16 September 2013

Korban Gagal Move On

Sudah lebih dari 1 bulan semenjak saya mengunggah tulisan saya lagi di Facebook dan blog, atas dukungan Ega. Dan sudah lebih dari 1 bulan juga saya absen nulis. Well, janji tinggallah janji.

Tapi lebih baik terlambat daripada tidak sama sekali, right? Daripada kita off topic, mendingan saya ceritakan alasan saya tiba-tiba menghilang dr dunia socmed. Well, bukan menghilang, tp lay low. Tp ada temen yang sampek nyangka saya deactivate account gara-gara jarang eksis.

Sejak sebelum lebaran, saya diminta boss untuk bantuin mengecek budget marketing untuk tahun depan. Well, how hard can it be? Boss bilang saya disuruh ngecek semua angka match up dan itung2annya bener. Ok sip!

Ternyata job description 'membantu' itu sangat ambigu, sodara-sodara. Yang ada, saya ikut mengerjakan budget itu dan semua teori akuntansi yang pernah saya pelajari dalam hidup, harus dikeluarkan.

Sayangnya, saya hampir tidak pernah belajar akuntansi. Waktu SMA, saya selalu bolos atau bahasa kerennya dulu 'escape' pas kelas akuntansi! Entah alasan sakit, latihan paduan suara, meeting OSIS, atau apapun! Kalau ulangan, well saya hanya mengandalkan teman sebangku :p yes, guilty!

Waktu kuliah, saya sudah yakin benar bahwa di jurusan pilihan saya tidak ada pelajaran akuntansi. Yeah right, memang ngga ada akuntansi, tapi ada Business Economics, yang sama aja isinya. Tapi pas kuliah ada teman yang sangat baik yang ngebantuin saya ngerjain tugas Business Economics menganalisa 3 annual reports. I passed dengan nilai pas-pasan.

Lega. Dan saya berjanji tidak akan bertemu akuntansi lagi. Sampai bulan lalu. Seperti mantan yang gagal move on, akuntansi ini muncul lagi dalam hidupku. Sudah 1 bulan ini saya tidak tidur nyenyak, makan juga tak enak, dan kadang bisa stress. Gejalanya kayak orang jatuh cinta, but trust me, I am not falling in love with Accounting just yet.

So, what did I learn from this lesson?
1. Bila diminta untuk membantu, minta penjelasan detail apa job des Anda sebagai seorang 'pembantu'.
2. Buat yg masih kuliah/sekolah, bolos itu sangat tidak terpuji, apalagi kalo bolosnya ngga cuma sekali. Make sure kalo bolos jangan bareng-bareng 10 temen sekelas yang duduknya berdekatan (this will be discussed in another story)
3. Mencontek dan menyuruh orang lain mengerjakan tugas itu juga tidak terpuji, apalagi memanfaatkan cowok yg lagi PDKT untuk membantu mengerjakan tugas. Yeah I know, guilty!

The morale of this story adalah masalah sulit janganlah dihindari, tapi dihadapi. Jangan move on dari masalah sulit. Move on-nya dari mantan aja yah!

15 August 2013

Transition: Meet the Parents



In life, change is inevitable.

Kadang perubahan itu adalah sesuatu yang baik, tapi kadang kita berubah menjadi lebih negatif. Namun baik buruknya sebuah perubahan, itu sangat tergantung standard apa yang digunakan.

Perantauan saya ke negeri kincir angin membawa banyak sekali perubahan. Dalam hal kedisiplinan, pola pikir, makanan, gaya hidup, dan masih banyak lagi. Kadang perubahan ini bisa dinilai oleh 'orang timur' seperti Indonesia, sebagai suatu hal yang buruk.

Contohnya beberapa tahun lalu, setelah beberapa tahun tidak pulang kampung, saya pulang ke Indonesia. Hari Minggu, saya ikut ke gereja bersama kedua orang tua saya.

Selama di Belanda, saya ke sebuah gereja presbyterian yang open pada semua jenis kalangan dari latar belakang apapun. Sangat santai. Bahkan di musim panas, pendetanya pun akan berkhotbah dengan menggunakan polo shirt, celana pendek, dan sandal jepit. Worship leadernya bertato dan rambutnya gondrong!

So, kira-kira bisa bayangin kan, waktu saya di Indonesia lagi, diajak ke gereja di hari minggu pagi yang panas, saya pakai baju apa? Kalau Anda menebak saya pakai kaos tanpa lengan, celana pendek dan sandal jepit, yak, tebakan Anda benar!!

Of course mama saya freaked out, kaget anaknya berpakaian sangat minim dan sangat tidak sopan untuk ke gereja. Fyi, di Surabaya, gereja keluarga saya adalah gereja yang cenderung lebih formal.

Perubahan yang lain adalah kebebasan. Selama di Belanda, saya tinggal di sebuah apartemen dengan teman-teman dari Indonesia. Kalau saya mau pulang malam, atau bahkan tidak pulang pun, tidak akan ada yang nanyain. Paling-paling housemate saya kalo lagi iseng akan tanya, itupun kalau dia lagi di rumah.

Bayangkan kalau harus tinggal kembali bersama orang tua. Ada kejadian lucu lagi di tahun yang sama ketika saya pakai baju super santai ke gereja. Waktu itu saya masih pacaran sama Stefy, tapi sudah umur 21 gitu deh. Saya pergi ke mall, dan jam 10 malam, ada telpon masuk ke HP:

Mama: Kamu dimana?
Nia: Di mall.
Mama: Lho, kok belum pulang? Sama siapa?
Nia: *shock*
Mama: Sama siapa kamu? Dan jam berapa rencana pulang? Ini sudah malam lho!!
Nia: *shock sampai ngga bisa ngomomg*

Untung mama saya gaul, saya akhirnya bilang sama mama saya, kalau saya ini bukan anak SMA lagi. Mama sudah 'rela' dan percaya melepaskan saya di luar negeri selama 4 tahun. Masak pergi ke mall di Surabaya dan jam 10 malam belum pulang sudah ditanyain?

Menurut saya, the biggest shock buat kita yang pulang balik ke negeri sendiri setelah merantau adalah kehadiran orang tua dalam kehidupan kita.

Memang ada enaknya, ada yang masakin, ada yang bayarin (ngga perlu makan doner kebab tiap hari kalau lagi ngga punya duit!), ada yang care sama kita. Tapi ada juga sisi yang kurang enak. Kita mungkin akan merasa lebih dikontrol, kita merasa tidak bebas, dan adanya aturan-aturan rumah yang harus kita taati lagi.

Satu hal yang saya pelajari dari hal ini. Bukan hanya kita yang tidak biasa dengan kehadiran orang tua. Orang tua pun pasti merasa tidak biasa anaknya muncul lagi.

Kadang orang tua kita lupa bahwa kita sudah beberapa tahun pergi dari rumah. Ketika kita kembali, mereka memperlakukan kita dengan tetap memakai standard yang sama. Saya pergi ke Belanda waktu lulus SMA, empat tahun kemudian, saya kembali ke rumah, dan orang tua saya memperlakukan saya dengan cara yang sama seperti waktu saya masih SMA.

Jadi be kind to your parents ya.
Kalau emang udah ngga tahan tinggal di rumah bareng orang tua lagi, buruan nikah dan tinggal di rumah sendiri! HAHA. Eh tapi saya nikah beneran karena cinta kok, bukan karena pengen keluar dari rumah :)

Bagaimana dengan teman-teman perantauan yang sekarang kembali ke Indonesia? Any similarities?

12 August 2013

Transition: Stock Sinar Matahari

Setelah lebih dari 8 tahun hidup merantau di negeri orang, pulang ke rumah, ke negeri dimana saya dilahirkan, bukanlah hal yang mudah.

Benar, saya bicara bahasanya, saya mengerti budayanya, saya memiliki keluarga dan teman-teman di Indonesia, tetapi sedikit banyak saya mengalami tantangan untuk kembali menjadi seorang warga negara Indonesia. 

Beberapa postingan selanjutnya akan saya isi dengan cerita-cerita menarik, kadang lucu, kadang menyebalkan, tentang pengalaman saya kembali ke Surabaya, setelah hidup 8 tahun di Belanda.

Saya akan awali transition the series dengan cerita tentang kesukaan saya dengan matahari. At least, selama saya hidup di Belanda.

Belanda adalah negara dengan 4 musim, dengan jumlah musim panas paling sedikit dibanding musim-musim lainnya. Di musim panas pun, hujan, badai dan hujan es pun bisa terjadi. Suhu bisa panas banget sampai 38C dan bisa dingin sampai 15C.

So, kalo melihat matahari dan langit yang biru, semua orang Belanda, plus orang Indonesia yang kayak saya akan cepat-cepat ke pantai atau ke taman, atau at least keluar dari rumah untuk berjemur. 

Tempat favorit saya adalah balkon apartemen saya. Saya akan duduk  di sana, di bawah sinar matahari berjam-jam sambil membaca buku atau mendengarkan musik dan menikmati segelas ice cappuccino.

Saya pengen kulit saya terlihat sedikit coklat,  karena begitu musim panas berlalu, kulit saya akan jarang ketemu matahari. 

Begitu sampai di Surabaya, kota dimana stock sinar matahari melimpah ruah, harusnya saya merasa 'at home'. Tapi ternyata, saya malah lari ketakutan kalau ketemu matahari Surabaya!

Well, saya masih cinta matahari, tapi tidak untuk berjemur. Saya berusaha menghindari panasnya matahari Surabaya. Tapi saya tidak berlari-lari ke mobil begitu keluar dari pertokoan, saya juga tidak suka memakai produk pemutih, dan saya masih suka berjemur sesekali (walaupun sampai saat ini belum kesampaian untuk ke Bali lagi setelah 5 tahun absen).

Jadiii, sekarang tahu kan kenapa bule kalau ke Indonesia suka banget berjemur, bahkan di siang hari bolong?! Ya karena negara mereka kekurangan stock sinar matahari.

11 August 2013

Ramuan Penangkal Flu

Health is a choice. Learn how to choose it.

Hari ini saya akan sedikit sok menjadi ahli kesehatan. 

Kemarin saya ngobrol di Line dengan food blogger and photographer dari Surabaya, Jie, yang ternyata lagi ngga enak badan. Flu-ish alias deman-demam kayak mau flu gitu.

Saya kasih beberapa resep "ramuan-ramuan" andalan keluarga saya, yang sudah diuji keampuhannya. Dan ternyata, Jie belum pernah dengar tips ini sebelumnya.

Keluarga saya adalah keluarga yang tidak suka minum obat. Kalau sakit, obatnya tidur, minum air putih yang banyak, dan membuat ramuan penangkal flu ini. 

Buat kalian yang lagi flu atau merasa ngga enak badan, mungkin bisa dicoba resep ramuan-ramuan berikut ini:

1. Jahe coklat
Minuman ini sangat ampuh untuk yang lagi pilek, demam, atau masuk angin. Di Jawa Tengah, khususnya di Salatiga, wedang jahe coklat ini adalah minuman wajib di warung-warung pinggir jalan. Yang lebih menarik, minuman ini mirip dengan minuman dari Spanyol/Mexico, chocolate and red pepper. Fungsinya sama, untuk menyembuhkan flu dan demam. 

Resep:
Versi original: kupas dan keprek jahe muda, masak dengan air matang sampai airnya menyusut. Tambahkan gula jika perlu. Saring dan tambahkan coklat bubuk cacao (yang biasanya buat bikin kue). Aduk dan nikmati.

Versi instan tapi mantep: jahe wangi instan + geprekan jahe muda + coklat bubuk cacao

Versi super instan tapi kurang ampuh: jahe wangi instan + coklat bubuk instan (yang paling cocok Hot Cacao Delfi)

2. Lemon dan madu
Lemon adalah obat flu yg mujarab juga. Minuman ini cocok untuk penderita flu dan batuk, karena jahe kurang cocok untuk penderita batuk. Jahe cenderung bikin tenggorokan gatal. Ketika saya di Eropa, hampir semua obat flu andalan ketika sakit flu sabya tidak kunjung sembuh, mengandung lemon. Resepnya, perasan air lemon, air hangat dan madu. 

3. Garlic and black pepper
Bawang putih dan merica hitam adalah antibiotik alami. Temen mama saya, orang India, kalau flu dia akan makan merica hitam. Yup, biji merica hitam akan dikunyah-kunyah.Saya alirannya masih lebih normal. Kalau flu, selain jahe coklat atau lemon madu, saya akan membuat sop ayam atau makanan berkuah lainnya dengan menambahkan bawang putih dan merica hitam yang banyak! 

Bahan-bahan di atas ini juga punya manfaat lain, seperti jahe yang juga baik untuk mengurangi sakit perut, madu untuk panas dalam dan sakit tenggorokan, lemon untuk menghilangkan sakit maag, dan coklat untuk dimakan ketika sedang galau atau sedih :)

Buat yang lagi flu, monggo langsung dicoba. Semoga berguna. 

Buat yang lagi flu dan suka tantangan, coba resep obat flu alami, resep dari teman saya orang Polandia: susu, madu, jahe, dan bawang putih. Sampai saat ini saya masih belum berani nyobain. Ngga bisa bayangin minum susu rasa bawang putih. 

10 August 2013

Breakfast in Bed a la Hollywood

Thanks banget buat respon kalian semua atas tulisan saya kemarin. Ngga nyangka, masih ada pembaca setia dari blog-blog saya sebelumnya! Dan ternyata benar Ega lho, menulis itu nagih. Tadi pagi saya sudah langsung mikir, kira-kira malam ini nulis apa yaaa.

Speaking of tadi pagi, tadi pagi saya mendapat kejutan istimewa! Begitu saya melek mata, ada yang masuk bawa secangkir kopi, roti mantau, corned beef dan omelet. Seperti adegan film hollywood gitu. Well, kalau di adegan-adegan film Hollywood, biasanya ceweknya yang masuk ke kamar membawakan breakfast in bed. Hehe, kali ini suami saya. Harap maklum.

Selama 13 tahun bersama, ini kali pertama saya diperlakukan seperti ini! Bahkan di hari valentine, atau hari anniversary jadian di bulan Maret kemarin, tidak ada hal romantis apapun yang dilakukan Stefy.

Di tengah usaha saya untuk bangun dari dunia mimpi, pelan-pelan saya berpikir, hari apakah ini? Dalam rangka apa saya dijamu breakfast in bed. Hari ini tanggal 10 Agustus. Hari Sabtu. Tidak ada yang spesial.

Sesaat sebelum saya menyuapkan mantau polos yang masih panas ke dalam mulut saya, saya memandang Stefy dan bertanya "wah, dalam rangka apa ini?" Saya tidak bisa menyembunyikan rasa penasaran.

"Ngga ada kok. Yuk dimakan!" Cuma begitu jawabnya.

Saya kunyah-kunyah mantau putih, lalu dengan garpu, saya masukkan corned beef ke dalam mulut. Masih bingung.

Secangkir kopi yang mengepul-ngepul saya raih dari meja di sebelah ranjang kami. Saya minum beberapa teguk, berusaha untuk make sense of everything.

"Beneran nih ngga ada apa-apa?" Saya bertanya dengan nada bercanda, padahal sebenarnya saya masih sangat penasaran.

Pikiran saya melayang pada adegan-adegan film Hollywood yang menyajikan cerita-cerita yang alurnya antara lain seperti ini: seorang pria akan melakukan hal yang manis dan romantis pada pasangannya karena: 1. dia telah melakukan kesalahan besar sebelumnya, dan setelah melakukan hal yang manis, dia berencana untuk mengaku dosa dan meminta maaf; atau karena 2. dia ingin meminta sesuatu pada sang pasangan, misalnya ada adegan dimana sang aktor ingin mengatakan bahwa mama sang aktor akan berkunjung dan menginap, padahal sang aktor tahu istrinya tidak suka dengan si mama mertua.

Selama beberapa menit, saya mencoba menganalisa, kira-kira kesalahan apa yang telah Stefy lakukan, atau apa yang ingin Stefy minta.

Lima menit. Sepuluh menit. Satu jam. Lima jam. Dan sekarang sudah hampir 15 jam yang lalu. Tidak ada yang aneh. Tidak ada perminta maafan. Tidak ada pengakuan dosa. Tidak ada permohonan. Semuanya normal.

Ternyata tadi pagi hanyalah sebuah breakfast in bed yang tulus. Titik. Tidak ada motif apapun.

Dengan ini, saya ingin mengajukan request kepada Bapak Stefy, kalau bisa breakfast in bed ini dijadikan sebuah kegiatan rutin dalam rumah tangga kita. Dengan pembagian tugas yang sama seperti tadi pagi. Terima kasih.

9 August 2013

Apakah mimpimu masuk akal?

Sudah lama saya ‘mati suri’ dalam dunia menulis. Bagi penggemar setia blog saya, dulu mulai SMA, kuliah, dan waktu masih kerja di Indonesia, pasti rajin memaja blog Free Prayer atau Cerita Si Oma. Mulai dari curhatan anak SMA tentang cinta, persahabatan, sampai merambah dunia politik, ekonomi dan masalah-masalah sosial dan agama.

Dulu saya rajin menulis. Setiap kejadian, setiap perasaan, pasti ingin dituangkan dalam sebuah tulisan. Suami saya dulu juga sering dapat kiriman-kiriman puisi dari saya. Beberapa saat lalu dia tiba-tiba nyeletuk “kamu kok sudah ngga pernah nulis puisi lagi?”

Hari ini, di hari terakhir liburan Lebaran di Indonesia, saya berhasil duduk (baca: ndlosor) di belakang laptop dan menulis. Bukan menulis report buat kantor, buat kejar deadline translate paper, tapi hanya menulis, seperti dulu lagi.

Salah satu motivasi terbesar saya untuk menulis lagi adalah Bung Ega dan Nulis Buku, yang tidak bosan-bosannya menanyakan kapan buku saya diselesaikan. Well, first thing first :) Ega lagi mengajak teman-teman untuk menulis random setiap hari, sampai akhir Agustus 2013. Dengan harapan kebiasaan menulis ini menjadi sebuah kebiasaan yang sama seperti kita terbiasa minum kopi di pagi hari atau membaca surat kabar sambil menikmati makan pagi. I hope so, too.

Hari ini saya ingin menulis tentang mimpi. Semua orang pasti punya mimpi. Baik itu mimpi yang tidak masuk di akal, seperti mimpi makan malam bersama George Clooney. Ataupun mimpi yang bisa direalisasikan, memiliki usaha sebuah restoran jepang atau membantu anak-anak yang putus sekolah.

Pernahkah kita sadar bahwa sebuah mimpi itu kadang harus mengalami proses review dan revisi? Terkadang kita begitu fokus untuk mengejar mimpi besar kita, tanpa kita sadar bahwa ada berbagai halangan untuk mewujudkan mimpi itu. Kita anggap halangan-halangan itu sebagai sebuah rintangan yang tidak berarti, yang bisa kita lewati dengan mudah untuk menggapai mimpi itu. Kita menghiraukan orang-orang di sekitar kita yang berusaha mengatakan bahwa mimpi kita mungkin tidak sepenuhnya ‘masuk akal’.

Siapa sih yang berhak menghakimi apakah mimpi kita masuk akal atau tidak? Saya berpikir, bermimpi untuk makan malam berdua dengan seorang George Clooney, jelas tidak masuk akal! Tapi menjadi CEO sebuah perusahaan multinational, apakah hal ini lebih masuk akal? Atau juga tidak masuk akal?

Ada seorang teman saya, yang pernah bertemu langsung dan melayani George Clooney di restaurant tempat dia bekerja. Sekalipun dia tidak pernah bermimpi untuk bertemu George Clooney, but there he was! Beberapa CEO perusahaan terkenal seperti Tony Fernandes atau the late Steve Jobs, mereka pun tidak pernah membayangkan akan menjadi pemimpin giant companies yang sukses seperti AirAsia atau Apple.

Jadi kapan mimpi kita bisa dibilang ‘masuk akal’ dan kapan mimpi kita menjadi ‘tidak masuk akal’?

Saya tidak punya jawaban untuk itu. Yang saya tahu adalah mimpi itu bukan harga mati. Kita harus menerima bahwa ada impian kita yang tidak bisa menjadi kenyataan. Halangan demi halangan, teman-teman dan saudara yang member peringatan, bisa jadi adalah cara kita diberitahu untuk mereview mimpi kita dan mengkaji ulang.

Mama saya pernah bilang, kalau Tuhan berkenan, Dia pasti akan membuka semua pintu. Jika tidak, semua pintu akan tertutup. Or there is also a saying ‘when God closes a door, he opens a window’. Jika 1 mimpi kita sepertinya menjadi ‘tidak masuk akal’, jangan kuatir, ada mimpi lain yang menunggu.

Dan satu hal yang paling penting, di tengah usaha dan jerih payah kita untuk mewujudkan sebuah mimpi, jangan sampai kita melewatkan kesempatan-kesempatan emas yang ada di sekitar kita, hanya karena kita merasa bahwa hal-hal itu bukanlah bagian dari mimpi kita.


Keep on dreaming, but do that with the right mind.


29 April 2013

Plastic surgery

I bet you have heard or read about the Miss Korea contestants look alike issue?

If you haven't, click here to read it

Agreeing to the Geek in Heels' post, I too have nothing against plastic surgery - if you have the need and/or the money. Many people who have undergone a plastic surgery either needed it or wanted it. The prior is often caused by accident or some parts of the body that becomes of disturbance as one gets older. The latter is caused by trend and public opinion. Whether you need it or want it, a strong financial support will be required.

I agree to the prior reason and despise the latter. I just cannot understand why someone needs to look like JLo or Angelina Jolie or even Barbie.
 
 

And the ugly truth is, you can't hide your plastic surgery forever. Ever heard the case about a woman being sued by her (ex)husband because she didn't mention about her plastic surgery and in result, their kids look really....oh well no kids are ugly, but in this case, they don't look like their parents?


We used to have a joke that goes like this "beauty is relative, but ugliness is absolute."

As much as I believe that no one is ugly, we have weaknesses that we see in our reflection in the mirror everyday. The challenge is to live with it, hide it with make up, or attempt to hide it forever with plastic surgery.
 

24 April 2013

Jack Carroll with his own comedy style

What can we learn from Jack Carroll?

A LOT!

You should watch this video, if you haven't. I was in tears watching this video.

 Not only was he funny, but he was very positive, despite his circumstances.

"Sometimes our weaknesses can be our strengths!"

How often do we say that and really mean it? Jack said it and did really mean it.



May this video remind us of the many things we should be grateful. And if we were in a deep trouble, may we dare to say "our weakness can be our strengths!"

What I learned from 7:14

In my previous post, I shared that I joined this movement called prayer 7:14. Well, actualy it ended a couple of weeks ago, but my works got the better of me.

Let me share briefly what Mr. S and I have learned during the 8-days of praying and (social media and watch-soccer) fasting.

Mr. S and I have never been a serious prayer. We prayed regularly - before our meals, before going to bed, and in the morning. But if you know what I mean, the prayer time is very regular. It is something we do - rituals - so we never had the longing or calling to pray.

This 7:14 movement has actually challenged us, or me personally, to really want to pray; and to learn to pray unselfishly.

I often prayed only for family, myself, my spouse, my work, my day, my health, and ask forgivenes for my sins. It's all about me.

This time, we prayed for a lot of things, not only for ourselves.

When we kicked off on Sunday, we felt like 14 minutes were very long. How could we pray in 14 minutes? So the first day, we prayed I think for 10 minutes, then realized that we still had 4 minutes, and we continued. On this first day, we were searching and thinking of subjects or topics we should pray for.

Starting from the second day, it got easier. We were more comfortable to pray out loud, topics seem to come easily. We finished praying after 13 minutes.

But strating from the third day, we no longer had trouble praying. Topics kept coming. We kept praying. And I think, we prayed almost 30 minutes once or twice.

We prayed for our friends, we called them by name, we said each issues they had and asked for God's help. We mentioned every concern we had in our heart, our dream. We prayed for our countries - the upcoming elections, the open corruption cases, the politicians, other political agenda, North Korea, and many more.

At church, we heard some stories about the result of this movement: some people got better, some relationships were mended, some situations appeared to be brighter. For a split second, I had questioned "what were the result for us, God? because I didn't see any miracels happening after 8 days."

But I was reminded that after this movement, prayer has become the most essential part of our relationship. Believe it or not, my relationship with Mr. S got even closer. And most importantly, after our social media and watch-soccer fasting, we learned to let go things that are less important in our lives.

So no 'blind man can see' miracles happened to us, but we definitely benefit from this movement.

8 April 2013

7:14 Prayer Movement

source: AG.org

Praying and fasting for 8 days?

This is new to me.

All my life, I have told myself that I am not someone who has been given a gift to pray or fast. I am sure that I am more a doer than a prayer.

I'd go overseas to save the less fortunate people, I'd do anything to help people who are in trouble or in hunger. But sit down and stay at home and pray and fast, well, I always said "it's not for me!"

These previous weeks, my church, ICA, has been announcing that they'd take part of this 7:14 movement. When hearing it for the first time, I thought, never would I be able to do this. But I kept thinking about it. And the more interesting thing was my husband was also thinking of joining.

Fyi, he is even less of a prayer than I am. But thank goodness, we often remind each other. So when I don't feel like praying before going to bed, he'd wake me up and ask me to join in prayer. Or the other way around.

So, when I knew he was open for this idea of praying and fasting, we just had to take part. And we did!

So today is our second day.

The idea of this movement is to pray and fast for 8 days, from 7 - 14 April. We'd pray for 14 minutes every day, at 7:14 AM and 7:14 PM. We also will fast.

The fasting part is interesting. Again, I cannot fast. Nor could I go on diet either. If I fast or go on diet, I'd think about food all the time. Haha :) When I eat normally, I just don't think about food, sometime I even don't remember to have lunch or skip breakfast. Strange, ey?

So when fasting is part of the activity of this 7:14 movement, I thought, no way! I would not be able! But the pastor at ICA gave a different perspective on fasting. Fasting means to give up something that we love so dearly to be able to get closer to God. It's like a way of saying nothing is more important than God.

That was an aha moment for me! I knew what I loved so dearly that often came between me and God. Social media. Yes, as geeky as it may sound, I am addicted to social media. I cannot skip my rituals checking twitter. The first thing I do when I open my work computer is to check Facebook, I often go to my BBM just to check people's status.

This is what I will fast for these 8 days. As for Stefy, he is addicted to watching soccer. If he is not watching the live match, he will spend hours watching the highlights. So, this is what he'll give up for the next 8 days.

Interesting, no?

I hope we will make it until the 8th days.

1 April 2013

Beauty Treats

Am I the last person in Indonesia, who found out about Beauty Treats??

I think I might be, because everybody seems to have been talking about it.

I just subscribe for 3 months subscription to get the beauty box.


If you haven't heard about this, well basically you subscribe for it, you get a beauty box evey month, which contains different samples, and that's it!

From the marketing point of view, this will be a great opportunity test products and get a feedback. Also, this is very good to get coverage: beauty bloggers will write about the favorite or least favorite products they find in the beauty box.

Right now, the list of products is not yet announced, so I thought, well why not subscribing for 3 months (here is where my Chinese way of thinking kicks in - by subscribing for 3 months, I save IDR 10,000 :P LOL). And then we'll see, if the products are those average products that I can get in the drugstore or supermarket, then I think I'll stop.

But if the products appear to be products from well-known brands that yet to be launched or a brand new product line and we get to be the first to try it, then I think it's worth it!

I heard about it when I was in the Netherlands. My friends said she would get products from Kiehl's, L'occitane, Lush,... and many nice stuff.
 

19 March 2013

Our lifestyle is (not) defined by other people's opinion

I follow and read this particular personal blog, owned by Leony. I don't know her in person, and I don't even remember how I came to this blog.

But I really like her writing: honest and light.

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon one of her posts that talked about Asian lifestyle. She shared this:

An average middle-class CAUCASIAN will purchase:
  • $20 basic white dinner plate from Crate & Barrel
  • $39.90 bedroom slippers from Marks & Spencer
  • $20 whisk from Franc Franc
  • $40 cushion cover from Tangs
  • $39 garlic press from WMF
  • $29 chef's knife from Ikea
  • $25 weekday work lunch at Din Tai Fung
  • $170 shoes from Steve Madden
  • $150 handbag from Zara (on sale from $199.90)

An average middle-class ASIAN will purchase:
  • $2 basic white dinner plate from Daiso
  • $2 bedroom slippers from Daiso
  • $2 whisk from Daiso
  • $2 cushion cover from Daiso
  • $0 garlic press (no need for a garlic press, using a knife would suffice)
  • $2 chef's knife from Daiso
  • $4.50 weekday work lunch (yong tau foo)
  • $29 shoes from Charles & Keith (on sale from $39.90)
  • $2,970 handbag from Chanel
Go figure.

It made me realize how different western and Asian lifestyles are. In Asia, we are controlled by what other people think about us, about our lives, our jobs, our family, our way of thinking.

She shared in her blog post that parents would buy a very expensive stroller for their baby, who won't even notice the difference, just to show off - although the stroller is huge and heavy to carry around. Why is that?

And until this very day, I just cannot help but wonder why on earth one owns a 1 million dollar handbag called Hermes. What do you put in that bag? Once, when I was still living in the Netherlands, I accompanied a friend, who bought a 4500 Euro Hermes bag for her friend in Indonesia. We were so afraid to carry that bag out of the shop, that my friend used an old, wrinkle plastic shopping bag to cover up and carry the Hermes shopping bag with the 4500 Euro bag in it.

It was in the Netherlands, where safety is higher than in Indonesia. Are those Indonesian socialites not afraid carrying those Hermes bags? I would be if I were them.

I also still know some people who worked in a certain company just for a pride. Does he like working there? Maybe not, but well, that's what his parents asked him to, because of the pride and status he would carry with the job title and the company name on his business card.

I am not saying "hell, what other people are thinking about me or my life!", because sometimes, their opnion could be beneficial. When I came back from the Netherlands, I found Surabaya very warm! So I dressed like how I normally would dress during summer time in the Netherlands: with as less clothes, and as thin materials as possible. Well, my parents complained, my boyfriend then mentioned that I shouldn't wear something like that to the public area, and when I once did a window shopping in a mall, people looked at me with strange eyes.

In the end, I realized that I should try to dress more appropriately. Well, the result is I wear a lot of dress and loose t-shirt. Surabaya is still very warm, and I still try to adapt.

So, what's wise? Ignore people's opinion? or listen and embrace to what people are thinking and saying about us? Well, use your heart and healthy mind to differentiate and filter their opinions. If your friends carry 4500 Euro bags and say that you should buy the very same bag, you need to question: do I have the money? is it beneficial? does it add anything to my life?  If the answer is no, well, you can spend your money somewhere else - maybe for holiday or save up to buy a house?

As for me, I save up so that I can go on backpacking holiday more often in the future. Yay! :)

14 March 2013

Being married, being nosy and being pregnant


After more than 3 months of being a wife, I would say there are ups and downs. I would say, I enjoy it most of the time, but there are times when I really feel like strangling someone – this has to do with the second and third parts of the titles (I will come to that later).

Well, being married means spending the rest of your life just with one person – and that starts at home. Living in home just with the two of us – thank God for this! – we spend most of our time watching DVD or cooking at home. I don’t know whether this is a post honey moon period, or is this something that we enjoy. But the point is we love spending time at home.

Mr. S (well, let’s call him that from now on, as calling him Bang Tepy wouldn’t do him any justice anymore) is working more than 8 hours a day. And he is mostly mobile. So, when it is time to come home, he savors every minute of it – watch TV (especially football highlights or any random football programs, which I hate so much – well I come to that in my next post), nibble, read his comics, and snuggle with me J As for me, I don’t mind staying at home, but I like going out too. In the past, Stefy had been exhausted with my schedule, by now he is used to it.

We love all the things that we do together, BUT, we, or personally I, do not enjoy the household activity. It is tiring! After working the whole day, and we still need to wash dishes (we love the cooking part, but not the cleaning up part), hover the house, water the garden, fix broken things, and the list goes on.

A fight or two has happened, but well, despite some downs, we enjoy being married.

This brings us to the second and the third topics I’d like to whine. If you haven’t heard, Indonesians are very nosy citizens. Oh my goodness! How often have I met people, some of them are random people, like my mom’s colleague or my mom’s old friend, or my classmates from high school – and the first thing they would ask after they know I just got married: ARE YOU PREGNANT? Or if they already know that I am not pregnant, the question will be more interesting: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET PREGNANT?

Give me a break, people! Do you also want to do how we did it? How often? Where?

Well, in fact, Mr.S’s friends are THAT nosy. They shared with each other the ‘process’ of how the husband knocked down the wife. YES, that scary! I made Mr. S swear he would never ever do that!

So, despite being happily married, I dislike people’s nosiness to investigate my fertility. But I was told, that's how people around here is. 

So, if you must know whether I am pregnant, No, I am not. Do I want to? Yes, one day. Not in the near future :)

1 February 2013

The Bright Side


Always look at the bright side of life - Monty Phyton

This song has been sung during the Olympics closing ceremony last year; and this has been my cheer up song ever since.

Thus, referring to my earlier blog about how I was not happy with the way we got married, well, I tried to look back and to see the bright side of that circumstance.
So if I could share a few things, which might be helpful to you, who are in the middle of preparing a wedding, here they are:
1. Wedding dress
I was really happy with my wedding dress. I love the designer, Fifi Firianty, which was very helpful and very professional, and of course her work is stunning. From the first time I met her, I knew there was a click. So, if you look for a designer, who has a European style, please do consider her. 
But just some tips, make sure you ask to have you dress fitted one day before the wedding. I had it measure 3 days before the wedding, but in the last 3 days, I ate almost nothing. So this dress was a little bit loose in the end. 

2. Make up
This is another pleasant surprise. It was very hard to find the right makeup artist. I think it was like finding a husband last minute before a wedding ceremony. Seriously, it had to be a person that you are comfortable with (not too chatty, not too “girly”, not too quiet either), but most importantly, the makeup has to fit with your face, with your dress, with your personality.
I am more into a simple make up, and I tell you, it was like finding a needle among a stack of hay. Almost all makeup artists in Surabaya area like to really put their mark on your face, meaning over the top makeup. 

But Jippy, a not so well-known in a wedding business, but a friend recommended him. I did a makeup trial, I was happy with the result. But still, a trial is a trial, not the real thing. On the wedding day, I was still crossing my fingers, hoping for the best. And it was indeed amazing work of his!

3. Invitation and souvenirs
Stefy and I are so happy with the outcome of Queenie, however we had a period when we were stressed out that both the invitation and souvenirs were not finished on time. But well, in the end, nothing to be worried about, the result was really nice. 

4. Got to meet a lot of (old) friends
This was the most exciting part! I invited many friends – I know I didn't invite some of you, i truly am sorry, but please don’t blame us, blame our parents for having so many friends, families and colleagues to invite – and it was a chance to meet them.
If I could have done 1 thing differently, I would not listen to our event organizer, who told us to wait for 1 hour to enter the room. I would storm in and greet and chat with all friends and other guests. We came in quite late, but it was advised by the event organizer. Thus, we had to rush to shake hands and greet our guests. I dislike this part!

5. Wedding car
This is our wedding car :P

Nothing to add about why we were so happy!

6. Husband
Well, the man I was marrying, was most importantly the highlight of the day. No explanation needed. 

7. Money
Last but certainly not least, and no one would not deny it -  yes, we loved counting the money we got! Haha. 

So, from the bottom of my heart, I would advise you all, if you don’t like to, don’t throw a big wedding party. This party will happen just in a blink of an eye, and before you notice it’s all gone and done. Organize something that is close to your heart, more personal.

If you must throw a big party, like us, try to think of moments that you would like best in your wedding. Pick some moments, such as a wedding vow, wedding kiss, the wedding entrance, etc. that would be special, at least for you and your spouse. And try to do the other things without being grumpy – like I was – and try to enjoy the day. 

25 January 2013

The unexpected wedding


Almost every girl has ever dreamt of her wedding day – what she would wear, who would come, who the prince charming is. I would say, every girl must have a certain expectation and standard when it comes to a wedding: it could be grand, small celebration, family only, destination wedding – you name it.

My dream wedding happens to me a small, close friends and family only wedding. If you grew up in the 90s, you would know a boy band called 98 degree. They had a song titled ‘I do’. If you search on YouTube, you will find the video clip, which shows a beautiful wedding ceremony. That’s my dream wedding! My whole life, I was picturing that.

Twelve years ago, I started dating this guy, who is now my husband. His family background is very different than mine. Among other things – which we thankfully have tolerated and worked on – the way to throw a wedding party is totally different. His dream wedding party is ‘tell the world I am getting married’-kind of party. Yes, he wanted grand, big, many people!

If you were me, would you reconsider this guy just because of his preference in throwing a wedding party?

I actually did reconsider for a split second, but I felt really silly. Why should I doubt him? The wedding is just a one-day celebration that will happen just like that. So, after several discussions, a lot of fights, and a couple of crying and shouting (it happened over the years, though, we have dated for 12 years :P), we finally settled on a medium-size wedding party.

I was quite happy with the agreement that we settled. Seeing many wedding movies, attending many wedding parties, I thought, I think it’d be nice to be a princess for a day.

Just right after I felt it might turn out to be ok, the drama happened!

Well, first of all to convince both parents to limit the number of guests is seriously a difficult job. Although my parents agreed with my style – small but enjoyable – they couldn’t simply limit the number of their guests: this aunt has to be invited; this neighbor has to be invited because he invited my parents when his daughter got married; an uncle of an uncle must be invited to respect him, and many more names and excuses.

Dealing with the in-laws should come as a separate chapter in any wedding preparation 101. I tried to understand their position being a well-respected family, successful businessman, but there were things that made me want to bang my head on the wall. Almost did.

Okay, guest list was one of the main problems. Another main problem was a reversed culture shock. I found it difficult to deal with the Indonesians, who left things until last minute. To be honest, most of the wedding vendors I had to deal with had this characteristic. It was a big issue for me, coming fresh from a country that keeps planning for everything – from drinking coffee until visiting your neighbor, from spring house-cleaning until how and when to commute.

Second is lack of initiative. Many vendors were kind of waiting for us, or waiting to be told, instead of taking actions. This problem happened mainly with the event organizer.

If I could summarize, the wedding preparation was started to be exciting, then it changed me into a very defensive person - trying to defend and realize my ideal wedding part, and it ended with I don’t give a damn attitude!

Sadly, with this attitude I walked in the aisle and vowed to be a faithful wife to my beloved husband. Guilty? No, I felt weak, defeated, cheated, hopeless, yet happy.

The saddest thing was, before the wedding, I had looked my fiancée-then in the eye, I cried, begged him if he could have done something to alter this reality. He was as powerless as I was.

Yet he chose to let go and be happy.

And I chose to be bitter and wanted revenge. I don’t know from whom I would get revenge on.

Maybe there was the problem.


9 January 2013

Indonesia, married, new house, and more

Well, when was the last time I wrote something in my blog.

*see the blog post below and be amazed!*

One and only excuse would be because I just went through such a hectic period of my life. Okay, let me went through it quickly and hope you enjoy the ride.

September 2012
I left Holland, the country that has given me so much love and experience and moved back to Indonesia, the country to which I belong. It was quite an easy transition. I'd always longed to go back to my home town. Living in with my parents again was not that difficult (having been living myself for 9 years, I was expecting drama !), I reckon it's because I didn't really see them that often, due to my busy schedule. 

October 2012
Whilst I was extremely busy and feeling dramatic preparing our wedding, I was blessed (or may be not so blessed) with a new job. The job was offered when I was still in Holland. My manager shared my homecoming to his fellow managers in Asia. It appeared that one Marketing Communication staff was going on maternity leave and needed a replacement. So, here I was, being Asian and having the knowledge about the company and department, a perfect fit for the vacancy. 

The arrangement was even more a blessing. I was allowed to work from home and stay connected to the rest of Asia Pacific merely through internet (God bless the internet inventors!) So, since then, I have been working from home. It was such a beneficial arrangement, because I could combine work and wedding organizing.

November 2012
Was probably the most stressful month of 2012. Invitations had to be ready, other little things have to be finalized, yet I also had some work deadlines to meet. Oh, I almost forgot to mention about the new house, which was at this time still in the finalizing process (like 20-30% to go). So wedding, new house, and new job were the perfect combination to have nervous breakdown. A little secret from me, I already thought to cancel the whole wedding once, or maybe twice. 

December 2012
Well, we passed the darkest month, and Stefy and I got married! To be quite frankly, it wasn't the dream wedding I've always wanted, but what the hell, I married the man I've always wanted. We moved into our new home 1 week after the wedding (and in this 1 week, we stayed in a hotel close to the new home). We didn't have honeymoon, in fact we both went back to work 2 days after the wedding (Stefy had to work the evening after the wedding party :( ). We had our first Christmas as husband and wife. 

January 2013
New year, new home, new challenge, new everything! There will be many new things happening and many new things to be bought for the new home. You'd be surprised to see how empty our new home is. 

Let me get back to you with some more updates!

I think I'll write about my wedding in my next post(s).