what I wish I knew when I was 20

True, I lived alone in a lodging when I was 20 years old. I was in my 3rd year of undergrad and felt like I knew a lot of things. Truth is, I knew nothing back then. Now I wish I knew these things:

  1. A relationship can either be toxic or healthy. Yes, I was never in a relationship when I was 20. And I’ve been in 3 in the past 10 years. And yes, I have been in both the toxic and healthy ones. To put it simply, healthy relationship will make you a better individual, while the healthy one the opposite.
  2. Your career is determined by your first job. Well, how could I have known it? I was just a 3rd year student, still more than one year away from having to think about working. I didn’t even think much about graduating. LOL. Thank God I have my mom who guided me well during the job offer selection. (Otherwise I might have been trapped into working a job I will regret later.)
  3. Your family will be the part of your life that you appreciate most. Everything in your life starts with your family. Now that there are many sad stories about broken home families I heard, I’m feeling even more grateful for the family I was born into. It is true that you cannot choose which family you’re born into, but in most cases, they are the persons who will love you unconditionally.
  4. Who your family is or where you went to school doesn’t matter in life – who you are does. During school years, most students are dependent to their parents. That’s why most children will feel that family and school are important. The opposite will happen after you’re becoming an adult – who you are matters.
  5. Getting a job that pays you decently is hard, but managing to collect money is even harder. I was a fresh graduate when I worked for my first job, with lower salary than most of my male college friends. I’d then continued to Master’s, where after graduating, my first job also paid me lower than most of my male friends. According to research, women tend to get lower pay due to lower self esteem and easier to be negotiated. This is because women have the duty of taking care of their families more than guys do, making them less productive and work less hours. I think I should just live with the fact and stop living a fancy lifestyle, no? ‘No’ would be my answer then, still tempted to eat at fancy restaurants, have coffee at fancy cafes and go on holidays now and then. πŸ˜€ Those, for me, are money well spent – an even better investment than bank deposits.
  6. Your friends are not gonna be with you forever – they get lost with time. Research proved that friendships that last more than 7 years are going to last forever. From my experience, only a few high school and college friends are still in contact with me. And even fewer that I still regularly meet. Sometimes I think my parents are right – no friendship lasts forever.
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[review] the amazing Devdan Show

During my short visit to Bali last weekend, I only had one activity scheduled out (the rest is spontaneous): watching Devdan Show in Nusa Dua Theater. Tickets to the show can be booked 3 months prior the date through the official website or via BookMyShow (1 week in advance only, but with cheaper price). There are 4 seat categories according to the seat (VIP got Lazboy lounge) and position (straight eyesight in the center for VIP, more to the rear and sides for Category C): VIP and Categories A, B, and C. Booked hastily between tasks, I clumsily booked through the original website, where the cheapest ticket price for Category C is $40/person. After making the booking (you will be asked to enter your credit card information for ‘warranty’ – it will only be charged if you cancel the booking), I emailed the ticketing PIC confirming about ticket prices for local tourists. Apparently ticket prices for local tourists are much cheaper than those for international ones (sadly, the number of local audiences is significantly less than international ones).

Image result for devdan logo

Theme of the show is ‘treasure of Indonesian archipelago’. The show started with an opening scene of a group of tourists having a walk in the woods, led by a local tour guide, when 2 kids separated and found a treasure chest. In the treasure chest were Indonesian traditional crafts, and by the time the kids took the crafts out, dances from the province/island of where the crafts belong to were performed. It was really great seeing young people performing beautiful traditional dances in beautiful traditional clothes, in harmony. It was a 90 minute well spent. πŸ™‚

We are not allowed to record videos or take pictures during the show, except for the closing scene.

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Closing Scene with All Casts on Stage

(for girls) types of guys and how to deal with them

**Disclaimer: I’m not a real pro when it comes to dealing with guys; I’m just sharing my experience here.**

As I’ve told you in my previous post, I was single for 3 years before I finally decided to settle down with my boyfriend. During those 3 years, I had met some guys from different background and hence different ways of approach.

  1. The geek. Working in an engineering company, by default I meet this type the most. Say it the guys who are ‘trapped’ in engineering world that they will sporadically approach any girls around them, to the ones who are so consumed in their own worlds. Basically, the geeks are nice guys, regardless of whether they have weird sense of humor or simply weird habits. Most geek guys are shy, so it is highly likely that they will just be your secret admirers and help you in any way they could. Some girls might find geeks beneficial in the way and even ‘use’ their kindness.
  2. The nervous. I separate this category with no 1 because geeks are not necessarily nervous when facing girls. Sometimes the nervous are just them who are not used to be friends with girls. The most noticeable sign of the nervous is the stumbling they make when they speak or act.
  3. The stalker. You might not realize this type exists, but they might know everything about you. They know when and where you came to school/work everyday, where you have lunch, where you hang out after work, etc. etc. Sound creepy? It’s a yes for me. Most stalkers are nice guys, though. They will not hesitate to send you flowers if they find out you like them, or give you things you need most in time. Be careful with the aggressive ones, still.
  4. The initiator. Or the aggressive, I can say. This type initiates most of the things you’ve been through together. They will be the ones introducing themselves to the girls they like, asking us out on dates, and contacting us frequently to make sure they are within our radar. (P.S: I was mostly attracted to the initiator – only after then I realize that I need constant attention.)
  5. The humorist. They are the type of guys who will cast out jokes or do stupid things to make the girls laugh. Consequently, they will highly likely become the guys girls closest to and feel comfortable with. The downside of the humorist is they’re often trapped in the friend zone.

Whichever type of guys you’re facing, the most important thing to remember is to instantly make a distance and tell them when you’re not interested as to not give them false hope. Never take their kindness for granted.

What a Boss Wants by Christian Simamora

*First of all, I need to say sorry for not being able to write a review about Christian Simamora’s previously released book. Here’s the review of his newest novel titled ‘What a Boss Wants’ which was released early August 2017.

Jiro Amadeus Vimana inherited Toybox, a local toy producer, from his father, Danno Vimana, who has recently become ill. Danno is a Vimana who doesn’t want to use his family’s name and wealth to start a business – instead, he started Toybox with his own blood and sweat. After 1 year of retreat around Asia, Jiro still could not fight the fear he’s had when dealing with the dictator Danno, who wouldn’t listen to whatever Jiro said.

Becoming a toy designer has always been Soleram Anand (Sol)’s dream ever since she was a child. Being a huge fan of Carousel Pony, she practically lived in a fairy tale she’s created for herself. Never had she imagined that she would be working with a very charming and handsome Jiro in Toybox, which honestly had attracted her since her first day of work. Jiro had always been, on the other hand, out of reach for Sol that she didn’t dare dreaming about him.

Shanghai Toy Expo had somehow brought the two people traveling together: the love-skeptical Jiro and the imaginative Sol. Spending one week away from home, the ice between Jiro and Sol melted away..

As expected, Christian Simamora has become more mature in his diction and story plot. The novel is very much enjoyable, making every reader want to keep flipping the pages on and on. Keep up the good work, Bang! πŸ˜€

[food review] (porky) ramen in Jakarta

In the past 2 years, there are a lot of ramen (Japanese noodle) restaurants opening in Jakarta. While many people in Jakarta are moslem, these restaurants serve pork ramen openly – some also provide separate cooking pots and serving bowls too (between halal/non-pork and non-halal/pork menu).

Here are the ranked list of my favorites (opinions may vary):

  • Ippudo. What I like the most about Ippudo is the authenticity of the way they serve their customers – to the point that the waitresses would kneel when taking orders. What’s more is the soup they use (pork and seafood broth that is just right – not too thick, not too thin), the mildness of the noodle, and the toppings. My favorites are shiromaru motoaji, pork bun, and lasagna gyoza (Japanese-style dumpling). (Reference: Ippudo Ramen Indonesia)
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Shiromaru Motoaji

  • Ikkudo Ichi. Out of all ramen restaurants in my list, I think this is the most popular one with the most branches. The typical interior of the restaurants is false pinkΒ sakura (cherry blossom) and paper lanterns on the ceiling, with yellowish lighting. Compared to Ippudo, the soup is thicker. What’s more is that we can choose from 2 noodle options: curly and straight/mild, and 3 mildness options: hard, medium and soft. My favorite is Ikkudo Buta Kara (topped with boiled egg, pork loins and spicy sauce). (Reference: Zomato)
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Ikkudo Buta Kara

  • Hakata Ikkousha. I tried this ramen because many friends are recommending it. I don’t really like it, though. The soup is not so thick, which is nice, but it is also a bit bland for my taste. The favorite menu there is ramen babi spesial/special pork ramen. (Reference: Ikkousha Ramen Indonesia)
ramen babi spesial

Ramen Babi Spesial

  • Ramen 38 (Sanpachi). This might be the oldest ramen restaurant available in Jakarta, and in fact, it’s not so famous as it was, say, 8 years ago. I guess to play it safe, the management of this restaurant only opens the pork-contained menu in a restaurant separated from shopping malls, which is not so necessary nowadays, given that many other restaurants would carelessly (well, they always inform upfront that they serve pork and people will be OK with that) open about serving pork, regardless of whether it is located in a shopping mall or not. My favorite menu in Ramen 38 is Chashu Ramen, which is topped only with pork loin chops and spinach. (Reference: Zomato)
chashu ramen

Chashu Ramen

  • Menya Sakura. The special thing about this restaurant is they only use high quality pork bone for the soup base – hence creating ‘umami’ taste. However, I don’t really like this ramen so much. The best menu available is the kangkung. The tsukemen is also quite special, with thick seafood soup. (Reference: Menya Sakura Indonesia)
  • Bariuma Ramen. This one is, in my opinion, the worst of all ramen restaurant listed here. The soup somehow tastes a lot like Indomie soup with additional salt. The noodle is also not so special. It’s still edible, though, but not recommended if you have other choices. For non-pork eaters, this restaurant is quite recommended, though, since they separate all pork and non pork dishes and cutleries: red for pork menu and black for non pork. (Reference: Zomato)
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Pork Ramen in Red Bowl

[Japanese Noodle] differences of ramen, soba, udon, and somen

Working in an office building where a lot of Japanese companies are stationed, I got to visit an authentic Japanese restaurant (located in the building) frequently. Thus, getting to know about the food is just natural. What’s interesting is the noodles.

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There are 4 common Japanese noodles that I become familiar with so far:

  • Ramen. Out of the 4 types, I think this is the most widely known type. Ramen is like Chinese-made wheat noodle, served with meat-based broth/soup (either chicken or pork) or miso/shoyu soup. As for the topping, the normally used ones are spring onion, seaweed (nori), and the meat itself.
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Ramen (picture from Wikipedia)

  • Udon. Udon is the second most popular noodle. Thicker than ramen, udon is also made from wheat flour, served with milder soup of soysauce base. It is usually topped with fried dishes (tempura).
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Udon

  • Soba. Soba is Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour, with or without the mix of wheat flour. What’s unique about soba is that it can be served both hot and cold, normally depending on the season. Both hot and cold soba are served with mild soysauce (shoyu)-based soup and topped with spring onion and nori.
  • Somen. Somen is also made from wheat flour, but with very thin diameter (it’s very soft structured like vermicelli). It is more common to find somen served cold, but I tried the hot version and I like it. Like soba, it is normally served with mild shoyu-based soup.
Somen

Somen

to the broken-hearted 25s ladies (P.S: happy ending is for everyone)

Dear Beautiful Ladies,

I am writing this ‘letter’ to motivate all of you who are broken hearted, especially if you are 25 years old or older. Hopefully this will help you find yourself (a) happy ending(s).

First of all, let me tell you a story about me and my ex (for privacy purpose, let’s refer to him as A). We met when I was 23, very young and pure (I didn’t even drink beer back then), and he was 27. We worked at the same company, so you can say that we had cinlok (‘local’ love) at first. Then I went to Australia for Master’s, and we somehow managed to maintain the long distance relationship until I came back to Jakarta for good.

Long story short, we had always planned for a serious relationship, so it wasn’t very shocking when we finally discussed about marriage. Being a defensive kid to my parents, I still needed (and still do) their blessings for the big step of my life. When I brought up the topic to my mom, she only replied with a question: “Are you sure he’s the one?”, which I could not answer confidently. She’d then suggested me to rethink about it, and after a careful thought, I decided to break up with A. It wasn’t an easy decision; both A and I were badly heartbroken. I never really know what happened with A, but for all I know, he’s happily married now (which was another reason for my second broken heart with him).

It’s just natural that I spent several months despairing about our break up, and another 3 years looking for the best guy. I might be a strong girl that I didn’t think about committing suicide or depending myself on drugs that might kill me as well, but I did drink alcohol (which I never did before!) and thought about smoking (thank God I was surrounded by good friends who prevented me from doing so) during the desperate times. I became a different person to my family and friends, keeping a distance from them. Oh, and I cried a lot too. Time really heals any kind of wounds.

Soon after I made peace with myself (and family and friends), good things keep coming to me: I found myself happiness, made new friends, reached a career goal, achieved self actualization, and went to amazing places that I never thought I would visit. However, I was still single; I was happy being single at first, cleansing myself from all the downsides of being in a relationship until at one point, I felt that I needed a boyfriend, so I started looking. πŸ™‚

The journey of finding the best guy was not an easy one, as I was looking for a life partner, not just a boyfriend for fun. Hence, 3 years were spent. I dated some guys and even tried online dating (which doesn’t work for me!), got my heart broken several times, and was involving myself in a drama (re: dating 2 guys at the same time) before I decided to settle with ‘the one’.

How to decide if someone’s ‘the one’:

  • Keep in mind that a perfect guy doesn’t exist (he only exists in fairy tales).
  • Keep yourself open for options before settling down.
  • Pay attention to yourself: if your heart beats faster every time you’re with the guy, then he’s not the one (and you should probably check yourself to the cardiologist :P). ‘The one’ will make you feel calm, comfortable, and at peace when you’re with him.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings: when you’re destined to be with someone (‘the one’), your surroundings will change too. This includes your family and friends support you, the universe seems to send you fortune and luck, and you just ‘click’ like you’ve known the person for your whole life, even though you just met him recently.

Ladies, I know that you might be totally heartbroken at the moment, or even decided that you don’t deserve to be happy with a significant other ever. Please feel free to think and feel the way you want to think and feel. When the time comes, all those feelings and thoughts will be over. Fill your days with meaningful things, smile a lot, and accomplish any dreams you have. It is when you’re happiest with yourself that you will find love.

Everything I write here will sound too dreamy for you, but it’s the truth – I went through it all. You have to believe that if I can, then you can too.

Be happy and love yourself.

XOXO,

Inez