Holiday is Just Around the Corner

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.”     - Donald E. Westlake via Forbes

Woohooo..we will be away for two weeks. Enjoy your holiday everybody!!!!

Business As Unusual

Title: Business As Unusual
Author: Anita Roddick
Translator: Lily Yulianti Farid
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication date: October 2013
Pages: 343

Hidup tanpa memperjuangkan sesuatu, sama saja dengan hidup tanpa kehidupan.
(page 12)

Saya tidak pernah tertarik menjadi perusahaan ritel yang terbesar atau yang menghasilkan paling banyak keuntungan. Saya hanya ingin agar The Body Shop menjadi perusahaan terbaik, perusahaan yang paling menarik, perusahaan yang bisa menjalankan cara berbisnis yang berbeda. Inilah yang menjadi visi saya.
(page 334)

Kami percaya bahwa kekayaan bukanlah untuk ditumpuk, tapi harus disalurkan secara produktif dan bertanggungjawab. Makanya kami memutuskan untuk menyalurkan semua kekayaan kami melalui The Body Shop Foundation.
(page 340).

My feeling towards The Body Shop totally changed after I finished reading this autobiography. Never realize that Anita Roddick is such a true activist. Her story in establishing, managing, and developing The Body Shop is very much inspiring.

Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck (2013)

Director: Sunil Soraya
Producer: Ram Soraya, Sunil Soraya
Screen Writers: Donny Dhirgantoro, Imam Tantowi
Based on novel: Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck by HAMKA
Casts: Herjunot Ali, Pevita Pearce, Reza Rahadian

Romance is one of all time exciting topics, either in book or movie even in real life. Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah or known better as HAMKA had his own way in telling his love story just like in Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck (1938). As one of the best Indonesian writer for literature, Hamka not only wrote about ordinary romance, it's far more complex. His works were  always full of critiques to his own culture, Minang. 

After five years of preparation finally the movie Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck that was adapted from the novel is ready to be released. This classical theme of a tragic love story between Zainuddin (Herjunot Ali), an orphan who has a Minang father and a Bugis mother falls in love with Hayati (Pevita Pearce), a pure Minang girl. This love story of course will have many obstacles. Simple story actually but the execution of the movie is epic.
This quite long movie (2.45 mins) is beyond my expectation. Almost all aspects are amazing, look at the beautiful views of Makassar and Minangkabau, the extravagant suits, scarves and hats designed by Samuel Wattimena, the beautiful dialogs (many of them quoted exactly from the novel) and a stunning performance of Herjunot Ali who maintains his Makassar accent  as his dramatic posture throughout the movie showing his deep love, despair and hatred to Hayati, all of these are definitely touching.

All in all it's not a perfect movie though (the scene of the sinking ship reminds me of Titanic movie) nevertheless it's worth to watch.  We might not only learn about Indonesian literature but also show our appreciation to the movie maker team for their great hard work as well.          

A Week Wrap up

Exam is over, yayyyy...
It's the last week before we welcome the long holiday. Najla and Zea had a three-day-exams-only (I know their school is quite friendly in giving the exam, so far they don't even have a mid test). As usual my girls have their own style in preparing themselves for the exam. As a diligent student and also the big sister, Najla, reviewed her lesson religiously even without mama's supervision.On the other hand Zea was always ready with tons of excuses in avoiding this review session, it started from 'I am tired, mom' or 'I feel so sleepy' or 'I don't understand the topic' and many more while the real reason would be (my strong prediction) 'I am lazy, mom'. 

The next day after they finished their exam, Najla would came home and said 'I can do some of the questions while not sure about the others' whereas Zea would simply say 'It's ssoooooooo easy. Gampang banget'... okay let's wait for the result then babe. Their reports will be distributed this coming Tuesday, hope everything as good as Zea's positive response :)

Zea's new hair cut
On the last day of the exam I took the girls to eat out and enjoyed some milkshakes. Having a full tummy made me easier to persuade them to cut their hair. Usually they insist to have a long hair. I promise them that they can have a longer hair when they are able to take care themselves.

In commemorating mother's day, Najla's class held a special program called Super Camp with Daddy. The students collaborated with their daddy in making some accessories from beads, cooking fried noodle and some cakes, preparing the tents, presenting some performances and wrapping them up with a yummy lunch for the mothers. What a touching present for mothers. Thank you, dear!!! 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Black Swan
Published: March 01, 2013
paperback, 384 pages

Harold Fry is a 65-year-old man that having a sad and lonely life. After married for 47 years, Harold and his wife, Maureen feel that the relationship is getting bitter. They still live together but deep down inside they have never felt closed to each other anymore.  Moreover after their only son, David, committed suicide.

One day Harold received a letter from his old friend, Queenie Hennessy, who told him that she is dying of cancer and now at a hospital 627 miles away from Harold's home. Harold decides to reply the letter only but after having a short chat with an unnamed girl at the filling station who says, "if you have faith, you can do anything,"  he at last decides to have a walk the entire length of England in hope of keeping Queenie alive.  

This unprepared journey shakes Harold from his monotonous life. As he travels, he finds out all about the wonderful everyday things, such as there is fresh air and open sky outside his unhappy home and there is even lots of nice people along the way who voluntarily help him by giving a shelter or just a full support.

As he walks alone, he has lots of time to ponder. he begins to realize about his dead son and their bad relationship, his own mother who abandoned him, the sweetness of dying Queenie and also his cold marriage with his wife. The walk takes 87 days and covers 627 miles. Started as a private journey but later on it attracts the press and  several followers who consider themselves as  fellow pilgrims.

A simple story with a great effect. As the author, Rachel Joyce, said that this story was dedicated to her father who had spent years fighting a battle with cancer and finally could not make it. Some parts of Harold Fry character was after her father. That's the reason why she wrote a simple story about an ordinary man who keeps going. As she said in the acknowledgements of the book, " I wanted to write something life-affirming at the point when I was losing the person I most wanted to keep. I wanted to write something with my heart in it -- that would also makes him laugh."  


Director: Hanung Bramantyo
Writer: Ben Sihombing
Producer: Ram Punjabi
Casts: Ario Bayu, Lukman Sardi, Maudy Kusnaedy, Tika Bravari

If you think history is your cup of tea, or if you just want to know  about Indonesia's history, or if you would like to see how the condition during the Dutch and Japanese colonization, or if you are curious about how Republic of Indonesia established, or if you are eager to learn more about the story of Indonesia's founding fathers, or if you just need to watch a different genre of movie, I recommend you to go and watch this SOEKARNO's movie.

In spite of some protests from Soekarno's family about the movie but still it's worth to watch. I believed that the director and the writer have done such a detailed research before they screened this movie. I appreciate their works. I love the setting. And one special thing about this movie is all audiences will be asked to rise and sing Indonesia's anthem Indonesia Raya before the move start, we haven't done such thing for a very long time, have we? In fact I think this is the first time for me being so nationalist before watching a movie :))

To know more about this movie, check the link here 

A Sunday Breakfast

A cute sunny-side-up pudding, perfect for Sunday breakfast

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”
A.A. Milne 

The First Phone Call from Heaven

Author: Mitch Albom
Publisher: Sphere (1st ed. November 2013)
Pages: 312

You have to start over. That's what they say. But life is not a board game, and losing a loved one is never really "starting over." More like "continuing without."

Started with Tuesday with Morrie, Mitch Albom successfully captured my heart. I read all his books over and over and he always leaves me speechless with excellent ending. The First Phone Call from Heaven is Mitch's 6th book. This is  a kind of mystery/thriller book with unexpected twists and turns that keep things moving and make the readers too curious to stop the reading.

One morning in a small town of Coldwater, Michigan, the phones start ringing. The voices say they are calling from heaven. Does the greatest miracle happen? Or is it only some cruel hoax? As the news spreads, outsiders flock to Coldwater to be a part of it. Some are for it, others are against it. A quiet and peaceful small city turns into a crowded one, full of strangers.

As usual the author is very good in telling the details. Each character receiving a phone call and how they react are portrayed sympathetically. Moreover the description on how the town handling the effect, emotional and spiritual of these phone calls delivered vividly. Even the history of Alexander Graham Bell,  the inventor of the telephone is incorporated here. This Bell's story turns out to be very touching. A story about faith and love.

One of the best book to end 2013. It will keep the readers see life differently and appreciate those you love even more. Besides It might leave us thinking, feeling and even wondering, if only we have the chance to receive the phone call from heaven, who might it be?   

Sagarmatha (2013)

Director: Emil Heradi
Writer: Damas Cendekia
Producer: Abdul Manaf
Casts: Nadine Chandrawinata, Ranggani Puspandya

"..semua orang akhirnya akan sendirian."

Sagarmatha takes its name from Nepalese name for Mount Everest. Sagarmatha means "the Head in the Great Blue Sky". This Indonesia latest movie, Sagarmatha, is a road-movie about two best friends, Nadine Chandrawinata (Shilla) and Ranggani Puspandya (Kirana). They have been friends since their years back in college. They both have a dream to go backpacking to Nepal and India and climbing Mount Everest.

In Nepal and India these two best friends explore lots of things. Shilla's passion for writing and Kirana's love towards photography make a good combination until at last they decide to collaborate on a book project in order to document their trip. But also in this trip they both have their friendship tested. Either they both will make it or end it all here. The ending is quite twisted. In fact it changed my feeling towards the movie as a whole. Okay, no spoiler here :)  

I always love a road-trip movie. Some people will consider it is boring since the plot is usually a bit slow. But that's absolutely not a problem for me since I can spoil my eyes to see the beautiful trip along the way and enjoy the conversation. During a trip we might also identify a person real character. It all will show up. You can't hide it. No wonder if people say that having a perfect match for a trip is definitely not an easy thing.

What makes this movie special is of course the setting. India and Nepal are some exotic countries that having too many aspects to adore. Each place is just too good to be true. A picture perfect. Well...I guess this movie is worth to watch to welcome the weekend.

Anak-anak Revolusi

Author: Budiman Sudjatmiko
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication date: October 2013
Pages: 473

Berbagilah dengan orang lain yang kekurangan dan terancam kematian-kematian yang mengerikan, berbagilah dengan mereka bukan cuma makanan dan rumahmu, tapi juga lukisan-lukisan indah mimpimu. Tapi sebelum terlambat, jatuh cintalah jika memang di rasa perlu.

I heard Budiman Sudjatmiko's name during the chaos on July 27, 1996 tragedy. His name was on the newspapers, tv stations, everywhere. He and his party, Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD), were accused as the one behind the chaos and all the movement against the government. On April 28, 1997 he finally was sentenced for 13 years in jail.

This book is an intimate memoir that presented a heroic yet romantic story. Some people also consider this book as a 'white book' explaining about the condition during and post Soeharto's era from Budiman's perspective. 

Budiman started  the book with his  horrible childhood experience that kept haunting him for ages. It was a story about his grandpa's neighbor, Mbah Dimin, who committed suicide because feeling hopeless in paying his debt to cruel moneylenders. This moment really had a deep impact to little Budiman. As a boy who has intelligence beyond his age, he had many questions over everything. When he was only 12, he already thought about what kind of future that he must hold. He was still confused. He didn't know who to ask. 

"Aku juga tidak mau menanyakan ini kepada kedua orang tuaku. Bukan karena menyepelekan mereka, tapi paling-paling mereka anjurkan aku sekedar lulus sekolah dan jadi orang kaya yang baik-baik saja. Setelah itu, di ujung hidup kaya yang adem ayem itu aku diharapkan mati tenang karena sakit tua di sebuah ranjang rumah sakit mahal. Apa enaknya coba?"

See....his dangerous  ideas had already been there. Kicking his head. Never stopped. Until finally he realized that politics is his passion. He sticks to that until now. A truly inspiring life journey. Although it's about politics but do not worry this memoir is still easy to enjoy. Budiman's love story that was started during his detention was also one of interesting scene to spot. In fact I can't hardly wait for the sequel of the book (Budiman said in his twitter that it's still being edited) and found out the ending of the story. A must read. 

The Perks of being a Wallflower

Director/ Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky
Casts: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller

We don't get to choose where we came from, but we can choose where we go from here.

I have noticed The Perks of being a Wallflower as one of the best novel written by Stephen Chbosky in 1999. The novel was on the New York Times Bestseller list for over a year and published in 31 languages. Unfortunately I just didn't have time to read it (in fact it's still in my wish list to date).

The other day I found the DVD. I watched it and now so very much curious to get the novel. The movie is awesome therefore I can feel that the novel will be a lot more excellent. The author, Stephen Chbosky, also became the writer and director of the movie (a rare think for a novelist) therefore this adaptation was still made in accordance with the plot in the book.  

The story is narrated by a 15-year-old-boy, Charlie. He describes various life experiences through a series of letters to an anonymous stranger. Charlie is the 'wallflower' in the movie. He is intelligent beyond his years yet shy and unpopular. He then tells about his freshman year of high school in Pittsburg suburb during 90s. He finally makes friends with two seniors who introduce him with the 'real' world. The three of them will experiences the ups and downs of the teenage life and it's mostly hard. The movie reminds me of the old movie (but always be my all time favorite) Dead Poets Society, also about teenagers' life. I always feel good when I am around these young people (thank God my job now makes me being with them almost everyday). The way they enjoy life, handle with problem, manage their emotion, etc are always interesting. I've been there, done that but there's always something new to learn.

A highly recommended movie and also novel. One of the best.        

Random Excitement

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

--Dalai Lama

Today I have a quite hectic teaching schedule. I have to  teach four classes  at two different places from 8am until 7 pm. I know it's not a friendly timetable. Nevertheless I still found happiness sneaked around here and there.  

A Red-Velvet-in-a-jar
During my afternoon break, out of the blue some of my students gave me this cute-red-velvet-in-a-jar. They said it's a thank you souvenir since they have finished their study here and are ready to continue their study abroad. Thanks a lot guys and good luck with your study.

A yummy Kwetiauw Penang at Malay Village
While preparing for my third class at other place and thinking how to beat Jakarta's traffic, suddenly my hubby who just finished a meeting somewhere in Thamrin area offered to pick me up plus to have a yummy lunch together. How can I say no to such a heavenly offer? Thanks, Ayah. 

Arrived at my next teaching venue and found out that one of the teachers there, Ms. Sigit already prepared a special dishes which are roti jala and lamb curry for us. According to Ms. Sigit, the food was made to welcome Islamic New Year. Ms. Sigit is one of senior teacher here. She's 73 but no one will notify that since she's so healthy with a younger look and tons of activities. Cooking always be her things beside sewing. Yes, she's our role model. Hoping that I could be as strong as her while I am 73 later. Thank you for the food, Ibu. Having a full tummy really  made our day. Teaching seems extremely exciting today.Sorry no pic for these special dishes since we're so busy gobbled up everything, hahaha..

People say that happiness is simple. It's here, there and everywhere. It's just a matter of mindset.

Pasar Seni Jakarta

A tote bag never fails to catch my attention!
We finally got the opportunity to visit Pasar Seni Jakarta on its last day. This routine program usually was held in Bandung but this year the organizer, ITB Alumni made it at Parkir Timur Senayan from  November 3-5, 2013.  As an art market, this program is full of awesome art activities, i.e.  art performance, painting exhibition, several unique constructions, activities for kids, and also lots of booths that provide many different products, etc.But perhaps since this is the first time, it seemed  that the visitors were not so many. I don't know either it's lack of promotion or it's a long weekend for some people and they prefer to go out of town.  

A unique bamboo ship
It's a free canvas, anyone can draw anything here
Since we don't have this kind of special program very often in Jakarta therefore I am so eager to take my girls there. Najla as I expected was super excited. With great enthusiasm she tried everything such as painting, climbing in the bamboo construction, taking pictures with many characters, seeing a bit here and there back and forth. While Zea as a book freak, had some complaints such as, "why is it so hot here, mom?" or "can I buy some more drinks?", or "when will we go to the book fair?" Yes, there's also a book fair in Senayan area today.

Fortunately the high spirit of Najla that kept asking her sister to join her finally worked. It's true, enthusiasm is contagious. They both finally were having so much fun.

A five-minute-sketch
A five-minute-silhouette
Before we left home, Najla asked me to drop by at a silhouette booth, she's curious to have her own silhouette while Zea was excited to have a five-minute-sketch by a very talented painter from Ubud. We ended the day with Betawi cuisine such as kerak telor and  es selendang mayang plus a cup of ice cream Gentong and not to forget several bottles of plain water. Yep, we're quite thirsty down there. Nevertheless it's one of our best day ever. Looking forward for more events like this.   

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,'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. 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.      

The English Teacher (2013)

Director: Craig Zisk
Writer: Dan Charlton & Stacy Charlton
Casts: Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Michael Angarano

The English Teacher is a 2013 comedy movie. It's a story about Linda Sinclair (Moore), a forty-year-old unmarried english teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. Linda is a book   freak. She loves book since she was a little girl. While her friends busy playing basketball or doing sport, she would just sat there with her book. Even after she was in her college time instead of having a boy friend like her other friends did, she still there all alone accompanied by her book.

She is really into english literature. She is so caught up with the characters, the plot and the ending of the books she read therefore she already imagines her prince to be and it seems so difficult to get in the real life.  But that's fine with her. She enjoys her life. She is a passionate teacher and popular among her students. 

Linda also tries several time to have a date with many different characters of men but it never works. It's so funny when she describes her date, how she feels about the man will be simply told by a narrator. I think this narrator (Fiona Shaw) has a very important role in the movie since the comment are so very smart and funny. Since Linda is a teacher, she will judge the man such as  his attitude, his character, etc and finally she will give score, it could be a C or a D, haha..

Linda's simple life is changed when her former student Jason Sherwood (Angarano) returns to Kingston after failing to succeed as a playwright. Linda then convinces him to produce his play at school while Jason's father actually asks him to choose law school instead. 

This is a simple story but combined with original comedy, a touching drama, good plot that make the movie perfectly excellent. I enjoy it a lot. So many screens to laugh about since the script is quite smart and funny. 

The Jacatra Secret

Title: The Jacatra Secret
Author: Rizki Ridyasmara
Publisher: Penerbit Bentang
Publication Date: July 2013
Pages: 438

Batavia dibangun VOC menurut cetak biru Freemasonry Hindia Belanda. Kelompok persaudaraan okultis ini menyisipkan aneka simbol Masonik-nya di berbagai tata ruang kota, arsitektur gedung dan monumen, prasasti makam, dan lain-lain, yang masih bisa disaksikan hingga sekarang.

I got familiar with the terms Freemasonry, Kaballah, holy grail, secret society and the like when I finished reading Da Vinci Code, one of controversial book written by Dan Brown. Back to my school days then, I have already been into history, but learning about symbol is a new thing to me and I got to admit that it's interesting.

Reading this debut book of Rizki Ridyasmara brought back my memories of Da Vinci Code. I found several similarities such as: the characters, the theme, the plot etc but one thing that makes this book special is the setting. The author uses Jakarta as the setting completed with its historical buildings such as Monas, Fatahillah Museum, Bappenas Building, and also symbols, secret tunnel, and last but not least the shocking facts related to history of Indonesia. When I read this book, I feel like experiencing several scenes myself since all the setting used are familiar places such as Sarinah Thamrin, Istiqlal Mosque, Pasar Festival Kuningan, etc. We pass those roads many times. We know the building. Soon after we finish reading it, we will obtain a new insight about our country, Indonesia. It leaves us with several important things to ponder. Quite Interesting. If you like a fast-moving-thriller story, this book is the one.

The Jacatra Secret was once published independently in 2011. Soon it became a trending topic among people and very difficult to get. It's sold out every where. On July 2013 Penerbit Bentang published it and its sequel, the Blood Gold will be released soon. Can't hardly wait.    


Title: Murjangkung, Cinta yang Dungu dan Hantu-hantu
Author: A.S. Laksana
Publisher: GagasMedia, 2013
Pages: 214

I enjoy reading literature although sometimes after finishing the book I get more headache than enjoyment.. haha.. but still I read it once in a while to balance my reading experience.  A.S Laksana, the author of Murjangkung is one of my favorite among other literature authors.  I started to enjoy his works during 1990s when I still studied at my college and at that time De Tik Tabloid was considered as a mandatory read for almost all of the college students until it was revoked by General Soeharto regime together with Tempo magazine and Editor magazine on June 21, 1994.  I remember every time I got De Tik edition, I always read a column written by  A.S. Laksana first  before I continued with the headline news. I think I was kind of addicted with his  writing which is simple yet deep.

Murjangkung is A.S. Laksana's second short stories compilation after Bidadari yang Mengembara, the best literature in 2004 as stated by Tempo magazine. Murjangkung tells about 20 short stories. 20 differrent flavors of short stories that will take readers' mind somewhere, far far away, beyond our imagination. Read each story slowly, enjoy the strong characters, smart dialog, rich description and details and of course unpredictable endings. 

Although it's a literature but the author not using any poetic words that will make the reader tired or confused on the contrary he delivers the stories by using the power of storytelling. He uses complex yet clear sentences. Those power makes this book unputdownable. You just can't stop until it's finished.   

There's No Such Place Like School...

I always impatiently wait for Friday. It's the day when I have no class to teach. It's nothing but fun. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching but when you have a very tight teaching schedule from Monday till Thursday sometimes you just need to escape from all of them. Friday is just the right time. The day when I can not only take Najla and Zea to school but also to pick them up. And tell you what, my girls' school is one of the nicest place that I adore. It's not a modern-sophisticated building or something, in fact it's just an ordinary school  building with warm and homey feeling inside. The good parts are the kind-hearted teachers, the big fields, the green grass, the playgrounds with the swing, monkey bar, sliding, etc., the canteen with its simple but yummy food but what I love most is the big green trees, especially the rambutan trees during the harvest time, they look quite tempting.

I always enjoy my time sitting under rambutan trees (and pray one of two rambutan fall over me, haha) and feel the breeze on my body while waiting for Najla and Zea's school to end. Just before their mom falls asleep, the  girls will show up with a big smile and a bear hug, those simple things mean a lot for a mother. It means the world. Yes, mother is actually easy to please as long as you know how :))

Weekend, Crepes & Planes

Last weekend Najla asked us to take her watching Planes the movie. Realizing how crowded the movie theater during weekend is, my hubby and I finally chose Kemang Village with the hope that the place was still friendly enough even on Sunday afternoon. Our prediction was precise, there's no queuing in the movie theater, we still could choose the seats, one row for four persons.

Before the movie began, we browsed around the mall and found this Japanese crepes restaurant, Momi & Toy's. The place's cozy. The ambience's peaceful with Japanese simple style. The taste of the crepes and the beverages're also quite good. We enjoyed all, the food, the view, the design and everything. A perfect place for spending your lazy weekend.      

One of the Best Things in Life

Najla and Zea on the way to their classroom at school
My little sister and I have five years of age difference. Since the gap of age is too far therefore we didn't interact well. When I was in elementary school, she just the 2-year-old annoying little girl. All she could do were crying and  ruining my things. Therefore during my childhood I always envied my friends who had almost same age sisters. I thought it would be so much fun if we had friend to play with at home.  But the older we got the stronger relationship we had.  Especially when we already got married and had children. We always share everything, baby's stuffs, info about nannies, good pediatrician, and many more.

My girls, Najla and Zea only have less than two years of age difference, to be exact is 1 year and 10 months. They are inseparable. Especially now they share almost everything together. They never run out of topic to be discussed. They talk to each other everywhere, e.g. in the bedroom, in the bathroom, on the way to school, during piano lesson, etc. In fact they talk since they open their eyes in the morning until they go to bed. Gosh. Sometimes they get too involved in the conversation and it seems that they can't hear other people's talk. True they have their own world. 

Of course there's also some frictions between them, some fighting over certain disagreement but usually they make peace shortly. I don't know the reasons behind the fast settlement, either they don't have any friend at home if they keep fighting or perhaps they are afraid that mom will even get angrier to know about their fighting (yep, I might be a mean mother sometimes, haha). All in all I am grateful to see them grow up together and share many important moments. Sister is one of the best things in life.  

Surat Panjang tentang Jarak Kita yang Jutaan Tahun Cahaya

Author: Dewi Kharisma Michellia
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: June 2013
Pages: 240

Waktu terus bergerak, tetapi ujung usia kebanyakan manusia tak pernah melebihi dua ratus tahun--tak sampai menyentuh hitungan satu tahun cahaya. Tak peduli alat tercanggih dari negeri manapun yang kita gunakan untuk menempuh jarak itu, kau dan aku--dalam jarak sejauh itu--sudah barang tentu tak akan mungkin lagi bertemu secara fisik. Maka bila surat-suratku ini kelak diberikan judul, aku mungkin akan dengan jail menamainya "Surat Panjang tentang Jarak Kita yang Jutaan Tahun Cahaya".

I think unrequited love is one of the saddest  things in the world. Keep all your feeling inside with no likelihood of it being returned by the recipient, what could be more sorrowful than that? In this great book, the author, Dewi Kharisma Michellia delivered her story about a 40-year-old woman who lives all alone in her apartment and keeps dreaming about her one-sided love.  

The book is unique, it has a quite long title, the story's told using 37 letters written drown by a 40-year-old woman to Mr. Alien, her forever love, and there are  no name mentioned even for the lead characters. The letter is started at the time the 40-year-old woman receives a wedding invitation from Mr. Alien, his childhood friend. She is so shocked and thinks that her world turns upside down. But being a solitaire, she has no one to talk to therefore she finally decides to deliver her feeling through her regular letters. By reading the letter, we will find out about the woman's life, her unhappy childhood, her emptiness, her cynics through life, and the like.

I salute the writer's deep research and how she maintained to write the letter little by little until we finally enter the life of the lead character, trapped in there and instead out trying to find a way out, we get too curious to know the ending. How interesting. No wonder if the book is acclaimed as the finalist of novel writing competition hold by Dewan Kesenian Jakarta 2012, she delivers new thing to literature with her writing style, choice of words, diction and many more. I can't get this story out of my mind. It just likes a horror movie that keeps haunting me for several days. I feel so involved with what happens to the lead character there. Only a good author might do such thing. Highly recommended book. Worth to read. 

Ken & Kaskus

Title: Ken & Kaskus, Cerita Sukses di Usia Muda
Author: Alberthiene Endah
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: June 2013
Pages: 301

Are you familiar with the term Agan, Aganwati, Pertamax, or Mimin? Yes, those are some words that mostly used by kaskuser, members of kaskus, the largest Indonesian community. Started in 1999 in Seattle, US by Andrew Darwis. At first Kaskus  was just Andrew's school assignment and now it turns out to be a giant community with high creativity and powerful sense of belonging among the members.

Rome was not built within a day. It also happens for Kaskus. This book will tell about the struggle of two young men who believe in their intuition  and have courage to pursue their dreams. Narrated from Ken Dean Lawadinata's point of view, one of the person behind Kaskus, we will experience one of a very inspiring memoirs. We will learn from their failure, their fear, their argument, their confidence, and the like. How they scratched from nothing and finally in 2011 Global Digital Ventra, a subsidiary of Djarum, agreed to have big investment in Kaskus. And how they at last can have their dream office at Menara Palma, Kuningan, Jakarta. One of the unique and very comfortable offices ever.  

There are lots of thing to learn from Ken's life, how he turned himself from a very critical student at school and often got many problems with the teachers and now becoming one of the youngest  CEOs. Other thing to note is how decisive he was in deciding to leave his study in Seattle and followed his passion in developing Kaskus. I also salute Ken's parents for their trust upon their son even the father lent a big amount of money to Ken so he could invest in Kaskus.

Now Kaskus is becoming an epic. It has 6 millions members, high traffic with  30 millions visits each day. Such a wow...A very recommended book. Inspiring.   

Jobs the Movie

via YouTube
Jobs  is a 2013 American biographical drama film based on the life of Steve Jobs. Ashton Kutcher plays as Steve Jobs. In preparation for his lead role, Kutcher followed a fruitarian diet similar to the reported diet of Steve Jobs. The diet caused Kutcher to land in the hospital with abnormal pancreatic levels just before shooting began. This diet also one of the causes of Jobs' death as I read in his biography

When will this movie play in Indonesia? Can't hardly wait.....

Holiday Reading

Still on holiday mood, instead of getting headache looking at messy home, mountainous dirty laundry, high cholesterol, more weight, thinner wallet, etc, haha...common problems post Eid holiday, I tried to concentrate on reading. I finished these three local books, all are awesome, I really had good time with them. The memoir of the great one, Ken Lawadinata (big boss of Kaskus), a very touching novel with a very long title Surat Panjang Tentang Jarak Kita Yang Jutaan Tahun Cahaya written beatifully by Dewi Kharisma Michellia and the last one is a short stories collection of A.S. Laksana, one of the best Indonesia writers, Murjangkung, cinta yang dungu dan hantu-hantu.

I decided to put aside Dan Brown's latest work Inferno during this holiday since the book is so thick and heavy, definitely not a friendly book to be with. Not sure when I will finish this Inferno. Hopefully still this year since I am always easily distracted by new books and forget about the old ones:))

Eid Mubarak 1434 H

To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return you will receive untold peace and happiness.
 --Robert Muller
Tons of dirty laundry (since our domestic helper is on leave for two weeks) and several jars of signature cookies mark the coming of Idul Fitri. Finally, the victory day is just around the corner. It's time to join the annual exodus, the mudikers. We'll be away for a moment, leaving a quiet Jakarta. Have a blessed Idul Fitri everyone!