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.


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.

Week 7. My childhood memories.

Childhood = age span ranging from birth to adolescent. 


Birth, toddlerhood, play age.

Uhm… I can’t remember anything, really. My mom said I was an easy going lil girl, easy to handle, very calm. No fuss. Mom loved to take me to anywhere because I would not bother her or anyone else. How cool I was, huh? Haha… 

School age

Not many that i can remember. But I know I used to love teaching younger kids from the neighbourhood, pretending I was the teacher 😁. I always wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, I don’t formally work as a teacher now 😂.

I loved to exchange letters back then. I had several pen pals but my best pen pal was Ita. She lived in Lhokseumawe. We met in Banda Aceh for a science competition when we were in grade 5. We wrote each other for seven years. We stopped writing letters during the era of internet, haha… I mean when email was becoming very popular to connect each other. But the feeling was different… We didn’t write that often anymore. We remain good friend, though.


I knew I was in puberty when I had a crush on someone at school, hahaha… Hormones? Of course, it was the year when I had my first period. I was crazy about him, but in silence. I wasn’t very outspoken in terms of telling personal stuffs. I was happy even to have seen him from the far… He didn’t know I liked him though. Not a bit. 

I had quite some stories about this kind of one sided love, haha. I guess I enjoyed being a secret admirer. I wasn’t very pretty. I wore teeth braces, my teeth were all over the place, haha. So I wasn’t very confident back then. Especially because most of the guys I liked were popular guys. They wouldn’t even look at me. One of the guys I liked had said once, right on my face, “pissed off”. What??? I wasn’t stupid though. I hated him then, haha…

One interesting thing about this love thingy, I once dreamt of having a husband named Ihsan. Why? Because some couples in our neighborhood had similar names with their spouses. In front of my house, there were Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Hasanah. Then, at the next block there were Mr. Jamil and Mrs. Jamilah. They were romantic couples. So, they had inspired me to find a husband with similar name, haha. How stupid was that? Anyway, guess what’s my husband’s name? Ihsan… Haha, a man version of my name, Issana. Yes, i finally found the one. My husband legal name is Irsal, but it’s his new name. His parents changed it when he was in high school because he was easily ill all the time. It’s common in our culture to change name when a kid is always sick. His former name was Ihsan. Family and relatives, even his neighbours, still call him Ihsan until now.

Well, I had a happy childhood. Maybe I’ll write about it in other post, when I remember 😄.


Week 6. 10 years from now.

Just a reminder, I am writing this as part of the 52 blog challenge initiated by Britt’s Daily Dose and her friend. You can join, too. Put the banner below on your post and link it to them.

Okay… 10 years from now…

1. I will probably have added one or two more children by then 😄. My husband and I have decided not to involve with any kind of contraception. We are aware of family planning, though. We’ll be happy with as many children given to us. Insha Allah. 

2. I will have graduated from PhD program 😁. Can I get an amen to that? My focus this year is to prepare the proposal and find a suitable supervisor. I am planning to apply the program next year. If things go as they should, I will have finished it in 5 years time. So, in 10 years I’ll be more prominent in my field of expertise.

3. I will have been still living in here, hometown, Aceh. It’s true that I always have the dream to live abroad, but temporarily. I will always come back here 😄. 

4. I will have ticked all the bucket list in here.

Uhm… What else? 

5. This sounds cliché but I wish I will be a better person within ten years time. A more patient mother, a more loving wife, a more devout Muslimah. If now I tend to only do the mandatory worships (like do the five time obligatory prayers, fasting during ramadhan, etc), later I want to exercise more sunnahs practiced by Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Okay. Five should be enough 😁. See, i am trying not to miss another week here… Haha.

Road trip to Berastagi, part 2

Still Monday

We stayed at Sinabung Hill and Resorts. We’ve got good price from Pegi-pegi, hehe.. way cheaper than the published rate. Rate on Pegi-pegi was also the cheapest compared to rates offered by other online booking sites. The hotel is nice with great garden and pool 😍😍. The scenery from our balcony was also superb. 

View from our balcony. We got the deluxe room at second floor.

It was raining heavily when we arrived at the hotel. No wonder the fog was very thick since morning. We rested a little while waiting for the rain to calm. Had lunch in the room, prayed, and just chatted and goofed around with K.

The rain stopped at two. Yeay… We immediately went to Funland Mikie Holiday 😄😄. We definitely wanted to go there for K. Where else do you go if you’re with a toddler? Haha.

It’s a pretty large theme park with more than 35 different attractions. You have to buy the all you can play ticket for IDR 120.000/person. We had to buy three 😥 since K was already above 90 cms 😁. I thought K could get free ticket, haha.

Anyway, it was worth the price. There are lots of rides/attraction for kids with height above 90cm. K was so happy, especially when he saw dinosaurs and flew with Pterosaurus 😄. Although we arrived at noon, we were able to enjoy all the rides eligible for K. The place is closed at 6pm and we were already tired at 5pm 😅. My husband and I are not a big fan of adventurous attractions so we were not that excited to try other rides for adults, especially to ride them alone… Oh, no way!!

The ‘tall’ little guy 😍

So, Funland at Mikie Holiday was our closing of the day. K was super happy and tired, he fell asleep immediately after early dinner. 

Our last day!! We planned to go back in the afternoon as we wanted to pass by at my another in law’s house on our way home. So we spent the morning at the hotel, exploring the beautiful garden. 

The playing field is huuuge. I recommend the hotel for a family vacation, really. It has playgrounds with decent equipment, pool if your kids are into water, soccer field. K loved running around in here.

Morning well spent, except for the breakfast that was just okay. Don’t expect too much luxury since this is not a five star hotel. There wasn’t many choices to eat, we had fried rice with egg and sausages. 

Then we headed to the Gundaling dairy farming, only 10 minutes drive from our hotel. The farm is not very big, only 15 Ha. There are around 400 cows in here. We went there pretty early, the cows were just lining up for milking. It was interesting how they lined up neatly just by listening to classical music. As usual, K enjoyed watching cows ☺🐮🐮. He reads a lot about cows at home, so I guess the visit satisfied his curiousness. Unfortunately we couldn’t taste the products usually available in here as it was still early (the production was just about to begin) and they didn’t have any more stocks to sell 😂. 

At the Gundaling farm. Fresh air plus cows.

Off from the farm, we went up to the Gundaling hill. This is the best place to see both Mt. Sibayak and Mt. Sinabung, as well as to see the whole city of Berastagi from above. The view was extraordinary. But of course, what mattered to K was the horse. Haha.. always the horse. He asked for a horse ride one more time here.  

Horse riding with abi. The face here did not represent the happy feeling inside, though.

Almost noon, we bought lunch and went back to the hotel. We had lunch in the room, got ready, and drove back home.

Home is quite far away from Berastagi, so we stopped by my in law’s house in Lhoksukon, which is around 8 hours drive from Berastagi. We stayed over night before driving back to Banda Aceh the next morning.


Home sweet home 😍😍. It was nice to do the road trip, especially to have met some family members. All my husband’s family members live outside Banda Aceh, so the trip was particularly satisfying for him. We definitely would do this again.