One Year Off

A cyber friend, Kiky lent me this book. Well...actually we exchanged our favorite stuffs, I lent her Muallaf DVD and got this book in return. it turned out that this book is so engaging. Once I read it, I just couldn't put it down.

Imagine, a family of 3 children (8,7, and 2 yrs old) made a very big decision. They left their usual life behind and planned to travel around the globe within unlimited time, what do you think, is it a brilliant idea or the stupidest that you've ever heard?

This experience exactly what happened to David Elliot Cohen. After celebrating his 40th birthday, he suddenly felt uncomfortable with his life. He thought he needed to purify his life by leaving it all behind (selling his house, his cars and most of his possession, closing his business and pulling their children out of school) and began the journey with the whole family with just a suitcase, a backpack and a passport each.

In my opinion, it is a very brave decision. I can't imagine having a long traveling with 3 small kiddos. So many things to consider. But The Cohen family did it. They made it within 13 months and 16 countries. Started from California and ended in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Reading their heartfelt experience is really enjoyable. A lot of exciting yet touching moments there. David told their stories in e-mails form to their family and best friends in his humorous and simple way. It made me laughed a lot and too curious to know the ending. From their experiences, I just learn that traveling with kiddos is different, tourist spots that in our point of view is a must-see-item, not for them, for kids, it's just ordinary thing. Just like Cohen kiddos, after spending some time in France and exploring all the museums and churches there, they obviously didn't want to visit any other churches in Rome. According to them museums and churches are similar, where ever they are. For them, the best place to visit was Africa, where they could observe wild animals almost everywhere and enjoyed the Safari tour. Ah...kiddos, they're cute with their own simple thoughts.

A very recommended book. Thank you Kiky for your great book :)

Diary of A Taxi Driver

True, life is hard, especially after a transition from a lifelong scientist to a rookie taxi driver. But life is like this highway: sometimes smooth, sometimes rough; sometimes you go slow, sometimes you go fast; sometimes it frustrates you, sometimes it pleases you. As long as you know where you are going and never quit halfway, you will get there sooner or later.

This diary is special since it's written down by the most educated cabdriver in Singapore, Cai Mingjie, PhD, he is a scientist, university professor, having published numerous papers and a Stanford PhD.

Due to global financial crisis, on May 2008, his job at a leading institute in Singapore was terminated. He felt shocked at first but life had to go on. He sent application letters to various organizations, including universities, government agencies and private companies and heard nothing from them.

Finally on November 2008, he decided to become a taxi driver, the Singaporean job of last resort. By the end of February 2009, he received his taxi driver's license and began his new career. This book originated from his blog he created to record the stories he experienced during his 6 months contract period with a taxi operating company as a hirer. Since his blog is getting more and more popular, he finally received several job opportunities from his blog readers. That's end of his career as a taxi driver.

But, he said that his taxi driving experience has certainly change his perspectives on life. He learned many things on the road as a taxi driver that he never learned before as a scientist. Couldn't agree more. Learning can be done from anyone, anywhere.

The Burning Plain

The movie's directed and written by Guilermo Arriaga. He is the screenwriter of Amores Perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003) and Babel (2006). I love most of his works.

Typical of Arriaga's work, this movie is told in a non-linear narrative, where events are revealed out of sequence. Jump from the past to the present and vice versa and its effect to several people separated by time and space. There are 5 characters in the movie, Mariana, a 16-yr-old-girl trying to put together the shattered life of her parents, Sylvia, a woman in Portland who is still haunted by her horrible past experience, Gina & Nick, a couple who must deal with an intense affair, and Maria, a young girl who helps her parents find redemption, forgiveness and love.

A truly breathtaking movie.

The Unknows Errors of Our Lives

One of my favorite Indian author, beside Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake) is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Their writings are almost similar. They convey stories in a delicate and beautiful way. Make me enjoying every sentence.

This book is a short stories collection written by Divakaruni. Consists of 9 short stories. The title of this book is one of the stories. All 9 stories focus on Indian women lives after they migrate to US.

With her typical way of telling stories, Divakaruni presents her beautiful stories that told from the woman character's point of view.
All different kinds of generations leave India and move to U.S., the land of dreams, in order to get free from strict tradition, but later on they feel that they have been uprooted from their nature land and in the end, they are in dillema, either to stay in U.S. or return to their homeland, India.

Already translated in bahasa by Gramedia Pustaka Utama on February 2010.

Muallaf (The Convert)

It is in forgiving that we are forgiven

Finally, I got the opportunity to watch Yasmin Ahmad's movie. It's so difficult to get her DVDs.
Muallaf is a story about 2 Malaysian sisters, Rohani and Rohana, who run away from home to escape their wealthy father's mistreatment. They finally stay in a small town where they meet Brian Goh, a young Catholic School teacher. Brian is irresistibly attracted to the 2 girls since Brian also has a childhood bad experience that haunting him until now.

Through the wanderings of 3 lost souls, they celebrate friendship, forgiveness and the coming to terms with the past.

Wow.....I love the movie wholeheartedly. I guess, I need to find Yasmin Ahmad other movies, i.e. the DVD of Orked Trilogy (Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin), do you know where to buy them? Anyone?

Real World

Second book of Natsuo Kirino that I've read after her other book Out. Real World also a criminal novel, as dark as Out. In Real World, Kirino again talks about cruel murder, but this time the lead characters are 4 teenage girls with all their restlessness, loneliness, stress, and problems.

When one of the 4 girls, Toshi discovers that her next-door-neighbor has been brutally murdered, the girls suspect that the killer's the neighbor's son. Without any specific plan, they finally get involved with the killer and end up in a tragic life.

From their stories, we get the portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before, perhaps these teenagers are not the lucky one, so sorry for them.

Wimpy Kid The Movie

I always adore Wimpy Kid series. I have read all the books (yes, all 5 books). When I accidentally got the opportunity to watch the movie, I felt soooo...excited.
Actually, the feeling was a bit mixed up, part curious, other part was a bit worry imagining the adaptation of the book into a movie. turned out that the movie was enjoyable. The actors, the setting, the story and all were really awesome.
The detail behind the scenes story and the making of Wimpy Kid the Movie is also told in Jeff Kinney's latest book The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary. From the book, we could learn how a book gets adapted into a major motion picture since it is completed with pictures, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs and original art by Jeff Kinney, the author of Wimpy Kid series.

Our (belated) 8th Wedding Anniversary

I remember the first time we met
You said, "It's 2 days after my birthday, you suppose to be my birthday present"
I was flatterred at the moment

2 weeks later, you proposed me
7 months later, we declared our vows to share life in good and bad time
3 years later, our love blessing,
Najlanandari Anugrah Cinta was born
5 years later, our Renggali Flower,
Nayzea Renggali Mewangi came to complete our package of happiness

Time flies
It has been 8 years now
I just want to say thank you for being here
You make me feel loved, secured, peaceful and happy
No one can make me feel the way I feel about you
Love you more and more each day
As always

(celebrated on April 5, 2010)

A Big Leap

Welcoming April with a big smile, great happiness and blessed feeling. So many things have happened. Some big decisions have been made. Now, I am ready to face a totally new life.

Yes, after 14 years experiencing the status as a career woman and in the past 9 years spent my time in a Japanese company, finally I made up my mind to leave it all behind and started a new career at home. Of course, this is not a kind-of-one-night-made-decision. This decision was made after passing a lot of deep thoughts, discussions again and again with my hubby, and the most important things were asking my self, what's exactly my goals in life and was this career my real dream?

At the end of the long thinking process, I came out with the facts that I didn't enjoy my job anymore, I felt trapped with this strict working hours and all the meetings, reporting, deadline, etc. I just couldn't stand it anymore. I want to do things that I like. Spend quality time with my family. To reach those goals means I have to resign from my current job and then I can be a stay-at-home-mom aka a full-time-mom. What a beautiful dream.

I remember a line that said, "If you want to start a totally new thing in life, do it before you get 40, get out of what you do now, otherwise you will drown with it and feel sorry for the rest of your life."

I am 37 now (tssahhh, I'm old), therefore I decide to do it now. Okay, my original plan's been set at last.

Out of the blue, an old friend who owns a small law firm asked me to assist him in completing a project. While finishing the assigned job, he furthermore offered me to join his firm with flexible working hours. Unbelievable. Now, I do things that I enjoy, manage my time on my own and last but not least, I get paid for that. What more could I ask? It's true, good things come to those who wait. I am really grateful with all these sudden occasions. I feel as the luckiest person in the whole world. Thank you, Lord.

PS: I am ready for my special me-time. I'll have first vacation without my hubby and little girls. Just a short trip, but I feel soooooo excited. First experience is always a magical moment.