Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone, agreed I’m not in China but the Chinese New Year is a big thing in most parts of Asia due to the emigration of Chinese in the 19th Century. So we’re in the year 2561 which is the year of the Tiger aka my year! And what a great start to my Chinese year. Let me tell you about the day, which also happened to be Valentines Day.
We started the day quite early and as Astrid’s family are of Chinese decent we followed a typical new years day by visiting friends and relatives, our first stop was close but neither I or Astrid knew who we were visiting, The best part for me was that they had a pet monkey, unfortunately inside a cage but a monkey all the same, Astrid was afraid of it but I being Dr. Doolittle’s protégé took it upon myself to feel the monkey, I approached him and he was shall we say busy…. I attempted to feed him but he tried to grab the orange and then started shaking at his cage.
Next stop was at Astrid’s grand-uncles house and what a very nice house it is too, very big, bright and spacious with rambutan trees in the back. It is definitely a house I aspire to live in. Then we went to her grandparents house which is a house I have been to many times, I like their house as it is like a small farm but without the animals, well a there are dogs and a few chickens. We spent a few hours there, at least one of which I was sleeping in a bamboo lounge chair.
After saying our goodbyes we went back to Astrid’s house to change the car for the people carrier and it was my turn to drive, we went to her aunties’ house in Jakarta. There were family there who I have never met and despite my cheery outgoing personality when it comes to big groups of family I have never met I become very very shy! I took it upon myself to give Astrid’s cousin Michelle an English lesson, she is only about 4 and her English is very little but she was pointing to things and I was giving her the English and letting her repeat, by the time we had done she had learnt many new words but I expect her to only retain one or two, but I think she is smart enough to become a master of the English language if she starts proper lessons soon.
Once we had driven back home it was maybe 8:30pm and all my original Valentines day plans had been spoilt but not being one to stay down, I quickly altered the plans and we went to a nice restaurant near Astrid’s house by the lake called Telaga, if you do come to Indonesia then you should try this restaurant, they are a chain of I think three restaurants in the Jakarta area and they are reasonably priced and the food is really good.
So after sitting down and ordering we were chatting about the day and how nice it had been when I got up to ‘go to the toilet’, I had actually gone to place a request with the live band that was playing, I requested ‘When you say nothing at all’ by Ronan Keating, this is our song. Once the song had finished I got out of my chair, put my hand in my pocket and went down to Astrid on one knee, opened the box and ‘said nothing at all’ (for maybe 5 seconds) then I asked her the question ‘Will you marry me?’ She replied with a HUGE smile ‘yes’.
The band announced that she had agreed to marry me and everyone gave us applause. It wasn’t quite how I had planned it to happen but it was certainly not a bad substitute! The restaurant, after our meal, brought us a strawberry ice cream which I think was for every couple on Valentines but was still a nice gesture and very yummy!
So now you’re reading the blog of an engaged (and ecstatically happy) TEFL teacher.