Cooking…: it is not only about food but also fun

I don’t like cooking, at first. But I am a loyal food lover. My mom is a great chef, and it makes me lazy to cook when I was in Indonesia. 

But now, I am living abroad. Doing research makes me hungry (yes, it needs lot of energy). And I am living far away from… everywhere -.- I should cycling around 10 minutes to reach the nearest vegetable shop and it is only sell vegetables 😹

So, I need to be creative… I couldn’t stand with hunger. NOOOOO! 

And I also enjoy good foods

So, tadaaa I am cooking now! And I even bought magazine about foods and recipes 


People said, food lovers are potential to be a good chef. Mmm… I don’t know, but I think my progress is not really bad. I think I always able to eat everything I made. 

My mom, who never share me her awesome cooking skill, told me… it you want to make a woman able to cook, educate her and let her to live alone or become a mom. Yes, somehow you’ll find the way to survive. 

But well… recently I started to enjoy cooking. It is not really bad. And it is also bring happiness when you succes execute a new recipe or make people love your foods. Woooow! It is amazing… surprisingly it relax me. 

More and more foodies I tried, and while my budget is limited as I am STILL a student… cooking allow me to try foods all around the world without buying an airplane ticket. In sudden, my kitchen become my vacation center. 


So, if you don’t like cooking… or not confident with you cooking skill. Just try it once or twice, I was bad also… but then enjoy it very much. Whose not feel happy after eat a good food? It will be double when you succeed to make it by yourself. It feels cool hahhahha. 

Wanna try? 

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Being an adult…

“God, the most merciful, guide me to be a person with a merciful heart”

translated from “Beranjak Dewasa (Grown up)”sang by Sherina Munaf


I always worry to be a very very very bad evil when I grow up… to be an adult…

I am worry to be a heartless person.

I am worry to be a bad daughter

Worry to be a bad sister

Because I know hot it feels when someone treat you bad. And beyond you can imagine, being hurtful is very easy. Very easy…. because you no need to syncronize your logic with your heart for that. 

You can be a very kind and bright person, but you forget to consider sociological and anthropological side of other people, then BOOM! You will mess up their feeling. 

I learn this precious thing while I am waiting for my mom in the hospital. When you really tired you will have no mood to listen other people prejudice and comment to you. 

Sometimes people can’t see and feel how someone already stressful inside. Already emotionally drained. Some people, maybe majority, try to show how strong they are in front off anyone… but you never know what will they do when they close their door… swipe the curtain. Maybe some of them crying.

Some people, don’t want to watch sad movies because they are very sensitive. My brother, a taekwondo and karate athlete. He always lock his room when he watchs Lion King. Inside, he will spent a roll of tissue to wipe his tears when Mufasa died because killed by Oscar. 

People who never know him will tell that he never cry, unsensitive, always kidding for everything.  

Some grown-up people also will compare between him and I. While we are two different people. I love indoor activities, my brother loves to be outdoor. 

And we have 8 years age gap. 

When my mom sick, when my dad passed away, when we fail to do something. Always some people who pointed our nose, “oh you are wrong” 

What people never want to care is we have so many stories behind the scene that no one never know. We tried our best for everything. 

When I leave my country to study, I was so depressed because I hear people opinion about how bad I am to leave my mom, my brother, to jobless. Smart… but heartless. No one care that until I reach that point I also cried so many times. And my brother is the one who support me the best until the end. My mom is the one who let me go “you should be better than me. You should reach what you want” 

Some people, mainly adult, never care how someone reach one point in their life. 

And I keep praying to the God, I don’t want to grown up if I become that kind of adult. 

It is okay to be a person with critical analysis and opinion. But, don’t you think the “added value” of being an adult is maturity? And it means you can positioned yourself, you can deliver your opinion by considering the psycological side of someone… the timing… everything. 

The trickiest part, even if we already try our best for that, we might still fail for this thing. But, at least we try. And later or soon, hopefully, we can control our manner. 

Hopefully, we can be a better person. 

And maybe become an adult is not as scary as some people imagine. Hopefully. 

(For my brother: thank you… ) 

It is never easy to far from home….


It is never easy to far from home… This month, I got many shocking stories. There was my junior in university who started to continue his study. Something happened, God called him a bit earlier than anybody else. 

There also my friend, almost finish her study…. cancelled her marriage plan. 

There is my friend, in so sudden… admitted that he is a gay. 

There is my friend, who decided to stop continue her study because she thought she couldn’t getting well with the class in her university. 

Some people even finding help, telling that they got mental health problem. 

Some just lonely but don’t know what to do. 

Far from home, every person might hide their own pains behind their happy selfie photos on facebook and instagram. 

For years I write my blog, sometimes I got lots of email from my reader. They told me many things. Sometimes there are people who asked me “are you a psycologist” (and trust me I got that kind of message several times). 

To be honest, when someone told me their problems, I can’t solve their problem. Never… I just can understand that everyone have their own “fight”. I can understand that. 

But, just like any other human in this planet. I also have my own war… my own problem… my own secret. But, I have a great family. I have people I really love and I know they want to see me as a great person. Not such a grumpy weak woman. So, every time I want to cry… well, I cry! But then wipe it as soon as possible. 

Today, I got a news… my mom in the hospital. And then I run as fast as possible to the airport. Finding a flight tonight. 

I feel tired, worry, panic, 

But… my brother, ish he must be felt that more than me. 

To be far home is hard… it such a big lie that “distance is never a matter”. Distance obviously a matter. 

So, for all my friends who far from home…. take care. Something might be happen. But God know that you can pass it, then we… in another leap of time, might be a better and stronger person.

Really… take care. For your good, and for all people you love and love you. 

(Haneda Airport, August 2017) 

My Monday notes: Because no one is problem-free and why we (maybe) need to have a cellphone-diet

“The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you’ll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric; and whether you’ll be able to place your life and your community in broader context. The test will last your entire life, and it will compromised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, make your life yours. And everything-everything-will be on it!” – John Green

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Well! Life without cellphone is somehow so much better. At least I am studying more, and see awesome lecturer videos. Until I saw this awesome John Green video for one crashcourse video. Well, John Green… I think it is always easy for us to like this kind of person. He is one of my favorite (you should check him out if you haven’t know about what he done and even who is he 🙂 ).

As I told you yesterday, I just started my “Cellphone Diet”. Because this small awesome smart phone really convenient and make me addicted… and keep staring on it… and then stressed myself because it is easily accessed any social media and similar… and I keep comparing myself with other people because I felt like “WOW! Why other people is nothing but so much better than me?!” While… maybe not!

So, pfffttt…. enough. I love you my cellphone but sorry… maybe mmmm we need to make a clear distance now.

Yes! I think everyone are also struggling by their own matters, their own “test”, but somehow our “new world” is insist us to always look okay! Look cool! Look “hey, I am more than you!”. If A is success, so I need to show I do better…. if B is having a bad day, so I need to show I am worse. Wait! Oh this is crazy. Life itself, at least for me, is not a competition. Because we have different problems, different starting point, and maybe different finish line. We are just different… our task is to be nice and kind to any other people, support between each other, not goin’ crazy to compare between each other. Huffft! THAT’S TIRING!

So, stop it. And I want to stop it…. I want to quit from this crazy society game, because it becomes more like a psychological games and it feels like Jigsaw asked me “Do you want to play a game?” of course no… not kind of this “game”.

So, I challenge myself that at least within this week, when I go outside my home, I WILL NOT bring my cellphone. But I will always bring my tiny pocket camera to take pics about what I saw. Also, I will write the update every day on this blog.

So, what I got without my cellphone today.
Surprisingly, many things… and it was fun!

The sky is good, some clouds… but today was so hot and it might be one of the highest temperature during this month. Tokyo was 34C and Tsukuba was 32C. But remember, humidity! Pfffttttt…. Japan is very humid during summer and I wonder at least it is one of the main problem of all Japanese during summer. So, the real feel of the temperature were in 35-39C. That’s crazy.

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Indonesia is hot, but when the humidity is high but, at least in my hometown, rainfall also very high. So, it is not really killing. Closer to equator area… of course it is also hot but it is more like “Grilling” you than “steaming” you like in Japan. So, Indonesian are still survive even if they don’t have air conditioner in their house. Mmmm… beside almost all of us also can’t afford the price hehehehe. But, it might be something you not really notice right about Indonesia. Yeah! Come to visit then.

Then, I started to wondering what’s wrong with me… why my productivity is decreased recently!?! WHY! Then I notice that one problem is MY DESK IS SO MESSY
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This is important actually… if you think you become lazier recently, you should check your desk and your home first. If they are messy, it will reduce your mood to do your work.
“But, I always messy… so it might be no problem for me”
Trust me, it is one psychology research. Well… while it is not bad to make everything tidy.
Yes, put your phone for a while and do your desk.

The result, I made up my homework from my Sensei (although I haven’t finish all yet),
I learn about agricultural economics,
I learn about R programming,
Well… that’s not really bad for today.
I wrote a letter for my penpal.

On the lunch break, I took my bicycle and go around. It has been a long time since I am not hunting photos around. I am curious how to take a good photo using a low-end pocket camera. So, let’s get it on!
I took this photo today….
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I think that’s one is so beautiful… I really love it.
I love the bee, the color of the flower.
So many beautiful things around, and it feels like I didn’t notice it before.

Are you feel tired to compare yourself with any other people?
You also welcome to join my diet 😀 hehehe…
I think it will be okay for the world waiting for our text reply a bit longer.

My no cellphone Sunday: good day, good book, good food

So, I decide to stop staring on my cellphone at least start from this week.
I don’t want to depend on my cellphone forever, but I think we agree it makes us addicted. I want to stop for a while, and enjoy my day. I just brought my mini pocket camera, and from now on I will take photo everyday.

I left my cellphone at my home, while I went to Saitama to practice Koto (it kinds of traditional Japanese string instrument). My teacher offered me to start my first concert next April 🙂 finger crossed, and wish me luck. I am so happy, because beside of my research life, I have another artsy life! And well… that’s not really bad I think.

Back to my place, Tsukuba. I decided to  take a walk… and enjoy my Sunday afternoon.
I saw some youth are playing Stand-Up Electric Scooter. It looks so fun! I want one hahahahhaa. But already have one cute bicycle.

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And I realized that Tsukuba center is so beautiful with greens everywhere. I love the scenery.

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I also realized hibiscus are already fully blossomed. You should see them!
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And hmmm… take a bit selfie also not a bad idea! So this is my Sunday afternoon face 😀 hahahhaa
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Why some people are so good in taking selfie?! I couldn’t! And it is sad because I always tried to take a very good photo for others but I can’t to take a good selfie.

Btw, because it was cloudy… I want to 100 yen shop and bought a super bright umbrella with just 200 yen (around 2 USD), but tadaaaaa…. the rain delayed their schedule hahahhahaa. Oh come on! I already have so many umbrella now.
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But I love the color hahahhha… neon color seems rare in Japan.

Good! No rain… so I could ride my bicycle. I parked it in a free bicycle parking, no wonder everyone just park their bicycle here. Almost had no idea where is mine hahhahaha.

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Well, with my ride with me… I will teach you how to explore Japan a bit 🙂

If you are a student with tight budget, but you really love fashion, you can go second hand shop! Second had shop in Japan is veryyyyy gooood. They already clean all the stuff, and grade them based on the quality, brand, and the age of the stuff. So, you can find something cute by match it with your budget. One of the nice place to find second hand fashion stuff in Japan is 2nd Street: Jumble Store. You can find it anywhere around Japan.
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And I was so happy because they also held summer discount! Voila!
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I will show you my choice within this week, I would like to clean them up first and I will show you when I finished 🙂

After shopping, you might hungry, and I really want to eat unagi (うなぎ) or Japanese eel. It is in season now, so I should eat them! And I really love them! So, without thinking I just went to a family restaurant and ordered my favorite unagi! While waiting,  I finished read another Michael Pollan books titled  In Defence of Foods. I think this is the second best book from Pollan after Omnivore Dilemma. I really love Michael Pollan.
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Pollan is someone who really bright and objective when talking about foods. He not forced us to be a vegetarian or become a super loyal consumer of one very very super specific products. He is not! He is a very nice writer and teacher for his reader. He just give us some tips to choose good foods. Something like:
1. Pay more, eat less–> because some high quality foods are a bit more expensive
2. Eat meals
3. Do all your eating at a table
4. Try not to eat alone
5. Eat slowly
6. cook, if you can, plant a garden

and so on… and so on… I will not reveal everything to make you curious 🙂 But really, it is very good book to real and feed your brain 😀

Well! Living without cellphone is not really bad! Don’t you think so? 😀

BookVoyage review: Traveling the world by books

While now I am living a little bit distance from the central Tokyo, and it is very expensive to go out of the town. It takes about 25 USD (3000 yen) for round trip between my town to Tokyo. While I really love books, and I feel depressed if I am not reading books (and it will be very bad because I have lots of deadline to catch, no time to get depressed, stress, or whatever is that name). So, I tried to subscribe book subscription boxes. I already have some which provide non-fiction books to feed my brain hunger. But I also need some fiction books, to entertain my soul. I don’t really like YA genre… so it is also a little bit challenging for me.

One of the most interesting book subscription box I tried is book voyage.
What is this? Here, their short description…

“BookVoyage is a monthly subscription box for avid readers and global citizens. Each box is country-themed and contains a foreign book written by a critically-acclaimed local author and translated into English, tea or coffee from that country, as well as a sweet or savoury treat to go with the hot drink, giving you what we like to call a truly global immersive reading experience.”

So, yes! Every month you will get a book from different country. And for me, it is very exciting! Last month I got Lebanon box… and of their coffee was awesome (can’t forget that).

This month, they give me German stuff. I made a little unboxing video for this one. You can check this out if you have time.

So here is the full spoiler for this month box.
The hanuta is awesome, the coffee also good but still I prefer the Lebanese coffee…
and the book? They always make a good choice. It is a classing fiction “No Way Back” by Germany writer Theodore Fontane. However, the story is also taken place in Copehangen, Denmark. Well… but Germany and Denmark are neighbor country.

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Like any classical story, it is a romance with lots of conflict and well… I think quite tragic. I haven’t finish read all of this while I should concern to my research this time. But my first impression, it is beautifully written, with classic poems, letters… a combination between historical fiction, classic, and romance.

I always excited with how book voyage will surprise me every month. I review this, because I hope their business can be survive, and they will always be able to surprise us.

 

 

[Just a little bit of] my reading history…

Happy world book day everyone 🙂 (Opps… a little bit late)

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So, how is it? How many books you already read this month?
I am the one who believe that you don’t need to be hurry in reading, the most important thing from reading is you can contemplate what the writer wants to deliver. Reading is not a competition, you no need to hurry for that. Read is feed for your brain, and as we do a “right and healthy eating“, we never eat in hurry and we eat from varied sources.
You may love fiction books, but read non-fiction as another “multi-vitamins” for your brain. You may rarely read fiction, but read it sometimes to let your brain relax and have another kind of entertainment, just like us who really love to eat chocolate and ice creams sometimes.

But, well… just like foods, we might also have some books we really don’t like. I don’t like young adult genre just the way I hate banana (yes, I don’t like banana). But, hmmm… I still eat banana in some case. However, not kind of fruits I will buy often. I read young adult and romance genre when they have very unique and special story, but well I rarely choose it by default.

People always ask me why I keep reading books, and spend a lot of money for those. Personally, books are my first friends… along with cats. I don’t have lots of friends since I was kids, and while my family are really love to read, and they gave me books. I sleep with my books and cats. When I am alone, books accompany me, and help me to create my own world.

My family also not such a rich family, and another sad fact is I was living in such a remote village when I was kid. we can’t travel far… Books helped me to see the world outside my home windows.  I even read my grandfather’s Encyclopedia Americana although I didn’t understand English. My Dad gave me some comics, then along with my reading ability increased he bought me a novel by Alan Lightman: Einstein’s Dream. My mom told me that the outside world is full with adventures and quite tough… the she introduce me with all Detective Novels like Sherlock Holmes and bought me all series of Agatha Cristie’s Novel. She also introduced me with Winnetou and Kara ben Nemsi by Karl May.

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But did reading always give a good experience for me? Not really… at least in Indonesia.
People kept thinking that I am such a weird person. I remember once, people in my classroom laughing so hard to me because I told them, in front of everyone, that formerly toothpaste was made by using urine. Then people said I am stupid, just because I read something that no one in that classroom ever read.

I also remember, in a class, the teacher asked all students to mention any terms in music and art. I remember I raised my hand and answered “SONNET”, and everybody again…again… and again laughing on me. They said I am very “dangdut” person, because in Indonesia there is a Dangdut Band “Soneta Group” which lead by the King of Dangdut in Indonesia: Rhoma Irama. No one in that class ever read that “sonnet” itself means a kind of poem.

Books is my best friends, read is my hobby… but in the same time it is also make me looks strange sometimes.

Am I mad with that? Yes! At first…
Because it was hard to look and sounds “stupid” while you believe that you are right.
But then I realize that in my country, where reading is not such a national hobby, it is very hard to find a good book. The themes… the genre…. everything are so limited. In my village, when I was kid, if I want to read something we should wait second-hand books from the schools in the town. Lucky me because my parent routinely bring me to the bookstores in the town, at least once a month.

Not like Japan or China for example, they translate almost all great literature from all around the world to their language. In my country, yes… of course there are several translation of worldwide books, but not much.
We still have limited non-fiction books…
limited books for kids….
Everything!

And like the vicious circle, because of limited good books, limited good readers, then there are also limited good writers.
If teenlit is become a trend this month, then everyone will write teenlit.
If a handsome vampire is a trend, then everyone will write about the vampire.
If a romance is the trend, then everyone write about romance.
So, if our taste is far away from the recent trend, then it will be very hard to find an alternative for us to read.

In this opportunity, I wish for nothing except I hope the literacy awareness in my home country can be increase.
I hope people start to realize that, reading is cheaper way to travel around the world.
This year, I think I am already read much classics so my reading target I want to read books from all around the world. Finally in the end of my PhD study, I want to go travel and visit the place from my favorite books 🙂

I think it is kind of motivation also for me ^O^b don’t you think so?

(sstt… a bit of my want-to-read list)

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A story behind a snowy day

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“Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, ever forget…”
― Leo Tolstoy

Just finished my research presentation. In one word: “meh”
I thought it was a little progress, in fact? Nope… I still need to learn another bunch of text books and mathematical modelling.

“No, Marissa… you can’t use this one.”
“Mmm… you should modify all of the model…”
“Well, we should think how to construct everything further. Okay… forget this agriculture part and forestry, move on to the energy sector. Finish it first, one journal, then we construct for the agriculture and forestry”

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.
.
.

“I can see your hard work, well… I know you can overcome all of these. We just need time and we have it, don’t you think so?”

The last sentence, at last,  was warming my heart in the middle of snowy day.

My mom said every person who has achieved mastery has started their journey to expertise by feeling stupid. By feeling green, you know that you need to learn more. To read more. To exercise more.
And I know that, understand that very well.

But, as an ordinary human, I also think “Oh come on, why it took so long for me to master this?”

Then sometimes, I started to complain… to make a question to God “Why you didn’t bless me mmmmm…. more?”
Silently, become more and more ungrateful human being.

Now, in this point, I realize something…
To be success in studying, you are not only need to focus learn about any specific subject…
but also you need to learn about patience
also need to learn about time management
also need to cheer yourself up when you feel down
also need to smile
also need to…. accepting your self.

In the end, it is more like a process to be a humble person. To learn that “Hei, you are not such a super human”,
to learn that we are not perfect, we will always do some mistakes, we need other people to help, and we always have a chance to stand up again and again and again every time we fall.
In the end, it is about a process to develop our maturity.

In my life, I am already got 3 new year cards from my professor… it means I entered my third year working with him, learn from him. It is my third year to study far from home, just bringing a huge box of my family’s dreams and hopes.
In these period of time, I never forget every single words they already said to me.
I believe, in a certain point in the future, I will make them smile and proud of me 🙂

I know I can make it, it is my promise… witnessed by the snow
absorbed by the earth…
Hopefully, delivered and heard to the God.

Re-interpreting Rumi’s poem

In a book, I found one Rumi’s poet:

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” In generosity and helping others, be like a river
In compassion and grace, be like the sun
In concealing others faults, be like the night
In anger and fury, be as if you have died
In modesty and humility, be like the earth
In tolerance, be like the sea
And either appear as you are, or be as you appear”

I don’t know whether it was truly spoken by Rumi, while from what I read it was presented in such oral tradition something. I read lots of books, including Rumi’s but as I remember, I never read that one (although it is everywhere in pinterest and internet). But, whatever… I think that’s sweet enough.

I was thinking, why I should be a river in the term of generosity?
why should be like the sun in term of compassion?
why?
why?
why?
I mean, lots of things in the world if you just want to make the poet beautiful you can put any world on it. Then, I believe there must be a “philosophical” insight on it. So I tried to re-read it again, and find another place to satisfy my curiosity.

I found a simple explanation from one Indonesian writer, Maman Suherman in his page:

1. In generosity and helping others, be like a river, flows endlessly and never expect back
2. In compassion and grace, be like the sun.Giving warmth to anyone, regardless.
3. In concealing others faults, be like the night. Covering tightly without ever leak any of it.
4. In anger and fury, be as if you have died. Silent, don’t do anything
5. In modesty and humility, be like the earth. Always put yourself “lower” and elevate others.
6. In tolerance, be like the sea. Be tolerant. Ready to accommodate the views of a different view
7. And either appear as you are, or be as you appear. Just be yourself, as authentic as you are. Consistent between inner and outer.

Well, I don’t know.
I believe that understanding Sufism is not such an easy work to do. It is like me reading the Odyssey, usually I sleep after read about 1-2 pages. It is more effective than a sleeping pills to make you feel tired and sleepy :p

But, just like any other forms of art and culture, I believe that Rumi’s works also try to give another advice and insight to the community in that period, and even for today’s people.
The main problem is, we… we already access every good quotes, poems, advice, and so on from everywhere. But do we getting better? Do we change?  Some yes… some nope.

I remember, once in Indonesia there was an ulema* who had a speech in a prostitution. He simply asked “Ok, everyone.. raise your hand if you don’t know that prostitution is prohibited”
No one raised their hand.
Then the ulema said “See? Then every bad things done by us mainly not because we don’t know it is bad, but more because ‘exogenous’ variables. It can be social, economics, or cultural factor”

Back to the Rumi’s sweet quote. Take for example:
” In anger and fury, be as if you have died.
Well, sorry Rumi… in fact, sometimes we should to show that we angry. There always people who will keep doing their mistakes again and again and again if we just do a silent. A mom should get mad sometimes to her kids when the kids do something bad or dangerous.
A best friend should get angry to her friends sometimes, to remind them if they are on the wrong track.
Sometimes, we need to get angry for someone we truly love. Just to make them getting better.
Although, personally I prefer anger as the last choice after you discuss and give your advise.

Well…
But no one from us can guess what really inside Rumi’s head. There always more than one commentary for every poet. That’s why it becomes one branch of art, because it become sweet and beautiful base on your own interpretation. It is like your read a good book and your imagination tried to figure out all of the situation and people in that book. Once there is a movie try to adapt that book, you will started to say about how bad that movie was… not really because the movie is bad, it just because it different with what you already imagined.

So, let this poet flows beautifully in our calm mind, soul, imagination, and interpretation.

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ulema: Islamic scholar recognized as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology.

Enjoying the china town …

To be honest, I always love China town…
It is like you can find everything in China town 😀

I have an intensive class in Suzukakedai area which is very far from my house in Tsukuba. So I took a week days off from my office and decide to stay in Yokohama. What a great decision, while I really love Yokohama so much.

Yokohama always makes my camera gives its big smile. Yesterday, I spent my night to go around the Yokohama China town. I really love the light of China town on the night

Also the artsy building


Oh Gosh! I really really love it… I think it is really refresh my mind, and remind me with my hometown in Bogor, where we also have “Suryakencana”as our China town.However, Chinatown in Japan (maybe) different from any other chinatown in another country. It is very clean and tidy and I guess not as crowded and noisy as any other Chinatown in your country.

I also love to found lots of unique shop around 😀


Hahaha…it is fun, but mmm… maybe as a person who always love cute stuff, it is considered not healthy enough for my wallet hahaaha.