Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blow your's (almost) new year!

When new year eve just around the corner, I have nothing in my mind about how to spend the New Year eve this time but family. But I don’t want to miss one thing: Terompet –as we called- or Trumpet as you might call it.

This year –sorry, I mean 2007- I saw something different in trumpet design: dragons, fish or big saxophone style. We only saw normal-regular style of it in Sydney. One morning when we out for breakfast, and saw the street vendor, I decided to bought some for all nieces and one dragon for Rama –his name is Nagaparama; Naga meaning dragon in Indonesia-.

My sister in law is very good at bargaining price, she prove it one more when she tried to bargain for 5 trumpets. The seller – a young man- was bit nervous when four of us flocked around him and my sister kept asking cheaper price. I used to very good at it too, I don’t know now, just part of me feeling pity for this young man for not be able to say one word when my sister bombarded him with her offered price.

At the end, we got 5 trumpets as we want, and this young man (I should ask his name) gave me a bonus: he posed in front my handy pocket camera, and I’m freely to take picture of him, with his trumpets, as you can see.

Solo - my hometown

“Welcome to Solo, your hometown” the warmth-welcoming greeting stretched virtually on Adisumarmo Airport. My aero plane touched down, and I tried to remember when the last time I’ve been here. Must’ve been years, my mind reflected date back on October 2002.

Once the aero plane door opened, I can smell the fresh air. Quite contrary with days ago when we landed in Depansar, all hot and humidity taken me aback for couple of minutes. In Solo –which now International Airport as Denpasar- I can even smell my childhood (we lived about 2 kilometer from the Airport, and I used to pedaling my bike here, when I was on primary school)

We off from the plane, walked on Airport Ground. It was amazing, won’t happen in Australia or in Jakarta, where they’ll rush you through the tunnel straight to arrival lounge. Here, we walked so close to the aero plane just like all the ground handling staff, and Rama was over the moon to get this experience. Since he really into aero planes, I’m not wasting my time to shoot some pictures of him, and he posed in every steps he made, pretending we are the owner of the Airport. I can see some passengers smiled at us (or they might laughed at us for took so many photos –as we ‘udik’ or ‘ndeso’-) but I don’t care. That moment was too precious to waste.

Another surprised for Rama is when he saw the baggage handlers, handling and moving the entire luggage’s using their muscle. There no such thing like conveyor belt. Nothing automatic, all man power.

Solo changed so much. Of course, 4 years is not a short time. I saw restaurants in every corner. Yet still, we only travel from Airport to my parent in law home. I might see more if we continue traveling until the other side of Solo.

While my son admiring all the rice fields –which might only a quarter left compare to 4 years ago) or read every single bill board along the way (he read in funny way. Indonesian word with English spelling), I’m busy sent short messages to all my old friend whom decided to spent their rest of their lives in Solo, and got warm welcoming reply.

It’s was really nice to be back in Solo.

(pssst…..I got butterfly in my stomach when the purser announce that we will landed in Solo in like ten minutes…..)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Begalan….who (don’t) want extra kitchen wares?

After spend half afternoon lost in Senayan City, and half evening locked me inside my sister-in-law room tried to fit 3 different Kebayas & Sarongs with the dressmaker, I can’t sleep. Not because I’m too tired or too excited with that day passed quickly, it’s more about worried and to scared that I can’t wake up early enough on the following day. On Friday, 21st of December, one of the pre-wedding ceremonies has begun.

My Friday started at 4.30am. Woke up early so I can do my hair and make-up on first round. The hairdresser and the make-up stylish arrived on 5am. I never ever woke up this early in Sydney. The best thing about time-zone difference between Jakarta & Sydney has come. 4.30am Jakarta time means 8.30am in Sydney. My body gave no complain at all, which was great.

First ceremony is Siraman. The groom –my brother in law- ready in his beskap –kind of Javanese tuxedo- and jarit batik –as sarong- , looked fresh and bit nervous. Before Siraman, he did sungkem –request for blessing- to mum & dad. It was very quiet ceremony, and when he asked mum&dad to give him shower for the last time before marry, nobody can hold their tears. It continues with mum&dad and another 11 elderly lady –which whom our relatives or someone that close to our family- shower him with water from 7 different sources. From quiet to laugh and joy, seeing the groom got wet in his jarit batik.

(pic of decoration for Siraman Ceremony)

Once Siraman finished, we stepped into following ceremony, it’s called Dodol Dawet. -Dawet is kind of sweet, sticky glutinous rice form like bean sprout on soupy sweet palm sugar syrup- On dodol dawet, my mother in law became dawet seller and the guests will be given coin from clay as money to buy it. But before Dodol Dawet, there was one little fun ceremony called Begalan.

Begalan –means robbing in Javanese- meant to share the joy of the host for having a wedding party, and it formed in kind of bamboo crutches –angkring in Javanese- full of kitchenware hanging all over it. There were two angering, my husband and his older sister husband will carry it through the entire guest so they can grab one for keepsake.

(my best shoot on Begalan - had to kicked someone to get this pic! )

It was really fun to see the guests –most of them are women dressed in kebaya and sarong- flocked on the angkring try to grab as many kitchen wares as possible. My husband can barely walk through the room, and yet many guests shouting at him to kept walking because they want their share of the kitchen wares too.

But neither my husband nor his brother in law can please everybody. Half way to main guest seating, all the kitchen wares were gone. Left them with sore shoulders after been pulled back and front. For all those shoulder pain, it’s really worth. It’s entertaining.

No mobile, can't mobile

I have no mobile phone for the first week in Indonesia. I though I can use my Australia mobile number in Indonesia, but I can’t. I don’t know what exactly happen. I must’ve missed some information when I read all terms and conditions from my provider, back in Sydney before we went. And I couldn’t get the signal from their Indonesia counterpart, which annoyed me.

So, I bought Indonesia mobile starter pack which doesn’t work for my handset – and I just realized after I bought it-. Somehow, my mobile handset only compatible for Australia card.

After breaking Ayu’s book of record for not having mobile phone for one week, I surrender. The trigger was the moment when I lost in Shopping Mall.

On that day, we went for walk on one of the new shopping mall I haven’t visited before, Senayan City. Can’t believe how busy it was. And my husband kept saying we can’t go separate way as usual because I have no mobile phone. Once we separated, will be hard. So we in and out together, every single shop. Until I got stranded in Charles & Keith. I can’t clearly remember how it started; I just didn’t see him or the kids around when I finished this shop in another 15 minutes with two pairs of sandals. The sale got me blind. I was thinking he must wait for me at Starbuck across, but he wasn’t. I frantically looked around, peeking into every shop around, he was disappear into thin air. No mobile phone, remember?

My quick brain guides me to Information Desk. There must be some way to find him, and they must have PA to help me.

When I found the Info Desk, two girls was sitting there, doing nothing but chat. I politely explained what was happening –that I’m lost- and asked for help. I need her to paging my husband through PA.
She gave me the look, that saying –ok, it’s my translation on how she look at me- ‘this is 21st century, how come you don’t have mobile phone when people had 3 or 4’.

I had no time for further explanation –why I don’t have mobile phone-, I better use my time to beg her to announce couples of time, and chance being heard is better.

She reluctantly repeated the announcement –that a woman lost in Senayan City and she had no mobile phone, hello- and another person came to Info Desk started to give me the look –the same look that the girls gave it before.

At the end, not the announcement that made me meets my family, but the kindness of stranger. She lends me her mobile phone so I can contact my husband. Even this less than 5 minutes process was painful. I can’t remember my husband Indonesia mobile number, it was stored on my handset which has flat battery and impossible to turn it on even for five second just to get the number. So, I rang home, asked my in-law to give me the number, and rang my husband. Can anything go worst than this?

Moral of the story:
First, don’t go to shopping mall with your family if you don’t have mobile phone.
Second, my husband bought himself new handset so I can use his old for my Indonesia starter card (and right after he bought it, my Australia mobile phone somehow work together with Indosat.Great!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hello Jakarta, it's been 4 years

This photo was taken when we on the highway from Soekarno Hatta airport. We just free from traffic jam. We faced traffic jam once the car was out from airport road to the highway. Less than 500metres from the car picked us. Unbelievable!

My son was soo amazed with this very busy highway. He never saw that many cars in his life. He started to read every-single-brand of the car, every-single-licence-number until he looses it.

When we came across Pluit flyover (I’m sorry If I’m wrong, I can’t quite remember…) with 3 highways formed triple decker highways, I can see his jaw-dropping face. Not long until we faced another traffic jam and we must travel quite slowly, he started to feeling hungry. And bored. We can save his tummy with some snacks, but who can resist the feeling of bore and sleepy when we run at 10km/hour? Not even me.

Lucky for us, my husband parent’s house is in South Jakarta, not to far from Jakarta Business District. So within about one hour, we can get ourselves some great lunch with all families.

And the party just started………….


Boxing Day (bag 2) : Sudah Pernah Kalap Belanja

Dimuat di harian SURYA - Surabaya, 28 Desember 2007
Esok paginya, 27 Desember, jam masih menunjukkan pukul 06.00 ketika saya sudah siap dan rapi. Saya sengaja pergi sendiri, nggak menghubungi teman saya, karena selain nggak enak hati -kemarin bilang nggak mau kok sekarang jalan- juga saya paling malas kalau mau cari barang saja pakai tunggu-tungguan. Siapa tahu beda selera. Daripada teman saya mau kemana saya mau kemana, lebih baik saya pergi sendiri.
Pukul 06.15 saya sudah duduk manis di halte bus yang nggak jauh dari rumah saya. Masih cukup waktu, pikir saya. Jadi kira-kira sebelum pukul 07.00 sudah sampai di toko. Siapa tahu masih kebagian barang promosi dari toko. Di departemen store terbesar di city yang saya tuju ini, 500 pengunjung pertama bisa dapat kesempatan beli celana jeans Levis seharga 1 dolar Australia atau DVD Player seharga 50 dolar Australia. Kan lumayan, bisa untuk oleh-oleh buat suami.
Tunggu punya tunggu, 10 menit berlalu, kok nggak ada satu pun bus yang nongol. Sementara orang yang datang menunggu di halte makin banyak dan tampaknya semua satu tujuan. Sudah 20 menit berlalu, tetap tidak ada bus yang datang. Saya hitung lagi, 25 menit berlalu, barulah satu bus datang dan langsung diserbu oleh semua orang yang menunggu di halte. Saya mulai was-was, kayaknya nggak sampai nih, target waktu meleset. Bisa-bisa sampai di city pukul 07.00 lewat. Setengah berdoa saya berharap supaya nggak banyak orang menyetop bus yang saya naiki, supaya lancar wes ewes ewes langsung sampai tujuan. Tetapi tampaknya doa dan harapan saya nggak terkabul, karena di setiap halte pasti ada yang melambaikan tangan, tambah penumpang lagi, sampai bis penuh sesak.
Akhirnya, sampai juga saya di tujuan. Pukul 07.00 kurang satu menit. Setengah berlari saya menuju departemen store besar itu. Tetapi alamak... yang namanya orang ngantre di depan gerbang yang sedang dalam proses dibuka, tampaknya lebih dari 500 orang. Mungkin malah sampai 1.000 orang. Hilang sudah harapan dapat jeans Levis 1 dolar Australia. Setengah nekat, saya ikut dalam arus orang yang sedang mengantre. Tanggung, sudah sampai tujuan, sekalian nyebur saja.
Barang yang di-sale memang membuat mata terbelalak. Betapa tidak, baju-baju kaus yang selama ini seharga 25 dolar, bisa dibeli dengan harga setengahnya. Handuk kualitas terbaik, turun harga sampai 70 persen. Pantas saja orang rela berdesak-desakan dari pagi. Ternyata mereka sejak pukul 06.00 sudah antre di depan pintu, supaya dapat barang murah dan tetap bermutu.Nggak terasa, lima jam sudah saya menghabiskan waktu keliling dari lantai satu sampai lantai enam. Kaki rasanya sudah pegal karena mau membayar pun antrenya di kasir luar biasa.
”My feet is killing me....” Beberapa kali saya dengar orang berkata seperti itu. Mungkin kakinya sudah sepegal kaki saya. Bahu dan pundak juga sudah ikutan protes karena tanpa sadar saya sudah ikut kalap memborong barang-barang, mulai dari seprei sampai handuk, baju sampai mainan anak, bahkan piring makan. Maklum, nggak tahan melihat harga yang gila-gilaan itu.
Sambil menahan pegal, saya berdiri di halte bus, siap menunggu bus untuk pulang. Tiba-tiba....
”Lhoooo... mbak... kok jalan juga. Katanya males.”
Suara yang saya sangat kenal tahu-tahu mampir di telinga. Dengan sedikit malu hati saya sapa teman saya itu. Rupanya dia senasib dengan saya, terdampar di halte menunggu bus jurusan yang sama.
Sambil ngobrol, diam-diam saya lirik tas yang ditenteng teman saya. Kok cuma satu tas ya, pikir saya. Seolah mengerti apa yang saya pikirkan, teman saya berkomentar, ”Saya juga sudah pernah kalap kok Mbak, tahun lalu. Jadi nggak usah merasa nggak enak meliat saya hanya bawa satu tas kecil.” Kali ini saya malu beneran.

Boxing Day (bag 1) - Tak Ada Hubungannya dengan Tinju

Dimuat di harian SURYA - Surabaya, Kamis 27 Desember 2007

Pengalaman menggelikan ini terjadi empat tahun yang lalu, ketika saya masih menjadi warga baru kota Sydney. Dan setiap kali mendekati Natal, saya selalu teringat kembali akan hal ini.Pertanyaan memenuhi benak saya ketika ada yang menawarkan ajakan. “Mbak, mau ikutan nyerbu Boxing Day, nggak?” Pertanyaan dari teman saya yang sudah hampir dua tahun bermukim di Sydney, serta merta membuat kening saya berkerut. Nyerbu? Boxing Day?”
Memang ada apa di Boxing Day? Pertandingan tinju?” saya balik bertanya, dan terlintas di benak saya kartu pos yang saya beli di kantor pos beberapa minggu yang lalu, yang bergambar kanguru mengenakan sarung tinju dan berpose seakan siap-siap menjatuhkan lawan.“Kok tinju sih… belanja lagi. Masak nggak tahu sih?” kata teman saya lagi.Terlintas lagi gambar si Boxing Kanguru di benak saya. Belanja? ”Yaaah, kok bengong sih!” seru teman saya membuyarkan lamunan. ”Yang namanya Boxing Day itu sama dengan hari belanja. Pada hari itu, semua barang di toko-toko besar akan didiskon sampai 70 persen%.”
Oalah, rupanya yang namanya Boxing Day itu sama sekali nggak ada hubungannya dengan si Boxing Kanguru. Ternyata ada hari spesial untuk belanja, yang disebut Boxing Day (dari kata box = kotak, jauuuuh dari urusan tinju-meninju) yang diadakan tiap tanggal 26 atau 27 Desember setiap tahunnya. Pada hari itu katanya semua barang di toko-toko besar baik yang sebelumnya sudah didiskon untuk menyambut Natal, maupun barang yang masih dengan harga asli, semua turun harga. Ini bisa bervariasi antara 10 persen sampai 50 persen, bahkan ada yang sampai 70 persen. Mulai dari mainan anak sampai alat elektronik, dari baju segala umur sampai alat dapur, semua bakal didiskon. Dan Boxing Day yang sering juga disebut Post-Christmas Sale ternyata ditunggu semua orang.
”Jadi, mau berangkat nggak? Saya mau ke sana lho tetapi kalau mau dapat barang yang bagus, ya kita harus berangkat pagi. Soalnya salah satu departemen store yang paling besar di city dan koleksinya paling lengkap itu, buka pukul 07.00. Itu aja orang sudah pada ngantre. Jadi, kalo mau, kita berangkat pukul 5.30 ya.” Begitu penjelasan teman saya, panjang lebar dan penuh semangat.
Alamak, pukul 5.30? Nggak salah tuh. Karena memang tempat tinggal kami ada di pinggiran kota, maka memang perlu waktu sekitar 30 menit untuk naik bus ke city. Tetapi kalau pukul 06.00 sudah mulai antre, kayaknya kok maksa ya.
”Ya, nanti saya kabarin kalo saya mau ikut,” kata saya.
Tanggal 24 Desember tiba-tiba saya membaca di koran kalau tahun ini Boxing Day diundur satu hari. Tidak tanggal 26 Desember seperti biasa, tetapi jadi 27 Desember , dengan alasan toko-toko ingin memberikan libur yang cukup untuk karyawannya, setelah seminggu sebelum Natal mereka kewalahan diserbu orang yang belanja. Saya sempat teringat untuk menelepon teman saya, sekadar memberi tahu, Boxing Day mundur sehari. Tetapi namanya saja emak-emak, urusan PR alias pekerjaan rumah tangga yang nggak ada habisnya membuat saya lupa niatan untuk menelepon teman saya.Dan tiba-tiba tanggal 26 Desember siang, saat saya sedang santai di rumah, teman saya menelepon dengan hebohnya.
”Tahu nggak Mbak, ternyata Boxing Day diundur sehari.”
”Emang iya,” jawab saya santai.
”Lho, Mbak tahu ya. Tadi pagi saya sudah semangat 45 nunggu bus pukul 05.30. Terus, iseng-iseng ngobrol sama bapak-bapak yang lagi nunggu bus juga. Mereka tertawa saat saya bilang mau hunting barang di Boxing Day. Lha wong acaranya diundur. Malu aku. Pokoknya besok saya harus balas dendam belanja banyak-banyak.”
Rupanya teman saya masih sibuk memprovokasi saya untuk bergabung. Tampaknya dia nggak mau pergi sendirian juga.
”Kayaknya nggak deh, males kalau terlalu pagi, kasihan anak, kalau saya pagi-pagi sudah ngilang,” jawab saya.
”Bener nih, jangan sampai nyesel lho ya.”
Kata-kata terakhir dari teman saya ternyata manjur dan nempel terus di kepala. Saat saya menceritakan pembicaraan saya dengan teman tadi ke suami, suami saya malah mendukung untuk pergi pagi-pagi. Bahkan suami bersedia menjaga anak selama saya pergi. Siapa tahu bisa dapat barang bagus dengan harga murah. Wah, dapat lampu hijau....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It was size XS...

I went to one of clothes shop in Bali. Browsing and wandering inside for about 20 minutes, until I decided to buy myself a shirt. The brand is quite well known, and I often bought my shirt from this chain shop, back in Sydney.

When I requested the assistant for size S, she shrugged her shoulder.
"I think you in size M, or L, mam. I will suggest medium as start."

I rolled my eyes. Medium?

Assuming that I know my body better than her, I confidently grabbed size S. And opened it. Hmmm....she might be right, S look quite small.
So, I grabbed another one, M, and walked to change room.

What happened next is beyond my imagination. M was way too small for me. I can see my whole upper body struggle inside this tight shirt. They seems want to blow! And my belly...OhMyGod! I'm not even having courage to look at it.

I frantically looking for help from the assistant, to get me size L. She walking slowly toward me with L in her right hand, and she gave me what-I-told-you-and you-didn't-believe-me sort of look.

With L in my hand, I start to be optimistic. still doesn't look good on me. I definitely need XL!

I'm whispering to the assistant that waiting right outside change room, and she handed me XL in a second. She must've laughed at me by the time I put XL on my body.

XL clearly the right size. I handed it to the counter, paid, and walked as quick as I can from the shop, tried to avoid the assistant polite smile (enough smiling, I know what you're thinking of not-so-confident-devil-side spoke in my head...)

I walked back to the hotel. Suddenly I missed Sydney, where I can be confident with my S (or sometimes XS...!), where I can comfort myself that with 152cm/56kg, I'm not big. I still can buy clothes on Petite section at Department Stores.

From that moment on, everywhere I'm going in Indonesia, I felt like my eyes always as alarmed as eagle to scanned everybody around as 'big' as me. Not always successful though, since I found that all the women (ok, not all....almost everybody...) in Indonesia are so skinnier than me.....oh gosh.... (Sigh…)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hot. Humid.Sweat. Love the trip!

It’s been 5 days since we arrived back in Sydney. My body-clock still doesn’t work properly. I tried to woke up in normal hour (my normal hour is 6.30am), but I found I jump off the bed 9.30 instead. Never though that time-zone difference will be so hard to beat.Sydney is quite hot now. Summer. But nothing can’t beat the heat and humidity back then in Indonesia. We spent 3 weeks in sweat and wet rainy weather. Even small tasked made me sweat like I just did marathon. I might not used to the humidity anymore (even on second week, I felt better when we stopped in Solo for a week) 4 cities in 3 weeks is not an easy journey. It required full throttle of energy, especially to deal with 2 active kids and 7 different wedding events in 2 cities with about 600km distance. And 4 gigantic luggages’ that took hours to unpacked and packed again.

Our first stop was Bali. We stayed for 2 nights in Tuban-near Kuta. We were having good time, tried to beat time-zone different and adjust our body-clock with Indonesia time zone. Of course it didn’t work perfectly - as we though before-. The first day (we arrived on Monday afternoon, Dec 17, 07 - about 3pm Bali time, which is about 6pm Sydney time), 3 am in the morning, both kids woke up and started to chat and laugh at each other. I, half sleepy half disturbed, tried to shut them off. They didn't care. 3am means 6am for their body and why they have to cares about sky were still dark when they woke up. The sky was always dark in winter morning anyway....

5am Bali time, they both hungry. Breakfast time in Sydney. I had no problem with Ramya -the young one- because I had all her food ready. For Rama, it was different story. We had nothing. And hotel breakfast time start on 6.30. We -me & my husband- were thinking to order something from the kitchen, but they shut down at 5am- for the reason that we never know (they might just preparing breakfast, I guess....). Rama ended with peanuts from mini-bar as pre-breakfast. And you can guess what happened next on brekkie time. He ate almost everything he could. he must've starving.
We had lazy day on our first day. Done nothing. Rama did swim couple of lap while I unwind and relax next to the pool. As relax I could, before heading for busy day in Jakarta & Solo next.
The best thing about our Hotel (we stayed at Santika Beach & Resort) is: the Butler. Yes, our very own butler. We could call them anytime for help instead of called Room Service. So, it was very personal service.
We not used to this kind of "helper department" anymore. Date back in Indonesia, we had a maid. It was about 4 years ago. And Rama never knew about it. So, he really amazed with all their service...


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

No place like home

It is nice to be home. After 3 weeks in 4 different cities, we finally home yesterday. Safe and sound. Exhausted. I never thought before that my bed is so comfy. Until yesterday.

I went out with barely naked face this afternoon. Since we decided not to open our luggages until undefined time –and stored them temporary on our lower garage- I have no make-up kit ready on my closet. But, who cares?

Home sweet home.
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