Those are my kids. We were walking back from a short visit to Pura Batu Bolong, a Hindu temple near our hotel in Lombok. They got ahead of my wife and me. They are incredibly great kids. When I became a parent, I had no idea how much happiness my children would bring me. The happy is immeasurable.
This year has been momentous. I have watched as my family and I have adapted to our move from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, to Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from teaching in a public school to an international, private school. I moved from one of the most beautiful places in the world (nah…it is the most beautiful) to a place I haven’t figured out yet. I moved from mountains and rivers to busy streets and overpopulation. I moved from ease and comfort (with a bit of financial challenge) to a place of challenge.
2012…the year of the move.
This photo was taken at Simon Fraser University. I’ve had little time to take many photos lately, and I found this and felt a little pang of homesickness. I’m not homesick; I’m really happy here, but this photo is one of my all-time favorites. Those vine maples are so pretty.
More Jakarta tomorrow, okay?
…is so happy right now. I make a point of stopping over at my new motorcycle whenever I return from work, and even though I have to wait for the licence plates (or not, according to my friend Setyo) I am still really excited. When I was a kid, I always wanted a motorcycle. Now…I’ve got one. The little boy inside my head is smiling all the time…and will continue to smile until I actually have to remember how to ride, shift, brake and throttle. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Super Sokka means “excellent tile”. The stack of tiles, above, are roof tiles, made by hand, in a village Central Java. We met the woman who was making the tiles – she presses out the mix of mud and clay with this medieval looking manual press – and she said that this was her job and that she pressed these out all day long, all year long.
And she seemed happy. I don’t know if something that routine could keep me happy. I also don’t know if something that routine actually makes her happy, or if she was just smiling because a couple of expats found what she does so interesting.
I took this shot while driving back to our villa from Borobudur temple. We stopped to take some photos in a town of tile-makers. After wandering through one of the shops, I noticed these kids. They were trying to not be noticed, but were still following me around.
I asked them whether I could take their photo. One little guy wanted nothing to do with the photos. These three were incredibly agreeable. I got some brilliant shots of them, which I might share with you over the next week or so.
That’s it. It’s Monday and I needed something that made me feel happy. Orchids make me happy. Thanks orchid.
We’re packing up and getting ready to go in a month and a bit. There is another garage sale coming soon – two weeks? – and too many decisions about what to keep, what to store, and what to transport.
If you have an eight year old son like I do, you’d have to figure out a way to transport some of the massive collection of Lego we’ve accrued over the last five years. I can tell you that this will be the hardest decision we have to make. How much to take. Which pieces to take. Which minifigures to bring along and which to abandon to the storage locker.
Hmm…Lego has never been such a stressful thing.
Head-covering is mandatory at the Gurdwara Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar, as is the separation of males and females. Whether you’re a traditional practicing Sikh or a visitor to the temple, you must cover your head and remove your shoes before you have a seat on the plush carpeted floor. There were a good number of incredible turbans all around me, but I didn’t feel out of place as there were even more men wearing bandanas like this one above.
I felt a certain amount of pride at my bandana. A young man, traditionally and ceremonially dressed, greeted me at the door and asked which family I was with. When I tried to explain that I was there for the groom, I was outfitted with a rose to wear on my shirt and a bandana that identified me with the family. It was beautiful and so welcoming. I felt like part of the team.
I’m going to go with…this. That’s what joy looks like.
I took the family B out to Cheam Lake Wetlands yesterday. We’ve finally had some rain-free days, so I thought we should take advantage of them. We had set out to visit Bridal Veil Falls, but the park/trail was closed, so we improvised. The walk around the wetlands was great. There were a lot of photos I would have loved to have taken, but they were only accessible via hip waders. This shot was taken from a floating bridge. It was, in fact, taken 180 degrees rotated from this vantage point. Please feel free to stand on your head or flip your laptop upside down to see it the way I originally saw it. When I was processing it, I felt that it needed the rotation. The reflection looked so much more appealing from this perspective.
The title of this post, by the way, refers to what could possibly be the greatest music video ever. I am a Star Wars nut and this video is just amazing. Check out the Scattered Trees.
I might as well get it over with. Here, above, is my new tattoo. I was inked this afternoon. Let me tell you how fun it was.
1. I have a fairly large tattoo on my right shoulder. It is of a “voided” cross and celtic trinity. It was irritating, but not painful. My forearm, on the other hand (pun intended) was wince-inducing. Actually, I was distracted to silence and tattoo bed squeezing by the pain at least a couple of times. I’ll remember that for another day.
2. I had a fully religious conversation with Miranda, the tattoo artist. She grew up in a fully atheist house, whereas I grew up in a Christian home. She had questions, so we chatted. When I wasn’t gobsmacked by the twinges in my forearm, that is.
3. The text is from a poem by Emily Dickinson. The first line is: “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” It is one of my favorite lines by my favorite poet. It also sums up how I feel about my existence. If I can make a difference in one person’s life for the better, I shall not live in vain. It is also a good reminder for me, approval oriented as I am, that doing things for others is its own reward and that vanity projects are useless and often don’t accomplish the stroke to the ego that they’re intended to accomplish.
4. There is some twinging of nerve endings in my arm right now as I right this. Ouch. It feels like I was burned. This was non sequitur.
5. I love it. All of the minor and temporary pain is nothing in comparison to the happiness I currently feel about this little project on my left forearm. In fact, I think I liked the pain. Pain is good. It reminds me that I’m still alive.
There you go.
P.S. Mom and Dad – I hope you like it. If not, I can’t wash it off anyway.
Well, my daughter turned 10 today. She wanted cheesecake for her birthday instead of the traditional birthday cake (much to the chagrin of my brother-in-law, who loves the cakes my wife makes). Instead of going out and buying one, I suggested we make one. I suggested that we make mini marbled cheesecakes. She was very excited about that idea. My daughter is a person who loves to spend time with others; it’s how she shows love. If she loves you, she’ll just want to hang around and do stuff with you. Gifts are good, but not as good as time. So we made what you see above.
The thing is, as soon as I bit into one of the first we refrigerated, after all the time spent mixing, creaming, spooning, melting and baking, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and subdued joy. I love the work that goes into food, but I feel in a way that I do not for anything else when I bite into a good, tiny cheesecake. Or when I bite into a piece of home-made flat bread I’ve just finished cooking on the barbecue. Or when I bite into a perfectly roasted potato (thanks, Jamie Oliver). I worry sometimes that I have an addiction to food, but I don’t know if that’s it. I get no joy out of eating something bought in a store, already cooked or baked or manufactured.
I think it’s the sense that “I made that, and it’s delicious” and I wonder if people in bygone eras felt that sense of satisfaction. Is it just that so much of our food is already made for us that we feel such great, ego-boosting happiness when we make something ourselves? Did my grandma, who made everything from scratch except the Jif Peanut Butter and Pringles that adorned her cupboards, ever think “I made that!” I do, and maybe, now that I’ve thought about it more, it’s a little sadness that goes with my happiness. Hmm…