Yes! Carrie wins!

Finally she got the tiara. No, not the Miss Universe's but American Idol's. Ever since tough competitors like Anwar, Constantine, and Vonzell were voted out, nothing seemed like getting on Carrie's way. Way to go, Carre!

Soul Mate

Aristotle once said: "What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies".

Amanda Beesley Weinstock seems to share this notion by concluding that a soul mate is: "... a person with whom you can communicate on the deepest level -- beyond words, beyond our clothing and imperfect bodies, regardless of time and age and the awkward agreements we reach. And when you meet someone who warms to what's buried beneath your surface, who sees and celebrates the essence of who you are without your having to explain it over soggy breakfasts and late-night negotiations, you have found a soul mate."

Furthermore, "Soul mates don't have to be about sex or marriage. The soul doesn't care about all that stuff, about a person's taste in restaurants or flossing habits or ability to argue a point. All it wants -- whether we owners know it or not -- is the company of other like-minded souls."

I can't agree more. In fact, this really reflects my own thinking. (Makes me wonder whether Amanda and I are actually soul mates, hehehehehe...).

While soul mates are often associated with spouses, partners or boyfriends/girlfriends, many find that their soul mates are those who others (or perhaps even the person him/herself!) will never think of fitting this soul mate stereotype. What I mean is, one may find his/her soul mates in their cyberfriends, blogpals, colleagues, or even the abang becak or pak ojek who rides him/her to work everyday.

In my entire 32 years of life I've had a handful of close friends and best friends (of both sexes), as well as a less number of guypals. I could say so far there are two people that I can freely declare as my soul mates.

One is a longtime best friend/choir mate whose birthday is only two days before mine. I don't believe in astrology, so I never give a crap about those zodiac things. We have a lot in common. We were both avid choir singers, we share similar values, and it took only a few months before we became inseparable (though there were two other wonderful girls in our circle of friends). Over the years, we didn't really need words to communicate. We had embarked on the state of being comfortable with each other's presence. I could go over to her house when she was taking her nap, and just read or watched TV there without feeling that I had bothered her or broken in her privacy. The same goes in reverse. She could even sleep on my parents' bed when she stayed over. After I moved to Jakarta, and she moved to her father's hometown, we barely contacted each other. And since I came here, I never called her. But she is always on my mind, and I know that I am in hers. We will never blame each other for not trying to contact, because once we meet again we will act like we were never separated before.

The other is an ex-boyfriend, and interestingly my first boyfriend. During those hot days (ahahahha...!) we could spend more than 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. I still remember, however, how relaxed I was around him. Not only didn't I need to worry about my makeup running out or if I have a bad hair day, but we could be together in silence without feeling awkward -- you know, like you have to say something. He could be there reading newspapers or watching TV, and I sat next to him or in other corner doing something else. On the other hand, we could also talk for hours. I remember, my mom once commented that we look like a longtime married couple (excuse me, not physical wise!). Although I don't have that desire for him anymore now, but the thought of him is always warming, for he's a truly nice and sincere guy. I pray that he will always be happy wherever he is. First love never dies? I doubt it.

I don't have to say a word to you
You seem to know whatever mood I'm going through
Feel as though I've known you forever
You can look into my eyes and see the way I feel
And how the world is treating me
Maybe I have known you forever

How about your soul mates?


I was and acted so stupid today.

As much as I regret it, I am also glad that I have found strength within me.

No more emotional dependency (well, to some extent), I am bound to seek happiness and contentment outside the heart.

A Letter to My Returning Parents

Dear Mama and Papa (especially you, Mom, who blogs and reads blogs -- but I know you will tell Papa to read this anyway)

You are now on your way back home. To our beloved small house in that dirty, polluted but surprisingly ngangenin city. I do hope you enjoy your flight and you'll safely arrive there. You will see your youngest daughter there, waiting for you, her arms will stretch open to welcome you two in her big hug. You will exchange tears and laughters, stories and latest gossips, jokes and perhaps angers.

As usual, mom, in the first three days or a week, all you want is wait for Little Sis to be home from work, shower her with affection (and oleh-oleh!), although you know that she usually comes very, very late, and is very tired from those two jobs and long hour drive! Papa will call all relatives and rush to his favorite barbershop, because he hasn't had his hair treated in six months (talking about the pricey saloons here!). And of course, he will also force Little Sis to watch the video he'd made here. Little Sis will watch it, make few comments here and there (most of them are insults, hehehe...) and in fifteen minutes she'll grow bored with it. And she'll find a reason to leave hehehehe...

The minute I left the airport after making sure that you have entered your gate I already felt an emptiness inside. My, you are really leaving now. The king size bed will only be occupied by Samantha and I. This will be very different from when you had your vacation in other cities, because then I knew that you would be coming home. We will wake up in silence, nobody is in front of the computer -- writing blog entries or merely reading Indonesian news sites -- or in the kitchen serving breakfast or browsing the newspaper. Nobody will tell annoying things like "take your coat, it's freezing outside", or "don't forget to bring a hundred bucks home, the fridge is almost empty", or "you are always that unorganized!". You drove me crazy with your constant advises, but I wish I had been more attentive.

And, yes, "When would you have time for us?"

Yes mam, pap, I rarely had time for you. When I got home, the only thing I wanted to do is grab a cup of hot tea and check out my Friendster or blog. Many times you told me that you miss me, but then you understand that I am so busy. And although you missed me, you encouraged me to go out more often with friends. And how selfish I was to take you for granted. I am so sorry, for neglecting you. For not accompanying you to places you have wanted to see. For not being patient enough to tutor you with computer. Did I make you sad, feel stupid, or anything like that? Oh, how I wish I could turn back the time and do everything to make you happy and content.

I promise you, when you are here again, I will take you to the greenery and plantations you always mentioned. And get you the tour to White House that you dreamed of.

The memories of times we shared together during these past six months will always light me up. Trust me, I am really, badly, completely missing you right now, and I wish that you were here with us. I am glad that I had put pics of yours in this blog, so everytime I check it out I'd be able to see your faces.

Thank you, mama and papa, for putting up with my bad moods, egotism, insensitivity, laziness. Thank you for trying to understand me and cope up with me. Thank you, ma, for always preparing dinner though I rarely had them, and bringing me a mug of hot tea when I stepped inside at 9 or 10 at night. Thank you, pa, for going with me all the way to further Virginia -- a long journey with Metro! -- to take a look at the car. Most of all, thank you for loving me and caring for me unconditionally.

I love you, mama, papa. Always selalu deh.

A Kiss to Build A Dream On

Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this:
A kiss to build a dream on

Give me a kiss before you leave me,
And my imagination will feed my hungry heart
Leave me one thing before we part
A kiss to build a dream on

When I'm alone with my fancies, I'll be with you
Weaving romances, making believe they're true

Give me your lips for just a moment
And my imagination will make that moment live
Give me what you alone can give
A kiss to build a dream on

Sekolah Minggu

Surya bersinar, udara segar, terima kasih
Di tepi pantai ombak berderai, terima kasih
T'rima kasih seribu (oh, t'rima kasih seribu)
Pada Tuhan Allahku (oh, pada Tuhan Allahku)
Aku bahagia kar'na dicinta, terima kasih

Petikan di atas adalah syair sebuah lagu yang saya pelajari di Sekolah Minggu, salah satu kesukaan saya sehingga masih bisa saya ingat sampai sekarang. Kadang-kadang dalam kebaktian rutin di kantor kami menyanyikannya, dan hal itu membawa kenangan yang manis buat saya.

Seperti banyak anak yang dibesarkan secara Kristen, orang tua saya memasukkan saya dan adik saya ke Sekolah Minggu. Karena pada dasarnya pemalu dan waktu masih kecil cenderung lebih suka menyendiri, mula-mula saya sebal sekali harus mengikuti kegiatan yang mengharuskan saya untuk berkumpul dengan sekian banyak wajah yang belum saya kenal. Untunglah beberapa anak tetangga yang menjadi teman bermain saya juga masuk Sekolah Minggu yang sama. Terus terang saya tidak ingat persis bagaimana Sekolah Minggu saya yang pertama di Jakarta itu, tapi saya bisa membayangkan bahwa tempat itu kemudian menjadi sangat menyenangkan buat saya, dengan guru Sekolah Minggu yang mengajarkan berbagai lagu baru dan menceritakan kisah-kisah dari Alkitab dengan gambar-gambar menarik.

Setelah saya bisa membaca, ibu saya membelikan sejumlah komik cerita Alkitab berseri, dan kitab Perjanjian Baru yang telah ditulis ulang dalam bahasa sehari-hari dan dihiasi ilustrasi sederhana berupa garis-garis sosok orang ala "The Saint" (aduh, saya lupa namanya, tapi kalau tidak salah "Kabar Baik untuk Masa Kini"). Yang terakhir itu menjadi bacaan saya sehari-hari, sampai kumal dan lembaran-lembarannya terlepas, serta sampulnya entah di mana.

Setelah itu, walaupun saya masih menikmati waktu-waktu ber-Sekolah Minggu dan Pondok Gembira (kebaktian khusus anak-anak tiap hari Kamis), saya mulai tidak nyaman dengan acara pembacaan kisah-kisah Alkitab. Soalnya sederhana: persepsi guru terhadap satu kisah tidak sama dengan persepsi saya.

Pindah ke Manado, saya mendapati bahwa di sana kita memanggil guru Sekolah Minggu dengan sebutan Melayu: "Encik" untuk guru wanita dan "Engku" untuk yang pria. Saya masih ingat nama salah satu Encik, Encik Elsye, yang kemudian menikah dengan salah satu Engku. Salah satu ciri khas tinggal di Manado saat itu adalah -- apalagi kalau tinggal di kompleks perumahan -- perayaan ulang tahun yang dipimpin oleh guru Sekolah Minggu. Kalau dilihat sepintas, terlebih oleh yang belum pernah mengalami, perayaan ultah seperti itu pasti membosankan. Ultah kok diisi kebaktian. Tapi waktu itu rasanya wajar-wajar saja, dan cukup menyenangkan. Walaupun tidak ikut menyanyi dan berdoa bersama, tapi teman-teman yang berbeda agama tampaknya ikut menikmati cara demikian, dan orang tua mereka tidak ada yang protes. (Sebaliknya, kami juga beramai-ramai merayakan Lebaran. Toleransi agama seperti inilah yang akan selalu saya rindukan dari Manado.)

Meskipun secara jujur para guru Sekolah Minggu saya dulu tidak berarti cukup dalam untuk saya, tapi saya selalu mengenang mereka dengan rasa hormat. Tidak gampang memberikan pengajaran agama secara benar dan menarik kepada anak-anak. Lebih sulit lagi untuk selalu menjadi contoh yang baik kepada mereka. Sering orang tua berharap terlalu besar kepada para guru Sekolah Minggu, karena mengabaikan tugas mereka mereka sendiri untuk memberikan pendidikan rohani kepada anak-anak mereka. Padahal, guru Sekolah Minggu juga manusia yang memiliki persoalan pribadi masing-masing, dan tanggung jawab utama menumbuhkan iman pada anak-anak kan terletak pada orang tua. Para guru Sekolah Minggu ini juga harus mengeluarkan dana sendiri untuk membeli berbagai buku-buku pengajaran agama untuk anak-anak, membuat alat-alat peraga, kadang membagikan permen atau kue kecil, padahal mereka tidak diupah oleh gereja (guru Sekolah Minggu adalah pekerjaan sukarela).

Saat saya menyaksikan paduan suara anak-anak di gereja, dibimbing oleh guru Sekolah Minggu mereka, selalu terbersit kekaguman saya. Banyak di antara mereka usianya jauh lebih muda dari saya, tapi mereka sudah melakukan hal yang jauh lebih berat.

Tetapi Yesus memanggil mereka dan berkata: "Biarkanlah anak-anak itu datang kepada-Ku, dan jangan kamu menghalang-halangi mereka, sebab orang-orang yang seperti itulah yang empunya Kerajaan Allah." (Matius 18:16)

Diberkatilah para guru Sekolah Minggu.

Things Couples Do When The Honeymoon is Thirty Years Over

To name a few:

1. Get as many braingames as possible to prevent or at least to minimize kepikunan.
2. This may enhance competitiveness, but add the excitement.
3. When things get harsher, and each party starts to cheat, the one who is going to lose will turn on the TV.
4. The other party will join.
5. Minutes later, both will fall asleep (exhausted from the hard battle they were just engaged in), yet somehow still keep the remote control. TV is still on, and their daughter is candidly taking their picture as a sort of revenge for not having the access to the remote control. (The Grey's Anatomy is playing on another channel!)
6. After an hour or so, one will be awaken and wake his/her partner up, and both will go to the bedroom terhuyung-huyung.

Sorry, no steamy scene here.