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.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

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. 

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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