Wednesday, 20 June 2018

#alivegurlmudik: Order Up!

 Burger Up

The other day, my sister, my brother and I checked out this relatively newly opened burger joint in Surabaya—first opened around the end of March. We passed by it a couple times on the way to the nearby mall and, from the outside, it looked really cute and interesting. None of us knew what was so special about it, but I thought it would at least be a really great setting for a blog post—lol this blogger brain never rests. We decided to go one lunch time at around 2 pm-ish. The first impression we got was how quaint the place was. We already knew that the interior would be rather adorable and aesthetically pleasing, but the atmosphere definitely adds to our comfort. Now, one of the first things that we noticed was the yellow machines we were supposed to utilise to place our orders. It's very easy to use, has very few glitches and a great way to let us take our time to decide. The menu itself is quite unique, as it lets you DIY your own burger—which my brother took forever to do. And—guess what—almost all the drinks available are free flow! Nope, I definitely did not drain three glasses full of lemon tea.  As soon as we finished ordering, we went to the cashier to pay and pick up our drinks. The food was then to be delivered to our table.

The Executive top (old) // gifted batik jacket // thrifted loafers // borrowed skirt from Sis // photos of me by Sis

Okay, the moment of truth: how does the food taste? In. Cre. Di. Ble! I ordered the Classic Beef Burger and—oh my god!—the patty is simply heavenly. It tastes like the traditional beef patty of McDonald's—I'm not sure if it still tastes like that these days—and the sauce is spot on. But, seriously, that patty. My sister ordered the Fish Delight and it was also so, so good! As a side dish, I've also got their Fish Fingers and it was tremendous! The service was also nice. We spent hours there because we were just so comfortable. They take our refill requests with little fuss and tended to our questions patiently. The interior is really lovely too. There is even a mini playground area inside, so kids can play while being fed. Too bad we didn't get to check out the second floor too, though. Their theme at the moment is the World Cup, so they've got the whole place decked out in football scenes and flags—the window illustrations are just so cute! They also have a box everyday for each team playing that night, where you can put our receipts into, and if the team you 'voted for' wins, you could get a reward. Give it a try!

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

#alivegurlmudik: Eid Traditions & Changes

My aunt and uncle performing 'sungkeman' to my grandparents

Eid Mubarak, everyone! Did you have a great time with the family and loved ones? Last Friday my sister and I did too. It's really nice being reunited with the cousins and aunts and uncles again, especially busting out all those Eid traditions like we used to. There are mandatories, obviously. Starting out with the Eid prayers in the morning—usually at a nearby field magically transformed to accommodate the masses, followed by waiting for the cousins to arrive and preparing the house. Once everyone's arrived, we begin the sungkeman tradition while begging for forgiveness from one another. They are followed by the money-giving procession by the grandparents to their grandchildren—me included—which are almost always a riot. Lastly, the most important part: the feast. Oh, that's just a really lovely meal! There are usually Opor, Lontong/Ketupat, Gulai Rebung and Sambal Goreng Ati—accompanied by dessert such as Es Buah and Fruit Salad. They taste so much better because we waited for so long to dig in. In the afternoon, floods of more distant relatives will come to the house to trade greetings and share food as well as stories. This usually goes on well until the sun goes down.

My sister's outfit is 100% gifted and/or borrowed

Behind the scenes of every family gathering

Madjani hijab // hand-me-down top // drsv batik pants (giveaway!) // thrifted loafers // photos of me by Sis

However, of course as time goes by, not all traditions can stay the same. There has been a lot of changes, especially since my mother died over 11 years ago. For instance, in my own core family, the only ones who come straight to Surabaya are my sister and I—our parents and brother visit Semarang first and join us after Eid. In terms of food, we barely ever eat ketupat anymore and switching to the easier-to-find lontongs. We were also introduced to Sate Klopo (coconut chicken satay) a few years back and it has become a new tradition ever since. Aside from that, there are some changes that took place this year. For instance, my sister and I walked to the nearest praying site by ourselves, instead of driving over there with our grandfather—because he is, sadly, unable to join us at the moment. It felt kind of nice, though, since the streets are rather quiet. With the religious chantings echoing all through town, it felt rather peaceful and serene. I think with family time such as this, things are bound to be ever changing. And it's important to embrace the changes while also sticking to the traditions. How about your family? Any interesting traditions?

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

#alivegurlmudik: Tunjungan Street

There is a street here in the heart of Surabaya, lined with various antique buildings. This street is often passed through by all types of land vehicles. It is where Hotel Majapahit is located. At one end of it, one can find the city's biggest mall—spanning into five parts, filled with stores of any kind. At the other end, there is the Surabaya Museum. Tourists and locals alike love to take photos here, night and day. This, my friends, is the Tunjungan Street. It is a one-way street, mostly free of traffic jams, with occasional crossroads, optimal pavement situation and enough trees to keep the pedestrian comfortable. There are manhole covers of different designs adorning the streets—and they're colourful too! Old, art deco architectures line the streets, with information on what their purpose used to be in their heyday. Unfortunately, this street is pretty much abandoned. There are only a handful of stores still open today—most of which are probably not age-old establishments. Don't get me wrong, I love the run-down vibe of the area, but it just feels a bit of a waste. This street reminds me of Braga Street in Bandung, but a lot less lively. If only there was a way to revive it.

Sejauh Mata Memandang headscarf // Book of Deer dress // old jacket // thrifted loafers // hand-me-down purse // outfit photos by Sis

Okay, truth-telling time—because that's what I do on this blog lately—this photoshoot was supposed to turn out very differently. My sister and I planned to go to the Surabaya Museum at the end of this street, while taking in the view around us. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the museum, it was apparently closed—no notification or anything, as usual. But, I guess, we got so used to our plan falling apart that we just turned around and walked back down the street while snapping so many shots of ourselves and the surrounding buildings. I'm not going to lie: we were a bit let down at first. I, for one, was excited to find out what's inside, but now I can't. But we also know it's not the end of the world. Life often doesn't go as planned, so it's always smart to keep a plan B. One that we have just walked through isn't quite a bad plan in our book. It also didn't go as smoothly, as cars kept passing by. But we stole moments in between and managed to walk away with amazing photos. It's all about the way you look at it.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

#alivegurlmudik: For Heroes Unknown and Renowned

Brass relief of the scenes leading up to the Battle of Surabaya

Statues of Bung Karno and Bung Hatta with columns representing the spirit of the battle

The Tugu Pahlawan monument in the middle of the park

If you walk around the park, you'll find statues of local heroes who fought for our freedom on Nov 10, 1945

The tomb for heroes and soldiers who remain unknown

We are back in Surabaya, baby! Eid is upon us and my sister and I are finally back here to visit the Grandparents as well as reunite with the cousins. And, as usual, we are using this chance to explore the city and snap as many shots as possible. We arrived Sunday night and on Monday noon we were ready to go out and about. Our first destination was Tugu Pahlawan and Museum Sepuluh November, which are basically the main landmarks of Surabaya and ones that we, strangely enough, had never visited before. This area was built in 1951 by President Soekarno, to remember the Battle of Surabaya in 10 November 1945. When we walked in, we were welcomed by a statue of President Soekarno and Bung Hatta, damaged columns in the background with writings that represent the Battle of Surabaya spirit. Behind them, the place opens to a massive park, with the Tugu Pahlawan monument in the middle and the museum to the back of it. The museum itself has an architecture that is somewhat reminiscent of the Louvre, with the entire museum located underground. It consists of two stories containing a lot of information on The Battle and shaded outdoor areas lined with fish ponds. They also have tour guides at the ready, in case you want more detailed information on The Battle. 

You can press a button here to listen to Bung Tomo's speech from 1945

Hand-me-down shirt + pants + purse // thrifted loafers // gifted batik bolero // outfit photos by my sis

Here is something I don't think I've ever really talked about before: this trip was practically killing me. The sun was raging, we were basically dehydrated and, well, let's just say I wasn't having an optimal bowel movement. In short, it was such an exhausting trip for us. And I know these things most likely don't come across on the photos, which is why I find it important for me to write it down for future reference. My sister said on that day, "This always happens when we go out and about during Ramadan!" And I was bewildered. Does it? I'm very good at having amnesia for the bad stuff, when the good stuff is forever pasted on the internet—talk about getting fooled by my own filters. That being said, I can't say I didn't enjoy this trip at all. It was really nice taking these photos, walking through this park and learning all this new information—or what little I could absorb—about my own country, especially to do that with my lifetime partner-in-crime. Just, you know, maybe hydrate a little more during Suhoor next time.

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