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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Wedding Invitation

January 26, 1980

Miracles do happen and dreams can come true. I can truthfully make this statement from having lived the experience first hand.

Following are copies from our bilingual wedding invitation.

Kie and I were married in the government office in Malang on January 18, 1980, as was required by Indoneisan law at the time, however, neither we nor Kie's family considered us married until after the wedding ceremony took place in the church on the 26th.

Bride and Groom before the priest in Santa Maria tak Bernoda Church in Lawang. This wedding ceremony was entirely in Indonesian without translation. The only word similar to English was "Amen" and that was the extent of what I understood. I truly had to rely on pauses and hand gestures from the priest.

I was still trying to place the ring on Kie's finger. Kie was wearing gloves which made the ring a rather tight fit. Kie was also very nervous and was shaking. I never knew if anyone else had noticed.

That Saturday afternoon was already very hot and heavy showers typical of the rainy season in Indonesia simply pushed the humidity higher. Neither location had air-conditioning. We really were as uncomfortably warm as we appeared in the photos.

Bride and Groom at Maranatha meeting room in Suarabaya, Indonesia.
Happy bride and groom sitting in the wedding chair waiting to greet guests.
Bride and groom with parents...we really did have their approval for us to marry.

Thirty-three years ago I travelled around to the far side of the planet to meet and marry the girl of my dreams and I have not awakened from the dream yet.

In case you are wondering...I'm the heart-broken guy who was dumped by his girlfriend. I'm the crushed guy who did not go to the high school prom. I'm the wounded guy who completely wrote off dating years earlier weary of the 100% rejection rate. I'm the shy guy who was always dismissed as too quiet and too boring. I'm the guy who...and then a beautiful angel stepped into my life and my life was never the same since.

Miracles do happen and dreams can come true.

This year we stayed at home. Kimberly came with Kiera and Jonah and stayed over for the weekend. Saturday evening David and Winnie came over with a cake and we all quietly celebrated our 33 years of marriage. This was just the way Kie wanted it too.

With gratitude cinta-ku sayang.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum August 13, 2013

January 26, 2013

Two things that happen after 33 years of marriage: You certainly get get older and you likely become grandparents. Kie and I with Kiera and Jonah.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Adventure of a Lifetime

A true tale of the South Pacific...

The following photographs were taken 33 years ago on January 18, 1980, in Malang, East Java, Indonesia.

The most beautiful woman ever who stepped into my life.
Although Kie and I had been writing to each other for a little more than two years, we only met each other for the very first time on January 15, 1980.

Three days later on the 18th we were married in a civil ceremony as these photos recorded.

Right up until the moment we were declared married, I had been expecting Kie to change her mind about me. She had no such intention but the night before when we were talking alone, she had  wondered if I was going to change my mind about marrying her.

33 years later we are still happily together although we are no longer as young as we used to be. Aging does not matter though; in my eyes Kie will always be the most beautiful woman who stepped into my life and I shall always be grateful.

In looking back over the years, marrying Kie was definitely one of the few things in my life that I can say with certainty that I did right.

"A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." (Proverbs 31: 10-11)

Truer words were never written.

Kie and I moments before entering the room where our lives would change and never be the same, no matter what the outcome would be.

Left to right: The government officer officiating our civil marriage ceremony, Kie's mother, Kie's father, Kie's uncle, me and Kie. The government officer did not speak any English and he insisted that someone translate into English what he was saying. Kie's uncle did the translation for me. The government official wanted to be certain that Kie and I knew what we were doing.

Banging the gavel on the table announced to all present the exact moment that Kie and I were declared married.

Signing the government marriage register in the presence of my new father-in-law, Kie's uncle and of course with my beautiful bride looking on.

Kie signing the government marriage register in the presence of her father and the others present in the room. Kie's uncle was explaining to me that I was now responsible for Kie; the moment we were declared married, Kie's citizenship was removed because she had married a foreigner.
Left to right: Kie's maternal grandfather, Kie, me, Kie's father and Kie's mother. Our celebration meal shortly after the civil wedding ceremony. Kie's grandfather gave us his genuine approval of our marriage and he attended our wedding ceremony. Prior to meeting me, he would not agree to our marriage.

This last photo on this posting was taken at Ancol the following week when we were in Jakarta. We visited Ancol for a few hours to escape the oppressive heat of Jakarta. Believe me, going to Ancol was a relief. I thought Jakarta was the hottest and most humid place on the earth.

We spent the following week travelling around Jakarta to attend to the various Canadian Immigration requirements for Kie's application to go to Canada.

The adventure of a lifetime and still living the adventure.

Happy Anniversary cinta-ku!

The Oddblock Station Agent

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Date Souvenir

Jakarta, Indonesia, January 16, 1980

That was the date I picked up this card. Actually I am surprised to discover that 33 years later this card is still in my possession.

The day following my arrival in Jakarta, I visited the Canadian embassy to report my presence in Indonesia. Kie came with me...actually I went with her. Unable to speak Indonesian and having no idea how to safely travel around the city I had to rely on Kie. I was a genuine FOB there.

Following our brief stop at the embassy we went to lunch in a nearby restaurant. Believing that nasi goreng (fried rice) would not be too spicy, I ordered a plate of that. Fired rice was more like it because every bite burned my mouth as I tried to eat. 

The rest of the story is that nasi goreng was the only thing I could understand on the menu. I suppose I could have asked Kie to translate for me but I might have ended up with something even more spicy which would have been more to her taste.

Anyway, that day trip around Jakarta was the first time Kie and I did anything together and she has always said that was our first date.

I wonder if that restaurant is still around?

The Oddblock Station Agent

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Day My Life Changed Forever

Thirty-three years ago this date, on Tuesday, January 15, 1980, my life changed forever.

On that particular evening I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, and met Kie for the very first time. My life has never been the same since, and for that change I am truly grateful.

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)

"And they called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go." (Genesis 24:58)

For those of you who are not familiar with Rebekah, she agreed to travel to a distant land to marry Isaac, a man she had never seen or met. If you do not believe that love stories like this do not happen today, then I am here today to tell you from first-hand experience that they do.

In November 1978, Kie made that very same promise and commitment to me; to marry me and go with me to a distant land, a man she had never seen or met until this day 33 years ago.

If I was a singer or if I was just plain able to sing, then today I would sing for Kie this particular and familiar love song titled, "Sometimes When We Touch" written by Dan Hill.

Instead, I share the words here.

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I'd rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie
And who am I to judge you
On what you say or do?
I'm only just beginning to see the real you

And sometimes when we touch 
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives 
I'm just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides 

At times I'd like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I'd like to break through
And hold you endlessly

At times I understand you
And I know how hard you've tried
I've watched while love commands you
And I've watched love pass you by 
At times I think we're drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Kau selalu dalam hatiku karena aku cinta padamu Kie sayang.

As that one certain line in the song reads, "I wanna hold you til I die."

The Oddblock Station Agent

On April 06, 1980, Kie fulfilled her promise and arrived in Canada to stay.

April 07 1980 - Kie at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver.

Addendum January 15, 2016

A few more years have passed but I have never forgotten.

Departure from Montreal was delayed about 10 hours because of Canadian winter weather so I missed my connecting flight at Vancouver.

After stepping off the Philippines Airlines aircraft in Jakarta that stiflingly hot, humid evening, I was wondering if anyone would be waiting to meet me. I had arrived a day late and on the wrong airline.

Kie outside the post office in Lawang on December 18, 1979. She was wearing the same dress when we met to be certain I would recognize her.

Kie on the GO - August 02, 2015.

 In spite of Canadian winters... she stayed!