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 :).