Thursday, 24 December 2009

Welcome to the family, Kamelia!

Pengantin baru - Azril dan Kamelia

The newly-weds, Azril and Kamelia.  Pix by Izham Khalid of
More pix here
The article below appeared in the NST here

Letter to Kamelia

Dear Kamelia,

LAST week, we welcomed you into our family when you married my nephew Azril. And in a few weeks time, you newly-weds will fly off to Geneva.

For Azril, Geneva is already home after living and working there these last few years.

But for you, it will be a totally new experience; starting a new chapter in your life as a married woman, thousands of kilometres away in a totally different environment and culture, away from the extended family. (Actually, on reflection, not unlike my own experience exactly 30 years ago).

So, Kamelia, if there are butterflies in the tummy at the very thought of flying the coop and sharing life with someone who is now your husband, let me tell you that it is all quite natural.

Being married is a huge hurdle but being married and then within a space of two weeks leave everything and everyone that is familiar to you is a different ball game altogether.

It was around this time in December 30 years ago that I started life as a newly-wed away from home, seriously lacking in skills especially those in the kitchen department.

London was practically home to my husband while I had to start from scratch, learning the ropes while suppressing the urge to call home and cry at the slightest hitch.

Looking back, and with some wisdom of hindsight, I think starting married life away from home is the best thing to do.

London was gloomy and dark when the plane landed at Heathrow that winter morning and that cold morning sort of defined my expectations of what my life in London would be like in the coming years.

But Geneva has that added attractions of beautiful snowcapped mountains, enough to keep you mesmerised for some time.

But the beautiful snowcapped mountains will soon lose its attractions once the husband goes to work and leaves you with what will feel like more than 24 hours in a day.

When mine went to work, I looked out of my window into a very busy concrete jungle that was and is London. It was busy and crowded and yet I felt alone and lonely.

In those days, phone calls cost a fortune, phone cards were unheard of, and Skype and video calls were still blueprints in some geniuses’ minds. And, of course, no Facebook.

In this respect, you are luckier and can easily email home to ask for that sambal tumis recipe.

I remember now the preparation for my first dinner guests. After quite a lengthy phone call to my mother, every ingredient for chicken curry was minced, pounded, chopped and blended ready in small bowls on the kitchen table by eight in the morning for dinner at eight at night.

Rice was usually cooked by the husband. Kitchen disasters included very soggy fried noodles, exploding keropoks in the pan because I had washed them prior to frying and a first near marital disaster when I threw away tempeh which I thought had gone bad.

Thinking I needed time on my hands, he ordered “Learn to Sew and Knit” which I duly gave up after knitting two sleeves on one side.

But Kamelia, we live and learn. And the exciting bit is living and learning together. Because there’s just the two of you, learn to accept each other’s idiosyncracies, warts and all. Sharing credit cards is a bonus.

It is just too easy to keep within our own comfort zone and forgetting that there are so many exciting new things to learn outside our own Malaysian community.

I have met many wonderful ladies in the expat world, who learnt the art of Chinese painting while in China, porcelain making while in Europe; and quilting while in Washington.

Youth is on your side and while you enjoy life together, enjoy too acquiring these knowledge and skills that the outside world can offer.

So, while I look forward to my next 30 years and beyond together, I wish the both of you every happiness and success starting your new life together abroad.

With lots of love, Mak Teh

Pengantin lama


Ezza Aziz said...

Dengar tu Kamelia...

Nasihat dari Otai kita...pengalaman ada lah sesuatu yang berharga yang akan kekal dalam diri kita selama nya..Tahniah kerana baru saja bergelar isteri..
Dont facebook ada,,Skype ada..macam macam ada..who knows next Air Asia pulak landed kat everyone can balik kampung selalu....

Kak Teh...saya teringin nak peluk orang london ni...bila boleh jumpa ni....
this sunday can lepak lepak bersama mamasita n frens

doodlemom said...

its a lovely letter kak teh..i'm pretty sure the newly weds realise how lucky they are to have an aunty like you. tunggu la bila u dapat menantu, make sure he/she should be doubly grateful ha!ha!

Life for Beginners said...

What wonderful advice and well wishes to the newly weds! And I particularly loved this bit of subtle wisdom: "Sharing credit cards is a bonus."


Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you and all your readers, Kak Teh!

NanaDJ said...

Kak Teh,
Such lovely couple! Congratulations to both of them. Your letter is very touching, she can learn a lot from you. I felt so moved by your experience as a young bride so far away from the family. Whereas there I was in my early days of marriage living only half a kilometer away from my doting grandma who send food cooked daily by my equally doting aunty. I ca't believe I was that spoilt!
Hope to see you soon, tersangat rindu!

Pi Bani said...

Congrats Kamelia! And don't worry, apa-apa hal boleh consult your Mak Teh, ok? (tapi bab memasak I think you'd better consult someone else kot... hehehe...)

DrSam said...

Salam Kak Teh. With such inspiring words from you the otai, I am sure the newly wed Kamelia will face the new world with utmost confidence.

MULAN said...

congratulations to both..!!

"Happy belated Anniversary, Kak Teh..!!"

Stay sweet & happy always..

tireless mom said...

Congrats to Kamelia and Aznil. If I were Kamelia, I will be so touched and relief that there is one Mak Teh that I can call and share and run to whenever Geneva turns lonely.

Lyana Mauseth said...

kak teh, sekali lagi i tergejut...when i read ur article last nite in nst...i was like...*i think i know this azril* and i sms-ed kak naz whose staying in front of our hotel's room...

wah, betul lah, azril ni satu batch dgn i kat U dulu...ank sedara u rupanya...alahai, keciknya dunia...

anyway, tahniah azril and kamelia!!

Naz said...

Selamat Pengantin Baru, Azril dan Kamelia :)

Kak Teh, you dah kena *smash* dengan Kak Pi...hehe!

D said...

A big congratulations to the newly weds. Enjoy Msia, Kak teh... It's so damn freezing cold here!

kakintan said...

salam Kak Teh apa khabar...semoga pengantin baru kekal bahagia hingga akhir hayat dan semoga allah memberkati rumah tangga anda berdua..aminnnn

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh,

That was a touching, frank and very thoughful letter to a bride who is setting up a new home in a foreign land.

Congrats to the lovely couple.. serupa pinang dibelah dua.

BTW, am I just imagining this or did I read somewhere that "someone" (no names to be mentioned here) was .. uhmm.. thrown into the pool? *grins*

Kak Teh said...

Ezza, dulu manalah kita ada FB atau email kan? nak telefon pun mahal. Sekarang air asia pun murah. Tapi tapi semua kesulitan tu menguatkan diri kita juga.

Insyaallah Ezza kita akan berjumpa kalau tak ada aral melintang.

Doodlemom,thank you. hahaha - kalau menantu kak teh jadiwatak Ibu Mertuaku...hhahaha! garang pulak tu.

Kak Teh said...

kenny dear, merry xmas and a happy new year to you too. Yes, sharing bank accounts and credit cards - a real bonus!

NanaDJ, if i were to start married life at home, I'd be quite spoilt , i think and i dont think I can cook like I can now. Alhamdulillah, its all a learning curve. Thanks to the very patient AG too. Apa-apa and ikutlah in the menu helps!

Kak Teh said...

Dr Sam, Insyaallah, they will. Learning to live and be together is a great experience. You have to keep on working at being together, kan?

Pi Bani, kalau dia consult Mak Teh dia on food, I will direct her to Mat Gebu's blog! senang saja.

Kak Teh said...

Thanks Mulan. I cant believe its been 30 years for me and my husband and i too wish everyone a long and happy marriage.Insyaallah!

TM, well, i think it would be a good idea if they pay for my regular trips to geneva for consultations...hehe! ambik peluang!

Kak Teh said...

Lyana, ish ish ish, rupanya kecik dunia ni! I will ask him and I am sure he remembers you!

Naz, Pi tu memang macam tu. Nanti kak teh nak suruh dia masak untuk kak teh, tengok dia tera dak!

Kak Teh said...

D, it is hot here - too hot. My children kept smssing and phoning to say how cold it is in London. The night I left was very cold and I suspected that it would snow. Keep warm.

kakintan, terima kasih. Kak teh sihat dan semakin naik badan rasanya sebab balik ke sini makan banyak! Terima kasih kerana doa yang terbaik untuk pengantin.

Kak Teh said...

Andrea, you are not wrong there. It was me alright. But i have to put the facts right. I jumped before I was pushed. There's a degree of dignity there -hehe!

Seri Kesuma said...

Kak Teh,

I read your entry with relief knowing that I'm not alone in starting my next episode of life in a foreign country (U.S.) with my husband come this Monday. Already, I have crying buckets with my Mom but yes, the experience will insyallah makes me a stronger person. Thank you Kak Teh for the entry.

Kak Teh said...

Seri Kesuma, I am glad you found some comfort in that article and I wish you all the best in starting a new chapter in your life.

anak si-hamid said...

A brilliant guide to a young couple. May they find as much joy as you and AG

Kak Teh said...

ms Hamid, we missed you and iain at puteri's gathering! anyway, I am sure you can give us some sound advise too!

Sarah Allen said...

Congratulations! New family is always exciting and scary. Hope it all turns out wonderfully!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Kak Teh said...

Sarah allen, thanks...yes,challenging yet exciting.

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Dear Kak Teh,
Nice letter.
Notice that you've been doing heaps of blogger meets too.
Tak, tak jealous sikit pun. purrr....meow!

Ms B said...

Kak Teh,

Congratulations to the newly weds and touching advice indeed (kena apply ni).

Saw that u were thrown in the pool. LOL!

Kak Teh said...

cat-in-sydney, wish you were around. We had lots of fish left over and also some butter prawns. Tak jealous, eh? never mind we will try to do a bloggers meet in Sydney. Nak kena main kutu.

Ms B, I will be back for a personal tuition! :)

nottingham said...

Kak Teh,
You are so famous at DrSam's blog! I really wonder! Really inspiring writing!

Kak Teh said...

nottingham, thanks for the visit and kind words.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Zah, did u imagine 30 years ago, that you’ll be giving these great advice to someone else on survival skills living away from home…hehehe

My humble advice to young people like Kamelia whilst living away, is to have a positive ‘yes’ u can attitude, be open & accepting of others that we r all different in many2 ways, don’t be too judgemental and don’t let unavoidable setbacks put u down, deal with it in your best possible way, get over it & move on, i.e. don’t procrastinate, this is a real downer. The other most important thing is to never forget your roots & be true to yourself, family and your beliefs.

All my best wishes to u,Zah, AG & the family for the New Year.


Kak Teh said...

Tommy, after three days there, I would have said, cancel flight, plans and even marriage. After three months, I'd revise it to ya, give it a chance and go out and explore the world, get to know the people - or at least the shopkeepers,
after three years, go out there and do what you want to do. After thirty years, with age and hindsight of wisdom, yes, take whatever opportunity that comes a knocking and enjoy it. But like you wisely put it, never lose your roots, values and beliefs. I hope I have not.

HLiza said...

Kak teh, I'm new here..but yor name had been familiar around the blogs I visited. This post touched my gave that advise so lovingly..I can imagine the hardship di rantau orang..being in marriage is an adventure enough..being married far from home is another challenge. I've never experienced that..thanks for this touching post. I like the last picture. Wish we can be happy like both of you when we reach the 30th year of our marriage one day!

Kak Teh said...

Hliza, thanks for the visit and kind words. Alhamdulillah, we've been alright these past 30 years. We just learn to accept the rough and the smooth, the good and the bad.
Kak teh juga mendoakan yang sama bagi Hliza sekeluarga. Am so glad to hear that you've regained your eyesight. Take care.

atiza said...

Good luck Kamelia & Azril

KT, read this piece in NST last week..a good one..

my first cooking experience for hubby may not be as exciting as yours..but he still remembers it till today coz he had to gulp down bergelen2 air after I cooked him sambal ikan bilis for his nasi lemak..I wished mak told me earlier that I need to be easy on the chilli serbuk..

padan la H saya 'kembang' until today :)

Kak Teh said...

atiza, ooooh ada jugak yang macam kak teh! nasib baik tak cacat cederanya depa akibat masakan kita. Alhamdulillah!

Selamat tahun baru atiza, kak teh dilanda penyakit malas tahun baru...!

Superwomanwannabe said...

Happy Anniversary Kak Teh and had I gone over to the wedding in KHgts that day I would have met you! Your post reminded me of my early days too! Immediately after kawin terus pi UK but you know what saved me??

PATAK'S INSTANT SAUCES! (and of course faisal cooks better than me)

he he he..nasib baik...

In a way, I am grateful to have had my married life start that least dapat learn and grow sendiri, dari manja dengan mak tak reti masak tiba tiba kena masak utk orang ..and also, more chances to know each other's perangai so that by the time we come home and face sedara mara bagai, we are a unit against the world ha ha

good luck to the newliweds!

Kak Teh said...

superwomanwannabe, we didnt bring anything with us. we ate out most of the time sampai dah muak dengan kebabs and tandoori chicken. Then i started phoning my mum for recipe...mak kata: tu lah masa mak masak dok goyang kaki di depan!

anyway, like you said, its a time to get to know and learn how to deal with each other's perangai, kan?

Manal said...

couple pengantin lama tu comel la....

mekyam said...

seeing that they are swissbound... "glückwünsche zu den Jungverheiraten!"

beautiful entry, kt. as beautiful as the pengantin baru AND the pengantin lama! :D

ruby ahmad said...

Salam K Teh,

Happy New Year to & family.

Thanks so much for hopping over to my blog. That was indeed a nice New Year gift. So sweet of you my dear.

Oh I remember meeting your nephew at your niece's place for a Raya open house during one of your previous visits home. Wow, they make such a lovely couple, certainly following the footsteps of his favourite auntie K Teh & Uncle AG of course...he he. Geneva is such a cool place to live!

Kak Teh said...

manal, pengantin lama tu comel from certain angles saja. Thanks anyway and selamat tahun baru.

Mekyam, where have you been? SDah lama menyepi? busy ka? Am still in Malaysia.

Kak Teh said...

ruby, thanks and yes, I lupa you have met my nephew. Gosh, that seems like yonks ago and now he is married and off to geneva dah! yes, we will meet up some other time. Insyaallah!

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Kak Teh

What a wonderful aunt you are! They are blessed to have you and we are blessed to know you!

Take care and continue to be the wonderful person that you are.

Wishing you and yours the very best for 2010.


kamelia said...

Hello Mak Teh!! Firstly, thank you to every single one of you for the warm wishes and kinds thoughts. It's been a fortnight in Geneva and these comments definitely make my day. Everythings perfect here! We make it perfect, right?

Still remember, on the morning of December 26th. Sms kept coming in, asking me to read NST : page 4 of the middle section. It was very thoughtful and lovely of you. I really need that sort of advise. Married and being thousands of miles away from my comfort zone is one thing. The other is : your nephew is a stranger to me Mak Teh!! That's what they called seredipity.

Life itself is a learning process. The whole journey. What we pick up along the way, strenghtens the mind.. Strengthen us. It's just how we view it.

Azril has been guiding me alot. Helpful as always. And on the kitchen section, he is way better than i am. I have to admit it..:)
But i have time on my side. So, i could be better!!

Quoted by Mak Teh : 'She has converted!!'. Dear Mak Teh, its a blessing to be welcomed by a family like yours.

It's a new chapter for me. New life. Here i come 2010. And im having a fantastic jumpstart. Hope it's not too late to wish everybody Happy New Year.

Kak Teh said...

paula, I wish i had been wiser, but then again, we all learn from the past..i wish I had done more.

Kamelia, thank you so much. We are what we are, you've seen what we are like and accept us for what we are. Welcome to the family!