Western Straya

To celebrate my mom’s big 50th last month, I treated her to do one of the things she loves and does best: adventures. With me living in Brisbane and her in Jakarta, Western Australia seemed like a good idea (it’s equally half-way for us both), so I booked her a return ticket to go to Perth with my dad and brother to spend the long-Easter-weekend together. My sister couldn’t tag along but she was having the best time on a school trip to Japan, so I’m not exactly sad for her.

While I’ve actually explored a great deal of Perth with my mom back in 2015 – before I even moved to Australia, we’ve always wanted to explore the southern part of this state, particularly the famous Margaret River Region. Here’s the low-down on everything we did during our 5 days stay in WA, from chasing Quokkas to sipping one of Australia’s finest wines.

Rottnest Island

We kicked the weekend off straight with a day-trip to Rottnest Island, a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Perth city (learn from me and have some breakfast before you board – seasick with an empty stomach is no joke).

There’s frankly no other way to describe this island than absolute paradise. Rottnest is made for exploring on two wheels there are no cars on the island. We hopped on from one beach to another, picnicked by the waters, and expended any leftover energy we had left with leisurely bike rides around the island.

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Lastly, you can’t mention Rotto without bringing up the island’s cheekiest locals – Quokkas. They’re practically everywhere – I saw one trying to sneak into the general store near the jetty, one napping peacefully, completely undisturbed by the holiday crowds. These little guys are definitely one of the highlights of the trip and it’s unlikely that you’ll leave without bumping into them.

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The Margaret River Region

After a full day at the beach, I did not exactly look forward to a three-hour drive to the Margaret River – where we were staying for the next three days. But it was worth every minute of it. We stayed in the chalet-style Premalaya Wellness Resort in Yallingup and it was the pure sanctuary that we all needed. We fell asleep to the sound of frogs & crickets and woke up to the sound of native birds with a whispery breeze of the Indian Ocean. I easily switched off from the crazy world where uncomplicated living has somehow been forgotten. It was a place to just be. 

You can probably tell from the photos that the weather had quickly changed from being freakish warm to cloudy and grey the very next day. Luckily, I remembered to check on the weather and made sure to pack everything from bathing suits and shorts to turtlenecks and heat-tech leggings. (I’m always one to learn from mistakes – one time I had packed a suitcase full of summer outfits and zero warm layers when I flew from 23 degrees Brisbane to an 8 degree Adelaide and no clue that a storm was going to hit.)

The Margaret River is already known as one of the most scenic regions in Australia and home to some of the best wines in the world. So it was only appropriate that we spent the next few days vineyard-hopping, sipping Rosés straight from the source, tasting fresh local produces, and exploring seaside cliffs all in the same day.

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Fremantle

For my brother and his love of seafood, I knew I had to take him to the old town Fremantle. We went to the same fish market and sat at the exact same spot my mom and I sat down when we were visiting back in 2015 – and it kind of took a nostalgic toll on me.

My trip to Perth 3 years ago was quite a significant one as I was getting ready to move there to continue my final two years of university. But things didn’t work out. Just when I thought I was all set and ready to go (a few weeks before my departure to be exact), things took a different turn, and I found myself in the complete opposite end of the continent – Queensland.

As I walked by the pier, there was this funny feeling that comes when you look at places you thought you belong and realize how things don’t always work out the way you think they should; but sometimes plans fall apart so better things can fall together. Looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful that what happened, happened – because it led me to this life that I’m living now and I wouldn’t change one thing if I could.

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Perth 

We were back in Perth just in time to celebrate Easter and my mom’s birthday. It was our last full day together before we went our separate ways again, so all we wanted was some easy, laidback, quality time. We drove up to Kings Park and set up a little picnic on one of the hilly spots, got a mini chocolate cake for mom from a nearby café, and spent the rest of the afternoon overlooking the city and making the most of our time together. As I’m writing this, I’m already counting days to our next reunion and of course, more adventures.

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Advice from a Sunflower

I know I haven’t been sharing a lot of personal stuff lately, but there are currently things that have been bugging me that I needed to get out of my system. It’s kind of hard to grasp that I turn 23 in two weeks time. It feels like only months ago where my 18-y.o. self would sit down with my girlfriends in my room after school and talk for hours about what we’d be doing in the next 5 years.

23 felt like a lifetime away.

Yet here I am 5 years later, nearly a year out of college, diving head first into adult life and trying to make a life of my own 3000 miles away from home. The truth is reality bites. Life gets cluttered with work, bills, savings, and it didn’t exactly come with a manual to tell me how to get my shit together. 

It’s a weird time to be alive. 

Being the oldest one in my family (the oldest grandchild from both of my parents’ sides for that matter) and seeing some of my friends getting married and starting a family, I’m kind of constantly under the assumption that I need to have it all figured out by a certain age or otherwise I’m forever stuck in a rut.

There will be lots of changes, unknown circumstances, and a lot of confusing experiences. So here’s a note for myself to look back on whenever I get tangled in all life’s uncertainties: always be grateful, have faith in yourself, remember that life’s not a competition and that you don’t have to have it all figured out by now. And you might never will, and that it’s okay too.

And when you’re feeling a little lost, I want you to take a second to look back to this warm summer drive to Allora under Brisbane’s January sun. May this sunflower field serve you as a kind reminder to always be bright and to hold your head up high no matter what life throws at you.

Because seasons may change, but you will always get to bloom again.

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Twelve Commandments

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Twelve Commandments from her book “The Happiness Project,” I wanted to have something similar of my own to live by. Something that I can easily look back to when I get lost from time to time, when the struggle is real, or simply in times when I need a kind reminder to sometimes just let things be. 

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After days of contemplating, adding and removing items from the list, I’ve finally arrived at my Twelve Commandments – made up of lessons I’ve learned and resolutions I actually want to live by.

  1. You will only be exactly as happy as you decide to be.
  2. Let it come, let it go.
  3. Prioritize peace.
  4. Call my family more to say 'how are you' and 'I love you.'
  5. Chase more sunsets, hike more mountains, gaze more stars.
  6. The days are long, but the years are short - be present. 
  7. Grateful for small things, big things, and everything in between.
  8. Everything would make sense. Not always immediately, but eventually.
  9. Don't stress the could haves. If it should have, it would have.
  10. God's timing, not yours.
  11. Work smart, play hard.
  12. Write it all down.

Comment down below if you’re making one, I’d love to read yours too. X

Two Thousand and Eighteen

Since I’m a pretty sentimental person 90% of the time, it’s only fitting that this first week of the New Year has me feeling all nostalgic – I’ve been constantly looking at old photos from my phone and polaroids, going through my old agenda, and simply reflecting on how much one year can do to a person.

2018 was all about building my grit. I learned the hard ways that achievements are earned, not gifted on a silver platter. That dreams demand hustle, hard work, and persistence. While it may seem like I always ‘have it together’ most times, the truth is far from that. People close to me are aware that I’ve had my share of failures and breakdowns, because juggling uni, job, and being 5,000km away from home has not always been a breeze.

While it wasn’t without its share of downswings, I learned a lot and came out feeling more confident and sure of myself.  This year brought me my angels in human form. It brought me grace upon grace, showed me the harvest of my hardships, and reminded me to have faith in myself. 2018 was a good one and I’m nothing less than thankful for every big and small bits of it.

Here are a few of my most favorites from last year:

IMG_1532.jpg1. January: Completed my first internship in Australia during my summer semester. I had the pleasure of working with insanely driven young individuals through a fin-tech start-up. While it was a long shot from my engineering degree, I’m glad I was able to pick on their brains around all things business and finance (something I obviously didn’t get enough exposure on).

30829467_207756613154407_6747935599644114944_n.jpg2. February: Set foot in Cairns and snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef. Another thing checked off my bucket list!

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3. March: Turned big two two with the sweetest surprises from my loved ones, my home team. To say that I’m thankful to have them is an understatement.

35948698_428971210903964_2198940130754953216_n.jpg4. June: Submitted two thesis projects which I somehow manage to complete in one semester. I will forever remember walking home from the library at 4am most days only to catch a 3-hour nap and a quick shower (which was often opted out because an extra 15 minutes of sleep was clearly more crucial than one’s hygiene) before heading back to uni. This photo was taken right after my final presentation with a gorgeous bouquet from my man and a grin bigger than my face.

38802364_242607113246381_5978184723267059712_n.jpg5. Graduated with two degrees behind my name: Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from The University of Queensland and Sarjana Teknik from Universitas Indonesia. Easily one of my life’s proudest moments.

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6. Took a well-deserved break and spent two months back home to catch up with my family and friends. One of the highlights has to be this impulsive trip to Jogja with mum, my best travel buddy for life.

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7. Despite the mounting rejection letters in my inbox, I got a call one day with an offer for a position I didn’t even apply to. When I was able to trace back how they found out about me, I thanked myself for taking the time to build on my connections during my time in University. So if there’s one tip I could give all graduates seeking jobs out there it’s this: Networking will get you places. I’m so grateful to have found a place to learn and grow professionally and to be surrounded by the friendliest group of colleagues I could ask for.

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8. July: Left my old place behind and moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the city. It’s definitely been an interesting change of scenery after two years of suburb-living, but Carr Street will always have a place in our hearts. I know that it’s not just the house I’m missing, but the love that filled it (and the parties too).

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9. September: Bought a studio apartment as my first property investment back home. It won’t be finished until 2021 but my Pinterest is already so full of interior/decoration ideas that I can’t wait to recreate.

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49650791_531100570730520_2560627160771461120_n.jpg10. Explored Tasmania in June and Sydney in November with my favorite people. I’m one to constantly plan my next adventure, so I’m excited to see all the places 2019 will take me.

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Credits: Pricilia Clarissa Syafira

11. 2018 marks the year I’m finally able to fully support myself financially. After starting my first real job, of course (packing groceries at a local deli weren’t exactly the most lucrative careers). While it’s thrilling to be independent, I’m still learning to manage my finances and trying not to spend like a rock start after every paycheck. One of my resolutions this year is to learn more about saving/investing, so if you know any good tips or books on them, give this girl a shoutout.

49661536_300110913982944_3198398614174957568_n.jpg49428987_2165026370185687_483911628778110976_n.jpg12. Another Christmas away from home, but made sure I’m ending the year with the right people at the right places. We spent the last bits of 2018 swimming in waterfalls and counted down the New Years playing sparklers by the pool in our cosy Airbnb in Lota. Wouldn’t have want to spend it any other way.

Looking forward to great things to come in 2019. Here’s to new chances, new adventures, and to trust in the magic of new beginnings. Happy New Year! X. 

The Purple Rain Season

By the time the 1st of November rolls around, Australia’s purple rain season has finally arrived as pockets of the country burst into blooms of jacarandas. It’s a good feeling to be back here in my favourite season (spring), and I plan to make the most of it.

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The last three months of a full year always has me full of feelings. I find myself looking back at the first half of this year feeling accomplished and proud but also looking forward with excitement, hopeful plans, and fingers crossed. It flies like an arrow and since I’m always one to celebrate big and little things, I feel like I owe it to myself (if not all of you) to recap on life since the last time I posted here.

  1. I graduated. It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that all those days I spent ranting about engineering school and sleep deprivations eventually came to an end. Am I going to miss them? Doubt that. But after the past two years of constant nightmares and living on caffeine and microwave foods, for a brief second, I was suddenly not ready to say goodbye to it all. I would say “bittersweet” was an understatement.
    Nonetheless, I couldn’t be happier to walk out of all four-year worth of sweat and tears, with two engineering degrees behind my name (and an Honours too). It was truly a mission impossible if not for the constant love and support from the people closest to me, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
  2. I got a job. If you’re a fresh grad like me, you must be familiar with the horror of applying for jobs. I had a good phase of writing about fifty cover letters to be sent, then getting excited about interviews, and then crying over countless rejection letters. Although in the end I was lucky enough to be offered a position for a job I didn’t even apply to, I’m still not going to undermine the struggle of getting a job. It’s indeed an ugly world out there, so just hang on a little bit more.
  3. I’m officially a Temporary Resident in Australia, yay!
  4. Gained a few solid kgs after spending two months back home, but hey, I just don’t want to be back in Australia thinking “I could’ve eaten that.” On a positive note, I’ve recently started working out again and am surprisingly sticking to an actual routine (hope I don’t jinx it). I try to go to the gym at least twice a week now, and I’ve honestly never felt better.
    On a side note, if you’re into yoga like me, I can’t recommend this app enough. Truth be told, I haven’t gotten very far, nor have I used it very regularly, but this is the one I’ve (infrequently) returned to. You can work your way through a series of guided classes, and there are clear photos of each poses to make sure you’re not making fool of yourselves too.
  5. I will be spamming this page with photos from my graduations, trips, and all the lovely places I went to. Because what’s a better way to finish off the year right if not throwbacks?

Cairns Summertime

A beach getaway was the perfect way to mark the end of my internship, summer class, and simply to celebrate the warm weather appropriately. I had the pleasure to visit Cairns with my favorite person, and I still can’t believe it took me so long to explore this tropical paradise just 1.5 hours flight from Brisbane.

Cairns (lesson learned, pronounced ‘cans’) has it all: gorgeous beaches, beautiful waterfalls and rainforests, swimming lagoons, marine life galore, waterfront boardwalks, and natural beauty all around. And even though it was a quick four and half day trip, we had enough sunshine to make it feel longer. I believe that every place can be visited on a budget and Cairns is no exception. Here’s a glimpse of what our itinerary looked like.

Day 1: Brisbane to Cairns
We flew TigerAir (because budget) and was welcomed by one of the most beautiful sunsets overlooking the mountains and coast of Cairns, flying just hundreds of feet above the Great Barrier Reef shortly before landing. Since we arrived in the evening on Sunday, we took full advantage of the free time to unwind in the city, took a stroll and dined in the Night Market, just a short walk away from our accommodation.

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We stayed in Global Backpackers hostel, which was $30 per night. Staying in a hostel was fine, despite having to share kitchen and bathroom with about 50 other people. Perks: just a two-minute stroll from the Esplanade lagoon and Woolworths just around the corner.

Day 2: Great Barrier Reef
While there is a huge variety of cruise excursions available, considering Great Barrier Reef was going to be the highlight of the trip, we thought we’d splurge on this one. We chose the Ocean Spirit cruise, and it surely didn’t disappoint. It was an epic full day tour, and I’m already low key planning to go back with my siblings to scuba dive together.

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We boarded the catamaran early in the morning and sailed our way to the Michaelmas Cay, where we got to jump on board their semi-submersible and snorkeled straight off the beach. The cay itself is essentially a National Park and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds, fringed by white sandy beaches, and pristine blue waters. We saw lots of colorful fishes and giant corals (mind the stingers), which kept us entertained for hours.

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Day 3: Chasing Waterfalls
The Great Barrier Reef may be this region’s major calling card, but don’t let your adventures stop there. We went with the Waterfall Wanderers tour and traveled south of Cairns to discover North Queensland’s hidden rainforest gems.  First was sliding down a natural rockslide of Josephine Falls, and next was swimming in the iconic Milaa Milaa Falls.

GOPR2779.jpgFor lunch, they took us to a classic small-town pub where we enjoyed some good old-fashioned country cooking. As the afternoon rolled in, we were headed to the Mount Hypipamee crater and Dinner Falls, and finally to check out the Curtain Fig Tree in Yungaburra (the inspiration behind Avatar’s giant tree). Our last stop was Lake Eacham, where we could apparently swim with harmless freshwater crocodiles.

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Day 4: Palm Cove – Cairns Esplanade
This was Valentine’s Day and our day was pleasingly unscheduled. After a brief stop for coffee and froyo in the morning, we decided to get on the bus and headed for Palm Cove. The picturesque little beach town is a hub for spa resorts, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and a gorgeous beach lined with palm trees and jetties.

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After loading on the sunscreen, we laid down our beach towel and took a blissful nap under the shade. We went back to Cairns for an afternoon swim in the Esplanade, taking in the stunning view as the sun went down.

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We then had little birthday/Valentine’s Day dinner at the Salt House restaurant & bar by the pier and went for a long walk along the beach. It was the perfect way to end our last full day in town.

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Day 5: Flying Back Home
After checking out, I Googled for a local’s favorite for our last meal in Cairns. We had an exquisite brunch at Perrotta’s at The Gallery, where I wrote down postcards to be addressed to my family back home and to Canada. By then it was too humid to be outdoors, so we went inside the Contemporary Arts Gallery to enjoy a much-needed air conditioning and kill time before flying back to Brisbane.

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If you’re ever planning to visit Cairns, get some itinerary ideas here. And I would love to hear your say on your favorite destination in Australia!

 

Five Things

I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride now that we’re already in the first week of February. It’s been quite a challenging transition – easing into the new year with a new job, an internship, and trying to ace a summer class all at once. This week felt productive with both work and studying for an exam, but on a positive note, I’m also counting down days to my next getaway (hint: Great Barrier Reef).

The weather has been uncharacteristically cold for a summer (19today!) and it’s been raining non-stop since yesterday. I’m trying to make the most of the cuddly weather before it picks up to 30 something again next week, and in the meantime, I wish you all a great weekend! x.

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With Lyndon Huf, CEO of Maction Australia, discussing the future of engineered wearable device sensors 
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The cosiest cocktail lounge tucked away in West End
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New favorite snacks: yellow peaches!tumblr_oioy7z8ywr1usj46ko1_1280.jpg
Raindrops on the bus window
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Stayed in and kimono party while it was raining out

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