Life, review

The Search of The Ring in Jakarta: Kaliem

The first thing we bought when the wedding date was set was the ring.

In the middle of a hot day, my partner took me to the most reviewed jewelry store in the city (based on my own research): Kaliem. It is located in Blok M, inside of Blok M Square, South Jakarta. When I arrived, I saw a lot–really, a loooot–of rings that I was sure Gollum won’t bother about Frodo and just left his ring and chose another from this store. It surprised me to see how crowded that place was. There were plenty other jewelry stores in that place and only Kaliem that had a lot of people in it, looking at the rings one by one and chose and talked and bargained and sighed.

That’s exactly what I did. I looked at the rings, chose, talked, bargained, and then sighed because it was too expensive. The first ring I tried on had six diamonds on it, costed me 27 millions rupiah. That’s why I sighed, and then gave the ring back to the woman that was assigned to help me to choose my ring–err, our rings. The woman kindly explained to me that, “Well, I don’t recommend you to choose that ring to be your wedding ring. You’re going to wear it everyday. Diamonds have tendency to fall off, it’s an inherent risk. I don’t think you want it to happen. They’re expensive. Well, unless you only stay at home all day and do nothing with your hands, though. It’ll be fine then,”.

I laughed. Thank you, Mbak. Such a kind consolation. I then moved on and began to search for another.

The problem was I knew exactly what kind of ring I wanted to wear as my wedding ring. Compromise, I whispered to myself. Compromise. Compromise. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t wear the many-stoned ring in your finger. Compromise. But they are so beautiful, I want them. Compromise. Geez, they’re so out of my budget. Compromise. I don’t want to take the risk of losing the diamonds either. Compromise.

Then I came to a decision–after like more than an hour. Hahaha. My partner is the most patient person in the world, really. We actually spent an hour only to find my ring, since we already chose his ring since the very first time we arrived. Easy. He will only wear simple designed ring, no diamond needed, and he can’t wear jewelry made of gold (it is restricted in our religion). We decided to have palladium ring for him, a silver-colored metal, which narrowed my choice because we want to have same-colored rings. Kaliem had wonderful rose-gold rings, they looked really good in my tanned skin. If you don’t have a fair skin like those pretty girls in Korean drama, go for rose-gold ones, I swear it is good, like real good! I couldn’t choose them though. Compromise, I whispered to myself again, you don’t want to wear a different ring from your husband (for a sentimental reason). Then I decided to choose a beautiful simple white gold ring that looked normal to be worn everyday.

I actually a little bit hesitated to buy rings in Kaliem because I heard that another store had lower price than it. But when this hesitation came, I already found the ring that I wanted (the last one, not the six-stoned ring), and my partner didn’t mind paying for the price the store gave us. It was not really expensive though. Perhaps I could find another store that could give us lower price, perhaps Rp500.000,00 lower, but I didn’t think I had energy left to find another rings just like what I chose. What made the price a little bit higher in Kaliem was because they counted the cost for the making of the ring for each gram of it, while another store usually just gave an additional cost without counting it per gram. The cost of the making is the only thing that you can bargain with the jewelry stores. So if you only wanted ordinary rings, a plain rings perhaps, not a custom-made one, I suggested you to think twice and bargain hard or leave to another store.

But I think if you’ve already been there, if you already tried on many beautiful shiny rings on your fingers there (because you can, and they suggest you to, and they’re just so kind, giving you any rings that you want–but you can’t bring them home because you can’t afford them *cry), I don’t think you want to visit another store. Especially if you’re fasting. Choosing rings in one place for an hour and a half is exhausting already.

Anyway, one box ticked. Yay!


Been practicing to say “my precious”,



*Mbak literally means big sister in Javanese. It is a common word to call/greet young women in Indonesia.

*the picture is taken from my friend’s blog, Esti’s.






Wedding Galore

There are times in your life when everybody seems like getting married at the same time. For me it is the year 2011-2013, since I am part of the class 2010 for my associate degree, and year 2016, one year after I graduated from my bachelor’s degree. The tendency to get married after graduating college is so high.

And I will be one of them.

My partner and I started our relationship with the intention for marriage–he never asked me to be his girlfriend. The idea of getting married has always been around, and after few discussions with families we finally have our D-day. Hurray!

We do the preparation by ourselves since our families are not in town, and mostly because I looooove to do wedding preparation. On the day we figured out the date of our wedding, I already knew what color that would be the wedding theme (peach and white with a shade of gold and nude), what tradition we would use (Solo for sure), what kind of invitation, what kind of souvenir, what kind of wedding we would have.

But along the journey, preparing for a wedding is a real handful. Everything needs to be adjusted.

One thing that I couldn’t decide easily was the most important point in a wedding preparation: the venue. The wedding will be held in my place, for sure, because in Indonesia we have a “ngunduh mantu” tradition, an opportunity for in-laws to hold a celebration for their son’s wedding in their place if they want to. The problem is, where is exactly “my place”? My family lives in two cities. My parent lives in Sumatra and every Eid they will go to the capital for “mudik” for my grandmother and families live there. Me? I live in the capital, and so do my close friends that most likely will be invited to the wedding.

That’s the reason why at first we decided to hold the wedding in the capital. Big city, easy to access, lots of vendors, many friends live here, many members of big family live here, and so on and so on. My parents accepted this idea so I began to search for wedding venue. I found a wedding hall in one of the buildings near my grandmother’s house, Gedung Film. The hall is beautiful with a carpet covered floor and it already has all-in wedding package, it even has its own organizer team. A package like this is perfect for a couple who prepare their wedding on their own.

We signed for the hall. But then discussions went on, numbers in my spreadsheets changed (yes I put everything on spreadsheets and folders), minds changed, ideas spoken, et cetera et cetera, then BAM!–we changed the location and the date of the wedding. I needed to replan, I needed to get back my down payment (by selling it in forums since it is impossible to get it back from the organizer), I needed to do another survey for vendors in that city, I needed to readjust almost everything. Stressful.

The wedding then would be held in the place where my parent lives. The good thing is, if it is held in that city, my parent will have many friends to help. The bad thing is, it is hard to find recommendation online for the vendors in that city while we are in a condition where I live in another city. I then scrolled too many Instagram accounts, texted some of them, read all of their offers, and chose the ones I liked. What makes me thankful in this stressful moment is how my partner trusts me (and my taste) in everything about the wedding. I just need to ask for his agreement in everything that I choose, and most of the time I don’t need to adjust anything.

So now I already have the date, the venue, the timeline, some vendors in confirmation, and list of tons of things to do.

Seriously, preparing for wedding needs a lot of Bismillah.


Stressed out but super excited,



*ngunduh mantu is a tradition to hold a ceremony/celebration in the groom’s place, inviting the bride and the bride’s parents, to show the groom’s parents’ gratitude to have a daughter in-law as how they wish

*mudik is a tradition to go back to one’s hometown and  gather with big families for celebrating Eid al-Fitr

*Bismillah is the name of an Islamic phrase meaning “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”


Learning from Cuba: How to Cope with Peak Oil

This weekend seems like one of those times when universe puts its own theme for the day.

On Saturday, in my French class, I had a discussion about Defi de La Terre (Challenge of the Earth) which made us talk about what we should be doing in daily life to preserve the earth, to save the environment. More particularly, we talked about how some people lived in extreme way of life such as le decroissance, people who consumed less in order to pollute less. How cool is that?

I will write about my Saturday le decroissance more in another post.

What I am about to talk about is my Sunday activity. I had registered my name and my partner’s name days before the day to attend a film screening about Cuba in Organiklub. My friend, Nia Nastiti, asked me to go together to this event. She was curious about the story how Cuba coped with Peak Oil because her lecturer once told her about the case. I was curious too. Not because I knew about Peak Oil–no, I never really knew what it meant, I never really knew what happened to Cuba–but because this film talked about how community in Cuba helped solving the case. I believe in the power of community, I eager to find out what the community did.

the power of community

It was almost dark when I arrived at the rooftop of Organiklub, a place where the organic enthusiast, those who cared about sustainable way of life, often gathered and had events. Some people had arrived before me; some are Indonesian, some are foreigners. They were all chatting closely. The film hadn’t started yet. Warmly, Max Mandias, the well-known chef of Burgreens, welcomed me and my partner, the two new faces in their gathering. Since I was looking for something to register my name to (I am too accustomed to registration in an event, aren’t I?), he led us to a woman, Tyas, who gave us her laptop to put our name on a list.


I took a seat next to the screen, making it easy for me to focus on the film and the talk after the show. That event was attended by Yuri Romero, a Cuban geologist, who’s now a sustainable development and heritage preservation consultant of MAN Forum Foundation. He repeatedly said, when he was on the ‘stage’, that this was the first time he talked as a Cuban, not as a speaker teaching things. The other guest laughed. It was Michael, the secretary of the Embassy of Cuba in Indonesia, who was an unexpected guest in this event. He said that he found it fascinating to have Cuban film being screened by anyone besides the Embassy. Helga Angelina, the host of the day, who was very kind to me and my partner since the very first moment we stepped on the place, laughed along.


The screening began at 6. The film was titled The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. It was a documentary, you could tell what the film about from the title only. In the beginning of the film, they explained quite clearly about Peak Oil, an event based on M. King Hubbert’s theory, which pointed in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum was reached, and after which it was expected to enter constant decline. Our dependency on fossil fuel would (had) outgrown our ability to meet the need. Human needed to adapt. The problem was there was a resistance in people’s behavior. One of the people in the film said that, “The world needs a lab, and Cuba is a perfect example,”.

Cuba was on oil tight diet for a decade, during Special Period. The dissolution of the Soviet Union hit Cuba severely. One of the largest immediate impact was the loss of practically all of the petroleum imports from the Soviet. That was not the only one. The country lost approximately 80% of its international trade economy and its Gross Domestic Product dropped by 34%. Food and medicine imports stopped or severely slowed.

The Special Period were defined by a general breakdown in transportation and agricultural sectors, and widespread food shortages. The scarcity was too real. People were starving. The cars no longer run on streets. People had to wait for bus for  3 or 4 for going to work and the same went for going back to home. Economically, the Cubans on the whole became poorer. No oil, no energy, no food, no money. Cuba looked like it could die anytime.

Only it didn’t.

The community in Cuba started their own urban farming to satisfy their daily food needs. Permaculturists arriving in Cuba at the time began to distribute aid and taught their techniques to locals. Fruits and vegetables planted in polypots in patios and rooftops is a usual sight. Organic agriculture was soon after mandated by the Cuban government, supplanting the old industrialized form of agriculture Cubans had grown accustomed to. For ones who lived in rural area, who had bigger fields or were given fields by the government, went backwards (if you’d like to say so) in their farming techniques. They were accustomed to using tractor, then they used oxen to plow the field. Traditional techniques made the soil even better. Lack of pesticide supply made them have to wait for the organism in the soil to flourish, making the soil fertile again naturally and ready to accommodate the plants.

Having limitation in almost every resources had not made the Cubans selfish. On the contrary, the Cubans shared their agricultural products to their neighbors, especially the elderly, the children, and pregnant women. This might be one of the effect of their togetherness culture. In Cuba, Yuri–the geologist–said that it was common for Cubans to knock on their neighbor’s door asking for sugar or salt, or offering avocados. Neighbors are considered close families. It is unfortunate that this is a familiar value that I now sometimes don’t see anymore in my surroundings.

At that time, Cuban government also did things to cure energy famine. They used solar panels in houses, even wooden houses in remote area, to heat up the water, to turn on the radio, to turn on the lamp, to do every little things. They trained their medical professionals well and sent them to other countries, such as Venezuela, and in return, got billions dollar worth of Venezuelan oil. They made scratch mass transport (it was scratch but fulfilling so it was okay) and imported bicycles from China. People took their bikes to work, biking for kilometers and losing weights. It was not fancy, but they did it anyway. One of the women in the film said that the people biked with no biking culture, it was pure political will.

I find it interesting how they agreed to cooperate with their government. The question of how the government managed to arrange the people so no chaotic action rose in the country came in the discussion after the screening. Yuri and Michael answered that perhaps it was because the government were there for their people. They said, education and healthcare were free services in Cuba. Free and well-maintained services. Then another question came from the audience, how did they managed to give free services if they did not have much money? Yuri said, “Well, you could see our mass transport. It is scratch.”

Cuba had limited resources, so they put priorities. They might be economically challenged, but they put their priorities right, so the country went just fine.

Or perhaps, Yuri (or Michael, my memory is blurry) said, it was because of how Fidel Castro handled things. He told us that once Fidel Castro came to see the people who did a demonstration by himself, without bodyguards, only to have a direct conversation with them and listen to what they wanted to say. That is incredible. Who wants to come down to a noisy crowd that screaming things against you?

I thought, well, perhaps these people were cooperative since they didn’t really have a choice. They didn’t have much, so if it was not their own selves who helped their country, no one would. But then, something that the lady in the film said stunned me.

“If they want to be politically independent, they have to be economically independent. To be economically independent, you have to be energy independent.”

They had stances. And they stood for it. Their communities stood for it. They had strong bond among them. This is a fact that overwhelms me a little, since I don’t read much about Cuba before.

We also had a discussion about how Cuba and Indonesia somehow looked alike. The togetherness, for particular, though it is now fading in the urban life. Bu Neneng, one of the diaspora who lived in Cuba for some years told her story of being among the Cubans. The familiarity, the kindness. Sadly, not only the good things happened. The thing that Bu Neneng experienced for herself was the food scarcity in Cuba. She told that some fruits were only available in certain period of time, though it was actually a common commodity. I felt thankful when I heard this, since it was never hard for us Indonesians (or perhaps, Jakartans) to find fruits and vegetables, even the organic ones.

The similarity between Cuba and Indonesia is also our dependency on energy, especially on imported oils. It will be devastating to experience what Cuba did, but why don’t we learn from it? Why don’t we prepare for the worst? A little less petrol consumption won’t hurt anyone.


P.S.: I don’t read much about Cuba so I’m open to any correction if I don’t get my facts straight. All I know is that Cuba is not the same as another countries. Yuri told me that he couldn’t send money to his family in Cuba directly, he had to send it to third party first. This is 2016 and these kinds of things still happen. Well.


Will definitely read more about Cuba,



Book Fasting

Tak sampai sebulan lagi, kita kan menjumpai bulan Ramadhan. Bulan puasa, kalau kata orang-orang. Saya sendiri sudah menjalani puasa saya sendiri selama 5 bulan ini. Puasa buku.

Gila, kan?

Sebagai orang yang menyukai buku lebih dari hal material lain di muka bumi ini, keputusan saya untuk benar-benar menjalankan kaul tidak-mau-beli-buku-lagi-di-tahun-2016 sungguh di luar akal sehat. Banyak teman sekitar yang mempertanyakan, lebih-lebih mereka yang tahu sesuka apa saya dengan buku, motif di balik perilaku tidak wajar saya ini. Belum lagi tahun ini adalah tahun terbitnya buku baru dari para penulis cemerlang. Saya masih ingat jelas cuitan teman saya yang penasaran akan keberlangsungan niat puasa buku saya begitu berita soal buku baru Yusi Avianto Pareanom dan Eka Kurniawan keluar.

Saya bertahan.

Raden Mandasia dan O berseliweran di lini masa dan pembicaraan sehari-hari di grup whatsapp (sungguh menyiksa!), tapi saya masih juga belum membeli–err, salah satunya. Saat ini Raden Mandasia sudah selesai saya baca beberapa hari lalu, berkat kegigihan teman saya, Gita Wiryawan, yang seakan terus memberondong saya dengan pertanyaan “yakin?”, “kenapa sih?”, “gak masuk akal”. Pertanyaan-pertanyaan ini berkurang begitu saya akhirnya mengiyakan ia untuk membelikan buku Raden Mandasia saat Mas Yusi mengadakan acara di Coffeewar. Demi menjaga kaul, saya minta kekasih saya yang mengganti uangnya. Begitulah. Ribet sekali, ya, untuk mencurangi diri sendiri.

(Tapi Raden Mandasia memang sesuatu yang sayang untuk dilewatkan. Tak apalah, untuk buku sebagus ini, dari pengarang yang membuat saya jatuh hati sekali baca, menjilat ludah sendiri pun layak.)

Jadi, kenapa saya begitu dakar untuk tidak membeli buku tahun ini?

Karena saya sudah punya terlalu banyak. Ya, ya, saya tahu, tidak ada kata terlalu banyak untuk buku. Tapi hari itu, hari dimana saya memutuskan untuk berikrar pada diri sendiri, saya kewalahan dan sedih melihat berkardus-kardus buku di kamar saya. Hari itu saya sedang pindah rumah, tapi buku-buku yang ada di dalam kardus, dengan sampul plastik dan halaman-halamannya yang rapi jali, membuat saya terkesan sedang pindah toko. Rasanya saya telah berbuat tak adil. Saya seketika berpikir, ah, apa guna membeli terus tanpa benar-benar dibaca? Mau sampai kapan saya berlindung di balik alasan bahwa membeli buku adalah investasi yang tak perlu dibatasi?

Saya ingin semua buku yang saya punya, yang di kardus-kardus itu, bisa saya selami benar-benar dulu sebelum menambah buku lain di rak. Ingin semua sarinya saya serap dulu, menikmatinya sungguh-sungguh, baru saya memilah lagi, sari apalagi yang mau saya hirup. Sesederhana itu.

Ah, tapi tetap saja keinginan saya kalah dengan Raden Mandasia. Haha.

raden mandasia


Ingin 2016 cepat lewat,







After-hours Activity

One of the common question that I get lately is “what do you do after office hours?”. I usually remain silent for a while and think–then answer “nothing”. They usually then guess that I must spend the whole night reading everyday, which makes me laugh, since if that is what I do, I must be walking like a zombie every morning.

My after hours activity consists of conventional things. Dinner, conversation, perhaps some movies or books, or some friends to meet. Sometimes, if I am in the middle of a project, I may have some meetings related to the project in the evening. Very normal, considering that I am in an attempt to do appeasing routine in my life. In fact, one of my favorite after-hours activity happens in the office.

Every Wednesday, after office hour ends, some of my colleagues in the office will gather in the meeting room and take turns presenting anything related to our own job every week. You may find this silly. Like, seriously, why would we talk about our own job, in the office, after office hours?

The truth is this is an effective alternative for us to share our knowledge. Just like other office, we have divisions, and those are divided to administrative and technical divisions. The difference between our office and other kind of office is, almost all of the staff do not know in what division they will be; they do not apply for position in the office. The office gives them (us) the placement. Almost all of them (us) will have administrative job. They (we) have to accept it and that is it. So it is not strange for us to find that the secretary, whose job is nothing close to auditing, is someone who graduates from an accounting degree and has experience in being auditor in some firms. It is ubiquitous.

This Wednesday meeting helps me to know what happens in another parts of the office and what my co-workers are working on in general. Well, I work in a very specific field, so it is easy for people to overrate us and always–always–ask us about technical things. This meeting helps a lot. A lot. Even my boss supports this initiative, she said that this was a great thing to do, considering that people didn’t care about in what position we were in the office, in what division, what actually we worked on in the office; they would still assume that we had a perfect knowledge about everything in our field, and they would ask about things, more precisely, anything technical. This is true. However, attending this meeting makes me updated with the current events in our job field, acquire more familiarity with the most updated procedures and regulations, and most of all, I feel like having a fulfilling break from clerical matters.

Today I got the opportunity to do a presentation in the meeting. They asked me to talk about transfer pricing, which they did because they saw a big book titled so in my cubicle, so I gave them an introduction. This was a familiar topic hence there was a fascinating discussion happened in the table. My co-workers were nice, they were not hesitating in asking questions or giving their viewpoint in the case. I was just happy. I’d like to do more of this.

ngjar tp di kantor


Craving to learn some more,


Life, review

A Burgreens Experience

Halo, sudah lama tidak bertemu. Sekalinya memegang keyboard lagi, rasanya rindu menulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Jadi, mulai sekarang saya pakai Bahasa Indonesia saja, ya. 😀

Dua bulan terakhir ini saya menjalani hidup seperti orang benar. Makan teratur, olahraga rutin, tertawa banyak-banyak. Semua berkat kembalinya saya ke kantor, tentu saja. Kehidupan kantor yang rutin tujuh sampai lima membuat saya menjalani hidup dengan teratur juga. Yay! Ada untungnya juga jatuh di rutinitas yang membosankan.

Selama dua bulan terakhir ini pula, saya memerhatikan ada yang berbeda dengan tubuh saya. Saya menggendut–dan susah kurus lagi. Hahaha. Umur baru 23 dan saya sudah merasa metabolisme tubuh menurun drastis dibanding dulu saat belum 20 tahun. Karena pola hidup sudah baik-baik saja, terlebih saya bahkan sudah berolahraga rutin, hal pertama yang muncul di kepala saat memikirkan sebab gendut yang tak sudah-sudah ini adalah: makanan.

Tanpa berpikir dua kali, saya membuka situs restoran makanan sehat kesukaan saya, Burgreens, dan memesan kateringnya. Mereka punya banyak pilihan paket katering, kita pun dapat mengatur sendiri kateringnya sesuai kebutuhan kita (misalnya saja, alergi terhadap sesuatu). Berhubung saya tidak punya alergi ataupun sakit tertentu, hanya ingin makan dengan benar, saya memilih paket katering yang paling sederhana (baca: murah), Alkalizing and Balancing. Selama lima hari saya akan dikirimi makan siang dan kudapan ataupun sari buah, yang menurut definisinya cocok untuk mereka yang ingin memulai clean eating. Ini sempurna. Saya bahkan tidak bertanya pada admin Burgreens apa saja menu yang akan saya dapat. Yah, Sagitarius suka kejutan. 😉

Hari pertama saya disuguhi tempe yang dibalur berupa-rupa herba, yang entah apa saja, tapi baluran herba bercita rasa kuat ini sukses membuat lidah saya kegirangan. Kata siapa makanan sehat rasanya tak enak?


Hari-hari berikutnya, parade sayuran, kacang-kacangan, jamur, dan herba yang melimpah memenuhi lambung saya dalam bentuk yang membangkitkan selera. Belum lagi racikan saus yang mereka gunakan untuk salad sayur dan buah. Nyam! Kudapan dan minuman yang disertakan juga di luar bayangan saya. Dua kali saya diberi minuman, yang pertama campuran sayuran hijau entah apa, dan yang kedua campuran kunyit dan sesuatu yang segar seperti jeruk. Terdengar aneh, ya, padahal saat melewati lidah rasanya sebotol saja kurang.

Benar lho, pola makan berpengaruh terhadap tubuh. Sekarang saya sudah tidak terbawa kemelikan lagi. Biasanya sedikit-sedikit lapar, sedikit-sedikit ingin yang manis-manis. Sekarang, tidak makan malam pun tak apa. Keajaiban apa ini?


Menuju langsing 2016,






Birthday Gift for A Coffeephile

As always, I am trapped between my glorious ideas and plans–and my procrastinating habit.

Last month, my partner turned 26 and since the beginning of the month I had been thinking about what to give as birthday gift. First, I made a list about things he needed, with BRODO shoes on the top of the list. But then again, I thought that he already had his own favorite shoes (another BRODO) and giving him another shoes won’t be necessary at that time. Then I moved to another list, a list of things he liked. The only things on my list were coffee and leather. Yes, only two. Though he actually had a broad range of interest, I decided to minimize my choice due to my chronic indecisiveness. Had I decided to put every possibility to the list, I might have spent the whole month to consider what to buy and ended up buying the first thing I could in online store.

After so many clicks on PC and thousands of online store visited, I came to a decision. I would give him something that related to coffee. Anyway, between the two choices, I crossed ‘leather’ from my list for a silly reason. He gave me leather for my birthday, I could not give the same thing on his, right? It seemed inept for a gift-giver like me. (I took gift giving seriously indeed).

Some friends of mine who were expert on coffee, those who took barista and coffee school, told me that a hand coffee grinder would be a good thing for a start. After some chats with some friends, I decided to buy him a Hario hand grinder. I bought it from Otten Coffee.




He was so excited when he opened up the gift. He brings it to the office and use it everyday to make his afternoon black coffee.

Not a bad decision at all.