Weekend Project with Clay & Good Food

Najla just got a new school assignment. This time she must find an interesting place to visit nearby her house and with the help of parents, she must videotape the place and prepare the narration of the place. She asked me what the the best place could be. I offered her two options, either UI or Rumah Keramik F. Widayanto. She chose the last one. Thus last weekend, we visited this awesome place, Rumah F. Widayanto at Tanah Baru, Depok.

This was our second visit. I had taken the girls here on their school holidays couple years ago. Last Saturday, we arrived there around noon, the place was quite and peaceful, as always. My hubby started to videotape Najla's activities.  She showed several awesome places such as the main house where F. Widayanto stays on weekend, it's called Rumah Keramik, the Souvenir Shop, Rumah Kayu for guests house, the restaurant and the final destination was the workshop where you can create everything you want with the clay. 

An assistant will help you working with the clay. The breeze and the peaceful ambience will definitely embrace us. Our Rp 10.000,- entry ticket can be exchanged with a glass of fresh cold tea plus a yummy fried banana which will be delivered to accompany us during our clay making. It's just perfect.

Finished with the clay, the girls said they're hungry. We headed to the restaurant. They provide many tempting traditional food and drinks. The girls chose fried rice and mango ice while my hubby and I felt a bit full therefore we just chose light meal such as: serabi, fried cassava, fried banana (again!!! Tell you what the banana is super yummy) and rujak pengantin (kok banyak? katanya ga laper?). The project's done with a happy heart and a full tummy. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Producers: Juliet Blake, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey
Casts: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
Based on the novel by: Richard C. Morais

A food theme for either a book or a movie will always be interesting. Just like The Hundred-Foot Journey the movie. A story about a feud between two restaurants in a French town, one id operated by a recently relocated Indian family and the other is a French restaurant run by Madam Mallory. 

Kadam Family runs a restaurant in Mumbai, India. One night a mob attacks and firebombs the restaurant over an election dispute. Their mother is killed. The Father and his children seek for asylum in Europe. First they settle in London but it doesn't run well. They decide to depart to other European countries and finally arrive  in one of the beautiful villages in France.

Father buys an old restaurant then renovating, refurnishing and setting it into an Indian restaurant. This restaurant is located across a French restaurant run by Madame Mallory. They finally involve in a serious competition in getting the customers and introducing their food business. The dispute is getting more and more serious until it goes too far.

Delivered in a witty yet awesome way. You will love the movie. Don't forget to have some snacks while watching the movie because the movie offers several tempting recipes which might cause you hungry, lol. I haven't read the book yet. Since the movie is excellent, I am sure the book will be double awesome.  

One Hundred Names

Title: One Hundred Names
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Translator: Nurkinanti Laraskusuma
Publisher: Gramedia, 2014
464 pages

Kitty Logan is a journalist. She dreams to become the best one but turns out to ruin her life upside down. On one of her hard times, her new boss, Pete, asks her to write a final story prepared but can't be finished by her late boss, Constance. Constance has a terminal ill and finally passes away. 

Kitty realises that this is a very important project for her boss and her career as well. Unfortunately, it's not an easy thing to do. Kitty only has one information related to a list of one hundred 'unknown' names written down by the late Constance. Without any additional info. Kitty has two weeks to accomplish this project while she knows no one on the one hundred names list.

She tries her best to solve the mystery. She makes contact with several names. She meets them. Write their stories and try to find the connection among these one hundred names. Each character she meets just makes her more confused still she needs to solve this using her journalistic skills.

This is Cecelia Ahern's first novel that I read. I though she only writes romance stories. I bought this book because I was hooked by the synopsis at the back of the book and I think I made the right decision since this book is a gentle and heartwarming story. It's not only entertaining but also inspiring. At the end of the story you will understand why the book tagline is every heart has a story to tell.  

The Piano Concert

"I am so nervous", said Zea
At the back stage, waiting for their turn: nothing but nervous
Last Sunday my girls, Najla and Zea, had a piano concert at one of the shopping malls in Jakarta. This is the first concert for them. They greeted the concert with a mixed feeling. Excited yet nervous on the other side. But the show must go on. Even their mom also felt some butterflies were dancing on her stomach.

The Performance

I realize that my girls are not competitive-type. They are not interested to join any competitions. Particularly our little baby, Zea. Her school teacher once told me that everytime her classmates scream to get their turn for any stuffs  in the class, Zea just sits calmly in her seat ignoring the chaos around her. I also notice that Zea almost always the last student that leaves her class room. I asked her, "why do some of your classmates always come out of the class early?" Zea said, "usually teacher asks some questions and the one who can answer it may leave the class first." I was curious and predicted it might be Zea didn't know the answer. To my surprise Zea said, "I know the answer Mom, I am just too lazy to compete with others. Let just they go home earlier."   

The Ending: Happy Faces
Back to the piano concert. I know my girls therefore my reason to register them for the concert is I am an ambitious mother only to make them gain their confidence. Sometimes I found that both of them are a bit shy to new people. They both too involve to each other. They both have their own world thus at the time they are outside their world they feel awkward.  I think performing in front of lots of unknown people in a big mall is quite something. They're nervous at the beginning but they 're enjoying the moment. One of the best moments was when they got the trophy, the certificate and the lunch voucher (it's not a competition so all participants got them). They smile from ear to ear. I know those happy faces. Way to go, girls!!!

Simple Miracles

Title: Simple Miracles Doa dan Arwah
Author: Ayu Utami
Publisher: Gramedia, 2014
177 pages

This is the first book in Seri Spiritualisme Kritis written by Ayu Utami. If you love Trilogi Si Parasit Lajang--Cerita Cinta Enrico--Pengakuan Eks Parasit Lajang, you will enjoy this one as well since all stories based on author's true story. 

This book is actually made to commemorate the 40th day of the author's mother death but she finally finished it on the 100th day of her mother's death instead. The central story of this book is about author's mother. Look at the first sentence in chapter one: Hal yang paling menakutkanku adalah ibu mati. Yes, author describes her beloved mother in details thus we can feel how close they were and how warm and affectionate her mother was. 

As stated in the title, this book delivers the idea on prayers and spirits. Author introduces us to her nephew that has sixth sense to see something that other people can't see. In her witty way, author also tells about her sick father, her fat aunty and skinny aunty who like to tell about 'unreliable' ghost stories, and  her bother and sisters who like to 'bully' her since she's the youngest in the family therefore although the topic is quite serious but the story is delivered in such a fun way. Instead of feeling scared, you will even smile for several parts of the story.

If you need a simple yet interesting book to read, I guess this one will work well to accompany you on weekend.  

Humans of Kabul

The idea of taking pictures and asking simple questions to random people is genius. We usually end up touched and inspired by the person's spontaneous answer. Already in love with this Humans of New York and now to complete my obsession about Afghanistan, I found this Humans of Kabul on Facebook. Click the link and enjoy the life in Kabul, Afghanistan.

via Youtube

Happiness is not elsewhere. It's in your heart. Even in a conflict area like Kabul, you can feel it. Look at those happy faces.  

Penjahit dari Khair Khana

Title: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Translator: Fahmy Yamani
Publisher: Gramedia, 2013
262 pages

Afghanistan always attracts my attention. I read quite a lot of books about this country. Some of them are really capturing my heart such as a story on education in Afghanistan as written by Greg Mortenson in Three Cups of Tea, Kite Runner by Khaled Hoseini  or Agustinus Wibowo in his touching traveling stories Selimut Debu. This latest book written by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is also based on true story in Afghanistan. The story about women who risked everything to keep them survived.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a story about Kamila Sidiqi, a former teacher who tries to find useful activities for Afghanistan women during Taliban era. Story begins in 1996, the day Taliban first arrived in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Taliban applies a strict sharia law of Islam. The women are isolated from society. They are not able to go to work nor to school. They even can't leave home without a male relative or mahram.
Love the cover from HarperCollins
In this stressful period, Kamila and her sister are struggling as well on how to survive. Kamila can't teach anymore. She thinks hard until finally decides to learn how to sew. She becomes a master of dressmaking that makes the business growing well. She even can employ nearly 100 of her friends and neighbors. It's absolutely not an easy thing to do since she must be very careful not to get caught by Taliban. Kamila has made a big change to the lives of  the women in her society. They become independent by having their own income to support the family. Moreover Kamila has brought hope to the lives of dozen of women in war-torn Kabul. Very inspriring and heartwarming story.

The author, Gayle, was former ABC journalist. In 2005, she traveled to Afghanistan as a part of a case study she was completed for her MBA at Harvard University. She's studying women entrepeneur in conflict areas all around the world such as Bosnia and Rwanda. For this book, she did the interviews and research for three years in Kabul, London and Washington D.C. This book is in New York Times bestseller and currently ranked in Amazon.com's Top 100 bestseller list. 

Home Sweet Anywhere

Title: Home Sweet Anywhere
Author: Lynne Martin
Translator: Endang Sulistyowati
Publisher: PT Pustaka Alvabet
September 2014
456 pages

Lynne, 73, and Tim Martin, 68, are ready for their retirement but instead of living in a cozy house in California surrounded by children, grandchildren and best friends, they chose to sell their house and see the world. They don't want to become a tourist but they want to stay in one place for at least one month to live, think and mingle as locals. Since 2010 they  have been reporting their journey on their popular blog HomeFreeAdventure where they share the rules of living 'home free'.  Lynne retired for a career in Public Relation while Tim retired from his job running a small electronic firm.

They decided to become a full-time traveller and live in the apartment for a month or so in different countries. They began their journey in Mexico where a friend agreed to lend them his apartment for free. A month later, they stayed in Buenos Aires for six weeks. They're back to US for a while to celebrate Thanksgiving and then flew to Florida and took a one-way cruise to Europe where they spent seven months hopping around France, Italy, England, Ireland and Portugal. 

Sickness must be one of the hardest issues for them thus they use Skype and FaceTime all the time. They also took computer classes before they started travelling to know how to manage their new Apple computer  and stay in touch with their family and friend.

A very interesting retirement story. Inspiring us to live a healthy life and do a great saving and finally enjoy a great life in lots of different places in the world.  

Still Alice

Good morning. It's an honor to be here. The poet Elizabeth Bishoponce wrote: 'the Art of Losing isn't hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.' I'm not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer's, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day. Losing my bearings, losing objects, losing sleep, but mostly losing memories  
--Still Alice the movie.

A movie  that teaches me to treasure my memory and in short to be grateful for everything God gives us. I was very much touched when Alice (Julianne Moore) said that she prefers to have cancer than Alzheimer because it seems  people pay attention more on them by wearing pink ribbon and show their sympathy and most important think you still remember your life.

Find more on Still Alice the movie here

Harvest Time

Cococnut tree at our front yard having its neverending fruits
Rainy season is coming. Rain everyday. Day and night. Welcoming Chinese New Year on February 19 and also (the best part) is the harvest time. Although I don't have a big yard at home but I try to plant some fruit trees at our side and front yard. Now our fruit trees are ready to bloom and some others are having their harvest time. So far I check almost all of our fruit trees such as  rambutan, mangosteen, lengkeng, and coconut are ready to serve their fruits  unless our jambu and sarikaya trees, they still have nothing but the leaves (sigh). I am still thinking to change this sarikaya tree with others since it never has any fruits since the beginning.

Lengkeng fruit is here!!!
The mangosteen are still green but many of my neighbors can't wait to get it
Well...harvest time not only hits our yard. Yesterday I picked up the girls from their school and since their school is surrounded by a huge garden thus it has lots of different trees (you name it) and I noticed that the fruit trees there are having their harvest time as well. 

Rambutan season is coming...
Cempedak tree at the girls' school. You can feel its good smell everywhere
The best part about having the harvest time is not eating the fruits but more on the moment when we pick the them. It's just epic. Now we're waiting for the rain to stop then we can get ready to pick all those fresh fruits.