The Child Who Learned to Walk at the Disneyland

It was winter 1994 in Winnipeg. It was midnight, and I missed my last bus home. So I put on my only winter jacket, my head beanie, scarf on my neck, and my hand gloves. I left engineering building, and started walking.


I braced the snowy path. I looked at the sky. It was clear, with moon brightly shining. It was calm. So I made a decision, a dangerous one. I walk through campus service road, not the usual street. So I could arrive home faster.

It was dangerous because nobody passed through that service road. Should something happened to me, nobody would have discovered me for days. I would be on the news: An Indonesian grad student was found frozen in a University of Manitoba service road.

But I had a strength from the moon. And joy from my family. And the one who was coming.

My wife Ina went to University Center that morning to see Dr Hawkins, our family doctor. I went with her to the university clinic, and received the greatest news. Andria was coming, due in June next year. Ina went back home before Gladys and Kezia finished their schooling that day. I went back to my office in Engineering building, full of joy and wonder. I was the luckiest graduate student. Joy. I had not received the PhD certificate, but soon would be awarded the third birth certificate. Wonder, how Ina and I can pull that off. Financially.

So I walked, and walked. It was one feet of snow, blanketed the service road. Slowed me down little bit. Strangely, my body warmed up. And I arrived home at Univillage Dalhousie Drive, not frozen, but sweaty instead. A small and rather old apartment. But Ina Gladys and Kezia were there. That was my definition of heaven.

How was a young Indonesian ended up in wintery Winnipeg? I walked. My dad walked. My mom walked. We were walking clan.

When I was 8, I lived in Tomohon. A town in the mountain. That was when I discovered William, my Dad, walked. He went to San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate, to San Anselmo. He went studying. Graduate student with the San Francisco Theological Seminary. No Internet, so sending postcards it was. I missed my dad, but all were joyful and praising Dad for giving up time, long time, studying. By the time he went back home, I recalled, it was a celebration. And our family was better off after that.

Dad went to Golden Gate was a legend in town, especially in a forrest village called Lalumpe, 60 miles south Tomohon. Dad was born there, and, as fas as the history of civilization went, since the founding of the village nobody had ever walked to Golden Gates and handed out postcards, photographs and a set of 35mm slides to back it up.

For this devout Christian village the story was amounted to biblical Moses walking out from Egypt. The difference was Dad was very much alive and sweaty to enjoy the admiration. I named my son Marco William after him.

He walked early. Lalumpe had no elementary school. So every day William led his younger brothers walk 3 miles to nearest elementary school in Motoling. By the time he reached yunior high school, Amurang it was. As Motoling has no yunior high school. Senior high schooling was in Manado. University education was in STT Jakarta, meaning went to Jakarta the capital of Indonesiaa. There he fell in love with my mom, got married in Sukabumi, and went back to Tomohon. She turned into a walker, amazingly stronger and better walker.

Parents walk, offsprings walk.. or rather chase parents

I was still 8 years old when a got an epiphany. I discovered what my purpose in life was.
My purpose in life was to walk across the Golden Gate.

That was the true reason I ended in Winnipeg bracing one feet snow in the service roadway that midnight.

How do you arrive at your dream?

Through the power of rejections.. You read that right.

You see, you are like a soccer ball arriving at the goal, through being kicked back and forth by so many people. At first nobody seems to want you. All just want to kick you. Yes they are these goal tenders that like to hold you for some moment, only to kick you in the ass, so hard that you feel they were the meanest creatures on earth. Until you realize they all kicking very seriously actually to make me enter my dream goal.

I applied to universities in Canada and seven of them rejected me, the eight one accepted me. It was Dr Kinsner a very smart dedicated University of Manitoba professor, with a depth of Eropean tradition and Polish no-nonsense character.

It was Christmas 1989 I arrived in Winnipeg. I learned a new lesson, walking was not enough. You need many kicks on your ass to transcend you to the next level. Summer 1993 Dr Kinsner drove me to San Anselmo and then we walked crossing the Golden Gates. I cried when I saw the beauty of SFTF campus, with Tamalpais mount graced the place my dad walked. I cried when I walked across the Golden Gate when I discovered it was just cold giant steel, very windy, and cars just crossed it in high speed, making it a scary place to stay longer than to take pictures for the folks in Lalumpe.

Folks, if you have enough kicks, enough rejections, one of them will catapult you into you dream. Be it beautiful Tamalpais or turns out to be cold and scary Golden Gate.

Now I am in awe to see my children being kicked into their dream. Following examples of Gladys and Kezia, big sisters and big walkers, Andria arrived in Winnipeg, the landing place where she arrived and enter planet Earth.

She was always a dreamer. When she was due, everybody was ready. At the Victoria Hospital, see went to sleep instead. The nurse had to wake her up with a cold ice drink. When she was born she did not cried out loud like most babies. Her cry was in protest for interrupting the story in her mind. Sure enough, as soon as she discovered her tiny bed, she continued her dreamworks.

A milestone for babies is either they walk first or talk first. By the time we left Canada going back to Indonesia I was already a rich former grad student. Rich enough to bring my family to Hollywood, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Marina del Ray. We stayed for one week. There Andria took the first steps to walk on her own. She learned how to walk in the Disneyland, at the capitol of story tellers kingdom.

Now it is her time to talk. Talk she does.

I have always though that stories make living people alive. Without stories we are just homosapiens in an animal kingdom. I know this child who walked in Disneyland will surprise me with great stories, only to discover last week her work on Bah. I did expect great stories coming from her, but did not expect this big. Ina found me crying even deeper than Tamalpais and Golden Gate cries.

Dreamwalker….

I just want to say, keep on living great stories. A great storyteller is the one that includes every body so she or he can discover how great her-his life is.
How successful you are in life is determined by how great your stories are, and how you make other people alive and being a part of the greatest story of all time: ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE REJECTED AND KICKED INTO THEIR DREAM.

So my children, children of walkers, Go, go kick some ass, fall in love, and write a story




    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: