Ladies and gentlemen.....

EF Tegal's crew. :)
Listening to: Jack Johnson

What am I to you, guys?
A nice friend who listens to your rants, hugs you when you fall, parties when you succeed, but is forgotten when no longer needed?

What am I to the guys I've been dating all this long?
A great holiday companion that makes them smile and get playful, but should remember that it's over when it's over?

What am I to my family?
An ideal first child who takes the responsibility to take care of them willingly?

What am I to ex-bestfriends/close friends?
A person who is just a part of an episode in their lives, but to be kicked out once they have a settled relationship?

What am I to your value?
Who am I to you?
Where do I stand in your heart?

I'm seriously lost.

Can't just SOMEONE love me for me?
Can't I be a SOMEONE instead of an ANYONE, or worse: a NOONE?
Am I asking too much?
I'm really bored in Tegal. Work is busy as usual, but there are times I feel so fed up doing the same things every weekend, though it's at the same time the only days we're looking forward to.

Let's see... my mates and I ALWAYS go to Pacific mall every Saturday evening after work. We hang out at the Tong Tji stand, which I always consider as a replacement of Excelso Cafe or Dome. The difference is, we usually spend Rp 75,000 upwards at Excelso's and only Rp 3,000 for a big glass of tea and crunchy peanuts. Of course the cafe's have better seats and music, for in Pacific mall the music you can expect to hear is of those religious (Islamic) ones played over and over again, while at Dome you have all kinds of music, from pop to Jazz, and they for sure are not played 4 or 5 times every hour.

Also at Pacific, if we have the mood, we'll play Daytona USA racing car game in link. Pam usually wins and she can be so big-headed about it. :P Whereelse... oh, DVD stands. If we happen to find good movies, we'll buy them to watch in our boring evenings after teaching.

Actually working here could be much better if we had no classes on Saturdays. Then we will have enough time to explore some other neighbouring cities and have more fun. But hellas... this is my first full-time job requiring me to work 6 days a week. And though I've worked here for already 7 months, I'm still not used to it.

I can't wait to get out of here and move to a more interesting place. But then again, in the financial sense, Tegal is a good place to live since everything is relatively cheap here and I actually hardly spend any money but on phone credits and weekend funs, which are not that much.

Choices choices. *sigh*
A unique and charming 24-year-old woman is looking for a highly potential boyfriend! She is fun, adventurous and a great lover! She enjoys learning languages and going to the movies, concerts or theaters. She always looks forward to good food and cool companion.

A funny guy who is caring, smart, and proportional (mind and body). He should be about 27 – 35 and most importantly, financially stable. If you are not stable yet, at least you are hardworking and have a vision.

If you think you are qualified, just drop your comment on this post, or contact Madam Carla, the Matchmaker.

WARNING: This is a very serious post!
Who is the person I miss the most at the moment?


I miss her laugh.
I miss her caring attitude.
I miss her wise ideas (for someone who is a year younger than me, I consider her very very wise and mature).
I miss talking to her.
I miss going out with her to simply drink some coffee at the Excelso's or watch a movie/DVD.
I miss staying the night at her place and gossipping the whole night through.
I miss her (OMG) wicked and naughty thoughts.
I even miss her annoying me!

Mood: upset
Reading: Abharat
Listening to: the soundtracks of Tokyo Drift
Watching: Garfield 2


A few days ago Mariza just told me about her resigning at her diving company, because of a little unfriendly friends and weird boss (I met them when I was in Bali last month, and Andy (her boss) was certainly not an ideal leader).
She sounded to be so lost and alone and sad when I called her on Saturday morning, and I wished I could be there for her. But the only communications we could do were via chat on yahoo messenger and smses. I was in her situation before so I could relate.

In a way I felt so sorry for her, but then I was also feeling grateful working at English First Tegal, which working environment was so nice.

But that was not for long.

On Monday, basically the first fasting working day here in Indonesia for the Moslems, I had this problem with one of the teachers, Ms. Aya.

Our classes were switched. I am handling her class, and she’s handling mine. EF sometimes does things like that for a reason, but again, the reason is not always revealed to the teachers concerned.

Ms. Aya’s husband happens to be in the class she took over from me. And when she asked me where the attendance folder of the class was to me, we had this small talk about our feelings towards the classes switched.
And since at that time I was writing comments to be written on the certificates, my concentration was totally divided. Yet, I still could remember what we said to each other.

I remember I told her how I already felt very comfortable with the class and what a pity it was switched (I thought it was normal to share things like that, since the other teachers do that, too). And I also remember that I mentioned something about her husband being there, jokingly, or whatever, but I NEVER remember saying things that hurt her. At least I didn’t mean it.
And at that very time, she also didn’t show anything like getting upset or something. So I thought everything was OK.

Until at seven o’clock, I should have finished all the classes, I saw the folder of that class on my desk. I was wondering about it, so I called Ernie, the director of studies, about it. Before doing that, Mr. Budi told me that Ms. Aya was so very angry/upset with me. So I went like, “Huh?”

Later I knew that she already left home, at the time she was supposed to teach that class! Nobody was available, so I had to teach that class in the end anyway. I didn’t mind it. But what the hell was her problem, doing such a thing unprofessionally like that?! She didn’t communicate anything to me or to Ernie. She just fussed behind my back that she was mad at me, and left her class unattended like nothing should be discussed.

I could see that it was all a misunderstanding. There must be some things in the words I told her that hurt her, but when yesterday morning we had a meeting with Ernie about it, she told Ernie that it was me who was being difficult, by not handing her the attendance folder of that class. She said that I handed her that finally 5 minutes before the class.

Again, “Huh?”

I gave that stupid folder at 5 o’clock, I remember very well about it, cause I didn’t meet/talk with her again after 5:30. I even explained her where she should start the next lesson. The class concerned, by the way, would start at 7:10. How come was she claiming that I gave it to her 5 minutes before the class??? And besides, teachers can always take the folders from the other teachers’ desk freely if they happen to have that class that week, WITHOUT having to consult with the previous teacher who teaches that class! So I told her bluntly there that she was making this all up, just for the sake of strengthening her being upset case with me.

She also mentioned things I felt I didn’t say, and rudely she pointed her finger in front of my face in that meeting. What the heck!

It was HER that had the problem, you know. I did NOT even KNOW that I was the one she was upsetting about until 7 p.m. that evening! She didn’t tell me a thing! Instead, she went around telling everybody else BUT ME that I was doing this bad thing and that.

I completely understand that she might have this mood swing because she was fasting, and I could easily forgive or even apologise if I was wrong. But then, how could I do that if I didn’t even know that I was THE PROBLEM?

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I’m going a bit racist here. I notice this behaviour SO Javanese. Silencing in front of the people concerned, but talking wild behind his/her back, that is. One of the worst qualities in the world I can never respect. Combined with this was happening at the work place made it the perfect occurrence that has ever annoyed me so far.
And this is the very same person who stayed the night in my room last week.
Reading: Mark's journal
Listening to: Morcheeba

This is a comment I tried to post on Mark's journal. Now after I read it for the second time, I actually realised that some of my arguments do not relate what he's talking about there. But I don't know... I think they are a pretty honest argument, though may not be the best one.

I posted it here as I saw that actually this is way too long to be a comment, and cause I cannot post the comment there (the post comment button didn't work). Hahaha....

Oh btw, read his journal first before you read what I wrote here.

As much as I want to agree with some points of your definition of love, I’ve actually already given up thinking/analyzing too much about it. I had all of these discussions about love a couple of years ago, asking myself why I fell in love, why I had it with this or that person, why it couldn’t be simpler, why people (I) could get so selfish when it came to love, why the person I loved made it so complicated, why I made it so complicated, why I couldn’t just enjoy my life without thinking/worrying if my relationship could survive or not, why this and why that.

After months and months of questioning myself I came to this best conclusion (for me) to not ask, analyze and think anymore. Because to ask consumes most of my time and energy just to get the answer (while I can actually do something else that is more important); to analyze my relationship always brings me some suffering in the end; and to think and guess about my boyfriend’s feelings towards me confuses me even much more. I also learnt that actually those thoughts brought more negative (or positive, depending on your relationship) views of love life in general and made me more cynical. It also turned me to be somebody else I didn’t want myself to be and prevented me to move on to a better life and perspective.

SO, I came to this conclusion, that we (I) should NOT think, define, analyze or worry about love that much. Love, just like anger, scared, happy etc., is a feeling. Love is for us to feel, enjoy, cherish, be sad for, be excited for. But not to be analyzed too much. On the other hand, I am not encouraging us to not use our brain at all when we’re trapped into this love game, cause it won’t be wise to neglect a lot of love signs the other person transfers, cause again, love makes us happy. Why letting such an opportunity of a prospective happiness?

Cause love is a feeling. Just like sadness and happiness. It’s simple (for everyone can feel it) yet also so complicated (for WE make it complicated by our own paranoia and wound we had in the past).

In short, feel the love, and be happy in it. Live for the present, learn from the past but don’t let the past eat you. And work for the future, but again don’t be too stuck in it that you fail to feel grateful for what the present brings you.


My magic number.

I now am 27 starting from 27 August 2006.

I really don’t know what to expect this year. But I’ve set a few big plans and I’m determined to make them come true. I just hope I won’t forget it in the next 12 months. Hehe….

In the mean time, my thanks go to:

Marijn, for his nice birthday wishes and great presents.
Mariza, for her cool companion during my time in Sanur beach, Bali.
Rina, for her sweet call.
Mark Mulder, for his generous call.
Vanie, for her sms and her kind help for the Bali ticket.
Felix, for his sms and testimonial on Friendster.
Vitria, for her sms.
Ella (EF Staff), for her sms.
Juz, for her sms.
Viant (EF student) for her sms.
Ernie, for her sms.
Pam, for her sms.
Nisa, for her sms.
Mia, for dropping by on this blog and wishing me a happy birthday.
Valens, for his b'day wish on YM.
Pei, for the call (which was answered by Mariza. :P)

Thank you all. I appreciate these very much.


Accidents happen...

They don't mean that they make you a clumsy person for doing them. Or it was you to blame when accidents seem to stick to you most of the time.

Nor was it my fault that I lost my room keys three times for the first two months I'm here.

Not either when I broke the edge of the ulek-ulek in the kitchen.

Of course it was absolutely genuinely honestly an innocent accident when the upper glass of the table was broken into 3 pieces cause I put the hot pan on it directly after I removed it from the stove.

And I really didn't mean to break one of the bowls when I sleepily cooked myself a dinner with it.

Accidents happen...

And I have to pay a lot for them next month to replace anything I broke accidently lately.
Life has been difficult lately.

I’ve already been so stressed out every time I think about my credit cards bills (if I allow myself to think about them) but until 2 days ago, I could manage to handle it for I felt quite happy living here.

Too bad I just had my first hit here. Last weekend Mbak Minda, the head of the staff, warned us about the increasing telephone bill last month. The boss asked her to print out the details and when she did, she found out that most of the outcoming expense was made from the dial up Internet connection. It was in total about Rp 400,000. During the “talk” with Ernie, Pam and me, she kept giving us the warning her eyes locked on me. I thought at first that it was only my feeling, but Pam knew it, too.

Great. I was the biggest suspect.

For maybe:
I’m new. And it happened after I moved here.
I previously worked at a website office where an internet connection was not really a luxury.

She never mentioned my name indeed. But it didn’t take a genius to know that I was the one to blame.

It saddened me in a lot of ways. I mean.. fuck, an increasing internet bill was supposed to be expected for there was a new teacher here (me). And come on, how many people here use the internet? 10? And I DO know someone else used it much more than I did. Unfortunately this person concerned didn’t say anything about it. And telling bad things about other people to make myself clean is not my thing!

In another case, my mom has been staying here for a week. I thought she needed a holiday from having all the hard house chores at home back in Surabaya, so I invited her here. I didn’t allow her to do the washing or ironing cause I didn’t want to make use of her being here like my other siblings did.

But this seemed to lead to another problem for she was so stressed up here doing nothing but reading, coking and knitting. She began too emotional last night and gave me all the same stuff she’s always said in her life: “how much I look and behave like my father and how she hates it,” “why God didn’t take her away first,” “how she and I are not supposed to be together too long” etc. etc.

At that point I didn’t know what to think anymore. It seems like whatever I do is never enough for her and my family. I will always be that stingy and ruthless person. I’m never as generous as my sis or cousin who sometimes treat the family some meatball or something. But why can’t they just think in one second in their life that it is indeed this stingy person who pays the bills these whole ten years after papa died, she’s the one who provides the food and the one who pays my brother’s school fee?

I really REALLY hate I should mention that for I do everything wholeheartedly. And I don’t expect any return from them. But please not even AT LEAST the tiniest, slightest conscious thought that I DO indeed do something for the family?

I’m so brokenhearted.
Mood: Busybody


Yeah well, I've been behaving nice since I've come here. Some clumsiness acts occurred, as expected; such as leaving my keys inside the room so that I couldn't get in. I had to ask Aris, one of the staffs, to break my lock so I could come inside. Did that three times in a month and the last time I did it I had to bribe him with some dinner (hehe).

But for accident, it just happened this week. I was walking down the stairs from the teachers' room to the staff room to photocopy some teaching materials. At the same time I was reading the exercises I was going to give to my students. I wore the 7-cm heels and I slipped just when I was about to reach the first floor.

It made some big noisy sound, I reckoned, for people from the front desk (1st floor) and some students nearby, plus some teachers on the second floor rushed to see who fell down.
I grinned at them while trying to hide my pain AND embarrassment.

My whole body hurt that night and it lasted for about 4-5 days. I didn't have dinner then for I needed my bed badly to rest my (especially left part) body. But it wasn't enough. I needed a massage, my housemates said, but we were too busy at work to have some massaseu come here.

You know, in a way, being in a small town with a few to none entertainment variations could be a good sign in motivating your creative skills. I've made so much more pictures than I ever did when I was back in Surabaya. Most of them are of myself and workmates, though. But I also have some of the photojournalistic pics. There are a lot of human interest subjects here for sure!
So, can you guess who this hot looking girl below is? ;)

Ella, one of the FD staffs, told me one day that there was a new gym opened near the office. I welcomed it enthusiastically, though am not sure yet if I can do it in the near future with my tight budget. But at least I know that there is another gym besides the only one we knew here.

Then we continued talking about having exercises by ourselves, like sit-up and push up. And she suggested me to do the standing push-up if I didn't like the laying down one.

"But be careful, Miss," she said, "It can make your breasts bigger."

"Errrr... why should I be careful with it? Big breasts are good, no?"

"No way! That's embarrassing!" she exclaimed.


A few hours later, Pam, Ernie and I were going to have a dinner outside. While waiting for Ernie to get downstairs, Pam and I were talking in the hall. She saw my ass and she went commenting like...

"Girl, you have such a big ass!"

I grinned and said, "Thanks!"

She replied, "Geezz... that's not a compliment, you know."



Pam was going to the ATM when Ernie and I sat at the very same night at some food stall waiting for our dinner. Being curious as in the same evening, I got two different remarks about my sexuality, I asked Ernie what she thought about having big breasts.

"It's disgusting," she said.


"Because men like big breasts, you know?"


"Well why should we encourage them to see our private bodies? When they get bigger, they will attract more attentions," she explained.


Is it only me or do I just live in a different world at the moment? I was brought up by a proud mother who always claims that medium to big breasts are always better than the small ones and an artistic father who appreciated women's curves more than anyone else. As a teenager and young adult I was still surrounded by a community that always praises beauty and curves. Just to mention some: Shierly, Veve, June, Rina, Vitria and many more. They never mind wearing or looking at, even encourage the "modern" way of dressing that show pretty much of our flesh.

But here, in this small town, there is apparently a different idea. Firstly, most of the girls or women here wear headscarves and long clothings. Secondly, it seems to be a sin to wear a tank top here, which later I decided to be a mistake since most of my clothes are tank tops and cute shorts.

The other day, Pam warned me to dress more appropriately on weekdays. Eventhough I didn't teach, she told me that there were quite some men going around the apartment. And wearing hotpants and tank top are not polite. Duh!
Pam is from Jakarta, but she's been here for three months already. I guess she has adapted with the culture here very well and lived based on their expectations. But as a newcomer here, it is still hard to accept the social rules here. Why can't I, in my own place, wear anything I like, just because there are other humans called men --who are not my husbands -- able to see more flesh of mine?

I always think that people do have rights in choosing their own clothes. And if we are to blame girls with curvy body as sinful people, how many people in this world, or to narrow it down, in Indonesia, who gain such a nasty, self-centered, narrow-minded comment?

And this is not to mention that girls receive the most part of the blames in the rape crimes in this country. Almost all of the religious people blame it on the girls. But hey, isn't it caused by a dirty mind, the history of which could vary?

This irritates me a lot.
So I went to Cirebon yesterday. My housemates -- Ernie and Pamela -- had planned it for so long. I wasn't that enthusiastic, actually, since I haven't really completely managed my life back in order. But I didn't really want to stay at home everyday. (I hardly go out on work days if I didn't need to buy some groceries at the market/mall. I mean why should I? Tegal is not very lively anyway, and my office is just one floor away from my room. LOL)

Anyway... Ernie cancelled it in the last minute on Saturday evening after our last classes. She was sick, she reasoned. Pam had already taken a shower and dressed, so she was so disappointed. I suggested her to go in the morning with me. She was back happy again.

But hey, we played poker until 3 o'clock. So our morning should be translated as past midday. :P

The journey to Cirebon only lasted for an hour (or 1.5 hr) and we paid only Rp 13,000 for a VIP bus. Cool thing.

What I didn't know was that we would spend the whole day at the mall only. So if you ask me how Cirebon is like, my answer will not be much more than Grage Mall, the so-called biggest mall there. I was thinking to get an advantage of staying in that mall by watching some movies.. but none was too interesting, at least for Pam. She watched MI-III when she was back in Jakarta a few weeks ago so she didn't want to watch it again. Urrghhh...

But it's alright. We spent some quality time at the Time Zone, Gramedia and Matahari dept. store. We have Time Zone in Tegal but we played anyway there. And as in Gramedia.... I was sooooo happy to see a lot of books again after a while! Tegal has no bookstore (shit shit shit) and so I bought 3 comics to bring home. I know I usually finish them in a very short time, but remembering that all of the teachers here have to work mostly from 10:30 to 8:30 in June and July because of the Summer Fun programme, which we call Summer Shit for we have to wake up early now (early here at EF is 9 o'clock. hehehe), I guess I will not have that much leisure time until next month. We'll surely work our arse off this month, but if it's really that busy, we may be able to get some overtime money in the end of the month. :P I'm feeling like being a workaholic atm. :D

ANYWAY, Pam is quite cool to hang out with. She's 24 and compared with the other teachers, she's the naughtiest, which makes her very interesting. She is a kind of shop-crazed, too. We especially spent so much time at Gramedia and Matahari - lingerie section. It felt sooo good to do it again after a while.

We were forgetting time, though. So we missed THE LAST DIRECT BUS TO TEGAL!!!! *sob* We had to take a night bus, which was more expensive. Pam suggested to stay the night there in Cirebon, but hey, no can do. I had an early class in the morning. So we got on that night bus to Tegal.

It was tiring and quite ok. But there will be no Cirebon next time if we only visit that mall again. I brought my camera with me, hoping to see something interesting to capture, but it turned out to be quite useless. :P So next time, another city.

I'll update ya later. Cheeeeeeers!
Phew... One problem has been solved. The contract has been signed, with a few changes here and there. I tried not to be too hard on it as I previously thought I would, for unexpectedly I've enjoyed so much working in here. :) And the boss appeared to be much more friendly than I thought before. She agreed to change some things that I requested (for my sake), though I did not get everything the way I wanted. But well at least most of it already sounds like fair.

NOW.... I can start concentrating on my photography and web design. But first, I need my damn computer. Or a new one, which I don't need to pay right away (hahaha... is there a chance for that?) Well, basically ANY computer where I can install Adobe Photoshop. Windows XP operation prefered. I brought a lot of digital devices that won't work without the drivers (and I left all of the driver CD's at home in Surabaya) unless the operation system is XP. None of the computers at work qualify for that. :P
Is there another way to operate my removable HardDisk without its driver or Windows XP OS? Anyone can tell me? Denni?

I just browsed on someone's gallery on DeviantArt, Solkku. I think he has a GREAT style. He does things I like to do. Those nature pics, macros, conceptual. Of course he's supported with a good camera and lenses, which undoubtedly cost a fortune... but he inspires me to get my camera back and work on my own photography, now that I don't have (well still some) life and death problems! I gotta get ready for that. Now, get my computer first. *wink at Pei Pei* I know you're that kindest person on earth who's gonna be wholly-heartedly nice to send my home computer to me? *wink wink again* Hehe...

Oh well, my housemates and I were actually planning to go to Cirebon today and tomorrow. The city is only an hour away from here, but one of them appeared to be very sick in the last minutes. So I guess we are not going. :P That's alright, though. I can always find some nice things else that can be done.

Just realised that I was starting to like it here so much. and that's good. :)
I'm about to settle the contract matter with my new boss tomorrow. Kinda excited how it will come out.

Will it be alright? Or will things go wrong and I won't be taking this job for the whole one year? All depends on how we work things out tomorrow.

Wish me luck.
Guess how I woke up this morning!

Not by my alarm clock; I set my alarm at 8:00 and was forced to wake up at 6:00.

Mom’s delicious cooking smell? No, I’m in Tegal on my own now. No good smell in the morning unless I decide to cook myself.

Well if you reside in Indonesia and are so much into the news on TV or radio, you’ll know why. There was a 6.2 Richter earthquake in Yogyakarta this morning at around 6 o’clock. It broke a few buildings in that nice city. This was one of the effects of Merapi Mountain’s activities, I guess. It has been very active lately and I read in the newspaper that the people who live in the neighbouring villages have been moved to somewhere farther.
I actually expected that Tegal would get a little effect of the mountain’s eruption (not yet, but its activities have been very frequent) like a dust rain or something, but an earthquake? This town is about 4-5 hours journey by bus or train from Yogyakarta. It can be considered far though both are located in Central Java. Yet it was enough shake to wake me up this morning feeling and looking at my rattling bed.

When Merapi does blow one day, I suppose it won’t be a tender one.

Wish me luck.
I couldn’t sleep last night. After two days (and still) having a bad cold, my emotions were kind of fragile. I don’t usually get insomniacs, but the sickness had a role in it, I guess. So I spent my night reading Rina’s roman novel until 5 o’clock. Then I walked out of the room and got my dirty clothes soaked in a pail of water with detergent (I felt sorta hyperactive at that time). I let it soak for an hour and in the mean time I got online and checked my emails.

At 6 I started washing and when I was done around an hour later I took a nap. I woke up at 9. That made me sleep only 2 hours that day, cause afterwards I didn’t have the chance to go back to sleep again.

I brushed my teeth and changed clothes and went to Pasar Pagi (the morning traditional market) nearby. I’d made a list of a lot of things to buy and I came home around 2 hours later with 4 big plastic bags full of vegetables, rice, all kinds of spices and chicken. Everyone was laughing at me for they thought that it was too much. I thought that, too. But if it could prevent me from doing shopping in a hot market too often, it surely was a plus thing to do. That way I might not have to go back there in a few weeks. :D

What was fun was the fact that I was trying to speak in Javanese with all the sellers. As a Surabayan, we had Javanese language taught for 9 years at school as an alternative course. And though my father was a pure Javanese man, we never really spoke in Javanese at home (or anywhere else, even in public places; Surabayan people are quite used to having non-Javanese speakers), so I’m not well-trained. I understand most of it, but it’s really hard to build a sentence as a reply. This morning, however, I was trying hard. I think it’s better to speak in Javanese with those people rather than in Indonesian for A. cities in Central Java are way more into Javanese cultures and B. I don’t wanna get cheated when I buy something just because they know that I’m not a local. That way, I hoped, I could get more respect and normal price from them. I succeeded with some vendors and failed with the other vendors. It didn’t take a genius that I couldn’t construct the best sentences or even phrases in Javanese. But I think they appreciated me.

I don’t know why. But I now would like to re-learn the language again from the beginning. I don’t know yet how to do that, but I’ll find a way. I may just naturally enquire it from the daily life here.

It’s a fantastic feeling
In case of pleasure, Tegal is lacking it. Like on Saturdays, for example, when the office closes at 6 in the evening, the teachers and staffs of EF, most of who come from the other cities all around Java and Sumatra, always have such a hard time to decide what to do. There are seriously not so many options for it. There are no clubs here, no café’s, not even book stores. So where can I get some books to read if an outing is not really a choice? Pam said that to purchase books she usually had to go to Cirebon, the nearest bigger city in West Java, which takes about 1.5 hour journey.

It’s already quite good that it has 4 malls, though. I’m not a big fan of malls, but here, better than nothing. Inside the office/apartment, however, modern facilities are quite complete. There are an internet connection, computers and the children games (I’m interested in installing some of my own games, or even Adobe Photoshop, but I’m not sure if I can do that in one of them. But I’ll try asking), DVD players, big TV, refrigerator etc. But we surely can’t keep being home all the time, right? We work and live in the building. We need to get out!

So last weekend we decided to go to a karaoke place. Ernie and Pam were happy when they knew that I liked karaoke, too. They finally managed one of the front desk girls, Nisa, to join us.

I didn’t know where they’d take us until we arrived at Plaza Hotel. Oh-oh… Must be expensive. After a quite long argument with the becak drivers about the price we paid (we already agreed before taking their becaks that we would pay Rp 4,000 for each becak to get to Plaza hotel and now they were pretending that they didn’t agree; then they asked for 10,000). But we left them anyway with Rp 5,000 each and got inside the quite luxurious hotel. Warnings in my head! Money money money…

It cost us Rp 60,000 an hour to rent a karaoke room. Dang! In Surabaya it costs only Rp 17,500 per hour for a small room in the non-busy days. But we decided to give it a shot anyway. Just curious.

There is only one kind of karaoke room. No small, big, or VIP rooms there. Basically it’s just like a hotel room, which of course is very nice and comfy, but it’s equipped with a quite big TV and audio system. But then again, we, coming from Jakarta and Surabaya, were a bit disappointed to see that there was no computer there to list our chosen songs. We had to use the traditional way, which was, we had to read the big catalogue of songs (there was only ONE catalogue) and press the number of the song opted from the remote control. I felt like being brought back to the 1980s. hehe…

Well anyway, we had fun. We didn’t stay longer than an hour, though, for it was hell too expensive (I mean in a small town like Tegal, you don’t really expect that, do you?), so we made plans to do the karaoke at our own place, with the DVD player and some pirated karaoke CDs.

When I was home, I felt like having my computer sent here. It’s gonna be so much better when I have my computer here. I can continue my new website’s skin design, I can play a lot of computer games, I can retouch my pictures… I can just basically do a LOT with a computer. MY OWN computer.

A. I’m running out of money
B. I’m sick of instant noodle
C. I miss home cooking

I decided to COOK this morning!!!!!!!

How amazing was THAT? (LOL)

It was only soup, though, which ingredients I bought at the Pasar Pagi (morning market) nearby for only Rp 1,000! And since I was cooking for myself and all the pans (that belong to one of those people living here, don’t know which exactly) are small, I couldn’t cook all of it. So I divided the sop-sopan by halves and saved the other half in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s breakfast. How money-saving is that!

I should have done it earlier. I am not bad in cooking after all. That was concluded after I decided that the taste of the soup I made was close to the one my mom usually cooks. Of course it couldn’t be way too different in taste since I used her recipe (hehe) but how I was so proud of myself.

Now what to cook for the day after tomorrow? Hmm….
One thing I don’t enjoy working in this country is… everything is so slow. That doesn’t mean that I’ve worked overseas somewhere, but I did once work at a Dutch company in Surabaya where the Dutch boss directly supervised me. It was my first official job, yet it left quite a big impression to me.

To compare it with some companies I’ve worked at afterwards, I should say that CDU (the Dutch company) had a faster pace, which I found so efficient. No time was wasted and when something was done, we could concentrate to another project just as soon.

Alto Network was also slow. But in a good sense. It was hard to work too efficiently there for everybody took it easily. There were no competitions among the workers, which in one side is a good aspect of Alto. But in another case, it killed the spirit of working FOR the company, in order to make the business run well. The result was it was breaking up to pieces. However, the faults should not be wholly put upon the workers’ shoulders. There were some other more crucial things that made it fall down. Yet I was still sad and disappointing when I heard from Juz that Alto had to dismiss all the last employees but Bo and Vanie.

My new job at English First, is owned by an Indonesian. Though in most bigger cities in Indonesia EF offices are monopolized by expatriates, in Tegal it’s mostly run by Indonesian people. I find them nice people, at least the ones who work here. Misunderstandings happen sometimes between the teachers and administrative staffs but they can always fix them after some discussions.

However, I find it quite hard to communicate with the owner. Until today I haven’t signed my contract, which she promised to settle last weekend, because she hasn’t made the trip to this town yet. I don’t mind actually. But I was expecting that she could at least let me know that it was postponed or something; so I can get my assurance and can start building my life here. At this moment I don’t dare buying pans etc. for cooking for I think everything is somewhat vague right now. I know she doubted about changing the contract a little as I demanded her to do and she is now probably looking for another option if the talk is unsatisfying. I saw that Ernie got a fax message of a CV of a prospective teacher. So maybe, just MAYBE, she just wants to keep things way too profitable to EF, while not to the employees, by taking someone who is not as hard to deal as I am. Well, she can do it. I just know I don’t want to get slaved by some rich businessperson.

I emailed her three or four days ago, reminding her about this important meeting. She hasn’t answered yet. I thought, “Oh OK, it’s not a new thing. Indonesian people can never handle emails well anyway.”
So I called her. But I couldn’t get through.
The weekend passed by and I didn’t hear a word from her. I texted her today and got FINALLY a late reply saying that she might be coming next week or the week after. Which means it’s in the end of the month if the latter happens. Guess what again, she has never asked my bank account number. So much of a professionalism, huh?

Do I expect professionalism? Hell yes. They expect the same from me. Besides, for a company with EF’s caliber, I absolutely didn’t think this thing would happen. I don’t know if this is only just my feeling… but my instinct says something and it doesn’t seem to be too good.

But again, whatever happens happens. I don’t put too much pressure about it to myself, nor would I let it influence my teaching performance. Those kids pay a lot to study here, so they should get what they deserve. I’ll handle this business contract later.

I hope it goes well. If not, well be prepared that I may go home after a while.
Living in Tegal so far is not as bad as I thought before. It’s a small town, yes. I just knew today that every street here doesn’t stretch any longer than 300 metres. I went to the banks this morning and, unlike in Surabaya, I only had to walk to those places. To go to the only mall here would only need around one or two minutes by the angkot. I like the fact that it is just so very easy to get to some places here, but probably that is also the advantage I get from living in the heart of the town.

Another positive thing is… the air is sooooo much fresher than in my beloved polluted Surabaya. It’s hot here, like in almost everywhere in Indonesia, but the heat is not hurting, like when you find when you visit Jakarta or Surabaya, or other bigger cities. I can still walk at noon without feeling too uncomfortable. I actually am thinking to buy a bicycle here so I can get somewhere farther. Doing that in the morning will be a good start for a good mood. But… it’ll have to wait until I get my first salary in the end of the month, if the loans at the banks and friends don’t really choke me. :D
That doesn’t sound so positive, huh? But I’m dying to get a bicycle. I won’t even mind if it’s just a second-hand one.

I still haven’t got my own room here. The administrator, Dedy, promised me that tonight would be the last night I shared with the other two teachers. But looking back at the similar promises made these past few days, I don’t set a high hope for that. Dedy asked me why I insisted so much to have my own room. He, like the other Indonesians, thinks that it’s always nicer and better to have a friend/friends to live with. When he said that, a friend whose room I am staying in at the moment, was there. So I replied with a more polite but less honest answer. “Well, I don’t want to bother them in the morning. I always get up early and get in and out of the room so often for toilet purposes. I realize I always make noises that can wake them up, and I don’t want that. But you know, even when I get my own room later, I think I’m gonna spend most of my time at their room. It’s fun to gossip at nights with them.”
I saw a smile in Ernie’s face, the teacher whom I am sharing the room with temporarily, and I knew I answered it right.

The real truth is, however, I need a space. A privacy. An ownership. That’s why I can’t wait to get my own room and decorate it as I please. I can be tidy or untidy as I want. And I can be alone when I need it. It’s all hard to do all those things when you share your room with someone.

One other truth is I do enjoy being with them sometimes. We have many different interests, but the topic about boys is always interesting for all ages. They also have a TV and DVD player in their room (there is also each of them in the living room, but it’s nicer to watch them on a bed, right?). So I guess I will visit them quite often at nights, anyway.

Besides, we’ll live only one floor away!
I had to leave Surabaya for Tegal today. After thinking about it over and over again, I made a decision to move out of this city I’ve always lived in, for although Tegal is a much smaller town, it pays better salary than the companies in Surabaya. I have never been too materialistic in the old days, but I need a lot of cash (or digits in my bank account) at the moment. SO… I decided (half-willingly) to move and sacrifice my good life for a big saving in the end of the contract.

It was hard to leave. But in another sense, it was good to leave.

It was hard to get into the taxi with Michelle crying before the fence. She was in her mother’s arms, who apparently finally came back from Jakarta after three months. But she (Michelle) has been so close to me lately. It broke my heart that I almost cried.

It was hard to leave my lovely mother. It was hard to leave so many good friends in Surabaya: Rina, Veve, Tina, Nyoh etc. It was hard to leave my brother, though he didn’t seem to really care about it J (my family is so used to me traveling, but hey… I leave to LIVE in another city).

It was good to leave, however, because after two months wandering around Tunjungan Plaza and home, back and forth, back and forth, without any specific useful reasons, it was good to leave to WORK. My life is so lame when I don’t have anything to do, but babysitting Michelle. Not that I didn’t like that, but it is just absolutely not a dream job. Especially that I didn’t make any money out of it (hehe).

It was good to leave since I felt that my life was surrounded by so many fake things lately. All the fancy restaurants, clubs, coffee shops and department stores didn’t interest me anymore. Especially when I didn’t have the money to enjoy them all.

It was good to leave for one of my close friends, Jun, was avoiding me for some reason that she never told me about. I guessed the reason, with the help of Rina’s hints, but I truly expected her to tell it right off to my face. Get angry if she wants, but she didn’t do it. I was disappointed at her, and she was disappointed at me. The walls between us were getting higher and higher when a big misunderstanding happened in one evening, when she and Rina texted Dimitri, an American friend who was staying in Surabaya, to go out to Tavern Lounge and Pub, and asked him to take ME with him there.
I was like… huh? Shouldn’t they invite me first and take Dimitri with me there? Where did I stand in this friendship thingie?
I hated the fact that it happened 2 days before I left. But in a way, I’m glad I can get rid of these things.. though my heart doesn’t rest, for never in my life I can think of losing best friends like Jun or Rina.
I’ve been thinking of a way to get this right. But for now, being so far away from where they live, it’s not that easy.

All of those thoughts haunted me during my forever journey from Surabaya to Tegal. I decided to take a bus instead of a train because I always believed that buses took us faster to a place than trains.

Well not in this journey.

First, they needed to get the bus full. So although I arrived at the bus terminal at 11, my bus left at 1 (urgh…). Second, there was a bridge falling down in Rembang, a city in the border of East Java and Central Java, so we had to take a MUCH MUCH MUCH longer turn and a big traffic jam was delaying us even more to get to our destination. We were stuck there for about 3 or 4 hours only in REMBANG! Gggggrrrrrrr!!!!!

The result was I arrived in Tegal at 2 in the morning! So a total of 16 hour-journey! Dang! Even worse than a 7-hour train. But a lesson is a lesson. Next time, I’ll surely take a train!

Now I understand why people invented the word “WORSE”. Because there are always worse things coming up after the bad things you’ve had.
Well, I arrived in Tegal long after midnight, weary, physically and emotionally tired, to find that I couldn’t contact one of the teacher’s cellphone (the only number that I know!) to open the door for me! I tried a thousand times to call her, but the network (HER network) was always busy. I called a friend in Surabaya and I managed to get through. But nothing could be done from there. So I tried and tried (also tried to call the office but it directly connected me to the fax machine, so no use) and after 30 MINUTES, I could get her pick up my phone. *sob*

I went to bed at 3 that day (spent about 30 minutes to wash my face and brush my teeth and so on and so on). But hey, I was there anyway. That was better than waiting for the office to open at 7. I just hoped that it was all worth the effort. :-~
y wheel of life had turned again. Shortly there will be an explanation why I quit blogging my travel journey for quite some time.

The five-week-South-East-Asia travel that I had been waiting for turned out to be a great lesson in my 26-year life. It was only five weeks, but I learnt so much. I met a lot of people of different characters, backgrounds, countries and cultures. I met some extreme people who would waste a four-hour-should-be-relaxing breakfast to an incredibly annoying, undebatable debate about religions. I met people who would use the others for their own sake. I met people who would willingly help a complete stranger without asking for a returned favour. I met people who cheated. I met people who smiled all the time at you, without you knowing if the smile was an honest one. I met people who knew how to have fun. I met people who were fair. I met people who were wise. And I also met people who were shallow.

I was loved. I was mad. I was praised. I came close to a fight. I partied. I had fun. I was lonely. I was not lonely.
In five-week time I felt so many different emotions.

I enjoyed everything, nevertheless. And though at some point I think my travel was a mistake, I learnt a lot from it. No regrets.

But my wheel of life has decided for me to start all over again from the very beginning. It was a hard fall but it didn't hurn that much.

I'm broke now. But I know for sure I'll be up again.

Welcome me again in this blogging world. :)
I certainly can't go to Malaysia today! It's been raining so fucking hard the WHOLE day!

As usual, Roy woke up at 12 on his days off, but this time because I woke him up. I felt a bit lonely.

We had breakfast (the leftover from last night and some instant noodle) and I watched Roy play golf on the playstation afterwards.

Then he slept again (that lazy dork) while I was chatting and browsing for the alternatives of the best way to go to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore.
Got a lot of emails from the backpackers who would travel to Thailand this month so I tried to sort them out one by one. One of them, called Brian Murphy, would arrive this evening in Singapore. I thought if I could meet him tomorrow (Monday) then I'd leave for Malaysia on Tuesday. I figured out that he was still on the plane then, so I'd wait until tonight for the decision.

20:00 Singapore time: to Plaza Singapura. Had a lot of snacks:
  • Taiwanese food (I forget the name). The soup was ok, but the oyster was YUKKY! The fried chicken was yummy, though.
  • Takochiro - Japanese snack. I couldn't eat one of it, for it burnt my mouth when the hot cheese inside the snack melted in my tongue. Grrr...
  • Bacon (Roy sure knows great food around. They're pretty fatty, though. But I decided to pamper myself that evening)
  • Bread with kaya jam and tea.

I went back to Roy's apartment with a stomach too full of snack I thought Roy'd need to drag me back home. :P

I checked my email then and found out that I got a reply from Brian. Will meet him tomorrow at Starbucks, Plaza Singapura. That means I'm leaving on Tuesday. Told Roy I was gonna bug him another day.

He shrugged his shoulders and said cooly, "Sure."

Ha... ha.. ha... What a holiday.

I woke up early. 10:00 o'clock but I considered that early for I slept at about 3 last night (King Kong ended at 2). Then I got online and watched some DVDs.

Roy woke up at exactly 12 o'clock. He made some instant noodle and we ate it as our brunch. Then we were out to Plaza Singapura.
After some minutes looking around, we took an MRT to the famous Orchard road.
There was a group of street dancers at one corner of the street and I stopped there watching them.
Roy had been receiving a lot of phone calls from his friend and it seemed like they planned to meet up. He didn't tell me about it, though (sometimes I just don't understand this guy).

In the middle of the street dance performance, Roy grabbed my left arm and said, "Let's go."
I followed him while wondering why a cute-looking guy in front of me was looking back at me intensely. I knew why a short moment later on. He's the one Roy had been speaking on the phone to. They were talking by themselves and this guy kept glancing at me. Maybe he, as well as I, was wondering why we were not introduced yet.

We were, finally. After a while.

His name is Andrew. 33 years old (I swear he doesn't look like in his thirtieth!). An illustrator at a design company. SO... we share the same interest!
He and I talked a lot and Roy was eventually raising one of his eyebrows, for he and I didn't really do talking ever since I got here. I don't know why. But things were a bit different. I don't think it was me. It should be Roy. He's the one who hardly smiled and there were always frowns between his eyes. Probably it was his work that stressed him out, but he refused to say that. He enjoys and likes his work, he says.
Anyway, it was just different. I was in my holiday mood while he was not. :P

Marijn was actually suggesting me to visit the art museums and Andrew did the same thing. But since Roy wouldn't enjoy that, we went to one of the malls to a bookstore called Kinokuniya on Orchard Road. It's not a museum, it's just a plain bookstore. But I've got to see a lot of COOL design/advertising/photography books there. Unsealed.
It was such a heaven! I wish I could buy one of those books. But they're so fucking expensive. I had the money to buy one but I wouldn't just bother to spend that much and leave the rest of my holiday, lacking money. :P

Roy was at the comic section and Andrew at the illustration centre.
About an hour later we split up. It was still raining hard outside and I was horribly thirsty and tired. Andrew asked me to go to his church the next morning but I don't know. I didn't feel like it.

Roy and I dropped by at Carrefour for some dinner's shopping and based upon my request, he bought this particular kind of mushrooms, which later tasted SOOOOOOO GOOD! And Roy is such a good cook as well.

We ended up having dinner in the apartment (good dinner, I must say). Sweet corn + mushrooms+ butter, beansprouts, fish and beef. Oh, and rice with some flavour. We ate them while watching DVDs. I can't remember which movie I watched at which time, but if you asked me how I spent my precious holiday in Singapore... the answer is: Mostly watching DVDs. :P


The conversations with Roy was still plain and garing. I don't know... He was just alive when he was talking about his work. Other than that he was just sarcastic all the time. Sometimes he didn't even answer my questions.

Screw it.
Our friendship was probably already over. I just can't wait to get out of Singapore.
Roy was preparing for work when I woke up. I checked my email and chatted for a while with my friends back home. Roy suggested me to visit the Little India nearby as there are some temples over there.

After having my Sedap instant noodle, I set off for Little India.

It's only one stop away from Farrer Park. I should have walked. But again, maybe not.

I got lost several times since the map in my Rough Guide book was not very updated and a bit confusing (I bought it 3 years ago). And the people were not very helpful either.

  • Me: Hi, excuse me. Do you know the way to Farrer Park?
    Him: No.
    Me: No, you don't know?
    Him: No.. no English.

  • A woman sat beside me in the bus halt. As soon as she sat down I greeted her and asked, "Hello.. Can you tell me..."
    "No no no, I don't know."
    She stood up and left.
    So much for expecting a hospitality.

  • I came across a Chinese woman and her little boy on the street and asked her where Farrer Park was. The answer was:
    "Oh, I didn't know. I'm lost myself. I'm gonna take a cab."

  • In an intersection I thought I'd just look for the MRT station. People might not know the Farrer Park, but they should know where the MRT station is, right?
    Yet, I still got another "I don't know" answer until I got the right one.
But it was still nice anyway. The weather was quite nice. It was raining a little bit but that was just it. I wish I brought my hat, though.

I went around Little India and saw some temples.

The Chinese New Year is coming so they have a fair along the street near Bugis street. The decoration was dominated by red and there were some cute things sold there. I didn't buy anything, though.

A sales lady saw me taking pictures of some working men. She told me that it was a nice camera and asked me how much I bought it. I told her and she started to view me as a valuable customer and offfer her merchandise, a service more likely: a facial.

She was touching my face and nexk and cleavage and telling me how badly I needed a facial. I normally DISLIKE people, other than my boyfriends, touch my face and body. But I let her.. just to satisfy my curiousity of how Singaporean people tried to sell.

She was talking and talking in Singlish and I was smiling all the time at her accent and eagerness in selling the product.
It took half an hour until I decided to firmly say no for the products. She was disappointed and finally let me go somewhere else.
Poor girl. I didn't mean to be mean. But that's the risk of trying to sell something expensive to a budget traveller like me. It absolutely doesn't mean I'm rich that I have a nice camera (which I haven't even finished paying) and that I'm traveling to Singapore. :)


The Lesson of the Day:

"Do not walk in your leather pointed shoes if you mean to look around in a place you don't know."

My feet hurt as hell and I was forced to buy a pair of slippers (ugly ones, but I had no choice) of S$ 2.50 at 7Eleven. When I finally let go my leather shoes, I actually found out that both my feet and toes were swollen. Yikesss...


To Golden Village (Dhoby Ghaut, Plaza Singapura) with Roy.
Dinner: Duck and soup.
Watching: King Kong. (Do you believe that I actually cried when Kong died? Huuuu... But it was indeed sweet)
My whole body hurt when I woke up at fucking 5 o'clock in the morning (slept at 3). The airport was already very very crowded that early. The people seem to want to catch the earliest planes and they were noisy as hell.

Can't blame them. It's a public place.

I waited for a few more hours until I decided to get inside the check-in area, wash my face, and brush my teeth in one of the airport toilets. Then I slept again in the waiting room.

11:00 - My plane was boarding. But you know what I found (I mean I didn't find) there? No airport lounge for the citibank gold card holder in that terminal. That means I couldn't get a free fresh breakfast. :(( So I had to be happy with my bread and sambel pecel.

13:00 - Arrived in Batam island. Found out that the only way to the harbour was by taxi only and the fixed price was Rp 70,000 (dammit). Not to mention that the taxi driver was eventually trying to cheat another R[ 10,000 from me when he claimed that he only had 20,000 change for my Rp 100,000 note. I insisted to stay in the cab and asked him to change the money to someone else. But instead of doing that, he took out Rp 30,000 from his wallet and gave it to me. He had it!!! Tsk tsk tsk.

Funny story: An agent and some Indonesian girls, who seemed to be TKWs (were standing about the elevator after passing by the custom. They were joking around so loudly and I smiled a little to hear them. But my smile froze when I saw one of them eventually fell and she hit the other girls, which cause them all fell. They kept laughing while rolling and rolling on the floor while their manager asked them to behave.

17:30 - Arrived in Singapore. Roy Huang texted me before I crossed the sea that he'd pick me up at the Starbucks at the Harbour Front at 5, so I went straight to Starbucks and waited for him with a capuccino.
An hour passed and he still hadn't showed up. I began to worry and was looking for a public phone to call him. But eventually there were only card phones there and it'd really take me too long to find a phone card, so I went back to Starbucks.
It was only then when I saw him in his working suit and serious stressed look.

"You're Okay?" I asked after hugging him.
He said, "Yeah, just tired."
"I can see," I told him.

He brought me to his apartment, while taking my backpack on to his shoulder. He commented, "Are you moving your whole house here?" while eyeing at my bags.
I grinned and ignored him.

That night we stayed in, cause the weather was not really good and I was too tired and sleepy from my trip. So Roy started to collect whatever food he had in his fridge and cooked us a dinner. Dunno what it's called. But there were oxtail and noodles and some soup.

Next: Watched DVD and slept.
Hi People!!!!!!! I'm in Singapore right now. Yoohooooo!!!!
In case you don't know, I'm having my South East Asia trip for about 5 weeks from now. Hope it's a good thing to start this year. :)

I'm soooo excited, though extremely tired because of the long trip.
I just arrived in gloomy Singapore this afternoon. Why gloomy? Cause it was raining and dark when I came. :P Look at these clouds over the so many tall buildings in this small country. I took this from the ferry before we came close to the harbour.

Anyway, so far I've had fun through all the discomforts. I met some people and had new adventurous experiences. If you call the sleeping-on-the-airport-bench an experience. Hardly an enjoyable one. But it was the cheapest.


Air Asia has given out very competitive plane fares lately. To get to Batam island from Surabaya I only needed to pay Rp 250.000 (transit in Jakarta). The direct plane from Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur is also inexpensive, but the fiscal tax is not. :P

Though cheap, the arrival time of my Surabaya-Jakarta trip sucks. Plus Air Asia always has delays, so I got in the Cengkareng airport past midnight.

Denni has suggested to stay the night at the airport instead of going to the city that late. Besides... it's quite money-saving that way.

The strange thing when I arrived in Cengkareng airport was when I had to pick up my luggage. Everybody had gotten their things but I still couldn't see my blue backpack. Until 45 minutes later, I found it lying under the big flat TV screen in the middle of the airport! What the hell.. Who ever has put it there??

Anyway, I was too tired and hungry to fuss about it. So I went out, refused all taxi offers, walked my way straight to the domestic departure area and saw some people lie down on the benches there.

That must be it.

The thing is... almost all benches were occupied by men.
"Alright, so I'm gonna be the only girl, alone, sleeping out here," I thought. "Ok, I'll buy that chance."

I chose one of the empty benches when a family approached me. After some chit chat, I learnt that the family -- one father, one mother and two daughters -- also had the same flight to Batam tomorrow morning; and like me, they were reluctant to go to the city and find a hotel. There is indeed a hotel at the airport but it's too expensive. So I suggested them to take a bench next to me (this way I feel safer).

Well not only that, cause later 2 Bataknese girls were asking me if I was staying the night, too, there. I told them yes. They were happy they had got a companion, and I was happy for the same reason. Problem solved.

See? I know I'm always lucky in traveling.

One of the Bataknese girls - Meldy Sibuea, 24 years old. If you see the background, that's how we slept that night. :)
Click to full-view.