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31 Dec

Closest to Becoming Travel Writer

at December 31st, 2014 by | permalinkpermalink | category Posted in Wanderlust

My treasured “windcatcher”.
This photo I took in a flight from Lhokseumawe to Medan. I captured the aerodynamics lines which usually can only be seen through a scientific experiment in a lab.

I think everyone knows that I love to wander.. the trendier term nowadays is travelling… kelayapan in Bahasa Indonesia.. ‘mlala’ in Minang language where my Dad family is from. As my nickname is Lala.. no wonder that I like to mlala, right :)  A name is a prayer, a wise man said.

I think it was my dad anyway who instilled in me the love for travelling in the first place. According to him, he first took me adventuring out of town to his project site when I was only about 1 month old. Growing up, my parents continue to take us travelling even to this day.. towing me and my sisters AND our children for a family holiday. So it is natural that I love to travel.

I do love getting lost in my trips. I love seeking out for new adventures. Move around like the locals. I’m at ease whether traveling solo or in group. I love going anywhere.. I don’t really have any preference for destination.. I can enjoy seaside, mountain-side, city tour, country-side, theme-park, or museums. Although, I’m not particularly keen going on mountain climbing for holiday, but I did it a few times. I think it is safe to say that I’m not a fussy traveler.

What’s more important for me is that I can go to places. Better if I can go with (almost) all expenses paid or at least I don’t have to be bothered about the money spent when travelling. As I’m not an heiress, nor married rich, I know I need to have a job that travel is just part of it. So I can mix business with pleasure. It’s the best thing I can do to satiate my thirst for adventures.

Well, I would love to be a travel writer or becoming a host of one of TLC shows. But come on… look how I neglect this blog :D  Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with jobs that require me to travel. At the closing of year 2014, I’d like to recap the trips I did this year whether it’s biz mixed with pleasure, pure biz, or pure pleasure. Without a doubt, this is the year I reaped free mileage the most. Yaay to that!

(FYI, although I did have two biztrips to Bandung, I’m still taking out trips to Bandung as I go there at least once a month anyway to visit Bapak Ibu. Otherwise, this is gonna be a never-ending list.)

 

Let’s trail back then!

January: The Philippines: Manila (and Makati) and Los Baños

February: just short trips to Bogor with the Cimarolis while they were here in Indonesia.

March: Makassar (2x), Ambon

April: Banjarmasin

May: Medan, Kuala Simpang at Aceh Tamiang, Lhokseumawe, Kupang

June: Makassar, Manado

July: Jogjakarta

September: Jogjakarta, Medan

October: Jogjakarta (3x), Medan (and Danau Toba – Samosir Island)

November: Jogjakarta 

December: Banda Aceh, Ambon, Jogjakarta (again!)

A stroll at dusk on Lasiana beach, Kupang – NTT

Resolution for 2015, maybe just a tad less biztrips but a few more family trips. Aameenn!

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24 Dec

Tis How We Do Birthdays

at December 24th, 2014 by | permalinkpermalink | category Posted in Home Affairs, parenthood

We   C E E B R A T E   it!

At least, the minimalist package: birthday cake and dine-out special for family.

Or, the whole shebang: birthday cakes with lots of candles, birthday party, games and presents (of course!).

For some people, some families.. my “obsession” with birthday might raise eyebrows, worse.. some might find it repulsive. I shoulda.. coulda.. spend the money for a better cause, at least for my kids’ education all the way through college. Right? The education bill grows at an estimated 20% every year anyhow. Or I could spend it on a family holiday instead.. travelling to somewhere…

Right! I coulda… but shoulda.. ummmm…..

I love birthday. Waita.. the right statement is: I LOVE celebrating birthdays. It is because I have fond memories of my birthdays celebrated when I was a kid. My mom was a killer party maker. She’s a much better party organizer than I am. For her children’s birthdays, she stayed up late at night “planting” treats (usually a mix of special balloon aka balon tiup, coloring tools, and lots-and-varied candies) for goodie bags on our living room tiles. One tile, a tiny hill of treats, for one goodie bag. So organized, right?

Then, she rallied help from her coworkers, the best artists in the office, to draw posters for a game. For example, her coworker would draw three donkeys missing its tail for the game: Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Even back then in the 80s, without internet, my mom knew that game, which was like this… Hung up the missing-tail-donkey posters. Then she lined up three of my friends willing to play and compete up a few feet away from the posters and gave each player a tail. She then would blindfolded all players and slowly spinned them around three times. After pointed them in the direction of the poster, they had to guess (still blindfolded) the best place to pin the tail to their respective donkey poster. The winner was the player that pinned the tail closest to the donkey’s rear-end. That was just one of the games. She would organized at least three games and sometimes in a couple rounds too. Other games were the usual routines such as cold-or-hot treasure hunting, musical chairs minus 1, etc.

The presents for the winners were quite something too.. at least for children. Just last year, in a reunion, I met a friend that attended my 6th b’day party and she told me that she still keeps the harmonica she won from competing in a game at my party. A harmonica! I would never thought of such present for birthday games. Really, she threw the best, memorable parties not just for her children but also my friends who attended it. My friends at that reunion last year were still gushing over my primary school birthday parties.

So, it is natural that I want my children to have fond memories of their birthdays as I do. However, I don’t always give the whole shebang package for my girls’ every birthday. In the past, I did the minimalist package for their first, second, and fourth birthdays. Then more festive celebrations on 3rd and 5th birthdays. Why so? I don’t know.. I just did it that way.

Even the most festive parties I organized for my girls, in my opinion, are still not as great as the parties my mom threw for me and my sisters. My mom raised the bar too high for us her children to level her. How I organize birthdays is very different from my mom. I relied more to available options provided by playgrounds in Jakarta. The other thing I do differently is the goodie bag. I steer away from giving sweets, drinks, or other food items. The goodie bags I’ve done for my girls were: character plastic fan, hair-man plant kit from science center, wetbag, swimming goggle+towel, DIY foam monsters/fairies decoration, and DIY hand print.

For 2014, just so happened that it’s the year of 5th and 3rd birthdays!

 

Pink Panther Pool Party

I threw a pool party for Raissa, who chose Pink Panther as the party theme. She just can’t make it easier for her mom by picking up the more popular theme like Frozen, or some Disney character instead. But a pink panther? Very difficult theme, you know, baby girl! I only managed to present the theme in cake, cookies, and pudding served at the party.

The Pink Panther party was held on a Saturday, a few days after her actual birthday. She was puzzled when she learned that she won’t be blowing candles on her birthday. So in an impulsive move, I bought a tiny birthday cake from BreadTalk the night before her birthday and wrapped all presents so she can have a surprise on her birthday morning.

Then a purple Pink Panther pool party.

We had a blast! My first time ever throwing a pool party and I had the guests saying that they enjoyed it much. The kids loved the splashing moments, their parents enjoyed lounging by the pool. All guards down.. no one looked polished, but all looked relaxed in their billowing outfits welcoming the breeze.

 

Ahoy, Pirates!

Raissa had her 3rd b’day celebrated at the Playground at Kemang and she really cherished that particular bash. Since then, I have been having hopes and plan that for Fiamma’s 3rd b’day she would have it celebrated in a similar place. But Fiamma’s b’day is in December, during a rainy season. So I opted for an indoor party. After considering two potential playgrounds, I decided on Chipmunk Playland at Kemang. Then Fiamma, our puting beliung (whirlwind) baby, dismissed the princess theme for the pirates theme instead.

We also had a small morning celebration for Fiamma with three cupcakes, only I have no justification for doing it as we held her b’day party on the same day of her b’day. I guess I just wanted to do a morning surprise for her.

I was so satisfied with the Chipmunk service. The staff were so helpful, accommodating, and friendly. I’m glad I chose them over the other option. A mother told me that Fiamma’s b’day was lots of fun. Her remark just shot me up to the roof  :D

Then Raissa said that Fiamma has the best birthday, which made me smile. Really, I just hope they cherish their birthdays as much as I do mine and theirs.

 

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