Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.
Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.
Today’s article on The Jakarta Post about In Search of A Good Night Sleep got my mind reeling and I know I just have to blog about it.
With the recorded population number of over 8 million (and I’m sure it is more), Jakarta is definitely one of the loudest city I have ever known. Not very many people especially the locals are aware of this because when you born-raise-grew up here and pretty much never left the city you will not get to see how loud Jakarta really is.
Let’s look at the malls here; just about every shop has music blaring at what seems to be 120 decibels. That is loud! Not to mention when they are having special events with stage and all then you can be sure the noise can be heard miles away. We are currently living right next to one of the many fancy new malls that seems to be popping out of the ground every few days! Advantage, groceries shopping is just a walk away; in fact they just opened an underground pass that goes straight to the Lower Ground where Carrefour is located. But, on some nights I swear I want to torch down that mall simply because they are being obnoxiously too loud! Last Friday, I noticed they had set up yet another stage by their outdoor park. Sound check? Possibly! But why on earth would they do that until way after 2 in the morning is beyond me. This is not the first time; since we’ve been living here they had ‘parties’ with blaring music a lot! Saturday night is forgivable, but Sunday or Friday night? Totally made me cursing my night away! And they are building an adjacent hotel to that mall? Maybe they should make sure that the walls are soundproofs!
Then you have the mosques! Where we are living now, it gets quite loud during the evening calls of prayer and in early dawn. There must be more than 10 mosques competing with one another. Imagine horrendous American Idol auditions with 10 or more wannabes put into one room each holding a microphone! At first, it gets really annoying because you know in its country of origin in Middle East, the call of prayers are not as loud as what you will hear here. I’m sure it does not only bother me, it also bothers other people whose houses are within close proximity to these mosques. If we, who are living on the 30th floor, can hear them loud and clear, imagine how would it be if you’re just a door away? But most people are afraid to voice their complaints for religion is still very much a super sensitive case on this country. Now, I’m used to it although I still miss the calmness of early morning breaking into my day. Noise ordinance is simply non-existent in Jakarta unless you have a sound proof home.
Fortunately some people are starting to realize the long term damage this type of pollution. Free from Noise Society is one of them (I hope they’ll have a website done soon!) to spread more awareness and give others courage to speak up. The group claims that 10.7 percent of people who conduct activities in the streets of Jakarta have hearing problems. Shocking? NOT!
From the age of less than 9 months old, Little A and I has been flying internationally. After a lot of researched on my part and from personal experience I decided to share you this list.
No matter how well prepared you are things can still goes very wrong when it comes to flying internationally with a minor. Try not to stress out too much because your child will pick up on that, I know it is easier to said than done especially if you are flying solo but believe me it can be done. It would be great if you can grab your spouse/parents/uncles/or other relatives to come along but sometimes you will have to just go solo. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help and if someone offer a help, by all means take it!
Home…in my short 30 years of occupying the planet, I have had many places that fell into one of the assignment of this week’s Writer’s Workshop held by Mama Kat and there are:
Those are the 6 places I’ve called home in my life and I’m sure there will be more places to be called home in future but I will never forget these places.
Why don’t you join the fun Mama Kat had provided and blog away. 🙂
This past week had gone by so fast with blurry images of birthday, birthday, birthday. Part of me is glad that the birthday party is over and now all I have to do is to recover from it.
Our precious Lil’ A turned 3 years old on December7, 2009 but since it fell on Monday and no one threw a birthday party on weekdays here, we postponed the party until last Saturday, a good 5 days later.
Even before we picked the date for the party, I was overwhelmed by how much it takes to throw a kids birthday party here even for a simple one. Perhaps the definition of simple here are just different than what Mr. X and I are used to. The first two birthday parties for Lil’ A were simple, families only, nothing fancy or elaborate. We bought the cake, had snacks then that’s it. Not here tho’…when my Aunt started telling me about the goody bags to do I had to interrupt her “Woaaa…time out! They give out those kinds of goody bags now?!” From faint memories of my childhood birthday parties, the kiddos just went home with simple small box with snacks inside it. Not anymore, she said! Nowadays, the party favors had become more exquisite and of course expensive. I was floored to see the birthday packages price lists offered by event organizer companies here!
We agreed on Thomas the tank engine theme since Lil’ A loves anything Thomas related. Mr. X did the right thing, to stay away from the preparation and left it all to me. Since this is after all Lil’ A’s first birthday party in Indonesia and him being his the first grandson for my parents, understandably my mother wanted to make it special so I agreed with a lot of the stuffs that she offered although personally I’d rather not.
Last week my aunt and I went to this place called Asemka, closeby to Mangga Dua area. It’s like a bulk market where one can find all kinds of party favors for cheap. We got our Thomas backpacks there, too bad I didn’t bring my camera. The place isn’t for the faint of heart tho’ because it is more like a wet market, don’t go there expecting AC or anything fancy like the malls because you won’t get it.
When discussing the venue for his first birthday party in Indonesia, it took us awhile to finally settle for my mom’s house. At first I wanted to have it done at one of the seafood restaurant my family and I frequently visited because they have a nice big backyard but since it is the rainy season, that idea was crossed from my list. There’s no way we could have the party at our apartment or a hotel ballroom (yeah, we’re not going to pay $500 just for a room for 3 hours!) so we agree on having it done at my mom’s place. Considering our budget, and also the facts that December is always the busiest time of spending for our family due to 4 birthdays plus Christmas we didn’t really want to throw such a luxurious birthday bash. Lil’ A is sharing the same birthday as his big half brother Justin. Mr. X is celebrating his birthday on December 24th and my father in-law’s special day fell on December 25th (yes, on Christmas day!)
I wanted to have face painting at the party because I thought the kids would enjoy it so after some researched, found a guy who did it for $50 for 3 hours. Not too bad, I thought. Perhaps one should check out these artists’ works before you hire them because when I think of face-painting, I think of whole face being painted. That’s not what happened at the party, he just painted some small pictures for the kiddos on their faces. One event organizer that I talked to about this said that most Indonesian kids wouldn’t want their whole face painted and sometime their parents won’t want them to have it done while the expats kids usually loves to have their faces painted. The parents that came to our party yesterday, actually encouraged their kids to try it out and I’m glad they did and the kids seems to like it although some of them only wanted their arms painted.
Unfortunately, it rained so hard on the big day. This isn’t good at all because when you are living in Jakarta, you’d know what it means when it rains. The traffic will be a nightmare and I worried most of the guests won’t even make it. Most of the people that we invited who had RSVP-ed on Facebook didn’t come, probably due to that very reason.
Despite the facts that a lot of our guests couldn’t make it and the birthday cake showed up with one side smudge, without the candle (although I had reminded the lady about it hours before our driver and assistant came to pick it up!), and how complicated the preparations were, Mr. X and I agree that Lil’ A did had fun and that’s what mattered most.
On our ride back home I playfully asked Mr. X “So, you want to have another Indonesian style birthday party for him again next year?!” He quickly shook his head and said “No thank you!” To that I had to agree and said “Yeah, let’s do it our way, next year!” 😀
On Friday, November 20th, we had a chance to tag JR along for his business trip to Balikpapan.
Knowing that I spent some years living in Borneo before, made him wanting to take all of us there for the short trip. Last time I went there was in October 2007 with Lil’ A when he was only 7 months old to visit my parents who were still living in that city so I was excited to visit the oil city.
We took the first flight out of Jakarta, scheduled for 6:40 AM. Poor JR still had to finish up some works the night before and stayed up till 2:00 AM. Sure enough I had a hard time waking him up at a quarter before 5. We didn’t leave for the airport until around 5:40 AM and I started to get nervous that we’ll miss our flight. The very long queue line outside the terminal brought a knot in my stomach. Luckily, we saw one of the airline’s staff outside and JR quickly showed his badge then the staff ushered us in through the air crew door. Inside, JR just went to one of the open check in counters, again flashed his badge and we got everything taken care of. By the time we reached the gate they were already boarding.
We were the last ones boarding that plane because JR had to checked the plane thoroughly while Lil’ A and I waited by the stairs to board. I found it kind of amusing seeing the airline staffs looks puzzled as JR starts to inspect everything and although I’ve been at his job sites a lot before, I never seen him physically check a plane and boy, he didn’t miss a thing! Being part of the airline for only a few months, granted not everyone knows who he is and to him that is an advantage because he got to check on everything firsthandedly. Something like a ‘surprise inspection’.
Even after we boarded, JR didn’t immediately took his seat. He went to the cockpit, and checks everything from the inside too. One of the flight attendant gave him such a dirty look when he opened one of the two small overhead compartments designated for the plane’s documents and found a blanket stowed inside when the sign clearly said “Flight Documents. No Storage.” She tried to argue with JR but he firmly told her NO.
Flying with JR and knowing that he ensured everything is in working orders surely gives me a comforting assurance. Lil’ A did so well on his flight even though we haven’t fly anywhere in errr 10 months. He wanted to fly again right after we landed.
We reached Balikpapan and someone from the airline were already there picking us up and even took care of our 1 suitcase while we waited for the car.
They took us the hotel, we had lunch then JR was picked up to go back to the airport and work. So Lil’ A and I decided to take a stroll around the hotel after we both took a nap. The city looks a little different to me since there are more new buildings and malls around but what I love about that city is its cleanliness, no wonder they won a lot of trophy for the cleanest city in Indonesia. We walked for almost an hour before heading back to the hotel, JR came back around 6:00 PM and we all went out for dinner. Too bad I didn’t bring my camera.
That night my father’s best friend and his wife, who’s been like my own uncle & aunt came by to drop something for my mother. They came with their granddaughter who’s about the same age as Lil’ A and they had met the last time I was in town in 2007. It’s amazing watching them two because she was such a calm lil’ girl while our boy is well…all boy lol.
The next day, my mom’s friend came over to pick us up with her son, again who’s in the same age as Lil’ A. She took us to Kebun Sayur market, a traditional market that sells gemstones, handicrafts and Borneo’s souvenirs. That place is a tiny heaven for jeweleries lovers, not only that the gems are real but they are way cheaper than if you buy them here in Jakarta. Highly recommended to visit that place! Unfortunately, we cannot stay too long as our boys’ starts to get antsy from the heat.
She then took me to this new mall called the E-center (I think), a brand spanking new mall in Balikpapan. Lunch, then it’s time to call it a day for Lil’ A starts to get too tired.
We decided to check out Melawai area close to the port because I remembered there used to be lots of street food vendors there. Unfortunately, on our way there, it started raining and my aunt called. Well, technically she’s not really my aunt but her husband and our family has been very close since when I was little too. She invited us to dinner at a seafood restaurant. It was fun meeting them again after several years.
It was a fun getaway from Jakarta but now that we’re back I have to focus on preparing our little boy’s 3rd Birthday Party coming up next month. 😀
“True friend is someone who might disagree with your choices in life yet support you anyway & tell it to your face, not behind your back!”
Came up with these lines today when I was thinking about all the friendships I ever had in my 30 years of living on this planet. It pretty much sums it all up, don’t you think?
In my lifetime this far, I’ve met and made a lot of friends and undeniably some of us bonded, these are the people that I would lovingly refer to as my besties. Unfortunately some of these friendships crashed and burned, leaving dark memories behind. Have to admit that I still found myself grief for some of these people that I chose to cut ties with completely. Forgiveness is easy yet to forget…that’s quiet harder.
From the 4 majors’ besties breakup I ever had, betrayals were always the source. Betrayal cuts deep and left you brokenhearted much like when you broke up with a boyfriend. Because betrayal means the trust between you and that other person has been violated. Didn’t they say that those closest to you hurt you the most?
After my first two breakups, I thought I had learned to be careful, but apparently life still needs to teach me more and presented me with the last twos. As my father always tell me “You learned the hard way!” and that’s what happened.
Losing two people that I thought were my besties last year were very public, thanks to the internet village. News travel much faster these days so those who’ve known me probably had heard about what happened. No, I’m not going to write the juicy details here as there’s no point to it.
It is a jungle after all out there when it comes to friendship. When I zoomed in on friendship between fellow Indonesians who are in a mix-marriage/relationship, I saw this annoying trend that is difficult to fathom. At first I wasn’t very aware of this but with times I realized how fake these friendships can be. Don’t get me wrong, there are some truly-genuinely-real-sweethearts out there in these crowds that I had befriends with yet the mean-bitchy-two faced-gossipers are plenty! Oh don’t forget the weird ones too; these kinds of girls are the one that only talks about how much money their husbands make and what kinds of designer labels they have. What’s with the negativity, ladies? All the luxury things you can afford is good for you but it’s not everything and it shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to friendship. Too much drama, mama!
Sometimes I would discuss this with one of my close friend who lives in the States and we both shrug in confusion when we tried to analyze what causing this. Is it rivalry, does it bring them joys to belittle someone else? Only God knows the real answer probably but it is a sad phenomenon when you think about it.
Prior to those two major breakups, I thought I had shielded myself from all these negative energies but boy, was I up for a rude awakening! It hurts like hell inside! Just like a brokenhearted girl, I used to well OK sometimes, still play the whys-how comes-how could discs in my head.
My lessons would be to keep things to myself and to keep my guard up at all time.
Here’s a little something something I wrote after the last breakup:
Camaraderie Avenue was not made to be easy
It wasn’t build in a night or two
Even after years flew like a breeze
Some things may left untrue
Like a glass castle
It is still frail
And when it crumbles
Pieces will cut you profoundly leaving your feelings stale
No glue could ever restore what’s vanished
Imaginations at its best
Nothing but wishful belief you should banished
No use to try and guessed
Time will finally come
For you to pack then turn your back
Keep walking even when you’re numb
Your bleeding heart will eventually healed on its track
The scar will always be there
To strike a chord once in a blue moon
It will linger and it’s alright to grieve
You will eventually learn to trust again
Ok, this post will be a RANT…
For about a little over a month now, Lil’ A has been showing great interests in my make-ups as you can see on my posting here.
It all started while we were still living at my parents’ house. He would asked (well, more like demanded, actually!) his grandma (Oma) to put lipstick on him too whenever he sees Oma trying to put some on. We tricked him and giving him a chapstick instead.
Later on he moved to face powder and blush-ons especially mine. He would throw a fit if I didn’t let him play with it and since I thought there’s no harm in him playing I gave him one of my blush-on that I never use and a brush. He had fun and said “Look at my cheeks, Mommy.”
Apparently, some people are against this especially here, “Don’t let him plays with make-ups! He’ll turn gay or queer!” Even my two brothers were complaining about this. However, after I explained to them that it is just a toddler thing. Monkey see, monkey do…he sees me putting my make-ups on, he wants to try it himself. He sees me putting some body lotion on, he wanted it too. It will not determine his sexual orientation later on. Both of them finally let it go.
Not easy to explain this kinds of things to others as I heard the comments from people outside my family circle. It bugs me a lot, to say the least. I even asked the last person who made such comment to show me the scientific evidence that toddler boys who plays with his mommy’s make-ups will turn gay when they grow up to no avail.
Mr. X said the most common sense thing on the phone to me today when I vented out. He said “For him, it’s just a toy, something to experiment with. Nothing more. The more we tell him no, the more he wants it.”
Coming from a very gender specific culture, this is one thing that I wish I can change, but I know I can’t change how others think. The perception and unnecessary paranoia about a boy who plays with stuffed toys or worst make-ups are so silly in my opinion. So what if my son wants to play dress up too? Will you have a heart attack seeing him trying on my heels?! How come a girl who’d rather plays soccer or refused to wear skirts only be ‘labeled’ as a tomboy but a boy who plays dress-up or painting his face with his mommy’s make-ups immediately going to grow up as a queer?! Does it mean that you’re gay if you hang out with gays too? No, right?!
I have talked with other parents of toddler who said their boys went through the same thing. So please keep your comments and your precious parenting advices to yourself because my son doesn’t need to hear all your negativity. And I will not limit his fun just for the fear that he’ll turn gay! Allow him to be little and enjoy this precious toddlerhood moments.