A Special Birthday

The birthday girl, cutest Alenka
I think a birthday is one of important moments for a kid instead of holiday (or is it for adult too?). Last weekend was Najla and Zea's niece birthday. They were so excited in preparing the birthday party. They even felt that they were on the moon when my sister asked them to lead the party. They drafted a simple script and did practices several times before the D-day. Although it's just a simple occasion but I never thought that being a birthday party MC was quite something for my girls. 

Najla said that she was nervous at the beginning and enjoyed it later on. I could see that they both looked super happy on that day. Najla even said that she's ready to be an MC for any other occasions. Way to go, girl....! 

It's not Just a House, It's a Home

via Shutterstock

Lately I feel  Jakarta's traffic jam is getting crazier each day. Those horrible traffic jams happen all the time. It drives me crazy sometimes. I notice that the traffic is almost always crowded at any hour. No more peak hour or something. The roads just can't take it anymore. It's too overloaded. 

One thing that I am grateful about my profession now is I can come and go based on my teaching schedule and moreover I have the liberty to propose my own teaching schedule. But still I can feel it that the traffic is not tolerable anymore compared to several years ago.

Sometimes it crosses my mind to just leave this 'crazy' city and move elsewhere but usually another voice somewhere said that Jakarta is not only a house, it's a home...

Just like this quote said:

This is home. banyak yang ditawarkan oleh Jakarta. Memang macet, tapi ujung hari-harinya adalah rumah. Banyak membangun memori di sini. Keluarga di sini. Akarnya di sini.

--Shannon Masrin, Director of PT Lautan Luas Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and also owner of Crystal Jade Restaurant as said in Kompas Sunday edition, October 20, 2013    

The Age of Miracles

Title: The Age of Miracles (Yang Pernah Ada)
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication date: June 2013
Pages: 344

Seni dan takhayul selama lima ribu tahun akan mengatakan bahwa kegelapanlah yang paling menghantui kita. Bahwa malam adalah saat pikiran manusia paling rentan untuk diganggu. Tetapi banyak penelitian yang dilakukan setelah terjadinya perlambatan menunjukkan bahwa bukan kegelapan yang paling merusak suasana hati--melainkan terang.

In her debut novel, The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker delivered unique theme about the slowing of the earth rotation that cause days and night longer and finally disturbed all the scheduled rituals of daily life. The slowing has effect towards everything,  people get sick, crops begin to fail, the talk about the end of the world spread, possibility of emigrating to space or another planet also raise, etc.

Told from the perspective of Julia, an eleven-year-old girl who lives in California. Weeks before her birthday, the world undergoes an unexplained phenomena called "slowing". This condition leads to many unexpected things. Julia loses her best friends since some of them move to other places, her first love does not run well, her mother suffers of decease, her father also gets more impatience with his wife and many other things that quite hard to face for a teenager.

According to the author, she got the idea for the 'slowing' when she read about the 2004 Indonesia Tsunami that had caused the earth rotation to slow by some fractions. Since then on she started researching the effects of the slowing through internet. As a full timer she used to write this book in the morning before she went to office therefore it took four years to complete. But she said she enjoyed it since she considered the writing process as a type of meditation.

Named as one of the best books of 2012 by Publishers Weekly, O: The Oprah Magazine, People, Kirkus Review, Booklist, this lovely and simple writing will bring you lots of quiet moments to enjoy. Highly recommended.     

Movie, We Love You

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
 Movie is one of the best things that I adore. Watching a good movie is like being  transformed to a different world, drowned there and experienced a whole new things. I used to love different kinds of movies but lately the older I get, I avoid watching a horror movie. I don't think my heart can take it. I prefer a movie that bring peace and good quotes, yes...it's a genre for old people, hahaha..
So excited to see lots of excellent movies are played in the movie theater in Jakarta now. I just watched Rush and Gravity. Both of them are sooooo great. Kind of movie that will haunt the viewers for days. My movie-to-watch list is so long now, let's see I have Prisoners, The Butler, and the coming soon will be Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips and many more. It's time to arrange the lecturing schedule so it can meet  the movie schedule:))

Make Tea, not War*

I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water. 

~George Orwell, "A Nice Cup of Tea," Evening Standard, 12 January 1946
My love towards tea came along bit by bit. It's all started at the moment I got married. My hubby was raised among tea lovers. His family is a huge fan of tea. They drink tea 5-8 times a day. No...no...they are not British, haha...At first I just served the tea for my hubby then I began to sip it while we shared our thoughts and to date without realizing it I become a tea-addict. 

Hunting for new tea is always be exciting. When I browsed around Grand Lucky, I found this Allure green tea and the taste turned out to be really good. Not long after that I bought Tong Tji, a local tea with a unique jeruk purut flavor at a nearby supermarket, it's also tasty. This afternoon I had a chat with my best friend and since she just returned from Malaysia, she brought me this vanilla Boh tea. What I love most about this souvenir beside the tea itself is the beautiful can. It's perfect for collector item. Well...tell you what I guess I have enough companion to welcome the long weekend!!!    

*The title is taken from a quote by Monty Python    

Keep Traveling & Do Yoga

Just returned from a three-day journey to Lombok. I went there with a big group of people, 27 yogis to be exact. We planned to explore Lombok and have a yoga practice with Kate Middleton (yes, the name is similar but she has nothing to do with Prince William :D) at Gili Yoga, the one and only place to practice yoga at Gili Trawangan. Although most of us still feel a bit traumatic (up until now) remembering the strong current on our 40-minute (but it seemed forever)-boat ride to Gili Trawangan but it's all paid off at the time we stepped on that heaven on earth. Its views, the surrounding and the athmosphere are just too good to be true. Such a picture perfect. 

Sitting there under the tree, enjoying coconut water and the calm breeze, accompanied by a good book or even just stayed still already changed my mood. The place is soooo not Indonesia. Local tourists are very limited therefore the cafe, the restaurant, the hotel, the facilities are designed not for Indonesian since most of their customers are expats. 

What I like most about this place is there is no pollution. Motorised transport is not allowed. If you want to explore the island, you must do it by foot, riding a bike or taking a pony cart known as cidomo. Since it's already too hot to walk, I finally chose cidomo to browse around the island. By paying IDR 150.000, we were taken around that exotic place. We stopped by to take some pictures at several beautiful resorts. The design and everything of those resorts are quite unique and  awesome. We ended the cidomo session with a super yummy gelato. There are many gelato outlest there and the look and the taste are both superb. One of the best getaway ever.