Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ten Years

It's been ten years since my mom passed away at 43 from breast cancer.  Ten years. Ten birthdays, ten Christmases, my entire 20s have went by.  Ten years -- it's along time and in the same breath, a blink of an eye.  Eric and I spent this date in Vietnam, on the beach, in big waves, just like the ones my mom loved, like the ones we played in on our many road trips to Florida and North Carolina as kids. 

My sister and I have grown into women, women that I'm sure my mom is proud of.  We have lives that neither of us could have dreamed of ten years ago.  We should have been statistics -- you know the kids, the ones that are teen parents, drug addicts, high school dropouts, alcoholics -- the kids I got a Master's degree to help, those are the kids that every statistic out there says my sister and I should be.  But we aren't.  Instead, we are both college educated, independent, free thinkers, who are living our own dreams.  My sister is married and they just bought their first home - a farm, where she keeps her horses, my mom's greatest dream, and she is living it! Me, I am the Woman of the World my mom told me I was destined to be, 14 months in Malaysia and no hopes of turning back now.  I know she is PROUD of both of us. 

I still wake up everyday and think, "Seriously, this is MY life? Wow, it is AWESOME!" Yes, I think my life is awesome.  How did my sister and I not turn into the statistics that I've learned about and what our therapists said to our faces we would become? Because we had an awesome woman as our mother! Yes, we lost her when we were young, but could I imagine my life, today, with her in it?  The answer is No, I cannot. 

Ten years, since she passed.  One of the hardest and most beautiful days of my life.  Complete Grace.  Do I miss her presence, yes, everyday.  Is she with me? Yes, she is everywhere and every place I've been and will go.  She guides me on my path and guides my sister on her path, and for that I am forever grateful. 

In her loving memory!
I love you mom, I know you are having a great time in heaven.

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar

as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,

'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pulau Perhentians Take Two

For the second time in a month, I drive across Peninsular Malaysia to the Perhentian Islands.  Yes, it is that good.  Twice in a month.  It sounds ridiculous, I know, but Eric was unable to join me on my last trip and I insisted that we return before the monsoon season hits in October.  A short 5 and a half hour drive and a very bumpy boat ride and we were in paradise. We stayed at Coral View Resort (again) in a standard room in the trees.  Our main purpose for this trip was to dive, and that we did.  We spent the next 3 days diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear water.  We did 3 amazing dives and clocked over 3 hours in the water.  Not to be super religious but, diving and snorkeling here is like looking into God's fish tank, which technically the ocean is.  Absolutely, stunning.  We swam with schools of fish and at a few points were completely surrounded by thousands of yellow snappers.  We encountered two sea turtles feeding, spotted blue sting rays, cuttle fish, puffer fish, and we found out where little Nemo lives. 
Amazing Sea Turtles
We found Nemo and all his little friends
A small school of yellow snappers

Our ocean front dining spot
Proof that Eric was actually on this trip :)

To top it off, this is Eric's first ride on a motorbike -- Look, no helmet.

Another short weekend in paradise for us.  We are planning a least one return trip next year and looking forward to it!   

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tica's Surprise Baby Shower

Last Saturday, Paulette and I hosted a surprise baby shower for Tica at my place.  We were joined by the women of NI to celebrate the pending arrival of baby boy Stolpe.  Tica was genuinely surprised and everyone had a great time and enjoyed good company, good food and massages (thanks to Paulette)!

The big "Surprise"
Lots of cute gifts for the mama-to-be