Tuesday, December 20, 2011

comfort zone

I think there's this curve that most people go through whenever they face changes.   At the beginning, a change can be exciting.  You see new things, everything is interesting.  But once the excitement died down, then comes resistance.  Panic mode, also known as the "what the hell" period in my dictionary.  It's the period where you feel like nothing is going your way.  But then you'll come to an acceptance.  You make things work for you somehow.  After that you kinda go into a plateau... enter... the comfort zone.

That's where I'm at right now.  I got myself a pretty nice routine of self indulgence and balancing mind and body.  It's sort of therapeutic... can't go wrong with the daily yoga, cardio, good food, good company, and the occasional full body massage, cream bath, facial, or shopping.

But there's something missing.  What happened to the part about my passion in baking??

I gotta admit, I absolutely am NOT in my comfort zone when it comes to baking here.  I feel like I dunno how to bake anymore.  Everything's so different and I feel so ... unable.  The biggest challenge is not even the lack of ingredients availability in my hometown, but the fact that it's just so darn hot most of the time.  I fear of turning on the oven.  Just the thought of it makes me sweat :-p.

But I did bake some.  There are so many traditional Indonesian sweets and snacks that I really wanted to learn how to make.  One of the things I really wanted to do before I came here was to bake with my mum.  So glad I finally had the chance to do it.  We made some cookies for the holidays. They are some of the most common "cookies" that are being sold around here, but they're definitely not like the typical american cookies.  When I think of cookies in the US, I immediately think simple and quick.  These cookies are neither simper nor quick.  They are quite labor intensive and some of them require a few days to prep (you gotta make the jam first, or your gotta prep the tapioca flour, etc).

Despite of being labor intensive, they are definitely lotsa fun to make.  And they're so worth the effort since they taste so darn goooooooddd.....

So... back to my comfort zone.  Nothing last forever.  Soon it would be time to move again.  Time for more changes.  But for now... imma enjoy my time here :).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Committed is the follow up novel written by Elizabeth Gilbert after her best selling book Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love... so I figured, why not?  It seems out of place for me to be reading a book about marriage and commitment, given what I'm going through.

Two things I could say immediately after reading that book is that "boy, that lady sure knows how to talk (write) A LOT", and "boy, does she need a lot of convincing to get married!".  She wrote everything from the history of marriage, marriages in different cultures, marriage and autonomy, marriage statistics.... All that details to convince her that she's not making a mistake the second time around.

So what is it about marriages? In Indonesia, where people still like to follow the blueprint of life, a typical icebreaker questions would go something like this:
Question 1:  So where are you from?
Question 2:  What do you do there?
Question 3:  Do you have a kid/family there? [they will either say kid or family meaning a husband and a kid, not family as in your siblings].
Question 4: Wait, what, you don't have one yet?  But you are married right?
Question 5:  But how old are you?
And... you get the idea...  It doesn't always go that way, but usually the subject of marriage gets brought up very quickly in this country.  The typical blueprint in life goes from finishing high school, to college, to finding a significant other, to getting married, to buying a house, then to have a child... and then another child.

And how does that icebreaker work out for me?  Suffice to say, it's been interesting. Sometimes I decided to avoid the whole subject of separation altogether.  Figured it would be easier that way.  But then I get the "You have a candidate, no? Your clock is ticking, you should really consider starting a family soon".  Do'h! Can't win either way.

It's true though... once you're burned, you become paranoid to repeat the same thing again.  Who wants to endure all those pain and tears and emotions and all sorts of different kinds of crazies?? She also brought up an interesting fact in her book, that "divorce" is rank as the number 2 most stressful thing one might go through in life.  Number one being "death of a spouse".  It justified why I was feeling the way I was.   BUT.... perhaps it's part of being human that, despite all that, one still longs to find that special someone.  I find that stupid sometimes. But I can't resist it either.  Hence, I'm an idiot. Ha!

Perhaps some people are wired to enjoy life with their own company. But as for me... I still want that.  I want intimacy.  I want companionship.  I don't need someone to pay for my bill, to hold my hand as I cross the street, to make sure that I don't get the tiniest scratch or burn [hell, I love my burn marks. Proud of 'em.  Those are my marks of craftsmanship...kinda like tattoos for some people].  And on the other hand,  I for sure do NOT want to be a housewife.  No thank you.  Forgive me if I don't follow the blueprint in life, but I'm a very capable person and I have my own passion and dream to pursue.
But yeah,  in all honesty, I do want someone to share.  Not need, but want.  Like I mentioned earlier on my previous blog, traveling alone sucks ass.  The same goes for living.

Now the fear is if I could ever find that person, and even if I do meet some dazzling, charming person, would I ever be willing to open up again?  Shit happens and in some cases, it ruins you whole perspective for life.

Back to the book,  I guess I can kinda relate to her paranoia about the whole institution of marriage.  Wanting companionship doesn't equal wanting a marriage.  And not wanting a marriage doesn't equal not wanting a partner.  After what I've gone through (and what I'm still going through), I would think long and hard before I ever sign my name on any legal documentation that promises forever and ever.  No promise is guaranteed, just like everything else in life [except for death and taxes, that is :-p].

Friday, December 9, 2011

balancing body and mind


All the traveling is coming to a halt as it is nearing the holidays season. And even here in this tropical country where it's always hot and humid, the rain is starting to fall quite frequently (yet it is still hot and humid).  It's not impossible to travel in the rain, but it sure is inconvenience to have to hold an umbrella while you're trying to find direction or take pictures.

As soon as all the traveling stopped, I'm finding myself struggling with lots of emotional ups and downs yet again.  I'm always relying too much on external factors to bring me happiness.  I like to be busy, so being idle is kind of challenging.  I'm also realizing that having been in the US for so many years has greatly affected my personality.  For one, I was very independent there and had a lot of privacy (something that I had mistaken a lot of times with being "alone").  Unfortunately, being here, I have sadly became very dependent on others.  Even tho I know very well how to drive (as well as any Asian female can - don't go out while I drive, I fear for your safety :-p),  driving here in this country is a totally different story.  I fear for my life just trying to cross the street sometimes!  Trying to make your way between cars, motorbikes (coming from both direction, mind you), and other fellow pedestrians, while securely holding your belongings can be quite a challenging task for someone who is used to just crossing the street when the signal turns from the shape of a hand to a person walking.  It wasn't long till I experience homesickness.

But wait, how can you be homesick when you're in your own hometown?? And where is this home that I'm longing for anyway??  Such deep questions...

I constantly find myself in between the memories of the past and fantasies of the future.  Being in the present is not always that easy.  And how does one suppose to be living life to the fullest when you're always somewhere else but hardly ever in the present?  This is most apparent when there's little things to do.  When you're busy, it's easier to fake "being in the present", as often times you're not really in the "present" as your mind goes adrift thinking about things that needs to be done, or remembering things that had happened ("oooh that bagel that I ate for breakfast this morning was so good" or "I better remember to wash my socks tonight").  I want to be here.  I want to be in the now.  I don't want to depend on external factors of happiness to bring me happiness.

At the same time with all these emotional imbalances,  I was also feeling physically imbalanced.  Being used to be active, being idle isn't compromising so well with the body.  I feel achy from not having enough things to do.  Luckily the local gym offers yoga lessons everyday.  I started attending the classes, from twice a week, to three times a week, and now I'm going there pretty much everyday.  The more I do it, the more I'm finding myself becoming more and more me again.  I'm also slowly learning about meditation, something that I've always been fascinated about but never had the courage or the time (that's rather a lame excuse) to do it.

It feels good.  I feel better, stronger.  I'm still homesick.  But I don't think I'm homesick to a particular place, but mostly to a place that grants me the freedom to be independent again.

I started this travel because I "wanna find myself".  Someone I highly respected told me once that I shouldn't look too far.  He was right.  It's not the world that I should explore to find me.  I should've looked within myself.

But the traveling is quite nice too... :).

*oh, the picture isn't mine... just some random picture I found on the web ;)