Mouth to Mouth by Christian Simamora

OK. Christian Simamora is officially my favorite Indonesian romance author now. As soon as I knew the new novel is released, I raced to the bookstore to buy 1 copy. He’s back with his J-boyfriend series this time. (Preorder is one option but I like being in control of what I’m paying for more. You can always preorder here:

Image result for mouth to mouth christian simamora

Isadora (Is), our main actress of the novel, was a buyer at a premium department store, Haute & Co. She was traumatized by her ex boyfriend, Al, with whom she just broke up 1 month ago and who couldn’t understand the meaning of ‘break up’. Al kept contacting her, saying that he missed her and that he wanted her back. What’s worse was the fact that Al was somehow related to Is’ sister’s soon-to-be husband (their wedding was 2 weeks away). She convinced him that she already had a new boyfriend but Al wouldn’t buy it, resulting in her having to take her ‘new boyfriend’ to her sister’s wedding.

Jordache (Jordi), definitely our J-boyfriend, happened to just moved in to Is’ next room in her lodge. A couple of meetings with Jordi popped an idea to Is’ head: to make him her fake boyfriend, to take to her sister’s wedding to make her ex boyfriend believe that she had a new boyfriend. Little did they know that after Jordi agreed to being Is’ fake boyfriend, they would be enjoying the pretending very much.

I enjoyed the novel very much that I finished reading in 2 days. Definitely couldn’t stop reading once I started. Another good job from Babang Christian Simamora. 😀


the unusually extrovert post about my past relationships

As I scrolled through my own blog (yes, I’m that narcissistic), I just realized that it’s been very long since my last post sharing my experience (like it matters).

As I’m preparing for my wedding, my thoughts would go to the past. (Yes, only thoughts, no text messages or meet ups with the exes.) One thing that I shared a couple of times on my social media but have not yet explained is this quote I received from a friend who also shared her friend’s post. Hence, the origin is unknown, really.

During my school days, I was not a regular girl. I was always the easily-angry-to-boys kind of girl back in junior high, so I didn’t really have a lot of boy friends back then. It was even worse in high school, since I went to an all-girls school. Then I went to engineering school, where most friends are boys and no girl in engineering school is considered a girl by those boys. Especially because I was a tomboy. So there goes my teenage and early adult years with no boyfriend. Of course, as a normal girl, I liked a couple of junior high seniors and a few college friends, but I was never really in a relationship with anyone. (Well, technically, I was in a relationship, for a few days, and it was back in junior high school when no relationship really matters – except for those couples who managed to maintain the relationship up to their adult ages, which are very rarely found.)

Here goes the list:

  1. My first boyfriend was my best friend in uni (or so I thought). Back in uni, we went through an inseparable phase. We would’ve spent the whole day together; we studied and hung out together. Oh, we even went on a holiday together (to clarify, the holiday happened before our relationship started and we went together with 7 other friends). It was really sad when the relationship ended only after the count of months. Apparently, we were in better state as friends than as a couple and I regret the relationship not for the spent time, but for the loss of a good friend.
  2. My second boyfriend was by far the longest relationship I ever had (by the time I’m writing this post). Learning from my first relationship, I was a bit traumatized by same-aged guys. So I got myself involved with this older guy. He was so perfect: mature, smart, caring, spoiling, emotionally stable.. we even survived long distance relationship. I was so sure he was the right guy for me, until his imperfection started to show, one by one. From here, I learned that nobody is perfect.
  3. My third boyfriend, who I’m about to marry, was found after a long 3-year of singledom. After the second break up, I went through all the desperate times up to the moment that I was actually enjoying myself and thought I wouldn’t need anyone else to be happy (and so maybe I wouldn’t need to marry ever). Just as I felt so full of myself, this guy came into the picture, slowly but surely presenting himself in my life to the point I got used to his presence and was afraid of losing him. What’s so different to the previous relationships is the fact that everything is so easy with this guy, even from the start. He’s a total opposite of both my exes, so at first I thought things would never go as smooth as I wanted it to, but it turns out that this is the easiest relationship I’ve been in. We are so much alike, we understand each other easily, and we keep being 2 separate individuals, ourselves, instead of getting co-dependent on each other.
  • So here I am now, thinking that I’ve finally grown up, having fallen in love with 3 different guys, each with a different background and story. I cannot really relate to the few last sentences, not yet, but I know now that in the end, everyone will get the love that s/he deserves, and until the time comes, the best thing one can do is to prepare to be the best version of himself. Every life story will be beautiful in its own time.
  • To my exes, if any of you is reading this: thank you for sharing your past with me. Life goes on, let’s not look back to ‘what if’s and ‘how it was’. Be grateful for what’s happened, move on and accept the fact that we can never go back to the way we were before the relationships happened, no matter whatever words we exchanged when we broke up. 🙂 Let’s face it: we are all happy with our lives now, and that’s all that matters.
  • *I reckon this is the better way of sharing my message rather than directly messaging people as this media is a one-way communication.
  • After You by Jojo Moyes

    I happened to find this book in Big Bad Wolf 2018 (it is an annual book event, normally held for 10-12 days straight: and bought it because it was cheap, without thinking to finish reading it. My last time reading English novel(s) was a while ago, with the novel getting dusty on my bedside table and still marked at the last page I read.

    Of course, I watched the movie “Me Before You”, which is the prequel of this novel, and I like the movie.

    In ‘After You’, Louisa Clark (Lou) was going through a deep heartbreak after losing Will Traynor to a painful planned death. She’d traveled around Europe for 1 years, moved out of her parents’ house to stay in London, and worked a horrible job at an airport bar. She was too scared to sleep that most nights she would just smoke and drink until she dropped and fell asleep. One night when she was smoking at the balcony of her apartment, she fell down from the fifth floor and half paralyzed for a while. The first half of the novel is as gloomy as everyone can imagine.

    After checking out of hospital, she went back to her parents’ house and was let go with 1 requirement: she must join ‘Moving On Circle,’ a support group in a church in London consisting of people who had lost their loved ones, gathering every Friday evening. In Moving On Circle, she met a lot of other people just like her, sharing stories and reminiscing memories of their lost loved ones. As a sugar on top, she also met Jake, a teenage boy whose mother died due to cancer and father irresponsibly bounced from a girl to another girl. He was picked up regularly by Sam, a paramedic who happened to be the one rescuing Lou after her accident in her apartment.

    Lou’s life was changed the moment Lily Houghton-Miller showed up, bringing a shocking news that she was Will Traynor’s daughter. As much as Lou didn’t want to believe that Lily was Will’s daughter, by time she found that Lily got more like Will in many ways, from physical to mental traits. Lily was as unstable as a 16-year-old girl can be, and Lou felt responsible for Lily’s happiness, especially since she always felt that she was unwanted by her own mother (who got married to another guy and had 2 sons).

    In the end, as every romance novel ends, everything went well for Lou, Sam, and Lily. They all got the life they wanted in the first place.

    This novel is a good read, given that I finished reading in less than 2 months after flipping through the first page.

    Remuk Redam by Christian Simamora

    Yes, I didn’t preorder this one and I had to get in and out of bookstores for 3 consecutive days before I finally found one (and bought it without thinking).

    Display Buku Remuk Redam [Edisi TTD + Bonus: Notes Jatuh Cinta]

    This book is a “spin-off” of the previously released “Burn Baby Burn“, which you can read without reading the predecessor. In Burn Baby Burn, the main character loved listening to a band named “Expectation”, for their single “Tsundere”, to be exact. Here in Remuk Redam, the main character is the vocalist of Expectation, Lucas Wolff. He is best friends with his manager and another YouTube hit, Mahir Siregar.

    There once was a young woman who owned a man clothing label called “Gentleman 1995”, which was on the edge of bankruptcy. This woman, Olivia, inspired by her gay best friend, Fendi‘s spontaneous words, came to an event to approach Mahir with an expectation that he will be attracted to her, be her boyfriend, and promote her label for free. The most effective way to boost up a company’s profit this day, really.

    Never came to her mind that she will instead attract Luc – the short of Lucas, a typical rocker who once broke her heart: a playboy with a lot of tattoos on his skin. Regardless of how hard she tried, she always failed to reject Luc – this includes not putting her heart in a relationship, the one thing she’s always proud of. In the end, it was proved that Luc broke her heart, just as his image says. ‘It was never a good idea to be involved with a rocker,’ she thought as her world was falling around her.

    All in all, I can say Bang Christian Simamora is back with his romance style that I always love. Good job on this one too, Bang! I only needed 3 days (after office!!) to finish the book. 🙂 You should get 1 for yourself too.

    on getting out of my comfort zone

    The key persons to my getting-out-of-my-comfort-zone are none other than my parents.

    Thanks to their minimum control over their children’s life (apart from not letting me and my sister come home after 9 PM when we live at home), we are now considered (at least among our friends) tough, independent, and highly adaptable.

    While other (my friends’) moms insisted on putting their children in a school close to home regardless of the school’s qualities, my mom instead learned to drive and picked us up from school every single day (and took us to our extracurricular/after school activities when we had them).

    While other (my friends’) moms prohibited their children to go to a university in other city regardless of the university’s reputation (“as long as it’s not too bad,” they said), my mom encouraged me when she knew that I was interested in applying to (what she believes) the best institution in Indonesia. I received the same support when I enrolled to a university abroad for my master’s, because “it will enrich your experience and widen your knowledge,” she said.

    While other (my friends’) dads bought cars for their children while they were away from home and didn’t have enough yet to buy one themselves (including when they just started working), (I begged for a car also a lot of times but) my dad told me to ride (various) public transport and earn my own car because he didn’t have spare money to buy me one.

    It’s not that they don’t love us; we always get the love we need from our parents. I just understand this now, that instead of feeding us with everything we need, they have always prepared us to be ready to face the world on our feet. Not the food, but the bail. Including sending us to (what is considered) the best schools, not overly restraining us to do things, and giving advice instead of orders.

    All in all, my parents have always encouraged me and my sister to get out of our comfort zone if we’re sure what we’re doing is the best for us. I would not be who I am today if it’s not because of them, and I wish I would one day be a parent like them. 🙂

    how to survive Jakarta’s traffic: patience is key

    Yet another post about Jakarta’s traffic. A complain from a regular driver.

    According to our new governor, the number of motorcycles in Jakarta is now 13,000,000 and cars 3,000,000 out of total 100,000,000 people living in Jakarta. 1,000,000 of the motorcycles are used for online motorbike-taxi (‘ojek online’ a.k.a. ‘ojol’); the number keeps increasing by day and the ‘labor unions’ are getting stronger and more solid.

    Cars in Indonesia are mostly right-wheeled, so the normal rules are for slower vehicles (including but not limited to heavy trucks, buses with frequent stops except Transjakarta, bicycles, and motorcycles) to be on the left and faster on the right lane. However, it is clearly not the case in this city which is nominated one of top 10 cities with worst traffic in the world. As mentioned in the title: patience is key to survive Jakarta’s traffic.

    Image result for worst traffic cities jakarta

    The realities/road rules today (illustrations taken from kompasiana and si.mbot’s instagram):

    1. The poorer is the pity one, hence needs protection/immunity from the laws (including when laws are violated). The order from the richest to poorest: car drivers – motorbike riders – pedestrians. Whenever a case arises on the street, the richer is always the guilty one.
    2. As an addition to rule no. 1, it is not necessary for motorcycles to be ridden on the left lane. They are free to look for the ‘quickest’ possible lane, especially in the middle of traffic jams, because why bother joining the congestion when you are slim and able to slip in between cars?
    3. Even when we’re free from motorcycles, in toll roads another rules apply:
      • Heavy-loaded trucks, the slowest vehicle on the road, are necessarily on the left
      • Lighter-loaded trucks/vans/buses, which are obviously faster, are free to take any lane they want – including the most right lane during ’emergency’, regardless of the speed limits the vehicles allow
      • Private cars are left only with with the most right lane, hence blocking occurs when slower cars are in front. Faster cars are forced to overtake from the roadside.
    4. On a 2-lane roads, (I also don’t know why) slower motorcycles and cars really like to take the middle lane (neither left nor right), blocking both lanes and won’t slide even when dimmed.pacman
    5. Crossroads, U-turns and roundabouts are the most dangerous of all parts of the street. Cars and motorcycles are free to drive at any possible angle to turn to any possible route, creating chaos and deadlocks now and then.



    Shadow [Whatever]

    Dear Leaders, admit it. The most effective way in training new employees are by assigning them as ‘shadows’ to existing employees in the same position. The new recruit might be there to either replace, be a subordinate or even a manager to the existing employee. The advantages of implementing this shadowing technique are:

    • The existing employee, which nowadays is typically overloaded, gets the assistance s/he needs
    • The company saves cost for professional training, which normally are not so effective if not followed by real world problems
    • The new employee gets the experience, learning, and a new ‘friend’ s/he definitely needs to adapt to the new environment, without being burdened with full responsibility (yet)
    • (In case the existing employee is resigning midway from his/her position) the company gets the replacement right away

    When we’re talking about shadows, there are actually 2 different approach with 1 similarity: the shadows are hidden from the outside world, i.e. other organizations doing business with this organization don’t know that these shadows exist.

    1. First approach, which is also commonly done, is putting the shadows as advisors/consultants to the company. This approach is normally used when an organization has to work on a big, complex project like it has never done before, and they don’t want to bother existing employees other than the ones assigned to the project but also don’t want to hire/contract professional consultancy service.
    2. Second approach is putting new employees as shadows of existing ones, the one we’re discussing in this post.

    I might not be a good example when it comes to career path, but my many experiences have somehow enriched me to share. Please note that I’m a project manager, basically an individual contributor to a company, i.e. we work on our own with our own style at our own pace (hence we’re an ‘artist’ to our customer), without hierarchical subordinates.

    • I’ve been in a company where in my first months I was assigned as a ‘co-PM’ to other PM.
    • I’ve been in a company where I shadowed my assistant in my first couple of months before I was able to go on my own.
    • I’ve been in a company where I was ‘tried and tested’ to handle my own projects, closely controlled by my manager, followed by several formal training.

    Out of all 3 experiences, I can say that all methods are good, depending on the nature of the company. If the industry allows, then training is the most constructive way to sustain and develop the employees. However, the quicker way to ‘use’ the new employee will be the shadowing technique because it is super hands-on.

    *Confession: the title’s been there for more than a month now, but I was too lazy to update the post even though it’s been on my mind ever since. The original title is ‘Shadow Project Manager’ until I realized that this is applicable for all positions.*