You can make a hobby watching the snow melt. Snowbell does this, sitting for hours on the table looking out to the garden still covered with ice. When darkness fell, I didn't have the heart to draw the curtains as the fascination, demonstrated by Snowbell was obvious. She cocked her cute little face to the left and to the right, twitching her ears, and wagging her tail once in awhile.
Everything was still outside, almost lifeless. During the night, there had been visitors to the garden; the footsteps they left behind were those of the usual suspects; hungry foxes and stray cats. Snowbell sat there as if it was her mission to look and stare.
The scenery from the front room window is not one you'd want to write home about. As the sun made a feeble effort to peek through yesterday, the once smooth, white icing like topping over rooftops and cars began to melt leaving patches of ice and slush. Awang Goneng the snowman became the first casualty, losing his head leaving the tie hanging forlornly from where the neck was. By the third day, the sarong came off unceremoniously in a puddle of slush.
I ventured out to work yesterday and saw the aftermath of what has been recorded as the heaviest snow in 18 years. I picked my way very carefully along the icy road to the station, mindful of the incident 18 years ago, when I fell flat on my back after sliding on some ice patch. A fall on my front would have been disastrous as I was then a few months pregnant.
I remember that day well as I had just returned from the personnel office, making an eleventh hour negotiation over redundancy payments, after the much-publicised closure of our department. It was a double fall, if you like, one that I thought I'd never recover. I thought the world had collapsed. Sudah jatuh ditimpa salji.
But as it turned out, I suffered nothing more than a sprained neck, the baby turned out fine and it took one closure, Alhamdulillah, to open more doors. That door that closed on me 18 years ago, opened up more than I could bargain for.
That was what was playing on my mind yesterday, as I walked, skipping icy patches and admiring hedges with ice tops looking like unfinished cupcakes. I shouldn't have despaired as I am wont to, for it is his HE who provides, regardless of who it is who takes away from you. But I did, as I am only human.
Turning around the corner, dodging children playing with whatever snow left on the pavement, I said a silent prayer for I had more than I had bargained for in this adopted country of mine. I had left the comforts of home, with an assured salary and an exciting and fulfilling job, to share my life with my husband in a foreign land. There was no promise of work although I knew I wanted to work. I knew that sooner or later, after the excitement of playing bride and wife had somewhat subsided, I'd want to work again. But what as, I didn't know. I wasn't ambitious; a clerical job would have been fine, but my typing skills, according to Brook Street, the job agency in Queensway, wasn't something to shout about, I typed using two fingers, like all journalists I know. So,with that two finger, I left the small job agency to look elsewhere.
But as luck would have it, I didn't have long to look. In that magnificient building straddling Kingsway and The Strand, there was a Malay section of the BBC, in need of a female voice. And there, I met the kindest man, ever, who trained me in the art of broadcasting to the world. From a small timid voice, I learned to sit up and announced, "Inilah BBC London" in a confident and strong voice that made my mother and grandmother, my most avid fans in those days, tears streaming in their eyes, listening to me delivering to them world developments of the day.
But that was not to realise so soon, as I was initially packed off to Queens House, sorting out letters from Indonesian listeners. There I learned that Indonesians are truly wonderful letter writers. To ask for a programme guide, they could spin a yarn and likened a listener without a programme guide to a boat without a navigator.
Anyway, once I had one foot in that majestic building, I never looked back. Thirteen years I was there working with Chamil Wariya, Ishak Nengah and many more, who came to join us much later.
But all good things had to end; and I found out that spring 18 years ago, I was to say "Selamat Tinggal" to my listeners for the last time, after which I took myself to the toilet and had a good cry. The world had indeed collapsed.
But did it? It could have, if I had allowed it. A book was commissioned soon after that. A few publications I edited in the name of a freelance, working with publishers known in children's publication. I have had a few documentaries to my name and had enjoyed nostalgic and historic moments such as watching Malik Mydin dive into the dark waters of the English Channel, the time when Tun Mahathir announced the end of buy British last, sharing wonderful moments with Malaysia's Siamese twins Ahmad and Muhammad before they went off for their operations, and many, many more. And along the way, I have met many, many people who have added colour to my life.
I was lost in this train of thought and found myself already reaching my destination; the place where I continued my studies and rejoice in my newfound love for Malay Hikayats and syairs. Hey, it has not been so bad. Next week, I am meeting my editor for another edition of that book. So, I must not complain.
To my blogreader who called to ask about job opportunities in this foreign land, do not despair. Insyaallah, the opportunity is there. Just persevere and you'll get it.
When the snow melts and the fog lifts, you will see things more clearly.