Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kitchen love

Last week, I had this meal that was a revelation.

I bought fresh wholemeal walnut bread, mini roma tomatoes and a can of tuna and ate it all together and almost swooned.

I'd completely forgotten what really good bread tasted like. The smell, the taste and texture threw me for a moment; I remember staring down at it in surprise. I mean, at he back of your mind, you sort of know that commercially sold sliced bread isn't fantastic, but having eaten nothing but that for the past 4 months, I'd clean forgotten what good, no sugar or weird preservatives added bread tasted like.

It has texture. It springs. The smell...of freshness and happiness. I could have eaten the bread alone with the tomatoes and been the happiest person in the world.

In the last four months, it's just been easier, to let my parents do the shopping for me. I come home and the bread, milk, groceries and produce are all there. My mum buys sliced multigrain bread from the convenience store on the way home and buys fruit from the market once a week.

It's all very well, except that I've read the ingredient list on the sliced bread and its terrifying. One of the ingredients listed is pure cane sugar and its added to every brand of sliced bread in the market. Every single one. The bread...just tastes kind of artificial, flat despite the added sugar.

The bread is a symbol of the much larger problem I now face. I miss having control. Control over what I eat, control over the way food is prepared and consumed. Control over the kitchen.

I miss cooking. I miss coming home to an empty house and knowing that I'm going to walk into the kitchen and create something. I miss feeding people the food I've prepared, knowing that I took every possible care with it. Knowing that I'm serving them something wholesome and good.

It's also all part of the vast problem of people in Singapore not having enough time to cook or pay attention to what they eat. The kitchen is my maid's territory. My mum isn't home enough to know what's in it or even where the pans are stored. When I step into the kitchen, the maid follows me around anxiously, wondering if I'm going to mess something up. After awhile, I give up and leave.

I don't want to stay in Singapore. No one has time here. I don't have time here. I work crazy hours and while I enjoy my work and I want to do my best with it, I know that this isn't the life I want to lead. This isn't the time to leave, but I know now. One day, I'll leave and this time, I may not come back.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lux: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria

Reformation Day which falls on the 31st of October every year is a largely forgotten day.

On the 31st of October 1617, Martin Luther walked up to the castle doors in Wittenburg and nailed to the door his 95 points of discussion written in Latin. These were to be translated into German and then spread all over Europe, igniting the Protestant Reformation.

Everyone knows the rough history of the Reformation, of how the Protestant church broke away from the Roman Catholic one. But few appreciate the enormity of what the Reformation was really about.

The people of the 1500s were largely illiterate and/or lacked an understanding of the language of the elite, Latin which made them essentially illiterate as far as the church was concerned. This firstly cut them off from understanding the services and Masses conducted in churches all across Europe. Their lack of spiritual understanding was made worse by the fact that the Church at the time decreed that the people could only understand the Bible through the Roman Catholic church and the Pope. It was a time when church tradition reigned and the papacy had degenerated into bitter infighting and corruption was rife. The Church had also begun the odious practice of selling indulgences to people for their salvation and that of their loved ones based on the idea that the saints had built up extra "merit" that could be sold to people for their own salvation or to shorten the Purgatory of their loved ones. This was, of course the method of financing the Crusades in the Middle East which were ongoing at the time.

That scripture and not the Church was the full and final authority for all matters of faith and life, that people could read and understand the Bible for themselves, could determine for themselves what was needed to achieve salvation...these were the real radical ideas behind the Reformation.

The 5 pivotal doctrines which emerged out of that time brought light into a Europe plunged into darkness.

Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria.

Through scripture alone, we know that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

May we remember, in this day of mega churches with congregations that seem to show little or no understanding of the scripture, that the Bible and not the church is the final authority on life.

That the onus is on us, to read and find out the truth for ourselves and not rely on the interpretation of the clergy.

Let there be light.

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Tears

Before I go into the post proper, I just thought I'd add a little disclaimer. This blog is where I go when I'm sad or miserable or just need to vent. I am mostly happy and at peace with myself. This blog is for the nights when the day has been long and I have not been able to see the sun.

Today wasn't such a day. It's just that today was the day I finally realized what that thread of emotion inside was all about. That funny thread that has dogged me since I got back to Singapore.

It's panic.

I've been in a constant state of panic and stress for four months. Part of it is starting a new job and having to cope with not knowing how to do alot of stuff, but most of it has to do the fact that I haven't cried since the break up with Boy.

I just have alot of pent up SAD, with capitals, all buttoned down inside of me. Put that together with the strain of a new job and the fact that I've always been the nervy jittery type anyway and you have a pressure cooker situation building.

Whenever I panicked at work, I put it down to the fact that I was new and didn't know the ropes yet. But I admit, that I am the tense panicky type anyway. But the real panic was in that when I came home from a tense day, Boy wasn't there.

Boy took alot of that away. The tenseness, the inferiority complex, the stress. Just by being there, he took it away and I miss him the most for that.

I really need that cry. It's getting to be really awful inside me andI just keep feeling like I need to let it out. I've been stress eating and gaining weight, I've been making mistakes and I've just been exhausted with keeping all that tightly in.

The worst bit of a breakup is the forever bit. The bit where you look into the future and you can hardly believe that you won't be together again....ever. It seems impossibly difficult to see the future then, because the panic and grief clouds everything, and blinded, you fumble forward.

One step, then two. Another step, then another.

One day, then two. Another day, then another.

Ten minutes at a time, then an hour. You can block your vision so that you only focus on one thing at a time. The next step, the next hour, the next day. You stop planning for the future, stop thinking about next year. You think about only the next day and its attendant joys or sorrows and let it be enough.

It has to be enough.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dancing on the Air

In the last three months, I moved from one country to another, started a new job, started dance classes and found myself suffering from coffee and Boy withdrawal symptoms.

But amazingly enough, I think the best thing to come out of the whole period is that I learned to embrace dance.

This isn't to say that I'm good at it. I have major coordination problems and I'm still awkward as hell. But... I love it.

I love the music, the movement, the sheer excitement of it all. In the partner dances I've been doing, I love being led into turns and spins and with a good lead, I love feeling like I'm in safe hands. Who knows, maybe one day I'll actually be decent at it, but right now, I'm happy to just tag along in all my gawkiness.