Let's Go to the Beach

The view from Casa Krakatoa Resort, Anyer

Actually we didn't have any special plan for the latest long weekend. Out of the blue Najla gave her sudden idea, "How if we go to the beach?" Nice idea but needs certain effort to execute it since long weekend is usually associated with crowded atmosphere and terrible traffic jam.
Casa Krakatoa swimming pool
We listed down the reachable beaches which are Ancol and Anyer. We directly crossed Ancol since we were quite sure that we would not be able to cope with the crowd. Anyer then became our only choice. Here we were, headed to Anyer without any reservation. We only tried to be positive, there had to be an empty room, somewhere along the way. 

Fortunately the traffic was not too bad but the hotels and resorts along the beach were fully booked. We were still being positive while trying our luck. Finally after being rejected for well....I forgot to count, there's an empty one, the one and only room at Casa Krakatoa resort. It's an old place. When I accompanied Najla and Zea swimming, I looked around the place and surprisingly it's actually a well-designed resort. The villas are built up in the hill, we need to go down to reach the beautiful swimming pool and enjoy the beach at the back of the hotel. But I don't know why the maintenance of the building and its surrounding are very poor. The swimming pool is a bit dirty and the building also looks gloomy with its old paint. If only they do some basic renovation, I'm sure this place can be happening again just like in the old days.

All in all we enjoyed our moment at Anyer. It's not everyday we could breathe a sea fresh air or  listen to the dancing wave. One thing that we miss is Anyer doesn't provide the visitors with decent restaurant. There are some restaurants but the choices for good food and cozy surrounding are hard to find. If only they have some nice restaurants along the beach, I am sure Anyer will be as good as Jimbaran, Bali.       


One evening Najla and I had the following conversation:

Najla: Ma,besok pelajaran Math aku mau membahas tentang 'volume'

Mama: Wow....menarik tuh, kak *sambil buka-buka buku Math*

Najla: Kira-kira 'volume' itu belajar tentang apa sih, Ma?

Mama: Kakak akan belajar tentang kapasitas atau lebih mudahnya berapa banyak jumlah suatu cairan di suatu tempat, misalnya ada berapa liter air di dalam botol

Najla:  Oh...aku kira 'volume' itu membahas 'volume' TV

Mama: *menghela napas* 

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The thin kind of chili
The long kind of chili
The big-fat-kind of chili
After getting shocked to see the price of shallot that suddenly getting so high, lately I am also preparing myself to get ready to find out the high price of chili. For Indonesian people, both, shallot and chili are the most favorite spices that must be put in every dish they cook.

Although my husband, my girls and I are not really into spicy food but still I keep some chili in my fridge just in case I need it. I never thought that the chili seeds that I spread unintentionally in the back yard finally grow well. A few days ago, I just noticed that there are four chili trees in my yard and they all are ready to harvest. These independent chili trees, i.e. they just grow by themselves, come out with different kind of chili size, some are fat while others are thin, but their taste are the same, super spicy!       

Opposite Attract

Najla and her all time favorite sport: swimming

Zea with her latest favorite book, Dongeng Shakespeare 

Let me tell you a story about two little girls
Najla, the big sister and Zea, the little sister
They are just like other girls, love pinky things, crazy about hair accessories and a huge fan of Barbie
They also have the same favorite food
Now they are really into grilled chicken
Before that they once were crazy about soto betawi
Every weekend or at any time we visit a restaurant, they always choose nothing but grilled chicken
Until Mama and Ayah wonder when their favorite food will change  
But their favorite drink will always be the same, hot sweet tea  

There is nothing in this world that exactly the same
Even twins have their differences
It also happens to Najla and Zea
The bigger they are, the clearer the difference shows
Najla is actually a social girl
She loves being with people
She's curious every time she meets new surrounding
While Zea is definitely a solitaire
She's getting tense every time she is around lots of people especially strangers

They both have their favorite 'me-time'
Najla chooses swimming as her all time favorite sport
Swimming pool is her heaven on earth
While Zea considers herself as a book freak
Her motto is never leave home without a book

Mama makes this second little note  just for both of you
To mark your eight and six years birthday
To make us realize how fast time flies
To make us more grateful towards our lives
Do you still remember the first note? It's here

Pengakuan Eks Parasit Lajang

Author: Ayu Utami
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Publication Date: February 2013
Pages: 307
Manusia boleh kawin, tapi tidak harus.
Everybody has its own way in telling about his/her life story. Some tell in a serious tone, others focus on the tragedy or humorous things, etc.It's all fine. It's just a matter of choice. Therefore nothing's wrong when Ayu Utami declares her memoir as the first sexual and spiritual autobiography in Indonesia.  She tells her story from her childhood until to date. Perhaps from those stories we could understand the reasons behinds her novels theme or even her 'uncommon' opinion.

This book is the latest book of the trilogy, the first book is Parasit Lajang (2003), in this book, Ayu herself declares that she will not get married. In her opinion, getting married or not is simply a choice. Her decision  is also made on the purpose to 'accompany' other unmarried women towards society.

In 2011 Ayu got married to Erik Prasetya, a photographer. Although they only registered their marriage in the church and not in the state registry office, but still this decision shocked certain people. After one year of marriage, she published the second book of the trilogy, Cerita Cinta Enrico (2012), a story about her husband and the reason behind their marriage. 

Now ten years after publishing Parasit Lajang, Ayu continues her autobiography with Pengakuan Eks Parasit Lajang. She asks many questions and search  the answers for any inconsistency that she finds. For example the reason why she decided to give her virginity to her boy friend at age of 20. This decision was also made to erase the virginity concept that in her opinion is unfair particularly for women. In the coming years, she tries in her personal life to struggle against cultural values, religion and patriarchal law.  

One of unique memoirs. I don't agree with the whole author's opinion, but I guess there's always something positive in every book we read. One thing that I admire from Ayu is her honesty. Not all people will be brave enough to tell their stories, their controversial opinion or uncommon values to be compared with the society where they live.      

March Quote

"Ada beberapa tingkatan kebahagiaan. Yang terendah itu bahagia karena keinginan terpenuhi. Itu sebentar. Naik gaji, punya mobil, itu sifatnya sebentar. Kebahagiaan yang lebih dalam tatkala kita merasa berkecukupan."

--Gede Prama, Kompas, March 10, 2013

Titik Nol

Author: Agustinus Wibowo
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: February 2013
Pages: 556

Shangri-la itu, nirwana yang kau cari-cari itu, sesungguhnya ada di lubuk hati.
What is the meaning of a journey? Every traveler has his/her own answer for that. Also for Agustinus Wibowo, Indonesian traveler writer and photographer who had spent four years traveling overland. Departing from Beijing with final destination is actually South Africa but he was stuck in Afghanistan and stayed there for three years as a photojournalist.  In his latest book, he shares lots of deep life experience. At the moment you finish his stories, you will find a new you with a new insight about life and how to live it in a more meaningful way.

This latest book is special since the author not only tells about the journey itself but also about his personal life. His childhood, family, dream, memory, love, karma, religion and even death. He makes two parallel plots here, one is about his mother who was dying of cancer and taken care in a hospital and other is his journey around Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The author prepares the story precisely therefore although it is told back and fort for every chapter but it is always related one another. 

I need to read the book slowly and digest every sentence there. Almost every chapter is full of valuable life lessons. Beautiful quotes spread all over the book. I felt like taking a roller coaster. I felt that I myself who took the journey since the author wrote the story  in a simple, touching but very vivid and I also could feel the author's sadness when he took care of his dying mother at the hospital. The author not only tells about his destination but the most important part is he also shares the meaning of every journey he took. About the purpose of life, he said, "Banyak orang tak mengerti tujuan hidupnya, hidup pun berlalu tanpa arti." or "Banyak orang yang hidup tapi tak hidup. Mereka salah tentukan tujuan hidup."

Even for a death, the author delivers his beautiful thought, "Kebahagiaan itu tak pasti. Cuma kematian yang pasti. Ingatlah akan kematian, itu kunci kebahagiaan. Berterimakasihlah pada kematian, karena kematian adalah guru terbesar dalam kehidupan."   

One of the best book in 2013. Titik Nol is more intimate than Selimut Debu (author's journey in Afghanistan) and Garis Batas (author's journey in Central Asian Countries). Highly recommended.

The Various Flavours of Coffee

Author: Anthony Capella
Translator: Gita Yuliani K.
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: November 2012
Pages: 680

Dalam perkara hati, seperti juga bisnis, kita perlu melakukan yang terbaik. Belum tentu apa yang kita rencanakan. Justru pemahaman adalah: persepsi seseorang tentang kebenaran.

London in 19th century. Robert Wallis, a dandy man, just expelled from Oxford for too much partying and cast out by his father. With his charm, he considers himself as a poet although none of his writing sold.

The author, Anthony Capella started the early pages of the book by writing  that you might not like the central character here, Robert Wallis, since he is described as a self-centered-shallow guy who thinks about nothing but himself.  A good way to attract readers curiosity. 

One day when Wallis is enjoying his coffee, a gentleman, Mr. Samuel Pinker offers him a job. Wallis must compose a list about coffee terms. Never having worked a day in his young life, Wallis finally begins his career in the coffee business at Pinker's. 

Honestly I almost gave up finishing this book since the plot of the book is sooooo slow. I always felt sleepy every time I read the book. But thank God, the last quarter of the book is magnificent. The moment when Wallis is assigned to Africa where he learns some hard life lessons are delivered in a vivid and beautiful prose. When Wallis returns to London, the author changes gear once more and makes the story even more moving.  

The book actually delivers lots of interesting topics, i.e. the history of coffee (make you realize how complicated the coffee journey was before you can sip it easily now), coffee industry, the method of growing and producing coffee, aside from coffee, there are also stories about romances, slavery, Africa, and the most important part is suffragette movement, a social restriction for women at that time.

Since I am not a coffee lover myself, I thought this book will turn me into one. I did enjoy the description of the coffee flavours in the book but even after I finished reading it, I still prefer tea to coffee:)

One Big Happy Family

A family is the most important thing in the world.

--Princess Diana

We had a family gathering last weekend. We haven't done this for some time. I think it was since my late mom got sick and hospitalized for more than one month. Since Najla and my sister celebrated their birthday just now so we decided to celebrate it by having a lunch and an intimate chit-chat.  

My parents in law and a nephew also came directly from Lampung. So here we were enjoying a yummy lunch in a cozy atmosphere at Raja Rasa. Although actually there's no specific agenda, we just did common things such as got together, ate, talked, took pictures, etc but it felt good. Perhaps that's the reason why Princess Diana said, a family is the most important thing in the world. Just being with them and  suddenly it warms your heart.

Turning 8

You are celebrating your birthday 
but Mama, Ayah and Zea are celebrating 
the anniversary of you arriving in the world 
and making it a better and happier place for us. 

Happy 8th birthday, our beloved Najla.