Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Citizen of the World (Part 2)

New Discoveries

By the end of my second year in England, life was getting better. Well, easier, perhaps is the more correct word. School was becoming more bearable ever since I found new friends and I was starting to get used to things that were alien to me. I found myself enjoying my classes, and I was so glad that after countless jokes made on my surname, my friends were actually getting better at pronouncing it. Some even took the liberty of simplifying it and called me only by the first four of the fifteen letters. I never objected. They had lightened the load for me.

However, I must say that the real turning point for me was the first day I took Art as a chosen subject. It was something I couldn’t do back in Indonesia, so you can imagine the thrill when I found out that I had the chance to finally study art. I became acquainted with Van Gogh, dreamed endlessly of Renoir’s paintings and spent most of my allowance on art books and supplies. I even met some of my closest friends in that class. Funny isn’t it? It turned out art was becoming a bridge between the gaps and I found myself finally understood for the first time.

Other than art, traveling became another highlight. My parents, who wanted to make the best out of things, decided that it would be good for us to discover as many places as we could while we were living abroad. London became our playground and the weekends were filled with visits to every attraction listed on the tourist guides. Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London and Big Ben were only the beginning. Lord, I even posed with the Queen at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum once! I was a tourist living a local’s life. It was really quite ironic, considering some of my English born friends had never even been to most of those places before. But as much as I objected to what seemed to me then as these ‘ridiculously uncool’ trips, I knew my parents were happy. So I endured it half-heartedly.

And then there were the holidays. As if gallivanting around London was not enough, every holiday that came along was turned into an expedition. We traveled to many parts of England, large and small, popular and less popular. There was Brighton. Then Bournemouth, Oxford, York, Cambridge, Portsmouth, even all the way up to Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland (of course, these are just some of the places I remember, I sort of got lost somewhere along the line). My father became attached to the map of The British Isles. He would plan the trips and did research on each destination. Then when the date was set and everything taken care of, we would set off on the road with me on the back seat, sulking most of the time because I would rather be with my friends at the mall. And as my parents’ spirits grew bigger, the destinations became more ambitious. France was next on the line. Then The Netherlands followed. We were literally making the most of our stay.

It’s funny how life can suddenly surprise you with the biggest, prettiest and the most delicious looking cake you have ever seen, and you’re left with a choice to either take a little bite or finish it to the last crumb. I guess when it comes down to it, I am now forever grateful that my parents had a dream to see the world and I was lucky that they took me along with them.


  1. ahhh... how interesting!! i can totally relate to your story. happened to me when i went to study in england ... parents came along of course to make sure that everything is in "working order" for daughter. :) i say this and i say this in a very affectionate way ... asian parenting :) but like you, i have nothing to complain about. infact my 3 years spent in manchester must be some of the best years of my life! i have this wish of returning one day ... when i'm not so poor :) but yes ... one day, i shall return :))

    it was wonderful reading this post ... brought me straight back to memory lane :)

  2. Wow, it's good to find someone with a similar story! You're so darn right about Asian parenting, living abroad just kind of softened it around the edges...hahaha!! So, Manchester huh?? Did you by any chance meet Oasis?? ;0)

  3. Life does have a way to unravel itself as perfect if we follow our heart... Beautiful and inspiring story, I'm so happy for you!!

  4. Hi Amalia, It's lovely finding out more about you. This painting is really gorgeous.xx

  5. Wonderful thing about the arts and how it can connect people beyond mere words. Why, take Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for example.

    And you are so very lucky to have traveled and seen so much in your young life. My parents took us to forests and canyons and monuments, and those memories are still part of me.

  6. love the illustration and the story too :)

  7. hahaha :) oasis?! i wish!!!! :))

  8. Amalia, the artwork is fabulous! It is so serene. I love that you use the goose too because geese are just absolutely beautiful and wonderful creatures. You are very lucky and blessed to have parents who had visions and obviously your family is one gifted bunch. Take care Amalia.

    P.S. I deactivated my FB account.

  9. Hi Amalia, i see here a nice drawing but (if you let me said something about it) I see that the yellow circle is to much heavy on the composition, and all the drawing needs "air" around, especially on the zone of the goose's beak , you undertand me?.
    hugs to you.
    (i'm sorry for my bad english)

  10. Thank you Roberto, for your comment... I like inputs! (^_^)

  11. Just such a beautiful piece! Lovely story! wonderful work! :D

  12. sssssshhhhh


  13. You certainly were really lucky my dear for what you told us, life has always something special for us and it´s a real dream when that happens. I´m having a piece of cake to share with you because it´s my birthday, I hope you like it.

  14. Amalia, this little girl and goose are extraordinary. So dreamy and I love those swirling clouds - wonderful technique pencil sister!

    What a fascinating life you've had! I'm so glad that things got better for you and you had wonderful friends and parents. Oh, the places you've been! Our parents took us to many different places around the states for which I'm grateful, and to Canada - but I wasn't able to travel to Europe until my husband (then fiance) was in the Navy. I still have many places to visit!

    That is so true about art bringing people together, now it's online as well as in classrooms and groups, just look at all of us!

    That's so funny too how you mention the London locals not being to those famous places. My husband and I grew up not too far from each other in upstate New York (but we went to different schools) and some famous/important people had lived near us decades or centuries ago. Quick example: about fifteen miles from where we grew up is the mansion where Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park (not England, ha!) and also one of the Vanderbilt mansions. I took him to both when we were 22, he had never been, amazing!

    Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement, I appreciate it so much! Happy Sunday

  15. Great work and I so enjoyed your story!! Thank you for sharing!!

  16. Mita...NO! I wont ssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...blablablablablablabla...bla.bla.BLA!!! Hehehehehehhhh... XD

  17. Flor, Happy birthday deary! Thank you for the piece of cake...yum! :D

    Susan my sista! Ah, you're right, it is amazing that a lot of people never bother to see what others came thousands of miles and across the continents for! It's a good thing my parents practically dragged me with them...hahaha! And yes, it is true that art is such a universal language...I mean look at us, right?? (^_^)

    ..And thank you SO, SO very much for the kind comments everyone!! oxox

  18. Hey Amalia! I like that you used your self portrait illo from last week as your header. The blue tone is great. Love your magical goose too! You have quite a life story... I'm so glad that it is all working out for you and I hope you live happily ever after :o)

  19. wow lia, wow. amazing, you are so talented!!!!
    hebaaatttt keep it up yaaa


  20. Girl tell it allllllll!!! he heh e he he he! I loved this post! You write truthfully and wonderfully! I enjoyed it. Now I feel I know more about you. This beautiful illustration is awesome! I feel like I am flying with her. IT CRAZY FANTASTIC!!!! I just love your imagination. It's brilliant and classic just like you he he he he!

  21. ah yes.. I can be pretty bad about not seeing the 'sights right under my nose' hehe.. that's great your parents had the enthusiasm for both of you..and you still get the memories!
    Beautiful , tranquil drawing .. I LOVE your goose's face!!!perfect.. this little lady could teach me a thing or two about stress free living!

  22. Jack, I would LOVE to have a 'happily ever after' ending... Hahaha, wouldn't we all? :D

    V, hun! Your enthusiasm is always a turbo boost to me... so glad you're on my side! (^____^)

    Ackh Helen, I am nothing compared to you when it comes to drawing birds and winged creatures!! Afterall, you ARE the Bird Queen...!!!

  23. well ... my childhood was the complete opposite of yours ... ha ha
    I stayed home and hid in my room .
    I envy your childhood experiences . You must still have a sense of adventure and a desire to travel. I'm still in my room
    I love your illustration . It is you ? [ as a child ] on another adventure

  24. Aww, Sandy...don't hide in your room! Come out, come out and play!!! (^___^)

  25. Amalia..
    How fortunate for you that you have seen so much in this world - there certainly is a lot of beauty and interest out there to see. I have enjoyed your story so much and hope there is more to come.
    This is you, Amalia, riding the golden goose who is taking you to see all the beautiful sights??
    I love it!! What a sweet and soft and meaningful drawing came from the tips of your pencils!
    ♥ audrey

  26. ..'the tips of my pencils'... Gosh , Audrey! You are such a poet!! Thank you so much... oxx

  27. Hi Amalia.....I love this peaceful....very beautiful.....lovely words too...sometimes it's nice to have a little bite of that cake...but it is also nice to finish it to the last crumb!!! wonderful words!!!

  28. Amalia - this is so beautifully are such a gem to enlighten us about your childhood - it's pathways and how you know view them as the cake that was wonderful! I LOVE your illustration of the goose and beautiful very dreamy and so beautifully illustrated. I always visit with a smile. Have a great rest of the week, and I shall ponder all of the places you mentioned...I hope to someday visit England...and you've just piqued my interest even more. Hugs to you!

  29. I have an award for you. Tsup!

    HAHAHAHA! I love the back and forth between two brilliant artists. HAHAHAHA!

  30. what a wonderful story :) so makes me want to travel. i love the way this girl blends with the swan as if she has wings. so beautiful!

    xoxo, juliette

  31. Diana, Shirley & Juliette... you're so lovely and generous, thanks SO much! (^_______^)

  32. Hah, well I came and looked, .... and got disconnected. Must be a moral there. The moon and the swan aand the girl and the light. There's so much meaning in this, it gets the message across subliminally, using emotive correlatives, I wonder what Jung would have said about this? Is a swan a Jungian Archetype I wonder.


  33. Oho ho ho ho!! In the absence of Jung, perhaps Monsieur Finnie would like to break down this piece and translate some of the possible archetypes? Maybe you'll care to delight me with your own interpretation of my subconscious?? Thee hehehe... (^___^)

  34. Hello, sweets. I have to tell you that I love your new avatar. You go have yourself the most fantastic day ever now. XOXO

  35. Oh, my Jungian book is down in the library underneath a pile of unsold paintings :) So I will have to make something up. Umm, err, (sound of head grinding with emptyness)

    Well, I saw this word 'anima' somewhere. Can I work that in? Maybe, maybe not....

    Swan.... ah yes "Swan", Leda and the Swan, so err... :) The Swan, what did the swan do to Leda? I can't remember but I think it was immoral?

    Let see Swans represent purity, especially the white swan, and she is here united with the young girl. So both are virginal. The young girl appears to be dreaming, as she is carried away by the swan.

    What is she dreaming I wonder, because there is obviously some kind of corporal union here. She is at one with nature perhaps, her hands drifting in the clouds (shaped like waves?) And she is at one with the swan.

    And yet there is something masculine in the swan's neck, the colour of it's beak mimics the colour of the full moon. And a full moon, symbol of both paganism and fertility.

    And so we have a whole lot of opposites happening here. Lots of dynamic contrast in the symbolism. Lots of subtle dualities.

    The virginal girl, united with a virginal swan, which is, on the other hand, representative of a masculine presence, all illuminated by the pagan fecundity of the full moon.

    So we have the purity of the swan, we have the girls purity of life.... and yet we have something else. A sugestion of what lies in her future perhaps? Even a suggestion of the difference between reality and the dream world.....

    Phew... how did I do?

    Of course what the artist meant in a work, and what the work actually means, are usually two different things.

    I believe a good work of art has it's own life once it is created. You have to s end them off into the world for the observer to see what they want to see...

    See? :)

    Oh gee I can rave.

    see you

  36. Of course, as Susan said, it might be a goose? But the "purity of the 'goose'" doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

  37. Goodness gracious, Monsieur Finnie! By the ear of Van Gogh (eeewwww), you are both hilarious AND smart! I'm sure that 'sound of head grinding with emptyness' was just your imagination...HAHAHA!!

    Honestly, I'm not the kind that 'plan' what I draw or paint... most of the time I picture it in my head, then start in the middle and the rest just follow. However... you were right about how I wanted to picture the girl's innocence and the swan's (yes, swan!) elegant strength. If you read the whole post, I was having a lot of fragile moments back then as a kid and the swan seemed like the perfect 'support system'. Am I making sense??

    So, my deepest gratitude to you, for taking the time to observe my little oeuvre d'art. (Ha!! Who's raving now???)


  38. What swan? I never read the word swan in the post and I reread it again just now. Am I blind? You and that "Not so good looking" Andrew Finnie going back and forth. That is not the Andrew Finnie I know. My Andrew Finnie is handsome. Anyway the intellectual Andrew and you are making my head explode! Now how am I going to go to work, I have to pick up the pieces now.... TSUP!

  39. AHAHAHAHA...!!! Ces, you know what? He kinda lost me when he went on about 'anima, Leda and the swan'!! (Yes, don't know what you're talking about there, Andrew, my good man.) But then the rest made perfect sense and fit just right with what I had in mind... So I figured maybe he was either drinking or having an epiphany! HAHAHA...!!!

  40. Good morning, actually I am blind as a bat and I have selective vision to boot. Hahaha!

  41. Oh Ces, my new pic is the real me you see :)

    Oh Leda and the Swan is sort of interesting, if not tasteful.

    From the Wiki: Leda and the Swan is a motif from Greek mythology, in which Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. As the story goes, Zeus took the form of a swan and seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband, King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.[1]

    This is the expergated version. (Notice I just made up a new word) :)

    I obviously had a mispent childhood. :)

  42. I'm taking off my hat and bowing to you now, Monsieur Finnie... I suppose It's safe to say that you and Wikipedia are quite the chums. Of course, someone who understands Carl Jung is most likely to be interested in Greek mythology too! HAHAHA... So thank you, my dear fellow, for enlightening me with your vision! Thhee...hehehe... :D


Tell me your lovely daydreams, they always make me smile! ♥