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.








Friday, 10 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.


Wednesday, 8 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

Friday, 3 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.