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Year at glance 2017

31st December 2017 - 6 min read

Seperti yang selalu dilakukan Arnold Schwarzenegger, yang merupakan salah satu kunci suksesnya adalah menulis resolusi tahun baru dan menandainya. Banyak orang di dunia ini yang termotivasi di tahun baru untuk menulis resolusi, tapi nggak banyak yang  follow up setiap bulannya, bahkan nggak follow up di akhir tahun. Menurut saya tipsnya, kalau bisa tiap bulan dilihat kembali biar semakin semangat dan bahkan dicoret jika tercapai. Itu akan semakin menyemangati untuk mencoret poin point selanjutnya. Juga tulis resolusi bersamaan dengan deadline. Make a commitment! I will so do it and write in my blog about this. Biasanya breakdown dan timeline hanya saya tulis di jurnal 🙂

Anyway, tiap akhir tahun saya selalu berusaha untuk me-review resolusi di awal tahun sebelum akhirnya menulis resolusi untuk tahun baru. Nggak jarang, resolusi di tahun baru adalah resolusi yang belum tercapai di tahun sebelumnya. Sayangnya resolusi itu ternyata nggak saya tulis di blog. Jadi ini resolusi saya kurang lebihnya dan review-nya, Year at glance: 2017.

  1. Khatam Alqur’an terjemahan

    Baru 3/4 jalan, rencananya bulan depan selesai. Telat dikit nggak papa deh asalkan ada progressnya.

  2. Travel more, using long weekend

    We tried our best, malah ada ke beberapa tempat yang kita sama sekali nggak rencanakan, yaitu UK, Malaysia dan Indonesia.

    Africa

    YES! Walaupun Maroko nggak terlalu afrika-afrika banget dan kami nggak pergi safari, tapi Maroko letak geografisnya di benua Afrika. Checking list benua baru. Alhamdulillah! Somehow juga selalu pengen melanjutkan perjalanan Islamic trail di bagian selatan. It’s majestic to think about the history while visiting it.

    Winter trip

    Kayaknya kita nggak pergi karena budget trip tahun ini sudah habis, dan waktu sudah tinggal 1 hari sebelum New Year haha Mudah-mudahan tahun depan insha Allah.

  3. Camping and hiking

    YES! Kami pergi long weekend ke France Riviera, tepatnya di Gorge du Verdon. Disitu kami pergi camping dan hiking. Rasa-rasanya ini akan jadi sesuatu yang kita bakal lakukan lagi di masa depan.

  4. One month one book

    YES! Audible membantu sekali dalam hal ini. Beberapa tahun belakangan resolusi ini tapi susah banget tercapainya. Sejujurnya aja saya merasa super duper idle kalo lagi baca buku, padahal juga nggak, otaknya mikir. Tapi saya suka merasa bersalah, karena waktu jadi berasa stagnan. Rasanya seperti buang-buang waktu (padahal mah nggak sama sekali, kan belajar hal baru). Biasanya saya prefer untuk melakukan hal lain yang lebih aktif. Walaupun ya nggak bener juga cara mikir kayak gitu. Tapi karena saya begitu, akhirnya buku suka nggak kepegang. Untungnya ada audible, itu solusi banget untuk mendengarkan buku selagi beraktifitas. Saya dengerinnya bisa dimana aja dan sambil ngapain aja. Jadi lebih produktif dan progresif baca bukunya.

  5. Business project

    Selalu jadi mimpi saya untuk membangun bisnis sosial yang bisa menjadi berkah untuk sesama. Dari nyoba tas kanvas, tas kulit, dan banyak juga yang lain dan gagal. Investasi pun gagal. Tapi selalu diambil hikmahnya disitu. Uang hanya alat, alat untuk membantu sesama bukan hanya untuk memperkaya. Saat uang itu hilang, saya percaya bahwa akan ada penggantinya yang lebih baik dan saya masih di pencarian itu. Tapi alhamdulillah ada satu yang akhirnya launch di belanda alaminaturals.com. Puji syukur.. semoga niat yang baik dan cinta dalam pembuatan akan membawa saya ke tingkat berikutnya aamiin.

  6. Be more presence and inner peace

    Yes and no, masih naik turun. Tapi itulah manusia, yang jelas sekarang saya lebih sadar akan pentingnya be presence  dan ingat untuk kembali saat kepala dan pikiran saya kemana-mana.

  7. Keluar makan maksimal seminggu sekali (ajah!)

    Kayaknya oke sih ini, ada kalanya lebih dari satu minggu sekali tapi karena minggu-minggu berikutnya saya nggak kemana-kemana. Sosialisasi adalah investasi yang tidak harus berlebihan. Maka dari itu memilih kawan adalah penting, supaya investasi ini tidak sia-sia. Bisa dari tertawa, ide, hal-hal baru, dsb. Engage with people whom you can exchange values with 🙂 It’s always a give and take, remember that

  8. Date out with Damar for quality time once in a month

    Nyatanya kita berhemat dan biasanya date in hahah masak enak dan coba bikin resep-resep baru. Atau sekedar jalan belanja ke supermarket atau jalan ke taman. Dan juga belajar dan produktif berdua. It’s a quality time I will never exchange. 

  9. Write down gratitude journal everyday, with Damar

    First 6 months kita on track, abis gitu menguap gitu aja hahah Tahun depan lebih baik lagi 🙂

  10. Volunteer once a month

    Cuma 3 x Hikssss.. Tapi juga karena kadang saya nggak ngerasa signifikan dan disini membantunya terbatas. Kurang banyak yang bisa dibantu. Jadi saya juga menimbang nimbang apakah itu worth spending time atau nggak. Bisa dibilang lebih banyak yang ingin membantu daripada yang butuh dibantu. Mudah-mudahan tahun depan diberikan kesempatan yang lebih besar untuk volunteer. Aamiiinnn

  11. Got our own house 

    Yes alhamdulillah

  12. Investing ONLY in friendship that matters and inspirational

    Yes!

  13. Reunite with Family 

    Yes, my family and Damar’s. It’s truly valuable

 

Africa Milestone Morocco

4 Days Morocco Itinerary Tips and Stories

16th December 2017 - 14 min read
4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

Morocco has always been a place in my list. Its berberian building and mosaic tiles are what prettified my 3 years vision board. This trip was a surprise trip (which almost failed) for Damar’s birthday. We made an agreement not to give each other’s gift this year, especially after buying a house and big next year’s travel plan. But, the flight ticket deal was absolutely irresistible. Usually we always plan the trip and itinerary together, this time I had to do it by myself (yes, very challenging to be decisive for me). In this post, I would like to share our Morocco itinerary tips and stories. Note that this travel is in budget and I’ll also share roughly our expense in upcoming post.

DAY 1 – Marrakech

We stayed over night in Tulip Inn hotel just right above Eindhoven airport. It is because we took the very first flight from Eindhoven to Morocco on that Sunday. Public transportation only starts operating at 8 am on Sunday. However, it paid off! Because the good thing about having first flight is that we don’t lose a day in Morocco and was able to enjoy the rest of our first day there. The flight was smooth and took 3 hours 45 minutes. I found it fascinating that in 4 hours away, we arrived in a whole complete different continent, Africa.

Once we arrived we immediately took BUS number 19 (read here why we took the bus). It only took 25 minutes to Jemaa El-Fna. Unlike other airports which location is in the outskirt of the city, this one it is quite close to the city. It is quite nearby Gueliz, the modern ‘new town’ of Marrakech. I wish I had more time to visit and try out its wide range of food. It is amazing to know that beyond the borders of the historical old town (Medina), there is a modern town. It was designed and developed by the French in the early 1900s and the French influences are obvious in stark difference in the design of the area.

We went straight to the Bab Doukkala (the stop of our stay (Riad Itry – from hostel world) which is 5 minutes away from Jemaa El-Fna square. We were already guided with the direction from our hostel on where we should go. Even so, we almost got scam on our way (read more for story and how to avoid it) Tips: Always follow the guidance, it is usually very clear or turn your GPS. Do not let other people who ‘pretend’ to be nice and want to show you the way. Always take your guard up. Believe in yourself or call your hostel for help.

We got tips for our kind hostel keeper to avoid people in the street who try to approach us. To be polite we can say ‘La, Syukron” (no, thank you) or just ignore and walk away (according to him, it is more effective). He also reminded that the price in the Souk (souq or souk is a marketplace in North African cities) is never a fix price. If you ever want to purchase something, be confident and do not let the shop owner play the mind trick. The mind trick here would be “acting” offended saying your bargain price is too low etc. Know how much you want to spend on stuff. To be safer, you can always secretly take picture and ask your hostel keeper once back in your stay how much that stuff usually worth.

We walked around Bab Doukkala to get some lunch, I was super starving that time that we just went in to a restaurant. It was the only restaurant we saw putting their menu and price clearly outside. It ended up not so bad (read more here). First time “tagine” experience in North Africa. While waiting for our food, we suddenly heard azan (islamic call to prayer). I missed that too much. We were used to it back in our home country (Indonesia). Such a beautiful sound! Please scare not, it has such a meaningful message.

We continued walking toward Koutubia Mosque (biggest mosque in Morocco) which is nearby Jemaa El-Fna. If you are moslem and have time, use the opportunity to pray there. It is always magical feeling to experience that in different country with different culture. You’ll be amazed on how normality is not existing anymore. Your way is not normal and you have to adapt on your surrounding, ALWAYS!

IMG_6379

Koutubia Mosque

That is what I learn so much with traveling. To be more opened and understand people better. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to pray in Morocco (you know why ;)) but Damar did and people around him did not take eyes off of him. He was also taught to do wudu (cleaning before praying) in the ‘correct’ way. Hahahha. Our routine is not theirs, theirs are not ours, but as my dad always says ‘never feel the most righteous, keep open minded’.

After spending sometimes and taking bunch of pictures in Koutubia Mosque, we went along to Jemaa El-Fna which was just 2 minutes walking distance from the mosque. I started hearing the sound of Moroccon instrument and vendors cheering. It was quite chaotic I must say, so many people, if you’re not used to it, it could be overwhelming. You’d quickly adjust though, don’t be afraid and smile. I was a bit scared then remember how blessed I was to be standing in that square really. Never had I dreamed when I was a kid, I would arrive in this point.

First thing first, ORANGE JUICE. They would all whistle at you and give you smoothie tester. I’d say stick with orange juice and pomegranate. I tried the mango which tasted sugar sweet. After the shot, we walked around the souk and all of the sudden I looked up and saw how beautiful the sky was! The color was just as terracotta as the typical Moroccan building. I trully admire it. I am sure there is something magical with sky in Morocco.

After getting lost and enjoying azan+sunset, we sat in a cafe and have moroccan mint tea. I saw so many guys by themselves (did not see much women in general) having their tea time. They take this rather seriously. At night for dinner, we got our food on our way and went home because the next day the desert tour driver would pick us up at 7 am.

DAY 2 and 3 – Sahara desert

We spent the whole day in Zagora desert which the details I would dedicate in my upcoming post. The desert was not closeby! It was 7 hours drive. We crossed the high atlast mountains and visit Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a place where traditional Saharan habitat used to live. At the moment there were still 4 families living there. We had an hour tour continued with lunch and continued driving along Draa Valley. After arriving in the desert, we met our camel friends which brought us to an hour ride to our tents.

We left the next day to the desert early after sunrise and breakfast heading to Ouarzazate and eventually Marrakech. It was an incredible experience even in a short time.

 

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

4 days morocco itinerary tips and stories

DAY 4 – Marrakech

We started to do the tour ourselves from El Badi Palace, Tombeaux des Saadiens, Bahia Palace, Ben Youssef Madrasa (but closed when we were there), and Jardin Majorelle.

El Badi palace is a ruined palace that is used to be a display of best craftmanship in Saadian period. I imagined how was the setting and the hardwork back then. This needed 25 years to complete!

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories 4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

Bahia Palace means (palace of the beautiful, the brilliant) is a 19th century palace of eight hectares. It is one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture. This place is genuinely mesmerizing, out of the 3 (El Badi, Bahia, Tombeaux des Saadiens), this was my favorite. It is brilliant, just like its name. Capturing every little details will not fit a day.

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories 4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

Tombeaux des Saadiens is grave of Ahmad Al-Mansur and family. The most famous is the room with the twelve columns. This room contains the grave of the son of the sultan’s son, Ahmad Al-Mansur. Outside the building is a garden and the graves of soldiers and servants.

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

Ben Youssef Madrasa is islamic college in Marrakesh, named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest madrasa in all of Morocco! Too bad, it closed for construction when we were there.

Jardin Majorelle is a place that I was always curious to see. This one needed 40 years to be completed, can you imagine? This garden contains many sahara plants (cactus etc). It is full of green plants color, and Morocco color in the building (cobalt blue from indigo and yellow from saffron). This was designed and built by French painter Jacques Majorelle and then rescued/bought over by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge on 2010.

4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories 4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories 4 days Morocco Itinerary tips and Stories

Where to stay in Marrakech

Try to stay in Riad if you want to have full Morroco trip experience. Riad is traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyardI’d suggest to not stay far from Jemaa El-Fnaa or in the old town (Medina) if you want to have much easy access to the places in the center. Everywhere is quite walking distance anyway. But staying in the city ease the access to get to food and attractions.

The second Riad we stayed is very much recommendable. The name is Riad La Caleche. It is affordable, nice staff, clean space, free breakfast and service to drop/pick up from the airport.

What you should go and try if you have more time in Marrakech

HAMAM / Spa – A bath is a type of public bathing associated with the culture of the Ottoman Empire and more widely the Islamic world

Cooking class – It will be amazing to learn cooking from the local master chef especially if you are like who love food. Check some of the options in here 

Dar si Said – A monument to Moroccan mâalems (master artisans), the residence of Bou Ahmed’s brother Si Said. The highlight of a visit here is the spectacular painted and domed wedding-reception chamber flanked by flower-painted musicians’ balconies; credits to artisans from Fez.

House of Photography (La Maison de La Photographia) –  It contains a large collection of pictures and documents gathered during the period 1870 to 1960 mostly by anonymous visitors and some very well-known photographers. Many people say the restaurant/cafe above is worth paying visit.

Gueliz – The modern ‘new town’ of Marrakech

Morocco Itinerary (Downloadable)

 

Hidup di Belanda Milestone

Buying a house/apartment in Amsterdam

11th November 2017 - 11 min read

Damar and I have recently moved to our new house! Wooohoo! Alhamdulillah.. So happy!

We are relieved to finally get through the real struggle to get a house in Amsterdam. The house market is tremendously crazy at the moment due to the low interest. This situation creates a high price and competition. Sometimes I reminisced the house hunting time and we are very grateful that we are not in that situation no more. Yup, it is that crazy. But it is not a reason to give up!

The main reason for us to look for a house in Amsterdam is because it is close to our work as well as the demand. It is incredibly high that people just increase the price knowing there are always potential tenants or buyers somewhere. Although, there is such thing like buyer/tenant protections that do not allow seller sell in any price they wish. But the potential buyer would kill to buy a house in Amsterdam that they bid as crazy as they could. Hence, volatile house price. According to dutchnews.nl house prices in the capital have risen steadily since the end of 2013, with annual increases of up to 25%.

So there you go, hope it can be a good investment for our future. *Remembering about our nomade and working in a coworking space everywhere in the world plan gives me such a big smile*. We would like to rent out this house in the future for a passive income or simply sell it. Oh I guess we will see. Start easy Maurilla, you just got a house!

Anyway that is my main reason, other people want to settle their life in this capital city just because it’s simply beautiful. And it is a good idea, I am telling you!

Here are usually the reasons to buy a property in Amsterdam

  • Control over the property (design, decoration, pets, activities, etc)
  • Great financial incentives / tax benefits.
  • Can be a smart investment
  • Multicultural and big expat comunity

I want to share several tips to get you ready to the whole process. It can be quite exhausting yet you have to realize and keep on reminding yourself that it is worth the risk. Also, nothing worth having comes easy 😉  This does not only apply for Amsterdam but also other cities.

1. Check the estimation on how much you (or you and partner) can borrow from the bank

All bank has this mortgage calculation in their website, even Funda has. All you need to do is entering your income (and your partner) income. Note: Bank would prefer to lend their cash to indefinite contract owner employee, for most people intentional letter of indefinite contract extension will suffice too. And for business man, they need at least 2 years establishment and report from their accountant. This is something for the next step but good to keep in mind.

2. Browse through actively when you get the chance

Funda by far is the best resource to browse houses/apartments in the Netherlands. It is one leading website that always gets updated. Do a good filter in Funda, it might be quite confusing at first, but take your time and you will know that it is all what you need. Click ‘koop‘, put your city/neighborhood you prefer and your price range. To be really honest, I would suggest to only put city and see where the map (kaarttake you.

I think map layout is one of the best invention about this website. It shows you a clear overview of Amsterdam. And then on the left side you can filter more in detail, house type, number of rooms (this is always including living room, not only bedroom, so if you want 2 bedrooms, then search for 3 rooms). You can also search for the days when it has been advertised in Funda. We found this very helpful as well.

3. Act quickly

Due to its crazy competition in Amsterdam, a house can be sold in a few days or even in a day after put up. Call the numbers and be persistent!!

4. Real estate agent (in dutch aankoop makelaar) or not?

Damar and I did not use any aankoop makelaar because we simply don’t want to spend extra money. So far, we could get information we needed ourselves. It might not be in depth as if you have aankoop makelaar that has its eyes and access everywhere. However, there are a lot of ways to get all the information such as how much houses in that neighborhood sold in the past. You need that information to assure you bid decent amount of money. Huispedia.nl (link) is one of the websites you can use, for the one you need to pay is kadaster.nl (link). You will have more visibility in details for the paid website. I think for each house info, you need to pay around 2 eur or something.

We did not come to a conclusion bluntly, we had some phone appointment with aankoop makelaar. There are 2 types of fee, fixed or percentage. The percentage is usually 1% from the house price, yet normally they have minimum amount. What it means by it, if the minimum is 2500 but the house price will result to less than 2500 in percentage, you still have to pay 2500. I hope that is clear?? But conclusion was, we do not want to spend that money and were willing to take risks in finding our ways.

However, other benefits for having aankoop makelaar are the priority to get the most up-to-date information. Sometimes the makelaar association get the first news on the houses that are on sales. It might be earlier than Funda. Also, for expats they are the bridge for communication and to minimize the risks on the seller side. The risk is hit and run, while if somebody comes with makelaar, normally they sort of know each other from the organization they represent, hence the trust. Some of my friends said the downside of having it is that it is very hard to match schedules, while you don’t want to lose chances. In this case, just go by yourself.

Note: If you decide to hire aankoop makelaar but at the end you get the house by yourself and with your export, no obligation to pay that makelaar. 

5. Mortgage adviser/broker or not?

Damar and I used this service. But it’s not necessary if you already have a relationship with your current bank and do not want to go extra in the effort. For us, we are keen to get the lowest interest offer possible. That is the key role of mortgage adviser. They will also help out to advise what are the best for our condition (working, contract, age, finance, future plan etc).

Another key role of mortgage adviser is their legal access to borrow money on your behalf to the mortgage lenders/bank. Brokers work with a variety of lenders to find loans for clients, but do not lend out money directly. They are the middle man. The lender could be a mortgage bank, which specializes in mortgages; it could be a large commercial bank, a community bank or a credit union. Ask a broker what he or she can offer that a bank can’t and the response will almost certainly be variety. Because brokers are not tied to any one lender, they have the ability to shop around on behalf of their client.

Note: At the end the extra service fee you pay is more or less the same with what you pay to the bank. Because they also have mortgage adviser that is shoved to you to be used.

6. Take it easy in bidding

Don’t bid too crazy and try not to be too attached to one house. Always believe that if you lose one, there will be many more coming and it will only be for the better. Nothing is too good! By having this mindset, you will not go mental in bidding. Think realistically! First of all, you have to think about the taxation process that will happen after you get the house. If the taxation report (done by an official to check the value of the house on behalf of your mortgage lender) is lower than what you bid, you have to pay the extra amount yourself. If you do not have savings, bank might reject your mortgage request and you have to cancel your bid, which no one really prefers after the long process. So, make sure of this.

Bidding tips: It’s always good to mention your savings (if any) because these days the selling agent (verkoop makelaar) are very cautious and they do not want to go too far when they know there is a chance that your mortgage request will get denied by your chosen bank.

7. Enjoy the process

I know that it could be very overwhelming, house visits, calling, research, checking the house pieces, bidding, waiting in vain, rejected, and start all over again. We had to go through around 10 house visits in 2,5 months and 6 successfully rejected bidding. But we learnt through it all, we observed and know where we could improve. Not only in the hunt process but also in my relationship with Damar. Through it all, it’s more and more clear for use about the priority we both wanted. We did it all together, split tasks etc. It was a bonding moment with him. So, no stress just enjoy it and don’t get to emotionally attached to anything you are interested in. Rejections and struggles only lead to something better!!!

Good luck!!!

This is a glimpse of our house look (in Indonesian)

Source:

Dutchnews.nl

nytimes.com – Choosing between mortgage and bank

 

Europe Family Hidup di Belanda Life Milestone Netherlands

Idul Fitri 1437 – Lebaran di Belanda

18th July 2016 - 3 min read

Alhamdulillahhh akhirnya melewati hari kemenangan juga. Puasa selama 1 bulan penuh terbayar dengan makanan yang berlimpah di hari raya 😀

Damar, saya, dan mas Argo (kakak Damar) memang sengaja ngambil cuti tanggal 6 Juli kemarin karena kami pengen merayakan hari Idul Fitri dengan proper. Apalagi kan tahun ini adalah lebaran pertama sebagai istri, jadi pengen banget masak masakan Lebaran yang serius. Dan tahun ini ceritanya mau bikin menu Lebaran yang beda, karena keluarga suami yang berdarah Medan. Menu yang biasanya lontong opor, berubah jadi lontong gule nangka dan rendang. Untuuuuunggg banget mamanya Damar super baik bawan bumbu gilingan gule dan rendang, jadi gak perlu terlalu repot bikin semua dari scratch. Dan pastinya terbebas dari potential error hhaha. Jadi cuma tinggal nambah-nambahin sedikit spices dan santan, bikin lontong, bikin sambal balado, dan nggak ketinggalan opor (pengen banget!).

“Lebaran sebagai minoritas hanya bisa dirasakan lewat suasana yang diciptakan sendiri”

Jadi di hari H-nya, kami bangun pagi-pagi, sarapan, pake baju muslim yang akhirnya sukses bikin orang-orang dijalan ngeliatin kami haha padahal belum lengkap sama jilbab dan kopyah lho. Sepi banget rasanya hari itu, nggak ada kumandang takbir atau apapun, sama sekali nggak kerasa suasana lebarannya. Tapi ini lebaran ke-7 saya di Belanda, jadi sudah lumrah. Kami pergi ke masjid komunitas indonesia di Amsterdam yang namanya Al Ikhlas. Sholat ied disini dimulai jam 09.00 pagi. Setelah selesai, kami dibagikan goreng-gorengan dan lontong opor. Alhamdulillah rejekiii! selama ini saya selalu sholat ied di Den Haag dan setelah sholat nggak ada dibagikan lontong opor karena pukul 13.00 ada makan siang dengan sajian lengkap menu lebaran di wisma duta (rumah duta besar).

Hari itu penuh dengan makan, makan, dan makan. Makanan yang full dengan santan *elus-elus perut* dan akhirnya bisa menikmati kue kering yang sengaja disiapkan jauh-jauh hari hihi. Sorenya saya beli kue spekkoek di toko Oriental untuk dibawa ke kantor, ceritanya berbagi dan merayakan idul fitri bersama-sama, supaya mereka aware soal kultur islam yang suka bersyukur dengan cara berbagi. Besoknya orang-orang senang sekaliiii dibawakan kue indonesia, dan banyak yang mengucapkan selamat idul fitri ke saya. Indahnyaaaa!!

Foto-foto di bawah ini adalah foto-foto yang diambil di akhir pekan, saat kami berkumpul di rumah kerabat dan akhirnya bertemu dengan mbak Vicka (kakak perempuan saya) sekeluarga. Suddenly feeling like home. Itu ada foto saya sedang skype dengan bapak mama di rumah 🙂

Taqabbalallahu Minna Wa Minkum – Taqabal ya Kareem

Asia Indonesia Love life Milestone Wedding Series

Wedding Series part 11 – Akad Nikah

16th June 2016 - 6 min read

22 May 2016

Exactly a month ago, I married a man of my dream. Everything that I was looking for to be in a person.

I never thought being married would be this great. And I guess, it is not about the marriage, rather about being married to the right person.

My thought flew to the milestone we both had a month ago.
The ceremony was started at 9 in the morning. I was preparing myself with a big help from tante Made, the woman behind Sanggar Mitapuri in Surabaya, since 5 in the morning. I love Tante Made’s dedication in transforming me to a proper Javanese bride complete with Paes (that is the black paint in my face that is continued to my hair which shows maturity and readiness to be someone’s wife). Javanese make up artist had to go through serious study and taken diploma in Javanese culture and make up. Thus they would not only do the job, but also having in-depth knowledge about every rituals in the Javanese traditions, including how to do the make up (which color of eyeshadow is allowed, etc), where to tide up the jasmine flowers, what kind of prayer she needs to do before starting to work on the bride’s face, etc. It was very sacred already starting from the make-up process.

I made the request from the test period with tante Made to not have to high ‘pompadour’ and a big synthetic hair bun that Javanese bride always has. And she granted my request properly. I think the ceremony is the most important and sacred moment of the whole wedding process, where both Damar and I should be a feeling a little nervous. And not being confident does not make the situation any better. Thus, being comfortable with our selves and confident with everything we wear is foremost. That is why, choosing the right vendors to work together and deliver the expectations is vital.

Alhamdulillah, the ijab qabul went smoothly. Damar apparently was less nervous than I was. The moment when Damar said the words, happy tears were bursting. I was very moved by the minute my dad officially gave me away to another man. Subsequently happy and smiling from ear to ear to have another amazing man in my family. Moreover because everything happened witnessed by my family 100th years Rumah Joglo (type of traditional vernacular house of the Javanese people made of teak tree).

After the Islamic married procession successfully took place, the ceremony continued with Panggih. Panggih in Javanese means to meet, is a traditional cultural event held after the ceremony. Meaning that the newly married couple can live their domestic life with a happy and prosperous accompanied by the blessing of both parents and relatives. This ceremony is usually performed at the bride’s house which is my house. I love this part of the wedding, felt very sacred and traditional. I felt like I was a real pure Javanese woman 🙂

Supplies used in this ceremony are: Banana, 3 kinds of flowers: roses, jasmine and magnolia, etc. Kembar Mayang is a series of decoration consisting of palm leaves, especially foliage is plugged into a banana tree leaves which are arranged in the shape of the mountain, a dagger, whip, umbrella, grasshoppers and birds. There is also a banyan leaves, pineapple, jasmine, rice, cotton, cengkir. The significance of those are so that the life of the bride and groom are well and do not encounter obstacles and barriers so quickly to achieve happiness in life. Gantal (betel leaf that has been tied by a thread). Ranupada (washing feet) consisting scoop, bowl, tray, flowers and eggs for the event sritaman ngindak endog. Rice, coins, seeds, bags of cloth, fabric for tablecloths for Kacar Kucur. Rice and side dishes for Dulangan/Feeding each other. The below slideshow is kind of in order on how the procession happened.

Nice to have everything documented and to be able to flashback. That is the main reason I write it down here.

To one month and forever…..

Review Vendor Surabaya (AKAD)

  1. Venue: Rumah Joglo Keluarga Imron (5 stars) Rumah ini merupakan peninggalan nenek moyang kami dari sisi Bapak. Bapak memindahkan rumah ini dari desa beliau di Pati, Jawa Tengah. Saya sangat beruntung bisa menikah disaksikan dengan saksi bisu rumah ini.
  2. Catering: Hidayah Catering (reviewed in here)
  3. Dekorasi: Mitra Flower (reviewed in here)
  4. Make up: Tante Made dari Sanggar Mirapuri (5 stars) Tante Made sangat tidak memaksakan kehendaknya dan beliau dapat memadukan sifat kekunoan dengan kekinian. Dengan sifat keibuan tante Made, saya merasa tenang di make up-in dan mempercayakan segala sesuatu ke tante Made. Harganya juga sangat terjangkau, jauh dari komersialitasan jaman sekarang. Terasa sekali kehati-hatian dan ketulusan dari make up yang dibuat.
  5. Busana Akad putih: Ibu Daud  (5 stars) Bu Daud sukses sekali membuat busana yang pas dan cocok dengan ukuran saya walaupun saya tidak disana. Sekali fitting langsung pas 🙂 Alhamdulillah
  6. Busana Panggih hitam beludru: Tante Made dari Sanggar Mirapuri
  7. Fotografer: Poetoegraphy.com (reviewed in here)
  8. Videography: Paper Pic (reviewed in here)

Akad Nikah – Javanese Traditional Ceremony

Europe Iceland Love life Milestone Resolutions

Aurora Tips

12th February 2016 - 6 min read

Seeing aurora is the main purpose why I wanted to go to Iceland. Everything that has been written on my journal as a bucket list or resolution has a special place in my heart. This journey I planned with Damar couple of months ago as we shared the same dream: witnessing aurora with our bare eyes. It was even better when in between the day of buying the ticket and the departure day, we decided to date. Nice to know that my partner and I are in the same direction and has the same wish.

We are really lucky that in the 2nd day of our stay we can already witness the aurora even just a little. The tricky part of seeing aurora is that ones’ eyes have to be really sensitive and someone needs to really into it and keep on checking the forecast. Fortunately, we have Damar in our group 🙂 He is really concerned and did a lot of research until he could see where was the aurora even if it’s not that visible with our eyes. Aurora can be visible only in the darkness and around midnight and after. If it was not because of Damar, I am not sure we could have this wonderful experience. Although, there is of course Northern light tour in Iceland that will guide you in seeing the aurora, but we did not want that.

The aurora activity when we were there was only in level 2-4 out of 9. This is already good, the scientists who predict the aurora activity are very coutious about their predictions. Most of the year it never go up above 4. It was an incredible experience. Something that I will always remember, even thought it could not be captured by camera.

Here are some tips from Damar, at least how he prepared for it:

  • Check www.vedur.is  for the forecast, what you need to see from this is the aurora activity and the cloud coverage (see below). The one on the right is the aurora activity and the map is the cloud coverage. Bear in mind that the aurora activity shown here is per day. So we actually didn’t know whether the activity was 5 in early Sunday 01:00 AM or late night 11:00 PM. You can scroll below the map to see the cloud on your location within a  certain period of time. You can also see the moon phase, of course dead moon is better than a full moon. Full moon will hinder your sight of the aurora. We saw the biggest activity when it was level 4, we had no cloud above us, and it was on a dead moon. Although we also saw it when it was just level 2.Aurora forecast
  • He downloaded 2 apps in his iphone which basically do the same thing. They are called Aurora Forecast and Aurora (I downloaded the free version, it is enough). What these two apps provided but not the vedur.is is the exact aurora activity per 15 minutes for the next 1 hour. This was very convenient, we went out looking when the aurora activity is above 2 for the next hour.
  • This is perhaps the most important tip, just go out! The chance of you seeing the aurora is significantly higher outside than inside a house. We drove to somewhere where there are very little city lights if the aurora activity is above 2 and the sky is clear. Then just look north because the aurora should be there.
  • There is cctv outdoor (earth cam), where you can see from inside what the sky looks like outside. But it’s limited and no freedom to see the surroundings. Damar did not end up using this that much
  • Have your clothes ready in case you need to get out of the house to catch the aurora in the midnight
  • Prepare your camera, we used DSLR which capture more light so it’s more visible in the camera than with eyes. If you understand a little bit on how to use the DSLR camera, Damar used manual mode with high aperture of f4.5 and long exposure of 25 seconds, and of course a tripod to make your camera steady during those 25 seconds. I tried with my Iphone and it failed big time
  • Oh and you might want to plan something special for your loved one like how Damar did to me…….. Go on to the Aurora story

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Dreams Europe Iceland Love life Milestone Wedding Series

And under the Aurora he bended knee

12th February 2016 - 4 min read

It was the second day of our trip when Damar set up his tripod and camera outside to create a timelapse.  I was waiting and falling asleep on the couch while he was busy with his camera, so did his siblings.

1 hour later, he got hysterical when he discovered his camera caught the aurora passing by the sky. He knew that in midnight it would appear again. He got me all excited in my exhaustion and sleepiness. It was 23.00 pm.

I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, cleaned up and changed to pajamas, got ready to sleep. Couple of minutes after, Damar was coming and half screaming saying that the Aurora appeared again and asked me to change and get ready to go out. I was super lazy, but then I remembered why I came to Iceland, this might be the only chance. So I quickly wore my socks and winter gears. We tried to wake Damar’s siblings but they did not move, so we took the car and went out to the quite field, just 5 mins from our stay.

The aurora was there, not that strong but I could see a little bit of the lights. I knew it was not a normal cloud or sky. It was the spectacular show of the earth, it was THE aurora. While Damar was busy setting up his tripod and camera, I was busy admiring the sky. He set the timer and came to me, we took picture together facing the aurora. What a dream comes true!!

He went to the camera and set the timer again while I was still busy facing the sky. He came next to me…. and all of the sudden, there he was bending on his knee…………………… I looked at his face, he was looking at me with his usual loving sight, haltingly making his promise to me through his beautiful speech. I could not say anything, but cried.

Did not see that coming..

And the questions came, he asked ‘will you marry me?’. I said firmly ‘YES’.

And yes, we are engaged. We are getting married. This year.

I am very grateful that I am going to marry a man of my dream. Someone who never is selfish, care about my opinion, and ultimately about my dreams. He apparently planned this for quite a while. The ring he chose was also something that I always wanted, 3 stones vintage art deco ring from 30-40s. I am one lucky woman 🙂

The happiness is beyond measure. Alhamdulillah…

It’s the start of our journey. I cannot wait to start the life with him.

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Dreams Milestone Self growth

Malam Pergantian tahun 2015 ke 2016

2nd January 2016 - 5 min read

Akhirnya sampai juga di penghujung tahun 2015. Rasanya waktu berjalan begitu cepat. Kata Einsten, waktu itu relatif dan sepertinya kecepatan itu tergantung seperti apa kita menikmati perjalanannya.

Malam tahun baru kali ini aku habiskan bersama keluarga, mumpung mbak Fany lagi dateng dari Scotland. Kami sekeluarga makan malam di tempat mba Indah dan keluarga. Alhamdulillah, dikelilingi orang-orang baik yang suka ngasih makan cuma-cuma haha dan paling penting sebenernya masih punya orang-orang dekat untuk berbagi kebahagiaan merayakan pergantian tahun. Sederhana tapi bermakna.. Sudah beberapa kali aku merayakan diluar, dingin-dingin kehujanan dan bingung pulang haha. Di Belanda, kebanyakan orang merayakan pergantian tahun dengan pesta di club atau di rumah sambil minum-minum. Besok paginya, jalan langsung sepi karena hampir semuanya masih hangover di kasur mereka masing-masing 😛 Kali ini aku cuma ingin merasakan hangatnya selimut kamar dan keluarga di sekitar.

Biasanya firework paling besar ada di Rotterdam. Satu-satunya firework yang di organisir pemerintah. Dulu waktu aku pertama kali ngerayain NYE di Belanda 2009, ramenya bukan main di daerah Erasmus Bridge, bahkan ada DJ segala. Tapi semakin tahun, acaranya diperkecil karena anggaran pemerintah yang dipotong.

Sebagian besar dari tahun baruku, aku rayakan di luar rumah, bersama teman-teman atau di negara lain. Kali ini aku menikmati pergantian tahun, pukul 00.00 tepat di kasur kamar, sebelahan sama mbak Fany sambil nonton film dan menikmati firework besar diluar yang dinyalakan tetangga-tetangga atau warga sipil. Orang-orang yang mampu dan meluangkan waktunya untuk modal beli kembang api sendiri 😀

Banyak banget yang terjadi di tahun 2015 dan begitu juga pelajaran hidup yang bisa aku ambil. Alhamdulillah banyak resolusi-resolusiku yang berbuah menjadi atau hampir menjadi realita. Tapi ease requires a hardship, banyak juga kegagalan yang aku lewati yang akhirnya membentuk aku menjadi seorang perempuan yang tahu apa yang dimau dan juga lebih kuat.

Break up adalah highlight terburuk yang sama sekali nggak pernah aku sangka. Aku ngerasa gagal menjalankan komitmen yang sudah aku buat, bukan kepadanya, tapi lebih kepada diriku sendiri. Dan kegagalan ini, adalah awal dari perjalanan kami masing-masing yang aku yakin berakhir di tempat yang baik dan seharusnya. Perjalanan yang tanpa aku sangka-sangka membawa aku ke Damar… Dan itulah, highlight terbaik.. bertemu dia. Alhamdulillah. Kedengarannya kontradiktif yaaa.. tapi itulah hidup. Penuh dengan misteri. Mudah-mudahan rencana-rencana kami ke depan dimudahkan aaamiiin yarobbal alaamin.

Tahun 2015 adalah tahun yang istimewa karena setelah 5 tahun berturut-turut nggak kumpul satu keluarga komplit, akhirnya kita semua bisa berkumpul di Belanda, tanpa kurang suatu apapun. Aku bisa memenuhi travel destination yang aku tulis di awal tahun. Andalusia adalah salah satu yang paling berarti, lebih spesial karena aku bisa membawa kedua orangtua-ku dan kakak perempuanku menikmati sejarah Islam di sana berbarengan. Tempat-tempat tujuan yang aku tulis di jurnalku adalah Portugal, Luxembourg, South of Spain (Andalusia), French Riviera, Hungaria, Indonesia.. Semuanya tercapai. Bahkan ada beberapa yang nggak ada di listku yang bisa aku datangi. Gak henti-hentinya bersyukur dikasih kesempatan untuk melihat keindahan ciptanNya. Oh tapi ada satu yang belum sempat dikejar di 2015, pergi melihat Aurora di Iceland…. But I’ll get there in 2016 with my better half 🙂 Really looking forward to it. “Percaya pada mimpimu sendiri, karena kepercayaan itu sudah membawamu setengah jalan ke tujuanmu” – MSI

Di bawah ini meng-capture best nine foto-foto yang aku upload di instagram, yang artinya kurang lebih merupakan momen-momen terbaik selama satu tahun.

Dari kiri – kanan = 1. June: Di Amsterdamse Bosch, ngelihat ratusan pohon sakura yang lagi mekar 2. Desember: Akhirnya ngecat rambut setelah 24 tahun penasaran, it’s not so bad. Cat rambut untuk menyambut tahun yang baru 🙂 Kerjaan baru, rambut baru, semangat baru 3. September: Moments of being an aunt 4. December: Strolling a day before his birthday. Strolling in Amsterdam has never felt so good and romantic 5. April: Menikmati Venice-nya Belanda (Giethoorn) for my best friend’s farewell.  6. September: Imron reunion full team 7. 2014, throwback a great time in Lucerne, Switzerland 8. September: Di salah satu pintu di Malaga 9. Januari: Luxembourg trip with Enschede mates  whom by now are all back in Indonesia. 

 

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Aku percaya banget sama teori menuliskan mimpi-mimpi di catatan. Karena, nggak ada perasaan lebih menyenangkan daripada sukses mencoret rencana-rencana dan mimpi-mimpi itu. Sekali mencoret, beribu kali memotivasi untuk berani bermimpi lebih jauh dan memahami bahwa tidak ada yang tidak mungkin.

WELCOME 2016, I am ready to make my dreams this year come true 🙂

Events Milestone

Tommy Christmas Party / Farewell

19th December 2015 - 4 min read

There is always an end after the beginning.

I finally closed my chapter in Tommy and ready to move on to a new adventure. There has been ups and downs during my time in Tommy until now they have been part of my life and family. But of course all the memories will remain. A fond memory……

My Tommy chapter was closed in the same time as the Christmas party which every year has always been held in the most fun way possible. The theme this year is Spain party. Amsterdam RAI hall was magically transformed to a bull arena. The flamenco dancers were even be the part of the entertainment.

I had a little bit mixed feeling because it was my last day. I did not have any expectation about farewell, gifts or any such thing. But what I received was out of expectations. My manager, was secretly observing me and being super thoughtful. He knows me very well. He initiated the gift of a trip voucher, with contribution of others of course. What could have been better than that! But the gift was small compared to all the memories I have collected. My mind flew back to Feb 2014, my first day. I had never known what to expect, and again what I received was out of expectations. Not only had I had experiences, but I found a family.

My manager has cold and difficult personality, he literally hates everyone. Therefore, by the fact that he thought about arranging a gift for me, was captivating me. Not only that, he also delivered a very sweet speech. Not cheesy sweet, but sweet in his own way. He said that once there were only darkness, then there came some lights (read: me). He was sorry that they tried anything to keep me but nothing worked.  But he said he’s proud of me that I followed my heart. I left because of principle, and principle leads to a character. The last ones mean a lot to me….

I thanked God that I am blessed with these experiences and these people.

The following are pictures that sum up the night (to remember)

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Ready for a new year and a new challenge.

Toedlooo Tommy Family!!!!!

xx

Life Milestone Thoughts

Meet him…..

6th December 2015 - 4 min read

“We are a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love” Robert Fulghum

Tonight, I look at my North Sea Jazz picture in which, I remember, was the first time we were ever together in a frame. Not only that, but also the first time I had ever talked to him continuously for an hour train ride prior to the concert. I was about to travel to Rotterdam by myself, until he asked ‘why not travel together?’. I was checkmated.

There we were on the train sitting face to face enthusiastically talking about life, somehow. I enjoyed every second with him very much, felt brightened and somehow felt really safe. As we went along, I realize we were never that close but the gestures somehow had been there. Little did I know, he had the eyes on me the entire time ever since the first sight.

My memory flew back to the years of 2012 in an old little house in Amsterdam where I stayed for a couple of months during my internship, I met this guy who happened to be my housemate’s younger brother. I did not count it as something memorable at all until the past few months when I found out that he remembered every little details of our first meeting, about what the conversation was, what clothes I was wearing, what kind of questions I asked him, etc. Who knows, that very night, he promised to himself to get to know me.

He was fulfilling his promise. Before the whole North Sea Jazz thing, he came to me again after 3 years, asking if I was up to see an orchestra Brahm A German Requiem, To Words of the Holy Scriptures, the longest Brahm play. I said yes to it in which I never regret I did. It was right to the target, as if everything was planned. I would have said no if he asked me to go watch movies or had dinner or anything aside jazz/orchestra concert. I always wanted to go to a live classic concert, yet I had never felt right to visit the music building by myself nor had proper company to go with. I think the universe was preparing someone to accompany me and also the other way around. Someone whom I would feel comfortable to share my interest with.

Who knows it was the start of us getting to know each other?

On the train, I secretly observed and took some fix conclusions: He is a doer, not a talker; both a dreamer and a realist; he is a thinker, not a blind believer. A lot of things about him I can so much relate to.

 

To be continued

Meet him part 2

Meet him part 3

 

Picture is courtsey of Lurik Photography