So, this might be a stretch since I’m not sure how many people read this ol’ thing..

but if anyone would like a holiday card from us, please holler. I printed one too many cards this year and I would love to send some holiday cheer your way, if you’d like, that is.

It doesn’t matter what holiday you celebrate. Christmas ? New Years? I always just say, Happy Holidays. I think December cheer is absolutely for everyone.

Email me your addie (and your name, of course) and I’ll have them in the mail first thing on Monday! talktobubbleshere at gmail dot com.

Happy Holidays!

So, what’s new?

Wah,blog ini debunya udah ketebelan sampe permukaannya ga keliatan lagi. *ambil kemoceng*

Apa kabar semua ? Halooo? Masih ada yang baca kah? Hehehe.

Udah kelamaan banget nih gue nggak update. Sejak bulan Juni ya bok, buset dah. Why the absence? Pertama, gue males. Kedua, blogger’s block. Ketiga, males.

Karena gue ga tau harus mulai darimana, yang pengen ditulis banyak, tapi pikiran butek.. jadi gue buat bullet points aja deh. Seperti biasa, ketauan malesnya. Hehehe. Bear with me guys.

  • Acara mudik gue di Indonesia summer ini sungguh bener2 menyenangkaaaan. Sampai sekarang aja gue kalo inget2 masih suka senyam senyum sendiri, malah kadang2 suka pengen nangis karena kangen. Ketemu keluarga lagi, ketemu sahabat2 gue lagi, seneeeeng banget. Dan sempet ketemu temen baru juga (shout out to Rika and her family! Pleasure meeting you guys!) Puas2in makan makanan Indo (yang ga harus gue masak sendiri! Yay!), jalan2 bareng sepupu2 gue, ngenalin anak gue si Baby Bubbles ke sanak saudara (and to his other Motherland!).. this summer is really one of the best times of my life.
  • Eyang gue keadaannya udah lebih lumayan, dibandingkan sebelumnya. Sekarang berat badan beliau udah mulai naik, jalan pun udah perlahan2 bisa sendiri tanpa dibantu walker. Nafas pun udah nggak se-tergantung tabung oksigen seperti bbrp bulan lalu. Kondisi cukup stabil. Masih harus cuci darah rutin tentunya, karena beliau penderita gagal ginjal, tapi Puji Tuhan setidaknya sampai saat ini keadaannya masih relatif baik. Karena Eyang juga penderita hipertensi, maka tantangan makannya juga sampai dibuatkan daftar sendiri oleh dokternya. Tapi Eyang ini orangnya cukup nyeleneh… hehehe..  and she loves her food. Jadi terkadang Eyang suka curi2 makan makanan yg beliau doyan, tp ada dalam daftar tantangannya. Kita semua selalu ingetin, asal dikit2 aja ya Eyang.. hehehe.
  • Perjalanan pulang balik ke Amrik bersama si bocah bisa dibilang lumayan oke. Nggak banyak rewel, malah gue sempet bertemu & ngobrol2 dengan seorang emak2 asal Indo juga yg juga mau pulang lagi ke Amrik cuma berdua sama krucilnya. Bahkan dese lagi hamidun. Salut banget.
  • Ini juga mengingatkan gue… salah satu hal favorit gue dari travelling adalah bertemu dan ngobrol2 dengan orang2 yang seperjalanan.
  • Di perjalanan balik ke sini perut gue udah mules2 aja, takutnya ntar di Imigrasi gue ditanya macem2. Gue suka panikan orangnya kalo menghadapi orang2 pemerintah atau macamnya polisi gitu. Ga tau kenapa, dari dulu bawaannya gitu. Ternyata agen Imigrasinya ga banyak tanya, cuma tanya abis pulang dari mana, ngapain. Udah gitu doang. The whole process took less than one minute, I think. Gue pikir, percuma amat gue mules2 di pesawat. Hahahaha.
  • Rumah berantakan BANGET saat gue pulang. Maklum selama 3 bulan cuma suami gue sama bapak ipar di rumah. Gatel rasanya pengen benahin, sedikit aja tapi saking capeknya baru beberapa hari setelahnya gue bebenah.
  • Tetangga gue sebelah rumah, Oma-oma berusia tujuhpuluhan, rupanya kangen banget sama gue dan si Baby Bubbles. Suami gue sempet bilang, “Kayaknya si Oma kira kita cerai deh, soalnya lo perginya lama. Dia berkali2 nanya gue, kapan kalian pulang, saya kangen sama istri dan anak kamu.” Bwaahahahahaha. Gue suruh suami gue jelasin kalo gue tuh udah hampir satu dekade kagak pernah mudik dan ketemu keluarga, dan nenek gue sakit. Tapi sepertinya mudik lama gini adalah budaya yang sulit dimengerti oleh para non-imigran.
  • Baby Bubbles mengalami gegar budaya, haha. Di Indo dia dimanjain sama keluarga gue. Eh…. disini, balik lagi sepi. Cuma gue, bapaknya, kakeknya sama kucingnya. Hahahaha.
  • Sekarang dia gue masukkin daycare satu hari seminggu, 3 jam. Tujuannya untuk meningkatkan kemampuan sosialisasinya. Asalnya kan si bocah ini paling antipati sama yang namanya berbagi dan sejak dimanja jadi agak2 ngaleuyeud kalo kata urang Sunda. Sekarang walaupun yg namanya anak 3 tahun sama sharing itu tetep aja masih sulit, tapi udah mendingan dibanding sebelumnya.
  • Sekarang kami pergi ke Library seminggu sekali utk acara Toddler Storytime. Lumayan, si bocah ketemu temen2 sesama bocah dan gue ketemu sesama ortu. Belakangan ini gue ketemu beberapa emak2 yg nyambung dan klik ama gue. Lumayan, jadi ada temen playdate atau sekedar main2 aja di park. Anak2 lelarian, emak2 gegosipan. Great deal all around.
  • Tahun ini gue lumayan on the roll untuk urusan holiday season. Puun Natal udah dipasang seminggu sesudah Thanksgiving. Gue pasang garland di tangga segala. Ya gue ini nggak pinter dekor2an atau desain2an, dan sebetulnya gue adalah seorang Grinch (I hate holiday season), tapi gue baca bbrp artikel ttg pentingnya membuat tradisi bersama anak supaya anak mengingat bahwa holiday season itu adalah masa2 yang bahagia (“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  kalo kata orang ameriki). Jadi menghias puun Natal dan rumah gue jadiin tradisi. Sebetulnya gue pengen pasang2 lampu2 di luar rumah juga, yg lucu kayak Santa sama choo2 train gitu, maklum si bocah train freak.. tapi tahun ini kami bokek dan lampu2 Natal gitu lumejen juga harganya. Ya mudah2an klo ada rejeki tahun depan deh kita hias2 pekarangan pake lampu2 yang unyu. Btw, that just gives me an idea for a new blog post. Hehehe.

Ya.. segitu dulu update dari dunia Bubbles.. what’s new with you guys?

A few things

  • Akhirnya mudik juga. Sampai Jakarta 7 Juni kemaren. Di jalan 2 hari. Capeknya jangan ditanya. Baby Bubbles did pretty good on the road all things considered. Kalau lagi capek banget dia jadi hyper. But in general, we both did fine.
  • Tepar, tepar, and tepar. Tujuan mudik adalah buat bezuk nenek gue yg sakit. Rumah beliau di Sukabumi. Kamis sampe, Senin pagi cus ke sukabumi. Di sana langsung sibuk. Nggak ada pembantu yg overnight, pembantunya pulang hari. Tante om gue lagi belom pada dateng.
  • Sabtu kemaren kami foto keluarga. Sudah hampir satu dekade kayaknya sejak sekeluarga besar lengkap baru ngumpul lagi dirumah nenek. Baby Bubbles pas lagi bertingkah hari itu, jadi semua sepupu plus  om tante gue dikerahkan sebagai pengarah gaya dia dan ngehibur joget joget biar dia mau ketawa pas difoto. What a sight.
  • Sekarang gue lagi di rumah nyokap lagi, gara2 harus ke Jakarta Senin kemaren ada urusan. Disini sekalian istirahat dulu yg banyak,  gmakan, tidur gitu aja kerjanya, karena kalau kondisi gue kurang fit gue juga kurang bisa banyak bantu jaga Eyang gue. Untungnya tante gue udah dateng dan sekarang dia yg ambil tugas jaga.
  • Seneng banget liat Baby Bubbles banyak temennya disini. Ya anaknya sepupu gue lah, ya sepupu2 gue yg pada masih precils (maksudnya umur sekitar 9 tahunan, hahaha), sampai anak2 tetangga. Disini kulitnya makin gelap aja tu anak, gara2 seharian main diluar terus. Ya asal dia senang, emaknya sih hepi hepi aja tentunya.
  • Bokap gue dan Baby Bubbles akur banget dan langsung cocok. Such a blessing and I thank God for this, everyday.
  • Selasa pagi kemarin, tiba2 Baby Bubbles banyak bentol2nya di muka, tangan dan kaki. Gue khawatir, jadi gue bawa ke dokter anak. Kata bu dokter, itu gigitan serangga kecil bernama agas. Dikasih salep hydrocortizone. Gue salepin dan kasih bedak Calamed. Sekarang bentolnya sudah mulai mengempis, thank God. Tapi kasian banget liat anak kayak gitu, hiks.
  • Selera makan Baby Bubbles disini payah banget. Pas gue bawa ke dokter kemaren gue tanya soal itu, dan emang, seperti perkiraan gue, itu adalah bagian dari masa penyesuaian. Di rumah aja selera makannya dia kembang kempis, terus dibawa ke tempat baru ya sewajarnya selera makannya makin nurun. Bu dokter kasih dia vitamin dan thank God sepertinya vitamin bekerja, karena dia sekarang mau makan sehari 3 kali dan makannya habis pula. Yay! Senangnya liat anak makan lagi. Oh, dia doyan banget makan pisang ambon. Tadi pagi sejak dibeliin sama neneknya, udah habis 3.  😀
  • Senang banget bisa makan semua makanan Indonesia lagi. Baik itu makanan rumah ataupun jajan. Kemaren pas gue ke Jakarta gue ditraktir makan di Wiro Sableng di Kelapa Gading, salah satu tempat kesukaan emak gue. Sok sokan gue makan cumi bakarnya pake sambel terasi dia yg super pedes… eh besoknya langsung bayar kontan, hahaha. Berkali2 ke kamar mandi.
  • Believe it or not, happy as I am to be here, I’m a little homesick of my home across the wide pond. Oh well, better enjoy this short time home while it lasts. Soon it’ll be time to fly home again.

On Names and Strange Quirks

Today I met two little sisters at the playground named Summer and Skylar (her mama called her “SkySky”, which I just find so adorable). I love those names! Sure, they sound a bit hippie-esque, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with a lil’ bit of hippie, amirite? I mean, the hippies love peace and I consider peace to be a valuable life norm, for what its worth.

So I went to google “Skylar”, and as it turns out it’s Dutch for scholar. How awesome.

This whole name researching biznass got me looking into more baby names. Nope friends, I am by no means pregnant. 😀 I just like looking at baby names. Is it strange? Sure. Everyone has their quirky lil’ perk, right? 😀

Skylar Avery. What do you think of this name ? I mean, I don’t plan on getting knocked up again anytime soon (or ever, to be honest, but never say never, right? 😀 )

Also, I think of an Indonesian name for my second future hypothetical child. (Baby Bubbles has a very Western name, because his dad and I agree that he got to name the baby if it were a boy and I’ll get to name the baby if it were a girl, so by all accounts he won, hahaha.) So far I have only come up with  girls names. Kirana. I’ve always loved the name Kirana. Maybe it’s because I was a big fan of the oldies Dewa 19’s song Kirana? hahaha.

And Larasati. Because it’s my sister’s name and I adore my sissy like nothin’ else. She’s one of my most favorite people.

But Kirana Larasati? My mother said it’s the name of a certain bintang sinetron and she said please I would really like my future granddaughter not to be named after a bintang sinetron? She even used the word PLEASE which she very rarely uses with her kids, hahaha.

What about you guys? Any names you like for your future hypothetical babies? Are you guys weirdos like me who like to stalk baby names on the internet too? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

😀

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 🙂

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?

Ira Glass, on Marriage and the “No Escape Clause”

KURT BRAUNOHLER: I do have a theory now that if I do get married in the future, what I think I would want to do is have an agreement that, at the end of seven years, we have to get remarried in order for the marriage to continue. But at the end of seven years, it ends. And we can agree to get remarried or not get remarried.

IRA GLASS: Why?

KB: Because then I think you get to choose. And I think it would make the relationship stronger.

IG: ...I think actually one of the things that’s a comfort in marriage is that there isn’t a door at seven years, and so if something is messed up, in the short term, there’s a comfort of knowing, ‘well we made this commitment, so we’re just going to work this out. And even if tonight we’re not getting along, or there’s something between us that doesn’t feel right, you have the comfort of knowing, we’ve got time, we’re going to figure this out’. And that makes it so much easier. Because you do go through times where you hate eachother’s guts, and the no escape clause, weirdly, is a bigger comfort to being married than I ever would have thought before I got married.

(From NPR’s Valentine edition of This American Life).

This is one of the best, accurate depiction of marriage I’ve ever heard. Mr. Bubbles and I had a discussion about this last night and we both agree that Ira made a valid point.

Because let’s be real, marriage isn’t always peaches and cream. And the fact that, somehow, in so many words, when we made that vow “for better or worse”, we imply that we’re stuck with other for.. well, ever, so shouldn’t we always try to work it out?

Because being “stuck with each other forever” is actually a very, very good thing. Marriage to me is a lesson in humility, a lesson in selflessness, a lesson in communication,and  a lesson in efficiency. Because I chose Mr. Bubbles, and now we’re in a team and we’re bind by this “for better or worse” contract. Even if, truth be told, some days I feel like strangling the dude, but at the end of the day we insist on making shit work. Because, well..

if we’re going together in this long journey, might as well work well with each other and enjoy the ride.

What are your thoughts, blogger friends?

Window Shopping

Temen2 blogger,

Pada suka window shopping nggak? Beli sih engga, cuma liat liat doang. Sejak adanya internet dan menjamurnya toko toko online, kita nggak perlu pergi langsung ke mal atau toko untuk window shopping lagi, kan? Hal ini juga berbahaya buat para banci belanja, karena sekarang kalau mo beli apa apa, tinggal klik “add to cart” dan masukkin info pembayaran, and et voila! Barangpun terkirim dan kita tinggal ongkang ongkang kaki aja tunggu ketukan pintu dari Pak Pos/Mas Tiki/UPS guy.

Sebagai ibu rumah tangga yang bujetnya  terbatas, gue jarang belanja  (macam baju, sepatu, tas, kosmetik, dkk). Kalo sewaktu muda dulu sih (ini artinya gue bukan mengakui kalo gue tua ya), gue banci belanja. Sekarang, gue kalo belanja baju/barang2 utk diri sendiri tunggu kalo ada sale gede gedean, kayak Black Friday, atau ada kode diskon buat belanja online yang mantaf diskonnya (mantaf bagi cheapskate macam gue ini artinya di atas 25%). Gue juga suka belanja di thrift store/consignment store karena harganya yang oke dan kalo kita pinter dan sabar milihnya, bisa dapet barang yang bagus dan jangka hidupnya masih panjang. Sering gue ketemu baju yang masih ada tag-nya, dijual di thrift/consignment store. Belanja second hand itu ada tips dan triknya sendiri, dan ibu mertua gue yang dulu ngajarin gue gimana caranya. Asal jangan lupa dicuci yang bersih aja kalo baju.

Walaupun gue jarang belanja, tapi hobi window shopping gue masih tetep gue jabanin. Apalagi kalau bukan online window shopping! Sensasinya ya sama lah, mirip mirip sama window shopping beneran di mal. Seneng aja ngeliat barang bagus, ngebayangin, kalo beli barang ini nanti dipake ke mana, kapan dipakenya, dll. Kadang kadang online window shopping malah jadi semacam terapi buat gue. Kalo orang lain retail therapy (terapi  melalui belanja), gue online window shopping therapy aja. Beli sih nggak. Tapi seneng aja. Aneh kah? Mungkin.

Ada orang orang yang nggak suka window shopping, seperti suami gue contohnya. Menurut dia, window shopping itu bikin stress, apalagi kalo lagi bokek. Ngeliat semua barang yang kita pengenin, tapi nggak bisa beli. Kok masokisme banget aja gitu, bagi dia. Kalo gue pemikirannya bukan begitu. Sebelum window shopping, gue udah wanti wanti ke diri sendiri, “Mau ada uangnya atau enggak, ini hanya liat liat aja. Kecuali kalo lo tiba tiba menang lotere, nah itu lain cerita.”

😀

And it works! For me, at least. I’ve been doing window shopping for so long, I stopped feeling stressed out about things I can or can’t afford anymore. Bagi gue, window shopping itu adalah kesenangan tersendiri.

Dan juga, gue kalo window shopping bukan ngeliat situs situs toko yang mewah gitu macam Barneys atau merk merk terkenal (dan mahal aje) kayak LV, Balenciaga, Dior, Prada,etc. Gue window shoppingnya di toko toko biasa aja, dan yang harganya masih terjangkau. Favorit gue macam ASOS, Shopsosie, ShopRuche, Lulu’s, Modcloth, malah juga gue sering liat2 di Forever21, Old Navy online, Target, dll.

Keuntungan dari online window shopping adalah.. gue bisa bikin wishlist! Hehehe. Kenapa ini gue sebut keuntungan? Karena kalo menjelang Natal/ultah, biasanya keluarga atau teman suka nanya, lo mau hadiah apa nih? Biasanya sih (jaim dulu pertamanya) gue bilang, ah nggak mau apa apa kok. Tapi mereka pasti akan terus nanya, nah.. baru deh jaimnya ilang dan gue malu malu (padahal ga tau malu sebenernya) bilang, gue punya wishlist kok. Terus pasti mereka minta liat. Hihihihihhh. Kalo lagi hoki, dapet tuh biasanya kado dari wishlist. Ya ngga semuanya ya. Dapetnya paling satu, dua. Tapi gue berterima kasih banget.

Hahaha. Muka tebalkah eike? Maybe. But admit it, isn’t it a nice perk, though? 😉

Kalo temen temen sendiri gimana.. pada suka window shopping juga? Kenapa? kalo engga, kenapa?

Have a great day, folks! Smile at someone and you might make their day today. 🙂

Terkadang..

(warning : a very emo post. If you don’t feel like emo today, skip ahead).

Gue mikir.. kalo jadi istri orang di negara asing itu nggak nyamannya banyak ya.

Kalo berantem sama suami, kalo berantem sama tetangga, kalo ada stress inilah, itulah.. nggak bisa gampang aja nyetir pulang ke rumah ortu untuk mendinginkan pikiran.

“Pulang ke rumah” itu artinya bayar tiket yang mahal, perjalanan jauh.

Gue ini orangnya termasuk jarang homesick.. tapi terkadang, kalo lagi banyak stress, rasanya pengen drop everything, pack my bags dan pulang ke rumah. Ke Indonesia.

Asalnya kami ada rencana pulang tahun depan.. tapi belakangan ini kami berubah rencana jangka panjang (berkaitan dengan rumah). Jadi kayaknya.. kami nggak bisa mudik tahun depan.

Sedihhhhhhh. Tahun 2014 kali baru pulang. Berarti udah 10 tahun sejak gue nggak pulang. Satu dekade.

Gue sering mikir, Jakarta sekarang kayak apa ya? Kalo orang ngomongin “Pacific Place” lah, atau nama mal apalah yang dulu belom ada saat gue disana.. gue ngerasa, wah.. Indonesia udah berubah banyak.

My country’s changing without me in it. Life goes on. And somehow it feels a little sad.

Sering gue mikir, sebenarnya setiap kali gue bilang “rumah”, rumah itu yang mana sih? Rumah itu di mana sih? Apakah rumah gue disini? I spent most of my adulthood here. Tapi setiap kali gue berpikir seperti itu, my heart won’t agree to it.

Home is in Indonesia. It was, it is. It has been.

And it will always be.

no matter how many years I’ve been away.