Sunday, 30 August 2009

My Old Nanny (Ma' Tua)

I haven't written much lately, apart from being busy with the start of Ramadhan (fasting month), also because I still couldn't bring myself to write about something that was really hard for me.

Even though it didn't take too long for me to accept what happened, I still needed some silent time just to move on.. after my old nanny passed away on Thursday, 6th of August 09..

She was the person who always took care of me since I was born. Then, by the time I had my sons, she loved them even when she didn't have any strength to chase them around like she did with me :-)

After I was old enough to be without a nanny, she concentrated in cooking for my family. Each of us had a different favourite, but we would all agree that she made the best Beef Rendang. Some of my friends who used to come to our house a lot (during high school time) also had their favourites..

She retired from working with us two years ago, right after Idul Fitri and stayed with her daugher's family since then, but she always came to stay for a few days at my parents' home at the end of each month (at the time of local community religion gathering). So, we could still enjoy her cooking once a month.

The last three months (May, June and July), many things (Ariq's end of school year performance, for one) had kept me tied down so that I couldn't stay at my parents' home at the same time as my nanny did.

During that time, I missed her so much, and my mother always told me that she was always asking about me and that she missed me so much too.

I kept telling myself that once everything was over and I had some control back over my life I would ask her to stay for a few days here.

But, who could deny fate?

That Wednesday, my father came over to see the grandchildren, and my mother spoke to me over the phone, telling me that my nanny had been in hospital since that Sunday because she had been having difficulty breathing. I was having bad flu and fever at that time, so I called my nanny's daughter to ask about her condition and told her that I would come to visit once I felt better.

She told me that her mother was much better and she had started asking the doctor when he would release her to go home. The doctor however wanted to be sure that everything was completely fine, so they were not rushing to go home.

The next morning, at dawn, my mother called me to tell me that my nanny had passed away..

After Ariq had left for school, my parents picked me up to go to my nanny's daughter's home and we saw her there, laying on the bed, looking peaceful as if she was sleeping.. My nanny's daughter told us that she didn't know that her mother had gone either that morning.. she thought she was only sleeping, until the nurse who was going to check her blood pressure came in, found out that she was gone and told her daughter.

My nanny's daughter also told us that all her mother's lab tests came out good. In general, she was healthy. I believe her good health was because of her love of walking. For over 30 years, she always walked to the market and walked back with the shopping. She used to take me to the market too, whenever I was on school holidays..

I couldn't find any strength to perform her last bath, but her daughter and grandchildren were all there.. After the bath, however, I finally found some strength to dress her in her final piece of cloth without any drop of tears.. I'm so glad I did.. It was the least I could do out of respect for the person who had loved and cared for me since I was born..

I guess the hardest part for me was the fact that everyone else still met her during the her final three months, while I didn't.. but now I understand it was fate.. Maybe it was meant to happen that way so that my love and respect for her would stay deep in my heart for a very long time, because I consider myself to be the person closest to her, yet I had to lose her the first, before everyone else did..

The best thought that my mother had was that she let my nanny retire two years ago so that she spent the last two years of her life living with her family, after having lived with us for over 30 years!

I still miss her a lot.. how could I not?! I still remember she bathed me, hand-fed me, lulled me to sleep while rubbing my back, carried me on her back, played with me, told me off when I came home late from school, taught me to cook, and later on.. had arguments over various things with me but always ended up in giving in to me.. :-)

I still miss her.. but I find comfort in knowing that her departure was without suffering and that she is now in a better place..

I love you always, Ma' Tua.. :-)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Me and Malaysia

While I had travelled to many far away places, one place very very close kept being put at the end of my destination list, Malaysia.. until two and a half years ago..

When my husband's contract in Yemen was over, he received an offer for a position in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and he accepted the offer, considering that KL is very close to Jakarta and airfare was affordable for monthly visits. After he worked in KL for about 4 months, our baby (Aza was just born when my husband came home from Yemen) was 6 months old and in good condition to travel, so we went to KL to visit my husband.. Ariq, Aza, my parents-in-law and me.

Many things were quite similar to Jakarta but certain things were very special and different. Some of those things became my favourites..

Nasi Lemak or Roti Canai + Lamb Curry for breakfast, accompanied by hot Teh Tarik

Choices of Restaurant at The Curve for Lunch (our favourites are Secret Recipe and Pho Hoa).

Johnny's Steamboat in 1Utama for Dinner

Late Night Supper at hawker stands (there was one place where they served variety of food, well-presented like restaurant/hotel menu, at hawker prices)

The ones I miss the most are the breakfast choices..

My favourite places in KL are The Curve and Masjid India.. The Curve is a really nice place to hang out with family and friends and I seriously think Masjid India is the best place for head scarves and Malay dress materials..

After my first (and second) trip to KL, my parents-in-law asked my husband and me to represent them in my brother-in-law's wedding ceremony in Sabah (Borneo, East Malaysia). As the journey there was long and rough, and my parents-in-law were not up to such travels anymore, we agreed to go.

The schedule was very tight and the village where my brother-in-law's wife came from was 2 hours away from the airport. Despite the fact that I spotted a few interesting places (such as Ape Reservation and Crocodile Farm), we didn't have any time to visit any of those places.

My husband and I really hope that we can find a good time to go to Borneo again (both Malaysia and Indonesia lands) to see the nature and do a few days trip there..

In my last trip to KL, we went to Genting Highland and spent a day in the Theme Park, which Ariq was having the time of his life.. As all theme parks around the world, it is something more of the modern world than local culture.. but anyone with kids would find it a great choice to visit..

There are a lot more interesting things about Malaysia, the ones I wrote here are just the ones that became my favourites.. so, don't take my word for it, you should come and visit yourselves and find out what are your favourites..

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

News Flash

News flash...

I'm still down with the flu (considering last week I didn't stop 'moving around' carrying the virus in me)

Aza is now very very comfortable in using the computer to play games by himself, so... I have to compete with him (and Ariq) every time I need to use the computer.. fuuhhh... :-P

I will write again soon..