Sunday, November 16, 2014

3BT: Random Days

1. A mistake in reading turned into a funny episode at work. 

What was supposed to be "täytetty pasta" (stuffed pasta), I accidentally read "täytetty paska" (stuffed shit). I was reading it way too quickly, but it made me (and other people) laugh he he...

2. Playing Town of Salem in FB, invited by hubby and laughing out loud when playing it together. One time he managed to kill me and trick me. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

3. Waiting for another book to come (another one from my wishlist), courtesy of Bookdepository again, because they offered me another great deal, so naturally I couldn't resist he he he he...What I love about the site is that I don't have to pay for postage and they always deliver pretty fast. Plus they give me (free) cute bookmarks. :-D

4. I believe I've married a genius. He has made me laugh many times over even when he's not trying. And he always has the ability to calm me down in ways that I had never seen anyone do. If I thought I picked the right guy to marry over 8 years ago, I had no idea just how right my choice was! Oh, and it was a privilege to be able to tell him all this face-to-face. :-D

5. Being alive still and being able to spend time with hubby.

6. Buying Father's Day's cake on a discount because I went to the store an hour before it was closed down the day before Father's Day and claiming the cake to be our anniversary cake (our anniversary was 6 days before Father's Day in Finland and because the both of us have no fathers left, I changed the cake's title HA HA HA HA HA HA...).

7. Ordering a bike bag online and then realizing that one zipper was broken and that it was much too small for my taste, so I reported it and got my refund pretty quickly. It was nice doing business with that site.

8. Ordering another bike bag from another site and it finally came right before the old bag broke down. It's a little bit smaller than the old one, but much better than the small one with the broken zipper.

9. Deciding to make my own Christmas cards this year (something out of character for me because I'm not a handicraft lover) and finding some great deals on craft packages to make them. Oh, and it's finally Winter Wonderland here! The temperature went up a while back, making all the snow melt away and now we have fresh snow all over. YEAAAAAHHHHHHH! :-D

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Introvert Galore: Becoming More Finnish?

I think I've once written how I feel more at home in Finland compared to Indonesia in terms of my being an introvert. What's fascinating is that another expat from the USA, who's also an introvert, has felt the same way. She also feels that in her home country, society expects people to be more of an extrovert than an introvert. I think the longer I stay here, the more I feel like I become Finnish in this aspect. You see, a new expat friend of mine has noticed something funny about the Finns. She said that when she meets up with the locals that she's met many times before, sometimes when they aren't in the mood, you can literally feel a distance between the two of you. My friend's husband had even warned her beforehand about this typical shift in attitude when it came to the locals, so my friend was well prepared, even though it still baffled her a bit.

When I heard this, I started thinking of myself and how true it was. Or is it more correct to say that I'm becoming more like me because at the end of the day, I'm an introvert after all? Whichever is the case, these days there are times when I just don't feel like talking to anyone. Interacting with people can be so exhausting. No wonder I feel so at home with my hubby who can be categorized as a silent type. The longer I stay with him, the longer I stay in Finland, the more I value the sound of silence.

During the time when I was doing translations at home, once an uncle of mine suggested to my mom to try to encourage me to join a club or something like that. He just wanted me to get out of the house and mingle with people. Funny how he didn't say it directly to me, but to my mom, but anyway...I didn't feel like I needed to join any club and I was quite content with my life, but it seemed that he thought I was becoming a hermit or something? I feel that Finns understands the beauty of silence more than Indonesians so to speak, even though on the other hand it's understandable why many people say that (in general) Indonesians are warm people, whereas Finns are rather cold.

I remember trying to find as much information about getting married and getting my paperwork sorted out before moving to Finland from a Finland forum where many expats could share anything, including useful links about how to find a job and how to write an application letter. I think it was someone from USA who wrote that article on how to write an application letter, because the writer strongly suggested that applicants must NOT brag about the things that they had done, which was something that was considered normal or even expected in the writer's home country.

I feel that the Finns love it more when people tone things down. Simplicity is considered more of a virtue here compared to grandiose. Toning down is preferable compared to selling yourself (and I don't mean selling your body, but the ability to convince people to hire you by letting them know passionately about your strengths and your experiences/abilities). I even feel that over here having the necessary papers (certificates/diplomas) is more important than however much hands-on experience and knowledge that you have learnt along the way without any papers to show. I don't know if this happened way back in the old days, but this is what I feel like for today's Finland.

Speaking of selling yourself, I had a very intense job interview once in Indo. There were two interviewers and I still remember clearly two of the questions. The first question was: "Sell yourself to us. What do you have? What are your strong points? Convince us to hire you!"

And when I stated the things that I considered my strength, you know what they said? They said, "Anyone else can say all the things that you've said. What else have you got to sell to us?"

Blimey! I was really cornered and I knew right then and there that I wouldn't get the job because I got stuck and it was like seeing myself stumble on a rock and falling down in slow motion he he he...

Anyway, the second question was: "Imagine yourself 5 years from now. What do you want to do then?"

That was really tough to answer because what I had in mind wasn't exactly the kind of job that I was interviewing for and I felt that they really saw through me. The only thing that made me applied for the job was the thought that I would be challenging myself and I'd be out of my comfort zone and who knows how much I could grow there. Long story short, I didn't get the job, but I appreciated the fact that they sent me an email to thank me for coming and to let me know that they had selected someone else. One expat friend of mine once told me that Finns didn't let applicants know if they don't get a job, which she found strange (probably because it was a custom in her home country).

Have you ever experienced any kind of tough job interview? If so, what happened during the interview? 

I don't remember anymore if I've shared it here or not, but this is a really beautiful talk on The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. I bet many of you have listened to it or at least heard her name, but I'm going to listen to it again, so I'll just share it here just in case you've missed it:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Fave Child?

Last night I was having a bit trouble to go back to sleep as my mind kept on jumping from one topic to another. One of the things I thought I'd write today was what I had heard during my trip to Indo. I heard one mommy said that no matter how much parents said that they loved their children the same way (or with the same amount of love), there was always a fave child. I suppose this only happens when there's more than one child in a family.

I was rather shocked to hear those words because of the honesty of it. Logically speaking I do understand why there can be a fave child, because a relationship between two people is dynamic and there are some people whom I get along with much better than others. There are some people who keep pushing my button even without their actually attempting to do so. And the dynamics between parents and children may be even more complex than other types of relationship due to obvious reasons. It may be easier to be fond of the child that is easy to deal with than a more challenging child. In other cases, some parents may favor a child of a certain gender because of their own expectations and society's pressure and that child may get special treatments because of that.

I myself have never felt that my parents favors me or my brother more than the other one, although I do know that when I was a baby/toddler I was much more challenging than my brother. I do remember when I was younger that I was jealous of my brother's musical talents, but other than that and one other case of jealousy*, I never really felt like any of us was the fave child. I feel that both of us have different strengths and weaknesses and our parents know them, too. However, I have heard extreme cases where a family favors one child more than the others and that fave child gets all kinds of special treatments. How about you and your family? If you have your own children now, do you love your children the same (you can answer this in your own heart)?

* The other jealousy story: My brother has always been a homebody. Even during the time when he was dating his then-girlfriend (now wife), 99,9% of the time he came back home already at 9 pm. No kidding! Anyway, as someone who likes going out more than he did, sometimes my friends and I would go roam the cafes until rather late (though I'd always let my parents know if I was coming back home late) and because my parents knew all my friends and trusted them, they felt sure I was in good hands. They never got worried whenever I told them I'd go out with X and X and be back home late (I'd be carrying my own key with me).

Anyway, because my brother rarely came back home late, whenever he wasn't home after 9 pm, my parents would be worried about him. It was worse before the time when we had our own mobile phones, because they couldn't contact him whatsoever, but during the time when we had our own mobile phones, they'd call him and ask him where he was. Every now and then I got a bit ticked off whenever they got so worried about him like that, because whenever I came home late, they were never worried and they never called me to ask me where I was. They were just used to it, I guess.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Writing Challenge: The Voice(s) in My Head

(Note: Welcome to my brain HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHH...)
Bah! The water is so choppy. No more opportunity to take mirror-like surface photos like the other day.

Should I go left or right? Hmmm...Oh, shoot, there was someone coming out from the path on the right. That surprised me!

Heeeeeeeeey, but that means that there must be a path that he had been trailing to get here, so how about going there?

Nah, let's go left first.

Hmmmm...doesn't seem like this path is going anywhere, so let's go to the right instead.

Interesting. This place is much quieter than the other path, but then again the view was better over there. No wonder lots of people went there for a walk or a run. However, this path is perfect if I want to avoid people. Yes, I shall keep that in mind.

Okay, now let's go take some photos while the sun is out. Which angle?

First from the ground up. Use the octopus legs and the timer, I'm going to be the model. Okay, ready, get set, go!

Nope, not good. The sun is shining straight to the camera, making me look dark. Gotta change the direction. Turn the camera the other way around. Okay, here we go, let's pose again!

Looks fine. Hey, there's a tree there where you can put wrap the  octopus legs around and probably get a pretty good angle of the path and some blue sky.

Urrrggghhhh...come on now, octopus legs! Work with me! Urrrggghhhh...I'm glad nobody else is here so I can do this for as long as I need without feeling embarrassed.

Finally! Now first pose. Umm...maybe now I should pretend to walk the other way so that the camera captures my back.

Yeah, and your Vienna bag.

Ha does it look?

Good. Now I want to have a closer-up look, but what pose? A regular stand-up smiling pose is booooooriiiiiing. Okay, how abouuuutttt this? A little peek-a-boo pose? YES, that looks nice enough.

Brrrr...the wind is kinda chilly and my bladder is screaming already. Damn bladder. Why are you so noisy? No sign of toilets nearby. Shite!

Hmmmm...but then again this place is very quiet, so I can probably hide behind some bushes behind the path...let's see if I can find a rather secluded spot.

Hey, I think that spot is pretty hidden. Let's try going there. Ugh. Not that easy, but must go a little bit further. Okay, from this angle I don't think I can be seen that easily, can I?

Okay, I've got the tissue out, so come on, hurry up before anyone passes by!

YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!! I'm safe! Nobody saw me.

Well, unless someone uses a pair of binoculars and zooms in to this spot, that is!

SHUT UP! Don't even think about something like that, idiot!

Ah, I feel so light now. Let's take a few more photos and then go back home, shall we?

Friday, October 31, 2014

3BT: Random Days

1. I bought a new blanket, but it was way too big and puffy to bring with me by bike, so I called hubby to take it with him in the car. Tried calling his mobile, but didn't pick up, so I ended up having to call his work phone. When he picked up, I immediately asked in English, "Hey, are you at the office?"

A second of hesitation later, he replied in English, "No."

Then I started explaining what I had done and I knew that he was at the office because I could see his car outside (the shop was near his office) and then he finally realized it was me.

Then I asked, "Why on earth did you say no at first?"

He replied, "I didn't recognize your voice at first, so I was confused." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...obviously he didn't have my number on his work phone, so he didn't know who it was and then I started babbling in English ha ha ha ha ha...funny!

2. When he got out of the office, my first thought was, "Damn, he's HOT!!!!"

It feels nice to feel this way still about him he he he...He's always SO patient with me, so I'm thankful for that.

3. Seeing two squirrels at the yard, right under the bird feeder. So cute!

4. Tomorrow is a holiday, so the store is closed and tonight I'll have a pre-Christmas party with my coworkers. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSS!!!

5. Finding cheap offers on meat and fish. They're now safely in the freezer for future use.

6. Frost. Beautiful glittery thin layer of frost everywhere. They're sparkly in the sun and under the street light.

7. Finally getting the hang of a new type of friendship that has evolved from an old type of friendship. It feels nice to be able to let go and finally adjust my expectations.

8. Ordering an early birthday present for myself (1 of the books in my wishlist) because Bookdepository gave me a 5% discount that would expire this weekend. Can't waiiiiiittttt!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

9. Almost forgot that Monday is our 8th wedding anniversary (FB reminded me of that LOL!!!). I just want to say I'm thankful that we've been given these years to spend together and I hope we will have many more to come. I still believe he's the one for me and he's becoming even more dear to me as time goes by.

10. Been trying to lose some weight by eating a plateful of salad at least 5 times a week. It's amazing how light my body feels after trying out this practice (haven't really weighed myself yet because I've just started sometime last week, but my body feels different than eating meat all the time).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Latest Snowman Creation

It was snowing crazily yesterday morning and I had an early shift. I had already anticipated it, because Friday was also another snowy and windy day. It was fascinating to see the wind blowing up the snowy particles in the air like dust circling up to the sky. Yesterday I couldn't ride my bike to work, because it was way too early and the snow was coming down hard and the pavement hadn't been cleared from snow yet. 

It was pretty rough to walk on the sidewalk and then I noticed someone riding a bike along the side of the main road, so I decided to walk there, too. Mind you, they had cleared up most of the snow from the main road, so it was easier to walk there ha ha...And because it was so early, there was hardly any traffic (well, not that it's ever been that busy over here anyways). About 200 metres away from my workplace, a car slowly stopped next to me. Turned out it was my boss' car, so I could get a lift to work the rest of the way ha ha ha...My eyebrows were wet by the time I arrived at work as it was snowing right to my face the whole time I was walking to work.

After work we went to my MIL's and I started making a snowman right away. It was really perfect weather as it was wet enough at 0'C, so the snow was pliable and easy to mold. Here are two photos of my upside-down, big-headed snowman he he he he...

My highlight of that day was that when I was making the body, a squirrel came by and watched me curiously from about a metre away. If I made a sudden movement, it'd jolt and scurry behind the tree trunk, but then it kept on watching me for about a few minutes before it finally went over to the bird feeder to eat. Very cute!!! Here are some pics of the peeping squirrel he he he...

Last night all the snow turned to slush because the temperature rose to 1'C. I just checked the temperature outside and it's as warm as 4'C now and it's very very wet. I'd rather have all the snow melted away and then new snow can come in its place without melting away again, because it's really dangerous to have some parts of the snow melt away and then refreeze during the night. Oh well...we shall see what kind of winter we're going to have now. One thing is for sure, though: I can't survive without my light box. The other week I decided to skip using it for a day, but I felt SO SO SO tired that day, so I will never skip using my light box until it gets bright enough outside again.

Friday, October 24, 2014

3BT: Random Days

1. An opportunity to give back and share what I know. 

2. Looking at childhood photos and reminiscing past events, evoking different feelings.

3. The new fluffy and very warm blanket, making me reluctant to get up from bed LOL!

4. Taking these photos:

5. We have so many DVDs to watch. So exciting and difficult to pick which one to watch first ha ha ha...

6. Finally having a lighter week to rest and recharge after a crazy long week at work that I'll never want to do again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everyday Spa in Bandung + Hotel California

Compared to the last time we went to visit Bandung, there are now SO many new spa/massage places there. My brother took us to a new spa place once that his friends had recommended and hubby and I had a 1,5 hour massage. The place was clean, but nothing fancy. The massage was good, though we didn't know what my brother had booked, so turned out in the beginning the masseuse stood up and hold onto the railing and used her feet to massage us. That was quite surprising because I hadn't expected that. It cost about 160,000 IDR for 1,5 hour. 

The only bad thing was that the one who took care of hubby didn't speak much English, so sometimes when she had to leave the booth to wash her hands, she didn't tell hubby anything, so hubby was a bit confused at times. So she didn't ask hubby if he wanted to shower or not, whereas I just went and have a shower.

The next time around I went back to Everyday Spa, the spa where my mom and I went to years back. This time I went to the main branch in Jalan Aceh and because we went there on a workday, I hadn't booked beforehand as I was sure they would have some spots for us. They did have some spots for us right away, but the couple room was unfortunately occupied. The cost was 190,000 IDR for 1,5 hour. 

They had separate sections for men and female and they also asked if hubby wanted a masseur or a masseuse. We only had to wait about 15 minutes for them to prepare everything. They washed our feet first, then gave us slippers and guided us to our own booth. The place was better than the other spa and this time hubby's masseuse spoke English very well, so he felt that it was more satisfactory to have the massage there. 

So after two satisfactory experiences, I'd highly recommend Everyday Spa for people who want to enjoy a nice massage in Bandung. And I think the price isn't that bad, either. So next time we're in Bandung again, I'll definitely go back there.

Here's the spa site: Everyday Spa

Here's a photo of the view from our room in Hotel California from the sixth floor: 

I also had a massage at the hotel we stayed in at that time, Hotel California. Actually the original plan was to go back to Everyday Spa, but hubby wasn't feeling well, so I booked an hour massage there and the masseuse came to our room. The massage was good, but I felt that it's still better to go to a spa place to have a massage rather than your own hotel room because the ambience is just totally different. 

Speaking of hotels, we stayed in two different hotels in Bandung. The first one was D'Best Hotel and the second one was Hotel California. In the beginning we weren't actually planning to stay at D'Best Hotel, but hubby and I had trouble sleeping in my parents' place because of the heat.

We had good experiences with both hotels, though for D'Best Hotel I forgot to ask for a non-smoking room, so the room we had kinda smelled like cigarette smoke. In Hotel California, all the rooms are thankfully non-smoking ones, so no more smell. 

Both hotels provide breakfast, though Hotel California provides many more breakfast choices (well, of course, the hotel room is more expensive than D'Best Hotel). They even have waffles and bubur ketan hitam/bubur sumsum (different for different days) and one day I could even eat Kupat Tahu there, so I was really happy eating there ha ha ha ha...At D'Best Hotel, what I like is the fact that they have gorengan at breakfast he he he he he...

The last night in Bandung, we didn't feel like going out anymore, so we had dinner at Hotel California's restaurant and the food was brilliant. Even hubby complimented his chicken steak (and the sauce). The price was a bit more expensive than in normal restaurants, but it was worth it because the taste was great and it was convenient. 

Here are two photos of our last dinner in Bandung:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

End of Autumn Photos

I'm really swamped with work at the moment, so I'll just share some end of autumn photo that I took when I went for a walk along the riverbank last week. Now winter seems to have come, especially because the temperature has been below 0'C during the past couple of days. It was even -8'C when I woke up this morning. There's a light dusting of snow and frost on the ground now, but here are some photos before the temperature got below 0'C. I was lucky enough to see these mirror effects on the river. Very peaceful! As usual, click to see bigger views (as you can see, it was quite cloudy). Enjoy!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sgp Trip: Sgp Flyer + Gardens by the Bay

Before going to Singapore, I also booked Singapore Flyer tickets online through the website. Because there was F1 race that weekend, apparently only those who had a pass to watch the F1 race could go up on the Singapore Flyer on Friday, Sat, and Sunday. That was why I decided to book the tickets for Thursday. I figured that hubby would be able to see some parts of the F1 race track from the Singapore Flyer cabin. 

I got 10% discount by buying the tickets online (only had to print out the tickets and bring them with us and exchange them with the real tickets at the entrance). The price after discount was 29,70 SGD/person. There was also an option to dine out inside one of the cabins, but I didn't want to spend too much time there because we still had places to see/visit.

Anyway, here's the Singapore Flyer link.

It was a bit tricky to find the place because that day they had started blocking the roads in preparation for Friday's F1 race. However, that was also interesting because we could still walk across parts of the track and see what they were doing he he he he...What I loved about the Singapore Flyer experience was that the cabin was big and it has air conditioner and they didn't make us wait for many people to jam into the cabin, so we only shared the cabin with two other people. It was nice being able to walk around the cabin to see different views and take photos from different angles.

Here are some photos taken from inside the Singapore Flyer. You can see part of the race track as well as the F1 stand. Notice some chairs and table in the cabin below us? That's the dining cabin.

Notice the two domes at the far back? The taller one is the Cloud Forest Dome, whereas the shorter one is the Flower Dome. We were planning to visit that place next. 

We walked across the Helix Bridge towards Marina Bay Sands. Here's a photo of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (the one with the boat-like shape on top) and on the left you can see the Helix Bridge.

We found a lift towards Gardens by the Bay, which actually overlooked the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Here is one photo taken from that bridge (when we were still inside the building).

Now here are some outside views from the bridge towards Gardens by the Bay. Before finding the ticket booth, we had to walk past lots and lots of different themed gardens, like the Chinese garden, the Malay garden, etc. However, we didn't really stop to take a look at them because I knew it would too much time. 

In the pic below, you can see that we were walking along the outer bridge from Marina Bay Sands Hotel (the building on the left) and there's the Singapore Flyer on the far right. 

We hadn't bought any tickets yet because we weren't sure how many places we wanted to visit (at first I was thinking of only visiting one of the two domes), but when we got to the ticket booth, we found out that we could buy tickets to two conservatories for 28 SGD/adult, so we chose to buy them (there wasn't a long queue at the ticket booth). First we visited the Flower Dome and then the Cloud Forest Dome. It was worth the money! I'm really impressed at how well they designed both places. But best of all, inside both of the domes was cool! After walking around in the heat, it was lovely to be able to enjoy the beauty of the plants/flowers without having to sweat ha ha ha...

Click here to find out more info on Gardens by the Bay.

Here are some photos from the Flower Dome.

Here are some photos from the Cloud Forest Dome.

We went up to the fifth floor and walk along the walkway. I felt kinda woozy when walking along on the side of the walkway because you could see what was below and it kinda wobbled if many people walked on it at the same time, so I tried sticking to the middle part because it felt more steady walking there ha ha ha...

Here's a view from the fifth floor walkway...and notice that in this photo it looks like hubby was photobombing the almost-kissing couple HA HA HA HA HA HA...

Then we went down to the third floor and went back down to go out. The photo below shows the walkway on the fifth floor above hubby.

Funny thing was that when we had finished the tour in the Flower Dome, we entered the souvenir shop (the souvenir shop is in the middle of the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome exits), a girl chased me because she wanted us to buy the photo(s) that they had taken of us. When we first entered the Flower Dome, a photographer took a photo of us (just like what happened before we entered the Singapore Flyer cabin), but I managed to say to her, "Ah, we're going to visit the Cloud Forest Dome first."

The truth is, I didn't want to shell out more money to buy photos like that because I had bought some photos of us from the Singapore Flyer souvenir shop already. I chose 4 wallet photos of us (we could choose 2 different backgrounds) and it cost 30 SGD. Good thing she didn't chase us again after we got out of the Cloud Forest Dome HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...