Ramadhan Mubarak

Assalamu’alaikum.. May peace be upon you. yes! PEACE. The one word that we’re using more often these days, in Indonesia and through out the rest of the world. Reading, hearing, and watching the news become more traumatizing and depressing. Terrorism, wars, oppressions, anarchist, and criminal acts are the main topic of almost all of the news’ outlets. I couldn’t help it anymore – wondering why it is so easy to spread hatred and negativity, without thinking about other’s feeling. One group’s claim to be the victim, while their acts scream villain. One nation is banning people solely based on their origin country or even their religion. One group massacred other group just because they were different. A killing spree in random places by a person, just to be accepted in one criminal group. ah.. I could going all day listing all the terror happening in our reality now, but what’s the purpose?

Here we are, living in a very divided world, yet hope is still here. We could see that despite – or because of  – all this cruelty, people begin to extend their help into a larger scale. Groups from different background are embracing each other more than they ever before. The phrase “faith in humanity restored” is getting its stage. People racing to show the warm of their heart to each other, just to make sure that we really feel that this life is worth living.

This is what Ramadhan is truly about : to bring the best of people. As a moslem, I believe this is what Rasulullah SAW wants to see : kindness, in every way of our life. I am no expert in explaining about what is Ramadhan, but I found a very helpful article if you want to understand about it more, it is this article from Vox. I like the closing line : “Because terrorists are assholes.” Don’t ever let terrorists act define what Islam is. This Ramadhan is our opportunity to unite moslems around the world to show the true face of Islam.

Terrorists. They have no religion, even if many will automatically link it to Islam – they are not muslims. Islam is a religion about peace and thaught us how to live peacefully among others. Terrorism rooted deeply within the society itself, not within Islam. It is an act of defiance, to scare people, to threaten another group for its own political gain. There are many kinds of terrorism, which cause expert to hardly agree on one definition. The fail to exactly define what is terrorism clearly show the complexity of its term, moreover its actions and its aim. One thing for sure, terrorist wants us to stop living. That is not Islamic teaching.

:sigh: I got carried away… I wanted to write about Ramadhan, but I was mumbling about these issues instead. My bad.. I am sorry, I guess I have been diving this issue for too long and I need to get it off my chest – to vent out. I need to write more about it later, in a better compose post.

Back to Ramadhan. It is a month of joy. Let’s bring the best of us and enjoying this closeness. We are closer to Allah, our family, our loved ones, and our fellow creatures of the world. Let’s observe Ramadhan by being a better human being.

Ramadhan Mubarak, Every one!

Salam,

The DarkJasmine

Dear Zhaf

Hello, little one!

This is your mom. We have been bonding just a little over a year. Yes. It is 3 weeks after your first birthday and I’m kind of feeling nostalgic that I need to write you this.

May is my magical month, dear. Because I got married to your father in May, 2 years ago – to be honest, we were officially a couple 7 years ago, also in May. And then Allah revealed His plan to bring you into this world on the fourth of May. (Oh yeah, May the Fourth be with you, Zhaf!)

“How do I get born, Mom?” You may one day ask this question.

O, sweetheart.. let me tell you a story about how you were born. You were supposed to be born on May 2nd, but you decide to stay a bit longer inside my tummy. The doctor said that you need a little push so I got Induced. Three times, dear. I keep my positive thinking that maybe you need more time, that somehow you will find your way out minutes later. After the third induction, you decide to make a move…but you are a little too active that you made my water broke and doctor told me that I have to be cut open in the operation room soon. That was 4 in the afternoon and it broke my defense – i cried a river. I have to accept that I am not destined to experience normal labour, yet. 7 pm, they performed the SC surgery and you were brought into this world 20 minutes later.

All the sadness is gone. I trully feel like I have been waste my tears for something so shallow. I trully understand that whatever the procedure was, the most important thing is the baby’s health. The second I look into your eyes, I know that I’ve been through enough struggle to give a damn about how other will judge me because I choose this way to gave birth.

We were doing the Early Initiation of breastfeeding when your father finally joined us in the operation room. He loves you from that moment on, Son. I can tell you that, even I was half conscious due to the anesthetic. The initiation was a success, you did a great job there, Zhaf! Then they measured you: 3300 grams and 49 cm. Welcome to the world!

 

Do you like this story, dear? I have many stories for you. Would you like to hear it?

Ah, it’s already late at night, I will continue it some other time. You are fast asleep beside me now and I’d like to enjoy your peaceful face.

I love you, dear Zhaf…

With lots of love,
Bunda

Canberra, I’m madly in love with you!

People say that chance will never come twice, grab it fast.That was exactly what brought me to Canberra last week. I see a chance, I take it…. and I felt in love again.

I need to write this, just so I can going back to my ordinarily wonderful life.

This is not a story about love at the first sight.

The first thing people (usually, folks like Jakartans whom so used to crowd and big tall buildings) will think the second they arrive in Canberra is: “where are all the people?”. Canberra is a capital city of Australia, which is one of the wealthiest country in the world (18th – based on this), so normally people would expect a grand and very busy city as the capital. NOPE. Canberra will never fit in your capital ideal – it is one of a kind. It is a quiet city, especially in Sunday. The traffic jam here is only last for 10 minutes (15 at peak hour). It is almost empty and kind of creepy-It is like a city in one of those horror movies, where zombie will pop out in a sudden (okay, this one is my friend’s imagination).

The drive from airport to city center is not too far, but enough to make you wonder whether you are really in a city or a deserted village. 😀 I need to begin this story with descriptions of Canberra International Airports. Please don’t get fooled by the ‘international’ branding. The Airport is not big, it only took us 15-20 minutes from plane to stand outside the Airport – waiting to be picked up (yes, baggage collecting is included!). I really have a nice experience in this airport, but my love for Canberra is not begin yet.

It was the vibe that took my heart.

I was lucky that at the time of my visit, Canberra is in the autumn mode: the leaves were colorful and the weather was very nice (although a lil bit cold for my Indonesian standard). After having lunch at Nando’s in Canberra Center, I finally realized that this City has stolen my heart. A carousel in the pathway, large public space, outdoor cafes, the smell of  freshly brewed coffee, gelato, cute cakes, and especially the breathtaking beautiful corners. Yes, every corner of Canberra is very lovely: buildings, houses, trees, lakes, and mountains.

Highlights from my visit are: Mt. Ainslie, Black Mountain, Parliament House, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserves, National Museum of Australia, and Canberra Center.

MOUNT AINSLIE

The Mount Ainslie lookout is the must visit place of  Canberra, because we could see the city horizon and how beautifully planned Canberra is. There is also the history of Canberra, the story of its designer and the original design of Canberra. If you really in for it, you could hike a little and if you are lucky (like me), you could see a wild kangaroos! It was my first encounter with kangaroos and I was mesmerized by these moment.

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BLACK MOUNTAIN

The main attraction for me in Black Mountain is the Telstra Tower. It has the lookout which give you a 360 degrees view. If you can stand the heavy wind, it is really worth your time to see panoramic view of Canberra and its surrounding from such distance.

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PARLIAMENT HOUSE

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LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN

NATIONAL MUSEUM

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CANBERRA CENTER

Gelato in the autumn? Why NOT! 😆 The coldness were not scaring us away from trying the gelato in one afternoon. Canberra Center is a mall full of sweet smell and delicious food. Try Nando’s and PappaRich for starter. 😀

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Nando’s – my first meal in Canberra!

TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVES

If you want to see koalas in their real habitat, you definitely have to visit this place. REALLY CUTE! They are eating, sleeping, and climbing trees (just usual koalas’ business), but it made me speechless. Tracking around the reserves was really enjoyable, mostly because of the cold weather. 😆 Another thing you need to try is having a Barbeque lunch here. We are eating Kangaroos’ grilled meat while watching Kangaroos’ spending their day out in the cold.

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The Koalas really made my visit!

p.s. ANU, why you don’t have a Political Psychology master program?

See you again soon, Canberra!

Love, The DarkJasmine

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Staying Connected

How is life after baby? FABULOUS!

(if you scrap the zombie-sleepless night, cranky-post partum depression syndromes, a LOT of tears, and many other dramas of a new mom), but still, who want the true answer to a cliche question?

I could go on and on about my ugly truths of first days after Zhas was born, but I am saving that story for another post. This one is a post about how to keep my marriage sane after such a big change: Zhaf.

Me and my husband are an employer, that means we don’t have the luxury of being at home all day. Leaving our home around 6 a.m every weekday and if we are lucky, we could be at home again around 6 p.m – but mostly, we arrive home around 7/8 p.m. Zhaf is our main focus whenever we are at home: playing, biting, laughing, and of course cuddling. To say the truth, our romantic moments become very rare.

So, how can we make through our critical time as husband and wife? Talk. Talking is our main connection right now. Luckily, our office are near to each other that enable us to travel together every morning and sometime also in the afternoon.We would savor the precious journey and make it our moment to kindle the flame. We would share what’s happening in our daily life while in the office or simply sharing any story that cross our mind. I love these moments. It is our way to keep the bond.

Other than talking, thanks to our new gigantic internet package from a certain postpaid provider, we have a new routine: watching romantic movies or funny TV Show. Sometime, we would take silly snaps in the middle of the infamous Jakarta’s Traffic jam. Openness, laughs, and silliness are our charms.

That is our way, what is yours?

deer

 

Story from Cimory

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CIMORY

Cimory : one famous yoghurt brand in Indonesia. I used to think that Cimory only produce yoghurt and I have never been so wrong – (of course) they are a fresh milk producer, too! They also expand their products by producing delicious Chocolate Line : Chocomory.

Other than selling their products nationwide (and worldwide, maybe?), they have their own restaurants in Cisarua, Puncak, West Java.

My first visit was around 2010 and it made a long lasting great impression for me that I have an urge to go back. At my second visit, they already have “Cimory Riverside”Restaurant – the one that I visit in 2016. I love the vibe, it was a cozy afternoon and I remember feeling so nostalgic. They have indoor and outdoor dining area; also a large backyard with watery back sound which came from the nearby river. The dining area is large – it could cater more than 100 people in one time (a very raw estimation 😀 ). They also have a play area for kids, boutique, chocolate shop, and a market full of their products. They offer variety of food: from western to local cuisine, and also serve many kinds of yoghurt-based smoothies.

Last November, we were revisiting Cimory with Zhaf. He just started solid a few days before and Cimory’s plain yoghurt was his lunch. He was very happy to see all new things around him, since that was the first time we take him there.

 

With love,

#TheCheekFamily 😆

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Honeymoon Post #3 : Karma Beach Club

This is another #ThrowbackThursday post

One of the highlight from our honeymoon back in 2015 was Karma Beach Club, which we visit in our 3rd day in Bali.

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Karma Private Beach Club

Karma Beach Club is a private beach part of Karma Kandara Luxury Villa in Ungasan, Bali. The beach is stunning with clear water and many water activities offered. Like many other beauty things in the world, this grand view is come with a price: we have to pay each person a Rp 250.000 entrance fee (Rp 150.000 for entrance and Rp 100.000 for food and beverage credit) – now, the fee is Rp 500.000 each. The fee included a ride on the inclinator to take you down to the beach.

We opt for a laid back afternoon after we went to Garuda Wisnu Kencana in the middle of the day, so Karma was a great choice.

White sand and clear water were ready to treat our eyes – even le husband couldn’t resist the temptation to dip his precious leg. 😆

Sadly, we arrived there too late in the afternoon that we lost our opportunity to enjoy the water activities (snorkeling, kayaking, and so on). The plus side was we witnes a great transition of light: from a bright sky into a clear night sky. Candles were lit, adding a romantic vibe to the scene. *now, remembering this time make me feel nostalgic :blushed:

After such lazy but romantic beach time, we close the day with romantic dinner by the private pool in our villa – a honeymoon treat from Flamingo Dewata Villa.

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our meaty romantic dinner

ps. Thanks for the visit, Bang Yosh-Fanti-Nabel! ❤

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Honeymoon Post #2 : From Ubud to Tanah Lot, Ended in Kuta

Hello Thursday! The first #ThrowbackThursday post is here.

This post has been in my draft for far too long. *my bad* :sigh: So, this is story about my honeymoon – it’s just two years ago, not too old, yes? 😀

Please enjoy!

It is a story of our first day in Bali. As I stated in this post, we choose to wake (as) early (as possible for our tired bodies – 8 am is still considered early for a honeymoon morning, right?). The rental car was delivered after breakfast and off we went to Ubud around 10 am. My husband is the one in charge to drive while I was navigating him with GMaps in hand.

Pecatu to ubud was not a short journey, it took almost 2 hours to reach our first destination: Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant. The restaurant itself was in a very large compound with real paddy field as the view (before this time, I ate in Bebek Tepi Sawah outlet in mall: to see a real one was joyful) – even if the paddy field was in planting season.

We ordered our favorite: crispy duck with plecing kangkung and some infused water (+ ice tea for my husband). I couldn’t remember the other side dishes that we ordered but I do remember how full our stomachs were. They cost us around $50 (around Rp 500.000 – the exchange rates were not as high as now).

With our full stomachs, we drove around Ubud, enjoying the green of its forest. We went to Monkey forest but only till its gate : take videos of monkeys and then off to Tanah Lot.

Gmaps was very useful in our trip, since we had no knowledge of the route. I have to warn you tho, Gmaps gave us the shortest routes, of course, but by the shortest I mean they really were shortcuts that made us take a very small road, even the one in the middle of a paddy field or small village. Thank God that our car was a small one!

I remember vaguely that our trip from Ubud to Tanah Lot took around 30-45 minutes. We arrived around 4.30 pm and my husband really loved the view. He took many pictures and I told him about the giant snake – he had to see the snake alone, since I am not a fan of snakes. I have visited Tanah Lot before in one of my work trip, so I was kinda noisy telling him where I have been when i was there with my friends.

We heard announcement about the Sunset with Kecak Dance and that was so appealing, but we both weren’t enjoying the crowd in Tanah Lot. We remember being told about the beauty of echo Beach and how serene the beach is : off we go to Echo beach, which luckily only took around 15 minutes.

Rather traumatized by the Gmaps’ routes, we asked local people how to get to Echo Beach to catch the sunset and liked the answer they gave. We were in time to see the beautiful sunset in Echo Beach.

We didn’t stay long in Echo Beach. We were going to spend the night in Kuta Area, since that was my husband’s first visit to bali, Kuta was a must visit place. By the time we get to Kuta, our stomach was growling but we need to take some pictures first so we can enjoy dinner. 😆

…and we went to Wendy’s for dinner! 😆

Our savior. ?

See you in the honeymoon post #3!

Love,

the daRk Jasmine