Life Recently, Through Pictures (part deux)

Hi, friends!

Back for the second installment of Life Recently, Through Pictures.

Here are some recent happenings in the life of Bubbles:

That’s Baby Bubbles and his friend C. We met at the playground and have been going on playdates ever since. This photo was taken at the zoo, when we took a playdate trip together. Recently we’ve gone on two playdates to the zoo with some friends, and it’s been really fun. For me as I get to hang out with other mamas, and for the kiddos as they get to go bananas together whilst watching monkeys taking naps. That’s always the beauty of warmer weather. Such a luxury for four season dwellers.

A few weekends ago, my girlfriend and I ( and our kiddos ) went on a roadtrip to the lake. It’s sort of a lake-beach, where the kiddos get to play in the sand and water (although the water was murky and there were lots of duck poop, but living in the middle of the country with no coast in sight I suppose we don’t get to be picky about that , huh? 😀 ). Stayed at a cabin for 2 nights. It was a nice respite from the day to day mundane.

The cute little cabin we stayed at. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen  (complete with utensils) and dining area, a little living room. Back deck with a barbeque pit.

The lake-beach. It’s picturesque. Best part? Nobody else was there that day. We got the beach all to ourselves. Feelin’ like a beach owning millionaire for a few hours, not too shabby. 😀

The little dude playing with sand. The kiddos had a blast.

 

Like a true Midwestern boy, he saw a monster truck and went ballistic. Here he is with his friend M.

CHICAGO! We took a trip out to Chicago a mere few hours after we came back from the Lake. Had to go to the Consulate to make Baby Bubbles’ passport. We picked the most beautiful day to be in Chitown, such a glorious spring weather. Breezy and perfect.

Mr. Bubbles and Baby Bubbles in front of the Adler Planetarium, with Chicago’s skyline as the background. Chicago is my favorite city in this country. Yes, it tops NYC for me.

Some cool looking tunnel inside the Adler Planetarium.

Playing in water fountain. Everytime we see a water fountain no matter where we are (at the mall, sometimes even inside a Chinese buffet!), we always throw a penny there to “make sure we’ll come back again.” Lil’ ole superstitious me. (Maybe someday we’ll get to throw a penny at the fountain at the Piazza Santa Maria in Rome’s Trastevere.. one can surely dream, huh?)

Everytime we’re in Chicago, we always make sure to have some Chicago style hot dog for lunch. Sorry for the un-appetizing photo, folks. Trust me, it’s delicious. 😀

Dinner at Joy Yee in Chinatown. Hotpot for me and Malaysian Pineapple Seafood for Mr. Bubbles.

Baby Bubbles devouring his Mango Milk Tea.

Other than that.. well, my best friend is pregnant. They’ve been trying for a year now, so this is a welcome news! My grandmother is very sick and therefore Baby Bubbles and myself are getting on the metal birdcage and will be home in Indonesia next week. I wish this homecoming (after almost 9 years) were under better circumstances. I wish this weren’t an emergency trip; but life happens. Mr. Bubbles won’t be able to make it (jobs are pesky like that, ya know), so that’s another thing that makes me feel a bit sad and nervous about the whole thing.

But I’m coming home. It’s a strange feeling. It’s been so long. I’m just a bundle of nerves right now. I will be home for the summer… all of 3 months!  (anybody wants to meet up? 🙂 ) It gives me butterflies in my stomach. Cheesy I guess, huh. Thankfully Baby Bubbles’ Indonesian passport will arrive today just in the nick of time (I kept bugging the crap out of the Consulate people. Sampe orangnya inget nama gue loh, saking gue telponin sehari ada kali 5 kali, haha.)

Well, I guess that wraps it up. Adios for now, blogger friends. I will update again with our adventures in Indonesia 🙂

Y’all have a wonderful day 🙂

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Japanophile

Bagi teman teman yang sempet baca bagian “who’s bubbles?”, pasti udah baca kalau gue ini Japanophile. Gue suka banget sama Jepang. Kebudayaannya, bahasanya (walau ga bisa.. ini maksudnya kagum gitu), tempatnya, pemandangannya, literaturnya, gaya hidupnya, teknologinya.. dan yang paling gue gemari adalah.. J-pop culture. Satu satunya sahabat gue disini adalah orang Jepang. (Ini bukannya pilih teman ya, tapi memang secara kebetulan doi-lah yang paling cucok sama gue dan ngobrol nya nyambung, banyak kesamaannya sama gue, dan orangnya sifatnya cukup mirip gue.)

Bagaimanakah asal usulnya sehingga gue menjadi maniak segala sesuatu yang berbau Jepang?

Waktu kecil dulu, seperti banyak anak Indonesia seumur gue di zamannya, gue penggemar komik Jepang. Bahkan gue mengoleksi komik2 tersebut. Candy Candy, Akira, Rose of Versailles (this one’s my absolute favorite), Eroica, Jendela Orpheus, Throbbing Tonight, Detective Conan dan Crayon Sinchan. Kayaknya masih ada beberapa serian lain lagi, tapi gue lupa. Drama seri anak anak favorit gue apalagi kalau bukan Doraemon. Gue masih inget, Doraemon ditayangkan di RCTI setiap hari Minggu pagi… jam 8 ya kalo ga salah? Ini di sekitar 1990an gitu.

Sejak suka baca komik2 tersebut, gue selalu punya ketertarikan sendiri terhadap kebudayaan Jepang. Bagi gue, Jepang itu kok kayaknya keren banget, orang orangnya artistik dan pastinya kece abis (bayangan gue dulu orang Jepang itu pasti mukanya mirip seperti yg di komik).

Bokap Nyokap gue dulu pernah tinggal di Sudanuma, di prefektur Chiba selama 2 tahun. Ini sewaktu gue masih 2 tahun umurnya. Bokap kuliah bahasa di Jepang. Gue nggak ikut, melainkan dititipkan ke Yangti&Yangkung gue. Tapi gue pernah ikut jenguk mereka selama beberapa bulan. Gue dibawa ke Tokyo Disneyland.. ya jelas memori gue belum jelas saat itu, namapun masih priyik gitu. Cuma setelah gue gedean, gue sering dikasih lihat foto2 dari liburan gue ke Jepang tersebut. Sejak kecil aja ortu gue selalu ngomongin tentang masa mereka hidup di Jepang. Nyokap gue sering cerita tentang beliau dulu kerja part time di toko roti, naik sepeda, waktu masih hamil adik gue. Mereka sering bernostalgia tentang masa masa Jepang mereka, they always said they loved it there, and would love to come back someday. Sampai sekarang, nyokap gue masih seorang pengagum budaya Jepang. Nyokap gue selalu bilang kalau etis kerja orang Jepang itu patut dicontoh, dan kebudayaan kolektivis mereka itu ideal. (sejak gue tinggal disini dan mengadopsi beberapa nilai moral kebudayaan barat seperti individualisme, topik ini sering menjadi topik diskusi/argumen di antara kami berdua. Tapi ini cerita lain untuk post di lain waktu. :)).

Lalu, di saat gue SD kelas 3 atau 4 gue lupa, Eyang Putri & Kakung (Kakek& Nenek dalam budaya Jawa) gue menjadi host family dari sebuah program pertukaran pelajar. Anak hostnya adalah orang Jepang, namanya tante Eriko. (harap diingat gue masih priyik jadi harus panggil dia ‘tante’) Gue inget kalo gue dan adik gue kagum banget sama tante Eriko. Orangnya cantik, bajunya anggun anggun, kalau ngomong juga halus sekali, sopan dan bener2 ladylike banget. Ortunya tante Eriko dan Eyang-eyang gue menjadi teman baik di kemudian hari setelah pertukaran pelajar tersebut. Lalu saat tante gue menikah, tante Eriko datang ke semua acara pernikahannya (gue inget totalnya 3 hari.. acara adat, sakramen nikah dan resepsi), dan dia pakai kimono ke semua acara tersebut. Kimononya cantik banget, gue yg dulu belom pernah ngeliat baju adat dari negara lain langsung tersepona.

Pada intinya, I have every reason to be a Japanophile ever since I was a tiny young sprout. And that’s exactly what I turned out to be.

Puncak kemaniakan gue terhadap budaya Jepang tejadi 5 tahun yang lalu, saat gue menemukan boyband Jepang benama… Arashi. Awalnya gue lagi iseng nonton dorama berjudul “Yamada Taro Monogatari”, dibintangi oleh Kazunari Ninomiya dan Sho Sakurai, keduanya anggota dari grup boyband tersebut. Gue kesengsem sama Sho Sakurai, dan langsung gugel infonya. Sejak saat itu gue jadi tahu tentang Arashi. Iseng isenglah gue dengerin beberapa lagu mereka. Cheesy? Sudah pastilah nek, namanya pun boyband. Jangan harapkan kualitas musik yang maknyus. Setelah pencarian yang cukup ekstensif melalui gugel dan situs situs lainnya, gue temukan kalau Arashi ini punya beberapa acara tv yang mereka bintangi. Acara acara ini disebut variety show. Lucu dan sarat info tentang budaya Jepang.

Gue juga jadi sering nonton dorama yang dibintangi para personil Arashi. Yang paling sohor kayaknya “Hana Yori Dango”  deh. (Meteor Gardennya Jepang). Walau bagi gue, F4 versi Jepang masih kalah ganteng dan macho kalo dibanding sama F4nya Korea ataupun Taiwan. Keknya F4 Jepang agak2 terlalu menye menye, ke cewekan gitu deh. Bandingkanlah dengan Vanness Wu atau Lee Min Ho yang macho gitu. Tapi buat gue, Makino versi Jepang itu nomor satu. San Chai sama Geum Jan Di minggir deh.. hehehe.

Sejak sering nge-dorama, selera gue pun mulai melebar. Lama lama gue nggak cuma nonton dorama yang dibintangi personil Arashi aja. Dari dorama dan film film Jepang gue belajar makin banyak tentang budaya Jepang. Drama Jepang bagi gue pas, nggak terlalu panjang kayak drama Korea (walaupun kalo ada K-drama yg bagus gue nggak keberatan nonton walaupun panjangnya ajubile).

Suami gue Mr. Bubbles, adalah veteran dari Angkatan Laut Amerika Serikat. Dulu dia ditempatkan di base di Yokosuka, Jepang selama 4 tahun. Mr. Bubbles ini juga Japanophile.. penggemar manga, anime, buku2 literatur Jepang dan kebudayaan Jepang. (malah sempet pacaran sama orang Jepang juga dulu, hihihi) Karena sesama Japanophile juga, inilah salah satu hal yang membuat gue nyambung sama dia.

Yang paling tragis dari nasib gue sebagai Japanophile (#hueeekksss #LEBAYABIS) adalah.. gue belom pernah ke Jepang sebagai orang dewasa! Jadi satu satunya kunjungan gue ke negara impian itu ya waktu gue masih kecil priyiks itu. Sempet transit di Jepang, tapi cuma di bandara aja, nggak kemana mana. Semoga dalam kurun waktu beberapa tahun ke depan, gue sekeluarga bisa mampir untuk liburan. Walau hanya bentar aja, gue pasti seneng banget.

Sebagai Japanophile, salah satu hal utama adalah tentunya kesukaan terhadap makanan Jepang. Makanan Jepang kesukaan gue adalah kareiraisu (rice curry). Kare Jepang ini rasanya bener2 creamy, nggak terlalu penuh rempah rempah.. dan terkadang suka dipakein keju.. bikin rasanya makin mantap abis. Di kota gue ini sayangnya nggak ada satupun restoran Jepang yang menyajikan kare dalam menunya. Sementara di Indonesia aja udah bejibun banget restoran kare Jepang. Hiks. Jadi iri. Biasanya ya gue bikin sendiri aja, beli blok kare nya di toko Asia. Yang kedua dan standar abis adalah sushi. Di Amerika sini sepertinya mereka mengadaptasi konsep sushi, biar lebih cocok sama lidah bule. Ada sushi yang digoreng macam tempura gitu. Maklumlah orang buleleng sini kan demen apa apa yang digoreng dan berminyak 😀

Gue juga suka banget sama ramen. Tapi, lagi-lagi, sayangnya di kota eike ini nggak ada resto Jepang yang menyajikan ramen. Kabarnya sih dulu ada, tapi restorannya tutup. Mr. Bubbles ini penggemar berat ramen. Sampai dulu kami pernah coba coba bikin ramen sendiri, tapi rasanya yah… gitu deh. Enak sih enak, tapi nggak ada mirip2nya sama yang dia coba di Jepang dulu katanya. Hehehehe. Kunci kesuksesan ramen kan berada di kuahnya. Harus buat kaldu sendiri endeswey endesbre. Jadi, biasanya kalau kami bener2 ngidam kare, kami pergi ke Chicago (sekitar 5 jam nyupir dari sini) dan makan ramen. Serunya, kami akan ke Chicago lagi minggu depan! hihihihi. Sebetulnya tujuannya sih sederhana aja, yaitu mau buat paspor Indonesia untuk Baby Bubbles di Konjen. Tapi sekalian mumpung ke sana, iya kan? Sayang, udah cape2 nyetir dan bayar bensin mahal… mending sekalian mampir makan ramen. Hehehehe.

Begitulah cerita gue dan kemaniakan gue dengan Jepang. Teman teman sendiri gimana, adakah satu hal yang kalian sukai banget? Please do share!

Have a great day, all!

My Favorite Things Right Now, Second Edition

Hola, friends!

It’s only mid week, huh? Can we fast forward the week to Saturday already? Heck, I’ll even take Friday.

I’m back for the second edition of “My Favorite Things, Right Now”. Here are a few things that make my days a little bit sunnier lately:

  • Game of Thrones. This series is the wettest dream of fantasy, medieval history, and drama fans alike. Often  described as “Lord of The Rings meets The Soprano”, this series is one of television’s biggest hits this season. Based on a series of novel called “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George RR Martin, this series tells the tale of seven powerful families all trying to win one powerful throne and in the process we get to see betrayal, revenge, love, lust, war, manslaughter.. and incest. I love that this series is very much un-Machiavellian. It’s not black or white. You’d be hard pressed to find the “antagonist” or the “protagonist”. Everyone is grey. Because much in life is grey, am I right? Things are not always as straightforward as the goodie hero and the baddie villain. And this is exactly what I LOVE about this series and show. Everyone has their own agenda, and everyone tries to pursue their own benefits.  Also, GRRM will kill your favorite character. Fall in love with a character? Better be careful cause you don’t know what’ll happens in the next chapter. This series just gives me life. Pardon the cheesy, but oh dear gods.. it is just that.freaking.good.
  • The Client List. So this is definitely one of those (shameful) guilty pleasures. Short of wine and dancing in your living room to Beyonce, that is. This is soap opera, maybe not the finest of them all, but it does me good. Beautiful eye candies (the dudes in this show are more than just aesthetically pleasing, ladies), story line that’s borderline trashy (desperate housewive got left by her douchenozzle of a husband and was forced to find work…. as a masseuse who does “extras” for her clients, if ya know what I mean). Okay, okay I’ll be honest.. it is not borderline trashy.. it IS trashy.. but a girl needs her telenovela fix, yes? So I’m absolutely not proud that I like this series, but what can I say? My heart wants what my brain shames me for. 🙂  Also, I really would prefer not to attach the poster for this series here, because of its very R-rated nature, hahahaha. If you need to see it for your own eyes, simply google image search The Client List. Just a reminder, Not Safe For Work! 😀
  • Girls. This is HBO’s newest series this season. Often compared to Sex and The City.. but I don’t think they’re of the same type. This is a story of four early twenty somethings trying to make it in NYC– trials, tribulations and all that biznass. The women in this series are of “ordinary beauty”, that is to say, don’t expect them to look like Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie, heavily made up and wearing the prettiest, latest pair of Louboutins money can buy. They look ordinary, just like you and me. Their clothes are cute, yes, but not of dreamlike level. Maybe Zara -cute, or H&M-cute. This is a show that’s earned rave reviews from the critics but not so much from the audience. People have complained of the “lack of diversity” in this show (Four white girls in NYC, what else is new?), cultural insensitivity (the opening scene in the first episode was of the main character Hannah, having argument with her parents who decided to stop funding her after doing so for two years after her graduating college.. in a time of bad economy and people who struggle to make it day to day to pay bills, it just seems really insensitive. It feels a bit like, “look at me I’m all so privileged” and that pushes a lot of buttons for a lot of people). I can understand it, really. I mean I feel almost guilty for finding myself to be attracted to this show. Also, be forewarned: lots of nudity. Like, very uncomfortable nudity.
  • Reading Indonesian foodie blogs. I recently, upon some intensive blog hopping, stumbled upon a sleuth of Indonesian bloggers who blog about nothing else but eating establishments across the country, complete with beautiful photos. This is like going down the rabbit hole for me. Once I start, I just can’t stop. I haven’t been home for 8.5 years and by reading these blogs I feel like I’m catching up on the places I’ve never been to. I mean, gosh! The culinary scene in Indonesia is just so wonderful. I’m also making a list of places I’d like to eat at if the opportunity comes and I get to go home again.. (you can also bet I would gain 20 pounds easy!). My favorites are Jenzcorner and Wanderbites. Also, reading these blogs in a state of hunger is very dangerous. Take caution; eat first. 😛
  • George Orwell’s 1984. A little late to the game (a LOT late, actually, but who’s taking notes?). It is a classic for a reason. An absolute page turner. I’ve always been strangely interested in subjects related to Stalinism, socialism, communism, and the likes (perhaps a result of being married to a laissez-faire Capitalist?). Recently I’ve been reading some books and been watching some documentaries on Netflix about North Korea. This, too, is like going down a rabbit hole. Can’t stop, won’t stop. If you’re interested in reading up about this topic, I’d suggest starting with this book by Barbara Demick, “Nothing to Envy”. As to documentaries, I’d suggest starting with this hour long National Geographic presentation, “Inside North Korea”. Also, if you’re a Hunger Games fan, you’d probably notice the disturbingly striking similarities between life in (fictional) Panem and life in (real) North Korea. 
  • Making plans for Baby Bubbles’ 3rd birthday party in July. Actually, calling it a “party” would be a stretch, seeing as this will only be a small, intimate gathering of our closest friends and family. The number probably won’t even reach 15. But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just call it party. It’s going to be a barbeque at a local park with a playground that Baby Bubbles really likes (we call it “Spaceship Park”  because there is this jungle gym area in a tower shape resembling space ship). This will keep the kiddos busy and us adults can hang out while barbequing. I’m thinking of procuring a pinata.. but definitely not from big names like Walmart or Party City, because they cost a fortune. Instead I will be going to a Mexican supermarket in our town’s Little Mexico. A bonus point of doing this is that I can hop next door to our favorite Mexican restaurant and do lunch. I know planning a party for July in May is a little early, but I need something to look forward to these days.. lots of stress round these parts, folks.
What are your favorite things right now, friends?