Two Thousand and Seventeen

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It’s almost been a year since I started this blog, and while I often don’t have time to write much, I’m happy with the fact that this journal will always be a click away whenever I need a platform to channel my thoughts, travel adventures, and my love for little things in life.

Looking back, 2016 had been a remarkable year. To say that the first half of the year was tough is an understatement. I remember clearly the days where I was feeling frustrated, bitter, angry, and days where I was simply a miserable mess. But it’s okay, because it taught me to let go. I learned from the hard times, the heartbreak, the tears, from the mistakes and from my own shortcomings. It made me a little bit wiser and a little bit stronger, and as much as it sucked, I wouldn’t change a moment of it because it brought me where I am today.

If I had to pin-point one moment that changed everything it would be moving to Australia. It was one of the most challenging and exciting things that has ever happened to me, and leaving home has changed me and shifted my whole perspective on things. It taught me to survive on my own.

I can’t stress how badly I realized that I love home and the people I call so. There are days where I wanted nothing more than to wake up at home and sneak into my parents’ room and turn on their TV to watch Sunday morning cartoons.These are the things you learn to appreciate more and more as you return home.

I admit, my school itself is a whole different level there than it was in Indonesia. I had to upped my study game to merely pass (I’m glad that all those late nights in the library had successfully paid off). In the weeks leading up to my departure, I remember being absolutely terrified about not being able to “click” with the new place. But never had I been so wrong. It seems like I’ve made more new friends in the past 6 months than I did in 20 years. It may sound crazy, but these improbable friendships often seem destined. It’s when the cliche sayings of “You cross paths for a reason” make absolute sense. Coming from different parts of the world and despite all of our differences, we were there for each other. I’m eternally grateful for the moments I got to share with them, big or small, from pulling up all-nighters in the library cramming our final Unit Ops reports to all the parties we went to with a little bit of liver functionality that we have left.

2016 gave me a lifetime supply of stories to tell and moments to look back to. I’m thankful for the times I spent laughing my face off, the times I stayed up talking to someone I loved, and the times it made me feel invincible. Unlike all other years, it left an impact. As for 2017, it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. Happy New Year from yours truly.

x,
Amanda.

Some of my favorite moments from 2016.

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12 Things I Love About Coming Home for Christmas

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While going home for the holidays may mean long flights and an overstuffed suitcase, it’s something I know I will always look forward to from this year onwards. Living abroad has taught me that Christmas is so much more than just a holiday cliché and here’s why I’m truly grateful to be home this most wonderful time of the year.

  1. The warm feeling of being back home and snuggling in my parents’ bedroom again, watching holiday movies with sis and sneaking grilled cheese into the room.
  2. Being back in my own time zone, sleeping in my own bed with a sign over it that says my name and is slightly embarrassing. And oh, duvets. Sweet glorious duvet.
  3. Driving suddenly becomes way more enjoyable than any other time during the year because you have the perfect excuse to render to Christmas songs to your heart’s content and possibly beautiful lights popping up everywhere you go.
  4. The morning you pulled out the mighty box of Christmas tree, lights, and ornaments and putting decorations up with people you love most.
  5. Baking Christmas cookies and the smell of freshly baked goods.
  6. Reuniting with my favorite cup of caramel macchiato and Starbucks has red cups so nothing else matters. (No they don’t have Starbucks in every single corner in Australia. You’re lucky to even spot one.)
  7. Having access to your entire wardrobe and make-up collection again. Because life with only 3 pair of shoes and one shade of eye shadow just ain’t the same.
  8. Catching up with old friends and family and being asked about life in Brisbane. Not to brag, but it’s been lit and definitely the highlight of the year.
  9. Family dinners that carry on forever and in which you had a little too much candies and end up dancing to The Chainsmokers with your little sister because sugar high is apparently a real thing. Also having family members tell embarrassing stories about you when you were little (which they tend to get more and more exaggerated every year.)
  10. Being fed like a child because your mother decides you’re not eating well enough at school and seems to want to satisfy all of your Indonesian food cravings. Also finally not having to worry about not being able to afford restaurant bills.
  11. Grandma’s occasional foot massages. And naps. So many naps.
  12. Spending time with your family, friends, and simply being surrounded by people who matter. Because there’s truly no place like home for the holidays.

I came to realize that the best things in life are the people we love and this year I appreciate being home more than ever before. Merry everything and a happy always. X

Notes From a Homesick Heart

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I can’t even begin to find the words nor contain the excitement of writing my first post since moving to Australia. I know I’ve been on a long hiatus but all this moving and settling down have been keeping me so occupied that I didn’t have chance to blog much about the whole experience as it was happening. Today marks exactly one month since I moved here as well as the anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence Day and seeing all these posts about celebrating the big day back home, I couldn’t be more homesick.

As great as it has been so far, I won’t lie – moving here from Indonesia, leaving my family and friends behind, was gut-wrenching and has been one of the scariest yet most exciting things that has ever happened to me. I didn’t realize how much I could miss home up to this very day. I spent the whole afternoon looking at the photographs and videos that we took on our last family getaway, browsing for Indonesian food recipes, and actually listening to different versions of our National songs on Spotify. So here’s a little note from my homesick heart.

I’m sorry for all the times I called you boring and lame. I didn’t see that there will come a day where I would miss your cracked sidewalks, your local cafes where I spent most of my Friday nights at, your endless summer warmth, and the faces of people who call you home. You gave me so many wonderful memories and friendships to last a lifetime. It’s safe to say that my fondest memories are locked behind those walls of my high school classrooms and my beloved alma mater Universitas Indonesia. I miss all the random movie nights and going to our go-to ramen place cornered at a gas station near home where my friends and I would always end up at whenever we ran out of places to hang out at. We would stay late and had countless conversations about how the future would unfold or simply reminiscing our high school days.

You gave me the loveliest paradise and trips of a lifetime. You still have the most beautiful beaches and sunsets I’ve ever seen, the most gorgeous paddy fields, and the most diverse of cultures I’ve ever experienced. I promise to explore a lot more of you whenever I’m home. Although you’re not always a pure bliss (I still don’t think I can cope with your traffic jams), I can never express how much appreciation I have for what you have brought to my life. We all grow up and move on, but that doesn’t mean we forget where we came from. Because no matter where I end up or where this crazy world takes me, you are and will always be home.

Dirgahayu Indonesia. You’ve come so far and even further you will go.

Ps. Looking forward to eating my way through Pesta Rakyat this coming Sunday and celebrate Independence Day with all fellow Indonesians.

Summer Bliss

This week has already been a series of bad luck; starting from a major accident that I got into on Monday morning (which I’d rather not talk about), an ugly allergy reaction and the nasty flu that caught me after. All of this only leads to my organized plans falling apart including work and a medical check-up appointment for a student visa that had to be rescheduled until after I fully recover. I usually get stir crazy after being in bed for more than a day, but I made the right call and opted to get the rest I needed.

Since the days pretty much forced me to stay in my pajamas and bed all day, I decided to try my best to stay positive and reminisce about a picture perfect weekend spent on an island getaway last week. I posted some pictures and videos up on my Instagram and Snapchat, which surprisingly led to so many people commenting and personally messaging me to ask where I went (half actually guessed Bali in the first try). One wouldn’t guess that only two short hours by speedboat from the bustling city of Jakarta, you’d find such a gorgeous and pristine place. Tiger Island, or Pulau Macan as they call it, is a true hidden gem and even that is an understatement.

The accommodation (we were in the Island hut) was the most romantic I ever stayed in with a deck and stairs over the sea. At night we laid down on the deck stargazing for hours and in the morning we got out of bed, stood by the sea and watched the sunrise. One of highlights of the trip I must say was the little island hopping adventure I had with my siblings the next day. At the crack of dawn, we took a little paddle boat out and rowed our way to a nearby island. There were no people occupying it and it was just the three of us snorkeling and swimming on the beach where warm sands meets crystal clear turquoise water. It was so calming and serene that we simply didn’t wanna leave. There were plenty to do – and not to do – involving a lot of soaking in the sun, listening to my Spotify summer playlists (mostly by Kings of Convenience), and taking lots of naps.

While this may or may not be my last official family vacation before I’m leaving for Australia in just the count of days, I’m glad that it was such a bliss and filled with beautiful memories to look back on. Looking forward to sunnier days and recovering real soon. Have a great week.

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Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOur eco-friendly hut with no air-con. But who needs one when you have the sea breeze?

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetA private deck to our own side of the beach

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Because if you’re not barefoot then you’re overdressed

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What every morning should be like if I had my way

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Paddled our way across to this breathtaking (unoccupied) paradise and was worth all the sunburn

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My absolute beach essentials (minus my SPF 50 sunscreen) 

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Irresistible naps after mornings spent lazing in the sun, swimming, and snorkeling

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Then waking up to this, I could really get used to.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetTo say I fell in love with this place is an understatement because no words or pictures could really do the place justice

A Day in Bandung

A few weeks ago I went for a little getaway to Bandung with 2 of my girlfriends, which I wrote about in this earlier post. So this video pretty much summed up our trip including all the foods and sight-seeings we managed to squeeze in a day in Bandung. Now that we’re officially on break, it just reminds me of how much I miss their silly company and what a lovely day it was to look back on. Desperately need to have something planned out real soon. I hope you check it out and give it a thumb up.

 

Five Things

This year, June 6 marks the start of Ramadan, an annual observance for Muslims all over the world especially in Indonesia, considering it being one of the biggest Muslim countries. During this month-long fasting, people normally host gatherings with friends or family to break their fasts at the end of the day. Being a non-Muslim myself, I do have a lot of friends and family who are fasting and I grow up being accustomed to and do enjoy the tradition of breaking fast every Ramadan.

I also went to see Now You See Me 2 on its first opening day in the theater with some friends. I’ll admit this movie had incredibly big shoes to fill. I absolutely love the first one & believe it to be a genuinely hard film to beat. While it is definitely hard for me to say if this one was better than the first or not, I’m glad that it lived up to the high expectations it had set for me and definitely did not disappoint. This movie takes the levels of suspense of disbelief to a whole new level where magic and a Robin Hood heist all combined into one. And don’t even get me started on the casts, because I immediately got into my fangirl mode and went online to get my Tumblr doze of Dave Franco and Jesse Eisenberg as soon as I got home.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetOne of the many breaking fasts menu I had with friends this week (Holycow’s Medium Rib Eye)Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetDefinitely ordering this Manhattan Fish Market’s seafood platter on my next detour thereProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset
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A captivating book recommended by an English teacher of mine from high school that I’m currently re-reading

New Sport: Rock Climbing

One of the things included in my summer to-do-list was to try a new sport and rock climbing has been something I’ve been dying to get back to. It just so happened that a new indoor climbing facility recently opened up in the neighborhood and this week I finally had a chance to check the place out. Rock climbing was actually something I did regularly with one of my cousins when we were little (there used to be a climbing facility in a mall’s parking lot in Jakarta but got shut down when I was about 10), so while it doesn’t exactly fall in a new sport category, it was definitely something I was excited (after nearly 10 years) to get back to.

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So I went to check the place out with a friend of mine and the space was in fact a lot bigger than expected. It was just us at first but then there were some intense people training there while we really just played around. There were all kinds of walls to climb on, including walls for traditional climbing, top roping, and bouldering. We first threw on our climbing shoes and harnesses, and learned about the basic techniques of rope-knotting and climbing.

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I must have genuinely forgot about how challenging this sport was, because I fell short on the first try. The hardest part is personally not the climbing itself, but the constant thinking of your next step and planning ahead. Although, it does involve a lot of legs and upper body workout. A lot of times I would get myself all twisted up and I would have to really stop and think the next step through in order to unwind myself and climb on. I also found it really tempting to just repel down instantly whenever I look down and realize how far I’ve gone up, so words of encouragement from my friend and instructor played a really big part in topping my every climb.  It was both physically and mentally exhausting but at the same time satisfyingly rewarding once you reach those tops. We were beyond drained at the end of our climb but definitely looking forward to come back again!