Friday, April 22, 2016

One Day in Lalaland

It was 7.45am, the kids just left to school and I still had half-full cup of tea.
Maybe I can sit down, enjoy my tea for a bit while checking email?
Nah... I won't have time. Better run to the bathroom now to shower.
Shower it is.

But of course, my 'rituals' in the bathroom took more than ten minutes before I actually hit the shower.  Then when I stepped into the shower it's already 7.58. It should be ok, I thought. They never really are punctual. So I started, thinking it would only take me 5 minutes from start to finish.

Well, two minutes later, the water started to be less and less, until it was just a drip of water.
You know that feeling, when you're in the middle of your business and had to stop just like that?
The feeling of regret sort of thing, while wonder why they choose this time to be punctual out of hundreds of appointments that never be on time! That's how it felt when you're all wet and soapy, but you had to finish it off with cold water from a bucket instead of running water from shower head.

We've been having this water rationing since the beginning of the year. City wide, there is chart where you can see when are days that the water from the street won't come in to your building. And as a country that long ago has left the idea of well, when there's no water from the street you don't have water at all.

Basically on Thursday, Friday and Saturday we can't fill the tank in our building that has about 12 families live in it. In order to save whatever we have in the tank, the building management regulate the use of water during those days. For example from 6-8am on the weekdays, 12-1pm then 8-9pm. And as a consequences you have to adjust your schedule around it. Like when you have to shower, do laundry, cook and wash your dishes, etc, etc.

You'll actually get use to it. But somehow we need to draw the line between normal and ...not normal. It's good to be flexible and adapted to the situation. However if the root cause of this problem is the lack of capability to manage the resource, I think there's something that should and can be done. If this is caused by natural disaster or things beyond our control, of course we need to be grateful for whatever we have and work with it. Again, if human being is the cause, ignorance to be exact, then it is time for us to be human, to use our will, brain and heart to fix it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wobbly Woman Goes Traveling

We just arrived back home in Caracas after more than two weeks vacation in Spain. It's not our first time, but we had a different travel experience as a week before leaving I sprained my ankle. So I had to go with cast and crutches.

Never in my life I imagine this can happen. Although it said that 25,000 person per DAY has this injury, where one or more ligaments on the outer side of your ankle were stretched or torn. It's not a pretty situation especially when you imagine walking on cobblestone streets in Madrid, for example, during winter when most likely it's wet, with crutches. However, I think it would be a different story if it happened in Indonesia, where a masseuse can help and you'd walk again in no time. That how strong an Indonesian can be!

Anyway, it was quite a drama for me, not because of the situation, it's more of the way I handle it. Traveling that should be a relaxing time (this statement should be arguable and becomes one more topic to write next time) could turn to be very stressful. Especially when it didn’t go the way you expect it to be. Of course it's all about adjusting expectations, knowing the limit and most importantly keeping positive attitude in every situation! Which for me is the hardest part of the challenge.

But you know what, I learned a lot about having a disability friendly city. Thinking that we have to design our cities, big or small, to be more explorable for people with special needs independently. I do now have concern about it and think that I was quite selfish for never thinking about it before.

On the other side, reading an article in BBC Travel ( has made me realize that travel is not just for the sake of traveling or relaxing. It’s really more than that. Unfortunately we often forget the philosophy and idea behind it. 

In my case, I often take it for granted as if it’s something that I deserve to have. We were “easily” traveling to five countries in two months and think that’s normal, and I'm not even trying to humblebrag. Again, like a slap in the face I realized how selfish/arrogant I am to think that way.

At the end I learned that it’s totally a privilege, to be able to travel how near or far. And I should’ve be more grateful for the opportunity. But of course, it came after a series of drama and complaints from my mouth! I AM that bad.

The story continues ...
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” 
Mark Twain

Friday, April 24, 2015


(Partly) Lost History

It's like putting a puzzle together to really understand the real history of the city. Even though they said proudly that Toledo was the city where followers of three religions (could and used to) live in harmony and had brought Toledo to it's peak, there are no more trace of Islamic and Jewish culture in the community nowadays. Nobody openly said why that harmony no longer exists ...

What left is only some (used to be) mosque, building that had turned into a church and no longer used as any religious activity with some paintings of saints on its ceiling. There is also a synagogue that's no longer used as a place to pray, with some exhibition of some Jewish scripts and sketches. We can see though the prominent architectural influence from the two religions (that sometimes looks similar) toward what Toledo and Spain have today and be proud of.

I remembered how excited I was the first time I saw the station that looked very familiar and welcoming. How promising it would be to explore the place where Islam had played a big role in the history - seeing the proof of how advance they were. I was imagining how friendly the people would be to us and even the possibility to be able to pray in the historical mosque, house of Allah SWT, that's far away from home. At least two of them did not happen and to be able to see the first one you have to come with some prior knowledge & research in your head.

What I felt was the same when I saw Cusco in Peru. I saw that most of lower part of Inca's buildings became foundation of the new architectures of the new ruler. I can imagine the Inca was literally being crushed by the occupation, just because they had different view about life from the conqueror. I got this sad, devastated feeling, to know there is part of history that we wouldn't know unless you look for it. Facts that won't be explicitly stated in history books.

The trip to Toledo has opened my eyes, that it's my obligation to learn about the history & the truth, then pass it along to my own family, friends and community.

Old City of Toledo

The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Full Time Mum

How can you not be a full-time mum? Whether you work or not, you just have to be a full-time mum. There's no such a thing as part-time mum, isn't it? So maybe the correct palabra is stay-at-home mum. Yes, it's more like it. A mum who "just" stay home, not working at the office is a stay-home-mum instead of a full-time mum. Honestly I hate those palabras. Why we even need to label mums, women, people, in the first place? A mum is a mum, period!

Anyway, a letter from the university where I worked almost 15 years, which is also the place where I studied, came this week. It's an official letter that stated they fired me with honor (?). Very interesting words, huh? I'm fired from the university, with an honor. Actually I have resigned several years ago, when decided to follow my husband and live my life as an expat *wink. But as a civil servant of course they have to fire me instead.

How do I feel? Honestly, nothing...or maybe I feel numb to be precise. I love my job, as a lecturer, working with dental students who are pursuing their dream really kept me felt alive and young :) Not to mention the pressure to keep up with the newest knowledge and skill, also technology, which made me pushed myself even further. The salary is close to nothing, as I needed to pay nanny (even nannies) and driver when I worked. But the satisfaction was unbeatable! I missed it, yes, and still am missing it. Even though I won't trade anything to the opportunity to be close to my children and husband, and keeping the family together.

Just read Amy Nielson's piece on Huffington Post " 5 Things You Should Never Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom", and it really stroke me with some facts, including the one regarding other people's comments on your/my decision. It is funny, but can be ironic too...

It is hard not having the option to get out from the house and "hide" behind cubicle or my desk at the office for hours, get away from hearing the kids calling you over and over to ask where's this or that or sometimes the argumentation between brothers over "small" things. It is hard for not having your "own" money that you earn with your sweat, brain and sometimes tears, and spend it for whatever you want.Nevertheless I still choose to live this kind of life, for what I believe I want to do and grateful to have. I stand where I should and want to be.

As Amy said in the article, it is not easy when people comes to you and tell you that ,"you are so brave to choose this" or that they don't know if they can do the same or, " what do you do with the degree that you have. For God's sake, you studied to be a dentist and you end up being a stay-home mum?". Even worse: "I wonder what your parents said/thought. They sacrificed a lot for you and now you're jobless?"

Espejo en Hacienda de La Trinidad

I really think I shouldn't even answer those questions. It's not even a question, it's a judgement. There are better words and sayings to show support instead of judging one's decision, no? Amy gave some good examples of those sayings. And I wish more people say those things instead of judging my choice. But why bother? Decision de uno is personal. Nobody would understand one's circumstances. Sometimes they don't even care, so why judge their decision?

So here I am, a full-stay-home mum, a dentist-or used to be a dentist by profession, a blogger-whenever I feel like it, a quilter-when I have time to sit, and many more.

One thing I'm sure I'll do with my life is to keep learning. Learn anything the world has to offer. Just because: "It is the men of knowledge who can truly realize God" (35:28) and “Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?” (Sûrah al-Zumar : 9)

Indeed there are so many signs in the world for us to learn, every single day!

  • " Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of the night and the day, in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind, in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which Allah gives therewith to an earth that is dead, in the beasts of all kinds that Allah scatters through the earth, in the change of the winds, and the cloud which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (Here)indeed are signs for a people who have sense" (Al Baqarah: 164)

Monday, February 23, 2015


Apa yang menarik dari sebuah pintu? I'm not that smart to know the answer, however I found that every door tells a story of what's behind it and where it is! So here we are, doors that we encountered... (the photos also told a story that the eyes behind the lens are belong to a shopaholic :)

Arte Murano, San Antonio de Los Altos, Caracas

(Gran) Roques, Venezuela

Posada Natura Vida, Los Roques, Venezuela

Of course, Madrid

Salamanca District, Madrid

Puerta Alcala, Madrid

The Hague

The Hague


Casco Viejo, Panama

Casco Viejo, Panama City

Le Marais, Paris




Le Marais, Paris

Rue du Temple

The Hague

St Rosa de Lima, Caracas

Grande Mosquée, Paris
 I must say the most interesting place for doors, so far,  is Paris...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

No soul deserves to die because of our ignorance

Not in France, nor in Palestine.
Not in Ferguson, nor in Bangui.

Time to educate ourselves and our community.
Learn our faith thoroughly and properly.
Practice the teaching correctly, be a human who leaves a good legacy in the world.

Lately, Twitter has drawn my attention to Dan Cohen and his story.
One of few men who still have a heart and bravery to show us the injustice that is happening on one side of the world, while the other part is promoting freedom of speech and equality.

Wish him to be guided and protected by the God.
Follow him on Twitter @dancohen3000

Monday, January 5, 2015

Banyak Baca Banyak Menulis

Sempat bingung kenapa anak-anak "dipaksa" baca di sekolahnya. Kadang sampai dibuatkan log book dan ditetapkan waktu minimal untuk membaca setiap hari. Waktu lihat jadwal mereka pun, sempat terpana karena setiap hari paling tidak mereka habiskan 3 jam pelajaran untuk literacy. 

Belakangan dan pelan-pelan mengertilah saya tentang beberapa hal. Yang pertama, kemampuan menulis itu penting dalam kehidupan nyata. Ibu saya selalu menekankan hal tsb, dan sebisa mungkin saya terapkan. Tetapi baru belakangan saya sadar kenapa itu penting. Salah satunya adalah fakta bahwa buku-buku mengenai ajaran agama yang saya anut dan sejarahnya sangat terbatas tersedia. Yang banyak menulis buku semacam itu adalah ilmuwan2 Iran yang memang terkenal pintar. Buku-buku tsb bagus untuk dibaca, tetapi sebaiknya diimbangi dengan buku-buku yang ditulis dari sudut pandang yang lain. Sementara itu buku yang bisa menunjukkan ajaran Islam sejati, yang penuh kedamaian, tanpa disalahartikan dengan budaya Arab, atau budaya lain yang cenderung mengambil keuntungan dari ajaran tsb tanpa menelaah lebih dalam konteks dan prasyaratnya belum banyak saya temukan. 

Buku A Thousand of Splendid Suns dari Khaled Hosseini yang sempat menjadi NYT best seller, misalnya, hanya menggambarkan satu faset dari ribuan faset umat Islam di dunia. Tapi karena populer, maka gambaran Islam yang seperti disajikan dalam buku itulah yang akan mengendap di benak pembacanya. Adakah penulis lainnya yang bisa menunjukkan bahwa ajaran Islam bukan hanya mengenai poligami, keterbatasan pendidikan untuk wanita, dsb? Karenanya penting bagi kita semua untuk bisa menulis, menyampaikan pendapat dan keberanan serta fakta yang mungkin banyak orang perlu tahu.

Selain itu di dunia nyata, di dunia kerja, menulis adalah bagian sehari-hari dalam kehidupan. Laporan, email, resume, dll, semuanya dianggap formal bila disajikan dalam bentuk tertulis dan dikerjakan setiap hari.

Ternyata bisa menulis tidak sama dengan pandai menulis setelah kita banyak membaca. Karenanya literacy di sekolah macam anak2 saya selalu berarti membaca dan menulis. Kenapa? Ya karena dengan banyak membaca kita jadi punya banyak kosa kata, mengerti grammar dengan baik, memahami gaya penulisan, dll. Malahan anak2 saya dibiasakan membaca dengan lebih dalam, mencari arti di balik kata-kata penulis, membayangkan situasi dan kondisi si tokoh, dan sebagainya. Saya sendiri sadar kalau saya perlu banyak membaca sebelum bisa menulis dengan baik waktu memulai mencoba menulis esay dalam bahasa Inggris. Nah kalau buku dalam bahasa Inggris yang dibaca hanya sedikit, kosa kata dan idiom yang dipakai sangat terbatas dan cenderung datar, kan. Itu sebabnya sampai sekarang esay tsb belum juga selesai. 

Anyway, ya saya sedang berusaha memaksa diri untuk membaca lebih banyak. Adalah benar kata Allah SWT dalam surat Al Alaq yang disampaikanNya sebagai ayat yang pertama untuk Rasulullah, yang sekaligus menunjukkan pentingnya iqra bagi manusia.

Al Alaq: QS 96: 1-8
Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),
Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).
Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,
Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)],
Has taught man that which he knew not.
Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.).
Because he considers himself self-sufficient.
Surely! Unto your Lord is the return.

Baca, bacalah ilmu yang Allah SWT telah berikan di dunia ini. Bacalah semua yang tersurat dan tersirat di alam. Baca dan jadilah manusia yang berakal.
Yang terpenting baca dan pelajari kitabmu (self reminder)

Foto: Arif dengan segala posisi membacanya. 

Ndhodhok di kereta

nunggu pesanan


gaya bapak-bapak

hampir tidur

posisi gaya