Holiday Mood is Still in the Air
The Ceramic Studio

A Kalimantan Fried Banana and a Fresh Ice Mango
In One of Bedrooms inside F.Widayanto's house
The Singers wannabe:)
School holiday is still in the air. Najla and Zea spent their time with their nieces last Friday. We planned to do something different. After browsed here and there I decided to take them to Rumah Keramik F. Widayanto. I checked the website and found out that the place and activities there were going to be fun. 

We arrived early around 10 in the morning (the house is open from 9am-4pm). The place was still quite. We turned out to b the first visitor. A guide welcomed us and took us around those green-peaceful area. It's a huge place. Full of trees, a wide variety of plants, well-trimmed grass, unique designed of building and decoration, such a very beautiful place. We visited several places including the main house, F. Widayanto's house, the house full of high quality art collections, made me tense and kept warning the girls not to run and to touch anything in the house:) 

We also visited the gallery. It provides and sells many great ceramic collection from house ware, accessories, ceramic for the kitchen and bathroom and many more. Then we continued the adventure by doing fun with the clay. Yes the girls would learn how to make those great ceramic. A tutor was also there to assist us with the clay and to help us turning the clay into beautiful ceramic. After finished with the ceramic stuff, we took a rest and enjoyed the snacks and fresh beverages at pendopo. Other visitors were starting to come. Before it's getting too crowded, we left the place. 

We ended the day by dropping by at a karaoke. The girls were excited in fact they had already  made a songs list. Glad to know that they're happy and now it's time for Mama to think about other activities since the holiday is not finished yet.   

Pasung Jiwa

Author: Okky Madasari
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication date: January 2013
Pages: 328

Okky Madasari, the receiver of Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2012, is one of Indonesia best authors.  This is her 4th book after Entrok, 86 and Maryam. As usual Okky's writing always brings a sensitive and touching topic about injustice, oppression, and humanity.

Pasung Jiwa is a story about  Sasana, a transgender. Although he is born as a man but Sasana always feels that he is trapped inside his own body. His soul is restless. He just feels something is wrong both inside and outside him. As a little boy, Sasana is forced by his parents to take classical piano class while he actually prefers to listen to dangdut. In his school he is bullied by some students. His life is a total ruin.

Pasung Jiwa is the story about freedom and what it means to be free. When Sasana decides to free himself by becoming a street dangdut singer, he gets lots of bad experiences from the people around, oppression by the authoritarian rule and later on by a group of people who claims to be acting in the name of something holly and divine. Although people actually have the right to freely express themselves but in reality it's not that simple just because the society won't let them.  

Pasung Jiwa is the stories of people who are trapped inside their bodies. Pasung Jiwa is like a mirror who reflect ourselves. According to the author, this book was made to commemorate the 15th year of our reformation. We still have many homework about injustice, oppression and freedom to solve here in Indonesia. From Sasana's life we learn many issues. We get many new insights and realize that freedom here is so hard to get. Freedom as a basic right of human kind is often 'decided' by certain people who have money and power. Independent is just a word.

What I like most about Okky's work is her detailed research for every topic of the books. Although the topic is serious but Okky could deliver it in a simple way. Reading her work is like following a live report since the topic is actual, about our every day's life and surrounding, but Okky is able to transform them into simple things. I guess the author's background as a journalist that enriching her works. Moreover the author seems very much involves with the characters in the books. She could describe all of them in a very vivid way. Worth reading.

A Short Getaway: Jogjakarta

Inside Jogja's Palace
Sekar Kedhaton Resto on the way to Borobudur Temple
We could see the Borobudur temple up there

Some of the special menu from Sultan's Palace

We visited Jogja last weekend. This was the first experience for Najla and Zea. No wonder if they were so excited. Since we only had three days to spend there, we tried to be as efficient as possible so we could visit the important spots. We chose the first flight. Although the girls were a bit sleepy on the way there but their excitement conquered everything. We hired a car plus a guide to take us around Jogja. We started by having breakfast at Soto Kadipiro then headed to Jogja's Palace. 

We dropped by at some batik shops on the way to our cultural world heritage, Borobudur Temple. The guide said there's gerabah village near Borobudur temple. We took andong to go to the village. It's a fun ride. The road was kind of narrow, long and winding but we really enjoyed the blowing wind and of course those peaceful-breathtaking views. It's an exciting things for the girls to see the Merapi mountain, the farming, the rice field and feeling the fresh air. 

On the second day we decided to have leyeh-leyeh day at our hotel, Jambuluwuk Malioboro. It's such a nice hotel. After having breakfast, the girls jumped into the swimming pool. In the afternoon we took becak from the hotel and headed to Malioboro. "Wow...such a long road and sooo many shops around here", exclaimed Najla and Zea when they arrived at Malioboro for the first time.

We planned to have something special on our last evening in Jogja. We asked the taxi driver to take us to the Palace area and dropped us at Gadri Resto. The restaurant's building is the house of Prince Joyohadikusumo, the brother of Hamengkubuwono X. So that evening we had a very special dinner. We could taste the palace's secret recipes. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the antiques collections, and of course the food and beverage.

Everything must have an ending and so did our holiday. We had to go back to Jakarta. Although it's just a short getaway but the happiness fulfills our hearts up until now. We call it the magic of holiday.  


The 100-Year-Old-Man

Title: The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Dissappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Publisher: Hyperion New York, 2012
Pages: 385

Let's meet Allan Karlsson, an eccentric centenarian who plans to climb out of the window of his nursing home with no real plan other than to avoid all the fuss for his 100th birthday celebration. There it goes Allan's new adventure with some companions that he met by chance during his journey, i.e. a grey suitcase (that belongs to a gangster with full of money inside), a master theft, a hotdog seller, a red-headed woman and an elephant named Sonya. 

Allan's life is always full of luck. He started as an orphaned explosive expert. His skill and willingness have taken him around the globe and met President Nixon, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Josept Stalin, Charles de Gaulle and many more. Reading this book brought back history lesson at school all those years ago but delivering in a funny and clever way. You can never guess what will happen next to Allan since his back story is larger-than-life. He once climbed mountains, crossed desert, plumbed the ocean depth in a submarine, thrown into jail in the Siberian snow, etc.

The central character Allan is lovable. His endlessly optimistic that finally puts him in so many world big events. The story is presented back and forth. The intertwining past and present narrative work wonderfully to create a pic of Allan's incredible life. The plot of the story absurd and ridiculous. This book made me laugh-out-loud. I really enjoyed the book and how it linked the story with various world wide events and stories.

Other interesting topic to note is the author, Jonas Jonasson put Indonesia as one of the places that visited by Allan in his old days. Not only visited for a short period but Allan spent many years in Bali during 1960s and he even involved in some political issues. This part of Indonesia's political condition will make us laugh and feel deep concerned as well. Perhaps the author's background as a journalist that makes him able to write down the bribery at every level and the corruption culture here in Indonesia in details or perhaps that notorious culture has spread all over the world. Well...I don't know. Discussing about corruption will never reach an end. Let's just go back to this charming and remarkable story.

Translated from the Swedish. This is Jonas Jonasson's debut novel. The book has been translated into more than 30 languages. One of the best book in 2013. An entertaining read.  

Young and Beautiful

via Youtube

I watched  this excellent  movie made by Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, last week but up until now it just keeps haunting me. I am so in love with it. Everything about it. The movie, the characters, the visuals and also the music. One of my favourite songs that keeps dancing in my head is Young and Beautiful sung by Lana Del Rey. Will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful.....

Time does Fly

Zea in 2007
Zea in 2013
The Hula-hula Dancers
We attended Zea's graduation day last weekend. After spending three years at her kindergarten, finally it's time for her to finish it and start a new challenge. Although she's been there at her school for three years but Zea is Zea. She still prefers to read a book than mingle with her friends. Even her teacher told me that the teachers sometimes run out of ideas how to attract Zea's attention and made her MOVE. When the teachers asked her to get together with her friends and did some activities with her friends, she would ask, "can I just stay here and read my book?". What a consistent girl.

That's Zea. She always has difficulties in waking up early in the morning (her mom thinks hard how to change this habit when she goes to elementary school this coming July). No wonder if she always came late to school. But that's not a problem for Zea. She just enjoyed the days. Nothing freaks her out. While the school hours finished and sometimes I hadn't come yet to pick her up, instead of playing with her friends, she would just stand still near school gate calmly. Ignoring the playground, the swing, the slide, etc. She wanted nothing but headed home. Back to her potato couch.  

Perhaps her shyness that made her uncomfortable being with many people or in my hubby's opinion she just didn't find any chemistry with her friends. When her friends're still busy playing hide and seek, monkey bar, etc, Zea'd already been drowning in her imagination while reading the Shakespeare's stories. could be. Whatever it is dear Zea, mama and ayah will keep our continuous support. You could be anything you want. Anything at all. 

Honestly I am a bit nervous and at the same time curious waiting for Zea entering her elementary school. Hopefully she could be more sociable and of course enjoy her new surrounding. Let's rock it, baby.