Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Best Finds

We're saying goodbye to 2011 in a few days, so many memorable moments, laughter and tears, things that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Here are some of my best finds in 2011.

1. Kramersbooks and Afterwords Cafe
The coolest bookstore ever. It's located in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, and I was lucky enough to visit the store when I went to DC this past summer. The bookstore has a certain cool vibe,with shelves full of books at the front area and a bar in the back. And thankfully, it's not as pretentious as Aksara! And the books are cheap too =) My perfect kind of place. I wish there's a place like this someday in Indonesia.

2. My birthday is on Thanksgiving day!
I've never celebrated thanksgiving before, but this year, for the first time in my office's history (and my history as well!), we celebrated thanksgiving. Complete with two huge turkeys, so many delicious traditional food, and the best home made pumpkin pie ever, made by my American colleague's girlfriend. And the best part? We had the celebration on my birthday! So it's considered my birthday celebration too! (without me even spending a dime, hee hee!)

3. Book Blogger Indonesia
I bumped into this crowd on the internet when I was in my lowest moment. Suddenly my spirit was lifted again, knowing these people who shared the same passion with me: books! Since I joined the group, I only had chance to meet with two of them, but it felt like I know all of them forever =)

4. Hummingbird
Bandung is still at the top of my list if I want to find a good place to eat. Frankly speaking, so many overpriced restaurants and cafes in Jakarta, making the good culinary experience turn into a not so good financial situation. So I'm so happy everytime I went to Bandung, there are new places, affordable but nice places, ready to be tried. Hummingbird is one of my favorites this year. A cute little restaurant, has a warm ambiance, and quite good food too. Try the roast chicken with rosemary and their peach tea. Yummy! =)

5. Discount time, baby!
One of the best inventions in internet era so far is the promo and discount site! Me and my colleagues are addicted buying the promos from sites like Deal Keren and Ada Diskon. It's so much fun! Not only the feeling that we had been saving money (a mexican buffet lunch for only IDR 40k, or fancy karaoke for IDR 15k per person, hurray!), but also the chance to try something we never did before. I found a good dentist from one of the promos, and I even tried to do a treatment here, for a very very cheap price. I love discount sites! Who doesn't??? =p

6. Meat is still my choice
I'm totally not against vegetarian. I admire them! But from what I experienced this year, vegetarian is not my way (yet). Especially since I found some places serving really nice carnivore-dish =D One of them is Moe's Place, a great place in Kemang, their specialty is ribs (my choice is baby-back pork ribs, it's heaveeeen!!!!). The quality is almost the same as Tony Romas, but with almost half the price. We celebrated our anniversary there (without even planning it), and we had a great surprise, 25% discount! When I asked until when they'll have the promo, the waiter answered "We haven't decided yet". So go there, hurry! =) Ow, and I also had the best steak of the year, in Outback (I tried the one in Ratu Plaza). Their Outback Special is ridiculously delicious, a very juicy sirloin (ask them to serve the medium one). It’s indescribable =)

My most favorite site of the year! Their articles, especially the ones in "Top 10" category, saved me in the most boring day at the office or even the most stressful ones. I love how the editors write in a witty, smarty-ass way but still delightful to read. I envy their creativity. Read this Top 10 Everything of 2011 and you'll be taken into a great journey of the year =)

8. BCL
What? The singer? Are you kidding me? Certainly not. Luckily, I'm still sane =D And I found an old school amusement park in Bandung, called Bandung Carnival Land (or BCL!), thanks to my sister =)I took Yofel there and it's a great change from an overly expensive playground at the malls. The simple yet terrifying roller coaster, the as bright as carnival lights, and even the ancient haunted house with the "real" ghosts =) Crazy fun!

9. Sriti Hotel
This is a hotel we stayed at when we had Christmas holiday last week in Magelang. The hotel is surprisingly good, with clean and tidy rooms, nice pool, and warm Christmas-y feeling. It's not that expensive too, about IDR 350k per night for standard room (but a bit more expensive during holiday seasons),located in the center of the city. I will definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to crash in Magelang.

10. Bookish Me
2011 had offered me many great moments as a bookworm. I found several very great books this year. One of them is Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This is not a new book, but it's my best book of the year. Been a while since I read a book that can haunt me long after I finish it. Marisha Pessl had written a really nice debut novel about a girl who tries to find her identity, in the middle of a mysterious murder. The other book is Jellicoe Road, a coming-of-age novel by Melina Marchetta, very intense but enjoyable at the same time. Both novels have brilliant slash crazy epilogue, not to be missed for anything. Probably my favorite epilogues ever!!! I do look forward to reading more good books next year. Fingers crossed!!!
Ow, and another great bookish experience is when I was asked by The Urban Mama to represent them as a speaker for Aleph (Paulo Coelho) Book Discussion with Times Bookstore. Crazily nervous, but in the end, I loved the experience! =)

11. Dinosaurs Rule!
Yofel is in love with dinosaurs. Literally =) And the good news is, I found so many great things related to this ancient animal. Cool books, movies, t shirts, birthday cupcakes and even a big T Rex baloon we bought in ELC. And I found so many interesting facts about dinosaurs too, thanks to Yofel and his obsession =) At least he's not into guns and robot (yet!), but if he does reach that stage, I will let his Dad take over the stage =D

Anyway, it's been a great year, of course lots of stumbling too along with the climbs. But I am very grateful for this wonderful 2011, and looking forward to a great 2012 as well. Wishing everybody more adventures to come! Happy new year! =)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Skills I Want To Have

Kadang-kadang gue masih diminta menulis sebagai kontributor untuk majalah ELLE Indonesia. Dan terakhir, gue menulis satu artikel yang mengangkat profil perempuan yang berprofesi di bidang sex & relationship.

Salah satu perempuan yang gue interview adalah Natalia Indrasari, seorang marriage & family therapist yang berdomisili di Amerika Serikat. Iseng gue ajukan pertanyaan, "What do you think about happily ever after marriage? Does it even exist?"

Dan inilah jawabannya =)

"Happily ever after could be a reality and is realistic wish asalkan tahu 'pilar-pilar' apa yang dibutuhkan dan juga menjalaninya. Sebelum menikah, kita bisa mempelajari dan latihan mempraktekkan skill-skill yang dibutuhkan untuk hubungan perkawinan yang sehat (communication skill, problem solving skill, prioritizing skill, budgeting, dll). Sebaiknya ketika jatuh cinta, mata dan telinga harus dibuka lebar-lebar. Kalau pun ketahuan tidak cocoknya sebelum menikah, itu lebih baik daripada tahunya setelah menikah. Untuk pasangan yang sudah menikah, coba luangkan waktu untuk tidak hanya membicarakan masalah 'logistik' sehari-hari (anak, schedule, rutinitas), tapi coba biasakan untuk membicarakan misi dan visi keluarga, ke mana keluarga ini mau di bawa, dan apa peran dan harapan masing-masing anggota keluarganya. Sense of humor adalah salah satu skill yang baik dan bisa membuat pasangan lebih bahagia , biaskan untuk 'be playful' dengan pasangan, jangan selalu serius, namun ini harus dilakukan di saat yang tepat. Biasakan untuk mencoba kegiatan baru bersama pasangan (tanpa selalu menyertakan anak), mempelajari hal baru (tidak harus kemudian menjadi ahli) bisa meningkatkan kuatnya ikatan pasangan. Coba benar-benar cari tahu 'inner quality' apa yang membuat pasangan jatuh cinta pada kita dan pertahankan kualitas tersebut. Misalnya suami jatuh cinta karena kita dipandang sebagai wanita yang cerdas dan supel, coba pertahankan untuk tetap cerdas dan tetap supel. Coba perlakukan pasangan kita setidaknya sebaik kita memperlakukan teman kita. 'pick your battle' jangan semua masalah dijadikan ajang pertengkaran, pilih hal-hal yang benar-benar penting untuk kita, misalnya hal-hal yang berhubungan dengan prinsip, selebihnya kita harus bisa 'let go'. Belajar untuk 'fight fair', pasangan yang bahagia itu bukan pasangan yang tidak pernah bertengkar, namun pasangan yang walaupun bertengkar tidak kehilangan 'respect' satu sama lain, sama-sama bertujuan mencari pemecahan terbaik dan berani bertanggung jawab akan konsekuensi dari keputusannya."

Thank you Natalia, sudah mengingatkan gue tentang janji yang gue ucapkan 3 tahun yang lalu. Sometimes time flies so fast, and I forgot what's my reason when I decided to spend my life with my guy. Apalagi setelah ada anak, rasanya waktu gue jauhhh lebih banyak dihabiskan dengan anak gue.

So many ups and downs. So many obstacles, from little things like the way he eats and the way he talks, to the most challenging issues like raising a kid and managing our finance. Marriage is indeed a battlefield! But it's worth to fight for.

Happy 3rd anniversary Bung, cheers to our next adventures to come! =)