My apologies for the week hiatus. Normal excuses - work and play :). Just came back on Thursday from a 3-day break in Kuantan, where we had the sun and the sea, and yours truly had a heavenly pampering at the Sam**ra Spa at the Swi** Gar**n Resort and Spa. And while I was having their 1 hour 45 minutes Signature massage on Wednesday evening, Hanna and Hasya went for their hibiscus hair treatment.
Ayah was very generous throughout our Kuantan stay, but, I still can't figure out how the girls managed to pujuk him to let them have the hair treatment at the Spa! It wasn't cheap, but I guessed once in a while of pampering his girls with some beauty regime was okay for Ayah. THANK YOU, AYAH!!! (But, to Hanna and Hasya, if you all are reading this - tak boleh buat selalu, okay?) If not, Ayah will be fast losing his hair!
Anyway, back to the sequel ;) -
Being back in KL at the end of 1992, and knowing that it was for good and not just a 1 or 2 months break, was something else. I was so used to having Ayah either with me or just a phone-call or train ride away, and realizing that he was thousands of miles away really got some getting used to. There was no chance of him making his usual surprise visits whatsoever... I was in no mood to do anything, and was in fact more into not doing anything at all in the first month I was home.
I was getting Ayah's numbered letters and postcards regularly and he would also make his phone-calls every weekend, and my Abah and Mommy were resigned to the fact that their youngest daughter was totally smitten with this boy who was in his final year of Med School in Newcastle. My Abah was the one who would be overly excited whenever he answered Ayah's phone-calls and would ask me to hurry up and take the phone and speak to Ayah (I think my Abah takut Ayah had to pay a lot for the calls - nanti tak cukup duit nak masuk meminang kot? HAHAHAHA!) As for my Mommy, she had always been in the know about Ayah as I would share with her bits and pieces about us for quite a while then.
Anyway, Ayah had already made a few courtesy calls on his bakal mertua the previous years when both of us came back to Malaysia for our Summer breaks. So, my Abah and Mommy more or less knew who and how he was. By then, I already knew that Ayah had won the approvals of both my parents. He didn't have to try very hard. What was there not to like? (I'm being subjectively biased here. Hahahaha!). So, that was a relief - one less worry for me!
After a month of getting on my Mommy's nerves at home, I started applying for my chambering slot at a few legal firms around KL. I went for several interviews, and I finally decided to chamber under Tuan Haji (now Datuk) Mu***ib Ra**k at his firm in Kampung Attap. My nine months period of chambering was indeed a very interesting and educating experience. One thing for sure, it made it so much easier for me to decide that legal practice would NOT be a long-term option for me! But, me being me, I was doing it just to get it over and done with. I did my Bar, and chambering was the next logical thing to do.
But, I have to say, I learned the A-Z and every single nitty gritty stuff about conveyancing in just under 3 months when I was tasked to re-open all the files on some abandoned housing project somewhere in Melaka. And for that, I thank my Master for throwing me into the deep end right from Day 1. I learned the hard way, but what I learned then have stayed with me until today - even after 13 years of quitting practice. More importantly, the work took my mind off Ayah somewhat.
While I was busy with being the tea-lady/office girl/receptionist/research assistant/ filing clerk/legal clerk, etc. in Kampung Attap, Ayah was busy with his Final year at Med School. And I was really missing him. If I wasn't at home during weekends, I would lepak at Ibu's bujang pad which she shared with 2 others of our MT friends, Ab*d and On**r in Taman Tun. By that time, Ibu was already busy planning for her engagement and wedding to her Ayah, while On**r and Sh**y (a.k.a Mr. Engineer) were embarking on their early courting stage. There were also J* and Iz**m. I was happy for them of course, but, seeing all the couples around me, really made me miss Ayah even more :(
However, having two other friends who were in the same boat made it easier to go through the days. Re*a was also pining for T**s, who was still in London, and Ab*d was also longing for Ra*f who was doing his CA in Southampton. The three of us kept each other's spirits up, and we became each other's tempat mencurah perasaan...
Syukur alhamdulillah, Ayah finally graduated in July 1993, and obtained his MBBS. His whole family went for his graduation, and as much as I wanted to be there with him, it was quite impossible. I was ultra-busy with my chambering tasks, and of course - I was never formally introduced to his parents. In fact, his parents were only officially informed of my existence and of our relationship on the day Ayah graduated! They of course knew or suspected that Ayah was seeing me for quite some time then, and they were just waiting to hear it from the horse's mouth itself!
Ayah told me (and this was later confirmed by my MIL) that right after his graduation ceremony, THAT afternoon itself, he got his parents to sit down at the hotel they were staying at, and started telling them about me, and that he wanted to get married the next year, i.e. one year after he started working. And Ayah was quite surprised because both his parents and his sister just laughed when he told them of his intentions. Apparently they had been waiting for the announcement/confession for quite some time then and they were just speculating amongst themselves that Ayah would do so immediately after his graduation, and they were right! My SIL even placed a bet on this! Hahaha!
Ayah was to start his housemanship in August, i.e. barely a month after graduating, but he came back to Malaysia for a few weeks to see me. Now that his parents had been informed of his intentions, he needed to proceed to the next thing. And I remember THAT day when he took me out for tea. My Abah was quite particular about us going out at night, you see, so our dates were either for lunch or tea - when the sun was still out. Hehehe!
We were having our desserts at Swensens that afternoon, when suddenly he just looked at me, and started to take a few deep breaths. I knew he was trying to say something, but he was finding it very difficult to say it. Then he started laughing, and I started laughing! And then he said it, in between his laughs -
"Will you marry me?"
I know, I know...NOT the most romantic way to pop the question. I guess we were so used to each other, and we took it for granted that we would get married, and there was never any question about it. It was understood. So, it was somewhat awkward for Ayah to have to ask me whether I would marry him! But, Ayah being Ayah, he had to do everything the proper way, according to the normal "steps" :)
And in between my laughs, I said to him - "HAHAHAHAHA! YES!!!"
And that was it! All formalities over and done with within 10 seconds. Hehehehe!
The next step was of course - MEETING THE FUTURE IN-LAWS...
Right after "proposing", Ayah told me that he wanted to bring me to see his parents. (Nasib baiklah not there and then on the same day!).
I remember Ayah telling me that he was bringing me home to meet them, and that he would pick me up from my house at 11:30a.m that Saturday. I couldn't sleep the whole night before, and was trying to decide what baju to wear, what shoes would go well with which baju, should I bring a handbag, or not, or whether I should put on any make up or not, etc. I think I even practised my smile in front of the mirror! God...I was so nervous. It was even worse than sitting for my Bar Finals! Bila fikirkan balik...kelakar lah pulak!
And I remember getting ready very early that Saturday morning. In fact, by 10:00a.m I was already waiting anxiously for Ayah to pick me up! However, Ayah called to say that he would only be at my house around 12:30p.m, as both his parents were stuck at a meeting, and would only be home around 1:15p.m. Aaaarrrggggghhh!! Another waiting game began...By that time, I was having cold sweats and palpitations like nobody's business!
Ayah finally came at 12:30p.m, and asked my Abah and Mommy's permission to bring me to see his parents. And after getting the green light, we left the house and headed straight to PJ. Throughout the 45 minutes journey, I kept on asking Ayah, "What if your Mom doesn't like me?", "What if that...", "What if this...", etc., and Ayah kept on telling me, "Don't worry! My parents will like you. Just be yourself! My Mom is VERY nice - all my friends like her!"
And I said to Ayah, "Yeah...but, I'm not JUST one of your friends! I'm the girl who's marrying her son!"
I was so seram sejuk when we reached his house. We went in, and I was told that his mom was in the kitchen preparing lunch. I was like - "Should I go to the kitchen? Or should I just wait in the lounge?" And I was just about to go to the back of the house when his mom came out to the front. "This is it...There's no turning back", I said to myself.
I straight away went to salam her, and she invited me to go up to the Dining Hall with her, with Ayah trailing behind. (FYI, I specifically told Ayah when we were in the car that under NO circumstances was he to leave me alone with his parents, not even for ONE second - and he was really keeping to his words then! Hehehe!)
I have to admit that my first impression of Ayah's mom was that she was a VERY serious lady that rarely smiled (which was a total contrast of how she REALLY is, now that I've been her daughter-in-law for nearly 14 years!! Hehehe!) She started asking me about my family, my parents, myself, etc. over lunch - the standard future MIL Spanish Inquisitions. Years later when we talked about that first meeting, my MIL told me that she was quite nervous, too, at the prospect of meeting her first future daughter-in-law that day! Hahaha!
Ayah's father (Arwah Daddy) only came back and joined us later that afternoon. Arwah Daddy was the one who was cool about the whole thing and even threw in a couple of jokes, which helped me feel more at ease. And I was also introduced to Ayah's grandmother (Arwah Wan) who seemed to take me to her liking straight away!
The whole thing went well, but, later, on our way back to my house, I kept on asking Ayah to tell me the truth if he thought his Mom didn't like me, and if I have flunked big time with his parents. I started reflecting the afternoon and began my "I should have done this and that", "I shouldn't have done that and this" etc., much to Ayah's amusement! And he kept on reassuring me that both his Mak and Daddy approved of me. He even threw in a bonus, saying that even his Wan liked me.
Wow, you all can just imagine - after more than 9 years of knowing each other, I finally got to meet his parents (and Wan), and the meeting went well. In fact, it went VERY well indeed... :)
It felt REALLY good to finally have been officially/formally introduced to the future in-laws after all those years. And it felt even better to know that our relationship was finally officially acknowledged and approved by BOTH sets of parents after ALL those years...
And there was so much more to look forward to from that day onwards.
To be continued...