Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Anniversary Gift

Though our anniversary was April 20, the small celebration took place on the 19th, which was actually a joint anniversary of ours and my boss'. It was just a simple dinner party with the other couple's (his) immediate family and a few friends. There's not much to say about this except that I enjoyed hobnobbing with friends.

What I want to spotlight here is the gift we received from a very lovely couple who just moved to this city some months ago. I haven't known them for long, and yet, I've felt a certain affinity with them right from the start. 

So, when we got this gift from them, I felt overwhelmed with delight, since this is a kind of gift that I barely receive, if not at all. Definitely the kind of gift that truly warms the heart and endears the giver even more. Who is not touched by such a gift of beauty? I love bouquets of flowers - roses, gerberas, daffodils. mums, daisies and even wild flowers and weeds! And this glorious bouquet of tulips is unmistakably a language of care and love expressed colorfully. It becomes a perpetual adornment to one's being.

(Though the flowers have long withered, they remain fresh here, as I've preserved them through my camera.)

This special day had been made more special through this special gift from a very special couple. A gift of love, a gift of friendship. Something truly special. 

Ah, there's always something special in our everyday life. It doesn't matter if it's simple or elaborate. Point is, try to find it, for it's surely there, and then savor the moment with it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

On Spring, And A Poetry From A Friend

Recently I changed my FB cover photo to this picture of moss I've taken one sunny spring afternoon.

When a friend saw it, she said the photo inspired her to write a poetry, which she inscribed on the image. Oh, how poetic she is! What beautiful lines filled with meaningful messages!

poem by Sherlene Mats

Within this space of waiting, some things were taking place. There were some days when light rains bathed the vegetation, leaving behind astronomical beads of crystals that clung to the leaves, soaking the earth with life-sustaining liquid to speed up the greening of trees and grasses.

Sundogs became almost a daily event, while clouds gathered in amazingly diverse patterns. Most days would start out with a cloudless blue sky which would later be adorned with fluffy clouds, or the other way around.

And now, spring has suddenly come to full swing. This moss  under our dining room window has by now reached its maturity, the waiting finally over as most of the trees and bushes have burgeoned forth with yellow-green foliage, the vibrance of which enlivens the whole surrounding.

The spring flowers are blooming in succession.

The evening sun paints the trees with a hue of yellow-orange which makes them stand out against the gray, or sometimes light blue, night sky.

And yes, the sun comes out radiantly and lingers in the zenith until late at night, then finally sinks, but leaving a faint glow that remains all night long. 

The air has the warmth and the scent of SUMMER!

Indeed, "Inhale deeply Sol's rays. Breathe!"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Farewell to Our Beloved Volvo

Our car is gone. It was quite hard to part with it but we had to. It's beginning to break down after all these four years of tough journeys through highways and byways. With a heavy heart, we gave it away to a needy acquaintance after our unsuccessful attempt to sell it cheap online. At least, somebody is going to mend it and take care of it. And that's comforting enough.

Though we had to let go of it, it's still and will always be a part of us and our cherished memories. It has served us in so many ways.

Our old car has taken us to places both far and near. It has traveled through the length and breadth  of Sweden, from eastern coast to western coast, from north to south;   has wound the magical paths through the spectacular mountains and fjords of Norway;  has burned the road up to the polar circle where Finland and Sweden meet;  has gone down as far as Silkeborg, Denmark;  etc., etc.

Now, our car is going to take its well-deserved rest. Not that it will totally stop rolling. It's just that the new owner can still use it to drive around here, since he has not that kind of wanderlust that we have.

For our part, we were able to find a second-hand car that suits us well, a well-maintained black Renault Megane, with the smell and cleanness of a brand-new car, which we bought last May 9. It has started running since then and will keep rolling for thousands of miles henceforth.

Our Swedish Volvo was replaced by the French Renault. Not so bad.

Another problem eliminated.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From Agony To Rhapsody

Okay, I'm chronicling backward, but only for this month. Hopefully.

Now, I'll let myself ramble about some agonizing moments last April 29.  Our old car went through the required yearly inspection earlier last month and failed the requirement for safe driving. We had to have it fixed, then take it again to the inspecting authority. Something more was not working well and needed to be fixed. The accredited repair company that ran through our car discovered several spare parts that are on the brink of breaking down and thus need to be mended/replaced. Would be okay if not for the enormous amount of service fee, which was too much for our budget. Better buy a new one, I mean a new second-hand car, than to spend a big sum on an old car.

We gave in to hopelessness. What should we do now? We have no car to use. Ok, we're still allowed to drive it until May 20, and after that? We have many activities this summer that require traveling by car, most especially our summer convention in the south. I felt restless that day while working no matter how hard I tried to push the thought at the back of my mind and summon my inner joy. Agonizing. Okay, enough of this rambling.

When I met hubby that afternoon after work, he mentioned that I had a notice from the post office regarding a packet that I should pick up. It came from the Migration Board. The authority sent back my homeland passport that I submitted about a month ago along with my permanent residence permit card as a requirement for my application for citizenship. Was my application rejected? Enclosed in the envelop was a certification that I have been approved as a Swedish citizen! Woooh! Couldn't believe it! The Board said that maximum waiting time is ten months, so I anticipated to get the result that long. But I got the answer in just a month! Just like that? No interview, no email. Incredible! It took quite a time for this information to sink in and for my disbelief to subside. But then, I've been living here for over four years, and my record is clean, and I filled up my application form accurately. So, no more questions, no hassles. I checked my documents. My permanent residence card was missing. Then it dawned on me that I didn't need that anymore since I'm already a citizen. 

Now I have a dual citizenship. Three actually. The third is an eternal citizenship under an eternal government.

So what's the big deal about being a Swedish citizen? Well... aside from the many benefits and rights that one is entitled to, I can freely live and work anywhere within EU. But I have no plans to move, my heart belongs here. Unlike before when I could only travel across the universe (uh-uh...), now I can travel anywhere on earth without a visa. Which means that my new citizenship is a fantastic treat to my wanderlust! Ah, rhapsody!

Aren't life's ups and downs fascinating? They sure can give us a bang!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

First of May

I know I'm falling behind with my blogs, but that's how it is with one who is so preoccupied with the more important things. I have so much memories and viewpoints to store here in my cyber treasure chest, and I'm still on it, at my own pace.

I'm going to start with the events these past few days.  The last of April was a day when the whole Sweden observed the tradition called Valborgmässoafton (Walpurgis Night), which comprised of lighting huge bonfires in several places, and binges. I never watched nor took part in such activities, so I have nothing to say about this except for the fact that during that day, which is the traditional way to welcome spring, snow came in abundance, though it didn't stay on the ground for long. That's good enough to moisten the dehydrated soil.

May 1st was a non-working holiday, being the International Workers' Day. The day started out fine. Our brotherhood in this city was scheduled to do a spring cleaning at the Kingdom Hall. Quite a number volunteered to work, from babies (oppps... with mothers, of course) to elderly ones. It was a loving atmosphere with enjoyable works. We got the cleaning done early, after which we had a relaxing "fika" (snacks).

On my way home, it started to rain...guess what...hails! It's good I was already home when the thick ice pellets came plummeting profusely.  I was wild with excitement at seeing lots of hails for the first time this year. It went on for some minutes until the white hailstones covered the ground.

Two consecutive days of snowfall and hailfall! The last of April and the first of May, two months in a row, after which came sunshine and blue sky. This is something worth-recording for me. Such sudden weather changes render a singular touch to the season.

The first of May has slipped away, and the season has been grandly welcomed. Let spring march on with all its entourage of vibrant colors.....

Let my soul soak in the verdancy of the earth, the cerulean blue of the sky and the invigorating radiance of the sun!