Saturday, 17 August 2019

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika?

Dirgahayu Kemerdekaan Indonesia yang ke-74, teman sebangsa dan senegaraku! Gimana, gimana? Apa kegiatan kalian pada tanggal 17 ini? Ini pertama kalinya aku ikut merayakan 17an di kantor lho—ehem, pegawai baru—yang diadakan kemarin. Ada banyak lomba yang unik-unik dan seseruan ala orang kantoran, kocak banget! Kebetulan aku dicatut jadi salah satu panitianya nih. Maklum, namanya juga kantor startup yang kadang orangnya masih minim. Alhasil, harus ada orang-orang yang memegang peran ganda deh. Ngerencanainnya stres, tapi pas hari H seru juga. Yah, jadi berasa cukup sepadan aja hasil kerja keras semingguan terakhir ini. Kayaknya udah lama banget ngga nulis pakai bahasa Indonesia di blog ini, tapi semoga lebih luwes keliatannya. Sekarang aku kerja sebagai copywriter di kantor, yang diharuskan menulis banyak artikel pakai bahasa ini. Jadi, sekarang udah ngga terlalu kagok lagi kalau disuruh nulis pakai bahasa Indonesia. Masih lumayan bingung sih, nge-balance antara penulisan yang baik dan benar dan keluwesan bahasa percakapan—minimal untuk keperluan blog ini. Gimana menurut kalian?

Batik Keris skirt (worn as dress) // hand-me-down knitted top + sandals // detachable peter pan collar 

from A Robot Heart // photos by my sis

Secara ngga disengaja sama sekali, aku sekarang lagi baca buku Indonesia Etc. karya Elizabeth Pisani. Aku pinjem buku ini dari temenku sekitar bulan Mei dan baru sekarang sempet ngebacanya. Melalui buku ini, aku jadi belajar cukup banyak tentang Indonesia yang sama sekali ngga pernah aku ketahui sebelumnya. Salah satunya adalah tentang betapa terpecah belahnya kita sebenarnya. Aku bukan ngomongin soal isu agama atau budaya yang akhir-akhir ini makin marak dibahas di kancah politik. Tapi aku ngomongin soal gaya hidup suku yang beragam di Indonesia, yang kental banget sama adat masing-masing daerah, yang seringkali masih belum diakui atau diketahui bahkan oleh pemerintah pusat sendiri. Suku-suku ini jadi lumayan merasa terasingkan dari orang-orang di pulau lain, terutama Jawa, sehingga kurang merasa menjadi bagian dari satu kesatuan, yakni tanah air Indonesia. Sedih sih bacanya, tapi jadi bikin tergerak untuk mencari tahu tentang budaya-budaya di Indonesia yang ada ratusan jumlahnya. Kalau kalian, seberapa banyak yang kalian ketahui tentang suku-suku di Indonesia?

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Saturday, 10 August 2019

Secret Nook with a Book

Currently Reading: Indonesia Etc. - Elizabeth Pisani

To a lot of people, reading books can be a stressful ordeal. Scanning through all those words—and often without pictures—can send their heads spinning. For me, however, is it a relaxing activity. Whenever I wake up early, I would read my books still half asleep. It helps my eyes open more easily and my mind come back to reality. Whenever I feel high strung, reading a book in my lonesome often loosen me up. My sister once advised me to read lighter books—such as children's literature—to unwind, but, the truth is, it doesn't matter to me if the book I'm reading—even when I'm stressed—deals with a difficult topic. So long as I find it intriguing, I will be able to chill with it in my hands. The problem, at times, is that I don't get to have a lot of time to read by myself—especially at work. Before, I used to be able to read in my commutes. But, now, I take motorbike taxis to and from work everyday, so that option's out the window. It is at such times that I truly understand the term "carve out time for the things you love."

Old top + jacket // hand-me-down pants // thrifted loafers

Luckily, my office is located in a pretty secluded area of the city. It is adorned with tropical plants and has a secret pool area that are usually not frequented by people. Sometimes I would go here to read or just be by myself. My preferred time to go here is around lunch time—after I've grabbed a bite, of course. Since it's an open area, it can get pretty hot in the day, but I honestly don't mind. The trees can provide pretty good shades, after all. Being here often makes me forget that I'm still at work or that there's a hugely polluted city just in the precipice. I could even dream that I was in Bali or somewhere else out of town. I mean, if these palm trees and giant leaves don't make you feel more relaxed, I don't know what will. Unfortunately, I cannot be wrapped up in a nice swimsuit or shorts, since I'm still technically working (lol). So, please excuse the contrast between the gloriously organic background and my business casual outfit.

P.S: Isn't this an appropriate read for Independence Day next week?

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Saturday, 3 August 2019

Putting Myself First

Currently Reading: Diana: Her True Story - Andrew Morton

As you might've known from my previous post, I've been feeling very burnt out lately. So much so that last week I had a nervous breakdown while I was out and about with my sister—second one this month. She was very kind with me, though, advising me to take a bit of time off for myself. Firu also scolded me a little bit for pushing myself too far—he's told me over and over again to get home quickly, not going overboard with work. I should've listened to them sooner. And so, I made plans to go home straight away after work for a week. I also made a point of reading whenever I can, because it relaxes me so. As a result, I have finished Wicked—although yet unable to review it due to its sequel being attached to the same volume. It's taken me far too long to finish, to be honest. Another thing that I've been missing is planning blog posts. Lately, it has felt like a huge burden and done in such a rush, I could barely enjoy it. But taking photos and writing this post by my lonesome feels really great. It reminds me of the good old days when all I had was myself as a resource for this blog. Lastly, I'd love to go off somewhere on my own again. To museums or galleries—or, who knows, a new town? It's been too long since the last time I explored a new place. It's time to really reconnect with my introversion.

Hand-me-down dress + sandals // thrifted denim jacket

Speaking of something that hasn't happened in a long while, let me introduce you to the newest item in my wardrobe: this maxi dress! My Stepmom was ready to throw it away, but I snatched it, completely smitten by its colour and pattern. I love the chiffon material very much, very breezy. I've never had a maxi dress before too, so this was a welcome change. It is actually sleeveless, so pairing it with this denim jacket was a given. I love seeing the contrast between the rather feminine dress and the edgier style of the jacket. This jacket, by the way, has been sitting in my wardrobe for the longest time since I bought it. Usually, it's my go-to jacket, but what with it being all torn up now, I was afraid of ripping it apart completely to wear it often. It's still my favourite outerwear, though, despite the fraying of the material and the yellowing of the colour. It's simply a must-wear for the warmer seasons, you know. I swear the damage done is never deliberate and it breaks my heart, knowing I'll have to say goodbye to it someday. I'm not at all good at goodbyes.

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Sunday, 28 July 2019

A Moment of Peace in the Storm


Last weekend my sister and I tried out a new place to eat. We stumbled upon it partially by accident, but it was such a quaint corner that we welcomed it. The place was rather small, but big enough to contain at least 20 people. The interior was very cozy and rustic. The light hits the place just right, especially around the time of our visit. They have such a unique selection of food and beverage too. Personally, I love their pasta dish—particularly the Spaghetti Alfredo. The cream is perfectly measured and matched with the chicken very well. I also tried their Yuzu Iced Tea, while my sister ordered their Es Kopi Gula Aren. Love the taste of both! Not to mention the cute can-like glass that they use for the coffee. I'll most likely come again—at least for the pasta alone. Lastly, let me just say a word or two about this t-shirt I'm rocking. It has Ranma and Akane on the front! A former co-worker of mine got it for me from Japan—although he ended up forcing me to pay for it in the end. Finally, a tee with my first love on it! 

Gifted t-shirt // vintage skirt // old hat + purse // thrifted loafers // photos by my Sis

Lately, I feel like I haven't had the time to really unwind and relax. Caught between my full-time job and other commitments—not to mention bouts of melancholia—I often don't feel like I could indulge myself in my leisurely hobbies anymore. When was even the last time I had 30 minutes to bury myself deep in a book? Honestly, it's crazy when you think about it. Yes, it's as stressful as it sounds.  I think it's partly due to the demands my work entails and partly due to my own negligence towards my own mental health. People don't realise sometimes that it can be quite tricky when you're an ambivert—you both want to constantly stay in people's company, but get absolutely drained when you don't get enough me-time too. Luckily, my partner-in-crime at work—and all of my beautiful, sweet interns—are very helpful and kind, so it lifts my mood a lot. They always become the highlight of my day. No matter how tired and stressful you are, when you can laugh with your friends like this, doesn't that make it worth your while somehow?

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

We Had Our Feet in the Sand, with an Ocean Waiting

I'm a huge believer that all relationships are different, even if they have gone on for the same amount of time or are structurally similar. Which why I also believe that every relationship is unique, especially those long-term, healthy ones. At the start of Firu's and mine, we got to know a few couples who had dated for years. Some became a role model for a relationship that we wanted to cultivate, some became an example of what we should be wary of. Either way, it was hard to imagine what we would be like years afterwards—we were so young, the world was our oyster, anything could happen. And 9 years later, here we are. To say that our relationship has become so different from how we thought it would evolve is a complete understatement.

Every year, as you might have noticed, I write a little something about my relationship with Firu on our anniversary. Depending on my overall mood that year, I could go from being melancholically grateful to just a downright mess. This year I feel a more optimistic gratitude towards our relationship. It has never felt stronger and more certain than now, in a strange way. Firu has always been my number one guy. He's always been the one to know me best—the good, the bad and the ugly—and chosen to be with me nonetheless over and over again. Now, more than ever, am I absolutely sure that there will never come anyone else who could love me the way he does. In that unique way of his that has pushed me to be stronger and made me feel incredibly cherished all the same.

On the other hand, I know I haven't always been the best girlfriend. I often think about myself way too much, not giving him a chance to pour his heart out. There are times when I burden him terribly with my woes and problems—both real and imaginary. Worst of all, there have definitely been times when I do not respect his wishes or mind his feelings towards my actions. Mostly, these actions aren't too damaging, but I cannot say they won't have repercussions in the future. Recently, I've been trying to be more considerate of this by changing the way I behave in regards to him. It's been nine years, but I'm still learning how to become a better person for us both.

All in all, these past nine years definitely didn't just come from nothing. There's a reason we've been together for so long. If for nothing else, at least because I believe Firu is the best person for me and, hopefully, he thinks the same of me. People often ask how we can be together for so long—with years of LDR in between too—and I wish I could tell them there's real magic there. There isn't. We both work and fight hard to stay together, to show each other how much we love them. We don't always succeed at it, but we never give up—and I think that's the most important bit.

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Saturday, 13 July 2019

5 Self-Care Zero Waste Essentials

How has your Plastic-Free July been so far? If this is your first try, it might not be so easy. But, as they tell us over and over again, there is no such thing as a failure in this movement. The goal isn't to do it perfectly, but to get as many people as possible to make an effort to cut down on plastic. In other words, if you're joining this challenge at all, you're already winning in life. Now, if you missed it, last week I shared some zero-waste essentials for when you're out and about. I believe it is when we're constantly on-the-go, that we use the most plastic. That being said, sometimes our enemy lurks within our home too. So, today let's talk about switching our self-care items for plastic-free, eco-friendlier options. Here are my personal essentials and where you, too, can find them.

Bamboo Toothbrush

This is probably the first zero waste item I've ever bought. The thing about toothbrushes is that you need to exchange it for a new one every few months or so. Unfortunately, if it's made out of plastic, all those old toothbrushes will either pile up in your house or wash up on a beach somewhere. I think switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush is one of the biggest favours you could do for mother earth. The bristles can be made out of various materials too—I've tried the charcoal and wheat ones—although some cannot be composted. Because it's made out of natural material, it can change colour over time. You can buy one for yourself from Cleanomic, Zero Waste Indonesia, Warung 1000 Kebun, Green Mommy Shop and Ekko Store.

Bar Soap (+ Shampoo)

Even before I started switching to a zero waste lifestyle, I've switched to a bar soap for years. The initial reason, for me, was financial. You see, I believe bar soap is so much friendlier to my wallet, as it lasts longer than liquid ones. Environmentally speaking, it has a smaller carbon footprint as it usually comes with paper packaging—or none at all. It wasn't until I looked into the zero waste lifestyle did I realise that there's a bar that works as both soap and shampoo. Although I have bought one of those 2-in-1 bars before, I've never actually used them as shampoo. I've heard great reviews from those who have, though. You can get one of those from Cleanomic, Zero Waste Indonesia, Warung 1000 Kebun and Green Mommy Shop.

Bamboo Cotton Buds

One of the things I keep reading on zero waste support groups is that cotton buds are basically the devil's work. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people on earth who uses them frequently. Not to get too TMI, but my earwax is of the more liquid kind, which requires cotton buds. When my ears get itchy, I find comfort in sticking one of those buds in there. It's a controversial practice and I honestly don't give a damn. All I know is that I need cotton buds in my life. Luckily, I have found a compostable alternative made out of bamboo. One of my friends reckon I could even DIY them, but, personally, I just don't have the time. Feel free to get them for yourself from Ekko Store, Cleanomic, Warung 1000 Kebun and Green Mommy Shop.

Menstrual Cup

A controversial purchase, perhaps, but hear me out. Switching from disposable menstrual pads to one menstrual cup has been incredibly life-changing for me. Do you know that menstrual pads—as well as tampons—are almost impossible to recycle? They're made out of various synthetic materials and laden with numerous bacteria, that it's near impossible to recycle them. Menstrual cups, for me, are so practical and it helps me calm down about my period. You can read all about my experience and thoughts here. But, if you're still not convinced, there are also such things as reusable menstrual pads. You can get them both from Ekko Store and Zero Waste Indonesia, and menstrual pads from Green Mommy Shop.

Organic Deodorant

Okay, time for a confession: for years I've never used deodorant until December 2018. That was around the time I started my internship at my current office. It was pointed out to me, kindly, that I might have been emanating a less-than-pleasant odour. Just like that, I realised that I need to buy zero waste deodorant. I've seen a recipe on how to DIY my own deodorant, but since the materials felt either quite expensive or hard to place, I've never gotten around to actually making it. In need of a hasty solution, I decided to just buy one. Mine is more of a paste, but there are the solid and liquid variety too. You can buy one from Cleanomic, Green Mommy Shop and Dimanja Bumi.

Sometimes we are so fixated on taking care of ourselves that we would do so at a cost to the environment. But, you know what, you can do both at the same time too! These are, obviously, only a small portion to all the changes and alternatives you can use that are free of plastics. You can take a look at all the products and tools that you tend to use around the house, and perhaps come up with a plastic-free solution yourself. God knows I still need to work on that. Again, feel free to check out my Instagram story highlight to find out more stores where you can get zero waste products.

Let me know how you've been taking care of yourselves without plastics!

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