Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Cruise

Those growing up in the 80s, like me, must heard of, if not became fan of this original Boyband of all time - New Kids On the Block or NKOTB. It has been 20 years since my crush on Joey, but I can still remember the lines of "Please dont go girl" and "The right stuff" in addition to their "Step by step" music video choreography.
In 2008 they re-launch their career and though it was not as glamourous as before, it was well noted. They made some tours which unfortunately I could not attend at all. But.... They just announced their annual NKOTB CRUISE. Yupp, stuck on a boat with NKOTB themselves! I am of course very tempted to go, especially since the boat will depart from.... MIAMI! 
Unfortunately, children under 16 is not allowed on the boat - meaning little cupcake can't go, so this is impossible for me (we plan to go as a family).
I am super buffed by this but, hey, life sometimes gave us difficult options and this time I had to make one. 
I do hope they make a North American Tour next year and hope they will stop in Florida ��. Until then... I'll be loving NKOTB forever! 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

International Moms

I always have this wish deep in the corner of my heart that I will live abroad one day and be some sort of an International Mom. Well, fast forward seven years later and here I am on my third country with my family. 
What I enjoyed of being an expat lady was the chance to meet other moms and today I had another chance to meet different expat moms in a picnic potluck.

There are of course differences of the way people live from one country to another, but what's surprising is actually how SIMILAR moms are in dealing with life and kids. 
When one lady told the story of her husband who never could do the grocery shopping right, all will scream in unison saying that is exactly what their husbands are doing. 
Same with husband not doing house chores correctly, pretend to sleep when the kids need them, etc, etc. 
So I guess moms everywhere are not different after all. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The 12 years of not moving on.

Yesterday, Indonesian social media was in chaos. The culprit is a mini movie commercial of a Korean based talk app LINE. The mini movie is actually the long awaited sequel of a high school chick movie. You know, "girl hates boy, girl likes boy, boy is selfish, boy goes away, girl chases boy to airport to proclaim the love- the end" type of movie. What's probably a little different is that the movie focuses on the medium of arts enjoyed by the couple; poetry. So instead of cliche dialogue we find smart and deep, meaningful poetry reading.
The mini sequel, beside the subtle tutorial on how to use the app functions, it tells the story of how the guy, living abroad, 12 years of no contact, managed to find the girl and pm-ed her. 
What a jerk! 
Girl feels divided, at one point she dismissed her feeling but on the other side she wanted to see him. The movie ended with the girl again, comes into the airport where they both exchanges poetry verses. 
Now, I learned two points from this short story. 
The first one: a 12 years move-on would fall to pieces with a simple text reply. When your substantial good-for-nothing ex contacted you on social media, do not, I repeat, DO NOT bother to reply unless you are willing to go down into the rabbit hole of love vortex.

The second part is the poetry itself. The banter poetry exchange they had at the end of the movie was superb. The rough translation is this:

Seconds never stepped back, but the blank paper is always there. (We could never turn back time, but we could always use a new blank paper to write new story).

Time never runs backwards and day never repeats itself, but morning always offers a new day, for all questions not answered. (we could never turned back time, but a new day offers a new beginning for life's unanswered questions. 

Well, now that I read it again it might be a bit corny, but hey, dont blame me, blame my hormones.

I love the part where it said that a new morning brings a new beginning and a new hope. So I believe, in life, we ought to always, always, always hope for the best. 
Picture of the lovely couple 12 years later taken from

Friday, 7 November 2014

Outgrowing Technology

I once read quote presumably by Einstein,
"I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots"
accompanied by photos of different group of people sitting together but had their eyes on their phones instead of interacting with each other. Regardless of whether the quote is original from Einstein or if it is actually another addition to long list of internet hoax, it made a lot of sense with what happen with our community today. 

Just two days a go I read a lady selling her two used a year old iPads in a buy-sell group. She stated "These used to be my kids iPad but they outgrew them." First iPad. First. iPad. I mean, what kind of a world do we live in now that kids got their own iPad where they would outgrew them. Dont get me wrong, I love technology but I do not treat iPad like clothe where my kid would outgrew them in a matter of months. 

Talking about technology, I just got my new iPhone 6 Plus. I do not feel that much difference in terms of speed or technology, except of the Health app. Since I will start walking again with my neighbors this week, this apps will become useful - at least I know how much calories I am entitled gulp in after the run. Ha!

Another thing that I want to share is about this item. I think this gadget is so cute. I am not sure if this is actually useful for me; I mean it does everything that a phone can do, but instead of typing you can speak to it. Anyway, I think it 's just cute!

Amazon Echo

Friday, 24 October 2014

'Life is what actually happens while we dream our dreams'

When I was 19, someone asked me when I plan to get married and be a wife. Question like this might sound uncourteous in Western culture but sadly this is the type of question faced but young or unmarried women in Indonesia, or Asia. At the time I laughed at the idea of having a husband and a family and boasted that I get married by 30 and after my Phd. Fast forward 15 years later and here I am, happily married to an amusing husband and we have a cute daughter together. Most importantly, the married adventure started when I was 28 – not 30; AND the only Phd I have now is doctor of girls tea-time philosophy, if there's any.

Sometime when the house empty I'd pondered what would life be if I changed course. Not the Star Trek time machine course but more like X-Men: days of Future past course, you know, like what will happen if my current self-came back in time and became my old self and did the opposite of what I did.

Will I still be here in US? Will I have another family? Will I have a Phd in Physics or Nuclear science or maybe another Phd holder in tea-time philosophy? Most importantly, will I be happier? Will I be living my dream of tying the knot at 30 and fulfilled my dreams?

My answer is, I do not know. And I probably will never know. For all I know, I am doing my life now and I love the way I am doing it, whether it is my dream life or not.


As what I quoted in my recently-found blog from 2003: Life is what actually happens while we dream our dreams.








Saturday, 11 October 2014

The day Malala wins

I think the world could smile for a minute today knowing that Malala has won the Noble Peace Prize. After a few head scratching moments on the name of the recipients before – Al Gore, Barack Obama, everyone? – seeing such a young recipient with such a bold message is very uplifting. 

What moved me is the fact that Malala stood up to education and terror at such an early age. She started by writing a blog when she was 11-12 years old about empowering women education and her fears. I am in my thirties and my goodness, I did not even wrote about women empowerment or my fears! Looking at the cases of teenagers who died in the area for standing up for themselves, I believe that Malala standing up for her believe is actually part of conquering fear itself.
My wish for Malala is that this will not be the end of her journey and that all will not come to just lip service- as some of the previous recipients. And hopefully more Malala would come from other parts of the world.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Being a mom and a world citizen

I For the past seven years, I have been a "world citizen" and lived in three different countries: Singapore, Germany and US. Before that, I spent a year in Belgium and 20 something years in my home country, Indonesia.

In three of those countries, I was a Mom. The thing about living in a country and trying to understand its culture is that, you spontaneously copy a lot of their routine or their habits. Including habits in raising children and the family. Here are some of the habits that I noticed during my time as an "International Citizen" of the world, or so I say ;)

-Kids are treated like precious artifacts in Indonesia. Babies are usually carried in front with a special cloth called "jarik" and letting a baby cried for long time is a big No-No.

-In Singapore, I found that people are not really fond of babies. Whenever I took my baby out in public transport in stroller, no one ever bother to give space for us or to look into the stroller, let alone to comment on "how cute she/he is." In Germany, the first morning we went out, an old couple saw Rania in her stroller and commented on how cute she was and how big her eyes were. I received comments similar to this for the two and half years while we were there.

-I found Germans kids to be very active and fearless. The first time Rania went to the playground in Germany, she was shocked for a minute, she was two at the time and all she tried was the swing. While toddler smaller than her tried the monkey bar, climbed the spider web and the see-saw. Mothers would just sit and let their toddlers play. I freaked out on the idea of letting Rania played alone.

-Health and hygiene is a big thing in Singapore. Every morning the teacher would check the children's hands for HFMD (Hand Foot Mouth Disease) and head lice. Parents had to wash their hands of the children before coming into class.

-On the contrary, on the first day of kindergarten in Germany, Rania hardly eat her lunch: no hand wash, all they did was dipped the hands into soapy water and then towel dry.

-The definition of kid's lunch differs between countries. In Indonesia, I always had my lunch at home: rice, protein and a bowl of veggies. In Germany and here in US, kids have lunch at school. I was surprised to see the cafeteria menu in Rania's school and the 'Lunchables' pack they have here in supermarket, in my days those kind of foods I will consider as snacks.

-During my school days in Indonesia, on conference day (which usually happen in report card day) teacher never beat around the bush and always brought up the negative aspect first. While here in the US, teacher always brought up the positive aspects, and sometimes only positive aspects of the child. Nothing negative would be mentioned and even if it is, it would be sandwiched so comfortably between all the positive comments. I could not count anymore how many times Rania's teachers have commented that they were so proud of her during the school years.

This list can go on and on, but I think I have to stop here for now. I shall continue to learn the fascinating cultures of raising a kid abroad and put them on this list J

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The not so little cupcake

The little cupcake is not so little anymore and she is starting the first grade this year! How time flies! It was like yesterday I carried her with Bjorn carrier and stroller, and now she's big enough to ride the school bus all by herself.

So far, she has been a "star student" and "student-of-the-week". It is a big recognition for someone who's afraid of talking so I've been a proud Mama! Each day she would bring home her works from school and sometimes we need to review her works together because I need to explain to her some complicated idioms they use. Rania is a naïve little girl and has a straight forward thinking and sometimes this is not helping. One time, she could not answer a review question and I asked her to think "outside the box", she snapped back and said "outside the box? Why a box and not a ball?" Oh, well, that wasn't easy to answer.

She is a good reader though –her reading level is that of end of first grade- and she loves reading. I just focus on that for now and hope that she grows up to be someone who loves reading, like me. My mom has always love to read and I think that contribute to her well-being – never argue or be on the opposite side from my mom because nobody won an argument with her – the power of reading I guess. Another funny fact is that, when my mom was pregnant with me, she read the book "Close Encounter of the Third Kind" and I grew up liking science fiction and all.

One of the books I read during pregnancy was Jenny McCarthy's "Belly laugh". Maybe Rania could end up being a comedienne or a comedic person? And hopefully a comedienne who thinks outside the box.

Cupcake walk

Well, what do we have here? It's been a while since I post something.

Definitely not the first time that I am late in posting, but from now on I'll try to post as much as possible. *scout's promise*

It's been too long since I actually sat in front of my screen and wrote something with the intention of publishing it in my blog – not in social media.

Ok let's see what I have…

I gained weight. Ha! This is nothing new. I guess living in the land of cookies and sweet savory stuff a.k.a. USA has contribute to the 10 pounds of fat in my love handles. Please don't laugh, it took a big courage from a-used-to-be-size-2 person to acknowledge the fact that she IS (perhaps a little bit?) overweight.

Maybe this is nothing if I live anywhere else. But I live in the county of plastic surgeries and mannequins – you should see how the other moms dress up when dropping and picking up their kids in the bus stop. 6" tall with bareback maxi summer dresses, hoop earrings, the whole nine yards and all.

So another mom and I made this pact that we would brisk walk every morning for 30 minutes to an hour, every single morning. Unless it's raining, or we are in dire need of cupcakes and coffee.

So far it's been going on okay, I'm not expecting to shred gazillion pounds but eliminating some tummy flabs would be nice. Wish me luck! Or at least wish me of not wanting cupcake after the walk.




Thursday, 16 January 2014

Catching Mitch Albom to get The First Phone Call From Heaven

No, I'm not interested in clairvoyance or anything similar to it. The "First Phone Call from Heaven" is the new book from Mitch Albom, one of my favorite writer. I started following his work since I bought his "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and was hooked on his interfaith writings ever since. I felt that I could relate to his books and agree on one thing: being religious does not mean that you need to be a religio-chauvinist to be a good person. In fact, being religious means that you respect God and your faith by cherishing humanity regardless of their race or faith.
I met Mitch the first time in Singapore, 2009 (wow that was long time ago!) when a friend, a writer, asked me to see his book signing in a mall in S'pore.

So when Mitch started a new book tour and visited Miami as part of it, of course I jumped at the first chance to see him. I begged my husband to drive me to Miami and asked Mitch to take another picture with me (or more like I asked Mitch to take another picture with him, ha!).

He was surprised enough to see an Asian lady in one of the attendees, let alone this lady had met him 5 years ago in Spore. He, of course did not remember the picture, but kept thanking me for coming and remembering him and the picture, all this time. Of course Mitch, you are one of my fave writer!

Regarding the new book though, it was not as good as his previous books. The premise itself was interesting and the plot is a mix of religious ideas with a hint of mystery and adventure. But the plot and the twist was thin and easily guessed. Good enough to read it before bed but not one that will remember years to come.

I wonder if Dan Brown is coming to town any time soon?