Sunday, January 11, 2009

"What do you want for your birthday?”

A question that my husband always asks every year. And my response is always the same, a grin on my face and, "I don't know what I want for my birthday".

And that's no lie. It's not a "I actually want a diamond ring but you have to guess because I want you to surprise me" kind of response. I really never know what I want for my birthday. My husband somehow still tries to give me a present, every year for the past 6 years - and I must say he's done a great job each year too! (or maybe because I didn't expect to get anything - everything was a surprise!). And this year I know he is going to wreck his brain again. And yet I still gave him the same answer today when he asked me that.

Then, not long after he asked me that question, I knew why I never know what I want for my birthday. We were waiting for a movie to watch at Blitz Cafe in Grand Indonesia. This place is one of our favourite spots to chill out - we both like the music and the ambience. While waiting and sipping our drinks slowly, we were both reading (I know what some people may be thinking – we looked like autistic couple doing our own thing…haha…but that’s just the way we are, sometimes). At one point I lifted my eyes off the Agatha Christie's novel that I was reading - and saw outside the skyline was beginning to show the sunset colours. There was a nice music at the background - somehow it all gave me a very tranquil feeling.

I looked at my seriously reading husband, asked him of what he read, and he asked mine. And we began talking about things around us - we are building our little 'cocooning place' and we talked about getting some good ideas from that café.

Somehow I enjoyed that simple moment. At the background Louis Armstrong was singing 'Wonderful World', and I felt exactly that - wonderfully happy. There was nothing grand about the moment - just a simple, knick knack kind of conversation amidst the good books that we were both reading, but that's the kind of moment that I cherish. Nothing else is important - just us and our dreams, and how we connect well even when we were both having two different things in our hands: me with my Agatha Christie's novel, and Cip with his comic, and neither Cip nor I have ever read the book that each of us had in our hands that time.

Those kinds of simple things, which we cannot have everyday, are always enough for me. A moment for two. I am not particularly a romantic person - I just want a time where we can enjoy our connection while keeping our different interests. And though it is not everyday that we can have it, but I think we always have enough ‘dose’ of it from time to time.

So, why should I want anything for my birthday if I can always have the experience of being a couple without losing myself. And I guess, having my husband with me now, is more than enough than any gifts in the world.

Plus...I am sure he will surprise me again this year...hahaha....that's the beauty of not wanting anything for my birthday: I am always in for a surprise!!

Wonderful World

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more.....than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin...*spoken*(I

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than Ill never know)
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

It is, the right choice, in the right time

Today I took Tara to her trial class in a kindergarten where she will go to in July. Yes I know July is still very long from now, but I also know by then my schedule will be like a spider web. So before I have difficulty to arrange anything, I thought it was a lot better to start early.

Since Monday evening I have told Tara that she will be a kindergarten student soon, which means she has to learn to wake up earlier and take her bath right after waking up – believe me it is a challenge. She can spend one hour playing before taking her bath, and imagine doing that when she needs to be in the kindergarten which has ‘stricter’ school time than a playgroup.

And to create the excitement, I showed her what she could learn in the kindergarten – and she was very excited with the look of the school, the fact that she will wear different uniform each other day, and the new friends that she will make.

Yesterday, she surprised me. She woke up one hour earlier than she used to do – and upon opening her eyes she said, “Can I take my bath before you do?”. I was shocked! – to me who is quite tense thinking of how we can get her do that every morning, that was such a nice surprise.

This morning, she did the same thing, because she knew she would go to her ‘new school’. By 8.20 we were already at the school, class started at 8.30. I took her to the front door of her ‘new class’ where she was greeted by the teachers, she walked confidently into the classroom, and there I was standing from afar watching her and feeling a lump on my throat, sighing to myself, “She did not even bother looking and waving at me….my, she is no longer a baby!”.

Don’t get me wrong – I felt fine with that. Knowing how ‘slow’ she could connect to new people and situation sometimes, what I saw today was so encouraging.

Anyway, after she disappeared behind the door, I went away to a café and worked. I thought I would feel tense and worried, but I felt just fine knowing that she would enjoy herself in her class. At 12, I picked her up, and she greeted me with such a big smile on her face, both her hands were red because of paints, her t-shirt was all stained, but what a beam, what a light on her face. And I knew, instantly, that it was the right school for her.

In the car she went on and on about what she learned today, about her new friends, about her computer lesson, about her finger painting. And I asked her, “So darling, are you happy?” (she has begun to understand simple English sentences – so I ask her simple ones once in a while so that she gets used to hearing and answering them). And she said, with her big eyes twinkling, “Yes mommy!”.

That was it. That very moment I knew we were right, for not getting her into the kindergarten last year in July when she was only 3 years and 10 months, when I thought she was still too small for that, and emotionally she would not be ready to face the new situation and people. Seeing her so happy, free of worries of being in a classroom, and could actually enjoy the experience and ‘bathe’ herself in it, I knew that she will learn much more than she would be if we were to start too early last year.

Of course I had my doubts before – education in Indonesia is getting crazier and crazier. Competition is getting fiercer and fiercer. But I still have my belief – let kids be kids. Why bother about them reading and counting at the age of 5 if at the end of the day they can only use their brain and not the heart?. So I have my faith in letting my Tara ‘grow with time’ – let her learn and play, and play and learn…for a little while longer.

And, I still do not really care if the school teaches them to write and read English or not, or if they teach the kids to be able to browse the internet. To me those are secondary, they are kindergarten students anyway!. Why should we burden these kids with too much at such an early age? – do we want them to get aged too soon?. As long as Tara can learn how to use her heart more, as long as the school believes in humanity, I am fine.

And I somehow get a good feeling about this school. I always trust my gut feel – and this time, my gut feel tells me that I am right.


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