Category: Cat & Bear

Ahoj, 2016!

Thank you for the great time, 2015… let’s hope 2016 will be as wonderful¬†ūüôā

Now, a little bit of what happened at the end of 2015…

To explain the title, which means Hello, 2016!” in Czech, it’s because¬†for the new year’s eve we decided to join a friend’s plan to stay at¬†a holiday house a.k.a ferienhaus somewhere up in the mountains of¬†Czech Republic: with 5x bedrooms and 2x bathrooms/toilets for 10 – max. 22 persons, without landlord. Judging from my past experiences of staying in a ferienhaus in Horn√≠ Blatn√°, and by looking at the pictures (above), I imagined a holiday house in a small village surrounded by forest, with tranquil and romantic atmosphere. However… in reality…

Do you see the little house there surrounded by plattenbau instead? ūüėÄ ^^;;

Anyway, it was a nice place although… with 22 people in a house *and only 2 bathrooms!* it was a bit too crowded for me :”>. We got to eat the very yummy and¬†tasty Czech food though, and drink cheap but good pilsner *for bear*, because during our 2 nights there we always had dinner at a restaurant, so I won’t complain much ;).

Happy Birthday(s) and Happy Holidays!

First of all, for you who celebrate the birthdays of two prophets, which fall on two consecutive days¬†this year, Merry Mawlid al-Nabi and Merry Christmas! ūüôā Have a nice long weekend, and since probably you’ll have a nice long holiday until the New Year, happy holidays!

Next, since today, December 25th,¬†*I wrote this draft two days ago* is also my birthday… happy birthday to me! Now it’s only one more year to 30 ūüėČ

So thankful for all the¬†presents¬†*for Christmas or for birthday I regard them all as my birthday presents ;)*, although ‚ôę all I want for Christmas is you ‚ôę ehem, like more colors to accommodate my new hobby, interesting jigsaw puzzle and books, candle holder decorated with cats, etc.

The picture above contains my birthday presents from the bear, typical Australian stuff since he’s just back from Brisbane *after 2.5 months*. The fluffy Kolala, the very left on the picture, hugging her baby, is actually a reward for the cat being self-restrained on browsing¬†social media and (especially negative) news; the baby kolala is a reward for the cat being (so¬†unusually) sportive *e.g. completing at least 5,000 steps a day* while the bear is away :”>. The mango beer and chocolate are simply because I love mango and chocolate.¬†The last item is actually an audio card. The sound of conversation between mama koala and baby koala can be¬†heard when the card is opened. Anyway, what is inside the card is what is so great and has an interesting background story…

Singapore Night Festival

The festival happened around two weeks after Singapore celebrates its¬†golden¬†jubilee, August 21-22 and 28-29. Actually, I found out about this festival accidentally, I’m so glad I didn’t miss it :).

After the ‘Cat & Bear’s trip to Tioman Island, Malaysia’ (will write about this soon),¬†we arrived back in Singapore on Monday, August 24 evening. On our way to the nearest 7 Eleven to have our dinner, ehem… ’cause I was craving steamy¬†ramen cup :D, we met¬†these cute little fellas in front of National Museum of Singapore..

They’re so cute! I can’t stop moving my body when they start dancing ūüôā

We got a booklet about the festival from a guy hanging around there, that’s how we found out about this. The big events happened only on Friday and Saturday (21-22 and 28-29), but the Anooki, the cute Inuits, celebrates SG50¬†at the Fa√ßade of National Museum of Singapore throughout the week, continuously (with 3 min break each time) from 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM, along with the free exhibitions inside (and outside) the museum. Lucky us!

The Bear wasn’t so lucky, because we missed the first weekend of events, and he had to leave Singapore¬†on Tuesday¬†night, August 24. Bummer ūüôĀ Well, at least he met the Anooki.¬†But… my sister was indeed very lucky, because she visited me the weekend after, August 28-31. What a perfect timing! Even though we didn’t know about the festival beforehand.

Huzzah!! Free shows! ūüôā

Prasangka Terhadap Pasangan Beda Ras

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Picture is taken from here.

Sengaja saya tulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, supaya bisa menjadi pembuka pikiran bagi orang-orang Indonesia yang sering berprasangka buruk terhadap pasangan yang berbeda ras dan warna kulit. Walaupun agak ga mungkin orang-orang bodoh itu mampir ke sini dan baca blog saya, tapi berharap boleh dong ya :p. Saya menulis berdasarkan pengalaman saya sendiri, jadi lingkupnya terbatas untuk wanita WNI yang punya pasangan WNA alias bule.

Sudah sering sih saya membaca postingan blog senada dengan topik yang sama. Cukup googling dengan kata kunci ‘pasangan bule’, dan anda pun akan menemukan berjibun curahan hati para wanita yang teraniaya, tsahhh :D. Jadi, sebelum traveling dengan sang Beruang di Asia, khususnya di Indonesia, saya sudah menyiapkan hati dan mental, tak lupa¬†poker face, supaya tetap tabah dengan hinaan yang mungkin terdengar.

Kasus #1: “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Di perjalanan ferry kembali ke Bali setelah mendaki Ijen, ada segerombolan anak SMP/SMA yang mungkin sedang¬†study tour ke Bali (soalnya saya sempet nguping mereka ngomongin tugas tentang budaya di Bali). Dari mereka yang¬†sibuk curi-curi foto selfie dengan sang Beruang, tiba-tiba terdengar pertanyaan itu, “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Kalau dipikir-pikir Bahasa Indonesia itu tinggi sekali ya level ambiguitas-nya. Kalau dikonfontrasi langsung, yang ngomong¬†bisa saja ngeles dengan alasan, “Oh, kita lagi ngomongin ayam KFC kok, kira-kira ada¬†di mana ya di Bali” :D. Fakta bahwa mereka bergerombol¬†di sebelah kami, dan kemudian yang diajak bicara oleh orang tersebut memotong dengan, “Hush!”, lalu berbisik-bisik, membuat saya yakin bahwa saya lah yang dimaksud dengan ‘ayam’. Dan seperti yang kita semua tahu, perempuan yang diasosiasikan dengan ayam berarti pelacur (kasihan ya ayam, jadi negatif gitu). See, that’s the power of context for interpreting the meaning of a language ūüėČ

Kasus #2: “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan ya, Mbak.”

Setelah puas snorkeling, canoeing dan¬†hiking selama seminggu di Pulau Tioman, Malaysia, di hari terakhir kami memutuskan untuk relaksasi di spa yang disediakan oleh resort tempat kami tinggal. Ketika para terapisnya tahu bahwa saya orang Indonesia, mereka langsung heboh, “Owalah, lha kami ini juga orang Indonesia!” :D. Selama sesi pijat¬†kami pun tanpa hentinya¬†mengobrol dalam Bahasa Indonesia, karena terapis saya juga sama-sama punya tahi lalat di ‘atas bibir minggir kanan’ seperti saya :). Agak menjelaskan kenapa beliau ceriwis sekali, hahaha.

Obrolan berlangsung tanpa ada prasangka buruk (setidaknya menurut perasaan saya), mereka cuma penasaran bagaimana kami bertemu. “Karena sama-sama belajar di Italia,” saya jelaskan. “Wah, hebat, mahal ya Mbak?” “Beasiswa kok…” “Waaah, berarti pinter banget Mbaknya” :). Cuma ada satu statement yang bikin saya mangkel dikit. “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan” itu memang sudah jadi komentar standar yang sering sekali terdengar ya. Cuma kok seakan-akan kalau ga sama mas bule keturunan saya bakalan jelek dan butuh diperbaiki ya, hiks ;(.

Trip to Bali and Ijen

The first part of my Bali trip with my family can be read here. 

Om swastiastu… cat and bear were in Bali! Finally the cat could show (a small part of) Indonesia to the bear. We¬†spent 5 days travelling around in Bali. However,¬†one night was actually spent in Banyuwangi, at the east coast of Java, since we wanted to hike to¬†Ijen crater.

In front of Ijen crater

*WARNING* this post is going to be looong :D. If you want to skip the stories, just check the pictures from the trip here.

Day 1: Bali Bird Park, Double Six beach

After visiting Bali Bird Park and sent my family back home, in the evening, we just relaxed at Double Six¬†beach, had a good chat, while listening to live music and watching planes landing in the airport (as you know, the bear is a flying enthusiast :p). Both of us agree that, “Hey, this trip starts very nicely, let’s hope that the rest of it will also be great.” ūüôā

My First Via Ferrata РMasarè

left picture is taken from here

So… do I look like them already? :p

Since last year I’ve been wanting to try¬†via ferrata, but the idea was always dismissed by the bear (a.k.a our via ferrata expert here :p)¬†by reason of my lack of stamina.

Via ferrata, the Italian words for ‘iron road’, is a protected climbing route usually found in the Alps. It is called the iron road because there is (almost) always a steel cable that runs along the route, fixed to the rock every 3-10 m. The climber can securely hang (with the climbing aids) on the cable, limiting any fall. (source: Wikipedia, of course)

Not only that the climbing activity requires¬†a very good physical fitness, but reaching the¬†ferrata¬†route itself usually requires¬†some hiking. It’s not like a helicopter would drop us at the start of the route, then pick us up after we are done :p. That’s why the bear was hesitant, because he thought I’m not fit enough to handle the long and tedious journey.

However, this summer, somehow he is convinced that I’m now able to do it (thanks to poweryoga ^^). So here we go!

The Bear and Bahasa Indonesia

So… finally! The bear had a chance to visit Indonesia ūüôā

picture is taken from here

Before coming, the only phrase he knows is selamat malam [good evening]. After spending a week in Indonesia, Bali and Banyuwangi to be exact, he almost becomes a native speaker of Indonesian language! Kidding :p. But at least he knows some more words now, hehe.

Selamat pagi, siang, sore, malam

After knowing selamat malam [good evening], the next step would be to learn the greetings for other parts of the day: selamat pagi [good morning], selamat siang [good afternoon], selamat sore [good afternoon/evening]. Oh, and also the other selamat like selamat makan [enjoy your meal/buon appetito/guten Appetit] and selamat tidur [good night].

Makasih!

Yeah, I taught him how to say ‘thanks’ like a native :p. Once, he said that to a street vendor after buying a bottle of water and biscuits, and the guy corrected him that it should be terima kasih [thank you] :D.

Workation in Gran Canaria

A workation is a trip or vacation where you must perform some task for your regular work. Although you may be in a new or exotic locale, you may have to attend meetings, telecommute, or complete projects for your job. — www.wisegeek.com

I think companies should really consider to do this once in a while *grin*, this is what it looks like… Well, in my case, as a PhD student I have the¬†flexibility to do this kind of stuff. The bear is actually Dr. Bear now, but¬†as a Postdoc who hasn’t started his teaching activity yet, he has the same flexibility. So yeah, we decided to give it a shot. And the¬†destination for our first workation is… Gran Canaria, in Canary Islands!

Why there? Because… it’s November, autumn was gradually changing into winter in Italy, Trento/Bolzano was showering most of the time, and we want warm place, with sun! Our first¬†option was¬†Egypt, but I need to get a visa to go there, while Canary Islands are still in Schengen area (Spanish islands), hence no visa is needed, my residence permit¬†is enough.

Linkin Park, "The Hunting Party" in Munich

My first time ever to go to a big concert. And… actually, my first time ever to get out of Munich train station ¬†ūüėĬ†*I passed by Munich a lot of times on my way to/from Dresden*.

The concert tickets were actually part of the bear’s graduation reward¬†*from himself, the cat accompanying him was a bonus :p*, which was followed by a short trip¬†to Canary Islands. As for myself, well, I needed a distraction from a failed interview ;).

On Cats and Their Affections

picture is taken from here

My mom once said, unlike dogs, cats (as pets) are not feeling attached to the people, but to the house. That’s what differs cats from dogs: the level of affection, loyalty and attachment to their owner. Our cats are free to roam wherever they want, but they always come back to our house, for food, and comfortable place to sleep *sometimes, our warm laps* :D. Yeah, I think cats are affectionate and loyal to someone who provides them food and place to sleep.

That’s of course, just a general theory. There are many cases that made us think differently about our cats. My favorite story, when my mom opened her suitcase and started packing, one of our cats sat inside mom’s suitcase and stubbornly refused to move away, disrupted the packing process, as if he knows my mom would leave house for a while and tried to stop it.