(Taken from www.dictionary.com).
Thanks to my "big forehead" bff, this time I welcome X'mas and New Year by de-cluttering my living space. I threw quite a bit of stuff and organized the others that I would like to keep. Though I am not a hoarder (Thank God), I can be a keeper of stuffs! It's a bad habit that I am slowly unlearning.
While embarking the journey of de-cluttering, as I squatted on my floor, opening boxes after boxes, I discovered 3 envelopes that I received from Tante Gunawan. Tante in Bahasa Indonesia means aunt - just like in French too.
Tante, that's how I love to call her, was my childhood friend's mom. My age gap with my friend is big. She was already in secondary school when I was still learning to read her magazines - Bobo. Some of her magazines were dated even before I was born. Tante and Om (her husband) doted on me. They were like another set of parents who stayed in a big classic house and spoke Dutch occasionally. In the early 90s, or so I think, we were separated. Tante and her entire family moved to Jakarta. I hardly met them since then. Almost never, even until Om passed away.
In 2006, I met Tante in Jakarta when I went back for Chinese New Year reunion with my entire big family. I insisted to meet her and I was so glad that I couldn't hold my tears and hugged her. I didn't know why. She teared too. I also didn't know why. There was just this raw emotion in us that we couldn't contain. We really didn't know why.
Then, as the busy-ness of life caught me again, I didn't keep in touch much until I received a packet of cards from MFPA (Mouth and Food Painting Artists), an organization that my parents and I have been supporting on regular basis. So I have bunch of cards but didn't know who to write them too. I thought of Tante. I wrote to her again in 2008.
I received my first reply on the 6th of August 2008. She expressed how delighted and surprised she was to receive a letter from me. I was equally delighted to receive a reply from her. Until the day she passed away in 2010, there were only 3 letters being exchanged. But these 3 precious letters, never fail to bring me to tears every time I re-read them.
What started out as a tradition of sending cards during festive seasons, turned out to be an avenue to reconnect with people from my past. What started out as cleaning out my space, turned out to to be a way to enrich my soul.
De-clutter, my new definition is to get rid of things that don't matter and to be connected to those that really do.
Wishing all of you an enriching festive season ahead. Try going back to a time in your life when someone or something has brought you joy and love. You will be surprised, they were there in our memories, just buried beneath all the recent noises of our lives. They are very much still alive.