Monday, March 31, 2008

Bridal Bouquet

I found an interesting tidbit on the net about the start of bridal bouquet.

Apparently, the first wedding bouquets were not made with flowers, but instead were composed of herbs. It was thought that evil spirits would be repelled by their strong aroma. Dill would be included in the mix because it was thought to promote lust! Not only that, the brides will consume dill for these alleged properties. In the Tudor era, another substance thought to put brides in the mood for love was marigolds, which were gilded and dipped in rosewater.

Huh! Who knew?!?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fill in the Blank... -ice

When you fill in the blank, what do you get?
Try this one:

I thought people are nice
______________________ advice
______________________ chicken and rice
______________________ at any price

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Growing Up Singing

When I was 2 or 3 years old, my big brother joined the Sunday School choir at church. He would be learning new songs and sang them proudly in front of my mom and my dad. Every Mother's Day and Father's Day, my bro would sing a song to our parents first.

I looked up to my big bro and wanted to join choir. The teachers were firm when they refused to let me in. It made sense. I was too small and I couldn't read. I couldn't even pronounce the words right. I would need a private tutor to teach me a song.

Luckily for me, my mom was patient enough to be my tutor. I might not be in the choir, but I sure learnt all the songs my bro was learning. I could sing (or mumble in trembling notes, anyway).

Growing up, I was always in a church choir. But when I hit my teen years, I also joined a vocal group. In my church, every grade has its own vocal group. My grade had 3 good singers and additional 3 willing hearts (who were deaf-tone). I was one of the "more experienced" ones, so I got to teach others who never sang before.

It was disheartening. At times, I almost gave up and thought that we could never sing properly. I felt like crying. If I could choose to be in another vocal group, I would have done so. But I didn't have that choice, and so I persevere. I did end up joining an additional VG though, which became my fuel and motivator to do better in my grade VG.

Two years since we started, one of the tone-deaf people could sing solo beautifully, and another could create her own alto part without needing any more help. I was so proud of them! My VG was finally shaping up.

But there was a riot in my city and I had to move. This time, I joined a VG of people who mostly can sing, with only one or two people that can't. After a year or two, everyone can sing wonderfully.

Then I moved to Canada. My church was "famous" (among people who knew of its existence) for its choir. The choir memorized all the lyrics and movements! I felt so happy. "Finally," I thought, "a choir where I can grow and learn lots of things." Of course, as it turned out, the choir director left the country, and the responsibility for the choir was thrust upon me and a friend.

Asking people to join the choir was not really hard. Mostly because the choir members were really enthusiastic about singing in a choir. I "nudged" all my friends to join the choir at one point or another. And as it happened, not everyone can sing.

This time, though, since I had had this experience before, I was not very worried. Everyone who joined had a heart to please the Lord. That reason alone calmed me down. And it came to pass... Show after show, the little things that usually went wrong just went right during the performance. And those who didn't know how to sing to start with.. they ended up being great singers.

I believe in depending on the Lord. I believe in work. And I believe in a serving heart. As long as the choir has that, we'll be okay.

Tomorrow, we will perform the song "Watching Over Me", which we just practiced today. It's not a hard song. A year or two ago, I wouldn't dream of asking the choir to sing a song they practiced only once. But today, I felt very confident. I guess I am an optimist after all.

Random Things

The more we care about something or someone, the harder it seems to let go of their betrayal. We hurt more when they do or say something careless in their moment of weaknesses. It helps if the relationship continues and then heals. In some cases, people cut ties, and all we are left with are the sense of bewilderment and lost.

I knew relationships were not easy. I knew that I would part with most of my friends. But there were some that I thought would last for a long time. There were some friends who I thought would be my friends forever. But somewhere down the road, something went wrong, and no matter what I tried, I could not see or think about them without feeling hurt.

My church is moving this Sunday to a new location. We used to rent from another church under the same denomination and had a very good relationship with them. But over the years, that other church was losing members and changing pastors. And now they want us to pay for their pastor's salary as well. I can't see how that will happen. All our congregation are not rich. Most work two jobs. We have 80 people giving offering, and it amounts to the same amount the other church's offering with only 40 people. Every week, they will pester our pastor for multiple reasons just before the service begins. Every week, they morally bully our deacons. Our moving out is a good thing for the congregation.

It is sad to see how supposedly Christians behave.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wedding Website Launched

I am so happy! Our wedding website is finally published earlier today.

Chris and I went to Seattle in January for our photo shoot, and there were tons of good pictures that I was impatient to show the world. But since I want them to see it on our website, I dare not distribute it nor brag about it. But now I can!


The above picture is one of my favorite one. But there are a lot more where it came from. Be sure to check the website on http://www.chrisolive.net/ and leave us a note! ^_^

Living with Strata...

In North America, the only type of housing where you have complete control over is single family home. SFH means that all your outside walls are not attached to other houses. If you have SFH, chances are you have a front/back yard, and there is grass surrounding your whole house. Sadly, SFH is becoming more and more unaffordable. You can probably still have one, but you will be in debt for all your life.

The second best thing for a small family is townhouse, which is what I live in right now. Unlike SFH, townhouses are strata-ed.

What is strata? Strata is a group of volunteer owners, selected by all owners in the complex, who deals with administration of the whole complex. It's snowing hard and we need snow plow? Strata will call them in. Somebody's guests are making lots of noises at night time? Strata will warn (and fine) them. Somebody's car knock your garage door? Strata will deal with insurance. The complex needs more visitor parking space reserved? Strata will ensure it gets done.

But living with strata is not all rainbows and bright color pictures. Yes, strata deals with the part you can't bother with, but it also deals with something personal to you. Owners of townhouses do not have complete control over their home, at least the outside part. It means that you will be towed if you park over time on certain area. It means that you cannot paint your outside walls or fence, or plant a single flower without strata's permission.

Depending on your strata, some complex does not allow satellite dish, antenna, hanging the clothes to dry, or live Christmas tree. Want to put up decorations? You have to take it down by certain date. Want a lamp post on your front yard? Better make sure strata agrees to it. Want to enclose your garage for extra room? Nope, can't do it (the City treats it as illegal second suite -- not legal, but they won't do anything either. Strata, on the other hand, can fine you every week until you take it down).

I can understand that a complex want to look united. But when harmony turns to uniformity, isn't it taking unity a bit too far?

PS: And I currently am a Strata Treasurer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Doppelganger

When I went back home in 2002, it was time for the placement announcement for first trimester for elementary students. My little brother was in elementary school, and so I took my mom's place and went with him to take his exam result back.

It was nostalgic. My teachers were still teaching (people do not switch career back home). Some of my friends took up teaching. The classroom did not change much. Children were running everywhere and playing the games I used to play. It felt like I was thrown back a decade or two.

Then it was time for the general assembly. Every students and teachers were gathered in a big room for placement announcement. My school have a tradition of announcing the first, second, and third placement for each class in front of a general assembly.

I can't remember what my little bro's placement were. But the thing that surprised me was during the announcement for 2nd grade placements. The third place was won by a person with the exact same first name and last name as me. My teachers turned their heads toward me, and I was going "Whoa! It can't be me! Whatcha looking at?" And a little girl ran forward with pride.

She is not exactly my double. But she went to my elementary school. She was in my high school. She also goes to my church back home. I am going home in a month. I am looking forward to meet this girl who shares my name.

Counting Down to Wedding - 36 days to go

My soon-to-be-husband Chris left Canada last night to prepare for our wedding day. I have never been involved in any wedding planning in Indonesia, and now we need to do it thousands of miles away from the ceremony location. It's not easy.

The invitation, which should have been out this week, is not yet printed. The invitation company excuses itself by saying that the paper was delayed during delivery. We haven't found an MC yet. Chris still has no idea about the event order for the reception. So he will take care of all those little quirks. He will yell at people if necessary.

Our engagement party will be two days before that. My family will host it. It will be a mini concert from my side of the family. My niece and nephew will sing and dance 2 songs. My cousins will perform a song with piano. My uncle, who is really good at karaoke, will sing us a happy song. My sis-in-law will duet with my little bro on violin. My family will sing a song for me and Chris. My bro and my sis and I will sing a song for our parents (it will be in Chinese -- hopefully I can memorize it).

I am a bit worried about the event back home, but I still have responsibilities here. Oh well... I will just do what I can from here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter 2008 - Judas Iscariot: the untold story

Last Good Friday, my church did a presentation titled "Judas Iscariot: the untold story". For the first time ever, we held a presentation in a theatre. The room acoustic was excellent. The only drawback was that the background sound pretty much drowned the actors' voices. So they all needed to use the microphone (and of course, the battery had to run out during the performance.. Murphy's Law at work here). ^_^

Ivan did a great job as Judas. Those who saw him testified that he acted so good, we didn't need any music to support him anymore. Jessica and Mega cried a lot in the play, just like they usually do. Come to think of it.. they always got the crying part. Jessica played Mary for the 4th time, and Mega played Magdalene for the 3rd time, I think. Adit played Peter again. It's weird, but Adit won't be the first person I would think of when I think of Peter. He practiced really hard, though, and the result was pretty good. Jason played the hot-headed Mark. My sis played his mom.

On the other side of the drama, pak Franky and cik Yenny played a modern couple who purposely misinterpret the scripture to fit their own need. It's really funny how they sincerely said, "Let's destroy this man's business, and help his children via the scholarship program we have at church." Hhh.. I guess a lot of Christians have this kind of attitude to a certain level (though hopefully not to the level portrayed in the play). There is a bit of Judas in everyone of us.

The choir was okay. I believe we could do better, but it's always hard to keep that perspective when the time is pressing and there's a ton of things to do still. Overall though, the members have grown a bit in singing technique. Now here's to them reducing the amount of giggling.. ^_^

This year proves to be a busy year for me. After this, our church is moving to another location. But that would be another post...