I smile for a lot of reasons. One of them is the gab sessions with my best friend who, despite slaving away selling footwear  and putting up with insufferable customers from days on end, still indulges me in verbal jousting and my hints for that nice red Longchamp bag for my Christmas present. There are the YM chat sessions with my other best friend who’s wrapped up like an Eskimo in leprechaun land while I’m enjoying the cool December weather in batik country. Another is the e-mails from my mum who keeps me abreast of the goings-on in the family and the mother country. There’s my reading time then there are the weekend trips to my favourite watering hole, Plaza Senayan, to enjoy lunch at Marché, ice cream at Cold Stone and book shopping at Kinokuniya and Periplus.

That smile on my face has become harder to decipher because there are different reasons for that smile on my face now. When a teacher-friend of mine, for instance, asked her students to read their book on King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table, she was so happy to hear that they were done. She proceeded to ask them questions to check their comprehension and her smile quickly turned into a frown. Her students “read” (God knows how) but without understanding what they read. I was beside myself with amazement when I first heard the tale, but nothing surprises me now. I’ve been in similar situations with my students who won’t peruse their readings unless you specifically tell them to. That wasn’t the case with me when I was in university – I didn’t have to wait for my teachers to tell me to read.

How about those situations when some people question your capability in doing things? It’s such sweet revenge and smile when these sanctimonious persons – those who can’t even spell secretary or know the plural of life, for example – end up with egg on their faces. I relish these moments.

Another lip-tugging situation is when I’m at Indomaret, Indonesia’s local version of 7-11, particularly when I’m collecting my laundry. It takes them forever to find my items despite looking at the receipt number repeatedly and after I’ve pointed to where my clean laundries are. Let’s us not forget cable TV in Indonesia. For some bizarre reason, some movies shown in HBO and some cartoons on Disney Channel have been dubbed in Bahasa Indonesia even through there are Indonesian subtitles running at the bottom of the screen.

But I’m smiling now because the air is cool, it’s about 11 days before Christmas and the scent of 2011 is sweet.


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