Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

May your Christmas be merry and bright!

I celebrated Christmas with my big family last night at my mom's house in Cinere, Indonesia. It was great seeing everybody and spending time with them. After last night I might not see them for months or years to come. So it is just natural to feel bitter sweet about Christmas, I guess.

In a week I'll once again leave Indonesia. I hate goodbyes. Being away from family and friends is the hardest part of living so far away for me. I thank God for the very good friends we have in Houston. They have become our family.

Anyway, we put down my darling dog who had been fighting cancer for months. It was the saddest goodbye. I am relieved though. She was in so much pain. She's happier now, I know.



Friday, December 17, 2010


My physician in Houston gave me a flu shot just 2 months ago. And now here I am, in Indonesia, sneezing and coughing with temperature rising. 

Obviously I caught the Indonesian flu. I call it the Indonesian flu because you can only get it in Indonesia, even after the flu shot from USA.

It's not the swine or avian flu, it's simply a flu you caught being in Indonesia with the crazy weather and heavy Jakarta air pollution. It's simply the kind of flu you are bound to get here.

It's nothing, really.



Friday, December 3, 2010

No Longer Size Zero. So?

I love meeting family and friends in Indonesia after almost a year apart. Most of them greeted me with great big hugs, kisses and a "Wow, you've gained weight!" first reaction. 

I know I've gained weight. As a matter of fact, my scale in Houston showed me 2 months ago that I gained 5 kilos. The thing is, I've been looking at myself every single day in front of the mirror and always manage to find that my body still looks pretty much the same, just a tad curvier. I have no objection in getting some curves on this once-too-skinny body.

Nonetheless, I have a tendency to not really think about what others say about my appearance, especially when it comes to my weight. At first I would be like, "Am I that fat?", because it's just how those kinds of comments make you feel and then I would be like, "Na-ah, not that fat.". Or, "That can't be true. This scale has got to be broken.", because we all know that scales get broken easily (especially if an elephant stepped on it like it does on daily basis at my home - in other words, my scale has never been wrong).

I can deny people and scales all I want, but there is one thing that does not lie about my weight and it is my jeans size. Just now I went upstairs and took out 3 pair of jeans. All were part of my daily wardrobe choice a year ago. And now, all 3 are no longer good for these kinds of activities when worn:

1. Sitting
2. Walking
3. Breathing

Safe to say that I will no longer be wearing those jeans. Well, I need to move on eventually and I think I am ready to do so. I have to say that despite the shock, I actually feel pretty good about the way I look now. After all, why do we perceive the word fat as something awful? Celebrate, ladies! Don't get sad.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jet Lag

I'm back in Jakarta for the moment. It's kind of surreal. Really. Maybe because I'm still jet lagged from the almost 24 hours flight from Houston. Or maybe, I'm really just not present that way. I would rather think it's the jet lag.

The thing about jet lag is your sleep time is off from people around you. When they're wide awake, you just want to shut your eyes and take a deep long sleep. When they're fast asleep, you wake up feeling shiny and new. Like me, now. It's 2 AM in the morning Western Indonesia Time and I don't have any desire to go back to sleep. Worse, my mind thinks I am still in Houston and hoping that my Indonesian friends are still awake and doing their activities. Hence, the signing in to twitter and YM.

Waking up at 2 AM can only mean one thing for me; melancholy. I can't help it, I'm sorry. Strangely enough, this melancholy brought me to present time. My mind wanders all the time, but in this silence, it is still. It's not where it's not suppose to be. So that is something I need to be grateful for.

Melancholy helps me write. That's what I learned over the years. It does. It brings the gentler side of me. The romantic, kindhearted, sobbing-over-someone-heartbreak's side of me. Yuck. I just vomit a bit. But still, I'm melancholic right now. And absolutely starving.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

This is It, The Best Soul Food in Town!

Based on wikipedia (don't worry, I don't make it a habit to get my reference from there. Well, it's getting pretty close to become a habit actually, but nevertheless..) soul food cuisine consists of a selection of foods traditional in the cuisine of African Americans. It is closely related to the cuisine of the Southern United States. The descriptive terminology may have originated in the mid-1960s, when soul was a common definer used to describe African-American culture (for example, soul music).

The cuisine is seen as somewhat a homage to their history and culture as African Americans and also a food that says "home", every single time. In Houston, the best soul food in town is "This is It". Yes, it is the name of the restaurant and the name suits it perfectly. This is It serves one of the best foods I've ever tasted.

The restaurant is a family-owned business, which was established in 1959 by the late Frank and Mattie Jones. The restaurant is now under the management of Mr. & Mrs. Craig Joseph Sr., the grandson of the Jones. More about the restaurant can be read here: This Is It Houston

The most famous dish from the restaurant is their Ox Tails. It's definitely greasy and sinful, but at the same time absolutely perfect. I also love their Fried Catfish and Pepper Steak. Their sides are also super delicious. I always choose rice, collard greens and cornbread dressing. Oh, and everybody gets cornbread with their meal. You'll get one entree and 3 sides. I was always surprised with the amount of food presented on my plate, but at the end I'd always found my plate clean. Don't hate.

This Is It has different menu everyday. On Sunday they are especially full from the church crowd. I always love the Sunday crowd. They are all dressed up and really friendly. Oh but that doesn't mean that I got it easy the first time I went there. Being a small awkward Asian girl in the house, I was teased for not knowing names of the food when it was time for me to order. I just pointed the stuff I wanted and they had a great time teasing me for it. Hahaha.

This Is It
2712 Blodgett St.
Houston, Tx. 77004
Restaurant Hours: Mon - Sat 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. / Sun. 11 a.m - 6 p.m.
Breakfast Hours: 6 a.m -10:00 a.m
Catering Hours: Mon - Sat 11 a.m. - 7 p.m
Telephone: (713) 521- 2920 Fax: (713) 521-3344 Catering: 281-852-5666



Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It's suffocating to read the news about Indonesia these days. Thousands of refugees are living day by day not knowing what their future would become. It's suffocating to read the news about the stupidity of certain important people in the Indonesian government. It's suffocating to read the news about horrific traffic jams in Jakarta every single day. It's suffocating..

It's suffocating because in the amidst of all that, I still want to come home. I still want to come home and see my family, my friends and my dog who is right now fighting cancer. I still want to come home to whatever left of my beautiful Indonesia. I'm homesick like hell.

It's suffocating..

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Read It First: Beauty Products in Our Daily Life

Ladies, this is important!

Please check your cosmetics and other beauty products ingredients before buying them.

Open this link to know the hazard level of beauty products:

Open this link to read the various kinds of harmful ingredients in our beauty products:

This is serious. We are putting in toxic after toxic to our body for the sake of being pretty and smelling good. Please take your time to find the least dangerous products.

I myself was astounded to find that the Bath & Body Works products I have been using are classified as "high hazard". It makes you think. Beauty has its price, but we're paying too much.

Again: and

Don't let catch words like "natural" or "organic" make you automatically buy something. Read the ingredients list!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God Bless Those Who Are Suffering

Sending prayers and good thoughts out to my fellow brothers and sisters in Indonesia, especially those in the Mentawais and around Mount Merapi.

It's painful to be here and knowing that people there are in living in fear, shock, pain and sadness.

I'm sorry...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Only Disability in Life is a Bad Attitude

Eat, Shop, Adapt.

I've written a lot about food and then some about shopping. But on adapting, I don't think I've written enough.

When I got married on December of last year, I didn't really know what to expect from married life and living abroad as a wife. But again, who does? Marriage, as I learned so far, is about growing together. It's about getting on each other's nerves. It's about showing your partner the things he can do better and getting feedbacks on how you can get better too. But it's not about changing him/her into another person, because, well, people don't change, but they do get better on other areas.

Marriage is about adapting to each other's antics, flaws and also strengths. Marriage is about discovering yourself and challenging yourself to a 24 hour teamwork. It's not always fun and games. Let's face it, your teammate is not always delightful and easy to work with, but hey, news flash, so are you, my dear.

It's crazy how much I learn about myself from being married to my husband. I remember my mom once said to me, "Being married is like constantly being forced to look in the mirror and seeing that you are not perfect." I've always known that I'm not perfect, but how I lack in perfection? Now, that part I didn't know.

It was probably a week or so ago that my husband's comments stroke me hard. We were in the middle of a discussion and he was bombarding me with question after question about what I do on daily basis, when he was at work. I usually could get away with, "I worked on some writing projects from Jakarta." But lately I'm not getting a lot of that. So I couldn't actually gave him a dignified answer. The things he said were on the spot. We've actually had this kind of discussion a number of time before, but me being stubborn quietly stayed in my old habits.

He pointed out that I was not doing anything with my life. It's like I at one point decided to stop, to quit, to just be uninspired and worse, uninspiring. I wasted my time watching TV, I systematically cleaned only parts of the house on areas that my husband noticed the most, I stopped reading books and learning new stuff, I even stopped writing. At first I was on my defensive mode, saying that he knew that I couldn't work in the US because I was not permitted to work. He answered that it was not about the money, it was not about me working. It was never about the money. It was about me, quitting. Worse, I looked like I was quitting on life. He then said, "You know the feeling when you see a man being without a sense of direction in life? A man without a goal, without a dream? Girls don't want to date those kind of men. Well, I got news for you, neither do men to girls who are simply clueless about her life." My man sure knows how to put it out there. It's always real with him. Especially when he feels like he has had enough of something. And at that time, he had had enough of my attitude toward life.

That night I finally stopped defending myself, because I then realized that he was not attacking me. He was simply reaching my hand and pulling me up from a hole that I didn't even know that I was in. I felt so ashamed, so humbled, so inspired.

My husband is a person who knows what he wants in life. He sets up goals. After he reaches the goal he was aiming, he then sets up another goal. He works hard to reach his goals, but at the same time he's enjoying himself in the process. He is my source of motivation. Do I feel overshadowed? Na-ah. We have our own paths. We intersect when we got married, but his thing is always his, and mine is always mine. I could only be his shadow if I let myself to be.

And Lord knows how much he inspired me that night. After my tears stopped I got to contemplate. By that time my husband was already asleep. I couldn't sleep. Thoughts after thoughts ran through my head like nobody else's business. I've been feeding myself with nonsense and excuses. Excuses that could let myself of the hook from the guilty feeling of not doing anything. "Those excuses are lame," I said to myself. Who gave me the permission to be a couch potato? Who gave me the permission to not do something meaningful with my life? Who gave me the permission to waste precious time, the abundant talents and passion I have in me? Stupid me gave that permission. I should be banned from making such decisions. I was a hazard to myself.

Being in bed that night, lights and TV off, husband comfortably enjoying his dreams, I carefully analyze the things I had going in my life before I was here and while I was here. The one good thing I enjoy doing more than anything back in Jakarta and until this very day is writing. Lately, though, I have to admit that I have been feeling really uninspired. So that night, I knew that writing was the thing I had to start doing again. I mean to really write and make something out of it, to be brave enough to show it to anyone who can read and eventually get it published. I have to be always inspired, thus I need to be mindful about everything. Because everything and anything can be an inspiration.

I then got to thinking about an activity that I had been doing quite consistently for almost 4 months now; yoga. Fortunately, as a spouse to my husband, I also get the privilege to use the wellness center facility at his office and every week the place hold two hatha yoga classes. I've been coming to the Thursday class religiously. I kept coming because it's the one and only activity that I look forward the most in the whole week. I always feel uplifted and excited about everything after the class.

At one point I started feeling that I wanted more. The class only lasted for 50 minutes tops and I began to feel that being held in a work place, the class is designed to fit the employees' schedules, thus very "instant". I, on the other hand, have all the time in the world and I craved for more. So I started looking for yoga classes near home. I found a few, but not the kind of yoga that I was looking for. Bikram yoga is very "in" right now. It is a series of yoga poses practiced in a very hot room. So you'll sweat like crazy. You can find that class easily here in America, but I want hatha yoga. The poses are practically similar to bikram, only it is not practiced in a hot room and it's more meditative. Students are expected to acknowledge their movements and their body. I need that mindfulness. I want to be present and I am hoping that yoga will bring me to that state.

After not finding the yoga that suits me on the internet, I turned to my yoga instructor at my husband's office. She then told me that I should come to a class that she did every Sunday morning.  It was an advanced hatha yoga class, led by a 71 year old woman who also taught at my husbands office. According to my yoga instructor the class was great, lasted for 2,5 hours and much more challenging. It was a 20 minute drive from my place and started at 9 AM, but I gave it a try anyway.

Last Sunday was my second class. I love it. I have to admit though that I am still in that "competitive" state where I am dying to prove that I can do all of those crazy poses, but in that process I also got the silent part of trying to do the poses, concentrating and being mindful to my body and mind. That was when it became perfect; I suddenly concentrated and reaching goals. Mini goals of trying to put my leg up there somewhere or stretching like I was still that 9 year old girl doing ballet. Slowly and patiently, I take my mind back to the present time every time it went astray. I am starting to get excited about life, about living and things around me. I started to feel genuinely.... happy.

I dare say that yoga has saved me. I am not a religious person, but in yoga I find a sense of closeness to the universe, to my whole being. To God, if you will. I might sound crazy to you, but that is exactly how I feel. And I am not planning to give it up. I finally found something that makes me happy and moving and wanting to move.

So this is a step. A small step maybe, but still a step. I used to get offended when my husband said things about the house being everything else but clean and tidy. That he actually was putting me in the position of a wife whose main duty was cleaning the house. My ego was hurt. I then disconnected myself with the house, thinking that me looking after it was feeding his male ego. I know now, I was feeding my own ego and no one else's. To live cleanly and tidily is a good way of living. It lifts up your whole mood. You care more, you love more. Now I clean the house better. I treat it as a home now. As our home, a place where we can all feel safe and happy, not just as a house.

I am also trying hard to stop feeding myself with bullshit. You know, about how sad I am being away from my family and friends, or about how I can't do anything because of this and that, or blaming any situation that I am in for that matter. Situation doesn't change, but I can. My yoga instructor wore a very interesting t-shirt last Sunday. On the back it read: "The only disability in life is a bad attitude - Scott Hamilton". And how that is so true.

Cheers to life and a husband that has consistently giving me perfect kicks in the butt.

"Sit in a straight posture, and the first thing to do is to send a current of holy thought to all creation. Mentally repeat, "Let all beings be happy; let all beings be peaceful; let all beings be blissful." So do to the east, south, north and west. The more you do that the better you will feel yourself. You will find at last that the easiest way to make ourselves healthy is to see that others are healthy, and the easiest way to make ourselves happy is to see that others are happy. After doing that, those who believe in God should pray — not for money, not for health, nor for heaven; pray for knowledge and light; every other prayer is selfish. Then the next thing to do is to think of your own body, and see that it is strong and healthy; it is the best instrument you have. Think of it as being as strong as adamant, and that with the help of this body you will cross the ocean of life. Freedom is never to be reached by the weak. Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself." - Raja Yoga 


Andini Haryani

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Vagabond: You Are No One. You Are Everyone.

Ask any one of my bestfriends about my party habit. They'd tell you that I have none. I do go to clubs, but not with a backpack full of excitement. I'm not the kind of girl whose idea of having a great time is being in a hip club crammed with people with music I don't get. 

Jakarta, being an up and coming party city of Asia, has lots of great clubs. I usually went to those clubs when I had to write about them or when I was with my husband's friends who casually enjoy a night out in one of those glamorous clubs, most probably wanting to treat their eyes to the sight of beautiful girls. I usually had a drink in my hand, trying hard to enjoy the music. Never was I the life of the party. On the contrary, I was always awkward and stiff, not willing to let go.

Nonetheless, I did have my share of fun in some clubs. Trying to sort out my memories of those good times, I have come to a conclusion that I never enjoyed clubs that are crammed with people, clubs with people who go there just to "score", clubs with "peacocks"aka people who dress up like there is no tomorrow, clubs with ridiculously tight security, clubs that make their guests dress in a certain "proper" way, clubs with certain music (RnB, Hip Hop, tacky house music), clubs that are simply overrated. And you would know that a club is overrated when it (the club) and the people are just trying too damn hard to be hip.

Anyways, during my stay in Miami, my traveling partners and I wanted to get a taste of the party scene there. The one that is famously known as one of the best in the country. To be honest, I was not as excited to party in Miami as I was excited to go to its beach and eat its food. Again, to party is never my best talent.

Since we went there during the Labor Day weekend, it was to be expected that the city is FULL of tourists and like us, they wanted to have a good time. So when we head out on Saturday night to go to this supposedly best club in Miami, called Mansion, we were competing with thousands of other people.

Mansion is located on South Beach, Miami. That night every street in South Beach was full of cars. We were barely moving. Finding a parking spot was one impossible task and getting into the club was the next. At 11.00 PM Mansion already had a really REALLY long line in front of it. People looked desperate to go in. We didn't want to be desperate so we went looking for other clubs on South Beach. They pretty much had the same situation; a ridiculously long line of people in front. We immediately left South Beach and headed Downtown. A club called Space was the next recommended club with its huge space and whatnot. Surprise, surprise, it also had that long familiar line in front of it. Next!!!

After wandering aimlessly for almost an hour, a local friend of ours then popped up another club name: The Vagabond, located just a block away from Space. We went there with no expectation whatsoever. We were tired and honestly, desperate for a place to just get a drink and hopefully have a nice time. So The Vagabond it was.

Relieved was the perfect word to express what we felt when we saw that there was no line in front of The Vagabond. A $10 cover charge greeted us. From the first second that I stepped in, the place immediately gave me the impression that I was going to love it there. And oh how I did. How I really really did.

The Vagabond had three areas. Two were indoor and the third was outdoor. Each had its own tune and style. The first one was pumping with dance music, the second one (outdoor) was more relaxed, and the third one had a stage with a show on it! That night it was the "Moulin Rock" show with drag queens and magical characters dancing and performing. The music was all-around awesome, the people were great, the atmosphere was crazy, the drinks were cheap, and I had one of the greatest time ever!

The Vagabond had since become my most favorite club anywhere! It was raw, raunchy, and wild. I was actually letting myself go there. I danced myself away and not giving a damn. No one was giving a damn to anyone or anything. It was a blast! I will definitely come back to Miami just to go to The Vagabond again. It exceeded my expectations by thousands of miles.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bienvenido a Miami!

My husband and I have been wanting to have a short getaway for quite a while. We had always managed to look for tickets on the very last minutes, get extremely pricy fares and end up canceling the whole plan. That was then. Two weeks ago we finally went to Miami and had the most awesome time!

When Asa and Robert, another couple who are also good friends of ours, asked us if we wanted to go somewhere nice during the Labor Day long weekend (9/3 - 9/6), we immediately jumped in on the plan and looked for tickets a month in advance. We got a sweet deal for roundtrip American Airlines tickets from Houston to Miami from Travelocity; $222/person. 

We looked for hotels and got another sweet deal from The New Hotel and Spa, located on the North part of Miami Beach for $100/night. The hotel was not in the hustle and bustle area of South Beach, but it had a great beach within walking distance. With only 10 rooms available, we got ourselves a very chic room with a king bed, cable TV, pantry, and L'Occitane toiletries. I looooove the toiletries. 

Based on the 3 days 3 nights stay in Miami Beach, I can draw a conclusion that the city has an all around bad customer service. Be it in restaurants or shops, service was almost always bad; slow, cold, even rude. Well, to be fair we also got pretty good service in a number of restaurants, but mostly bad. 

The rudeness was also felt from the people itself. On the roads people changed lanes abruptly, cut people  off, honked like crazy, tailgated, speed, even completely stopped in the middle of a busy road to chat with another driver. 

The same thing happened while I was in line, waiting to pay for something I bought. People just innocently shoved in in front of me, as if I was not even there. This didn't just happen once, but many times. Pretty young girls did it, older folks were also the same. It was annoying and shocking, because in Texas (and I just realized this when I visited Miami) people are mostly courteous toward other people. People say hi and ask how a stranger's day has gone so far for no apparent reason. People don't cut lines and they even let others go first for the most polite reasons. And even though Houston has a lot of offensive drivers, they are nothing like Miami's. In Miami, I felt like I was back in Jakarta.

Anyway, it doesn't mean that I hate Miami. I love Miami. I respect America for the uniqueness of its states. It is true that a state in the United States of America is nothing like the next. Miami has a strong laid back, go-to-hell-i-don't-give-a-damn feel to it. The people are also beautiful and just all around love to have the best of time. They are passionate about their food, music and looks. There and then I saw people soaking up in the sun, happy with whatever kind of body they had. It was a great sight, resulting to a wonderful feeling in my gut. I got to fall in love with my own body too and had the greatest time enjoying the water, beach and sun.

I love Miami for being rudely beautiful!

Tan As a Human Being Can Be Tan,


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Work It, Girls!

"Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages should feel free to wear nothing and everything. Be it a tiny bikini or a loose hijab, a woman should feel free to wear anything her heart desires."

It was a relieving sight. To see older women with voluptuous body wearing every kind of swimsuits proudly on the beaches of Miami, even with cellulite showing on their thighs and stomachs, was a sight that gave me true inspiration. On the same beaches I also saw younger women in every kind of body shape, showing off their "assets", big or small, flat or flabby with no care in the world. Who am I to judge? Even if it's the easiest thing to do in the world; to judge.

I think it is the same thing with hijab or jilbab, a head covering worn by most of Muslim women as a way to show their religious belief. I don't wear one, but I have seen Muslim women in Houston wearing hijabs and get a funny stare in return. I once wore a really short pants to a mall in Indonesia and got a stare from a creepy fat man in return. The two are, to me, the same thing; shallow judgment based on what kind of shape of fabrics we chose to wear.

So in that pretty beach in Miami, I made a promise to myself. I will value other people and not pass judgment based on what they are wearing (or not wearing). Other people's shapes, sizes, colors, religions and beliefs will be as valuable to me as it is to them. And I, from now on will wear my swimsuit proudly, even with that excess fat on my stomach or the various spots of vitiligo on my back.

I think if people have to judge, they need to do it in their own tiny brain and not spread the hate around.



Monday, August 30, 2010


I've been wanting to update this blog for so so long, but my unproductiveness always got the best of me. I really really do wanted to be productive and do stuff like cleaning the house or cooking or browsing important and educative things online, but every single time I saw how cuddly my dogs were, or how many channels there were on TV or how fascinatingly fascinating social networking sites were, I always went straight to being anything but productive. Before I knew I was again juggling with deadlines. Deadlines for the works I should've had finished long long time ago. Old news.

Anyways, my mother and sister in-law had gone home to Jakarta last month. It was -in a way- a maturing experience. Learned quite a bit about cooking for more than 2 people and gaining bravery to conquer the road. Now, I am proud to say that highways no longer scare the c*ap out of me. Well, most of the highways anyway. Houston has amazingly sick drivers on its highways, especially on weekends. But yes, now I take highways and actually know where I am going. I even drove to San Antonio, which is 3 hours from Houston! I demand a round of applause. Thank you.

I got some stories to share. Food oriented stories those are and I am so ready to share. Next post? Yes, I will immediately gather all the necessary pictures this instance.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Recipe for Disaster

Friday + nonstop rain + rush hour = recipe for disaster. One would thought that the equation applies only in Jakarta, but no Sir. The Lone Star state has Houston to handle that equation.

The one thing I noticed instantly after arriving in Houston was the fact that a lot of people drove trucks. Big trucks. I thought they were just being true to the motto "everything is bigger in Texas". Those cars cost a lot of money on gas, right? Not to mention that they are just not handy in tight parking spaces (that's a Jakartan's point of view). Anyway, yesterday, I found out one of the reasons why they like their cars big and strong; Houston gets flooded. Big time.

Yesterday was a Friday and my brother-in-law had to fly home to Jakarta on a 5.40 PM flight, so we had to arrive at the airport at 3.30 PM. Husband calculated the time needed to get there with two stops before airport; Sinh Sinh the Chinese restaurant in Bellaire and a Harley Davidson store just on the side on N Loop Freeway (my father-in-law wanted to give his friend a Harley Davidson t-shirt from Houston), and came to a conclusion that we needed to leave the house at precisely 1 PM. That would gave us time to do lunch and a little shopping. Well at least that was we thought.

It had been raining for probably 12 straight hours when we finally left the house. It had escalated into a thunder storm actually. It was pouring heavily and people were taking the cautious step by driving a lot slower, which was a wise thing to do since we barely had a decent driving vision. My husband handed me the GPS and asked me to navigate him to the Harley Davidson store. We eliminated Sinh Sinh after seeing the rain got even heavier. I'm not the greatest navigator, I'll tell you that. I made a lot of mistake and usually put husband in a stressful mode. Thus, making the journey a real tense one, because I would get offended also. Funny how I get offended when I know that I'm bad at it, huh? Haha.

I put the store's address after checking and re-checking it on the website that my husband showed me. What usually happens is that I put the wrong address. I don't know how I always manage to do that. So yesterday I was being extra extra careful to put the right address. We were already on Beltway 8 and the GPS told us to take I-45 and then I-610. Exit the freeway and we would meet the N Loop Freeway which was where the store supposed to be located. The thing about Houston is that the city has a lot of Freeways. They go east-west, north-south, inner loop, outer loop, crosstown, etc. I still find it hard to determine which one is which.

The minute we entered I-610 we noticed that the feeder roads (roads next to the freeway) were flooded. People were stopping or trying hard to go through it, making the exits also jammed. We had to get out of the freeway too and had to meet the flood eventually. The (not-so) funny thing was we couldn't find the damn store. The GPS pointed out the exact location, but there was no sign of the store. It was still raining heavily and every road we took was flooded. I knew that husband would blew up sooner than later, so I called the store and asked for direction. You know what the first thing the store attendant said to me? "Oh yes, that's the wrong address that we got on our website. You should make a left and then... bla bla bla..," she said. I couldn't even hear what she said next. It's pure moronic to put the wrong address of your place of business and not change it. Blasphemy filled our car. We decided to cancel the Harley Davidson store.

Luckily there was a number of ways to get to the airport. The google maps and its "show traffic" menu were huge help. We found the least crowded freeway and got to the airport on time. That was a big relief, even though there were more flooded roads we had to go through. I was praying hard for our car to stay solid during those scary times. The rain finally stopped later in the night, around 9 or 10 PM.  

Houston felt a bit like Jakarta yesterday. Funny. Well, now it's funny.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Attempt. Not a Good One, Though.

It's been a while since I update this blog (not that I think anyone cares) and I've been making promises to myself to write again, but have been failing miserably. So I'm going to take a giant step right now and put myself into the "writing mode" again. It's for no one's sake but mine. Though it would feel insanely great if somebody else cares.

So here it goes.

It's been gloomy all day. The sun doesn't shine even just for a bit. It was showering lightly for a couple of hours and automatically I dozed off. One of the best naps I've had in quite a while. I like this kind of weather, where it's gloomy and gray. It could get even better with a heavier rain though. Nonetheless, I'm not protesting. I love being inside my house with the gloominess outside. Better yet, I don't have to go anywhere today.

Hurricane Alex is approaching Texas, they say. It's a tropical storm formed in the Caribbean and it could get ugly. I hope the wind takes Alex elsewhere. Houston doesn't need another hurricane.

Days go too slowly right now. Dragging, even.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow - Melody Beattie

Today I am thankful for:
1. The internet - it makes the distance to "home" so much closer.
2. Rain - I can't imagine days without rains.
3. Health - it lets me live life much more comfortably
4. My dogs - they make me smile. Always.
5. This comfortable bed that I only share with my husband. He's a big guy, but still, it's spacious. 

Good night everyone. Anyone. My in-laws are here with us in our home in Houston for the next three months. I'll keep you posted. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lost in Translation

Yesterday was definitely one of the funniest moments I've had in Houston. I had never thought that if one tries to put Indonesians and Chinese in a Chinese restaurant, there's a slight possibility that everything would just get really complicated. I mean REALLY.

So the other night my husband and I had a dinner appointment with another couple. These man and wife were natives of the China Republic and had been living in Houston since 2007. The husband, Wei Gua worked with my husband in BP and they got along pretty good so the dinner was absolutely a great idea.

My husband and I were (as usual) fashionably late. We had a 7 PM appointment and got to the restaurant about 20 minutes later. Yes, we are really impolite that way. When we were still on our way to Sinh Sinh, the restaurant, my husband texted to check if they had already arrived. Of course they had. They told us to take our time. They had already ordered some appetizers.

The moment we arrived at Sinh Sinh with our faces all panicked because we were terribly late, we immediately looked around for them. Strangely enough, they were nowhere to be found. So my husband called Wei Gua and he said that he was sitting on the left side of the entrance. We looked to the left and surely enough, they still weren't there. "I don't think we're at the same restaurant. You told him that we are meeting them at Sinh Sinh right?" I asked my husband. He then asked his friend, "Where are you, man? I'm at Sinh Sinh and you're not here." Funny, Wei Gua said that he was also at Sinh Sinh. "There's a Chase bank in front of the restaurant I am in," said Wei Gua. We could see the bank on the far left from where we were standing, so for sure Wei Gua and his wife were not at Sinh Sinh.

"Do you want us to go to you or are you coming to us? What's the name of your restaurant?" asked my husband. Wei Gua still said Sinh Sinh. OK, so that was not helping at all. "I really can't catch your restaurant's name. OK, so you're coming to us? What intersections are your restaurant's in?" my husband then tried to give the couple the direction to our Sinh Sinh and the next 20 minutes were filled with him trying to give directions. It should've taken them only 3 minutes to get to us, but I suppose constant misinterpretation of what the other was saying was responsible for the rest 17 minutes. My husband then gave up and had a "brilliant" idea to asked one of the waiters to give Wei Gua the direction in their native language. Ten minutes later they arrived.

As Wei Gua and his wife explained why they got the wrong restaurant, I was laughing so hard realizing that it was not all their fault. It was more our fault actually. It turned out that in Mandarin, Sinh Sinh is not even pronounced sin-sin as my husband and I and the rest of the world (except China) would pronounce it. What was pronounced sin-sin was actually Tan Tan, the restaurant they were mistakenly came to. So there, I experienced first hand how even English speaking people could just got tangled in the web of misinterpretation because there were still accents and limited knowledge of the other's native languages.

"You know what the funniest part is, Aris?" asked Wei Gua. Indeed, there was still something funnier. Wei Gua continued, "That waiter that you asked to give directions to me was actually speaking Cantonese. A whole other different language from the Mandarin that I speak. So it was not actually helping because everything he said was total gibberish to my ears eventhough he was almost screaming to make sure that I understood and telling me to speak louder also. So we were screaming at each other in totally different languages." Oh Lord, that was definitely a night I will never forget.

When the dinner was over we promised to do it again some other time. Although next time we will be smart enough to not choose a Chinese restaurant. Or, if we ever want to eat Chinese with them again, we will make sure that the name of the restaurant will be written, letter by letter.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eastern Hospitality

My last post was titled "Creepy". It's basically about a guy living in my townhouse complex that at one time creep the hell out of me.

Today I went on a morning walk with a neighbor. Not the creepy guy of course. This friendly neighbor's house is located right next to mine. She's a housewife/student/web developer that is also Asian. Vietnamese to be exact. Her name is Xuan. She's nice.

Anyway, I told her about the guy that freaked me out. I told her how he insisted on getting me to hangout with him eventhough I'd told him I was married. We met one time when we were both taking our dogs on a walk and trying to be friendly I greeted the guy and conversed. The insisting part came to a point where he actually came to my house and knock on my door at 2 in the afternoon, when obviously my husband is not home. I brushed him off of course, but I got quite paranoid after that. He never came back though. Or at least I think he never did, because the last few days I've been trying to get out of the house every afternoon.

After my long explanation on what the guy did, Xuan just reacted with a simple question, "Did you laugh or giggle to anything he said?" I reluctantly nodded. I did both. Quite a few times. Very naively of me, I thought I was being friendly and spreading that "eastern hospitality". She said, "Never do that. They take that as an open invitation and that you like his company. Never smile, never giggle and for heaven's sake never laugh!" OK, that warning came just a tad too late.

Well, now I know better. No more eastern hospitality. That explains a little on why people here just pretend they don't care about each other's existence. I never have a good judgment on character though. Now I guess I will just present every stranger with the same vague smile or lack thereof.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A creepy overly friendly neighbor.

I DON'T like it. It feels like an intrusion of privacy, stalking almost. NOT liking it.

I want my husband to come home sooner than soon.

Any Indo-Houstonian reading this? Please come over and hangout. Please!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pretty Gay Girl by Narciso Lobo

All sadness aside, I want to show you this video. This guy's name is Narciso Lobo. He's pretty famous on youtube and I got the biggest crush on him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Breakfast Addict

Currently I am crazy over these two foods for breakfast. The most important meal of the day has never been so delicious.

Froot Loops are the best. Soy milk makes them even better.

Try this: Toast your favorite bread (I use whole wheat bread) and spread a generous amount of Nutella on top of it, then chop some fresh strawberries and just put it all over the bread. It's addictive!

Actually, those two can be my meal any time of the day. I love them that much!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Care for a Cheap and Quick Divorce?

This might be the answer for any Indonesian celebrity that wants to get a divorce minus the media frenzy and blood sucking lawyers.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring is Here!

Finally, weather that feels a bit like home. Home when you are in the highlands though. They say summer in Houston is gruesome and feels a lot like being in an oven. Spring and Fall are the best times of the year. Well, we just have to wait and see if the stories are true.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Darband: A Taste of Iran

The recommendation for this restaurant came from Mo (short for Mohammed), our car salesman. He is 100% Iranian and loves this restaurant so much. So we decided to give it a try.

Darband Shish Kabob is located on 5670 Hillcroft St. The area is filled with Middle eastern and South Asian restaurants. The restaurant itself was not eye striking, nor was it easy to find, because well.. it just didn't stand out. Darband is relatively small in size, but take note that it is the oldest and most well-known Iranian restaurant in Houston.

The menu consists of mostly (of course) kabobs. You can order beef, chicken, or lamb. I ordered Chello Kabob which was ground beef kabob and basmati rice. It was delicious. My husband had lamb shank and it was absolutely tender. The meat just fell right off the bone. Personally though, I still prefer my Chello Kabob. Not a big fan of the dill rice that was paired with the lamb shank. A friend of ours ordered a good old Shish Kabob that was served with a huge flat bread. Of course, the bread was best enjoyed with hummus (well, that was personally a personal preference, because they had various dippings). The hummus was OK. Rita's Cafe still has better tasting hummus.

Linger a bit longer then you are bound to be served Darband's Persian hot tea in a pot. Or just ask for your complimentary tea! Free tea and good foods all for price that will not drain your wallet sound like a good deal right?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Dog Park Weekend!

Last weekend was fun, both for us humans and the dogs. Our dogs! Finally they got to go to a dog park! Yayyy!

We decided that our dogs are finally ready to be with other dogs, in an open space, without leashes. To tell you the truth I was a bit freaking out, since I don't really know how my dogs would react to the situation. Miraculously, they did pretty good! They were playing with other dogs, sniffing, running, doing things that dogs normally do. And the look on their faces was just priceless! Looking at them having so much fun was even one of the best feelings for me.

We went to Millie Bush Dog Park on 16756 Westheimer Parkway. They had parks for big dogs and small dogs. Any dog over 20 lbs should go to the big dogs park. Our Sausage is a bit over 20 lbs (well, she's actually 33 lbs), but she still went to the small dogs park. We really didn't feel comfortable putting her with the big dogs. Besides, she's short and didn't look that big anyway. I think I just made the typical parent's excuse to protect her child.


Andini, Sausage, Trippy, and Olive

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hus to the Band

I rarely say or show people how I feel about my husband. Now, at the risk of being judged at as tacky, I need to say one thing about my husband; He's the best and I couldn't ask for more (well, that is actually two things).

It's been 4 months since we tied the knot and it has been FUN. I realize now that he really is my bestfriend. And I also realize that he's a guy with 1000 and 1 irritating habits that have grown on me. He's the coolest and funniest, but also the toughest. Tough love is what I get every single day and I'm glad he does that. By far, he's my most favorite guy. Well, there goes my coolness (if there was any in the first place). As cliche as it may sounds; I love that man. Wholeheartedly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Toyota Celica for Sale - It's Sold, By The Way

The only thing that separates men and boys is the price of their toys. A Toyota Celica GT that was made in year 2000 was my husband's most loved toy. The emphasize is on "was". Yes, he had to sell the car due to growing family. Growing as in: a wife that feels the car is too sporty and dogs that need a bigger car for the crates. 

Luckily, my husband is the kind of guy that could easily let his "toys" go. So we put an ad on Craig List and one by one emails came pouring in. A lot of people were interested, especially students and first car owners. A few serious potential buyers came and met us to see the car first hand. Some of them even took the car to the mechanic. Well, one time it was us who went to their mechanic, driving 38 minutes down south. In Jakarta, 38 minutes is like a going to the bathroom and back before the show was on again. Here, well.. that means a 32 miles car ride. That is far.

The guy that we were meeting wanted to buy the car for his son who was turning 16 and was then legal to drive a car. We met him, his wife and the son at his mechanic's place in a place called Rosenberg, TX. The day before he went to our place and looked at the car. All the time he was looking at the car, he was also on the phone with his wife. She was put on speakerphone so we could hear everything she said. "How about the windshield? The muffler? The dent of the right side? The title? The AC? The heater?" she kept asking stuff that made us felt lucky that we were not married to that woman. The guy then got really tired listening to his wife's endless questions, he hung up. That was funny.

To cut the story short, we had to go to Rosenberg on a Sunday. A Sunday morning that is, since both parties had things to do after lunch. At first my husband and I were having a great time in the car until we realized that we had gone pretty far from Houston. We took an exit from the highway and the road was getting totally unfamiliar. It was the Texas you see in movies about people living far way from big cities and wanted to just get out from that place and start from scratch in a big city. You know how those stories go.

We saw houses with big yards and farms and cows. Yes, cows! I've seen my fair share of steaks and meats in Houston so far, but to see the real cows, well that was the first I experienced here. When we finally reached the destination, we saw even more grasses and fields. It was actually a nice change. Unfortunately, the mechanic found something that made the family wanted to look for another car. The long drive was almost a waste until I found something pretty comforting next to the garage. There were 2  Volkswagen Karmann Ghias just lying there on the grass. They were in pretty bad condition, but still, I love the shape of the car and it was the least I could see to make me feel even remotely consoled.

Anyway, the Celica was sold last week to a young couple that needed a car with low gas mileage. We miss the car already. It's funny how I can miss the car when I was the one that insisted that it needed to go in the first place. It was a cool car, despite the backache it gave me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Battle of The Burgers

Texas is home to the greatest steaks and burgers. It is truly a carnivore paradise. Personally in Houston, there are two burger joints that are absolutely must-go-to. The first one is Sam's Deli, and the second is Becks Prime. It does not necessarily go in that order. 

The Sam's Deli that I went to was located on 11637 Katy Freeway. It has a diner feel to it and mostly cater to younger crowd because it is relatively cheap. I mean seriously, it's cheap. Do not compare it to those ordinary fast food restaurants though, because even with its cheap price, Sam's Deli does not negotiate with quality. The foods are delicious and greasy and sinful. You will get two big juicy burgers, one chili dog, one chili cheese fries, and a glass of milk shake from any Blue Bell ice cream for around $20. 

Becks Prime is a chain restaurant and fortunately, one is located near our home on Dairy Ashford and I-10. The burger joint spreads a delicious aroma to its surroundings from the meat and poultry they're grilling. I love this place because hands down, they serve really really good burgers. Oh, and fries too!

My husband loves Becks Prime's California Burger. It has beef patty, Swiss cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce in it. I on the other hand is willing to try anything on the menu, from Chili Chese Burger to Blue Cheeseburger that uses (obviously) Blue Cheese in it. I really can't decide which one is my favorite yet. Maybe after I go through all the menu I will let you know. 

Becks Prime's fries are made from fresh cut potatoes that are fried with some of the skin on. They are crunchy and salty and addictive.  It is amazing how I can chow down a Becks burger and still have space for its fries. That goes to show that everything from this place is worth to finish at the same time, while it's still hot and juicy. They melt in your mouth. Literally.

So who won in this battle? Price wise, Sam's Deli is the winner, because one Becks Prime burger can cause your pocket around $9. Taste wise, if you want a real burger that melts in your mouth and leave that magnificent after taste that is convincing enough to make you believe that you are one of the world's most awesome carnivores, than Becks Prime is the one for you.