Week 14. My favourite book.

Reading has always been a great pleasure for me. I read anything… Even the shallow kind of book like teen lits, haha. However, I don’t really have a particular book to be claimed as favourite.

I have some favourite authors, though. Here are my top three. I would write more, if I have time 😜.

1. Paulo Coelho

I started reading Coelho at high school. My first is The Alchemist. Have you ever heard the phrase, “when you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favour.”? 

His words… Which I love.

Imho, his writings are dreamy, pensive, and insightful. Not just in The Alchemist but in all of his books. The keywords of his fictions are mostly the same; about one’s own destiny, about rising above failure, and about the unity of the universe. I’ve never got tired of reading them, though. I keep on adding more Coelho’s on my book shelves. Zahir, Witch of Portobello, the Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Eleven Minutes, Bridal, Veronika decides to Die, by the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, the Fifth Mountain, are some that I’ve enjoyed. I still have some of his I haven’t read yet. But, I will :).

2. Haruki Murakami

When I was working as a radio announcer in Malang, a friend recommended me Norwegian Wood of Murakami to read as we listen to Beatles’ Norwegian Wood 😁. He said the book is awesome.

Turned out… Yes, I absolutely loved it. After that book, I follow up with The wind up bird chronicle, Kafka on the shore, After dark Roman, Blind willow sleeping woman, After the quake, and the most recent one I read, the 924 pages of 1Q84… Haha. The longest fiction I’ve read. Amazing I could finish it in between parenting plus working from home hours :mrgreen:.

I love Murakami for his witty writing style; surreal, bittersweet, mysterious and unpredictable. His fictions have things in common (see pic), which I also love. Everytime I read Murakami’s I always could relate the similarity with his other books.

Murakami never fails :mrgreen:. He’s the master of symbolism, all summed up in this bingo chart. Took the pic from http://www.sometimesraw.com/?p=2927

3. Khaled Hosseini

I’ve only read two of his books, which are Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Although I haven’t followed with his other books, I found those two heart wrenchings and heart warming at the same time. I think his writing is so vivid and alive, driving your emotion to the nerve. Both books explore the life of a misfit in a war ravaged in Afghan society. Both books are about love, courage, and humanity. 

Done. Three for now :).

 

Week 13. My favorite month.

APRIL for sure.

It’s my birthday month. 

We have the best weather in April. Not too hot, not too rainy. Same applies in Australia… It’s autumn in April, a bit cold but not too much. The best is April in Italy, Spring 😁.

April is not mid year. So it’s actually the right time to remind myself of the annual targets. Contemplating on mid year would be too late because half of the year has already gone by.

😍.

Week 12. Social media phenomenon.

Unlike my husband who avoids any kind of interactions through social media (he only uses instant messaging applications), I am quite an active social media users. I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although active only on those apps, I engage pretty regularly in socmeds. Not that I post everyday, though, haha… I enjoy the likes and comments, the loves, and the attentions. Of course 😁. Plus, I love how we can stay connected with our loved ones, old friends, though we’re far away.

However, thanks to my old fashioned hubby, we limit times for gadget at home. Part of it because we want K to have screen time as less as possible. Then, it’s good for us to have a more quality time together, too. When we go out, we don’t check gadget for every five minutes. Another reason why we don’t really have many pictures together as we tend to enjoy the moment rather than posting it to the socmed. Have you seen people dining in and not looking at each other but staring at phones instead? Then they talk when they want to take selfie or wefie, hehe. I have.. thousand times. And we definitely don’t want to be those kind. 

Sometimes I find socmed annoying, too, especially during the leader election in which people updated their political and religious rants. I actually deleted and unfollowed some annoying friends because of this. I can stand people who updated their not-so-impressive life for every an hour or the cringeworthy photos, but not those who mumbled on politics and become judgemental to the opponents. Hey, I could be one of them, you know, haha.

Really, if you have something to say, please be careful. I know it seems that we have more freedom of speech nowadays but I guess if it might be too sensitive for other people, be mindful. I also have my lesson learnt. I had a bad experience on socmed I become very careful now before posting any protests or negative comments.

So, once upon a time, for a week in a row I attended several sip and see parties thrown by parents who just had baby (we call it aqiqah, here). Apparently, the current trend in my city is to provide pretty and artsy dessert table full of sweets, cookies, and cakes in an event. Just like the usual sugar bars in western weddings or birthdays. However, different to my experience in other places, the dessert tables here were only meant for decoration instead for feeding. There was even a sign to warn guests not to select and sample the cutie stuffs at the instagram friendly table.

At a friend’s house… I, being the logic person who thought food served on the table were supposed to be freely tasted by guests, took a cake and enjoyed it. My friend, the party thrower, gave a surprise look but didn’t say anything. I found out about the sign later when I was about to leave, when i heard a child asked for a cookie on it and the mom said “No, see the sign, we can eat other cakes, okay?”. I thought, o my God…hahaha. I just ate one. No wonder the table was still full…haha.

All right. Until… I posted my opinion about the weird phenomena of acehneses’ not-for-guests-dessert table on facebook three days after I attended the last sip and see party (I didn’t mention any names, just general). I didn’t mean to hurt my friend’s feeling, of course, but i guessed she was irritated by the status. She left comments on it, but then the status became crowded with negative comments, by my other friends unmutual with this particular friend of mine, towards the unusual dessert table’s function 😅. Honestly, I am very much in accordance with the comments 😂… but I also realized that I was being insensitive to my dear friend, she’s one of my closest friends in high school. I didn’t want to loose a friend, so I quickly deleted the post (to avoid more negative and sarcastic comments coming) and sent her a sorry message. She didn’t reply, indicating she was hurt, for sure.
From there on, I try to be careful with anything I am about to post. I will think twice.. to be more sensitive with others’ feeling and avoid judgemental comments.

Anyway, I am fine with that friend now. We’re talking again, although I would understand if there is any different attitude towards me. I would understand if she might not want to share some personal stories or events with me anymore. I took my comeuppance. I was being bitchy on social media… And I almost lose a friend 😥.

So, have you had any social media phenomenon?

Week 11. Music of my heart.

I always love Alanis Morissette, as I’ve said in this post. However, I don’t really listen to music anymore. House chores, busy toddler, and other important stuffs to think about, made me enjoy less music. 

I still listen to music sometimes during my afternoon or morning run. I even made a special list for jogging. But lately, I don’t know why, I don’t enjoy them as much anymore. Maybe because at first my earphones didn’t work really well so I found the sounds disturbing.

So, I try reciting dzikr when I run now. According to this site, a good run should be aerobic. An indicator of an aerobic run is that you breath normally during run, not too fast not too slow, you can even have a small chit chat with your buddy. As I always run alone, I tried reciting dzikr to make sure I am not out of breath. If I can’t recite properly, means I run too fast, thus anaerobic, hehe. Dzikr has constant pace and same words, so it’s pretty helpful for me.

I am trying to make dzikr as the music of my heart. Indeed, it also helps when I have trouble sleeping. Instead of counting sheeps, dzikr would work better and faster. Probably it has the same function for yogini who recites mantra that helps them concentrate. 

Week 10. Oh to win a million dollars.

This is one thing hubby and I often discuss during our pillow talk, haha. Dream this, dream that, want this and that… then laugh together 😄.

As per our discussion, we realize that a million dollars is actually not that many. If we convert a million dollars into Indonesian rupiah, it would be around IDR 10 billions. If you spend it for a nice big luxurious house, a million dollars would just be gone in a second. 

However, we can spend it wisely 😁. Here are some priorities if we have a million dollars aka 10 billion rupiahs.

1. Donate first. One way to purify yourself from greed for wealth, according to Islamic teaching, is by donating to those in needs. The standard is 2,5% of the money you have, but in this case, 10% won’t hurt anyone 😄.

2. Investment. Save first before you spend, right? We usually save about 10% of our monthly income. We prefer to save in the form of mutual funds (Sharia based), just to make sure the savings fight inflation. Another form of investment we wish to do is real business. Both of us plan to work independently in the near future. I want to build my own planning consultant and hubby desires to start his public notary office. With one million dollars surely the plan would work well 😁. Maybe around 20% of the dollars worth to be allocated for these.

3. Pay debts. Islam takes debt very seriously, warns against it, and urges Muslims to avoid it as much as possible. We were aware of this but we thought we wouldn’t be able to own a house without bank loans. So, at the time we decided to choose sharia based bank, to make sure our debts are still on the sharia corridor. However, we are quite more knowledgeable about this now, that debts are debts anyway. If we have the money, we will surely clean up this mess. We’ve been paying fixed rate (part of sharia requirements is that it should be flat rate, no interest, no additional fees) for our debts monthly for 4 years now. We miss 11 more years :o:o. Around 5% of the dollars needed to wash this away.

4. We’d love to upgrade the house into a two-storeys house with nice furnitures… Haha. Plus, maybe upgrade our car. Oh my God, I was just writing about purifying ourself from greed on number 1 but now I want to upgrade wealth. Human greed, ckckck. Now we know how it feels to be rich, eh? Well, I feel it’s still fair to upgrade the house since it only consists of two bedrooms now. We always plan to add another room, just in case we have another kid(s) or simply for any guest to sleep in. And the car? We have an Altis 2002. It’s fair to change it with something more current, isn’t it? Hehe… So, 10% more goes to these so called basic needs.

5. Since we dated, hubby has always wished to provide free ambulances (especially for funeral services) for people. Later when we already got married, we often talked about how poor the current services provided for orphans and person with disabilities are. It would be great if we can contribute something to improve. Something like building a school with good facilities and environment for them. A service like this needs maintenance, therefore more of the dollars needed.

6. Travel. Of course!! Haha. I’d love to check all the bucket list in here.

7. What else? I’m running out of ideas already. Ckckck… This is what happen when you normally need to save instead of spending the money :mrgreen:. Uhm, maybe the rest would go into school fund for kiddos, treat my parents and family (some vacations together would be great), more charities, and more travels.

Daydreaming done.

Week 9. My biggest pet peeve(s).

Two things that drive me nuts:

1. people smoking around non smokers, especially around kids. I super hate them. Including those who smokes electronic cigarettes… Smoking is smoking!! Unfortunately here in the place where I live, no penalty applies for smokers in public areas, not even in public playgrounds. Fathers would still smoke while playing with children, spreading their toxic cloud around 😒😒. This angers me, really. Most of the time, I don’t tolerate them. I would directly say, “there are so many kids around, sir. Please smoke somewhere else.” If they ignore, I am always ready to confront. So, smokers… Just get out of my way.

2. Litterbug. Especially those who throw rubbish out of their cars. Oh, come on… Drive car but still uncivilised? I sometimes would pick the garbage thrown by people who walked in front of me and handed it to them. “Please put your rubbish to the bin, lovely lady.” Unfortunately I couldn’t do this to a person who drives, haha… This is why I go crazy. What a pet peeve. Super annoying. 

Oh an additional, 3. Line cutters… I hate them.

What’s your biggest pet peeve? 

Week 8. An unforgettable day in my life.

Wohooo, it’s been a while since my last post. I almost forgot about my weekly blog post 😂😂. Not proud.

Anyway…

There’s an ‘an’, so it should be one unforgettable moment. Uhm… I am not sure if I have one in particular.

Of course I couldn’t remember my birth, so it’s forgettable, haha. We don’t really celebrate birthdays or anniversaries at home, so no… I couldn’t remember any great and memorable birthday celebration. Maybe throughout my life, two important moments so far, therefore unforgettable, were our wedding and the birth of our son. I’ve already written about the birth of our son in here (in Indonesian) so I’ll write about the first one here 😁.

I remember that I was not that bridezilla type who planned and perfectly organized every single thing in regards to the wedding. Especially because I was in the middle of finishing my master thesis. We prepared things from a far, I was in Melbourne and my (soon to be, at the time) husband was in Aceh. He took care of things he had to do like preparing gifts for the bride and taking care of all necessary documents, i took care of things that can be ordered online from the down under, haha… Like wedding souvenirs and invitation cards.

So, yes… I didn’t have that epic wedding invitation cards with pictures of both of us holding hands together, haha. Well, we didn’t do pre wedding photos mostly because it wasn’t right according to our religion and family values. My parents said a definite no to pre wedding shots.
Mom and my baby sister took the most vital role for the wedding. They sent pictures of different wedding stalls for me to choose, different kind of flowers, etc. I trusted my mom’s tastebud so she was the one who picked the catering. I was the last daughter to get marry at home, so mom kinda knew best what and which, haha. I returned home a month before the date to prepare the rest. Not much, really. Everything was already booked, all I had to do was just pampering myself with body and skin treatment 😁.

The reception was so-so. Indonesian wedding is not very intimate. There were friends and relatives, of course, but there were also lots of my parents’ friends and colleagues whom I didn’t really know 😚.

Nonetheless, it was unforgettable because…

1. It was the moment when I saw my dad cried for me. He never really cries before. I remembered he also sobbed at my sister’s wedding and told me, “I have finished my responsibilities towards your sister. I am not a perfect dad but I hope I’ve done enough for her.” Though in reality he never stops being a father, of course, it is true that a daughter (in Islam) literally become the responsibility of her husband once she got married. I understand, a moment like wedding must have made him sad and lost…like loosing a daughter, handing his girl to a person he barely knows. I hugged him tight, just as a tight as I hugged my mom the night before, telling him that I will always be his girl. 

2. It was my first time alone with a man, in a room…haha. Well, we’ve been alone before at the restaurant, in the car, and other places, but not in a bedroom or empty room. It was a bit awkward to be alone like that, especially because I knew he had waited a moment like that for so long, haha. No extra stories for this :).

3. It was a very uncomfortable day, ever. I wore acehnese traditional wedding gown with several kinds of trinkets, including keureusang (a big jewellery chest pinned on the dress, like a brooch, made of gold encrusted with diamonds, fake diamonds, haha), 26 pieces of simplah (also jewelleries, mixed of hexagonal and octagonal plates decorated with carved flowers and leaves), more traditional jewelleries I couldn’t name, and the epic dhoe plate (forehead jewellery made from gold and shaped like a crown). Believe me, I carried like 10kgs of jewelleries on my body plus maybe around 3kgs on my head. Headache all along those six pretty hours while we had to smile and take photos with the guests. 

The torturing ‘crown’…

So, due to reason number three, I promise I would never do wedding again 😄. I had enough. Just one wedding, forever and ever. Insha Allah.