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advice, anyone? December 28, 2008

Posted by altari in questions.
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I’ve been wondering for a couple of years… how can I make myself like a person, whom I don’t like? Well, I know this sounds meany. But I’m not gonna defend myself for not liking a person. I have my own reasons.

So, all I’m saying is… I’m not asking much. I just don’t want the situation where I’m in now is getting worse and worse and suddenly… the time bomb explodes. Again, I’m not asking much. I don’t have to love this person. I don’t even wish to adore this person. I just don’t want to hate this person.

Please anyone who reads this be kindly to share your advice with me. That’ll be precious.

I thank you beforehand.

Because today, I officially lost my respect for this person.

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grandpa is just next door December 25, 2008

Posted by altari in home, mi familia.
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Betawi, is the native tribe of Jakarta. They are of course not less unique than the other thousands of tribes in Indonesia. From what I read in Kampung Betawi (in Bahasa Indonesia) website, they’re pretty much into details when organizing every aspect in their lives, including their houses.

For instance, how they build their houses. A traditional Betawi house is required to have Arabic calligraphies on its walls. Not to mention the terrace, designed in a way that when the rain drops, the water will go right into the inlet on the canopy attaching to a small drain, which will send it to the drain on the street. In their yard, a Betawi family usually plants fruit trees and herbal plants.

What’s even more interesting, a Betawi family used to bury their deceased family members in their yard. The graves were usually located on the right side of the yard, just next to the house. This tradition took place before public burial grounds were provided. So, imagine, doing daily activities like cooking and taking a bath just a few meters away from the grave 🙂

I’m not quite sure whether there is a philosophy behind burying their relatives nearby or not, but it sure is somewhat practical when they want to visit the grave. Almost zero energy consumption coz you don’t have to travel far to get there, and definitely costless.

Can you see how detailed and handy the way they build their houses? More amazingly, every inch of the house is meant to be useful. Check out the plants they have in the yard. If this idea is applied to every house in Jakarta, people will be able to save a lot of money rather than buying fruits or medicines in the store, which is of course more expensive. Nonetheless, I’m posting here not to discuss about the house in particular, but about something else. Something that is meant to be light. Besides that, a house that kind is far and few between these days.

whereallivesThe neighborhood I’m living in now is mostly inhabited by Betawi families, other than Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, and many more. It’s in the outer side of East Jakarta. The air and water quality is still clean, and not really congested. It’s a good place to live, especially if you have kids.

Nowadays, most houses dwelled by Betawi families in my neighborhood are modern-built. In other words, you can’t tell any longer whether there’s a grave or not in their yards. And the structure of the house is no longer like the picture above. You can also find deserted graves here. They are just lying on vacant lands, which might be owned by a Betawi family before the land is bought by somebody else, who still leaves it unoccupied. There are many vacant lands here, and usually there are no house buildings anymore on the lands.

My family and I have been living here for almost two years, and am very well aware of the seven gravestones in the vacant land, right behind my house. Do I feel comfortable about the fact that I sleep just meters away from those dead bodies? Oh yes, I’m used to it by now. At many times I just forget about them 🙂

Anyway, here comes the fun part. One day, our gardener was mowing the grass in the backyard. Close to the wall separating us from the vacant land, he found a snake. Alive. Since he’s not a snake tamer, he left it as was. Judging from the way he left his jackknife behind, using ‘not a snake tamer’ as an excuse when he told me about his leaving was… well… oh c’mon, he left his jackknife behind!

So the snake stayed there for the next couple of days. We were advised to call a snake tamer to catch it and throw it faraway, and also to hold a small ritual where we all pray together. Do you know how much I have to pay the man who can do it all? Rp. 250,000. Why all the hassles? Apparently, a snake is believed to bring bad luck. Not just to the house where it’s staying in, but also to the neighborhood. Suppose there was a child who fell ill, if we didn’t do anything about the snake, the blame would be on us. Funny, hey? We didn’t invite the snake in, but for the sake of practicality people just prefer to blame us. As for the praying, it was meant to get rid of bad luck.

The news about a snake lying around in our backyard spread pretty quickly. Suddenly, everybody in the neighborhood came to my backyard. Me? I was hiding in my bedroom, which has got a direct view to the backyard. So I got to calculate how many people there were, multiplied them by two thousand Rupiahs, equaled to forty thousand Rupiahs. That’s the amount of money I could get if only I sold tickets to them for trespassing my family’s land, hmph! Hang on, come to think again, Rp. 40,000 is still million light years far from Rp. 250,000, isn’t it?

Now, you must be wondering, what is the relation between those graves in the vacant land and the snake? Well, one day someone came, his name was Mr. Sobil. He was involved in the building process of our house and he heard the news about the snake. Moreover, he can ‘communicate’ with… you know… the ‘other’ side.

He then talked to the snake. Again, I was hiding in the bedroom. Creepy world is exciting? Hah! Not for me. I can make myself become the least curious person in the world when it comes to that kind of thing.

After all that “whatsitsname” was done, he brought me that news. The snake was actually a bangle, owned by one of the grave owners in the vacant land back there. By grave owners I mean the corpses buried there.  Who were they? Or, are…?

Mr. Sobil said those guys have been wandering around in the neighborhood for hundreds of years. Whoa… And guess what? They’d like to be called Mbah, or Grandpa/Grandma. Whadda…??!

So why did they put the ‘bangle’ in my backyard? Mr. Sobil said that Mbah Genji (oh, ‘they’ do have names) was trying to warn our gardener, whom he disliked. He said our gardener was rude. He also demanded us to pray more. Well, well… I was quite speechless.

Anyhow, the snake was finally thrown away. We also paid someone to do the praying, the ‘noticeable’ one, so that everyone in the neighborhood was aware that a praying had been done. And the guys are probably floating around me right now while I’m typing this post. Looks like my family just got new companions.

Well, as long as we don’t bother each other…

Still, the part that they ask to be called Gramps… 😆


…207 pages more. December 23, 2008

Posted by altari in home.
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Rome wasn’t built in one night, so was my kitchen. It’s 2×2 meters and used to be a total mess when it had no cabinets. Cans, plates, cutleries, pans, everything was piling up on top of the kitchen table. Every time I walked in, I would go as far as the fridge only. Don’t even ask where my sense of belonging was.  When my mom who visited me asked where the knife was, I could only say,”It’s there. It’s not lost. It’s still in the kitchen,” trying to sound encouraging, without moving from where I was sitting 😉

 alkitchen-before

Until hubby asked me several months ago,”What do you want for birthday?”

“A kitchen set.” I replied.

“Well, there will be one condition…”

“Yeess?”

“Delicious meals.”

“Oh, I’ll make them even extravagant!”

I heard a snort as a reply. By ignoring the temptation to punch, I tried to throw a bargain,”Weekends only, yes? Still extravagant, I promise you.”

“Done.”

“Done.”

And then, with the help of my big brother in law who’s an interior designer, the renovation began. Every decision was given to me-love that, it was gonna be my kitchen after all-starting from the colors to the position of the cabinet handles. I chose cova calvados as the theme color, minimalist style for the cabinet-no handle for the lower cabinet, black galaxy for the granite, and of course, mosaic for the wall. I wanted my kitchen to be simple and warm, just a nice little space to cook for my family and friends.

After those heating debates with hubby about every simple-yet-appeared-to-be-a-bigger-deal thing… and those exhausting searches for the sink and water tap… not to mention the despair that the stove had to travel from afar… all that was finally paid for. I finally got my kitchen ready, and shiny (please ignore my narcistic-personality disorder.) Yattaaa!

alkitchen-after

I love it!

I love every angle of it.

You know what? I don’t even mind polishing every single inch of it in the middle of the night. Nope, I don’t have Obsessive-compulsive Disorder. Or maybe I do, when it comes to that little kitchen of mine.

And then came the time to perform (please read: cook.) Here’s what I’ve got to say about cooking. I’m not good at it, but I like doing it, yet I don’t take critics for it whatsoever (hah!)

I picked Chinese menu from the cooking book my mom gave me. It was gonna be Apple Dumpling, followed by Egg Flower Soup (this was called flower coz the egg gives the flower-shape effect when it’s poured into the soup) and Fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce.

How long do you think, for an amateur who shamelessly sees herself as a chef and thinks she knows it all, to cook from appetizer to desert?

Ages?!

That’s the answer if you wanna pick a fight with me 👿

A day?

Okay, not that long, thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, it took me 4 hours. Don’t ask me how many “Are you done yet?” questions I received during those sweaty hours. And finally…  voila!

Smelled good, looked good, or so I thought. And the comment for the Apple Dumpling was,”Can’t taste the apple.”

I got “Yuumm…” for the Fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce.

And “Weird…” for the Egg Flower Soup.

“I said, I’m not asking for critics.” I said.

“It was for your own good.” Looks like I wasn’t being listened to. And then I asked,”Anyway, what’s my score?”

“Seven out of ten.”

“Come on. Eight will make me happy. Your stomach is fine after all, right?”

“Alright, alright. I give you… seven.”

Inhaled… exhaled… until I finally said,”That’s okay. And congratulation, you’re gonna get to taste 207 pages more from the book.”

“….” 😯

The day passed, and there have been around three serious cookings so far. I touched down in Chicken Teriyaki (well, who wouldn’t?) but almost killed myself when pulling Cheese Cake from the oven. Last but not least, my Lasagna made it to be my Mom’s favorite. Yaayyy!

 

to the (not) early birds, some tips… December 17, 2008

Posted by altari in words.
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When you get to your office late, here are some tips for you:

1. If you bring a bag, know someone right outside your office.

For example, the owner of a food stall where you regularly eat at or the person who gives you parking ticket. Ask him/her to guard your bag for a while. Once again, make sure both of you know each other, meaning you’ve chatted with him/her often before.

I knew the guy who sat in the parking ticket booth pretty well. So when I got to my office late, I asked him to guard my laptop bag while I went inside the building. And then I picked it up at lunch break when the office was empty so that nobody could see me sneaking up holding a large bag, without forgetting to bring him a bottle of iced tea.

At another time, I asked a friend from a different floor to guard it. This time it costed me a lunch box. But hey, lunch box compared to the office-owned laptop?

Alternatively, phone a friend (hang on, the last three words sound familiar…) who parks his/her car in the building. Put the bag in the car until lunch break. Words of caution: make sure no one else see you put it in the car. Some bad guys do target on cars with ‘obvious’ expensive stuff in them.

2. Stop by at the canteen to take away a cup of coffee or just a snack.

3. Walk into your office coolly and make sure everybody can see the coffee or the snack.

Why? The action will hopefully imply that people didn’t see you before because you went out to buy small breakfast. But if you have a meeting to attend, tell them you were locked in the toilet.

Good luck!

here, now. December 17, 2008

Posted by altari in words.
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Okay, so I’m running away from bunnymeetz.wordpress.com

I simply want to start anew. Nothing wrong with my old pages. It’s just that… (here we go…)

One, I haven’t posted there since, whoa… a year! Well, okay, almost. But still, everyone who takes a look at the last post in my old blog will surely think that it’s been abandoned. That the author just doesn’t care about it anymore (this was half true.) Alrighty then, my old blog was abandoned. I can take that. I must admit that I’m not much of a regular and high-spirited blogger. I made new posts when I felt like it. Oh well, you’ll probably still see me that way here.

Two, I was desperate with a new blog address. Bunnymeetz?? Come ooonn…! I chose bunny and meet (not a typo. It’s ‘meet’, really) coz I was, and probably still am, crazy about rabbits and I wanted to copy the words “Meet the Press” as in NBC TV Station in relation with WordPress. So, I guess some bunny had been pretty lucky to meet the press for a while.

Three, things happened for the past eleven months and they changed me. I’m brand new (except the ‘not much of a regular and high-spirited blogger’ part, d’uh…)

So is my blog.

Welcome.