Thursday, September 29, 2011

the culture piece

I can't imagine how organizations do it. Work in different places in the world and make sense. I am trying to make sense of 2 different countries culture and am finding it a big challenge.Deep Breaths.

I called home a few days ago after talking to my aunties to find out what my parents wanted in terms of wedding preparations. I found out wedding symbols unknown to me. Most of what i know about these rituals come from watching channel 8 serials... (i remember some show where bride kowtows to some chicken in replacement of groom) or watching what happened in past weddings... My family has never been super traditional but at some points, I know that my mother believes that the traditions are very important... and so, I need to respect that... So, apparently, the groom's family is supposed to pay for x. no. of tables to the bride's family for the wedding dinner. On top of that, the groom is supposed to give a significant sum of money to the bride's family as a token of * i have no clue* but the bride's family shouldn't take the whole amount but only some to show that they are not selling their daughter...

In the German tradition, the bride's father pays for the wedding since apparently, the bride is too priceless and cannot be bought. Rewind a few generations before, the bride's father would pay for the wedding and perhaps give the bride a dowry which contains jewellery and some household stuff since the groom will be receiving a portion of the father's land and will begin a new family there.

I have been feeling stressed as 1) I have just realised these norms, 2) I am surrounded by people who do not have the same norms, and instead have very different ideas about money, the relationship of the family to the couple etc. Sigh. I need grace and peace to not freak out too often, feel weird or be sad.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the turning of a chapter...

I don't think I have fought so intensely with anyone before... that anyone has forced me to grow up more, challenged my view of what love should contain, and at what cost should one love... that I have been so challenged before on whether he is the one, and if this would have been a wise decision...

But I have felt the silent whisper of encouragement and peace, the unwavering support of parents who sometimes think I am nuts but have more faith in me than I have in myself. Friends who sometimes say/think I am mad, but still love me... I have grown up enormously and have felt God's peace in my heart.

Yes, I said ok (not really yes but ok)... to a question asked in privacy (since he was forbidden to ask in the restaurant else I might not be able to swallow my food), with a ring, kneeling and an impromptu speech. An elaborate engagement is apparently not the culture of the Germans but he has tried to please me... I remember a conversation few months ago where I told him it was ok to not get me a ring with a ridiculously priced stone, but I was perhaps not convincing enough since I sort of teared in the middle of saying it.He felt that I would not be able to go home if I had no stone in tow, so decided that we would not be having this conversation again.   With a planned "surprise date" from the man that doesn't really do surprises, I had the day to think about the concept of marriage, what makes another a fine person to marry and why had I not done it earlier.

It was funny that the day started with a random skype chat asking me if I was married. This from a man who heard a rumor many years ago that "congratulations was in order" and congratulated me on skype. Unfortunately, it was the time of a breakup instead of congratulations when he skyped me then. This time round, he has moved to Nairobi, a son all married and thought he would check in on me... When he found out that I was more serious about the subject once again, he gave his 2 cents worth that marriage is good for all sorts of reasons but he named companionship as one of the key ones... (Ecclesiastes, cord of 3 doesn't break easily)

It continued with me sharing with some people in my life of the suspicions around this "surprise date". Perhaps to help me breathe and to remind myself that they might/will still love me if i make this transition, perhaps to get some moral support on this very strange day... Another esteemed wise person in my life talked to me about marrying a person with the same values, to get you through life, in its ups and downs.. We talked a little bout cross cultural relationships and how that might add a new challenge (his wife is chinese, he is indian)...

Besides going through this very wild ride with this man-frog, where life is never dull ( he is in Africa at the moment), I was also wondering why him and not anybody else (say the darling I had many moons ago). I felt a sense of guilt about my wanting to say yes to this man-frog, when I had said no earlier to a very fine man who bought me a little blue box... I am thankful for the idea of a different season of life as proposed by another dear friend. Yes. I do think I am in a different season of life, and perhaps in this season, I am ready to move on, instead of mourning my loss of youth as I was then.  For the record, I am happy that my darling many moons ago has moved on and is doing well (though no idea if I shd invite him for my wedding, any ideas anyone? :) )

I am still trying to get used to the ring. It is feeling less surreal but still weird. My frog will soon cease to be a frog, but would become a husband (shudder). He is no longer my open secret, but instead a large part of my identity will depend on it. He has graciously agreed that I could keep my name (apparently taking the husband's name is a big deal for Germans) but I told him being an official "peirong gerlach lin" sounds tooo weird. Nobody will take me seriously.. (Or perhaps Gerlach lin peirong?!)

throughout the chain of events, something else has also been very evident to me. Life does not stand still for just one event, however big and important it is. As much as an engagement is happening, there are still battles that need to be fought, work that needs to be done, and people in life that need to be loved... I wonder if this is what it means to be "adult", the simultaneous things happening in life instead of just "concentrate on your exams". Just before our surprise date, he had this phone call that was disturbing for him. Just after the surprise date, I had an exam of sorts that I needed to prepare for. While we can appreciate the moment, there were (and there will alway be) all these different/unrelated things that needed to be done. I think that it is really a challenge to appreciate every moment instead of being distracted by everything out there. I wonder what God would say about this.

I have been asking my darling if he thinks that God is happy with the concept of us. I hope God is. I feel humbled at the chain of events that has lead me here. I can never orchestrate any of this by myself. I am happy to see His hand through the different events. I am praying that God will teach me to continue to trust him with this new chapter of life... which for the next months mean research, wedding preparations and move to Brussels, and learn French... GREAT *roll eyes*

Ok, with this blogpost, I have officially "processed" the piece of news,.. and wow. I'm engaged!!! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I am blessed.

In awe of God's goodness and faithfulness. He has been faithful in the last year. 
Thinking about the future. Reminding myself that God who was faithful, will continue to be faithful.

I am so happy that he is real in my life. :) 

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34

Sunday, September 11, 2011

cry baby

I think I cry a lot more when I am stressed. Please pray for focus as I need to submit my paper to my professor very soon. and start with my German studying. :(

breathe in and out... 

Friday, September 09, 2011

the Lord is my strength and my song

The Lord is my strength and my song,
my every present help in time of need.

The Lord allows angels from faraway,
through watsapp, email and facebook.

The Lord collects my tears in a jar, no drop is wasted.
Even if the jar is overflowing- he simply gets another.

The Lord is good and understanding,
I am not too much, too complicated, too inadequate for him.

The Lord loves and His love endures forever,
even when human love can be conditional, and sectioned.

The Lord has a plan, even when I don't understand
He sees the point, even when I cannot.

The Lord is my strength and my song,
without him I am nothing.

( A psalm from Peirong, remembering that the Lord is good)