Friday, April 28, 2006

Baby bed

A final trip to Ikea was made yesterday. It wasn’t the first time, and a friend even joked that my ‘vacation’ here in Strasbourg was spent in the aisles of Ikea. We bought a baby bed, and two cupboards. Though my friend moved to this new place almost three weeks ago, it still looks like we just moved in…suitcases, clothes, odd bits and pieces here and there, cluttering the corridors and what little space there is in this new apartment.

Mounting Ikea furniture is no brain teaser. There are easy-to-follow instructions, and all the necessary screws and bolts are included. Everything is multilingual, and if you still don’t’ understand, the picture of a man scratching his head and thinking about calling Ikea should be clear enough. It’s like a puzzle, each piece of furniture, which is supposed to piece together nicely, provided you don’t loose any crucial component…or (like me) carelessly bore through the holes already in place…or (like me) hammer nails which look like they’ve been twisted by the head.
After several hours of puzzling, nailing (with a pan because we didn’t have a hammer handy…improvisation, I believe it’s called), screwing and twisting, two lovely cupboards were ready to receive their loads. And a baby bed, with the full kit of mattress, quilt, blanket and pillow, was made too.

I folded the quilt up nicely…it has drawings of colourful butterflies, dragonflies, bees and insects on it, each cartoony figure with a lovely smile on their faces. Stuff of fairy tales and fantasies. Stuff of dreams and imaginations. As I made the bed, still empty now but not for long, a sudden surge of warmth came over me. It was an emotional moment. No doubt my friend felt it too. It already looks so peaceful, so complete and so meaningful empty…imagine what it will look like when an angelic little face on a little head is resting on that pillow, under quilt, blanket and a cover of motherly love…Stuff of fairy tales and fantasies. Stuff of dreams and imaginations.

Here in our midst.

baby douvet

Stuff of fairy tales ...

and fantasies.

Stuff of dreams ...

...and imaginations. Posted by Picasa

Baby bed, Hensvik!




warm, cozy bed Posted by Picasa

Aneboda assembly


Me "panning" away (improvising for lack of hammer)

finish! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Burnt Hand

I burnt my hand yesterday while making breakfast. How careless, how mindless of me. And what did I do? I continued making breakfast, thinking that my friend must be hungry. It was only later we realised how badly my hand had been burnt. A big patch of darkened skin, just under my thumb, stretches now from the insides of my palm to the back of my right hand.

I knew very well the procedure for dealing with burns: wash with cold water for at least 15 minutes, cover with cloth to prevent exposure, and if need be, go for medical aid immediately. That did cross my mind the moment the searing pain shocked through my body. But instead I just ignored it, thinking, perhaps, that it was nothing. Instead I continued making breakfast. Shows how much I care, about myself.

It’s not that I’m paralysed or anything. It just hurts sometimes, and sickly bubbles of flesh are forming on part of the burn wound. And the skin has become darker there too.

They say how a person deals with an unexpected situation shows a lot about how the person thinks and behaves. Reactions are like insights into a person’s personality. And once again I’ve learnt something about my own.

Small kick

I felt it, ever so slightly. My friend asked me to put my hand against her belly. And patiently I waited. It was quiet for a while. But all of a sudden, a slight rumble touched the inside of my palm. A small kick, yet so powerful too. Did he feel it too, I wonder.

I’m the first person (other than the mother, of course) to feel this little life’s touch. There’s something special about that.

But I won’t be the last.

Big rain

It suddenly started to pour while my friend and I were outside. Our plan to have a cup of coffee out on the Strasbourg-ian (as opposed to Parisian) street scene somewhere in the old city was…well, soaked.

The rain came so suddenly, but has since silently faded. They say each rain fall in Spring is supposed to signal the gradual warming up of the season. It was really pouring as we walked in the darkening dusk. You could see how much rain was falling by looking at street lights, because the glow from them clearly brings out each streak of rain as it comes down. Light reflections on the black tar road also reveal how quickly and big the rain drops are falling. I like the sight of water splashes on the ground. They just dissipate and disappear in all directions, like falling bombs.

We waited at the tram stop for the rain to stop, or at least die down a little. But it continued pouring, so we risked getting even wetter by braving the rain in the final few minutes walk home. My friend kept complaining, swearing, and lamenting what unfortunate luck she’s having. True, it was wet, and we both were wet. Soaked to the ‘bone’, or at least soaked to our socks and undergarments.

But it was just rain. We’ll get dry (as we are now). And it’ll be dry as soon as it stops raining. It was just rain, a lot of rain, but only that much. Rain, rain, natural rain. Nothing else.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Part of a conversation I had this morning...

"She's someone who likes to be hugged and held.
(I'm) someone with 'personal issues'. ".

How true.


It’s beginning to cloud outside. The sun which has been so extrovert and strong the past few days is disappearing, if only for now. It’s good, for a change, in a way, to know that there is a different sort of feel to Spring.

It’s been a while since I contacted my parents. I guess I should have done that before I came to Strasbourg, so as not to let them worry. The thought of ‘abandoning my duties at home’ to come here on a seemingly selfless mission to help a friend in need seemed hard to justify at the time when I left home compared to the demands and expectations of my parents. And now the situation seems to be even worse, especially since I simply disappeared without telling them where it is that I went to.

And my fears were confirmed when I heard through my friend that my mum had called her mum to ask where I was. I wonder what prompted my mum to become so concerned when, after all, I’ve been away for almost three weeks already. There’ll be a lot of explaining to do the next time I call home.

I don’t know the details of what happened exactly, and I’m not even sure whether my brother told my parents that I’d be away and where I’d be. So the facts are vague as to how my parents feel about my unexpected disappearance (and me abandoning my duties at home). I could just speculate their reaction, and dread the worst. I could almost hear my dad being irate, and throwing abuse around again, about the fact that I’m more concerned about other people’s lives than about my own future. I could almost hear my mum’s worries that me spending too much time with my friend would lead to certain… ‘complications’. Pointless speculation and worry, yes…

Sometimes, I wish I could be just answerable to myself. Sometimes, I wish I could gain the confidence and support of those around me for my decisions and actions. Sure, sometimes I have no idea where I’m heading, and what it is that I’m really doing at the moment, but at least I feel needed and useful whenever and wherever the situation arises for me to help others. And like now I’d choose to help others over and above my own personal ‘obligations’ and ‘commitments’. Perhaps it’s stupid, pointless, unnecessary, or whatever people may be able to conjure up to dissuade me from doing what I’m doing. But at least to me, for now, it’s the right thing to do. I may have worries and fear what other people might say, but at least I have no regrets. No struggle with my conscience. And that way my heart is at ease