Thirteen Books

My President Director, Mr. Oshima is a book freak. As usual, once a year, he takes home leave and goes back to Japan for two weeks.

Today, he comes to the office with a big smile. He gathers all group heads for a morning meeting. He said to all, "It's good to be back. During my vacation, I ate much, I gained more weights, I met a lot of friends and enjoyed it very much. One thing that I regret is, actually I had a target to finish 20 (twenty) books within 2 (two) weeks, but unfortunately, I could only finish 13 (thirteen) books."

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

This book consists of 24 short stories of Haruki Murakami collections. As usual the themes of all stories are weird. One story tells about a monkey who has hobby of stealing a person's name tag. This incident will lead the said person has difficulties in remembering his/her name. Other tells about a man who has a habit of going to the zoo whenever there's a typhoon. Another story tells about a husband who has a shopaholic wife and when his wife passed away, he gets confused what to do wit his wife clothes' collection, a room full of size 7 dresses and 112 pairs of shoes. Finally he hires a lady to come to his house and wears his wife things as a kind of uniform while she work at the man's house.

There are only 3 examples that I mention here, I assure you that almost all of the stories here are superb collections. None disappoint you. If I have to choose which story is my favorite, frankly speaking, I cannot give my choice. So many great stories in here.

Nevertheless, I still prefer Murakami's novel than his short stories since the weirdness seems not settled thoroughly. It's Murakami's style actually.

All in all, this is the 4th book of Murakami that I'd read (Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and After Dark) and I have to admit that I fall in love with his books even more.

The Witch of Portobello

This book is awesome. Never enjoying this much of Paulo Coelho's books. Not after "Zahir". Coelho writes it in a different style. It's about a mysterious girl, Sherine Khalil aka Athene aka Hagia Sofia. The story's told by the many people who knew her well-or hardly at all, such as: her adoptive mother, her birth mother, ex-husband, a journalist, an actress, etc.

Since the flow of the story is remarkably entertaining, I even not noticed the absence of Athena as the main character.

Athena is a Gypsy girl who is adopted by a Lebanese family. She's a restless person. She always wants more. She's not a kind of person who could get happy easily. It's too boring for her. She can't want only to love, because that's impossible. She wants to justify her life, to live it as intensely as possible.

Coelho's vivid portrayal of the characters and their development is brilliant. This is Coelho at his best.

Home Visit

Najla's school, TK Seruni has its special activity called 'Home-Visit'. All students and teachers of one class will visit a student's home and study there. All will get their turns, although this is not mandatory, the school's principal will ask the willingness of the host.

Yesterday was Najla's turn to have the visit of 10 classmates and 3 teachers. I took one day off from the office in order to welcome our great guests.

At 08.30 a.m. the guests arrived. Some were still accompanied by their moms and nannies, while others were brave enough to be left alone in our home and picked up later on.

It's so amazing to see these cute playgroups students. Imagine, a teacher asked, "Who wants to sing?" A boy name Reza raised his hand, "". The teacher responded, "OK, Reza, please stand up." Then we all waited for Reza's song, but there's no sound at all. Reza was standing there quietly with his innocent look. What a boy!

I was also amazed to see the teachers. They really enjoy teaching. Their patience really made me stunning. Look at there, some students wanted to pee, others were crying and fighting, but the teachers handled them skillfully. No anger, no sharp tone, nothing. In the end, the peace came to all of them.

I was kind of ashamed to my self who easily lost temper in managing my kids (sorry, sweetie!). Well, some people were born with great patience, while others not *excuse*.

Teaching this playgroup classes is really something. If you enjoy it, I'm sure you will live a long life, stay healthy and keep younger everyday. Just compared with my daily life, dealing with legal documents and demanding Japanese boss everyday, no wonder if I got stressed and lose temper very often. Bless them all great teachers.

At 10.30 a.m. the Home-Visit's over. Najla gave goodies bags (thanks to Mbak Ratih for cupcakes & chocolate lolly sticks) to all her classmates and teachers. Thank you all for coming. We really had a great time.

Birthday Wish for a Wonderful Daddy

You are our favorite person in the world
and Mama feels lucky to be your wife and also us as your children
your positive outlook on life is always an inspiration to us
and we are extremely grateful to have that influence in our life

You have our utmost respect, admiration and love
and we look forward to living out the rest of our life with you
happy 35th birthday, Ayah
we hope all your birthday wishes come true.

Best wishes from Mama, Najla & Nayzea

*birthday wish modified from here
** cupcakes ordered from here

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

First, I love the title of the book. Second, I am happy, finally I could finish this Milan Kundera novel. It took quite sometime since the story's a bit serious. Talking about emptiness, despair and all those negative feelings.

Set in 1968 Prague. The novel details the circumstances of life for artists and intellectuals in communist Czechoslovakia and the invasion by the USSR. The characters appear in the novel are Tomas, a well-known, successful surgeon, who criticizes the Czech communists and resultantly loses his position, and his wife, Tereza, a photographer who suffers from Tomas' affairs with a lot of women.

At first, I thought I couldn't finish this novel, just like "My Name is Red" Orhan Pamuk novel, since the story moves very slowly, but I didn't know, I just got into this book's flow and eventually enjoy it. Although I feel so sad thinking about the characters appears in the novel, they are mostly unhappy people. They actually just want a simple life, but they're too busy with their own thoughts and end up with eternal suffering. Is it that difficult to have happiness?