longer that other foot outside New Zealand. Months into our move here, our children started thinking that New Zealand is a place for old people, and they plan to move out and work in some other place when they finish their education here. So I thought, why would I want to settle down here “till kingdom come,” if my children and grandchildren are not going to be here? That’s how I knew, this was still not going to be home forever for us. And just one year after we came here the way to go to the US suddenly opened for us. Actually, with my eldest son turning 21 just 5 months from now, anyone can see that this was all God’s plan and gracious way for us. If that visa opportunity came any later than it did, my eldest child would have missed out (he can’t come along with me, being the main beneficiary of this immigrant visa petition, if he’s already over 21). And we badly need this immigrant visa for him to stay in the US after his graduation next year, if we are to succeed in keeping him out of Malaysia (which is another story altogether). This and all the other details related to this move, too many to enumerate, only show that we are recipients of God’s mercy and grace, none
short of a miracle.

A beautiful sunset image in front of our house, "here today and gone tomorrow."

But 58 days is all I have left; 58 of the 819 days I was granted by God to live here. It’s not even a thousand days! It feels really short but we have lived shorter in another city before – in Tsukuba, Japan. So this shouldn’t feel that strange either. But definitely, it’s the shortest we have lived in a country. And we thought it would be forever.

It was never my ambition to travel far and wide. I never planned my life this way. It was more of just being driven by the tides of life to wherever it would take me. I’m not the kind of person who loves to travel. I just want a simple, settled and quiet life. My husband is a different kind of person though, but probably that’s just how God meant it. Thus, due to this constant moving element in our lives, I have learned to stop thinking this
would be forever, because now I know it won’t be. Instead, I have learned to travel light.

View of the sunset from our window, "here today and gone tomorrow."

I wish I can do the same thing with relationships though. This part about meeting and parting with people every time we move is probably the hardest part of our nomadic family life. I wish I can just “travel light” too, when it comes to people. This is the part where I still have to learn a lot. I have made friends in Thailand and Japan with people who hardly speak English. Maintaining such friendships through letters has been impossible, despite the high tech communication systems that have come about in the last 10-20 years. I do have many friends who don’t even have email to this day. Sometimes, a face-to-face conversation is just irreplaceable. Probably, this has been the hardest part of our nomadic lives, especially the parting part. It’s easy to make friends, and enemies, but parting is another thing. But I am thankful more than ever that I have God in my life to take care of that part, too, more than any other part of my life, in this my earthly journey. He has always proved faithful and true in everything, and that includes the parting and leaving part. It really is just a matter of letting go and leaving it in His hands, all the time. It’s really just a matter of faith. STILL, it’s never easy; definitely not as easy as just packing up stuff or giving them away. Maybe because unlike personal belongings, which may be irreplaceable, people and feelings are way more precious and fragile.

So there, 58 precious, fragile and ephemeral days to say good-bye.

Not even King Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like this: "Here today and gone tomorrow."

The lamp post to Narnia Land? ;-) (Yeah, I wish I can just go through the "wardrobe" in the "spare room" to get to West Auckland, New Zealand, whenever I feel like it, when we have left this place. )

Oh, and yeah, Happy Halloween. I still remember our first Halloween here, and we were only one month here in Auckland. It was a novelty having children dressed in costumes coming to our house for trick or treat. We don't have that in SE Asia. We were so unprepared we ran out of candy! Oh well, that's another story...

And oh, yeah, it's not only good-bye friends but good-bye Waitakere as well, today. Viva Waitakere  was a great event at Henderson Park! They had lots of exhibits, things for sale and people in costumes. We bought environment-friendly shopping bags for souvenirs. We're gonna miss these Westie bogans. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gambler Story

Dated 25th Oct 2010

That’s my oldest profile pic above. It was my original
profile pic here in MySpace but nobody really uses family pics for profiles here,
so, I soon took it down and changed it to my favourite Emma anime pic. And
really, MySpace came ahead of Facebook so, although that’s my current profile
pic in FB, it’s just a “transfer” there.

BTW, my younger son was surprised that I still use MySpace.
He said, “You’re cool, Mom, you still use MySpace!!!!! I haven’t really
seriously used it, ever, really.” Haha, I know, I made his MySpace account for
him 3-4 yrs ago when I made mine, and he never actually used it. So, I don't know if he meant that, or was being sarcastic?? So why am I
still in MySpace? Because when I feel like writing something but not wanting
anyone to comment on what I wrote, I find that this is the perfect place! I
just hope it doesn’t close down though, because I have blogged here for years,
so if they do, I’ll have lots of blogs to move, or lose! :(

And then there’s this "Forever Alone" meme my kids are
talking about. My younger son said all of us in the family, except his dad,
would fit into that mould because we’re all "forever online"!!! Bwahahaaa!

Ok, back to my Gambler Story…

My (ex)-profile pic above reminds me of the Gambler
Story which my family and I laugh about, whenever we remember it, and usually
it’s when we see that picture above. Eight
years ago we went to Genting Highlands (in Malaysia) for a
holiday. We had been there a few times before so we were quite familiar with
the place and we have a favourite hotel in that mountain resort. Awana Hotel is
located near the base of the hill and we either take a cable car from there to
get to the top, or drive. One particular time, whether on the holiday when this
photo was taken or not, I am not sure, we took the cable car up. There are two
theme parks, one indoor and one outdoor, on top of the hill, plus a notorious
casino popular to tourists, especially Singaporeans. There are many resorts and
hotels in the area and plenty of things to do – horseback riding, swimming, camping,
hiking, golf, gaming and of course, going through all the rides in the
theme parks, which we usually do.


Taking the cable car can be both exciting and interesting
because of the mountain sights you get to see, but it’s also scary, especially
when it stops in the middle of nowhere and it swings with every blow of the
wind. :( There can be interesting people on board with you, too. One time we
rode together with a group of young male foreigners who seemed to dress and
look alike in terms of height, build, hairstyle, and reserved manners, and they
spoke a foreign language. So we asked where they were from. They said they’re
from Nepal and they were on
holiday from Brunei. Then it occurred to me that they were Gurkhas. The Sultan of Brunei has Gurkhas
for his special guards.

Sometimes there are so many people that the cable cars have
to go full-capacity all the time. One time we decided to come down a bit early
from the hilltop and we were separated into two cable cars. My older daughter
remembers that ride quite clearly and apparently my husband was with our sons
and I was with our daughters. Besides us and maybe a few others in the cable
car, there was a slightly-built, quiet, quite-adult, Chinese male passenger.
The ride went smoothly but somewhere, in the middle of the descent, the car
stopped in mid-air, for quite a long period, until we felt uncomfortable. I
expressed my anxious thoughts and the Chinese male passenger said, “Don’t
worry, this happens all the time. It will start moving again in a while.” So I
asked him if he went there often as it seems he knew the cable car routine
quite well. He said, “Yeah. I am a ______.” I didn’t hear the last word he said
as the thin mountain air makes you a bit deaf, like when you’re in an airplane,
and he also had a strong Chinese accent. So, I said, “Oh, you’re a hiker.” “No,
I’m a ______.” “Oh, you’re a camper.” “No, I’m a _______.” I was already
feeling embarrassed for not catching what he said two times but I still had to
make a guess so, I said, “Oh, you’re a golfer!” “No, I’m a ______.” I probably
heard him earlier but I just couldn’t, probably, quite believe that somebody
would actually call himself, as such, that’s why I didn’t dare say what I
thought I heard. But this time, hmmm, I thought, I better just say it or the
embarrassment would go on forever. “You’re a gambler?” “Yeah, I’m a gambler.”
(Silence.) “Oh.” (More silence.) “So you’re a professional gambler?” “Yeah.”
(More awkward silence.) “Uhm, so, can you actually make a living from gambling?
Do you file income tax?” I queried with a nervous smile. “Well, I have made
some and lost some… I have probably financed a whole stretch of road somewhere in the
developments here - from my losses.” Now I didn’t know whether he was bragging or
telling the truth but I remember we had a good laugh about that. “So, what’s
your secret of success in your profession? I know there really are professional
gamblers but I never thought I would ever meet one. Are you from Singapore? How
often do you come up here?” “I’m Malaysian and I come here two or three times a
week. The secret is discipline. You leave when you know you have to leave. The casino’s only
hope is for their gamers to keep on playing. That’s how they get them to lose
all their money - to keep them playing. That’s why for me, I leave when I have
made my money. That is the secret – to leave when you know it’s time to leave.”
He said many more details that defy my memory now but I remember he talked
animatedly and quite happily about his profession. I also remember expressing
my concern that many people have been “destroyed’ by gambling, so, I said, “You
must be really good in this.”

Our trip down soon ended and we never saw him again but to
this day we still remember that Gambler Story because of the seeming deafness I
had when somebody told me to my face that he was a Gambler! :) Yes, and that is
the joke, my seeming deafness, most likely due to unbelief, that somebody would
actually own up to be a Gambler… uhm, Lame?

Auckland University

Dated  13th Oct 2010

My older daughter is in the process of applying to universities for her college education which commences next year. Auckland University is the most logical choice we think, as her parents, but she doesn't like the idea of studying in a school environment located right smack in the middle of the city. Today we had to send in some documents in conjunction with her application. Because it's the last day of submission we went there to bring the documents ourselves. It was a good chance for us to investigate the school location. We thought it was quite nice and pretty but I also do think that it's being in the center of the city, with buses and cars passing by the school buildings, is not a very conducive environment for studying. That's the reason why her first choice is Otago University, although Otago is ranked lower than AU. As to whether she will eventually go to either one of these universities still remains to be seen, by early next year. Meanwhile, here are some photos I took at the AU campus in town!

Detail of the ceiling of the Clock Tower in AU.

The Clock Tower of AU from across the street. It's funny because it was so well-covered by trees, we had to ask a student where it was since the Student Information Centre is located there. He showed us the entrance and it was just a few steps from where we were. :-)

This is the entrance to the office we went to.

Apparently this is a lecture theatre and passers-by like us can see the students sitting inside attending the lecture. This is still part of the Clock Tower building.

The Student Centre where the AU students can have their meals, hang around with friends, buy books from the school bookstore and use the Computer Quiet Centre. It was a cloudy-drizzly day and the lighting was very poor.

This is still inside the Student Centre.

This one was taken at Albert Park which is located just opposite of AU, across Princes St.

Another shot from Albert Park.

Still from Albert Park.

What Are the Odds?

Dated 9th Oct 2010

                           Our dog Storm with a few days old kitten Onyx.

We’ve been here in Auckland 2 years now and there’s an
interesting story I have always wanted to write related to our move here, but
never got down to doing so. Probably today I might get it down on paper, at

In preparation for our move here, a former neighbour of ours
named Joyce (we moved away from that neighbourhood two years before we made the
move from K. Lumpur to Auckland), gave me a name and email to contact before
coming here. It was also this same Joyce who gave us their dog, which became
our first and last family dog - Storm. She said I should email J___ (and her
husband Cl____) who were once her church-mates and have moved here many years
ago. J___ and Cl____ also lived around the same neighbourhood in K. Lumpur before
they moved here. In the last two months prior to our move I was so busy packing
and giving away things, and caring for 4 children who had chicken pox one after
the other, that it was J___ who eventually emailed me and invited us to their
church here in Auckland – Life Church in Mt. Eden Rd.

So, the first week after we arrived here we attended their
church and also the Life Group they host in their house in North Shore. They
have a very warm and friendly fellowship and they themselves are a lovely couple who have two beautiful teenagers. As we talked we found out that J___ has a first cousin here and that first cousin and her husband came to know the Lord Jesus only when they moved here about 7 years ago, with their four kids. Their Life Group and J___'s family were very much instrumental to their conversion to Christianity. J___ and her husband were also once building contractors but in the latter years they have both settled down with administrative jobs in very stable establishments. But a token of their building business is the beautiful, spacious house they are living in now, for they had it built through their company before they decided to take up jobs.

The following Sunday we visited a Baptist church in St.
Lukes upon the invitation of family friends, friends of ours since our
Singapore days (early 90’s). As part of our church-hunting, the Sunday after
that I suggested we visit another church suggested by K___ who was also one
of our ex-neighbours in K. Lumpur, in the same neighbourhood as Jo___’s. The
church was Fusion Church in Pah Road, Royal Oak. So, all five of us bundled
into the car early that Sunday morning because their service starts early –
something like 10am. And as usual, we were late, probably 30 min. late. Anyway,
we managed to slip into one of the back rows with my younger daughter and me going
in first, followed by our two teens and my husband. It’s the kind of service
that’s similar to what I used to attend in the prayer house in Malaysia – a lot
of waiting on the presence of the Lord. I had expected my family wouldn’t like
it but I had to attend their service even just once, so I can tell my friend K___
that I had actually tried out the church she suggested. A few minutes into the
service my older daughter said she and her brother want to go to Life Church
instead, in Mt. Eden, where the service starts at 11am. It was a bit late but
if they really wanted to go, they wouldn’t really miss a big part of the
service. By that time my younger
daughter was already falling asleep in my lap and so I challenged her by
saying, “See if your dad will drive you there and then you come back for me and
____(my younger daughter) when the service is over there.” And so, she did, and my husband, with hesitancy and some annoyance, and a big questioning look, went with our
two teens to drive them to Life Church. My younger daughter slept through most of the service
and we talked a bit with one or two people in that church after the service,
and then my husband came to fetch us.

I was expecting he would be so annoyed
that he was kind of forced to drive the teens to Life Church and then come back
again for us. Instead, he was happy and very excited. He told me that he met
two people he knew in Life Church, and for us that time, being strangers in this
new place, that was a very welcome event! One was a former colleague of his
with whom he worked in a former company and he knew that person and his family
had moved here, but he didn’t have contact with him, so he didn’t know where in
NZ they are and it was a very pleasant surprise meeting him in Life Church that
morning. The other person he met was a town-mate of his whom he had never seen
since his boyhood days. His name was "A___." My husband’s parents had told him
about A___ and his family having moved here many years ago but they didn’t know
exactly where in NZ they are. A___’s parents also, had told A___ that my
husband and his family (that’s us) are coming here but they didn’t know exactly
in which city in NZ. And now here they are bumping into each other in Life
Church! A___, being so excited, wanted to have lunch with us but because it was
already lunch-time and my husband still had to fetch us from Fusion Church,
they decided that we should have dinner together instead. We went to Mt. Eden for lunch and we met them there too (!) but they were going to Subway and we were going to our favourite Chinese resto.  So, we agreed to meet in a restaurant half-way to both our houses for dinner that night.

In the course of the lovely dinner they bought for us they
told us that they moved here about 7 years ago, they became Christians here and
that C____, the wife of A___, has a cousin here and it was she and her family
who introduced them to Christianity. C____ also said that the same cousin lives
in North Shore and they built their own house. And then it dawned on me… what
are the odds, it can’t be a different person – North Shore, built their own house,
another Malaysian, so, in shock I said, “Huh? Is your cousin J ____????” And she was just as astonished,
“How do you know my cousin????” She said, in fact, it was J___’s birthday that
day and she hadn’t greeted her yet. And so, that night, on the way home I
texted J to greet her a happy birthday and she was like, “How did you know
my birthday????”

The reason I remembered this interesting story again today
is because a week ago we were in C___’s and A___’s house. Although we had
tried to continue attending the Life Group in J____and Cl____’s house in
North Shore, it had been tedious for me driving whenever my husband wasn’t
around, and we eventually just gave up going. We eventually moved to a
different church, much closer to where we live, but we have remained close to
C____ and A____ and their family. They too live in West Auckland where we are
and somehow, we never run out of things to talk about. :-) We have dinner in
their house every 2-3 months and they come to our house for New Year or
birthday parties. In fact, on our 22nd wedding anniversary last Friday
we were at their house for dinner, though we didn’t tell them the date was
significant for us. This family has become the closest friends we have here in
Auckland. They are blessings to us and it was all by a stroke of God’s hand. It
is what I would undoubtedly call a Divine Appointment.
We haven't bumbed into them in church again after that incident. It's a big church and they have three services and we eventually moved to evening service before we finally changed church. And to think my husband was not even
supposed to be in Life Church that morning!! Had our teens not insisted, we
probably would have taken a long, long time to know them because although they
and J___’s family attend the same church, they have their own Life Group here
in West Auckland and C___ and J____ hardly see each other anymore. In fact, we
got them and their children together in our house on our New Year’s party that year that we met.

So what are the odds indeed? Three days ago, on the 5th
Oct., the much-delayed needs assessment for my special needs daughter was
finally conducted, by a worker from Taikura Trust, and she said she lives in GB.
Of all places! I said I know only one family who lives in GB (and we still
don’t know many families here in the whole of Auckland). And she said, “On
which road?” When I mentioned the road, she asked, “What number?” And it turned
out that C___ and A___ live just 5 numbers away from her, which means they are
just 2-3 houses away from each other. What are the odds???? I know I may never
have to deal with her again after the assessment was done but I said, “If I
want to say ‘hi’ to you I can just ring your bell whenever we visit our friends
in GB!” What are the odds????

And just the thought of all these incidents reminds me of
the wonderful friends we had in K. Lumpur, and how God had made
sure we have them here as well. Although we stayed in that neighbourhood for
only 6 years, Jo___ and her family became close to us. We had other neighbours
too but we just warmed up to each other. They were the kind of neighbours we
could exchange dishes with. Her mom makes delicious Nyonya dishes which we
loved and they too loved my lasagne and brownies, choc cake, etc. They lived
just behind us and they could see our bedroom and kitchen lights and they could
tell whether my husband stayed up the whole night working or I cooked a party
dinner overnight. In fact, we passed dishes to each other just over the fence.
And now that reminds me, Jo___ was asking for my fried rice recipe which has
yam (taro) in it… I need to get back to her now!! (And gee, it’s late. My
daughter has to go to bed.):-) Good night!

Nyonya Culture, Food

(114 days ago):
Yes, what are the odds?? Three days ago we had our medical exam and the medical technologist who took our blood samples is a Filipino who lives just off the road where C___ also lives, in GB!! We exchanged addresses and phone nos., that's how we found out. In fact she claims she has seen C___ taking out their rubbish bags on rubbish collection days and their house is just next to the bus stop. And I said, "Yes, their house is right next to the bus stop!" "So, they're Malaysian," she said. Hmmm, now I have a friend in GB and have two acquaintances who live in her neighborhood. And we have so few friends here in Auckland. Really, what are the odds? :-D >.<

Monday, December 6, 2010

100% Pure and Natural New Zealand

Dated 16th September 2010

One "natural" thing about New Zealand is that the birds here are actually not afraid of humans. When we go picnicking they would be hovering close by for scraps and crumbs
and stay so near us they would actually share a meal with us on the picnic table if we let them! In the countries where we lived before birds don't do that. They would stay as far away from humans as possible. In the Philippines, where I come from, no bird bigger than a
sparrow would be seen in the wild anymore. Anything bigger than a sparrow has already been shot with a sling, cooked and eaten.

Last Monday I went to shop at my favourite Oriental shop here in
Auckland. After the embarrasing incident I had there with my younger
daughter I decided to stop bringing her along. That means being able to
shop there only on weekdays, not weekends anymore

After I finished shopping I needed to go to the loo. My favourite place
to go to when nature calls in that part of town is the Burger King
outlet just one block away from it, on the same way I take to go home. Its toilet is always clean and the salesclerks don't bother whether the people using it  actually patronize the shop or don't. Then I got tempted with the thought of my favourite beef burger with mushroom topping combo for a high-calorie breakfast!! But I had lots of left-over vegetarian food at home! So, I was debating... piss and eat or hold and drive. Then "Ting" - bright idea lightbulb lights up - save the money!! That would be about $10 saved, so, "hold and drive" it was!!

When I got home I quickly unloaded the car and locked the boot. But I had to pee quick, so I forgot to close the garage door... went straight to the loo and, lo and behold, I needed to clean my toilet a bit and that's what I did!!

On my way out of the bedroom I picked up my laundry pile and went back to the garage to load it into the washing machine. Hmmm, fresh cold air in my face... shux! my garage door was still open! I dumped my laundry into the machine, closed the garage door and while putting in the detergent into my washing I heard some pecking noise coming from my living room. Hmmm, sounds creepy, like there's somebody in my house!!! If it's a burglar I thought it must be trying to get in through my living room window! So, I went to check, looked out of my kitchen window to see if there's anyone near my living room window, but there was no one,... or nothing rather. I went to my living room and shoved the curtain aside and what  do you think, a bird!! A brown, long-tailed bird which I usually see in my garden. It wasn't an ordinary sparrow, it was much bigger than that. It ran here and there, flew, scampered and pooped on the carpet next to the window. It flew to my kitchen so I opened my livingroom window wide. Then I followed it to my kitchen where it scampered, flapped its wings against the glass panels and panicked some more, making more poop on my windowsill! I opened my kitchen window wide, but just like all the bugs and flies that get trapped in our house, the poor Kiwi winged creature didn't know how to fly out through an open window! I opened the smaller window nearest to it and it still didn't know what to do! So I took my dust pan, scooped the poor bird up with it and literally threw it out of the small window! For a moment I was tempted to actually scoop it up with my own hands so I could feel its soft feathers before I set it free but it looked so frightened, I didn't want to give it a heart attack. (If it was an Asian bird it would know exactly where the fresh air was blowing from and just fly out of the open window  nearest to it!)

And then what? That meant I had to deal with the poop tracks it left behind all over my house. I spent the next 30-40 min. of my precious life brushing every stain and dropping off my carpet, with soap and water. While I was at it, I thought, "How did it get in? Did we open one of the windows last night and forgot to close it and it was trapped in our house the whole night? But I would have seen it this morning before we left for school." It was only later I realized that most likely it flew through the open garage door in the few minutes I was in the loo, and from the garage it flew into our living room. What a daring bird!!? NZ birds actually do that!!

Later, I also thought, hmmm, "wrong decision." I should have spent my time leisurely munching on burger and fries and drinking fizzy drink in BK while watching other people eat and muddle by, rather than spend that same time squatting to clean my carpet!! Maybe if I had chosen to "pee and eat" rather than "hold and drive" I wouldn't have been in such a rush to go to the loo when I got home and I would have closed that garage door! That $10 and time spent would have been worth it all! Maybe, just maybe. 

Later that day, on our way home from school, when I told my children my "story for the day," my older daughter said, "Mom, your life is so exciting even though you are just a housewife!"  >.< O.o

Oh well, whatever....

My older daughter feeding chips to a peacock in the wild in Shakespear Park, 2009. (If it died, it would be the chips!!) The peacock was making chicken-like noise coming to us for food and we didn't have anything but chips!!

Seagulls hovering over Joche as she ate her McDonald's food in Long Bay Beach, Jan. 2010.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Procrastinators, Unite - Tomorrow!"

Dated 14th Aug 2010

That's not my original quote; it's a slogan from a T-shirt, according to the devotional book I'm reading today. ngyaangyaaah!! :-)

Psalm 119:60 "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands."

Nice one, that's for procrastinators like me. They say the best way to beat procrastination is to do the most important task first. So, bye... I better be vacuuming my car now... :-D ngyaaangyaaah again.

Ok, let's change topic for a while...

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2)

So, what gifts and talents have been entrusted to you? You must use them faithfully. Maybe it is motivational skills? (Encouraging losers you say??) Or artistic talents? (Designing someone's poster you mean???) Or computer savviness??? (You gonna help a friend debug his computer???) Or maybe it's the task of making sure you take out the rubbish bag on Fridays when the rubbish  truck comes to collect it. :( (Wonder when my son will ever remember doing his task. Finally, this week, the bag never got to the truck. We'll be stuck with it for a week!!) Nah, am not here to gripe, so,... what's your talent man?  Think about it and just go for it! You must prove faithful!! :-D Yeah, I think mine is just cooking, cleaning, washing and "pushing" my kids around. :-)

Muggy day, really muggy. Wish I can actually go out for a walk coz it means there's no sun!! But someone's just woken up from a nap and now I have to make sure she eats her meal. Bye and cheers for a wet weekend (at least for me)!! :-)

And the Winner is... Samoan!!!! :D

Dated 3rd August 2010

Waaah… Apparently, due to the recession, the car shop
servicing our car closed down. The company folded up three months ago. Suddenly,
I am faced with the daunting task of looking for a good mechanic in this city, by myself, on my own. I went
through the traditional process of getting recommendations from friends for a
good mechanic, instead of just walking into any mechanic shop I see. First I asked
our Malaysian friends. A friend living near us referred me to a mechanic which
is just near our neighbourhood. I thought, ok, that’s good. I really don’t want
to go too far. The only thing is, the guy couldn’t figure out what was the
error code coming up on my car screen. He just mumbled some explanations on
what he did but later he asked me, “When did the engine icon start coming up?”
And he also asked whether it was on all the time or whether it came on and off,
etc. Then I realized this guy doesn’t know what’s wrong with my car. He said
they just erased my car’s memory and if the icon comes up again I should bring
the car back to him. If the error code coming up is the same he will fix it
again and won’t charge me extra. But if the error coming up is different he
will, of course, charge again. The next day the icon came up again. So, I
thought, if I bring it back to him, he still won’t know what to do with it and
he might just end up charging me more and I still don’t get the problem fixed. It
would just be a waste of time and money.

Later, I talked with our property manager and asked if by
any chance she knows of a good mechanic in our neighbourhood and all she could
come up with was this same guy in our area. She also said there is actually no
mechanic in the commercial area near my house. And then she gave me a number of
a “mobile mechanic” but when I called the guy he said he’s too busy and too far
away to look at my car.

So, I thought, ok, on to the next set of friends – my Filipino
friends! I only have one Filipino friend in our area and she referred me to a
guy who was once a mechanic, who, 25 years ago was managing the same shop I
last went to! He’s no longer in that business so he referred me to a mechanic
in K. He said the guy’s the best this side of town. Haha… When the guy saw
me at his shop he was talking with two other guys and he said, “Give me a
couple of minutes,” which became maybe 10-15 min. Then when he talked to me
again he told me to park my car in the same place where a car was coming out
from, so, I said, “Ok.” And after I parked, he was gone and I waited for
another 10-15 min with nobody talking to me…. I asked one assistant of his and
he said the guy’s just upstairs and will be back soon…, etc. I waited again and
just when I felt like leaving he came down and told that same assistant to
finally test my car. The guy did an electronic test on my car and he said that
the result says nothing is wrong with my car and he removed the icon (which
means he erased the memory of my car again) and told me the same thing… come
back if the icon comes up again. And he charged me for that testing as well!

Of course, the icon came up again even before I reached
home but I couldn’t go back because it was time to pick up my kids from school.
I knew I was conned and that second mechanic doesn’t know my car’s problem
either. So I thought, forget about feeling sick over being conned, I've got to get this thing done. Now it’s time to ask friends from Joche’s school.
So, apparently this Samoan guy teaching there knows of a good mechanic just
around that area. He referred me to a shop just down the same road as my
daughter’s school and the guy loaned me his car and attended to my problem at
once! Now that is what I call service! And he diagnosed and fixed the problem
as well, no sweat - piece of cake.

So, between a Malaysian, Filipino and Samoan referral, the
winner is… Samoan!!! Bwahahaaa!!! Really, I’m just glad that that car headache
is solved now, after more than a week hovering over my head. Phew!! That also means I
have found a reliable guy who can fix my car problems and do my WOF as well. God
is good and I feel so blessed today!!! :-)


Smile! God loves you and me. ^____^

About Me

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D