Forgiving Ararat - My Current Obsession

In between the craze of relocating (and entertaining family from afar), I took some time off to read. Yes, I'm addicted like that. Addicted, and can't do without some intellectual debate or at least a question that sparks a thousand explanations. 

Reading gives me that.

Which is why I'm here this sunny afternoon - with a cup of coffee, albeit instant - hoping to jot down a good read that I want to immortalize in my own sphere.

For anyone who loves an intelligent read speckled with vivid imagination; one that will leave you pondering and questioning long after the last pages, I'd say pick up Forgiving Ararat by first time novelist Gita Nazareth.

As the title suggests, this novel is about forgiveness. Forgiving the wrong and right; the friend and foe; the love and justice; and most importantly, forgiving oneself.

Although the story starts when Brek’s life ended, (not unlike The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold whose MC was also a dead 14-year old) this novel is full of the precious aspects that make up life. By delving into her past life, Brek discovers many lives before hers that intertwined with her own, the branch of history that determined her life, or rather, death. Here, Nazareth cleverly blurs the line between dream, life and death; and leaves one to question if these realms might not be so different afterall.

The novel is heavy with issues on war, religion, politics, law and history. It would have been a dread to read if not for Nazareth’s smart and playful choice of words. It is fascinating how she engages readers through the significant subjects and touches us with beauty, sadness and forgiveness.

This novel is a collection of stories from different people. Each life brings with it the beautiful, the injustice and ultimately seeks the forgiveness that they deserve. Each life affects readers as they read, creating a bigger and complete picture, that is, the life as we know it. During the course of a lifetime, we’ve met and bonded with numerous people and created our own stories. By taking a step back, one will see how many lives they have touched, hurt and changed.

Nazareth also mocks the religion as an intellectual and challenges the possibility of anyone who would actually know what happened years before even the great ancestors were born? In opening our eyes and mind, Nazareth allows us to accept how different each of our perspectives is.

Furthermore, by using death as a platform (one that I loved if you realised), Nazareth strengthens her idea of forgiveness. For nothing else matters in death except forgiveness. No matter what wrong and bad a man has done, as long as one is willing to look through the man’s eyes, one will always see reason and learn to forgive.

Overall, this is a highly personal and evolving book. If you're interested to know more, check out their website. Or better yet, join the discussion between Forgiving Ararat and The Lovely Bones online.

I need more books with similar premises. Any recommendation, my lovelies? 


Souvenirs for all..

Ok, so the couple just got back from traveling, and what a travel it was!

It was a fun trip. Long and tiring, yes, but fun nonetheless. I used to have this beautiful dream of traveling the world round, but after a straight flight of 16 hours or so, my bum did not quite agree. And it did not stop just there.

Our journey: Melbourne - Singapore - Amsterdam - Oslo (- London - Paris - London) - Amsterdam - Manila - Sydney - Melbourne 

Hour count: 8hrs - 16hrs - 2hrs ( 2hrs - 2hrs) - 2hrs - 10hrs - 10hrs - *blackout

I may do that again, but definitely with the aid of either sleeping pills or knockout pills.

Well, on a much happier note, I've brought home a little piece of each destination we went. I know, you're most welcome ;)

But, before you think you'll get the whole ramble about the month-long trip (which will probably take about 72 days and 98 minutes), warm up with these teasers instead..

It's good to be back. *kisses for all


He tapped my shoulder at lunch.

I was finishing my lunch with a cup of skinny latte. My half-read book lay open in the sun.

Just as I was turning the page, a shadow loomed across the table. I looked up, right into the most gentle and addictive grey eyes.

"Are you reading that book?" he asked.

"Obviously," was the reply before I stopped myself.

"I've read his first book, and I reckon it was his best publication yet."

"Is that so.." This is getting nowhere. Awkward.

"I went out with his girlfriend before. Back in London."

My brows were raised behind my big shades, but I promptly nodded my head politely.

"I really loved his first book. But his girlfriend, well his ex, told me all these stories about how he's a pig, how he treated all the women he's been with. And I couldn't see him the same way again. It's just funny how his work shines through with integrity and great philosophy, yet in real life, he's a scum."

"Well, you wouldn't have known all that if you didn't go out with his girlfriend, anyway." I sometimes like to make things difficult for myself, I know.

He flashed a genuine smile. And I thought to myself; if he wasn't such a pig himself, I'd actually think of him as a very attractive old man.

"Well, enjoy reading. Have a good evening," he finished. As he turned behind me to leave, he squeezed my shoulder. 

"You have a great day too," I chirped.

I smiled to myself and turned to steal a glance. He sat two tables away, facing me, grinning and sipping a bottle of Coke.


Your heart will take you home.

My day today can only be described by one word: aimless. But it's also those nothingness that I came to this post.

You see, it was a beautiful Sunday after weeks of cold numbs and hot chocolate inhouse. I started the day like how I would on any of my days off lately; I enjoyed my breakfast toast by the window sill, staring at nothing. And then, the sun came. A nice glow warmed my skin. "Finally," I thought.

I got up, changed and ventured out. But the thing is, I have nowhere in particular that I wanted to go, nor anything that I wanted to do. All I know was I needed to get out. I let my heart lead the way. 

How so, you ask?

I don't really know. I just kept walking without thinking (I can prove that by almost stumbling over my own feet in front of a restaurant full of diners, and poodles). I walked on, aimlessly, until I reached this little cafe called Picnic. I've never seen it before, even though it's on the same street where I live, only at opposite ends. I went in, simply because my heart said so.

Ok, so I don't do this all the time. Having no expectations, no plans, and no worries. But I must admit, it's fresh. You'll be amazed to see what you'd actually do, see and feel.

Back to Picnic, it was a quirky cafe with a weird choice of furnishing; benches, round plastic tables, wooden furniture, avant-garde, mirrors, cage, bookshelf, and aloof staff. The table that I chose was shaky, its legs see-sawing on the uneven pathway; hardly lovely, highly amusing. The berry-lime teacake was cold and hard, but the lime was zesty which made my heart flutter. Latte was too bland for my taste, but the barista made a beautiful vine design for me. The novel I just started bored me to death, but I picked up words that made me smile. It was still a beautiful day.

I did not think today, I just followed my heart's whim. On my way to the cashier, I saw an old lady with her grandson. She wore a lime green sweater, I remember. And just like that I paid for that table. I would have written a card if I came prepared, but I didn't.

"If I have somehow brought you a smile, please pass on the blessing and make another one smile," is what I would have written. I can only wonder what happened after I left the cafe. I'm sure such thing won't happen too often, but I'm glad I did it once. All because my heart did the leading today.

Also because I did not question, I passed by the roast shop and actually went in for a half pack of char siew, sweet bbq roast pork. I wonder why. And no shit, I really wondered all the way home. 

Once home, though, all became too clear. I promptly brought out the pastry sheets and baked some char siew puffs. But the thing is, I DON'T eat char siew. Weird. So, like how all things will go right eventually, I mashed some tuna, sprinkled some lemon and pepper and added chopped chillies. The spicy tuna puffs came out gloriously good.

Now, I'm sitting here, typing this aimless post. It made me smile; and that's how I will describe this Sunday now. 


Knock, knock. I'm here.

It's been a good 1 and a half months since this blog was unjustly neglected. But hey, I do come in for a caress every now and then, but that wouldn't have counted, would it?

Truth is, Missy suffered a major breakdown. Because pressures are swamping in truckloadfuls, from all directions and at the speed of Holy Light. So then, while trying to cope, I burst a vein and sought solace in the grim company of robed masters, white angels and a thousand kinds of pills. This blog is the first thing I come home to since I've earned back my sanity.

All that, of course, never happened. Did I hear a sigh of relief? Or maybe that's cursing..

At least now we know missing a few blog posts ain't suicidal afterall.

What really did happen the past month was;

  1. Adding new babies to the family. And a couple of snails. One black, one yellow, if you must know.
  2. Spending quality love with Baby Hubz during his Easter break. He fell sick, that poor baby. So I cooked up a stormy love of congee, clear soups, noodle soups, pork&chives puffs and papaya toasts (this one was just for me, btw).
  3. Planning our pending retirement. No, just kidding, but that sure cheered me up!! We planned for our much anticipated trip to Norway in July. He hadn't been home for 5 years; I can see the longing in his eyes. And me, I'm just having mixed, albeit very powerful, feelings.
  4. Talking, and seriously talking, about having a baby. Not the swimming kind, but the crying kind. Yeah, the give-me-what-I-want-or-I'll-cry kind, the NO-I-don't-want-to-eat-veges kind, and I think, the Momm-Dad-I-love-you kind. *blush. We're counting down to 2 or 3 years now.
  5. The career change is taking off.
  6. I missed spicy food. REAL spicy.
  7. I spent most of my time on Twitter.
  8. I bawled uncontrollaby because I couldn't fit in my jeans. Then comforted myself with chocolate brownie slice.
I'm sure those weren't the only thing that happened, but they'll do for now. Cos, you know.. the Missy's hungry again..


Good Morning, Melbourne

.. and good night to some parts of the world.

It's a beautiful morning today, albeit not your picture perfect sunny morning. It's a tad murky grey at 15deg  when I first looked outside my window at 7.30am. Add to that little pools of overnight puddles, soft dew from the branches and of course, a breeze of sweet, smokey rain. It's beautiful.

Perhaps we all need days like this to fully appreciate your days off and stay ins. 

And the mere fact of being alive..

News came through from ABC last night; Earthquake shook suburban Melbourne

I was still at work in the city and felt absolutely nothing. But then again, huge trucks pass by us all the time and it was just a little laneway, we might have not noticed. To think that the closest suburb that got hit was Brunswick, which by the way is just a 15min tram drive away.

The last Quake that shook Victoria was in Dec 1999, with no felt reports nor injury. This time, all across Frankston, Knoxfield, Lang Lang, Caulfield North and Yarra Junction have felt tremors. Not to mention the Reservoir and Brunswick too.

With the current bushfire taking its toll on residents and saviours, I pray, hard and sincere for all who's affected; Be strong, stay strong. And may we all see peace and serenity soon.

All this talk reminded me of this that happened back in 2004. It was a devastated period because we were SO CLOSE. All the what-ifs..

But all things said, and I'll say it again; treasure the loved ones around. Don't wait for a special event or occasion to say I-love-you. Say it loud and proud every moment, and say it true. Take each day as a gift to be with them, because really, you don't know when will be the last. But when that day comes, you will have no regrets knowing that your loved ones know that you love them..