Pourquoi pas?

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Archive for the category “this is my life”

for God all things are possible!

One line in today’s lectionary echoes loudly to me: “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27b) — The reason being that I have just witness (again!) how God made things possible in my own life.

The story goes… my contract for the apartment I was staying in is ending on the 15th of October. On the 1st, I e-mailed the person responsible to ask if an extension might be possible. I never heard back from her. On the 8th, I got an appointment set-up for the compulsory checking of the apartment on the 15th. So I panicked and e-mailed again. The reply was “we’ll have to see…” now mind you this is Geneva and it is SUPER hard to find nice affordable accommodation. I started browsing ads that afternoon, just checking out my options, so to say.

Tuesday morning as I woke up, I felt like I had to go on glocals (the website I was checking out), so I did. There was a fairly new ad on the classifieds about a room in a villa in the area where my apartment was. I decided there’s no harm in sending out a message and did so. A few hours later, I got a reply from the girl who put up the ad and got an appointment to see the place on Thursday.

Now mind you, the way these things go if you don’t really know is that even if you had an appointment and you really love the place and are willing to pay, the owner/landlord/landlady/regie/whatever still has the last say of whether you get the place or not. After all, there might be a dozen people lining up for the place. So, usually, you have to have several options and several appointments and hopefully then be lucky/charming enough to get it. Which is why my friends thought I was insane in only having ONE appointment especially given the urgency of my situation.

Thursday afternoon, I finally got a reply that I could actually keep the apartment until the end of the month, so I was in a bit of a dilemma. However, I finally decided to go ahead and visit the place I was going to visit anyway because who knows what might happen and in any case I need to be sure I have a place for the four months extension (more on that later, I hope).

Arriving at the place, the first thing I noticed was a name on the mailbox. A person I know. Talk about coincidences! I went in and met with the lady of the house and she showed me around. I did like the room to begin with based on the photos and while the other conditions are not as cool as having you own apartment I thought it was doable. So, now I just need to convince her to take me.

She asked me to sit down and asked where I work. When I told her, she immediately lightened up. Her husband apparently used to work for the WCC! Now that’s another “coincidence”! As the conversation continues, she basically informed me that the room is mine should I decide to take it and that it’s up to me when I want to move in, etc. and so just like that, I got a new place to stay.

I started moving yesterday with the help of a good friend and spent my first night. Today, I was cleaning my apartment to make it presentable for the checking on Monday, and as I was doing that and got super tired I thought “I want to go home!” — and that should tell you how much I like my new place already.

I am still amazed when I look at the timeline how quickly all this happened, and of course having heard stories of so many problems in trying to find a place to stay in Geneva, I can only say that it is indeed God who makes all things possible.

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Just some random (but highly memorable) dinner moments

So we had a Mac&Cheese dinner gathering at Daph‘s place today… And here are some of the random memorable moments of the night πŸ˜‰

—————

Daph (to her 2,5 y.o. son): K, come here please, you need to have your dinner!
K: No, I’m playing football with the big people.

—————

K was having his dinner in front of the laptop where my phone was also charged. We were waiting for M and I thought if he doesn’t find his way to Daph’s he would probably call. So…
Me: K, when my phone rings you call me, ok?
K: yes, when M is here!

—————

T and M said something at the same time…
T: Jinx! Now he can’t say anything until someone says his name! Haha. So, nobody says his name, please…
(conversation happening between me and T… And I was trying to call K over… Less than a minute later…)
T: Stop trying to make K say M’s name… Oh, whoops!

—————

T and I were getting ready to practice our mime that will be presented as a reflection at the chapel on Friday and K was playing, standing right where we were going to do the mime.
Daph: K, come here, they’re going to educate you, darling…
K: Okay, I’m going to shoot them!

—————

Daph: (telling something to her husband about K)
Daph’s husband: I really like this truck…
Daph: you like all his toys.
Daph’s husband: no, but isn’t this just the coolest truck ever? It’s so colourful. If I had a truck, I would definitely paint it in these colours.

—————

We were talking about age differences between husbands and wives… And how far it could go and all that…
Daph: look, M is 20, so his girlfriend should be born now!
Daph’s husband: No, not girlfriend, future wife!
T: well, M, you might want to start practicing… ‘hey, baby!’ πŸ˜‰

—————

M came with an onion he bought cause he needs it to cook something. On my way home, I realized I didn’t see him bring it back with him, so…
Me texting M at 22:17 — did you bring the onion?
M texting back at 22:19 — no, realized that 2 min ago!
(guess we jinxed the onion!)

—————

I just love you people!!

Anymore moments to add??

Happiness is when…

I wasn’t feeling well last night, so I texted my supervisor and my colleague, telling them that I’m cancelling my plan to go to Basel to see the carnaval.

I sat curled up with my snuggle blanket on my balcony, sipping hot chocolate, staring at the stars.

I went to bed cuddling with my two microwavable teddy bears (the world’s best invention!).

Woke up at around 10 this morning. Made myself some sandwiches for breakfast. Had a cup of tea.

Read a chapter of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Had another cup of tea.

Sent out the apology e-mail.

Danced around like mad — in my pajamas, with the blinds down — to Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.

Sorting through my stuff in order to clean the apartment.

Having cereal for lunch/teatime.

I haven’t felt this good for the longest of time πŸ™‚

Happy 27!

Hi!

JUMP here writing to report on the event of Aiko’s birthday!

First of all, Aiko has a tradition she started when she was 17 to buy sweets and snacks amounting to her age. So this year she had to buy 27 sorts! She figured it would be too expensive and resorted in buying some in small quantities for her alone, but nevertheless there are still a lot of candies, so I got to fulfil a wish I didn’t even know I had, which is to swim in a pool of candies!

Me in the pool of candies!

Aiko's 27 kinds of sweets etc.

Then, I helped her bake her own birthday cake, which didn’t turn out great, but it was the first time baking for both of us so she said it was actually pretty awesome.

THE cake

Then, my friends and I assembled to surprise Aiko with a happy birthday song at 00:00.

Preparing for the surprise song!

Which we did, of course:

Happy birthday!

And then, Aiko cut the cake and we all got to share a piece. I shared a big piece with Daisy, the Hairy Coo. She’s the only one but me who got her picture taken with the cake… she must be very special.

Daisy and her cake

Me and the cake

You should have noticed by now that the cake is very special… it has rainbow colours! And of course a lot of wishing stars for a happy, happy year ahead!

Just so you can see the rainbow!

Happy 27, Aiko πŸ™‚

meet JUMP

When I came home on Friday (11/11/11), I expected to receive some postcards… but instead I found a package from Finland, and when I opened it, a little green frog jumped out!

“Hello, Aiko! My name is JUMP and I’m excited to start my travelling adventure here in Geneva!” the frog belted out. “Where are we now? This looks like an interesting place? What’s that over there? Oh, hello friends!” the frog babbled away, jumping around my apartment. “Nice to meet you too, JUMP,” I said, “looks like we’ll have a great time!”

After a while I finally managed to get JUMP jump back to me and we took some photos:

JUMP and his diary

Me and JUMP

JUMP and his new friends πŸ™‚

After the obligatory photo session, I took JUMP and Paul to the post office and then we went to see a concert at church.

JUMP and Paul on the bus

After the concert, we were both famished so we had some bread and salad.

JUMP complained that his bread was too big for him

And he hesitated about the Salad because it was green

JUMP says he will be staying with me until Christmas… which means he’ll be joining me on my trip to London! And of course, he celebrated my birthday with the rest of the “family” yesterday. Post coming up soon!

 

GROW — God Reveal Our Way!

As with many, many experiences before (not that I had that many, of course), it is amazing just how much you LEARN when you go somewhere as a speaker. And I mean you actually learn a whole lot from many different aspects. About two weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to be amongst 80+ youths from GKI Bintaro Utama.

Now first of all, a confession. I was dead nervous about this particular assignment, namely because: 1. I have never ever spoken for this age group, 2. I have never even been involved in the activities of this age group at church, 3. I have been deadly busy and not quite ready when I arrived at the “scene”. However, I surrendered to God. Completely. LESSON LEARNED: I might not be able to do something on my own, but God will ALWAYS help me out.

When I arrived, I was instantly overwhelmed by the energy and the welcome of these youths. They made me sit right in the middle to watch their talent show, and despite being tired and perhaps a bit cranky, I enjoyed their show. The creativity was undoubted! Also, mingling helped a lot with my sermon and session the next day. Their bonfire afterwards also provided more opportunity to mingle. LESSON LEARNED: Mingling with the crowd is a MUST.

Next, even though I was tired and nervous especially about my sermon, I decided NOT to go to my room immediately but instead joined the organizing committee as they prepared for the morning devotions. And I was surprised at how mature they are. In behavior and in faith. I mean, I was sitting there literally going “WOW! You guys are amazing!” It was really inspiring.

A few other inspiring things include the way they keep shouting words of encouragement to each other, the fact that they come together to pray before and AFTER each session, and their handshake that was followed with a gentle squeeze (hard to explain but I thought it was a really nice gesture, especially since it seemed to be a tradition to them).

Also, they were super enthusiastic during the sessions, and willing to do whatever I ask them to do with no hesitation. Which is amazing for today’s youth, I’d say.

I had lots of fun, and we’re keeping in touch which is even better. So, thank you, Father, for all that.

Oh, and PS: thank you, my dear Erik, for being my main inspiration for the session. What would I have done without you, I don’t know πŸ™‚

On Finding Love

July 2010, an excerpt from my diary

Come on, silly girl… Stop being so miserable and just wait and see… Someone out there will love you the way you want to be loved, the way you deserve to be loved… And you'll love him back ever so deeply!

Now stop thinking of those good for nothing men (no matter how perfect), live your happy single life and just wait and see if God doesn't give you the best man ever someday soon.

HE did. Exactly six months later. I'm at awe!

Memories of the GIT & WCRC: Worship Services! (part 1)

Ask anyone who was there and they will most likely say that the worship services were the greatest moments during the GIT/WCRC. Or at least some of the best ones. So here goes, my memories of the worship services… in chronological order (as best as I can)!

June 6th, 2010
The whole GIT went for the 9.30am Sunday Service at the Fourth Presbyterian Church. If I remember correctly, the church is one of the oldest in Chicago. It is located downtown, right next to all kinds of tall buildings. It’s easily the prettiest building there to my standards. The “traditional” designed church’s front walls was covered with leaves… I don’t know what they’re called in English. It’s some sort of plant that grows on walls and slowly fills up the wall πŸ˜›

When we walked in we were immediately amazed with the structure and beauty of the Church… very “classic” (and classy). I honestly thought we didn’t quite fit in, being such a loud, diverse group of people amongst these serious looking mostly white congregation. We were given some warnings (regarding bags) and were introduced to the congregation.

Things about the service that I remember enjoying very much were the orderliness of things (like how the elders formed this perfect line and moved with total preciseness as they distributed the communion) and the beautiful sound of the choir. Rev. Dr. John Buchanan was preaching although in all honesty I didn’t know who he was, nor did I remember what he was preaching about. I reckon I took some sermon notes unfortunately I can’t find it. What I do remember, however, and this is important, was the peace I felt while we were worshiping there. It was beautiful, the feeling of quiet, like there was nothing else in the world that mattered except being there in reverence to God.

June 7th, 2010
The morning devotion of the GITs was led by Honnah, and she led us in quiet meditation. I remembered feeling quite uneasy about this but nevertheless appreciated it. And the Cenacle Chapel was beautiful.

I can’t remember the vespers at the moment. Hopefully it will come back to me later.

June 8th, 2010
No clue. Oops.

June 9th, 2010
Morning Devotion was led by Endrei, who presented this extremely powerful mime called “HANDS”. I was grateful and honored to be able to take part in it as one of the actors. The mime is about how God created men and gave us hands to do wonderful things, but instead men use their hands to do awful things, including nailing Jesus to the cross. It was a beautiful script with really good movements (even if I say so myself)… you can tell people were deeply touched by it cause we ended up seeing the mime two more times during the WCRC.

Vespers was if I remember correctly, led by the South Africans. Roelof shared his experience of ministering in Zimbabwe. It was really touching. However, the part I loved most was when we sang Lord Bless Africa (Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika) together. The song was a prayer, and there we were, people from all over the world, praying for Africa. I was near to tears.

June 10th, 2010
Can’t remember either… sorry 😦

June 11th, 2010
Morning Devotion. The thing I remember: we sang an opening song called “Thank You Jesus”, but we sang it in different languages… in Igbo (from Nigeria), Mizo (from Myanmar), Moore (from Bokina Faso) and Chichewa (from Malawi). I think this was also the beginning of us having Bible Readings and Prayers in different languages. I wish I had noted down all the languages we used. It was amazing! We didn’t understand a word of what was read/said, but we were taking part in it. In a way, we “knew”.

Vespers… Indonesian! Hahah. To me, being part of the “serving team”, it felt good to be able to share our culture with the world, and to see and know that people enjoyed worshiping together with us (although we don’t usually sing the hallelujah while dancing in our weekly services :P). Also felt really touched singing The Lord’s Prayer in Indonesian after the intercessory prayer (yes, as I was singing)… it was for me really a moment of reverence. I was singing alone yet praying together with all these people I’ve come to love dearly. The silence, the sound of my own voice bouncing back against the walls of the chapel. As I hit one of the higher notes and it echoed clearly in the silence… it was just overwhelming.

June 13th, 2010
We went for Sunday worship at the Trinity UCC. Compared to last week, this was the exact opposite. We didn’t quite fit in yet again since the UCC is a mainly black congregation. And the service was everything but quiet! LOL. In total, the worship service lasted 3 hours. Yeps. No typo there. We were there for 3 whole hours. Unlike some other GITs, however, I didn’t realize the service was THAT long until we were done. I found the whole experience of being there as an adventure. An amazing one at that. Yes, the music was loud, and yes, people shouting “AMEN!” “Hallelujah!” “Preach it!” etc. and even jumping up and dancing in circles during the sermon was a bit distracting, but it was also inspiring. These people were actually immersed in the service, they were completely there, their spirit were uplifted.

Also of note, and the reason why the service took so long was that they had all kinds of celebrations/ceremonies going on. First there was confirmation. I found it interesting that they had a “test” before the confirmation where the students (?) had to answer all sorts of question about the Bible, Christianity, all the way to the history of the UCC. Then, they had a rites of passage ceremony for the girls. This is cool because it’s a year-long program of mentoring girls to become women and this was the conclusion of the program, where the mentors “return” the girls to their families, and the families then “give” them to the church, no longer as girls but as women with all their responsibilities. Also, there was a Father and Son choir performance (was it Father’s Day? I can’t really remember). Oh, speaking of the choir… the church was so packed that the pastor invited those who didn’t get any seats to sit with the choir in front.

Next, and this was perhaps the most interesting part, the church was celebrating higher education on that day, therefore everyone in the congregation (including the pastor and the elders) were wearing their university jerseys. Yes, we did not recognize the pastor until he started preaching. LOL. The sermon was appropriately mostly about education and how the soon-to-be college students are to deal with their studies. Also interesting was the time of dedication where the pastor directed everyone to hold hands and then as he prayed he asked people to squeeze the hands of their neighbors if they answer YES to the questions he posed. I can’t remember what exactly the questions were, but I think they were about accepting Christ, becoming part of a church and commitment to serve in a ministry at the church. What happened next was that the members of the congregation who felt their hands squeezed brought the person who squeezed their hands in front to receive a special blessing for their commitment. It was a touching moment.

June 14th, 2010
Morning Devotion was led by the Latin Americans… and I loved the songs we sang! Also, it was closed with a communal blessing where we all stood in a huge circle and then blessed each other: touching each other’s heads saying “God bless you”, the put our hands around the shoulders saying “God protects you”, and the held our hands together to say “give you peace”… then say “Amen” and give the hands a tight squeeze. You can tell I loved this blessing cause I “forced” Izett to lead us in the same blessing again during our farewell party πŸ™‚

Vespers was led by the girls from Kenya and Malawi with lots of help from around the world ;). Loved the songs, again… AND loved being part of the dance troupe for one of the songs, although I would’ve loved it even more if we had asked the whole congregation to dance with us instead of performing for them. The dance troupe was especially cool because we represented all the continents in the GIT, and the song was a call to dance with thanksgiving and joy… fill the streets with love and shake this world alive with singing! Beautiful, I tell ya.

June 15th
Morning Devotions. Umm… Err… No idea?

Vespers. INDIA! Loved the use of poetry as prayers, and most of all loved the Bhajan song we sang. Whoa, it was… indescribable. So exotic, so meditative, so… spiritual? It one-of-a-kind.

Now I can’t remember when… was it June 16th when we had the vespers in remembrance of those who didn’t make it to the GIT? This was touching because there were seats reserved for them and we heard their struggle to get the visa but still didn’t get it… It was especially touching for me because I had to go to a similar process. I had been anxious as well. But I made it through. It made me ever so thankful, yet at the same time it made me ever so angry at the injustice of this world.

Next time… the experience in Grand Rapids… and if you GITs are reading this and actually remember those moments I can’t seem to remember… do kindly leave a comment/e-mail/message me on facebook to let me know about those services?

Friendship, Coffee, Peanut Sauce and Lemon Sorbet

Today is a public holiday here in Indonesia, although I suspect a lot of people have no idea what public holiday it is (it’s the birth of the Prophet Mohammad). Seeing that it is also a Friday, many have resorted in going for a short getaway, resulting in a pretty empty and peaceful Jakarta.

A friend of mine is on holiday from her work in Dubai and we have been planning a get together for a week or so. Initially, about 6 people are supposed to come. 12 pm.

11.15am — I left home a bit late, sent her a txt about that. She told me not to worry as she’s staying at a hotel just opposite the mall and our friends have told her they might be late.
11.45am — Apparently on a quiet day like this it takes 30 minutes to reach the center of Jakarta.
12.00pm — Met up with my friend. Went to Starbucks and got two frappucinnos. Gotta love the buy 1 get 2 credit card promotion. Set down and talked. Tried to reach our friends. Uh-huh, they started cancelling.

So was me, my friend, and my mom (who joined us after her errands were done). We went to eat at Gado-gado Boplo (please do not order Tahu Telor here. Everything else was delish!). Then we went walking around as we waited for our friend who happens to work in a restaurant in that particular mall to arrive. Bought a b’day present for my cousin at Insight Unlimited. Wanted a particular book but refrained from buying it as I haven’t read two books that is required to “redeem” it. Gramedia. It was 3pm.

Went down to meet up with my friend, a manager at SocialHouse. Beautiful place. The house special is “Grandma’s Homemade Lemon Tea”. This was VERY good. The tea is flavored and iced by a scoop of Lemon Sorbet. Whoa. And 25,000 was very reasonable, I must say. We talked with Ms. Manager for about 45 minutes and then she had to go for the daily briefing. I had to go home before she finished because by now we have been there for 4 hours and mom was getting angry. And I was honestly tired.

And now a little reflection… this is not the first time that a plan to meet-up has gone “wrong”. We always, and I mean ALWAYS blame each other’s activities. Ya know, hoteliers don’t really have that much spare time and all. But the truth is most of us who are in Jakarta aren’t in the hotel industry anymore! And it was a public holiday, so those who are working… aren’t! Yes, I feel like launching into a blaming mode. But I’m going to refrain from doing so. They all had their reasons. And at the end of the day, I had a good one, and despite perhaps being a little bit disappointed, I hope my friend had a good day as well. And that is what is important.

The Bee-Like Creature

I was in the shower this morning when a bee-like creature came hovering. It landed among my toiletries and I watched it closely while continuing to rinse my shampoo.

Then, it started zooming around me!! I panicked and attacked it with water from my shower. The creature fell down but because of its size wouldn't go down the drain.

So I continued my shower while watching it closely, and several times it gained strength and looked like it was about to fly. That scared me. So I flushed more water at it. By the end of my shower, it was curled up in the corner in agony. Probably with water filled lungs.

For the first time in my 25 years I felt sorry for so brutally murdering the creature. Forgive me bee-like creature and may you rest in peace…
— Aiko Widhidana Sumichan

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