Saturday, December 31, 2016

What 2016 Has Taught Me

On (probably) the most photographed stairs in Jakarta. Photo by Deborah Karunia.

In 2016, I was 36 years old. (Updated: I just got this photo taken on Dec. 30, 2016, which I thought better represent me on my last day of being 36 years old)

People would stare in disbelief when I tell them my age, saying that I look younger than my age. I know they are being kind, because lines and freckles (*gasp*) are already showing across my face, there are gray circles on the outer edge of irises and the slowing metabolism, which results in inevitable weight gain (why? why?? why???).

2016 was not like what I expected it to be. However, there are a lot of great things/lessons that come to mind with me being 36. Here they are :

#1. The number of people asking you the question is decreasing

A male colleague said his homecoming trip was peppered with "the question" every time he met a relative, a friend, a neighbor, that he felt nauseous. Didn't they have any other question, he wondered. To that woe, I told him,"Don't worry, I've been there six years ago. That shall pass one day, or in my case, when I hit 36."

#2. I am content and grateful with what I have

A friend, who is still in early 30s, said that she had decreased the amount of time perusing social media because she felt there was a pressure to have the same thing people share on social media. Perhaps I've been in the same state 5-6 years ago, but now that I've passed the mid 30s, there is a sense of calm to learn that I may not have much, but what I have is enough. Another lesson I learned this year was to let go all expectations.

#3. Good friends are Godsend

Looking back to this year's posts, the most recurring theme is the conversation with friends and colleagues. As mundane as it could be, the conversation I had with my friends and colleagues yesterday might not happening again next year, because we'd never knew when we would meet again and this project I'm working on would soon come to a close. Such post is also a good reminder that I have a lot of kind people around. And although I didn't blog about it, this year, I also reconnected with several long lost friends.

#4. Treat yo'self best

I watched at least four movies in the cinema this year, with me going on my own to two of the screenings, and also old movies such as Reality Bites and the Before trilogy (thank you, Internet). I spent weekends slathering body lotion all over my body, putting on facial masker and treating my curls.

I also did regular jogging sessions with several high school friends, and swimming sometimes, and concluded the sport session at an eatery. In the end, doing sport is not always about losing weight, but also having fun, meeting friends and enjoying the great outdoor.

#5. Going on a trip, rediscovering yourself

Although I didn't plan any traveling this year, I just realized that I had four trips: Cetho & Sukuh Temples-Ketep Pass (January), Hong Kong-Macau (March-April), Ijen Crater-Baluran National Park (August) and Kelapa-Harapan-Perak Islands in Kepulauan Seribu Regency (December). Those did not include the work trip with the Communication team to Yogyakarta and then with an American researcher in July to Banjarnegara and Wonosobo, both were quite an experience. Sometimes things would turn out better when you least expect it :).

#6. A little change goes a long way

This year, some physical changes took place upon me. I started wearing eyeglasses and put on bold lipstick. The biggest change took place inside my head though (read #2). But a little change also caused something, for example a stranger who suddenly asked my phone number :P.

For better or worse that have happened in 2016, I would not change a thing.

How about you, lovelies? What did you learn in 2016?

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Quick Getaway To Kelapa-Harapan-Perak Islands

I've been to Harapan Island in Kepulauan Seribu Regency (read here, if you like), but it was for an official site visit, so when Windy, a journo friend, told me of her plan to go island hopping to Harapan Island, I said, "Sure".

At first, we planned to use KM Sabuk Nusantara 46 Pelni boat as a mode of transport, because it's relatively cheaper (only Rp 15,000!). However, two days before our departure, the boat was docking for one month. Being two adventurous and frugal single ladies, we decided to take the boat from Kali Adem port, Muara Angke. Just for a comparison, the boat ticket in Marina port is around Rp 300,000, while ticket in Kali Adem port is a mere Rp 55,000. We are still curious about the Pelni boat, and we will try it one day.

To make the trip more exciting, Windy brought along her nephews, four of them. Two are the eight-year-old twin: Fahri and Farizi, and two others are tenth grader Anggit and his classmate Sultan. Wow. We looked like two single moms with our traveling companions. But again, there is nothing wrong about single moms... or single dads (What was I trying to say here? Never mind :P).

We met up at 7 a.m. at Kali Adem port. I took the first commuter line, which was supposed to arrive at my station at 5.12 a.m. but happened to be very late that fateful morning. Windy took a taxi, and she arrived earlier at the port so she bought the tickets for all of us. I ordered Go-Jek ride from Kota to Kali Adem port (only Rp 12,000), but the roads were a bit flooded (as usual), so I had to hop off at a certain point and use a becak (tricycle) to reach the port.

It's December, but the wave was quite friendly. The boat ride to Harapan Island started at 7.30 a.m., and we arrived on Kelapa Island around 11 a.m.  Oh wait, Kelapa Island, not Harapan Island? Yes, Kelapa and Harapan are connected by a walkway. Harapan is more touristy, Kelapa is more residential. 

Since we had yet to book any accommodation (Yes, we are that adventurous. But, in my defense, it was work days, so the islands were quite deserted), we bought drinks at a nearby shop to get to know the locals and fished information about it. Long story short, we got a two-room homestay and a boat for the island hopping. Yay!

Anyway, here are some photos.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Implementing KonMari's Tidying Method As A Part Of Self-Improvement Efforts

During a round of Sunday morning leisure walking with Atika, a high school friend, our conversation stumbled upon Marie Kondo's book on tidying. She said that she had both her books, and offered to lend them to me. I borrowed one, because I was not sure I'd be able to finish it in one week. I came home and read it in one sitting.

I returned the first book and borrowed the second book. The second one was a bit tougher to read (IMHO) as it contains tips and techniques on tidying and folding. I still managed to complete reading it, though.

I have been trying to implement the KonMari's tidying methods, particularly on the clothing section, but then I found out several things about myself:

#1. I like patterns and colors

In order to simplify my wardrobe, I need to stick to a certain color palette and throw away the clothes that do not fit into the designated palette. But upon opening my closet, I found a myriad of colors and patterns. Even the neutral colors of whites, blacks and grays are either in stripes, polkadots, florals, or have embroideries in the same colors. Being an Indonesian, I definitely have batik and ikat in my wardrobe and of course, I do not have the heart to throw them away. They are works of love and art! Some are handed down from M, which make them even harder to throw away.

#2. I like non-fitting, loose, flowing outfits

I think I have around 10 knee-length summer dresses, possibly more if I open my suitcase (yes, I keep some of my clothes in a suitcase, I have that much of clothes). The dresses come in floral or tribal patterns. Most of my jeans/trousers are either straight-leg, wide-leg or flared. This style really helps as my weight goes up and down, depending on my mood.

#3. I have more T-shirts and polo shirts than work shirt/power suit

You know the kinds of T-shirts and polo shirts that are given during events? I have about 20 of them. This type of clothing is easier to put away because it barely holds any emotional attachment. Nevertheless, that still leaves me with some 30 more T-shirts/polo shirts.

From those three things, now I know that I'm more into the casual colorful wardrobe. However, there is one more thing:

#4. I still don't have the heart to put away most of the clothings

According to the KonMari method, things that should not spark joy should be put away. Oh it's so hard. I simply categorized the clothings into two parts: the ones I use and the ones I'm not using on a regular basis. Right now, I'm putting the "less-used" clothings in M's cupboard and I'm giving it another three months to think them over. I know it defies the core point of KonMari method, but it's such a giant step, and I can only take baby steps at the moment. At least I know I'm moving to the right path, as I feel much better, lighter with each item I toss into M's cupboard.

One step at a time, one day at a time. It is likely to be my mantra for 2017 Resolution :).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them

American | 2016 | 132 minutes | Director: David Yates

Yay, it's another JK Rowling's book made into the big screen. This movie is a prequel to Harry Potter series, and is planned to consist of five movies (four more movies, be still my heart).

Set in New York's Roaring Twenties (1926, to be precise), the film tells about the adventure of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magical beast enthusiast of British nationality, who initially plans to repatriate Thunderbird, one of the beasts he found to its natural habitat in Arizona, but ends up having to recapture other beasts escaping from his suitcase. He gets help from aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), and two spell-caster siblings Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).

The incident of escaping magical beasts could not take a much better timing during the tension between wizarding community and No-Maj (No-Magic, the American term for Muggle) due to evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and the anti Salem movement led by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) is on the rise.

At first, the disgraced Auror Tina tries to turn Scamander in to Magical Congress of USA, or MACUSA for short, for violating the Statute of Secrecy. But a twist of events changes her mind and she takes both Scamander and Kowalski to spend the night at her place. Tina's sister, Queenie, who happens to be a Legilimens and loves baking, takes a liking on Kowalski and invites both gentlemen to a magical supper.

While Scamander and Kowalski work hand-in-hand to gather the escaping beasts (Erumphent, Niffler, Demiguise and Occamy), MACUSA's top Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) approaches Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) to help him track Obscurus, a sort of magical force that is in the shape of a wizard child.

There are at least two strong themes found in Rowling's Harry Potter series: (1) unity in diversity, and (2) love wins. Such themes are also recurring in Fantastic Beasts, especially with Scamander and his spirit to protect the weak and the misunderstood. 

Long-time Harry Potter fans will also find ties to the HP series through a photo of Leta Lestrange (Scamander's former love interest and a connection to the Lestrange family?) and Scamander's plan to write a book titled Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which will be one of Hogwarts students' reading materials.

I must say that the beasts steal the show from their human co-stars. Niffler is just too cute, but I also love Swooping Evil. I can't wait to see the next installment of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Doctor Strange

American | 2016 | 130 minutes | Director: Scott Derrickson

The movie opens with lots of action, buildings that turn and twist, people throwing circles of lights to each others and switches to the talented, successful and arrogant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) talking to his former flame Christine Palmer (Rachel MacAdams).

Strange's arrogance soon gone after the fateful car crash that takes away his hands' nimble flexibility. Physically and emotionally broken, Strange seeks solution to traditional healing following a series of failed reconstructive operations. He chooses to go to Nepal to meet The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) after getting the tip off from another patient (Benjamin Bratt) who got better there despite having much worse condition. 

However, upon arriving at the designated place, which is a kind of school of wizardry, Strange finds an other-worldly healing art that can not be explained logically. At first, it is difficult for Strange, a person who has been receiving modern education, to open his mind and accept that there are things beyond the world he lives in.

The ever arrogant Strange refuses to let anything stopping him, so he stays in the premise and learns his way up although very, very slowly with the guide of Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and support from librarian Wong (Benedict Wong).

As expected from any superhero movies, Strange manages to catch up with other fellows and even opens The Eye of Agamotto. This is the cue for Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the gang, aka the villains who already made an appearance in the movie opening, to ruin the day.

It's a superhero movie, so of course the good people wins. Expect some humour throughout the movie.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Something Happened On The Way To Office

Yesterday I took a TransJakarta free bus to my office and fell asleep. When the bus stopped at the final stop, I woke up, collected my stuffs and headed to the bus door. That's when a man, who had been sitting in front of me, approached and asked for my phone number. The conversation went like this:

Man On The Bus : "Can I have your phone number?"
Me                       : "Huh? Sorry, no. I can't give it to you."
MOTB                 : "Can I have your name card?"
Me                       : "Sorry, no."
MOTB                 : "Where do you work? Where do you live?"
Me                       : "..."
MOTB                 : "I like you."
Me                       : "Errr...okay. Thank you. Bye."

I'm not the kind of girl who gives the best first impression, and I don't warm up quickly to people I just meet. The guys I secretly have crush on (because I'm too shy to make le premier pas) are usually people I meet regularly, either at school, workspace, or courses, and never a stranger. This is Jakarta, there are a lot of crazy people (me included, ha!) and I don't want to take chances. 

Fortunately, he didn't follow me to my building. Otherwise, I would have to ask the security for help. It is scary to get asked personal information by people I don't know. I like persistence, when it's well-presented. Guys, if you want to approach a girls you like, don't ask for their number, but give them your number.

I don't think such  occurrence is a common thing in Jakarta, I mean it's a first for me. Most Jakartan males don't approach me. So the first thing I did was checking my wardrobe and the whole appearance to see whether I put on something that encouraged him to make such advances. Was it my red lipstick, perhaps too red? Or because I wore red skirt? 

But seriously, what would you do if you were in my position?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Men And Menstruation

Fu Yuan Hui, the Chinese swimmer who breaks the taboo on menstruation during the 2016 Olympics
Found here

While men are so clueless about menstruation, sometimes they act like they understand what happens during the bloody week. Here is some conversations that prove otherwise.

The Size Of Tampons
Situation: NPS (a female colleague) and I were chatting about our period, what we used (tampon or sanitary pad) and the likes. DAP was in the vicinity, definitely eavesdropping.
NPS: Oh I have to use tampons during menstruation. The winged pads just would not do.
Me: I prefer pads, but I've heard about moon cup and am curious to try.
NPS: Moon cup? What is that? DAP, could you please google that moon cup? 
(As pale as he could be, DAP googled that up. We hovered behind his back to check the search result)
NPS: Hmm, I think I still prefer tampons, because the moon cup looks bigger than the tampons
DAP: How big is the tampon? Isn't it as big as a cucumber?
(NPS and I looked at each other, looked at DAP and laughed)
NPS: It's about this big (showing her pinky finger, which was not big, definitely, duh)
Me: Dude, if the tampon is as big as a cucumber, we'd be waddling like ducks

The Dos And Don'ts During Period
Situation: I was chatting with WM, a male friend
WM: Hey, how are you?
Me: Today is my first day of period. Oh wait, is it too much information?
WM: Hahaha. First ever? Ouch? I'm sorry to hear but relieved? I'm sorry.. They don't ever teach you what to say in these circumstances..Hope you'll feel better soon..
Me: In a few days, I'll feel better. Now it's all hormonal rush
WM: Besides the hormonal rush, you ok though?
Me: Yeah, just a bit of cramp, I jog this morning.
WM: You jog? During cramps???
Me: I know my body. I can jog anytime. Chill. Why so panic? Oh men.
WM: Panic? Lol... Yeah, we men would never jog if we're bleeding.. unless the planet needed saving.. that is also maybe..

Anyway, just wondering, to all ladies reading this, do you share your period with the male community around you? And to all gentlemen reading this, how do you take the information?

I'm asking this because a male friend who comes from a traditional culture said,"In my very traditional and outdated beliefs that if a woman shares this (information on menstruation) with you, she likes you."

What do you think?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Blessing And Burden

If you have a big house, it is a Blessing. 
But you have to clean it up, it becomes a Burden.

If you have a baby, it is a Blessing.
But you have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, it becomes a Burden.

If you earn degree in higher education, it is a Blessing.
But you have to work hard to earn it, it becomes a Burden.

If you are healthy, it is a Blessing.
But you have to maintain your health carefully, it becomes a Burden.

Blessing & Burden comes in a package.
We cannot just ask for a Blessing without a Burden.

If we only focus on Burden, we will never feel His Blessings.
But if we focus on the Blessings, we will feel at ease to carry the Burden.

Always remember that the Burden we carry will not exceed our power.

Therefore, enjoy your life everyday because each day is a Blessing.

-- Found the text circulating via Whatsapp, I thought I'd keep it here as a self-reminder note

Friday, October 28, 2016

Jakarta Fashion Week 2016

I haven't posted about fashion in a long time, and since Jakarta Fashion Week 2016 has just concluded, let's bring it on. Here are some of the runway photos with the kind of silhouettes/details I'm loving.

Dian Pelangi

Abineri Ang feat Canisseri

Rani Hatta


Ria Miranda


Najua Yanti

All photos are taken from here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Child-Friendly Office Environment

Back in the 1980s-1990s, day care was an alien idea to most Indonesians (even in the capital city) and I was still a kid, so there were times M&D took me to their office. D worked at a family-owned publishing company and M worked at a foreign bank.

Of course, I would prefer D's office to M's office everytime opportunity arised. I could sit next to D, talk or ask him any questions read books on the floor, and have a long intimate lunch date with him at the nearby food stall. Sometimes D would ask me to edit a draft of a book, that was how I developed the love of letters and all things bookish. Things would not be the same at M's office: I had to sit in the praying room or the kitchen and be as quiet as a mice. It was so boring and I kept glancing on the clock.

When I worked in the media, the colleagues who had babies and toddlers sometimes brought their little ones to the office. The parents would put the babies on a mattress, or gave coloring books the toddlers. While things would get quite tense approaching the deadline, the little ones could still enjoy moments with their parents.

Now that I work in a non-profit organization, the office environment is even more child-friendly and family-oriented. We have 20 days of annual leave, and we can use it one full day at a time or even take a half day. Most colleagues' kids are already in primary school, so the kids can be told to sit still. Nevertheless, kids are kids, they would eventually run around and make noise. Fortunately, the big boss in this office is a gentle elderly Briton and a family man.

Not all boss are like my boss, but at least the nature of a non-profit organization is more relaxed than that of private companies. The pay and benefits may be not as much as the latter does, but I prefer the child-friendly office environment. And I'm not even a mother (yet), hahaha. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Putting On A Little Color

So I have a new interest: make up! I know, I'm such a late bloomer :D. I caught up the make-up bug when I quit journalism and started the normal work hour. During the commute to Jakarta, I realize that almost all woman put on some color to freshen up their looks.

I know it's not a must to put on make up, but I feel compelled to appreciate myself. Hey, I manage to get myself onboard of a crowded commuter train, it deserves an applause. Putting on some color on my face feels like putting on a war paint. I am Amazon!

When I worked in the media, the only color I wore was on my lips, and only in the morning. After three times of ablution, eating and drinking, the lipstick had faded and I never touched up. Things has gone a bit different since then.

Boarding the ever-crowded morning commuter line, I usually wear a face mask that covers my nose and mouth. That would leave only my eyes to be seen. So I started to wear eyeliner, a very thin line on my chinky eyes, just to give a bit statement.

No one seemed to notice (due to the very thin eyeliners), so I upped the ante by filling in my short and thin eyebrows. It was hard to draw a  pair of symmetrical eyebrows, as mine are definitely asymmetric. But even after I mastered the eyebrow thingy, no one at the office commented. Either my eye make up looks natural, or my colleagues are just too polite to comment.

Mascara does not do much help to boost my weak eyelashes and eyeshadow is just too complicated for application, so I only apply them once in a while.

Then the eyeglasses era dawned upon me. The beautiful eye make up went behind the eyeglasses. The only thing left for coloring is my lips. So yeah, it's lipstick revisited. During the journo days, I would prefer the nude-colored lipstick. But now, it's all about go bold or go home (ha!).

After I put on bold-colored lipstick, colleagues began commenting, and the conversation would go like this:
Colleague: There is something different about you today.
Me: Well, I wear eyeglasses now.
Colleague: Oh yeah, that too. But it's something else, you look prettier.
Me: Oh, it must be my lipstick
Colleague: *slowly fading out*

One surprising comment came from a female colleague who saw me wearing brown lipstick. She said,"Please don't wear brown color again, it makes you look so fierce." To that I replied,"But dear, I want to look fierce."

How about you? Why do you wear color on your face?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Wearing The Eyeglasses

A few months ago, the guy from the HR division insisted that everyone at the office went to ophthalmologist to get our eyes checked. I've been hoping that I could be eyeglasses-free until the day I died, but then the test and result showed I needed cylindrical correction lenses for both eyes. 

It's only 0.5 (OD) and 0.25 (OS), and no nearsightedness/farsightedness. I can still see quite clearly, but after a few hours in front of the LCD monitor, the letters would blur and the eyeglasses help a lot. Ahh, age doesn't lie, indeed. Eyeglasses prescription is covered by the office, so I bought a pair and started wearing them a few weeks after Idul Fitri this year. I only put them on when typing on the laptop (like right now), and when driving (which is like, once in a blue moon, hahaha). 

I brought along two brutally honest colleagues to comment on which eyeglasses frame fit my face shape at the optician. I've been wanting to buy a cat-eye shaped eyeglasses, but the optician had none that met the budget, so following my colleagues' suggestions, I settled for a wayfarer-modified design.

I'm wearing something similar to this design. From here

After I started wearing the eyeglasses, several colleagues said I looked different. Good different, they said. One of them even said I looked like the elegant female boss from the headquarter office. Even if they mean to say I look old with the eyeglasses, I wouldn't mind to age gracefully like the said female boss.

DAP, who previously worked at an NGO that helps visually-impaired children, gave some tips on wearing eyeglasses: 

(1) don't wear them 24-hour straight in the first place, but start with short period of time and then add up the period daily. For example, wear them for two hours on the first day, then three hours on second day, and it goes on until you wear them regularly.

(2) when I first put them on, I'd feel dizzy because my eye-level view and feet-level view seemed detached. DAP told me to move my head instead of my eyes. He added that it was normal to feel that way on the first week because my eyes were still adapting. But if it continues, he suggests that I go back to the optician.

(3) clean them regularly.

The funny thing is DAP also has cylindrical eyes with higher prescription, but he refuses to wear eyeglasses, because it would make him less cool (oh boy, little did he know there are girls who thinks guys with eyeglasses are hot).

Do you or your significant other wear eyeglasses? 

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Indonesian | 2016 | 81 minutes | Director: Riri Riza

I must admit that it was the movie's tagline "Inspired by the life of Jusuf Kalla's mother" that tugged my attention to see the movie. Jusuf Kalla, also known as JK, is a man of many facets: a successful entrepreneur, Minister of Trade and Industry (1999-2000), Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare (2001-2004), a politician, and has become Vice President of this country twice (for two different presidents)! He must have had one amazing mother, I thought. 

I also missed the beautiful scenery of South Sulawesi and I thought the movie could transport me there even for a brief period of time.

So on a lovely Wednesday night, I took myself to a date night and watched this movie. There was only six people watching the movie, including me. 

The movie starts with a Bone-style wedding procession of Athirah and Ajji Kalla, and then follows the Kalla family as they move to Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi province.

While the family begins to settle, with children going to school, Puang Ajji's business taking off and Athirah is pregnant with the fourth child, news on Puang Ajji's taking another wife is spreading. Puang Ajji is often absent in the family's house, and this affects Athirah and the children. 

As a proud Bone woman, Athirah keeps her emotion to herself and channels her energy to her family. She starts a business on South Sulawesi-style silk sarong, purchases gold jewelry for investment and dreams of opening a school in Makassar. She stays kind even though her husband ignores her efforts to keep the family intact.

One touching scene is when Ucu (JK's nickname) accompanies Athirah to a wedding reception, and then they see Puang Ajji also attending the event with his other wife. The rickshaw ride back to their home is tear-inducing as Ucu and Athirah stare blankly on the road.     

When the economy situation was going down in the 1960s, Athirah gives the golden jewelry box to her husband to save the company and Puang Ajji just breaks down in tears. I think of this particular scene as the best revenge :).

A beautiful quote in this movie that I remember most is: "You should keep carefully what you believe as the most important thing in your life." Athirah could keep the sadness and the heartbreak, but she chose to be happy and be the driving force to her family.

Although the movie has all the recipe for a good tear, I barely cry my heart out because the bridging between scenes is not smooth. I'm not sure whether it's due to the script or the editing process. Bu I guess there must be a lot of pressures to complete a movie that involve the second man in this country.

Athirah is also screened at Vancouver International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Conversation With DAP

Sometimes I forgot how childish adult men can be. Here's several conversation samples with one of the specimens.

On Weight Gain And The Intention Of Diet
DAP: Oh my God, I've gained weight ever since I came to this office
Me: I don't mind 
DAP: I do mind, all my jeans are getting tight on the waist area
Me: Go on a diet then
DAP: Yeah
(a few hours later, I saw him eating snacks)
Me: How's the diet plan going?
DAP: Tomorrow (grinning)

Situation: there's a distribution of T-shirts and everyone gave their size.
DAP: I'm XL size
Me: Sorry, Pak Jeffry took the last XL size, you may want to take the XXL size
DAP: It would be too big for me!
Me: You've gained weight since working in this office. Why don't you try it first?
DAP: (grumbling while putting on the T-shirt) It's too big.. see...
(the T-shirt fits him just fine)
DAP: Err...
Me: Too big, yeah right...(leaving him speechless)

That's Not Dinner Yet
Situation: During the meeting in Surabaya. It's 7 p.m. and everyone is going out for dinner.
DAP: I'm famished, let's have dinner
Me: But we just had dinner! Your supervisor took us to that eatery at 5 p.m.
DAP: That's not dinner yet, it's a pre-dinner meal
Me: Ok, you just go on your own then, I'm still full

Feeling So Young
Situation: we're discussing our age. He was 2 years younger
DAP: This year I'll be 34 years old
Me: We're only two years apart. You're already 34 years old now, you'll be 35 years old this year
DAP: No, I'm 33 years old.
Me: You're born in 1981, right? This year is 2016. You're being delusional
DAP: Oh yeah, right

Auntie Knows Best
Situation: DAP is quite popular among the girls. I suspect this is because he's quite tall compared to other guys in the vicinity. So one of the girls (let's call her Rose) has shown genuine interest towards him, but the feeling is not mutual...
Me: Rose sent us email to ask our help for a backdrop of an event
DAP: But the information is not clear
Me: Ask her via email then, but don't forget to cc me
DAP: Can you do that? And cc me
Me: You're a big man, and yet you're afraid of her? This is ridiculous
DAP: I'm not afraid. It's just...I'm sure you handle the situation better than me
Me: *rolling my eyes*

Cute Girls On The Horizon!
Sometimes I caught him glancing at cute girls passing by, and then he blushed when he knew that I knew.
DAP: What?
Me: (smiling)
Female Colleague #1: It's good that he's glancing at girls. If he's checking out men, then we have a stiff competition here
Me: Good point
DAP: Hey!

Other times, I pointed out the cute girls for him
Me: Hey, the girl over there is pretty
DAP: I know (smiling sheepishly)
Me: Hmmhh

When Cute Guys Are Around
Sometimes the situation is reversed, in which there is a cute guy around and the girls will gawk at said guy
Female Colleague #1: Check out 11 hours, cute guy alert (whispers)
Female Colleague #2: Ohhhh
Me: Yesss
(Our eyes were following said guy, and then DAP walked in front of us and obscured our view)
The Girls: Hey!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Whole Office-Bazaar Hubbub

There was a bazaar organized by a Japanese-themed mall in the office building this week. The items being sold on discount were various, from mattresses, to clothes, to toys, to food. To sum it up, there was something for everyone. Here is several conversation that took place in the office during the bazaar...

How It All Began
Female Boss (FB): Did you see the announcement  downstairs? There's a bazaar. What kind of items will be on sale?
Finance Manager (FM): (produced a brochure) Here it is. I took it at the reception desk
FB: Hmm, thank you (reading the brochure seriously)
(a few minutes before the lunch time)
FB: FM, let's go now before it's too crowded.
FM: Go where?
FB: To the bazaar!

Checking Things Out
(At 12.30 p.m.)
Me: Oh my God, it's so crowded
Colleague #1: Of course, it's lunch time. Everyone comes here to have a look
Me: How about if we come back at 02.30 p.m? The crowd may have dispersed by then
Colleague #1: Ok

At 02.30 p.m.
Me: Oh my God, how come it's still crowded?
Colleague #1: Hmm, perhaps we should come again? At 07.00 p.m.?
Me: Ok

At 07.00 p.m.
Me: Why are these people still come here? Didn't they have homes to go to?
Colleague #1: Hmm, let's just finish it quickly then
Colleague #2: Oh hey, you guys are here again? I thought I saw you a few hours ago

Lipstick Jungle
Situation: one of the items on sale was Purbasari's matte lipstick, which had been getting rave reviews on its durability, lovely colors and other good qualities. Most women bought at least one color of the lipstick series, so we tried each other lipstick to see which suit us best. I had to ask for other people's opinion, and DAP was there...
Day 1
Me: What do you think of this color? (showing my lip to DAP)
DAP: It's good

Day 2
Me: How about this one?
DAP: It's good, it's good

Day 3
Me: Hey, this is actually really good (pointing to cellphone charger cable)
DAP: Ok, which lipstick you're wearing now?
Me: Why does it have to be lipstick? I'm talking about this charger cable
DAP: Because lipstick is the trending topic of this week 

The Power Of Moms
FNA: It's so crowded downstairs, I couldn't buy the Number 90 lipstick
Me: Oh really? I just got myself two lipsticks a few minutes ago (showing the purchased items)
FNA: Oh, but you're a mom. Moms have power girls don't have
Me: You're asking for a spank. I'm not a mom yet, I'm an auntie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Passing The Test For Master Degree

Today I passed the test for a Master degree for Renewable Energy postgraduate school at a local private university.

I decided to not write anything about it until I'm declared graduated, due to 2 reasons:
1) I was not sure I could graduate because it was another engineering degree, and I was not confident that my old brain was still fit enough to learn the subject  
2) It was not the major of my choice. Rather, it was M&D who forced me to take it. They nagged me for 6 months until I finally relented. I'm too old for this nagging, so I thought, well, I'd give it a shot.

To be honest, if I could choose, I would apply for a scholarship abroad on Communications, because that's what I've been doing for the past 10 years. But M has asked me to stay and help her taking care of D. Being their only child, I didn't have the heart to say no. 

The great thing was: I enrolled the postgraduate school in 2014, along with 10 other people. Class of 2014 is a group of 11 people between 23 years old and 55 years old, with one from Maluku, one from Nusa Tenggara, one from South Sulawesi, one from North Sumatra, and the rest from Java and Madura. So we are quite diverse, in terms of age and ethnic background. But we all took Engineering for our undergraduate degree.

There were only two women in Class 2014: me and another woman (heretofore, let's call her JH). But it was the first time the school had two women in a year. Usually it was all men, or perhaps only one woman. I considered myself very lucky, especially when I found that JH was very supportive.

For the past two years, we had classes every Friday nights and Saturdays. We took part in field visits to two geothermal power plants, one wind power plant and the nuclear power plant in BATAN (I saw the real Uranium glowing beautifully right before my eyes! From a safe distance, of course). Accompanying JH, I even went to an energy-independent village, which was established by my campus. 

So if you read about my trip to such places, now you know why I went there. It was not for work purpose, but study purpose.

Writing the thesis while working the day job has been a real struggle for me. There were moments where I felt like giving up, because the workplace and the campus could have schedules at the same time. Of course, I had to put workplace first, because that's how I could afford the school. But after the work is completed, I would run to campus to work on the thesis again. To all students who work to pay for study, my heart goes to you *grouphug*. 

Anyway, the thesis was finally done and had been defended in front of five lecturers, albeit imperfectly. Lots of revision to work on for the next couple of weeks, but it was finally over, alhamdulillah.

After the test, I was asked to tell my impression during the study there. Here's what I said:
"I remembered that on the first day, Professor asked if I had an idea for the thesis. At that time, I worked at an NGO that had a biomass project in Madura. I didn't know much about renewable energy, so I said, I would do a biomass-related thesis. But two years on, I changed workplace and I learned more about renewable energy, which is not only about biomass, but a myriad of many sources: the sun, the wind, the ocean thermal, the river, the geothermal and of course, the energy audit. Two years ago and today, I have grown to a different person, I've learned a lot about renewable energy. And it's all thanks to you, Professor and other lecturers in this campus."

It was not the major of my choice, but I learned a lot, had great time and made friends with wonderful people. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Trip To Mt. Ijen's Blue Fire And Baluran National Park

After the business trip in Surabaya concluded, I went on a trip to Mt. Ijen and Baluran National Park with a group of colleagues. We took Mutiara Timur Siang, a morning train, that depart from Surabaya at 9 a.m. to Banyuwangi.

Map of train network across Java island

We were traveling as a group of 11 people, consisting of 3 men (Marto, Bar-bar and Arfan), 5 women (Me, Pristy, Friz, Deb, and Dwi)  and a family of three (Pak Mahar, wife and daughter).

A small minivan picked us up at the station and we went straight to our hotels to have a short break before dinner. I wrote hotels, because the boys stayed in Berlian Abadi Hotel (the same hotel with Pak Mahar & family), while the girls stay in Mahkota Plengkung Hotel, which is in front of Berlian Abadi Hotel.

We booked the hotel via, and there was a promo from Bank Mega credit card. The only person I know as a Bank Mega CC holder is DAP, so I ask if he could lend us the card, or else (hahaha, I'm exercising my Bibi power here). Being a gentleman, he lent us the card, and being gentlewomen, we gave him the money.

We had dinner at a local restaurant named Manizku (ha!). After dinner, we went to Boom Beach to see a kite festival, which happened to take place that day, but unfortunately there was no wind that night, so the festival was postponed.

We got back to the hotels and had another short break before we started the hike to Mt. Ijen. If you're wondering why we picked this particular little mountain (Google says it's 2,799 meters above the sea level, but local websites say it's around 2,443 meters above the sea level), we did it just to see the world-famous blue fire.

Ijen's blue fire has been documented by National Geographic photographer Olivier Grunewald.

This is a pre-hike photo

There is a small canteen at 2,214 meters above the sea level. 

The hike to the blue fire usually started at 1 a.m., the blue fire is usually showing up between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and then vanishing at 5 a.m. as the sun drops its morning ray along the ridges of the crater. 

If you choose to start the trek after midnight like I did, bring a flashlight or any kind of lighting device, for the trek to the crater is nature-constructed and you may bump into big rocks or fallen trees. It was really dark, and without the flashlight the only light would be the whole star constellation above our heads.

I am a slow hiker, and soon I was left behind. I guess I have written it somewhere in this blog, and yet I would write it over and over again: know your limit and hike in your pace. Bar-bar kindly adjusted his pace to mine and helped me along the way. Hiking really shows who's the real caring person in the group.

We reached the ridge of crater at around 3.15 a.m. We could see the blue flame down below and started to descent. The trek down below is not for the faint-hearted, for sure. Sometimes we had to wait for our turn to pass because the sulfur miners were making their way up/down. The miners are carrying heavy loads, and it's an act of kindness to let them pass first. I've posted before about the sulfur miners (here and here)

After what seemed like hours (but in fact it was probably around 45 minutes), I finally touched down the bottom of crater and got a better look at the blue fire. The blue fire and the rugged rocky surrounding gave a feeling of out-of-this-world experience. Unfortunately, none of us had good photographic skills, so the pictures were blurry. We sat there in awe, admiring the blue fire flickering above and thanking the Almighty Lord for giving us the strength to reach the spot.

Photo by PB

Soon, the wind was blowing around, and the sulfuric gas cloud enveloped us. We quickly left the spot and climbed up again. The gas is not good on the eyes and lungs, so prepare yourself with proper gear (face mask, for example). I was not really well-prepared, though, I only bring a red wool scarf to cover my nose and mouth, and I even wore mountain sandals to do the hike.

The sun rose not long after we reached the ridge, and it was a eye-opening moment when we realized the trail we passed just a few hours before.

Mt. Ijen Crater Lake

The ridge

A group photo with a majestic view

The view from above

On our way back to the entrance gate

From Mt. Ijen, we went back to hotel, had breakfast, had another quick nap and headed to Baluran National Park, which is often called as the little Africa in East Java. We saw deer and stag, peacock and peahen, long-tailed macaque, and buffaloes.

At Savana Bekol



And that's a wrap. Have a lovely weekend, my lovelies.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Food Tour Around Surabaya

I went to Surabaya a few years ago, and fell in love with the local food even if it was a really brief visit. Last week, I got a chance to come back to the City of Heroes for another business trip and managed to sample even more local delicacies.  Here are the foods I tried during the night jaunts with colleagues, and it does not do justice to the smorgasbord that is Surabaya's food scene.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Gone For A Translation Work

I was supposed to have a peaceful week after the meeting in Yogya last week, but my boss asked me to act as an interpreter and accompany an American researcher to Banjarnegara and Wonosobo, two districts in Central Java.

The research was about how the teachers in the districts use teacher working groups as a tool for professional development and how the school management (school principal and school committee) and the district education office support the teachers' professional development.

It was my first time acting as an interpreter. Sometimes I did the simultaneous translation (translating while the people are talking), and some other time the post-talk translation (waiting for the people to finish the speech and then do the translation). Sounds easy, but it was exhausting as I had to stay focused on the flow of conversation.
Sometimes I did a slip, talking in Indonesian to the American researcher or talking in English to the Indonesian audience. Sometimes I had to ask the people to repeat or to clarify something. We went to schools in both urban area and rural area. The people sometimes incorporated Javanese words in their sentence. Sometimes I had to use Javanese word to put the question into a local context (thanking my Javanese roots).  

Sometimes I had to act as a moderator of the FGD, because there was no one who would like to do the job. Other time, I had to give a statement to a local newspaper reporter about our activity, because the researcher refused to do so. Depending on the situation on site, I had to take a decision and execute quickly because we needed to get things done and moved to another appointment.

The people had been very kind to us. They would not let us too hungry, so there were snacks and food in every place we visited, and sometimes they packed the food for us.

I didn't take photos of our activities, but here is some work-related evidence :).

I was the girl wearing yellow floral headscarf on the left side of the American researcher. Koran Wawasan, 27 July 2016.

Updated. Magelang Ekspress, 2 August 2016.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Coffee Convert

Taking a degree in Architecture or working as a journo did not make me a coffee drinker. But a few months into writing a scientific paper found me pouring a cup of java in the office pantry twice a day. Nothing fancy, just local brand Kapal Api coffee. Coffee is a godsend and I'm a convert.

Another reason for this new habit is because the office always has a pot of coffee brewing in the pantry. I think I'm working with coffee snobs *insert horror music*. Besides housing the coffee powder, the pantry also keeps a coffee maker, a coffee press jug, coffee filter papers, a coffee bean grinder, and...of course...bags of coffee bean from across Indonesia because my office has branches in Aceh, North Sumatra, four provinces in Java, South Sulawesi and Papua, all of which has coffee-producing areas. Another blessing of living in Indonesia: you'd never run out of coffee beans to try :).

There were moments when I felt sleepy and headed to pantry only to find coffee beans instead of coffee powder. No other choice but to grind the beans and pour them to the coffee press jug. The coffee grounded by my own hands tasted much better, though :D.

I have been struggling with the rising gastric acid everytime I had coffee, but I think I find some tricks that work for myself:  (1) I try to eat a good portion of meal before drinking a cup of coffee, and (2) I put a generous portion of cream/milk to help ease the acid effect.

It would still be a long way for me to be a black coffee drinker. But for now, I can explore the cafes that are mushrooming in the city.

Have any recommendations for a coffee newbie?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tiger Kiss

Mulan Jamilah, a 6-year-old Bengal tiger, kisses caretaker Abdullah Sholeh in the garden beside their home on January 20, 2014, in Malang, Indonesia. Sholeh has become best friend and a full-time nanny to the tiger. Mulan's owner, Noer Muhammad Sholeh, 51, asked Abdullah to take care of the tiger when it was a 3-month-old cub at Dilem Village. Sholeh regularly sleeps, plays, and fights with the huge tiger. Found here

Friday, May 13, 2016

Good News On Sumatran Rhinos

Harapan, a young male Sumatran rhino, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2007 to mother Emi and father Ipuh. Harapan spent time in three US zoos over his first 8 years of life: the Cincinnati Zoo, White Oak Conservation Center in Florida, and the Los Angeles Zoo. ( Rhino Foundation). 

A Sumatran rhinoceros has given birth at an Indonesian sanctuary. The female calf was born on Thursday, weighs about 45 pounds ( 20 kilograms ). Read more here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 ?

Indonesian | 2016 | 123 minutes | Director: Riri Riza

((Beware of spoilers))

Ok, I finally caved in and watched it in the cinema. I mean, how can't I not watch it when everyone I know raved about it. I don't think I watched the first movie in the cinema (I waited until it was aired on TV), but here I am, watching the sequel on the big screen because it was the talk of the town.

The sequel opens with Cinta (Dian Sastrowardoyo), Maura (Titi Kamal) and Millie (Sissy Priscilia) gather to celebrate the comeback of Carmen (Adinia Wirasti) from a rehab center. They decide to take a girls-only vacation in Yogyakarta to cheer Carmen up, and to see the exhibition of a Yogyakarta-based artist Eko Nugroho (By the way, this guy is top notch!). 

Fourteen years after the first movie, each character has continued with their own life, but they are still friends. Cinta works in an art gallery that handle work of arts and performing arts, she is also engaged to a young and handsome businessman Trian (Ario Bayu), Maura is now a sassy housewife, who still bosses around her friends, Millie is married to Mamet (Dennis Adhiswara) and they are expecting their first child, while the sporty and tomboy Carmen has just gone through a difficult breakup with her ex-husband.

The absence of Alya (Ladya Cheryl) is explained when they bade goodbye to Alya's ash burial. It was a bit sad to see Alya's character gets killed in this sequel, especially since it was Alya that made Cinta realized that she loved Rangga in the first movie. Can't you just make Alya in a comatose and then revive her in AADC 3, Mira Lesmana and Prima Rusdi?

Meanwhile, Rangga (Nicholas Saputra) has also made a living in New York. He opens a small cafe with a friend, while still continues writing poems and articles as well as taking photographs. People may not like looking older, but I personally like that Rangga has the dark circle and lines below his eyes. 

Rangga misses Dian in the cold New York, but he tries to bottle up all his feelings. Until one day, a young girl, who claims to be his stepsister, shows up at his cafe, asking him to come home and see his ailing mother. Guess where Rangga's mother reside? Yogyakarta!

During their trip, Carmen and Millie see Rangga. The girlfriends tell Cinta and advice her to meet him, for a good closure before she marries Trian. At first, Cinta refuses. But then Carmen set them to meet at an art exhibition. Cinta, who is not ready for the meeting, is furious with Carmen and says the things that she shouldn't say about Carmen's failed marriage. Carmen goes out all night to cool her head, and when she returns, the girls make peace. Cinta finally agrees to meet Rangga.

What initially planned to be just one-two hours of meeting expands into a 24-hour reunion. They tell each other what has happened during the years of separation, fight several times and then make up, and the best thing is they show the audience what makes Yogyakarta an unforgettable city.

The ending is sweet and expected, Cinta ditch Trian for Rangga, of course.

Random thoughts passing in the head during the screening:
  • I think the script is written in a rush. They could have done better. The banter between Cinta and Rangga, who is supposed to be in late 20s or early 30s, sounds like a couple of teenagers having a fight.
  • There is a line from the first movie that gets reiterated in this second movie: "Rangga, what you did to me was cruel."
  • Product placement in this movie is very visible and, to some point, annoying. A**le, L*n*v* and A*ua D*n*n*, to name a few.
  • I love it that AADC has this habit to instill political issues. In the first movie, it is told that Rangga's mother left him and his father because his father wrote a thesis that criticizes the government and led to Rangga's father being fired from work and considered as anti-government. In the sequel, there is a scene where Cinta and Rangga watch a Papermoon Puppetry show, titled A Cup of Coffee from Playa, which tells about the 1965 tragedy that separates a couple.
  • The first movie has one kissing scene, which stirred responses from the film censor body. The sequel has two, and both scenes are not censored! Perhaps there will be three kissing scene in AADC 3, hahaha. It is interesting to see that 14 years has changed the film censor body.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Events For The Upcoming Long Weekend

Hello lovelies, this week I only have three days of work because Thursday is Ascension of Jesus Christ and Friday is Isra Mi'raj. I'm taking a half day leave today to anticipate heavy traffic as people will leave the city.

It's been so long since I last wrote up a list of things to do on the weekend, I hope I manage to put all in one post. Here it goes...

Have a soft spot for foreign films? Watch them during Europe on Screen, which will run until May 8. I've already marked some of the films :).

Bookworms, there's a must-visit book expo at Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Jakarta.

Shrek The Musical hits Jakarta.

Jakarta Food and Fashion Festival is here again.

Other than that, I think I'll put the KonMari's method into action and perhaps go watch Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2

Hope you have a good one!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Other Things About Hong Kong And Macau

Octopus Card

I took the picture in a rush before we returned them at the airport

Once you land on Hong Kong soil, this is the one thing that you should acquire. Seriously. You can use this card for MTR, bus, and ding-ding tram. You can also use it to buy food, and other things where the merchants provide the Octopus reader machine.

In Tung Chung, the apartments are owned by MTR, and the residents' data are inserted in the Octopus Card. Using the Octopus card, the residents are entitled for a free shuttle bus ride to MTR Tung Chung every morning and evening.

A card is priced at 150 HKD, with 100 HKD for credit and 50 HKD for deposit. You can keep it as a memento, but if you return the card at the airport, you get the deposit back (minus a 10 HKD fee) and use the money to do last minute shopping at HKIA's duty free.

iVenture Card

Aneen found information about this card via this link. Then she persuaded me to buy the card. I was a bit hesitant to buy online, so I asked her if we could buy the card upon arrival. If you intend to see as much tourism attraction in HK and Macau, buying this card is a wise decision, because you can save money and time (the card offers 'skip line' benefit). The skip line thing was great, because the queue could take hours!

We used this card to do Victoria Harbour watertour (with complimentary drink), see HK from Sky100 (with complimentary drink and cookies), observe HK's art during Soho Gallery Walking Tour, take the roundtrip of Peak Tram, visit Madame Tussaud's and Trick Eye Museum, hang out at Sky Terrace, take the roundtrip of Ngong Ping 360, have fun at Disneyland HK, climb up Macau Tower and a free meal package at Broadway Galaxy Macau. All for the price of 1,149 HKD.

  •  HK
I love going around HK thanks to the easy transportation system.

  • Macau
While Macau has a more relaxed vibe (and I'm all for relaxation), transportation is one major factor that make me despises Macau. Here are why:
1. Macau has yet to have an urban railway network for commuters, so we rely mostly on buses (which probably come once every 30 minutes).
2. The buses go in circle, instead of going both ways

Let me take an example from the 18A bus route above: you're on Avenida D. Joao IV and want to go to Jardim M. Flora. You must go to Almeida Ribeiro-Ponte16, and then back to Perola Oriental Terminal, and then take another ride to Jardim M. Flora. It's wasting time, money and energy!

Another transportation option is the free shuttle buses that go from casinos to ferry terminal/airport. But the routes of such buses are not mapped out, so it would not be wise to use shuttle bus if you're in rush.
  • Ferry between HK and Macau
Aneen (again!) found information on Cotai  Water Jet's promotion via Facebook. By becoming a follower, you can apply for a discount on one ferry ride. You can check this link for more information. Be sure to check which ferry terminal you use for departure as HK and Macau has several ferry terminals.

Thank you Cotai Water Jet!

Photo at Tourism Sites
When you go to a tourism attraction and an officer offers to your picture with his DSLR camera, your first reaction must be: "Oh, but is it free?" The officer will smile and convince you that the photography service is free. The photographer will give you a coupon for the photo. But when you want to see the photo, the officer behind the printing machine will say that if you want to see it printed, you'll have to pay. And the pay is always more than 100 HKD.

We experienced this for the first time at Madame Tussaud's, where we were asked to pay 120 HKD per photo. We kindly declined and continued taking photos with our own camera. From then on, everytime an officer takes our photo, we just ignore him.

I can't give any recommendation on local food because I don't eat much in Hong Kong. I brought cereal drink, biscuits and instant noodles, which I ate for breakfast. I often skipped lunch and only had light snacks for dinner. I was afraid that the food was not halal, while halal food was more expensive. I only ate out a few times, with twice of them were because my friend who resides in HK took me there.

Halal dimsum at Masjid Ammar's cafeteria, EK treated us there.

EK treated us to a seafood restaurant, yummy

In the end, because I was hungry I tried KFC HK's Okonomiyaki Crispy Chicken + mushroom black pepper rice + egg tarts. You just have to try all variants of egg tarts while in HK.

However, no egg tart can beat Lord Stow's egg tart in Macau. Let's hope that it will open a branch here in Jakarta any time soon.

  • HK
On the first night, we stayed at Sydney Hostel, Chungking Mansion. We forgot to take pictures of the room, but there are many on the internet. If you're a first time backpacker, I would not recommend this place as it can be very intimidating. Upon approaching the building, many people tried to sell us things: room, food, tour packages. I kept my face straight and it kinda worked. But Aneen was bombarded with offers.

The next day, we stayed with Indonesian migrant workers. There are around 150,000 Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong. Most of them live with their employers, but some rent a place with other migrant workers. Some others rent a place to provide a haven for fellow migrant workers who experience either sudden terminated contact or cannot stand their employers and run away.

I'm not exactly sure which category our accommodation falls into, which is why I'd like to keep it under the radar. We only pay 50 HKD/night/person. If you'd like stay at their place, just shoot me the question and reason for staying via email (Read the About section to find my email). They only take women for their guests.

We stayed at EK's apartment when we're back from Macau. EK's apartment was near the airport and it took only 15 minutes from the apartment to the airport. Thank you for your hospitality, EK.
  • Macau
We didn't exactly plan to spend a night in Macau, but since we had difficulty on the first day, we thought we should at least try to conquer Macau the next day. We contacted our migrant worker friend in HK and asked if they had a friend in Macau who could take us in for just one night. Long story short, we stayed with them that night. But we were surprised to see so many migrant workers at the place. 

One of them told us that her contract in HK was ended and she didn't want to make her parents worry if she came home. So she went to Macau (for a visa run, I suppose) and waited for her next contract to complete. Everyone was tense and spoke in a hushed tone. They were kind and even offered us dinner, but it was a relieve to leave the next day.

Hmm, is that all? I guess so. Well, see you on the next posts, then.