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

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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!

Strangers That Turned Into Family

I’m so stoked to be back from finals and with a ton of pictures and stories to share. Today marks the end of my 4th semester as well as my last day in University of Indonesia. Don’t get too excited, I’m still far from graduating itself but as I’ve mentioned a couple times before, I’m transferring to Australia this July for my double degree programme (If all goes well, Amen) . These days time seems to just fly by and although I’ve been looking forward to today for as long as I could remember, I simply freaked out when it hits. The fact that I’m already halfway through uni itself seems like a bit of a brain-jumble. I think I’m supposed to say some cliché quotes here about how time flies when you’re having fun and all, but the days run away. They really do.

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Much love to Z for our almost matching off-shoulder topsIMG_7769

As I’m writing this I’m trying to throw way back to the first day the 15 of us sat together for a class. It was somewhere in early September 2014.  I remember looking at all of these new faces, having a hard time recalling half of the class’ names (because I naturally just suck at names), and simply carefully avoiding awkward conversations. But in between our long sleepy lectures, our Thursday lunches, our unquestionable “teamwork” performance from homeworks to finals, heart-to-heart convos, and our dumb inside jokes, I looked around and are just struck for a moment at what a family these once complete strangers have all become.

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Growing up, we make all different types of friendships.When I was younger, I put more emphasis on the amount of friends I had and whom I was friends with. But as I’ve gotten older, I truly value having a smaller, but closer circle of friends. Ones you can really trust, make new memories with, and constantly provide you with love and support. In essence, my #squadgoals are modest. And this right here, is one pretty damn good example.

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Our last full team lunch at Blue Jasmine at The MajaIMG_7726Chemical Engineering International Class of 2014, University of Indonesia

Five Things

This week, if I must say, was by far the busiest I’d ever been in the past few months. I had just started part-timing shifts at a coffee shop slash creamery in the neighbourhood to fill in my rather empty schedule from Thursday through Sunday. Yes, my classes only fill up 3 out of 7 days a week, and the rest is a ridiculously long weekend, so feel free to envy. There are a lot of perks that come with working at this place, including staff discounts, the cutest customers, and the fact that I get to “taste” all the 18-different-flavours of ice cream to my heart’s content. I’ve also been getting along with the owners and other part-timers (who are as much crazy as they are friendly) and there’s simply nothing about this job that I don’t love so far. 

To top it off this week, there were dozens of cupcakes order for a birthday party and some more to be sold at my work place. I baked endless trays of espresso cupcakes (I will be sharing the recipe in another post) and the whole house smelled like a coffee shop even hours after we were done. It was agreeably chaotic – in the sense that I felt exhausted but satisfyingly productive at the same time. Here are 5 things to sum up my week (that mostly involved food and beverages) and have a great week ahead!

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Practicing my milk-steaming for the countless time
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Weekly meeting situation for an upcoming event this end of monthIMG_6787
A coincidental wardrobe match and the cutest pair of unicorn slippers at a house party last week IMG_7840
Spot my espresso cupcakes at Hubble Scoop CreameryIMG_7819
Setting the tune for Monday and hopefully the whole week

The Bare Necessities

Yesterday I was just scrolling through my Facebook timeline when I spotted my friend posting on his wall this quote that reminded me so much of my childhood. It’s from Baloo from The Jungle Book, which 3-year-old-me used to watch all the time (besides my crazy obsession with Dumbo and The Lion King). This Disney classic told us a story about Mowgli, an abandoned child raised by wolves, who fled the jungle after a threat from a tiger. In the quest, he was accompanied by Bagheera the panther, and the carefree bear Balloo as he braves the jungle’s many perils. The life-action remake of The Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau recently made its way to the cinema, in which it loses the songs but brings new, ingenious twists on the original.

Jungle-Book-Baloo-9 “Look for the bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife.” Thanks for the reminder, Baloo. You big lovable bear.

I guess we never really grasped when we were kids, just how deep Disney movies are. We were too occupied with the silly songs, hilarious sidekicks, and princesses finding their happily ever afters to realise there are some seriously touching moments in so many Disney movies and lines that are incredibly moving that most people can relate to.  I can’t even get started on here, I will be typing for hours on how much I miss the classic Disney movies I had growing up. So here I’ve rounded up 8 of my favourite funny, life-changing quotes from my favourite Disney movies of all time, just to keep your chin up, and for old times’ sake.

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“Oh yes the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it” – Rafiki, The Lion King.
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“Cheer up, child. It’ll turn out all right in the end. You’ll see.” – Mrs Potts, Beauty and The Beast.
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“Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what outside, but what is inside that counts.” Aladdin, Aladdin.nemo
“When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!” – Dory, Finding Nemo.
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“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Gusteau, Ratatouille.
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“The very things that hold you down are gonna lift you up and up and up!” – Dumbo.tangled
“Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” – Rapunzel, Tangled.
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“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” – Winnie The Pooh.

Birthday Weekend Getaway

The last time I visited Singapore was nearly two years ago, when I stayed with my best friend in town for a few days on a short summer getaway. It was somewhat a farewell trip, a few months prior to her moving to Adelaide. My trip this time was almost spontaneous, considering everything was booked only two weeks before. I actually had a lot of conflicted feelings about leaving right before my exam, but after a string of particularly challenging weeks, I simply needed something relaxing to look forward to. Plus, it’s my birthday and that should be good enough excuse – no pun intended.

I’ve always loved the energy of the city – the dynamic mix of cultures, ideas, and histories – sparklingly savvy with a touch of old school. From the bustle of Orchard crossing to the off-the-beaten track neighbourhoods of Haji Lane, the city is a cultural melting pot – a blend of old-world and new architecture. I intentionally left my schedule open, to accommodate for those leisurely afternoons that I’m usually too busy to enjoy. I was able to arrange a spontaneous meet up and watched Batman V Superman together with a couple of friends, and going to church for the Holy-Week Mass. But the highlight of the trip I must say was the casual afternoon picnic we had at the Singapore Botanic Gardens to celebrate my birthday. The weather cooperated wonderfully and we just sat down by the lake for hours – finishing our chips and boxes of orange juice. I truly wouldn’t have spent the day any other way.

I anticipated the typical post-vacation letdown to hit as soon as we got on the plane back to Jakarta. But gladly, that wasn’t the case. The quick getaway has helped me hit my reset button, and I came home with a renewed sense of energy and positive vibes. I wish I never had to end it, but here’s a glimpse of our 4 days in Singapore.

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My window seat series no. 33
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Evening spent after movies with friends, waffles, and a few glasses of winethumb_IMG_6425_1024
Old-town buildings featuring beautifully broken walls
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One of the many vintage boutiques in Haji LaneProcessed with VSCOcam with a6 presetPlaying tourist for the day, from one vintage shop to the next
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View from the indoor garden of Singapore National Librarythumb_DSC_2552_1024
Orchard bound after a Good Friday Mass where we basically shopped till dropped
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Look who barged into the room & showered me with kisses right when the clock strikes 12IMG_6462
My first bizzare wish-list as a 20 year old: Have Jollibee for breakfast
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The charm of Chinatown that is impossible to miss
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Strolling around the park trying to find the perfect picnic spotthumb_IMG_6583_1024
H&M dress, Kate Spade pouch, Bonia vintage wrist watch, Vans Canvas Authentic (True White)thumb_IMG_6582_1024Chocolate ganache cupcake for a birthday cakeProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetThank you for the cupcake, and for eating them too. I’m lucky I got left one bite.
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I don’t know how you guys do it, but thank you for putting up with me for the past 20 years. 
Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetOne of my absolute favorite spots at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
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Hanging out at Changi before flying back home

Five Things

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From a few weeks back: PANAMA Live at The 6th Music Gallery by FEBUI

More often than not we are faced with certain things that we have to get done at a certain time, but we usually just end up procrastinating and leaving these (important) tasks in the back of our minds. Until it freaked you out the night before, or so in my case. My recent trip to Singapore was pretty impulsive (I booked my flight only two weeks prior to date), and I knew that going away for vacation right before my mid-term exam starts was a particularly crazy idea to begin with, but I’m glad I went ahead anyway (I’ll be sharing more about it on another post).

It was an immensely relaxing break and although it made me postpone my studying a little bit more than I should, I was really able to focus on my exam the following days. Looking forward to tackling just one more paper down on Monday before planning another quick getaway with my girlfriends on the coming weekend. Have a great one!

IMG_6204Typical classroom situation

thumb_thumb_IMG_6670_1024_1024These dark chocolate truffles with melt-in-mouth hazelnut praline fillings were bomb

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetCame home from Singapore to a room full of birthday surprise from my girlfriends

thumb_IMG_6642_1024And, more surprises! Could this birthday get any better?