The Leaf

Rummaging through my things I found items I brought back home from Timor, a give away gift from a wedding we attended in Semarang, Indonesia.

leaf (12)

The wedding was a much awaited event by the Quinta girls (more on them in future posts) and happened in 2013. Those that were still in Timor then went to Semarang to witness the culmination of a love story into a much bigger love story as husband and wife.

I am housemate with Amelia for over 2 years until she decided to leave development work overseas and go back to Indonesia and pursue her dreams of directing her own kind of films. She used to work with Jesuit Communication projects in Timor Leste and she does her job very well, teaching young Timorese how to capture good images, write good stories and all the technical aspects within production. She does it in spite of the odds of being a woman in a men’s world and she managed to make her team realize the value of having someone who knows her craft and understands them better than anyone else.

Getting married, having children at certain age was one of her ambition. She doesn’t want to grow old alone but she doesn’t just want to marry someone for the sake of doing it. She knows what she wants and she was very vocal about it. It sort of put pressure on the girls to match her with someone who would understand her and can get her drift — we all have our little quirkiness so yeah someone who can dig her and her friends :D.

Until the right man comes along … in the most unexpected way (that is more for the romantic appeal of the love story). Mr. Nick became a regular in the life of the Quinta girls and became permanent to Amelia. When she moved back to Indonesia, got a job in Jakarta, Mr. Nick decided to finish his job in Timor Leste, pack up and follow her, anyway editing job can open shop anywhere and he’s very mobile so it was a good plan.

Amelia is a third generation Chinese migrants in Semarang, so she’s more Indonesian than anyone would like to believe but she’s traditional Chinese when it comes to family (no offense meant). They look after each other and they love knowing what’s happening in each others lives as much as they could – the family is the most important unit in the circle and that is very very inspiring (and very very Asian).

When she decided to get married, her (their) family was the first people to celebrate, next are the Quinta girls (Well, I like to say the first but … ). Then the long preparations begun including the “give away” gifts for the guest.

A mug with a leaf. A leaf with gold writings on it and laminated.

It was nothing compared to the lavish give away gifts I received in the past but that simple leaf has more meaning to it than any expensive gifts – it was lovingly prepared by Amelia’s dad intended for the wedding. From the picking of the leaves, cleaning, bleaching, drying and meticulously making sure the leaves are not damaged and the veins are prominently showing for all to admire.

During the wedding the couple showed the guests – mixed from Australia, Indonesia and those from Timor Leste their life and the events leading to the wedding including how her Dad lovingly prepared these leaves which brought tears (of joy and awe) from everybody (I wish I could share the movie with you).

It was such a testament of how they love one another that her parents (and family) are willing to give them everything for their happiness including accepting her new husband as one of their own.

When I see this photo and the leaf in my collection, the memory of the wedding reminds me that however far away you go, how difficult your life may have become or however you want to escape and find yourself somewhere, at the end of the day it’s still home where you will find where your heart is – around people you love and people who loves you back.

By Hand

What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.


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