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While We Still Can, a poem

Here we all are

so lucky to be alive and alright

at the end of one long long year

where darkness was absolute

but kindness overcame fear.

Here we all are,

hoping for a kinder year

praying for those we hold dear.

And if tomorrow does not come

if next year proves harsher than this one

if those we love leave us

and everything we work for is lost?

Well, bear it we must

and bear it we shall

a day at a time

while we still can.

A poem for the new year.

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Covid Wedding: Yes or No?

For the better or worse, I’ve had two weddings within the last few years. My first wedding was on 25th of February 2017 to Oky. After his death last year, I started dated Cung, whom I married 1st of August 2020. The first was a huge 2000 people pre Covid wedding, while the second was a small 30 people ceremony held during the pandemic. At first we were a bit nervous about gathering and saying vows in the current situation, but when planned carefully adhering to strict health protocols, we reflected that it was actually very beneficial to get married this year.

How so?

First: Economic benefits.

A wedding can be extremely expensive! Sending and printing invitations, food, parking, wedding souvenirs, all this plus the bill for the organizers afterwards. In Indonesia, a fancy wedding is also a sign of wealth and social standing. Its also a matter of “face” to invite everyone both sides of the family knows. Naturally the guest list increases, adding up to a figure which can be irrational.

Given the Covid situation, you can only have about 30 guests or so. People understand this and won’t get offended, so you can actually save a lot of expenses. Family and good friends still send in gifts in the form of angpao-money in an envelope. Thus the chances are very high that you will end up having some extra cash, which is so nice in this economically challenging time.

The chances are very high that you will end up having some extra cash, which is so nice in this economically challenging time.

Second: Virtual trends allow for more guests.

Broadcasting trends with Zoom, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or any other technology actually allows you to have more guests at a very low cost! You can invite friends from all over the globe to be a part of your special day. This is a huge benefit because otherwise, it would be a challenge for them to attend your wedding. Of course, if you are the type to prefer intimate private parties, then you don’t have to do this.

With affordable technology, you can invite friends from all over the globe to be a part of your special day.

Third: Facing the reality of life together.

For me, this is the most important benefit of a Covid wedding: getting married during a hard time forces you to truly think about the reality of your lives together. Real life has been very difficult this year, but guess what? That is the nature of life. In a couple of years another crisis will come along, whether it’s your personal life, work life, political emergencies, natural disaster, or some other global crisis. Living through this year’s adversity side by side and making the decision to get through future crisis together as a team, is priceless. You will be able to look back and say: we survived the pandemic together. We can survive more things together.

Getting married during a hard time forces you to truly think about the reality of your lives together.

So, Covid wedding? If you are ready to face the realities of life together, then yes. Go for it. This year is as good as any year.

To read a comparison of my first and second wedding, visit White Heels and Avocadoes.

Have you attended or perhaps had a wedding in this time? Do you know a friend or relative thinking of getting married under the current circumstances? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

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White Heels and Avocadoes

I walked to greet some of the wedding guests, seated spread apart across the Heritage Kitchen and Gallery’s garden. It was a hot sunny day, not ideal for sensitive skin but much better than rain, at least for this occasion, on this location. My heels sunk into the soft earth, and I almost lost my balance.

Darn! I thought.

I am not a fan of heels, but today, my wedding day, I pulled out these 8 inch white T straps. They were a perfect match with the asymmetric layered Carla top and white palazzo pants. Pants! I loved wearing pants for my wedding. The loose fabric of the wide cut allowed me to sit, stand, or dance comfortably anywhere around the garden.

One of my favorite moments was during the ceremony when we had to put on the wedding rings. Except in Cung and my case, we both agreed no rings. We had bracelets instead. And I put them in a lovely pouch in the pockets of my palazzo pants. No standing uncomfortably still looking lovely while waiting for the groom.

Not this time.

This time I paid for most of the wedding necessities: food, venue, photographers, church certificates, you name it. Last time my father paid for most of it.

This time I had semi casual outfit, last time it was a princess gown dress by Harry Lam, a top designer.

This time I wore almost no make up, since most of my face was covered by the mask required for Covid Protocol. Last time I woke up at 3 AM and started the 2 hour make up process with the make up artist.

This time, I married Cung, a one eyed rebel architect-historian-curator. Three years ago, I married Oky, a gentle genius architect.

Oky, my first husband died two years after we got married. I became a widow.

So what am I now? A once widow? An ex widow? A wife? A second wife ?

Life, love, and death does not fit neat categories, boxes, nor timelines.

I am all the above. Life, love, and death does not fit neat categories boxes, nor timelines. They defy our expectations, and we are left wondering: What Happened?

Rumi, a 13th century poet and scholar once said “sell your cleverness, and buy bewilderment.”

The white heels was the only article of clothing which I wore for both weddings. Custom made by the maker, it fit the contour of my feet perfectly. Amazingly, they stayed clean the whole afternoon, even after several more times sinking into the lawn. The heels endured.

With them, I walked towards the guests sitting at the far end of the lawn, one of whom was wearing an avocado around her neck. Avocado was the theme of my second wedding. Guests continued to ask : why avocado?

I thought : why not ?

Originally written August 6, 2020