Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Wishes

Here are my wishes this holiday season for my fellow IFers:

That your IF wounds aren't bleeding profusely
That people around you are sensitive towards you
That you feel God's warmth inside you
Telling you that He understands and you're not alone
That you can confide in Him about anything at all
That you're precious in His eyes just as you are right now
Despite yourself, despite your non-mom status

That God's peace and comfort blanket you 
Even though you don't understand why
Even though the storms of life are whirling all around you
That God's grace lifts your spirit up
Whenever you feel bruised and battered inside

That if you're surrounded by your big family this holiday season
You feel pure joy rather than sorrow
'Coz it reminds you of what you haven't got

That you know that there are people who care about you
Even though they may not understand fully what IF is all about
That there is at least one person who reaches out to you compassionately
When you need it the most

That you keep learning to love yourself despite yourself
Even if you still feel all those ugly emotions churning inside you
That you keep learning to be your own best friend
Especially when you're being your own worst enemy

Most of all, though, I pray for more healing for each and every one of us...

Have a blessed Christmas and a lovely New Year!



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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stoplight...

Dunno where to start. I've been silent mainly because of some news I heard about a friend who's fallen ill. At first it seemed to be a regular illness, but then it was discovered to have been an autoimmune disease. This kind of news is jarring enough to make me feel like I'm at a stoplight. The world is still moving at its own pace around me, but I'm focused on the red light that may change the whole world for my friend.

After IF, I don't even dare talk about miracles to my friend. If God wills, He can erase her illness, but many times God doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter anymore why God chooses to act a certain way or why He doesn't help us the way we want Him to. What matters most is that I know He knows best and He cares and He will give enough grace and peace beyond understanding in whatever circumstances one has to face if one believes in Him and asks for it.

This is the prayer I sent to my friend...



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On another note, I've been way too busy to think too much on IF issues, except yesterday when I was browsing through cute cat pics on an FB group that I joined and then there was a photo of a lioness and its cubs and the caption read:

"Nothing more beautiful...than a mother and its babies."

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!! That was just TOO much (I'm having a PMS right now)!!! The picture itself wouldn't have done any damage, but the caption wanted me to skip the photo altogether. Ugh! 

Anyhow, on a happy note, I'm psyched up for Christmas 'coz I have prepared a trick for hubby HE HE HE HE HE HE HE HE...Can't wait to spend quality time with hubby and MIL especially. And this time this year I don't have to work on Christmas eve morning like other years, so YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!

P.S. Oh, and MIL has a bottle of Irish Cream Liquor for us. I LOVE Irish Cream liquor! HO HO HO HO HOHHHHHH...:-D
 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mercy

Visited FIL in the old people's home on Father's Day last Sunday. Having been an Alzheimer's patient for years, his condition is slowly but surely getting worse. Even when MIL was still taking care of him at home, it was clear how tough it was to take care of him on her own, especially since one of the medication made his body stiffer than ever!!! They changed the medication, but it made him restless at nights and she couldn't sleep at all because she was afraid he may leave the house or fall down. After all, she's been wearing hearing aids since she was young, so she couldn't hear anything much without the hearing aids (have to shout really loud if she's not wearing them).

Watching FIL being a bed-ridden patient is tough. Must be especially tough for MIL, who deep down still wants to take care of him at home, but she just can't do it anymore. It took two healthy nurses a lot of time just to change his diaper and clean him up. MIL can't possibly do that anymore, especially since FIL's legs aren't as strong anymore to hold his own body weight. 

Every time I visit FIL, I'm reminded of mercy and it makes me think of my old age. If God gives me a long life where my health deteriorates in ways I may not possibly guess, unless hubby can take care of me at home, I'll be at the mercy of other people (strangers). 

I hope that if strangers have to take care of me when I'm "not myself" anymore, I hope they'll have mercy on me. Some people become so belligerent when they get older whereas some, like FIL, become so passive. Some manage to stay relatively healthy until the day they die (like my Dad who could still wash himself and did many things on his own until the day he got the heart attack despite the onset of dementia). 

I'll never know what'll happen to me, but seeing FIL makes me want to send a wish to God that if something like this happens (either I become belligerent or I have dementia or Alzheimer's), then I hope my caretaker(s) will have mercy on me and will forgive me for my actions/words if I become such a different person later on.


The quality of mercy is not strain'd, 
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
- Shakespeare

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Words Do Matter

I've been exchanging emails with a friend who's had two miscarriages in the past (not the friend that I mentioned in my previous posts that triggered my need for closure - hence the birth of "Funeral of a Dream" - pun intended). Anyway, this woman is currently pregnant again and thankfully it seems that they're both doing OK this time (already in the third trimester now).

The other day she wrote me an email again with an additional post script: "You know, I've been wondering how much I should share my excitement over this pregnancy with you. I just want to make sure I'm not causing you some pain or discomfort. I can only imagine how tough it is for you during your IF journey."

My heart melted when reading her words. The fact that she cares only makes me want to hear more about her pregnancy and baby stories later on in the future.

Words can make or break someone. I hope that I'd be wise with my words wherever I am - not holding back compliments, not being brutally honest, but being compassionate and being able to spread words of encouragement whenever needed. But in cases that I fail to do so, I should learn to forgive myself and just try to do my best next time. May God help me! 


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Funeral of A Dream

We're in the middle of In Memoriam Forest, burying our precious dream. There's a glass coffin right in front of us. A beautiful glass coffin with some leaf engravings on top and at the sides, the patterns of which matched the kind of wedding ring that we liked but never made. There are flower bouquets everywhere and there are nobody else there except us. The coffin looks empty, but it's actually filled with so many memories-cum-possibilities-cum-hopes-that-never-happened, the things that IF has robbed from us. 

We can hear this song at the background, accompanying us to say goodbye to this dream...


We're saying goodbye to these nonexistent-memories-cum-possibilities-cum-hopes:

- Taking HPT test and then feeling the rush of excitement and unbelief when I see two lines and then running to show it to hubby and then shrieking happily while squeezing hubby with all my might. "I can't believe it, I can't believe it! You're gonna be a dad! I'll be a mom!" I probably won't be able to sit still the whole day and it'd be close to impossible not to tell anyone else right away.

- The joy and excitement of both grandmas and uncles and friends when they find out about our good news after our tough effort to stay silent for weeks.

- Going to the gyno together and hearing your heartbeats for the first time. I'll probably shed some tears while your daddy's smiling calmly beside me.

- Feeling you kick for the first time and then excitedly telling daddy about it and while daddy's always so calm about anything, I bet deep inside he wants to feel it too and he'll get plenty of chances to feel your kick as time goes by.

- Feeling tortured during nausea period and during my back pain period as you get bigger and bigger inside me. Having trouble sleeping at night and I can't wait to see you, but at the same time I don't want you to get out too soon. I worry about you and try to do my best to eat healthily and avoid certain things that aren't good for you.

- Excited and scared while waiting for your arrival. After all, I won't be able to deliver you in this village, but I have to go to Rovaniemi (about 1,5 hours by car from here) and I don't want to deliver you in an ambulance just like what happened to a friend of mine.

- After hours and hours of pain and agony, finally you arrive. Welcome to the world, kiddo! There are so many people waiting for you and ready to shower you with love.

- Your hair is dark. Darker than daddy's, but less dark than mine. Your nose is exactly like daddy's. Your eyes are the combination of ours. You look so small that I'm afraid I'm gonna squash you if I hold you too tightly. I never know that holding a small baby for a long time can really make my arm numb...daddy and I have been exchanging glances and our hearts are bursting with so much awe and happiness. We can't believe you're finally here!!!

- Now the tough time really starts...sleep deprivation and total chaos in the house, but that's all right. I may get grumpy sometimes, but I still love you anyway. If you're as feisty as I was when I was a baby, maybe you'll bite me if I breastfeed you and then you realize that there's no more milk. *chuckle* And then I'll have to do what my Mom did with me - pinched my nose so that I'd breathe through my mouth, releasing her of the pain that my gum had caused her.

- You keep on growing so fast and learning so much. First tooth, first words, first step...We take so many pictures and videos of you over the years. I can't believe how occupied I've been with you. I long for some adult conversations in peace every now and then, but I suppose your grandma would be willing to take care of you for a few hours so that we can have some quality time or I can enjoy some adult conversations without you.

- At home I speak to you in English and you speak Finnish with daddy. I want you to be bilingual because that's going to be helpful in the future. 

- Then when you're old enough, I'll tell you so many stories: our love stories, how we met, how we fell out of love, how we restarted our love, stories of your grandmas and grandpas and so many other people you may not even get to know. But these stories may help you learn life lessons. 

- I can't believe how many questions you're asking me these days. What is it? What is it for? Why? Why? Why? Thank goodness there's the internet 'coz mommy can't possibly answer all your questions without it. 

- And then you start testing the boundaries and power struggle begins. Mommy and daddy have to stand our ground and be united to discipline you. But at the end of the day, even though we're sometimes at our wits' end, all the troubles melt away when you hug us with your little arms, kiss our cheeks, and say, "I love you, mommy. I love you, daddy." And gosh, you look like a perfect little angel when you're asleep. *chuckle*

- We both grow older along with you and now you've started mingling with other kids. It feels as though only yesterday you were a baby and now you're already as tall as me. It hurts us to see you hurt, but real life is tough and you've got to learn some things the hard way. Whatever happens, we want you to know that we love you despite your mistakes and our limitations as parents and we hope that we can help you become an independent adult and human being who has compassion towards others.

Now hubby and I squeeze each other with all we've got, tears streaming down our cheeks. I sob and choke...the rain is pouring down hard upon us, as if the sky understood and cried with us...

- I can't believe how tall you are now! As tall as your daddy and you're now ready to leave us and start a new life in another place. Tough as it may be to let you go, I have to remember that you've got a life of your own and it's time to spread your wings and fly. 

- Maybe you'll grow up to be a rebellious person like me or maybe you're an easy-going person like your daddy or maybe you're a people-person like my Mom and your uncle. Maybe despite the rebellious years, you'll turn out OK. Or maybe you'll never ever be a troublesome kid at all (like your uncle) and you'll be one of those kids that don't give their parents a headache. All those maybes...all those possibilities...we'll never know, we'll never know...We're sorry we've never met you. 

Goodbye, darlings...Just know that we love you and we miss you and it really hurts to say goodbye this way but we know that if you had been there, you would have wanted us to let go of you and move on and be happy with our life together.



And after the song is finished, with our soaked clothes clinging to our bodies, we look at each other and realize that the rain has stopped...and the sun has started to come out again. 

Yes, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." -Psalm 30:5


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too Close To Home

I've just realized how "distorted" my view is when I'm dealing with my friend's miscarriage despite my efforts not to mix her grief with mine. Just today I realized that my IF glasses had blown up some of her words and made me hear sirens in inappropriate places. She got confused about some of my responses because they weren't relevant to her situation. GAH!!!

I don't know if I can take off my IF glasses completely or not, but next time I'm going to be extra careful not to project my own experiences with hers. After all, each loss is different.  I've also tried basing my responses on some of the miscarriage stories/blog posts I've read, but again they may not be relevant to her situation. Oh well...all I can do is just try my best.

This is the first time I've felt that my IF glasses truly backfired against me. It's weird 'coz in the past I have also met some people who miscarried, but this one hits too close to home, I suppose. After all, at one point in time we were supposed to start TTC together, though she and hubby postponed it until later. I need to really separate myself from her experience. Thankfully I have this blog to let out anything I want to share.

Let's see how I fare next time. Another lesson in learning to forgive myself, I suppose... 

Additional note: Come to think of it, I'm thankful that we didn't TTC at the same time (or almost at the same time). It could've been so destructive if we had tried almost at the same time, esp. during my darkest IF moments. *shudder*


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ahhh.....

The other day somebody commented, "You two look happy."

I smiled and said, "Thank you." 

Then she asked, "Are you having a baby? You look like you've gained weight lately."

I chuckled and said, "No, no, no baby. I look bigger also because I'm wearing my back warmer." (lifting up my jacket to show it)

FYI: It's true that I've gained some weight ever since I started working 2 years ago.

Then she said again, "But I meant what I said. You two DO look happy."

We just smiled and said nothing in return and the topic quickly changed.

Mind you, I have nothing against her because I know that she isn't being nosy. She genuinely would love to see our child. At one point in time in the beginning of our TTC journey she had said in a very excited tone of voice that she would even knit something for our child. And no, the person isn't my MIL. She knows better not to ask such a thing from us. However, she's not that close, either, so we're not divulging more details.

I must admit it felt a bit ironic when we had just finished the conversation. Ironic because it crossed her mind that the thing that made us look happy was probably related to pregnancy. What I decided to do, though, after the short conversation was to bask in her words on our happiness as a couple instead on dwelling too much on the irony. :-) 

Life isn't perfect and each of us has our own scars and problems to deal with, but we just have to make the best of it.


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Monday, October 8, 2012

Lack of Closure?

I've been wondering about something ever since I heard that one friend of mine had a miscarriage. I can't help reliving my IF journey or moments whenever she shared some things that resonate with my IF losses (or moments of losses) and I have to really stop myself from getting "sentimental on my behalf" on my emails to her. I've been bothered by this 'coz I wonder why on earth I feel this huge force to "relive" the moments whenever I read about her emotions concerning this current experience of hers. I felt "selfish" for having averted focus on HER grief and instead turning inward towards my own, even though my loss did help me understand her grief, too.

Last night I was browsing online for grief and I found this blog post entitled "Is This My Grief or Yours?". This is the paragraph that hit me the most and made me nod in agreement.
When I first began to do my inner work with my own grief it was “an unknown” part of me – it was in my shadow. Other people’s grief, if it was resonating at the same frequency as my own unconscious grief, would trigger my grief. Kind of like tuning forks on the same pitch setting each other to humming, only in this case, we are speaking about emotional resonance rather than pitch resonance.
So that's it! :-)

Then I started thinking about how many times I
"relived" my own happy moments when I saw other people's wedding pictures 'coz it reminded me of my own wedding day. I guess my friend's grief has the same sort of effect on me, except that the emotions it brings out are the direct opposite of such a happy memory. It's not that I cried over my own loss, though. I cried for her loss, but at the same time her loss made me remember the hollow part in myself that will never ever go away. If I have to describe the feeling, it's probably like hearing a low thud or echo on the hollow part. I'm not in pain, but there's this uncomfortable feeling of being reminded that it's there.

Then I started thinking about losses in general. What about my IF loss that is different than other losses? If I compare it to my Dad's death in the beginning of this year...if I hear about someone's dad's death, I think I won't really feel as "hollow". But why? Why is that so? Probably because with my dad's death, I have had closure. Even though I wasn't able to attend his funeral, but I'd had the best kind of closure ever. Not long prior to his death, I called him on his birthday and I could tell him verbally how much I appreciated him as a dad. And Mom told me that the morning before his sudden death, he had told Mom that he was satisfied with his life and he was happy to have kids like us. I couldn't have asked for a better closure.


When it comes to my IF loss, I'm unable to say (at least yet) that I've had closure, even though we've decided to surrender to life without kids. One big reason is probably 'coz we've never really had a chance to "say goodbye" properly. There had never been a positive HPT. No due date. No anniversary date of the loss.
NOT that I want to experience a real loss of a baby/fetus. It's not that. I suppose her loss just reminded me of how "hollow" mine sounds and that makes me feel sentimental. I suppose her loss made me realize even more than ever how "disenfranchised" my grief is. 

*** Additional note (22.10.2012): One possible reason for the sentimentality factor was that I felt I had been robbed of the opportunity of showing hubby a positive HPT, of being able to see the joy in his eyes. 

I've also been wondering why her grief has a different impact on me than others, 'coz there are others who've told me about their miscarriages as well over the past year (thankfully, though, they've gone on to conceive again and they seem to be doing OK now). I think one reason is because this friend is a very close one and we've been sharing our lives in details with each other whereas with the others, I'm not that close.


Anyway, it's nice to sort through some jumbled mess in my head that's been bugging me for a while. :-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Will

A while ago a friend talked about writing a will in her FB page. She and her DH has an adopted child (mind you, she can't have her own children due to hysterectomy and for a long time Indo people and her relatives thought that she would never get married 'coz they thought that no Indo man would want a woman who couldn't bear children - and no, the hubby isn't Indonesian). Anyway, she said that she had written a will on what to do if she and her DH died for some reason. She wants to make sure that the relatives would know their wish concerning their child.

The discussion tugged some strings in my heart. Before TTC, even before we were planning to have kids, I had wanted to give away some family heirlooms to our children later on in the future. Once the TTC dream ended, though, I didn't really think about the heirlooms anymore.


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The discussion triggered some soft spots in my heart, so I wrote in her FB page that if I died first, I would love for hubby to be able to give the family heirlooms to my brother so that he can pass on the family "inheritance" so to speak. I don't care what happens to my other belongings on earth or even my money if I should die first, but the jewelleries...They're not particularly expensive, but I know that my Mom had kept them safe for years and years and years because of their sentimental value. I still remember playing dress-up in my parents' bedroom and putting them on when I was a child.

Infertility is a very tricky thing. There are so many unexpected things that can turn my focus from someone else's life towards my grief, my infertility, the things that IF has robbed from me, the holes in my heart. And every time I experience that, I have to learn to forgive myself for doing that ...but I hope that by learning to forgive myself, I can learn to forgive others even better...and I sure do hope everybody along the way who's seen the ugly side effects of IF on myself would forgive me, too.

Note to self: What my other friend experienced that I wrote in the previous post (miscarriage) made me sentimental also because it reminded me of the days when we were still so hopeful, when we would do whatever it took to be able to get pregnant, when I was still paying so much attention to my body and my cycle and my fertile day, when every month I felt "This is the month!!!", when I let myself think about how the baby would look like, etc. etc. etc. It's bittersweet to look back on those days...because I know where we are now - happy and empty-armed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sentimental Feeling

I'm having PMS and today I heard bad news from a close friend who miscarried (the first ultrasound confirmed that). 

Her news made me feel sentimental to say the least...making me turn around and look back on all the things that IF has robbed from us...and I found this lovely song online and I just thought this is appropriate for today's mood...

Monday, September 3, 2012

After The Meeting

The meeting I mentioned in my previous post went fine due to several reasons. One reason was that my period had started already last Saturday and my mood went considerably more stable after that ha ha...Secondly, there was already another friend before my preggy friend came and even after that we talked about many different topics, especially after the other two friends came. Thirdly, the preggy friend also showed interest in my life. :-)

Funny thing was that when I was talking to the first friend who was there already when I arrived, she (a mother of three boys - two of whom are already adults) said to me when I asked about her kids, "Kids are overrated." She didn't say it in a negative way, though. She just stated it in a matter-of-fact manner he he...

I know she loves her boys so much 'coz she's been a single mother ever since her husband died years ago, but at least she doesn't sugarcoat mommyhood. She has to survive in a new country and support her kids and now two of them are already independent young men. Now that's what I call a fighter! :-D 

But the sentence that she said definitely helped me get in a good mood ha ha ha ha...And nobody asked about kids concerning us, so it was all good. It was just a tad sad 'coz one friend is moving away from this place in a few months', so we were also sort of saying goodbye to her, though we hope we can still have time to meet her again before she finally leaves us. It's sad not only because she's our friend, but because there aren't too many foreigners living in this small village of Sodankylä, so when one foreigner leaves, it's a HUGE loss for the rest of us.

However, I hope she'll have a good life in the city! :-) And it means that I have a new reason to visit the city later on he he he...


P.S. Read a blog post on "seasons of a marriage" and I realized that for us, it's as though we jumped from the fourth year straight into "the empty nest period" (when we let go of our dream to have kids) even though we don't necessarily experience all the ups and downs of parenting, but I do think about our older years and we do redirect our focus from that dream towards "fun/memorable things to do together". Isn't that what older couples do as well when the kids have left the nest?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anticipating

I'm meeting some friends next week and I'm a bit worried actually. I'm having my PMS and I don't really know exactly when my period will start, so I hope that my hormones won't be too crazy during the D-day.

The thing that makes me a bit worried is the fact that one of the friends is currently preggy. She got married "rather late" and she was worried her eggs would be too old already, but to her surprise she got preggy in 6 months. However, when she tried to have a second one, she experienced several RPLs and she had actually thought that her family wouldn't grow any bigger. She's 41 y.o. and by the time this second baby is born, she'll be almost 42. 

My concern is my own focus shift and its subsequent effects. I've managed to shift the focus from the "hole" (or crushed dream) in our reality pretty well so far, but I haven't been around any friend who's pregnant either, so that must've helped. Some friends of mine are pregnant, but they're far far away from me, so I count that as a whole different thing, but with this particular friend I'll still be meeting her every now and then.

I don't really want to feel that crushing grief anymore. Grief in itself is OK, but grief followed by all the other stuff that makes me feel like I have hidden bombs in many different places inside me that are ready to crush me into little pieces...that's what worries me. It's TOUGH WORK to collect all the tiny pieces of myself and start healing all over again...

But anyway, I'm trying to hold on to the mantra "Be kind to myself, be kind to myself, be kind to myself"...We shall see what happens then when the time comes. So I'm crossing my own fingers!!! May heaven help me!!!

Que sera sera...whatever will be, will be...


Update: I actually feel MUCH better now after writing this post here. :-D Giving a voice to your thoughts is really cathartic! :-D

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Random Thoughts...Hmmmhhh...

1. Had a Skype convo with Mom today and again she "mentioned in passing" about this woman who had told her about some kind of herbs that had helped some other people to get preggy. I think many people know that we haven't had kids, so they volunteered in telling her things that they had heard may work. I have no trouble with that.

But today I finally told my Mom again that it was OK for us not to have kids and that we were becoming older and older anyway and she said she understood. I hope that would stop her from telling this kind of story to me anymore. :-)


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2. Speaking of IF, lately I've been wondering about a cousin of mine who's never had kids. She's much older than me (at least 15 years older) and I can't imagine how it must have been like for her and hubby during those days - before she finally reached menopause. It must've taken a lot of patience to handle all the well-meaning words of other people. At least I'm SO far away from all the nosy Indo people, but she's always lived there all her life. 

And I'm also wondering about another couple that I know (again a much older couple) that have never had kids. From what the guy's mother had told my Mom, it seemed as though they kept on trying to have a child, but now I don't know anymore if it's more HER wish rather than their wishes. 


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3. I feel REALLY THANKFUL for having experienced IF when I found out how much it's helped me connect with another friend of mine who's struggling with her little boy. How much she's misunderstood, unsupported, judged and how often other people offer "unsolicited assvice" to her. How much those unsolicited words can sting like hell when given at the wrong time...

It's interesting how much connection we can feel despite the obvious contrast between us. :-)

That's why today I am CELEBRATING my infertility because even if the only purpose of this is to be able to connect with her and be able to make her feel not alone, then it's WORTH IT!!! :-D 

I'm an IF SURVIVOR and I'm gonna use this experience as best as I can!!! That's my promise to myself! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back from Holiday

We've just got back from our holiday in Keszthely, Hungary. Lots of wonderful memories, though there were a bit of frustrating parts, too, but never mind that he he...

Just want to write down a lovely short convo with hubby just now. 

Me: "Dang, honey, you're rich! Look at all these coins!" (Some Hungarian and Euro coins were scattered on his computer table)
R2: "Of course I'm rich. I have you." (grinning like a madman with his 3D glasses on 'coz he's playing a 3D computer game - actually I love it when he puts on those 3D glasses 'coz it makes him look like an MI agent or something ha hahhh...)

Anyway, I am happy to inform that nobody asked about kids at all to us during our holiday, but that was also probably because the people in Keszthely preferred speaking more German than English. That was one source of the bits of frustration that I felt. Maybe that means I'm a spoilt traveller ha ha ha ha ha...ahem...

We also had fun going up on an air balloon ride. I don't think hubby even thought about going on such a ride before I mentioned it to him. This is one of the lifelong dreams that I have on my dream list that I wrote down years and years ago. I'm not really that ambitious about fulfilling all those things on the list, though, but it's just that while browsing about Keszthely on the net, I found the air balloon ride possibility in Balaton area, so I said to hubby that even though it was rather pricey, we'd better try it! :-D

It wasn't what I had expected, but it made me understand more that dreams can be different from reality/the experience. Dreams are made of all the sweet, tasty, nicely-smelling, soft-as-a-cotton-ball, gorgeous idealism in my head without knowing what it's really all about. It may be sweet, but there may be a slight tangy taste as well. Or it may be nicely-smelling, but it's a bit rough on the touch. It may even be bitter with a slight sweet taste only and mostly rough and not smelling like anything at all. It sure opened up my view, though.

I didn't think it would be THAT tough to prepare for an air balloon ride nor would it be that tough to land. After the balloon was almost ready for take off, the wind suddenly changed direction and the people preparing for the ride had to really act quickly to turn it all around and they had to do it all over again - they had to deflate the balloon in order to reposition it and then inflate it again before we were finally ready to take off.

The take off itself went very quickly and excellently, though. It didn't feel like anything at all. I have motion and sea sickness, so I was a bit afraid that I'd feel dizzy or something, but I didn't feel it at all. In fact, the take off was MUCH better than a plane's take off. The only difference was that we both felt HOT!!! The heat of the burners above us was rather uncomfortable, though it got better once we got high enough and the air temperature dropped down. The burners were also so noisy, so it was hard to talk.

But we could see a gorgeous sunset that took place slowly from high up there as well as the bird-eye-view around the area. Despite the heat, the rather tight space in the basket that made it impossible to move around too much and the noisy burners (and a rather rough landing which I'd tell soon), it was worth it. After taking plenty of pics and videos (I had to hold on to my camera so tightly for fear that it would drop down ha ha...), we looked into each other's eyes and we both had that certain look that said, "Hey, it's kinda cool up here. I'm SO glad we can experience this together! Marvellous view!" :-D

Anyway, the wind picked up when we were preparing for landing, so the pilot told us to hold on with both hands to the ropes that were conveniently hung around the basket. The pilot became so very busy then because he had to use the walkie-talkie to tell the others where his location was so that they could prepare themselves down there as well as checking the wind speed and then he had to pull one of the ropes connected to the balloon so that we didn't graze on a tree that we almost ran into. Apparently by pulling the rope, the balloon then swerved a little bit to the left side of the tree. Phew!

Then we heard a low thud when we landed on a 45 degree angle and then one guy grabbed on to the basket to get it back straight up whereas the other had to grab onto one of the other rope so that the wind didn't blow the balloon back up. Then after securing the basket and the balloon, the pilot told R2 to get out of the basket, then he himself get out of there after a while and finally in the end I was told to get out of the basket. Then they had to pack everything before we could leave. Phew! Quite an adventure! :-D

Anyway, here are some photos that I took...

The process of inflating the balloon. This was before the wind toppled it over to the other side (diagonally across it).



The noisy burners.



The view of Balaton lake. On the left side of the photo you can see one of the dangling ropes that the pilot can pull if needed to "steer" the balloon (I think):


The gorgeous sunset...it took a while before it finally went down, so we had plenty of time to enjoy it:


The landing place. The pilot wanted to land on a grassy field, but alas the wind blew us to this place instead.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

No More Hope Infusion, Please!

How can you stop people who knew you were trying to have kids before to stop infusing you with hope? With success stories? With random pregnancy miracle stories? 

Because even though we've told some people that we've surrendered to life without kids, every now and then they still try to infuse us with hope by telling those kinds of stories. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

And I'm not even having PMS now, but I'm REALLY TRULY bothered with it. I talked about it with hubby and he shook his head in disbelief. Then we started talking about different responses that would just shut people up. What would that be?

To new people that we meet along the way, I thought of saying this, "My eggs are rotten, so the doctors say I can't have kids." 

Hubby said, "Nah, just tell them that your hubby has no balls." LOL LOL LOL!!!

Then he suggested saying, "Just tell them we don't want kids." 

Yeah, next time I'll do that, but what about those people who knew we wanted kids so badly at one point in time? They're the ones that have trouble erasing the dream image of us with kids, even though we've buried that dream already and we've moved on. I find it FRUSTRATING that it's SO hard to make them understand that we DO NOT want to dig up the grave of our dream and live with an empty casket in our household. 


glitter-graphics.com
OK, enough ranting for today...

P.S. Just heard that a friend is pregnant again with her second child after several RPLs, so I'm HAPPY for her 'coz she's not that young anymore (41 y.o.), but on the other hand I feel frustrated 'coz this kind of story can be used "against me" - like if that happens for her at that age, then it can happen to me, too. Ugh. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Family Gathering

We had some relatives staying at our place the other day and I had to feed 9 people. It was the first time I had ever cooked for 9 people. Well, I didn't really have to cook much, though. Just salmon soup and then we provided some snacks and ice-cream and late at night I just baked some french fries in the oven. Pretty simple, because we had lunch at MIL's already (reindeer, salad, bread, cheese, milk). At first the plan was to grill outside at our place but nobody seemed keen to do so 'coz the temperature was rather cool. Only about 14-15'C and the wind was rather cool, esp. after the sun had gone down, the temperature dropped to 9'C during the night.

We played Uno until 2.30 am and it was FUN FUN FUN...One of the nicest parts is that we were all grown ups. Well, there's a couple who're still pretty young, but they're already 20 years old (nephew and fiancee), but still it's nice to be surrounded by people who've either done with populating the world or not ready enough to do so 'coz they've just started life at the university.

One SIL doesn't want another child. She's got a teenage daughter and the other one has never had one (and she's probably too old to have one now). BIL married her last year. So there's no talk about baby or raising kids or anything of that sort. No distraction whatsoever because of a small child wanting attention or being cranky due to fatigue or whatever reason. 

No arguing, either. It was just an enjoyable family day with lots of laughter (my cheeks felt sore after a while!!!). :-D

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Shipping News Quote

Headline: Deadly Storm Takes House, Leaves Excellent View.

The movie "The Shipping News" and the above quote reminded me of my IF journey...from all the brokenness and the chaos after we were thrown into IF pool, we've survived. In times it felt as though we were drowning in the huge (unexpected) waves and stormy gusts of wind, but in due time the storms die down and we can see things more clearly...

The only constant is change and the storm doesn't last forever...:-D Thank GOD for His grace and peace... 




"For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' - Luke 23:29

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Smooth Wedding?

Found this video clip by accident the other day and I just want to bring smiles to your faces today, 'coz it made me laugh so much he he he...


 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oases in the Desert

When I shared our IF "conclusion" to people (that we've surrendered to life without kids), there was a few people who didn't say all the wrong things. 

One person said, "I'm really happy for you that you have surrendered to God on this matter." This person is the mother of three and grandmother to six. Yeah. GO GRANDMA! My eyes got wet when I got her reply 'coz that was the last thing I expected from her. I was just SO touched!

Another person said, "I think it's really something that the both of you can surrender on this matter and I'm happy for you." This person had a hysterectomy at a young age and is now a mother of an adopted child. 

And then there's one close friend who wrote this email the other day (a mother of one):

"It's very tricky to know what to say to people when they tell you about their dreams - such as when they're longing to find a spouse or longing to have a baby/children, because if you don't know them well enough, you don't know where they're standing in their journeys. 

I mean, I know you and I know where you're standing in terms of your IF journey and I'll never think of saying hopeful things to you. So I'll never ever say to you in passing that I hope you can still have a child."

Ah...those voices are like oases in the IF desert...and for what it's worth, I really love getting a perspective from "the other side", from those people who're confused on what to say but they care enough to know what to say without hurting anyone. Because I'll admit it myself...before being thrown into IF, I would probably have said "the wrong things" myself to those people in my situation.

I think it's important to write these down so that I remember these oases in the IF desert and I remember to be thankful for them. :-D




glitter-graphics.com

Friday, June 29, 2012

IF Glasses

I wrote a blog post in my regular blog relating to infertility and a movie I find relatable for an infertile, but I'm too lazy to edit it to be more suitable here, but if you're interested in reading it (also 'coz I wanna know what you think about it), here's the link:




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One of the Signs...

That shows how far I'm on my IF journey is screaming with joy, "THANK GOD!" when my period shows up. 

Just like what happened today.

Infertility is a weird thing. Maybe that's why people can't understand still that a couple could really wish for kids so much that it hurt like hell, but then again at one point they can stop hoping for a pregnancy so much that the above scenario happened. Anyway, I'm so glad my period finally came! :-D


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Thursday, June 21, 2012

PMS Mode

Last night I watched "The Accidental Husband" (Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan) 'coz I was in the mood to watch a light, romantic comedy. The movie itself was what I had expected, but what really made me feel disappointed was the ending. Disappointment may not be the correct term, though. 

How to put it? Ummm...well, first of all if I have to explain it here, I have to give a SPOILER ALERT first, so if you're interested in watching the movie, stop reading NOW!!!

Btw, here's the imdb link to the movie: The Accidental Husband





glitter-graphics.com
 
Okay...now I can continue in peace...

As in many others romantic comedies, you can sort of guess the ending, but what really got me was the last minute of the movie, where it showed a bulging belly and the hubby and the wife shared a special look of fondness between them.


I was wondering what on earth made me want to say, "Oh for goodness sake!!!" when I saw it. 

I was like...what? Why did I feel like that?

It's not like I want to be pregnant anymore (in fact, I'm not so sure I want kids anymore - though I suspect a great degree of this feeling may be affected by self-defense mechanism, but the bottom line is that we're used to thinking of the future without kids for the past 1,5 years). So it wasn't because of envy or anything like that. 


I searched my soul and heart and mind and realized that what bothered me was the fact that the movie propagates that THE ultimate happy ending for a couple to have is when there's an additional family member coming in the form of a child/children. 


I was groaning inside after I saw the ending. Why couldn't they just leave it without the bulging belly? The last minute of the movie made me feel like what we have now is "less than"

I know this may be PMS mood talking, but to be honest I'm tired of people's "silent/not-so-silent" hope that we can still have kids in the future (that we still have time). 

How can you make them understand that it's not about having time still? That miracles do happen, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want it to happen to you anymore - not that specific miracle anyway (but you believe that you've been granted so many other types of miracles and that's more than enough)? Nor do you believe that that specific pregnancy miracle will happen to you anyway? 

That their hope of a surprise preggy does nothing to make you feel better (not that I need them to make me feel better anyway 'coz I do love and am enjoying my life to the fullest and I have learnt to live life without kids much better than expected and that they should rejoice with me because hell, it ain't easy to reach this stage)? In fact, that kind of hope doesn't really affect me in any other way other than make me feel that they just don't understand? Oh well...let me just stop ranting...On normal days, I know that I won't feel this way, but I just feel like ranting now he he he...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inspirational Video Clip

I've heard and read about Nick Vujicic, but only now I got to watch a series of his talk to school students and I just want to share one part that really touched me deeply...I haven't watched the rest, but I thought this part would be suitable for this blog...

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Unfulfilled Potentials

Was talking to my closest friends about different topics and we ended up talking about unfulfilled potentials. One friend said that when she saw great pianists, she always wondered what would have happened if she had been more focused on learning the piano when she was younger. She said that as she grew older, in a way it got a little tougher to accept the fact that she may not be fulfilling her potential as a pianist because she had less and less time to reach that dream. In the past if she saw great pianists, she felt more inspired and encouraged to follow that dream because it seemed that there was still ample time to do so. However, she also said that hopefully as she grew older, she would be wiser to accept the facts about unfulfilled potentials in any area of life.

I suddenly started thinking about infertility and motherhood. I told her that for me, motherhood was similar to her pianist dream. I don't actually know for sure how much "potential" I have to be a mother, but it was a dream I had for a certain period of time.


In my simplistic mind, when talking about unfulfilled potentials, you'd either have to do something about it or let it go. Letting it go also means accepting the fact that at the end of the day, maybe you'll only have fulfilled your potential until P instead of Z. In another life (so to speak), you may have made different choices and you may be able to fulfill that particular potential fully (or in a higher level than this life), but we've only got one life to live, so that's that. And we'll never know for sure anyway if in another life we'll be able to reach that potential more fully.


In my family, my brother is the more musical one. He took organ lessons when he was younger and the teacher said he was talented. He was in the course for years and then he stopped for a while, then continued it again for a while and for a period of time, my Mom was feeling sad because she felt that he could do more with his musical talents. Then when he was at the uni, he picked up the guitar and bass guitar and nowadays he plays bass guitar at church. In another life, he may be able to perform in stages or produce music by himself. Who knows? But this is his only life and he's made choices and he loves playing guitar/bass guitar at church.

When speaking about possibilities and unfulfilled potentials, there are too many unknown factors. R2 and I have made our choices and we have to live with it. In another life, we may be trying out something else at the moment, but in this life, I'm content to be where I am - even though every now and then I'm reminded of "my unfulfilled potential" that may be painful, but I'm THANKFUL for the lessons that IF has brought, because through IF I'm given a chance to learn more:

1. How to love myself despite myself.
2. That God's grace is enough.
3. More than ever before I know that God understands my pains and He cares, even though I've yelled at Him and accused Him of being unjust. 
4. That I've married the right guy.
5. The painful lesson of letting go and letting God.
 


glitter-graphics.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Unexpected

The other day a grandma came to the store and while loading her groceries to the till, she started this convo with me:

G: Aren't you cold here in Lapland?
Me: Cold? No.
G: Is it ever cold in your home country?
Me: Nah. The lowest temp is probably +18'C.
G: Do you miss your home country?
Me: Sometimes, but not that much.
G: Oooohhhh...what made you move here?
Me: My Finnish hubby.
G: Do you have kids?
Me: No. 

I was holding my breath a little, getting myself psyched up for what she was going to say next if it was baby related topic still.

THANKFULLY, this is what she said instead:

G: Ah, I'm just SO glad to have you here in Sodankylä.
Me: (BIG SMILE) THANK YOU!!!! :-D 

P.S. Another grandpa whom I had never met before said a similar thing: I'm glad to have you here. Don't ever go back to your home country! HA HA HA HA HA HA...


 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Highlight of Our Vienna Trip

Mother's Day went pretty well - felt a bit bummed due to deluge of Mother's Day's cards and photos in Facebook, but nevertheless nothing worse happened. Had some pregnancy and birth announcements, but at the most it only made me feel like the youngest kid left out from a game. During childhood in the playground where the youngest kid wasn't given permission to play with the older ones ('coz the youngest one didn't understand the rules and all that and the older ones didn't want to bother playing with the youngest one). That's the closest to what I felt. 

Spent Mother's Day's eve with MIL (no kids involved) and had a great time. Hubby and I both cooperated in providing the food for MIL so she didn't have to cook. Bought a gift and some flowers, too, which she welcomed with all her heart. :-D 

************


Anyhow, we had a relaxing and lovely trip to Vienna and the highlight of the trip was the conversation we had with a mutual friend. This woman came to Sodankylä a few years ago and then went back to her home country. Back then we used to hang out every now and then and chat about anything. When she lived here, I was in the throes of TTC, so I shared with her our hopes and dreams.


So naturally after not having met for years, she asked us about baby program. She also told us that she had just started talking about having kids with her boyfriend. So I shared with her what we had experienced until we ended up with our decision to surrender to a life without kids. 

She asked about adoption and I explained to her our decision. I didn't take it the wrong way 'coz I know she cared. Actually, sharing what I know about adoption and the maximum age difference between the parents and the adopted child made her think. She's now at my age when we started TTC, so she wants to learn more about her options IF for some reason the natural way doesn't work (though I hope it'll work well for her).


What really touched me and made me happy was the fact that she asked R2 about his job and life and R2 said, "I'm happy." It's one thing to hear from your spouse that he's happy, but it's a different thing to hear him say to someone else that he's happy in life. The unsaid words are "even without kids". :-D So I'm THANKFUL for this memory.




glitter-graphics.com
 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

God's Whisper

Had been feeling rather shitty lately, but then yesterday something happened at work - or actually two things. Had my yearly work appraisal talk with my boss and I was shell shocked when I heard what she said. She said that she had heard lots of positive feedback from customers about me and in my PMS state, I almost cried. I tried to control myself, though my eyes got wet and I'm pretty sure she noticed it, but she said nothing about it.

All in all, it was a much better work appraisal than I could have ever thought. I got better marks compared to last year, but what really touched me was what the customers had said about me.

Actually, in the morning before the work appraisal talk happened, out of the blue a customer said to me, "You're a wonderful person." Though shocked to hear that, I thanked her right away. I don't remember ever doing something special or extra to her, so I had no idea why she said those words that day. I was just so speechless and when she left, I was left with wet eyes again.



You see, I had been rather bummed about the upcoming Mother's Day (unlike previous years). It just crossed my mind that nobody would ever buy me flowers or Mother's Day's card or make me a Mother's Day dinner or bring me a Mother's Day's cake or whatever. I suspect that the trigger is the fact that one close friend is currently pregnant for the second time and that another one has started TTC this year.

And there I was, behind the counter of the supermarket where I worked, wondering if the job I was doing was making an impact on anyone, wondering if what I had been doing was enough or too much or whatever. Basically wondering about my place in the world and my role(s) in life. I didn't even realize how much validation I needed at that time until I heard the woman's positive feedback and my boss' words. 

They just blew my mind...and today when I was digesting all that happened yesterday, I felt God's voice whispering at my ear, "You are precious in my eyes just as you are. Just keep doing your best and share my light with others." And I broke down and cried...




glitter-graphics.com

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Investing on Love

A close friend of mine has just started TTC and she shared with us that on the first month of TTC, she was surprised by the disappointment she felt when her period showed up. Upon knowing how small the percentage of pregnancy possibility per month (even for timed intercourse for fertile people), she then said to herself that it was wiser to just let go.

Then she wrote a baking analogy that made me think. She said that it was like they were both preparing a cake together and then they put in in the oven. It was then up to God whether or not to light the fire of the oven.

I told her that in our case, it felt like the cake was gone from the oven every time we gained nothing (no pregnancy). The most painful thing did not derive from the wasted invested time or effort, but probably the wasted invested combined love we had for our imagined child. It felt weird for me to write those words, but I'm going to write it down here just for the record. 



glitter-graphics.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

Forgiveness

The more I reflect upon my own weaknesses as a human being, especially in terms of forgiveness, the more I'm in awe at what Jesus said:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
- Luke 23:24

For when I hear something disturbing from well-meaning people that poked at my IF scars, it's SO hard for me to forgive them, even when I know that more often than not, they don't mean to hurt me. 

Today I nailed my pains and anger and hurt at the cross...and sang this song: 
 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Legacy

In the past when I wrote blog posts in my main blog, one of the purposes was to leave a legacy for our future kids. After infertility, it hurt so much to think of those shattered dreams, including not even being able to share my blog's legacy with our kids. 

After letting go of those dreams, nowadays I feel that I can share my blog legacy with whoever is willing to listen. I write my blog posts not only for my own sake (or hubby's - in case one of us is taken first, there'll be plenty of memories in a blog form), but also for the sake of sharing stories with my blog readers. So these days I think of a legacy not in the form of leaving something for people who are related by blood to us.





“Language allows us to reach out to people, 
to touch them with our innermost fears, 
hopes, disappointments, victories. 
To reach out to people we'll never meet."

- Simon Van Booy

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

After A Wedding Party

Went to a friend's wedding party last Saturday and as usual when I meet new people, they ask, "Do you have kids?"

I answered no. I didn't feel any stabs or anything, though. Nor did I feel any need to explain anything (like what I felt in previous events when the topic came up).

Another person said, "Not yet" and I just laughed.

I explained to another person who also said something like "maybe in the future then" that life without kids is fine. Thankfully she didn't say anything else about the topic and she let it go.

The wedding went great and I almost shed some tears during the first dance 'coz it took me right back to my own wedding day. No, we didn't have any first dance that day 'coz it's not common to have that kind of thing in Indonesia, but still I remember the sacredness, the importance, the beauty of the day. Dreamy sigh...

Below is a pic of the dining room where we had the party...


P.S. Just wanna write down this post to mark what happens to me and what I feel during specific moments in my IF survivor period.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking Backward - Mellow Mood

I've just begun to get to know a blogger friend/expat who lives in Finland and we've been exchanging emails 'coz we have some similarities. I've dug up some old blog posts to send her some of the links so that she can get to know me better (it's more practical that way so that I don't have to write all over again some things I've written down in my other blog).

While trying to find those old blog posts, I reread some of them and in some of them, I came across posts filled with my wish of leaving some legacy to our future kids and grandkids (even though at that time we didn't plan to have kids yet 'coz I just moved to Finland and I needed time to study the language and adjust with my new life), but the thought of leaving something for the future generation had been on my mind. One legacy that I was thinking about was our saved emails - our "electronic love letters". At that point in time, I would love to have our kids and grandkids enjoy the legacy of our long-distance love story. I didn't really have time to think this over because I'd been busy at work.




However, today (it's my day off from work) I was reminded of this when I visited another blogger friend's blog. She had just posted her weekly scrapbook of her family. She said that she had started to rethink what to put in the weekly scrapbook so that the future generation knew what kind of things (gadgets, incidents, games, jokes, events) exist/happen in the past life that they enjoy that may no longer exist in the future.

Reading that post reminded me of one of the broken dreams I had to let go when we decided to think of the future with kids. I had forgotten that it was even on my mind before we even started TTC and now it has resurfaced. It makes me kinda mellow - mostly because I'm probably a bit shocked of the existence of this "hole" that IF has created. I know I'm gonna be just fine, though...but this just took me by surprise...

Anyhow, another type of loss is the kind of financial/earthly belonging legacy that we're going to leave someday when we're dead. I once told hubby that if I died first, I wanted him to send half of my money to my brother. He can keep the other half as well as my jewelleries.

It's not that I care too much about what happens after we're dead, but it'll just be nicer if the things we leave behind are meaningful to someone, don't you think? Someone who can look at our photos and remember the many memories he/she has with us...someone who, upon holding some of my jewelleries, remembers my stories about where they're from (a gift from Mom, a gift from an aunt, bought by me, etc)...someone who, upon holding our pictures, remembers our love story.

I guess today's one of those days...a day I should spend in mourning over these losses...My mellow mood may also be caused by PMS, but I know I'll be fine in the end, because:


Monday, January 30, 2012

Blessed!

Lately I've been thinking about blessings and how sometimes when someone says "I'm blessed" in specific ways that we are deprived of, it may make us feel that they have earned the blessings and that we aren't doing something good enough to make us earn those blessings. And vice versa...

Today a light bulb flicked in my head and I created this using a pic I took a few years ago:


Friday, January 27, 2012

A Child's Innocent Embrace

*cross-posted with my other blog*

The other day at work an old lady came to pay for her groceries, but she said to me that she didn't want the milk carton that she took 'coz she had taken the wrong one. Mind you that the milk section was at the back of the store, so I told her to just leave it at the cashier so that I could return it to the original place later on.

After serving a few more customers, there was nobody in line, so I took the milk carton and ran to the back of the store 'coz I didn't want the next customers to wait too long for me to get back. While running on the fourth aisle with the milk carton in my hand, I spotted a little girl in the middle. She was standing there in the middle of the aisle, halfway between me and where the rest of the milk was at the back of the store.

We locked our gaze at one point and we realized who it was we were looking at. She's this little girl who's been really friendly to me ever since we met at the store 1,5 years ago. Her parents are also very friendly and she has a little sister. At that time, her parents and little sister were near the milk section.

Anyway, when the little girl saw me, she smiled so widely and started RUNNING towards me with arms wide open...In my hurry, I couldn't break her heart. She probably thought that I was running towards her!!! (FYI: She did this once when they were at the store and she saw me from afar) So when we were close to each other, I stopped, knelt down, and gave her a hug.

I was a bit worried what her parents might think of me hugging her, but from the side of my eyes, I could see them turning around at us and laughing. Phew!!! She really made my day that day! :-D Before then, all we had ever exchanged were words and smiles and occasionally I gave them some candies he he...

Anyhow, here are some photos I took with my mobile camera (not such good quality), but anyway...


2nd pic: The sun peeping from behind the trees at around 2.30 pm yesterday. Felt marvelous to be able to see it again after such a long time!


3rd pic: The back of a hotel in Sodankylä.


4th pic: Very light pinkish sky.