What a year…

…it has been!

Generally, it was mostly routine – just my missus and I at home on weekdays, my girl coming back from her school in the jungle on Fridays and we would send her back on Sundays with a car load of bottles of drinking water and her food and other supplies for the week and everything else. Once there, she would clean and mop her quarters…

SK Sepiring teachers' quarters and hostels
*Archive photo – she stays at one of the units in the new block at the far end*

…and of course, we would lend a hand as well before we make our own way back home.

There was much joy and happiness – I flew to Kuching…

Grand Magarita Kuching
*Archive photo*

…to attend my nephew’s wedding and I was invited to share the joy at quite a few of my ex-students’ as well…and of course, there were all those delightful lunches and dinners the whole year through on our own or with family members including those on their visit to town and the ones with my dear friends here too.

There were times of sadness as well – my mother-in-law passed away in August and a very dear aunt, my mum’s youngest sister, in September. God bless their souls, may they rest in peace.

Sometime this year, I’ve taken up gardening a little bit more seriously and planted some ladies’ fingers and I am still enjoying the fruits of my labour…

Ladies fingers

…even though some pests have been feasting on the leaves leaving behind only the “skeleton”…and my ulam raja is thriving well too, flowering…

Ulam raja, orange

…all the time. I wanted the purple variety…

Ulam raja, purple

…and an old friend of mine sent me some seedlings all the way from Mukah. Only one sprig survived and right now, it is doing well – I would have to transplant it onto the ground soon…in the new year.

She gave me some seedlings, the same as mine, she said, and at least, three or four of those are growing fast and have started flowering too…but it turned out that the flowers are yellow…

Ulam raja, yellow

…not golden orange, like mine. Good!!! I would be able have a nice range of colours in my garden then, fingers crossed. I may venture into other things too in the new year – brinjal, tomatoes, chilies… We’ll see! For one thing, my neighbour remarked not too long ago that I’ve grown slimmer and a little darker – I guess that is one good thing that I’ve benefitted from my daily toil in the garden though there is still a whole lot of room for improvement, obviously. LOL!!!

I underwent my first ever root canal procedure in my entire life just before Christmas – the all-black tooth was causing some problem, just one third of it left…but the young and handsome dentist I went to, my ex-student, did not want to pull it out so he did what he had to do and went on to salvage some of the rest as well, doing the scaling and filling (the last one I had done was in 1969 – the rest of the time, all the dentists just got rid of any that was causing me pain)…and now, after my two visits, my canines are whiter and looking a whole lot nicer than they ever did before, thank you so much, Adrian…and he simply refused to accept any payment for his job well done, bless him!

My girl is now on a gluten-free diet, avoiding all she should not eat…and she does seem to be much healthier and has started to put on a bit of weight again unlike towards the end of the school year when she looked all stressed-out, so very depressed and so weak and thin, like a Somalian refugee. I hope the vast improvement will continue into the new year once she goes back to her school and fingers crossed, she will cope well with her intolerance of certain foods and eventually get used to her new lifestyle.

There were many happy moments, I must say – the aforementioned gatherings and dinners with family and friends, gifts from loved and dear ones near and far…and most importantly, I must give thanks and praise for the many Blessings showered upon us throughout the year, for keeping us in good health and safe from harm, for guiding and guarding us in all that we do and I do pray that He will care for us and protect us as well each passing day in the coming New Year.

A very Happy 2017, everyone. Cheers!!!