My brother, Michael, arrived on the 26th with his girlfriend. They are staying in my house until after New Year. My sister is staying here, too. So there is a bunch of loud people in this normally-quiet house. To be honest, it's good to have them here. With the alarming rate of what I've been going through this year, the cheerful shouts from my siblings are a good remedy. Such an oxymoron, but it's true.

Anyway, we were excited. And we spent their first day talking and talking. My brother and his girlfriend were tired from the 11-hour bus journey so they spent the rest of the day sleeping and relaxing. Only in the afternoon they went out shopping for Christmas gifts. We were planning to have a Christmas dinner in the evening and changing presents. My cousin was invited, too.

I cooked a super delicious Poulet Poivre that Vincent's mom taught me when she was here in July. I'll have to put the recipe in my kitchen blog soon so you can also practise it at home. It's dead simple but extremely delicious. For dessert I made crepe with strawberry sauce and sprinkles of icing sugar. Everybody was very happy with them. My sister and brother even almost fought for the last piece of chicken, but I reminded them that it was supposed to be for my cousin. Anyway, he didn't come at all in the end, not even the next day... The presents were just lying around there in the living room. Too bad.

Anyway, these are the photos I took of the Christmas dinner.
Christmas presents. Only mine were wrapped in  real gift wrappers. The others went economical with the unused paper

Michael and Merlin

Dinner's main course: Poulet Poivre, mashed potatoes, rice

The reunion of the siblings

Ita got a purse, a fancy toothbrush container and a hat

Michael got a pair of surf shorts, a bag, and a pair of sandals

Merlin got a bottle of sandalwood massage oil, a bag and a pair of shorts

I got a necklace, a pair of sandals and a flower hair pin

Then we have the dessert, a crepe with strawberry sauce
Merry Christmas, All!!!!!
Enjoy the funny video to brighten up your Christmas day.
I have been trying hard to finish all projects today so that I won't have to work during the Christmas week. But of course something had to come up.

It started with my mother's fight with Ita this morning. Basically it was a plain misunderstanding (stupid things come out from SMS communication, I really don't understand why people prefer SMSes than talking directly). Then my mother called me to rant about it. As usual, it didn't stop there. If there was no drama in my family, it wouldn't be my family. This is what she had to say:

"I've had enough of this life. All my children failed me. Including you. None of them would listen to what I say, leave alone doing it. I'm a failed mother and I am ashamed of it. I'm tired of this life and if God want to take me, He can do it any time now."

I told her she was exaggerating things. It was just a misunderstanding and she didn't need to go that far saying those things. Besides, it's Christmas...

"Christmas is dead to me. Christmas is in your heart and I don't feel any peace, not from any of you behaving like what you want, hurting me all the time this year."

I asked her how I hurt her. And why didn't I know that I hurt my own mother? What did I say?

"Remember when I asked you about your status with Vincent? It was your second anniversary and yes, I was happy for you. But when I asked you if it was going anywhere, you were mad at me and you accused me that I was rushing you into marriage, that it was your life and you had all rights to decide it like you wanted. You said whether you wanted to marry him or just forever be his girlfriend, that was your own problem. I had no voice or whatsoever to decide your life. I'd remember that and I never asked you anymore about that. But it hurt my feelings."

Yeah, I think I did say those things. Not in the way she explained to me, but it was more or less the idea that I said. I asked her if she was interested in knowing what I felt back then when she asked me that. She said no. But truthfully, even I got sick of those questions. Me, the very me who goes for the real things in life, who thinks that a signed black-and-white paper is just a seal of a commitment of two lovers in love, who doesn't want to rush things, who expects that if a marriage happens, it has to happen because we both want it and not that we are socially forced by others. But it's just too much. I'd hear that a hundred times every time I went back to Surabaya. I'd hear that from my happily married former boss. I'd hear that from my pembantu and the surrounding Balinese people who were questioning my relationship status. I already put a blindfold and earplugs so that I wouldn't have to see their smirk and listen to their thoughts. I'd do anything to stay in this relationship I cherished so much that it stayed alive as long as we could keep it alive. Besides, I honestly don't care what people think. None of them.

But I do care about what my mother thinks. It is still my life and I am the one to decide it where it should go. But never did I want to hurt her. And it seemed plain impossible to make her understand that marriage was not a necessity. Not the end of the deal. Not when you still see so many people cheating on their spouses under the so-called marriage. Not when there are children involved. Yes, it would be nice to be married one day, but if I ever want to do that, I want it to happen for the right reasons! Ideally not because I am carrying a man's child and that's why I have to get married. She was married twice and she was not happy in either of them. Why couldn't she understand that? At the very least, when you are not married, it is less complicated to break up if you think that man is not for you. Right?

But she is right for one thing. Christmas is in your heart. And I don't feel it. As much as I have wanted to get the Christmas spirit this year, it was already dying when Vincent flew to France. He is my family now. One of the few most important people in my life. But even with that notion, I spent some time doubting it this year. And now my mother is sad, my sister is pissed, my brother is out of luck, my cousin feels neglected and I am terribly sad and lonely.

It is officially the worst Christmas ever.

Happy Mother's Day, dear Mum. I love you so much.
I am being very slow with updating this post series. There has been so much going on in my life recently.

Alright, back to Lembongan. This is the last part of the 2-day-1-night stay in Lembongan. Basically, I loved the place. It's tranquil, the people are nice, a bit poorer than the south of Bali but it gives you the feeling that you returned to Bali 10 years ago, the forests smell so fresh and nice, and the beaches are incredibly beautiful though those in the southern parts are hardly swimmable due to the big waves.

Dream Beach
However, I did not see any single ATM in Lembongan. Pam and I brought just enough money for a backpacking style trip. But it appeared that either you could go rock bottom cheap on the island, or have a luxurious one. The cheap term refers to staying the night at the local's houses with even less than basic facilities (a very small, dusty room and a small separate Indonesian-style bathroom with Turkish toilet). Hotels came in the price around Rp 500,000 a night but are cool ones. We'd really love to stay the night at the Dream Beach hotel, but since they did not accept credit cards and we could not withdraw money, we couldn't opt that one. We could, but then we couldn't eat nice food (we would have to go to warungs and drink ice tea, which is normally fine but we wanted to pamper ourselves too). So we got ourselves a Balinese host and an incredibly small room that we would just use to sleep. The rest of our time we spent it at Scallywags or Café Pandan sipping cocktails, swimming in the ocean and the swimmingpool and enjoying the lovely scenery. Scallywags is probably the only place in the south that accepts credit card. That was why we spent much time there. Great food, great service, great scenery, free swimming pool. Bank, surprise me with the bills in the end of the month. ;)

Anyway, we had such a great time. We both needed this gateaway. Pam was going through a lot of shit on her dating issues, and my relationship was also kind of shaky (plus the other small sweats like guests and family). And Lembongan did a great job to shift us away from all the negative thoughts. It felt like heaven being in a place where nobody knew you.

I should do one of these travels again in the near future. I'm always a travelling person more than a drinking-at-the-bars one. And the fact is, as much as you want to make somebody happy, it doesn't work if you don't make yourself happy first.

And I've decided: next travel is to Munduk and other places in the north of Bali. For now enjoy the photo souvenirs I took in Lembongan.
Cafe Pandan, Dream Beach

Fishing village near the pier

Even chicken fascinates you when you are on holiday

Hello, Chicken!

Sunset at Scallywags

Sunset from Scallywags

Drinking Cosmopolitan while enjoying the sunset

An hour without any moving wind, it felt good to dip your feet in the pool

Polka dot, featured by Banana Boat.

South Lembongan
As soon as I got off the boat and walked around the fishing village near the pier, I got this weird feeling like I was returned to the 80's. Not the western 80's with the side ponytails hairstyle for women and mohawks for men. But the Indonesian 80's. The greens, the houses, the children playing on the small streets. If you get inside an inhabitant's house, some of which rent rooms for visitors, you'll see women sweeping the yard with a sapu lidi (a sort of Indonesian style rake) and old-fashioned bedrooms and bathrooms with old furniture.

Anyway, I didn't do any research before leaving since the idea of going to Lembongan came from Pam just a few hours before we actually had to leave (it's really her style...). But I knew that the island was small and I thought it was best to rent a motorcycle first, then go around to find a good site to hang around for 2 or 3 days, and get an accommodation somewhere near.

Typical motorbike in Nusa Lembongan
So we got one motorbike not far from the pier, which later on appeared to be a real crappy motorbike. I hurt my right arm riding it for only an hour and I hurt the whole shoulders by the time I had to go back to Bali. But then I looked around and it seemed that almost all of the motorcycles in Lembongan are as crooked as the one I rented. Most of them don't have license plates on both front and back parts and they hardly function, really. Mine stopped in the middle of the forest when I was not with Pam and I literally freaked out! Some foreigners with their rented scooters passed me by and though they knew that I was in trouble with the motorbike, nobody stopped to help. Until there was this man coming with a bike looking even more broken than mine stopped before me and helped me start up my motorbike. He tried without any success. Another older man stopped too and both of them tried to get my motorbike to start. After half an hour full of sweat, it finally worked!!! I thanked both of them, especially the old man since he was actually the one who managed to fix it, and asked them what I could offer as a return. They said it was okay. It was only normal to help someone in trouble in the middle of a forest that had no such thing like a mechanic shop in near distance.

Very nice. However, being skeptical as any big city girl would, I kept thinking what the catch was. But for the moment I left them and felt thankful and grateful that I didn't have to get stranded in a forest alone in a new island I just explored for a few hours.
I have no idea why in the past 3 years living in Bali never had I once thought to go to Lembongan island. It's not far and hardly tiring to reach. And it is very beautiful, too. The best of it is that it is not as crowded as Bali!

My friend Pam and I left for Lembongan early in the morning. We went to Sanur, where the boats to the island departed. Traditional boat trips are available at 7:00 and 10:30. The board says that the fare using these boats is Rp 60,000. But we arrived at 8 in Sanur, so we missed the first boat. The second one seemed too long to catch. So we asked the fare for the speed boat. The guy behind the counter said it was Rp 75,000. It didn't make sense! Why is it only Rp 15,000 difference between the normal boat (an hour ride) and the speed boat (half an hour ride)? Anyway, we took that since the next speed boat left at 9 and we saved half an hour of sea trip. However, as I was about to pay them, 2 guys cut my line asking for 2 tickets and paying with only Rp 100,000. What the hell? I was determined to find out what the normal practice was here.

As we were about to climb to the speed boat, again, some guys cut my way and I almost fell to the sea. THESE PEOPLE NEEDED SOME SCHOOLING ON MANNERS! I couldn't believe I kept getting that at the early start of my weekend getaway journey!

Anyway, the speed boat was too full. Some people had to stand even. I whispered to Pam, "There is no way these guys were paying 75,000 each. They don't look like they had the money OR if they wanted to spare that much money for one-way boat trip." Pam whispered back to me, "Yeah, and the boat was way too full. Let's hope it wouldn't crash before reaching the island."

In the meantime, the little boy next to me kept vomitting because of sea sick. I had to look away.

It wasn't a bad boat trip in the end. I loved the feeling of my hair being blown by the sea wind, and the morning was lovely. I could see a range of mountains from afar and when I looked back, I saw a crazy amount of sea water being splashed by the motor of the boat.

30 minutes later we arrived in Lembongan and our feet stepped on clear sea and clean white sand. Such an uplifting thing after leaving Sanur's dirty black sandy beach. So...

Hello, Lembongan!
I didn't know that it existed until my recent visit in Lembongan Island. I'm wondering how it tastes...

I have had too many ups and downs this year. More than once I thought that I couldn't work things out, that things were getting out of hands, and that I was unhappy.

And I was never unhappy since I recovered from my hardest period after my dad died in 1997.

I am looking around me now... at the best ammenities that surround me, at the spacious house with the lovely gadgets that fill it in, at the bamboo tree next to the huge window in my living room where the birds chirp happily, at the man who I trust to love me. They are all that I ever wanted. But ironically I feel lonely anyway.

I do have friends. But this year has treated us so badly that none of us could be more positive than the others to at least influence our mood to a better one (except Carol, but she was just passing by, the Morrocan deserted life has her). I saw them brokenhearted. I saw myself brokenhearted. Their lives were sort of falling apart, while mine was hanging on a tight rope.

When things were getting slightly better, there was always something that stood in the way to ruin it. It has been an endless, annoying, tiring emotional journey.

And I am still here... because in a rather strange way, I believe if I can survive this year, next year there will be a great reward waiting for me and the people around me.

So yes, unlike the other Decembers I have ever had so far (not even the December of the year when my father died), I am not looking forward to the festivities and the funs. Because somehow I know it won't be fun.

I just can't wait to get over the month and get to 2011.
I went to the beach yesterday to clear my head out of the frustration I've had lately and I saw....

Children, playing with the sand and water.
Broken shells.
Balinese people flocking the sea after full moon ceremony.
Man and woman holding hands.
Man and man kissing each other.
Empty bottles.
Leftover offerings that the sea spat back to the shore.
Blue sky turning red.
People jogging.
Men fishing.
Colourful clubs.
Noisy clubs.
Empty Coke cans.
Red sky turning black.
Men playing beach football.
Unrested waves.
Couple taking photos together with the sunset background. (enjoy it when it lasts, one cannot be in love forever)
Dog playing in the water.
Dog lazying around at the sandbed.

I felt better. Temporarily. I need to do the walk again today. Or someone to talk to. Or both.
- One of the hardest things a man can do is to man up. -

My heart goes out for all girls who are being cheated on by their man who wouldn't even dare to show up to admit it, leave alone explaining it.
Here is my newest easy dish for dessert. Grape Gelatin. It is one of the attempts I make to get my man to eat more fruits (he doesn't like eating fruits just like that). The only skill you need to have is boiling water skill - which is hardly any skill at all. :) The nice thing about this dish is that you can prepare it well long before the serving time to get it solid. So you don't need to frantically juggle between your main dish and this dessert.


  • A packet of unflavoured and uncoloured gelatin powder
  • Green grapes
  • Purple grapes
  • 125 gr of sugar (feel free to add more if you like sweet)
  • A few drops of booze (I used fruity German booze I got from Sheila)
  1. Boil 4 glasses of water (or read what the gelatin packet tells you)
  2. Add your gelatin powder and stir continuously to keep it from catching.
  3. When boiled, add the sugar and the booze.
  4. Keep stirring until all is well dissolved.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and start working on your grapes.
  6. Wash and dry them clean and arrange them in icecream bowls or wine glasses.
  7. Pour the gelatin water into the glasses.
  8. Store in the refrigerator until they are hardened.
Voila. Your 5-minute dish is ready.

Tips: grapes can be replaced with other bright-coloured fruits like kiwis, strawberries or pineapple, or a mixture of everything.

I did want to stop the hairdo right here.

Ingrid, looking sweet.



At the ceremony

After all the makeup got worn off.

Just a short blog about how Carol and Vincent's wedding went yesterday.

We started early in the morning as we had to have our make up done. Had fun with the other bridesmaids - Audrey and Ingrid - as Carol was juggling with the last minute stuffs. Vincent (Carol's Vincent) looked relaxed and happy.

The party was awesome though lacking sources of light. But it was touching as Vincent and Carol read their vows - a beautiful journey that ends in a beautiful marriage. I am very happy for both of them!!!

Oh it was also the first time I saw MY Vincent in a suit. He looked incredibly handsome. Too bad it was too humid that the suit had to go off not long after worn and the long sleeves were rolled up.

Anyway, after years of avoiding being in the row of single women who tried to catch the bride's bouquet, I didn't escape this time (it was my bestfriend's wedding, how could I?). I stood in the back and let the girls on the front after the bouquet. But of course they had to fail to catch it and it just simply fell on my hands... with no effort at all. Too bad... now Vincent has to marry me. LOL.
People tend to overlook how useful 5 gallon buckets are. Whether you are at home, at the office, in the garden, at a camping site, chances are you are probably going to need one 5 gallon pail, or more. Below are a few examples of its uses at home.

In the kitchen

There will always something to store in the kitchen. Most of the time, food and drink. But the small kitchen utensils also need a container when you don't have it. Some 5 gallon buckets in the kitchen can come as a great help. When storing food and drink, however, always make sure that the 5 gallon pails are of food grade plastic materials. It is always important to be safe than sorry. When you have the food grade 5 gallon buckets, you can start storing the sugar, grains, cereal and/or milk.

In the playroom

Sometimes it is highly frustrating when the children start playing but never start cleaning up their toys afterwards. To rearrange them one by one in a good order on the shelves can be very tiring, too. Especially if they start messing up with them in the next 5 minutes. Why not having some colorful 5 gallon buckets there and teaching the kids some organization? If the work is simple enough to do, they are surely not going to be pouting when doing it, right? So, the car toys in the blue pail, dolls in pink, stuffed animals in yellow, etc.

In the garage

So many tools, so little space. 5 gallon pails can come in handy in this case. What you need to do is assemble your tools based on the functions and sizes. Cleaning tools should be put together with the other equipments or supplies of the same function, drop them in a 5 gallon bucket, then add a label on the outside to indicate what is stored inside. Do the same with the garden tools or supplies and carpentry tools. A nice organized garage is what you will get.

In the study room

Research shows that Americans waste approximately 4 million tons of office paper in a year. So here is a little advice: recycle your paper and use it until you cannot use it. When you receive a letter or print out a document that you no longer use, store them in a 5 gallon bucket for future use. You may need to use scrap paper one of these days and you can save the environment by using both sides of the used paper stored there.

Around the house

So it's a cleaning day. Why don't you grab your 5-gallon bucket and put your cleaning tools inside, going to one room to another as you clean every bit of the house? When you find garbage on your way, pick it up and drop it in the pail, then move on with the cleaning. When things are done in a practical manner, cleaning job doesn't look and feel that bad.

Those are just a few things one can do with 5 gallon buckets at home. There are many other things when the plastic pails come very versatile in daily life wherever we are. Next articles will discuss how 5 gallon pails can be useful in the garden, at a camp site, and even at the office.

This article was first published here.
It's gonna be the most boring Christmas and New Year this December. Vincent just told me today that he would go back to France from the 16th of December to the 8th of January. I am going to have to plan something for myself if I want to save myself from boredom during the festivities. And this whole year hasn't even been close to good, leave alone awesome.

Maybe a travel to Flores.

As much as the Frenchs are so much fun when they want to speak English (or at least try), they are the most boring community when they don't. Unfortunately the latter is more likely to happen.

And I thought that the gatherings with Vincent's friends have been boring. But really... now that David left last week and Fred is leaving too next week, I imagine I won't be really looking forward to the future outings now. I can only think of Laurence who probably wants to speak to me - as in having a real conversation more than just "ça va? Oui, et toi?"

Vincent doesn't look very happy either with the fact that his two nicest friends are leaving.


Alors on d... (X3)

Qui dit étude dit travail,
Qui dit taf te dit les thunes,
Qui dit argent dit dépenses,
Qui dit crédit dit créance,
Qui dit dette te dit huissier,
Oui dit assis dans la merde.
Qui dit Amour dit les gosses,
Dit toujours et dit divorce.
Qui dit proches te dis deuils car les problèmes ne viennent pas seul.
Qui dit crise te dis monde dit famine dit tiers- monde.
Qui dit fatigue dit réveille encore sourd de la veille,
Alors on sort pour oublier tous les problèmes.
Alors on danse... (X9)
Et la tu t'dis que c'est fini car pire que ça ce serait la mort.
Qu'en tu crois enfin que tu t'en sors quand y en a plus et ben y en a encore!
Ecstasy dis problème les problèmes ou bien la musique.
Ca t'prends les trips ca te prends la tête et puis tu prie pour que ça s'arrête.
Mais c'est ton corps c'est pas le ciel alors tu t'bouche plus les oreilles.
Et là tu cries encore plus fort et ca persiste...
Alors on chante
Lalalalalala, Lalalalalala,
Alors on chante
Lalalalalala, Lalalalalala

Alors on chante (x2)
Et puis seulement quand c'est fini, alors on danse.
Alors on danse (x7)
Et ben y en a encore (X5)
There is a huge difference between a bad one-night-stand decision and a rape.

One starts with a heavy flirting game and and is followed by a consented decision - drunk or not - to have a heating sexual action before hitting the sack. If in the morning it feels like an aweful mistake, well it IS a mistake. A mistake that you wrongly decided at a bad time.

A rape on the other hand, is a sexual act that is being forced to an un-consented individual. If I hit a guy on the street for trying to grab my ass, then he hits me back and forces me to have sex with him, that means I am being raped.

Why is it so hard for him to understand?

Is it that hard for YOU to understand? If you don't agree with me, please leave a comment here and prove me wrong. I have never wanted so much to be proven wrong like I do now.

Sometimes I wish I was less independent and more needy just to get more attention from him. But I can't help being able to defend myself from nasty Sanur or Kuta guys until maybe... God forbids, one day when they find out that I am not as physically strong as I look. Until then, my boyfriend may still need to find other "weaker" girls to protect when they are drunk.
What you thought was a perfect thing may not still be over time.
Love is such a weird thing. When you are too tightly wrapped with it, you feel like getting off. When it's really off, you feel miserable.

Vincent went to Thailand for work 11 days ago. At first I felt sort of relieved (nothing bad against him, it's just that the personal space sometimes feels good, too). But after a few days, I just felt so lonely and the space was suddenly not fun anymore. I even missed the sound that he always makes - his fart (doh!).

But he's back now, ending the silly misery and the guessing what-he's-doing-now game. He is a little sick from being exposed too much to the aircon and too much work so I guess I am going to have to do a good job in returning his energy the next few days.

For the second time in the last 2 weeks, I feel relieved again.
Pets never stayed alive for a long time in my house, I wonder why. There were already two stray animals that we picked up, took care of until they were healthy and happy, and not long after they reached the contentment, they died. I didn't write about this before because I always cried my eyes out every time my babies were taken away from me. But now I am revealing it.


She was a little kitten Vincent found at his office. At first I was against the idea of keeping her because A. I was not used to cats, thanks to my mom's phobia of cats, B. I tried to save baby cats 3 times, none survived (mainly because they were too little, only a few days old, C. I didn't want to get attached to an animal where I doubted I would always be in Bali.
Geisha when we first adopted her, so tiny with her super big eyes and ears
But Vincent won. He would have to clean the cat litters as a part of the agreement and I could deal with the food.

Over time, I developed such a closeness to Geisha even after she scratched my skin a hundred times. She was taken to a vet and Vincent spent a lot of money and time, and attention to make her flea-free and healthy again like below.
Active and healthy, as well as furniture destroyer
Until one day she was attacked by a black cat three times her size and died less than 24 hours after she was attacked. Both Vincent and I regretted that we did not take her right away to the vet after the attack, but we didn't find any open wound and thought she would be okay. Later on we suspected it might have been the snake who killed her. She ran away from the black cat to a little hole inside my pump compartment where my neighbour saw a big snake there.

We had such a hard time because of the loss.


Piment was a Balinese puppy that one day out of the blue appeared at my porch. It was in mid August if I am not mistaken. Vincent gave him some water and a piece of bacon, but we had to leave to a party when we found him, so we just decided that we would adopt the dog if he was still there when we came back.

And he was.

I named him Piment (means chilli in French) because I just liked the word piment. And he was so thin like chilli. But unlike the other stray dogs, this Balinese puppy was quiet (compared to the others) and only barked when he saw a stranger or (God forbid) a snake.
He seemed to understand what I said to him and even without a proper obedient training, he was already naturally obedient! I took him to the beach one day, put him inside a basket covered with his sleeping cushion and towel as I was riding my motorbike, and he wouldn't even budge or try to commit suicide by neurotically jumping out of it when the engine started (like any other unschooled dogs might). No. He just quietly waited while I drove slowly to the beach.
Piment, sitting quietly in the basket
Not long after, Vincent bought him a leash and a nice collar that I used only when we went for a walk or run at the beach. Yes, run. Me who never jogged and never wished to. I had a totally different perspective about running when I went with Piment. Suddenly it had more meaning than before and felt like playing rather than doing sport.

But the fun didn't stay long. Again, after I called a vet and Piment got his first shot to help eliminate his fleas, after he gained much weight with the nutritious food I gave him every day, after he looked very happy to be with us and satisfied enough by only staying outside or just resting his head on my foot while I was working, a fucking stupid car had to hit him and run. My neighbour knocked almost in the middle of the night to tell us about it. I was hysterical when I saw him lying on the side of the street, not moving actively like how he usually was and not breathing with his eyes and mouth open. His flea collar was cut and sat not far from his body. Vincent was very mad and swore that we would never take a pet again as long as we still lived in this country. Me... I was just devastated.
Piment's last visit to the beach - two days before the accident.
Maybe it is a wise move - not to adopt a pet. If every time an animal we love - a member of our family - has to die tragically, it is just too much to bear.
Oh shit... I forgot the ice. Hahahahaha....

The offering with a burning incense.
Last Saturday was Tumpak Landep day. That was the birthday of all vehicles and machinaries in Bali. Balinese prayed and put "sesajen" or offering on their motorbikes, cars and even sewing machines and scissors.

I went out to meet Aliki - Vincent's friend's wife - and I saw the maid next door was making a little ceremony with all the motorbikes in the shared parking lot. I asked her to decorate my motorbike too, and this is what her husband had to say to me, "Not decorate; it's to pray for it."

Oops, well okay, but the offering looked charming, so the insensible me just spurt out the first vocab that applied to it that came to my mind. So yes, it was my fault.

Anyway, I should have asked earlier, they said, because it needed to be prayed in the temple before. But to make me happy, they slipped one pack of offering between the bike and my license plate, splashed some fragranced water on to it, then on to my face.

"Okay, you are safe now," they both said. Then they looked at Vincent's motorbike and they splashed the water too there. "This one, too. Now everybody is safe."

Oh, one of the things I love about Bali.
One thing I learnt during my blogging absence was that nothing was 100% definite in this world.

At some point I felt that I might have turned into too trusting individual and I rested and believed my future would be all bright and positive now that I had someone to share it with. But people do get weary and they do change. And love shares the same amount of extremity with hatred. Everything is too positive in love just like everything is too negative in hatred. For a while, I'd forgotten about that. I also forgot one of my own life values: keep a room inside your heart in case something breaks. That should help keep you away from desperation and massive breakdown. I did not. As I said, I was becoming too positive in looking at things.

Well, let's say I was reminded of all that. And though it is somewhat bitter to base your relationship on, it is the truth. So I have been struggling to get my old self back and maybe I will do things that I enjoyed doing again. I am thinking about traveling to the eastern part of Indonesia as soon as my financial situation gets better - Carla's way.
After over 2 years together, Vincent finally gave me a bouquet of roses in different colours.

It was on my birthday, I was out to Fabio's and Inga's, and when I was back, this sweet bouquet was stuck between the handle of the door to the guest room where I usually work and two birthday gifts were put on the floor under the flowers.

I was upset at him earlier that month, but with this he is forgiven for the next 3 years. :)
So many things have happened during my absence in blogging. One of the reasons is that I write more for money than take photos these past two months. I've been so sick and tired of writing that I couldn't put effort on taking care of my blog -- which is another writing. But I realised that it wasn't fair. So I am just gonna try to post short recaps of how life has been going on so far. They may not be in chronological order but they are still updates anyway.

First one, my mother and niece, Michelle, came to Bali for a holiday (Sept 6 to Sept 17, I think). They were staying in my house as usual, and Ita was taking a week off from work so she could be with her daughter more. We even made family pictures (I pioneered the idea after seeing our last family photos were taken when I was.... nine. It's a horrid fact for a photographer! I made nice photos of other people and family, but not mine). So we were heading to this nice beach in Canggu called Echo -- some good swells for surfers, black sand and interesting rocks to texturize the beach. Did I tell you I made awesome photos for a client a couple of months ago? If not, check it out here, and below are some of the shots from our family rendesvous (girls only).

It is tricky sometimes to choose the bra that is right for a woman. Does it have the comfort? Does it have the sexy look? Does it upsize the breasts? Is it actually the right size? Are the wires absolutely necessary?

Below are 10 tips to choose the right bra for you.

  1. Comfort is everything in choosing a bra. Of course function and look are as important, but without comfort a bra’s life easily ends after a couple of times wearing it. So always bear in mind to put comfort on the top of the list when you choose your bra to make sure it lasts.
  2. Choose the right bra size. 80% of women choose the wrong-sized bras. While you may get some input from other people about your bra size, it is useful to measure it on your own. You can check the step-by-step instruction here.
  3. Always make sure that your bra is made of the finest, softest material that is guaranteed to absorb perspiration.
  4. If you need a help on the look of your breasts underneath your clothes, don’t be hesitant to put bra pads.
  5. When you do have to wear pads, it is wise to choose the ones that have perforations inside. These help bring more air circulation and you can stay dry much longer.
  6. Although underwires are essential to improve the look of your bust, it may be sensible to choose a bra that does not have them. Those can get very uncomfortable for the wearer at times and they reduce air circulation and perspiration drainage.
  7. Make sure the straps of your bra are adjustable. It does not feel nice if they keep falling over your shoulders.
  8. Have at least one demi-bra in your wardrobe collection. It is to wear when you want to put on a low-cut outfit on top of it. Besides, a slight reveal on your cleavage goes a long way. ;)
  9. If one of your cups is significantly bigger than the other, choose a bra that fits your larger breast and put a pad on the other one.
  10. Don’t wear a normal bra to the gym. Use a sports bra instead. It is firmer than normal bras so it lessens the breasts movement. It is also designed to reduce discomfort, pain and possible injury on the chest ligament. It is called a sports bra for a reason, right?

For a wide variety of bra types that offer both style and comfort, check this website out.

Mum mum mum mah

Mum mum mum mah

I wanna hold em' like they do in Texas please

Fold em' let em' hit me raise it baby stay with me (I love it)

Luck and intuition play the cards with Spades to start

And after he's been hooked I'll play the one that's on his heart

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh

I'll get him hot, show him what I've got

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh,

I'll get him hot, show him what I've got


Can't read my,

Can't read my

No he can't read my poker face

(she's got to love nobody)

Can't read my

Can't read my

No he can't read my poker face

(she's got to love nobody)

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

I wanna roll with him a hard pair we will be

A little gambling is fun when you're with me I love it)

Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun

And baby when it's love if its not rough it isn't fun, fun

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh

I'll get him hot, show him what I've got

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh,

I'll get him hot, show him what I've got


P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

I won't tell you that I love you

Kiss or hug you

Cause I'm bluffin' with my muffin

I'm not lying I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning

Just like a chick in the casino

Take your bank before I pay you out

I promise this, promise this

Check this hand cause I'm marvelous

[Chorus x3]


P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face

(Mum mum mum mah)

Lyrics taken from AZLYRICS.
Don't fall for someone who falls for your look. It has an expiry date.
In the dark.
Advantage taker.
Taken for granted.
Taking one for granted.
Under appreciated.
Low self confidence.

No, I'm not on period and not gonna be soon.
It has been excrutiatingly hot and humid in Bali. Not only lately, but the last two years! Normal fans and exhaust systems are not of much use when the heat wave attacks; leaving people sweaty and weary. That goes even for me who actually does not perspire as much as other people. I always end up totally grumpy when feeling drop by drop of sweat escapes my neck and gets down to my bra and stays there as if there was not enough excretion to occupy it already. The instant thing I feel is that to take off the bra right then and there and let my chest breathe freely and get dry. But obviously that is not exactly proper to do when I am outside, right?

For most people, summer is to be expected happily every year. For Asians, over 75 percent of the whole year is summer. And it's a good thing! Except the fact that in tropical countries the humidity is of higher percentage than in the four-season ones. Just get out and walk on a sunny day by lunch time and you will already be sweating and totally wet in the first fifteen minutes.

I encountered another problem from the heat just a few months ago. I found red rashes on my skin around the bra line where the pads wrapped my breasts. I suspected that they appeared due to the excessive sweat that were blocked by my bra pads. Not only it was ugly, it was also unhealthy and itchy. Then it was very uncomfortable to wear bras when it happened. But it IS essential to wear a bra if you want to keep the shape of your breasts.

Therefore when I did my usual internet surfing this morning, I was super happy when I found this online shop called The Breeze Comfort and I thought I'd have to share it here!

Basically The Breeze Comfort offers breathable padded bras   and sports bras that, as the name suggests, provide more comfort for active, sporty women - and may I add here, tropical women, too! The highlight of their product is that every bra they manufacture - whether it is a normal bra or a sports bra - is equipped with patented perforated bra pads  (VentipadTM). The perforations (invisible in the real bra) throughout the paddings allow more air and circulation to come in so that perspiration that our body produces while working out or just simply being under the sun evaporates more quickly. This obviously leaves the bra wearer stay dry and comfortable.

Honestly, I have never seen, leave alone bought any bras that offer this kind of technology before. Imagine the possibility of staying pretty and sexy with a push-up bra and at the same time feeling comfortable wearing it. As commonly agreed, beauty products do not usually come together with comfort. This invention is therefore supposed to be dug by every woman.

And what more? The Breeze Comfort shop provides more comfort by offering FREE shipping for US residents (no minimum order) and for international buyers with a minimum order of 50 dollars. Get two pretty bras like this one on the left and you can already tell the difference between the traditional padded bras and the patented perforated ones.

I am going to browse some more of its products now. What about you?