Sunday Reflection

I'm actually not planning to write today but there are many things that swirled into my head this weekend. Yesterday in french class, we talked about how foreigners perceived the french and that got me thinking of how foreigners perceived Indonesians and then it led me to think what makes an Indonesian and if I am an Indonesian or why do I keep on emphasizing on the fact that I am an Indonesian when perhaps I'm not so Indonesian anymore. Then today, I finally had a small talk with Chloe. She and Maxime have been spending some time here. Jenny was asking them to speak french to me. I actually just woke up from my nap so the brain was not receptive to listening and speaking french. As usual, I deflected and started answering in english. Chloe was surprisingly open about her life. At one point, I was telling her something like this, I hope you didn't do X because of Y, because that would be so stupid. I was thinking that it was actually really really rude. That got me thinking further that I really really have to stop doing all this saying things without filtering them. It's not amusing anymore, it's just plain annoying and hurtful sometime. So talking to Chloe, who's 10 years younger than me made me think about more stuff, about how I feel so like an adult. I wish I can talk longer to her because she seemed interested in talking to me too but Jenny was around and I have a feeling that Jenny may not like her being so open to me. I don't know, just a feeling. Anyway, with that many topics going around in my head, there are many things to talk about, no? Let's try.

Do I want to pose that question of what foreigners think of Indonesian? I think that there will be a lot of negative answers which I will respond with, but Indonesian are very nice! Are we? Are we very nice? I do think Indonesian are very nice. I have to admit, I'm not a very nice Indonesian though. I think they are very patient. They are easy going which some may take it as being lazy and ignorant about the proper ways of doing thing. For me going back home is always important because it's going back to the Indonesian roots. Things like speaking Indonesian. It's getting harder for me to say full sentences in Indonesian without breaking in English. On the few trips home, I even had moments when I pointed something to mom and asked how to say that in Indonesian. I knew how to say it in English but I actually forgot how to say it in Indonesian :( It's very important for me to be able to speak Indonesian well and even when I do speak it, I realize I don't really speak it the way my friends speak it. I try my best though. Why going home is very important for me is also because you go back to your place or position in a family and it puts a different perspective about your life. Being here alone it's all about me and surviving but when you are back in the family, it's about how you are part of an entity or a group. Meeting my aunts, uncles, and cousins and seeing their lives is important in a way of telling me how my life could be when God is kind enough to give me a family of my own. That's another thing I think Indonesians are, that they move in a group. I don't think Indonesians are very individualistic, it's always about their place in a group or a community and actions are made with regards of the group. There are just things about Indonesia and how things go about there that can teach you a lot, at least if you are an Indonesian. Everytime I'm there, I always feel that I am at least being taught to slow down, relax, take it easy, and have more patience. Things will not run the way you want it, in an efficiency and standard that Singapore has, but it's all good, people there have put up with it and they're happy in life, perhaps they are even happier than the average Singaporean though they have less, so be happy, be thankful. Being thankful is also another thing that going back to Indonesia teaches me. I do feel I am not thankful enough in life.

So anyways, there have been a few people who told me that I'm westernized simply because I could be very direct in saying my opinion. As mentioned above, my conversation with Chloe did make me feel like I have to tone it down a bit and also perhaps use the F word less. Actually I do not know if being direct is a western thing. If my characters do change in a way that people think of it as being westernized, I think it's not because of the western influence, it's more because I've been in Singapore for a long time and all the experience of just trying to survive on my own. Things become like a problem - solution kinda thing. You have a problem, you face it and find a solution to it and often time it involves saying how you feel or say it as it is to the people who contribute to the problem or who can help you with it. So that's just how I feel. Another thing, I wrote about how Indonesians move in a group. I see that in the Indonesian "friends" back in NUS days. I put friends in "" because I don't think we are actually good friends if we don't stay in touch now. Maybe it's just me. Anyway back in NUS, we did things together and in a group and now that I see it, I feel it suppressed certain interesting and unique qualities of my friends. Now that many of us have kinda made it in the real world on our own and be the wonderful individual that we are outside that group, some of them are great. Like who knows that Oshie actually can tweet about someone being a dick. Back in NUS days, he's like the calm innocent kind but he's pretty spunky and witty and I love this fact :) and I don't know if it's a sign of being westernized, but people with their opinions and uniqueness interest me more than people who don't have any opinions or who are more comfortable being with the crowd or following them.

On that note, it kinda relates to the conversation I had with Chloe today. Apparently the girl quit her psychology studies and turn to movie making. I was stunned that Jenny was okay with that. She said she was failing as she wasn't making any effort at all and she decided to change course. I asked her how long movie making school will take. She said 5 years and I almost fell to the floor. She talked about spending her first year in the hostel and then feeling lonely because she didn't make any friends. She talked about how her friends are just as relaxed in life like her and she even used the word 'hippie' on them, basically to signify that they just bum around. I seriously didn't expect this from a western culture. I thought parents are ready to kick them out when they're 18 or something. But she is European instead of American. I was stunned to hear this girl who just doesn't seem to be quite mature yet. I expected more from her considering her family history. I was thinking that I was more mature than her when I was her age. I told her that I moved to Singapore when I was 18. She was telling me how her friends are the real french kind who like France and don't even think about leaving it. Even when asked why she didn't try to study in Paris, she said why? since the weather in Montpellier is great. That got me thinking if having lived in such a beautiful place does make someone to not want to explore the world more and it's all the people who are living in a developing country and are experiencing a lot of hardship who are eager to see the most of the world. Anyways, hearing her, I was thinking if I had been too hard on her. I mean Jenny who's pretty strict could accept her and be patient with her though she did say that by 21, she better gets her act together because that's the deadline before she gets cut off. I wonder why I was so taken by her and felt a tiny bit of disappointment hearing her. I was thinking if it's because of my strict parents. My dad was disappointed when my cousin wanted to quit orientation before it even started. It just seemed that quitting is not something which is tolerated by my dad. However, after all that have happened to my family, extended family I mean since there are only 4 of us in my core family, I do think that my parents have become perhaps more lenient, tolerant, and acceptant on certain things. I mean we have cousins not being able to move up in their classes, cousin who decided to stop studying or working, and teen pregnancy. My aunts and uncles are living with that and so again patience is something which perhaps grows as our parents grow older. So perhaps my parents are not strict anymore as well with our lives. It seems the consensus among my parents, aunts, and uncles are as long as the kids are happy and healthy, it's all good :) They are so nice, I don't know if they're doing us good with this. As for me, it seems that I'm so gonna be a tiger mom :P Anyway, another thought came to me. Talking to a girl 10 years younger than me, I felt so much older than her and I wonder what a person 10 years older than me can tell me about life. If they are feeling I'm not mature as well, if I still have a lot of growing up to do. Hmm, it's been a long writing there without much deep substance I fear so I guess I will just stop this rambling now. Hope we all will have a great week ahead :)

:) eKa @ 9:41:00 PM • 0 comments

Larry Crowne

I feel very very sleepy right now :( I don't think I really slept last night. Don't ask me why, it's common for my Sunday nights to be like that. Hence I often get cranky on Monday. I wasn't cranky though today. Today I had some time for myself which I spent with watching Larry Crowne, eating a comforting Indonesian nasi goreng, doing something which I didn't expect to be doing at this soon, and getting my eyes tested. The nasi goreng special was such a comfort food that it made me forget about my fear and nervousness for awhile. My eyes test seemed to show that my degrees went down. I wonder how that is possible and I wonder if I did the test correctly. Maybe I was too tired that I wasn't sure what I saw or said anymore. The other thing I did which I obviously didn't want to elaborate here kinda made me sad and brought me more questions about my life. YeeMaggio was really comforting, telling me that she also felt how I felt and I'm not alone in my despair. I'm just gonna close that at that.

Let's talk about Larry Crowne. I actually like this movie a lot. There's a survey in America that showed most of the audience for this movie was above 50 years old. I was telling Ms.J, why am I drawn to this movie? I'm not old! She herself likes the movie too. Even stranger, I actually find Tom Hanks to be quite attractive in this movie. I feel like smacking my head to stop all this stupidity, I cannot be drawn to guys who are so much older. Surely there are guys not so far from my age group who could be interesting, no? Anyway Ms.J was right, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are just so good that when you put them together, they will just be great. Julia Roberts really has a deadly smile. I was thinking about this movie. I was thinking how frightening it is to be in their age and finding that their whole world collapse. Tom Hanks' character lost the job he had had for many years and ended up losing his house as well. He had to reinvent himself and start something new, taking classes with people who are young enough to be his kids. Julia Roberts' character had a job which was losing its meaning to her and was going through a divorce. I just found that to be frightening. I have my life crisis at this age of mine nearing the end of my 20s and going to be 30 soon, however as much as it gets really suffocating thinking about my life, I do have to say that worse come to worst, I can just pack up my life and go to the comfort of my parents. I know some people will criticize me for saying that but that is true. As much as I often feel so alone, I have my mom who will embrace me with open arms. Now when I think about having a major life changes and problems at the ages of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts character, for me that's just scary. It's the age where they should have had all the answers, where life supposes to be all figured out and yet it's not and as shown in the movie, they're pretty alone in that rocky stage of their life. It's really really scary for me. I wonder when I reach that age and I am in that situation, if all the years that I will have had will give me the wisdom and strength to march on like Larry Crowne. Well there you go, the thoughts that came to my head after thinking more about the movie.

A thought came to my tired and sleepy head just now. It's of taking a conversational Italian class. I just saw the class listing and there's one on Friday evenings and I was thinking I could actually do that. However now, I realize that would be a lot of extra expenses. Hmm ... non so ... forse perché il francese è troppo difficile per me adesso and sono diventata molto pigra così vorrei smettere studiare il francese. E anche perché dimentico tanto le parole italiane e la grammatica :( devo usare un dizionario per scrivere queste righe :( Sono molto stanca adesso. Allora fermo qui. Buonanotte tutti!

:) eKa @ 9:50:00 PM • 0 comments

It All Ends

I'm so late perhaps but I've finally watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and how I love it so much. I think it's the best Potter movie of the lot and I'm planning to watch it again. Before I go on to describe how awesome it was, let me just comment on the IMAX theatre first. So I watched this with YeeMaggio at the only IMAX theatre (currently) in Singapore. During the trailer it occured to us how big the screen is and there was a trailer for Under The Sea and the big screen felt like it's really in your face and the 3D was totally awesome. I was wondering how on earth I was going to survive an adrenaline pumping Harry Potter movie which runs for 2 hours under this circumstance but the fact is Under The Sea was really made for 3D and IMAX, Harry Potter was not. So watching it in 3D in an IMAX theatre was like the same as watching it in another cinema. The good point was perhaps the cinema is new so it felt clean and nice and the screen was big but honestly I didn't notice it much anymore during the movie.

Now about the movie. I have to repeat that it's AWESOME!!! The best Harry Potter movie of all and I'm happy how nice it turned out. As a fan of the books, just like many people who may have their complains about things being left out, I also have a bit of disappointment on some things but overall I think it was nicely done. I'm gonna use numbers for my thoughts.

1. The character I love the most is Professor Snape. I love him dearly and from the first book, I never waiver in believing he was good. Seeing him for the first time on the screen was enough to make me feel bitter sweet because this being the last movie, we're not gonna see Professor Snape anymore. I always felt that his screen time was too little in all the movies. Even on this one, his lines when he was alive weren't much. His dying scene was sad and touching for me (I had some tears) not because it was amazingly good but because knowing his story, it was really really sad. I was glad he had more screen time when Harry looked into his thoughts in the pensieve and I think they did Professor Snape's justice. It felt good to see his vulnerable side after all this time him appearing pretty heartless and emotionless. You could really see how much love he had for Lily Potter and how tormented he was for what happened to her. So I'm pretty satisfied with his storyline :)

2. Neville Longbottom. I remembered reading the last book and thinking I hope they don't just dismiss this boy and push him to the side. Just like for Professor Snape, I think they did him good. By the way, who would have known out of all of them, Neville would grow up to be the hottest of them all. I love how strong Neville has become in this movie and they did make him look so cool when he slayed Nagini. It felt really good to see Neville in the spotlight and be all natural and sincere about it. You can't help feeling proud of him :)

3. I gotta talk about Draco a bit. Draco is one character who I always look forward to see in all the films. I never really hate Draco. Starting from Half Blood Prince, I was already sympathetic for Draco. The fact that he's so tormented means he had some heart though perhaps some people may argue that he's just a coward. I actually like seeing him being tormented :P

4. Ron and Hermione's kiss. Oh my God!!! I thought it was bad. I mean come on, these are 2 people who we know like each other so much for the longest time and even in the book we all gasped and grinned in joy when they kissed but in the movie I think it was a disappointment! The angle that they chose most of the time was with Ron's face covering Hermione's. The kiss wasn't obvious. I wonder if after all the takes, they couldn't find any good one :( It was just a big let down for me.

5. Ginny and Harry's kiss on the other hand was good. It was short but it became very sweet when she said, "I know" and Harry dashed off. I'm not one who love the idea of them being together but with that scene I gave them my blessing :P

6. The battles of Hogwarts was epic. I thought it was cool. I think there are more magic shown here than in all the previous movies but of course I had my disappointment. I would have loved to see an actual battle scenes that show people like Fred, Lupin, and Tonks died :( I also expected a more epic duel between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange. Overall though, I think it was awesome. Scenes like between the giants and the army from the wall was good. Seriously when Prof. McGonagall was conjuring the spell to wake the soldiers from the wall, my mind went to the churches I visited in Europe and thought how awesome it was if all those statues can come to life as well :P

7. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. I just want to say I love them all. I actually love Harry the least, even in the movies and in the book, but you really cannot help loving them all after all these years. After all they've gone through together and after all the fun we had reading them. Geez, I'm feeling sentimental now. I just want to hug all of them, all the kids that have grown over the years and turned amazing :) I'm not loving the 19 years later scenes though. With them playing an older version of themselves, it just didn't feel realistic. I would have been satisfied if they just chose actual adult actors to play their older versions.

8. Lord Voldemort. In french class some weeks ago, Mr. C brought to our attention the fact that if you read that name in french, vol de mort, it means the flight of death. One of the many smart things that J.K. Rowling put in her books. I thought Ralph Fiennes was really really good playing him. You can feel the seriousness and a bit of fear hearing him telling Hogwarts and Harry Potter to surrender. The half whisper voice that he had was rather terrifying. He's so good being bad that I was really glad when he finally died. That's how good of an actor he is :)

9. To summarize on how good this movie is. Take note that I cannot comment if it's confusing for non readers. I think the story line is great, the pace was quick. You feel like it's one adventure after another. The special effects were great. It is pretty dark, I have to admit that some of the scenes were a bit scary. Many of the scenes were so touching that I had a tear or two. So I had tears not because it's the end but because the scenes were really nicely done and the actors were great that you couldn't help feeling touched. For example when Voldemort tell Hogwarts to turn Harry over and one of the Slytherin pointed to him and one by one people stood up to protect him, you can't help feeling touched. Seeing all of them standing up to fight knowing that they're most probably not going to survive this made me a bit teary and I didn't expect that :) Writing all that, I really cannot wait to watch this movie again. Maybe in 2-3 weeks from now :P

I can go on and on about how nice this movie is but I will stop now :) So how's life? Life is uneventful. Err ... well something did happen this week. I'm scared and nervous about it. I really didn't see this coming but it's here now and as much as I am scared about it, I can only walk forward. I need to repeat the mantra over and over, If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. As usual my mind is going all over the place, plotting all the what ifs when it's too premature to do all that. This causes me to be all jittery. I really need to just breathe and take it one step at a time.

On other news. I think I finally had a break through with Mr. C. I need to start of with how this morning started. I met Mr. N as I was entering the building and we started talking. He asked me how's class been going. I said it was difficult. He said it couldn't have been difficult for an intelligent girl like me :D I have to write this down simply because everyone has a narcissistic side and it's always good to be complimented :P I told him the teacher is Mr. C and so it's difficult. He funnily agreed with me, saying, aaah C ... yeah it's difficult :D It made me laugh. When I told this to Mr. C, he was laughing as well. I'm relieved that he could laugh about it :D So anyway the break through happened when I submittted my homework to him. I thought everyone was going to do it, hence I actually made an effort to do mine. Little did I know, noone did it. In fact not many people came today :( So anyway, I submitted mine through email simply because I just didn't want to have a discussion about it if I hand it to him in person. However Mr. C is so hardworking. I guess it is right about people who expect a lot from others, they expect more from themselves. I wrote 3 paragraphs and Mr C's reviews on that went to 3 pages. He said he appreciated my work so much so he had to do me justice and give me proper comments. I could only scream, aaaahhhh!!! when I saw that. I knew he's gonna butcher my writing because even I know it was bad. The arguments were weak and the writing style was not sophisticated at all. Instead of feeling sad however reading his lengthy and detailed comments, I couldn't help feeling a lot of appreciation towards him (it took him 2 hours to write his comments) and I actually felt bad that I subjected him to read such poor writing. One can only imagine his exasperation when one of his comments came with 3 exclamation marks :( Things that he said include how I repeat myself many times. Well even in english I do that, how many 'awesome' in this post alone. He also asked me to combine my sentences and make them more compact and efficient. Errr ... yeah that's hard. Anyways, I do feel better after telling him that he's stressing me out and he's the most difficult teacher I had :) It's good that he knows I sucks. I guess things are better when we know how we perceive each other :D At the very least I think now he knows my name :D I feel a bit better but still his class is nerve wrecking and I still don't know how to survive it. Maybe things will get better. Okay, I gotta stop now. You guys take care 'aight!

:) eKa @ 10:19:00 PM • 0 comments

Sunday Musing

I'm usually asleep at this hour but I'm not. I woke up pretty late today after sleeping quite early last night for a Saturday night. Had a bad night or perhaps day yesterday. French class was as usual as it has been since we got Mr. C, it made me feel downhearted. For the records, it's not his fault, it's just je pense que je ne suis pas assez bonne for lui. Anyways, I had a bad neck pain yesterday morning but I managed to make it home. Weird incident in the bus back. There was this crazy chinese man rambling in chinese. I didn't understand what he was saying of course but he sounded angry. I think the bus driver asked him to get off but I think he scolded the bus driver back. It sounded pretty scary and my mind just went to the Hongkong tourists who were taken hostage in Manila, so I got off at the next bus stop. I was kinda worried for the safety of the bus driver and the other passengers but there's no news on TV about anything bad, so I think they're doing okay. Anyway, as I was reaching home, I felt worse. I felt nausea a bit. I couldn't even finish my lunch. I took my nap but when I woke up I wasn't feeling better. My temperature was rising. After some panadol it just seemed to subside awhile before rising again :( So I took more panadol, slept early and prayed. Woke up a few times at night and I recalled it was at 3.11 am something that my body seemed to be doing okay, the temperature was okay. It was like it has calmed down. I wasn't feeling totally well when I finally got out of bed today but so far my temperature hasn't gone up yet. So thank God. The neck pain is still killing me though :'( I know it sounds like I'm such a whiny baby but seriously it sucks being alone when you are sick really bad and become so weak that you wonder if you're gonna collapse or anything :'( As usual I became very emotional about it. Luckily since I was no longer feverish, I didn't reach the emotional state of having to bawl and sob like mad.

So anyway, since I decided not to have a nap today, I've been spending the afternoon keeping up with the tv series which I missed during my holiday. I wanted to watch Larry Crowne today but I decided to do the right thing and stay in, but I do need to get out soon to get something proper to eat. Since the last time I wrote, there's nothing much to write. Perhaps that's the reason why I hadn't written. I did watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It was your usual bang bang boom kind. I think I was more amused with the witty lines that Shia's character had, especially with his parents. When the rest of the world are rushing to the cinema for Harry Potter, I will only be going to watch it next week. Gonna watch it in imax. I'm really looking forward for it. I booked for the tickets last Sunday and it was filling fast. This is definitely the first movie that I ever had to book 2 weeks in advanced. I seriously thought it was crazy.

Nothing much else to say about my life or anything that I can say here. I've been feeling a bit restless again with life and something happened that made me feel if it was a sign. I'm too tired to think about it now but I kinda need to make a decision soon. Yeah, I really don't want to talk about it now. I also don't want to talk about the people who pissed me off. So since I have nothing to say, I'm gonna stop now. I hope all of you are in good health. Take care!

:) eKa @ 2:54:00 PM • 0 comments

The Netherlands ~ Keukenhof

Last post about the trip peeps, more than 1 month since I actually came back from my trip. I feel kinda sad because there's a finality that comes with writing this last post, like it's really over. But it's been over since long ago. I guess I was just in denial and kinda tried to extend those memories and the warm and fuzzy feeling and that feeling of being so thankful and blessed for being alive just because I saw something breathtaking. Anyway, let's start with this last post.

I took KLM for my flight back to Singapore. KLM doesn't have any direct flight from Italy to Singapore. I had the option of having a stopover in Paris or Amsterdam and I chose Amsterdam. I chose quite a long stopover because I wanted to visit the Keukenhof garden. I could have chosen the earliest flight out of Rome but I didn't, thinking I would have enough time. My flight was supposed to arrive in Amsterdam at 1.05 pm and the flight to Singapore was at 9 pm. It seemed like I would have enough time but as the day approached, I did have my worry about it. I was thinking what if it took a long time from landing to actually getting out of the airport and I was wondering if there'll be an immigration check. I remembered asking Copper about it and we both kinda thought that there shouldn't be any immigration check because flight between EU countries should just be treated as a domestic flight. We were right :)

I knew I had to get out of the airport but stupid me, for some reason as I walked towards the exit, it didn't occur to me to really get out until I really exit the airport. When I asked where the bus terminal is, I was told to get out of the aiport *duh!* Well, I'd never really got out of the airport without having to go through immigration check or wait for my luggage, so this very liberating way of exiting an airport felt a bit unusual and unnatural for me that I was feeling unsure :P Anyway, if you go to Keukenhof's website, one of the suggested way to go there is by going to Schiphol airport and take the shuttle bus from there. From the web you can book the ticket to enter the garden that includes the return shuttle bus tickets, at 21€. I did just that and it was so easy to find the bus terminal. It's just outside the airport. I had no difficulty finding the bus. They ran every 15 minutes or so and when I reached there, the bus just arrived and so I didn't waste any time at all :) It took around 35 minutes or so to reach Keukenhof and seeing The Netherland's open landscape was pretty interesting. Oh yeah, I just remembered something. One of the plane's runway in Schiphol was actually an overhead runway with quite a busy road underneath it. It was actually kinda freaky for me. It was so unusual but I guess they're used to it, so it was nothing strange for the people there. Well it was a first time for me :P

Back to Keukenhof, I arrived easily. I've kinda been in The Netherlands before. On my Italian trip 2 years ago, I also had a stopover in Schiphol and one thing that I realized there was they everyone speaks English fluently. So I wasn't so nervous about not being able to speak Dutch :) So anyway there I was. The stupid me didn't even think of getting a map. I just started to walk, following the paths and the flowers. It's very cold there. It was strange coming from Italy which was a bit hot. I didn't expect it to be that cold because I was in Paris 2 weeks before and it wasn't that cold but I guess it happened to be a rather cloudy day in The Netherlands that day and the garden has a lot of trees, so it was colder than usual. I kinda couldn't take the cold much. I think I was a bit under dressed. So I went indoor every chance I got. There was an flower arrangement exhibition which was awesome. The lady doing the demonstration was doing it in English and Dutch. I didn't really watch her demonstration. All the flower arrangements there were really beautiful. There were flowers I hadn't seen before. Then there was also a lily exhibition which was so interesting for me because when you walked in, the area smelled amazing!!! I didn't know that lily could smell that nice which was stupid of me since they use lilies to make parfume. It was quite a big area filled with all kind of lilies, very big lilies, so the whole air was filled with their sweet smell. I kinda didn't want to leave because the smell was really comforting and it relaxed me. I had a hot chocolate drink here. The girl serving me was pretty sweet. I wanted to use up all my coins but I didn't have enough coins to pay for the drink :( So when she gave me coins as the chance, she was telling me sympathetically that now I had more coins. We laughed about it :P

I tried my best to explore the garden. There was a small zoo with a pony like horses but I don't think they were ponies or horses. I saw pigs, sheeps. There was a bird show. There were some fountains and ponds. There were many ducks and swans in the ponds and fountains. I kinda expected to meet some Indonesians there and I was just waiting to hear some Indonesians which I eventually did. There were 3 of them and I asked if they could take my picture. One of them kindly helped me. He was friendly, while the other 2 weren't so. On another occassion, I asked some Italians to help me take my picture. A realization came to me that I could actually ask people in 4 languages now and I should make use of that. Anyway, since it was cold, I have to admit, it was hard for me to keep on exploring the garden. When I wanted to leave, I saw there's a map of the garden and there's a windmill there. However I didn't want to risk going there because I didn't know how far it was and I am prone to get lost and missing my flight back to Singapore would have been catastrophic. A pity but perhaps this is a call to come to Keukenhof again one day :) So tulips being the attraction of the garden, here's a picture of some red tulips.

The garden is really really big. If the weather had been nicer, it would make exploring it so much more comfortable. As luck would have it, as I was about to leave, the cloud started to part and the sun shone through.

So that's Keukenhof. More pictures can be viewed here. I took the shuttle back and arrived in Schiphol with enough time for me to eat before my next flight. I kinda still remembered the place pretty well from my previous transit. I ate at the same place 2 years ago. I was still missing Italy so much so I chose to have pizza. I chose a set which came with a soft drink. The guy was showing me the cup for the drink and I gasped and commented it was so big. This made the man next to me laugh at my reaction. It took me by surprise and I continued with saying, I'm gonna get diabetes, and that made him laugh harder, the waiter too :D I love that, being able to make him laugh :D He just said, it's okay, you're young. If only they knew I wasn't that young. As I went to the cashier to pay, I saw the name tag for the cashier. It's an Indonesian name. Widjaja, I think. So I told her that there was no ice in Indonesian. This got us talking. I asked if she's been there long. Well it's been around 40 years for her and so she's already a Dutch citizen. I told her I live in Singapore. She was so eager to hear my opinion if living in Singapore was better. Hmm ... people who know me knows I would never say (or be able to say), I love Singapore. I'm here because being here allows me to fund certain things that I want to do than if I'm in Indonesia. So as much as I often feel sad with the loneliness, the part where I feel I don't belong, I just have to swallow all that in and be strong about it. Well anyway, as I left the cashier, she said, "selamat makan sayang!", which means "bon appetit darling". That really made me feel so happy. Warm and fuzzy to be more exact :) I really feel thankful to God for all the kindness that strangers show me. Another thing to comment was that the security check at the gate was daunting. We had to go through this machine which I believed scan our body. If the scan showed anything out of the ordinary, we got a pat down by the officers. Lucky me, I got the pat down. It was by a female officer but still it felt weird. Nothing much can be said about the flight. As mentioned in a previous post, I sat next to a French girl from Nice who's travelling to Bali alone. I hope she had a splendid time in Bali. I tried to sleep in the plane. I think I only watched 1 movie, which was an Italian movie, Baciami Ancora. My classmates and me actually watched the first movie of that sequel in class but we didn't watch it in its entirety so I felt kinda sad not having watched the first movie.

I guess I was really missing Italy and I still do now. Out of the 3 countries which I visited in this trip, Italy is still first on the list. I guess first love really never dies? Then it's Spain and then it's France. I don't know why France didn't really capture my heart much. I guess I just love the warm Southern Europe more :P I also think I can eat better and have less problem choosing what to eat in Italy and Spain. Another thing about France, despite of Paris being a typical big city with a lot of hustle and bustle, I actually love this city the most out of all the places I saw in France. This is despite of the more charming life in Provence. Still, overall, I just didn't feel connected with France the way I do with Italy. Maybe if I can speak french better then I'll feel differently but I don't know it I will ever be.

Anyway, I kinda finished sorting out the pictures. I have even added a set in Flickr with pictures I took from the road. My next project is actually going through the pictures again and picking out the ones which aren't featured in any of the set and turn them into black and white. I think they're gonna be awesome :) There are lots of them though :( I also need to photomerge some of the pictures which I planned to photomerge. Still so many things to do I guess. So still a few memories to relive and to make me smile. It's late, so I better stop now. Buonanotte tutti!

:) eKa @ 10:44:00 PM • 0 comments

Italy ~ Capri

Our last day in Italy was spent visiting Capri. I was really looking forward to see La Grotta Azzura. The prospect of that did make me feel rather excited as we made our long journey from Rome to Napoli again. Well a cornetto with marmellata also helped me feel better about having to start our day so early :P So in Napoli, we took a ferry from Molo Beverello to Capri. Here's a picture from Molo Beverello, it looks pretty, doesn't it?

I only have a few pictures from Napoli. You can see them here. Moving on, learning from the time when I got seasick on a ferry trip to Bintan, I took a pill for motion sickness before we sailed. It helped a lot and I was so thankful I took it. Our ferry was pretty fast, around 40 minutes to reach Capri but it was enough to make many people sick. Maybe there's something wrong with the water that day, the wave was rough. Mau herself was feeling rather sick but she made it through without having to throw up. The crew were looking at people and giving them plastic bags, just in a case. We did saw an Indian girl siting a few seats next to us throwing up, poor girl.

Because the water was rough, we couldn't go to the blue grotto. Aarrrgghhh!!! I was so disappointed :( But what could we do about it :( We started the day at the Piazzetta. We were given time to explore the place. The view was really nice from the small piazza. The guide was telling us, the wind was really strong so it caused the wave to be pretty rough but at the same time it cleared the sky, so we did get a beautiful view and we could see mountains nearby pretty clearly. In the piazzetta, there's a church, Santo Stefano. Its wall is all white. It looked so bright and a bit blinding under the bright sky :P I went in and it was all white inside as well, white wall, white chandeliers. It looked kinda rich. After that, I just hung around in the piazzetta, absorbing the view. Then suddenly there was a newlywed and their family walking towards the piazzetta. I think they just got married and they were releasing some white balloons. I did saw a girl walking by with a bunch of white balloons before that and I wondered what they're for and then I knew :P Some of the white balloons got stucked in the wires, pretty cute. Capri is really pretty. I can imagine that the piazzetta is also pretty too at night.

After that, we headed to Anacapri which is basically at the higher part of the island of Capri. We made a stop to try some limoncello first. Holy God! It was pretty strong. One of the American commented, it's like taking a shot :P At first taste, it actually tasted really nice but once it got into your system, it was really really strong :P We had lunch in Anacapri, it wasn't a good one. We found out that there's a Singaporean couple in our group. So we sat with them during lunch. They were friendly. I couldn't remember their names. The husband is a Singaporean but the wife is a Thai who speaks like a real Singaporean :P After lunch, the guide told us what we could explore in the area. One of it was taking the chairlift up to Monte Solaro. I wasn't keen on doing this because it seriously didn't look safe at all :( But I was thinking there's nothing else we could do there but that. I forget how much we paid but I think it's around 9€ or perhaps 15€. Mau was unfazed about taking that chairlift up and I was freaking out. I don't think I have a fear of height but I do have a fear about getting hurt badly. Hence I don't have trouble about taking a plane but once there's heavy turbulence, I will start praying fervently. So with this chair lift, I was really really scared about falling down to my death. Seriously, it's not so safe, you can open the safety barrier yourself during the ride. Mau seemed to think my fear to be rather amusing. I was not making any move at all when the ride started and Mau was turning back looking at me and telling me to relax and take pictures. She herself was taking pictures all around but I was really really scared. I seriously didn't move at all. On the trip down, I did get a bit relaxed, even though it was scarier because the sky turned rather dark and it got windy but I did take a few pictures and one of it is the picture of the chairlift. So here you go.

Tell me, it doesn't look safe right? Alright, perhaps I am such a chicken. I was glad when it was done and I felt so much better seeing the view. It was really really nice up there. It was rather worth the ride up :P Looking around, I think it would have been nicer if we could just take a boat and go around all the different parts of the island. The weather was good when we got there, blue sky all around. However then the sky turned rather dark and so I asked Mau to go down before it started raining. It got really cold as the sky turned dark and weather like this was annoying because you ended up underdressed for the cold air. Anyways, here's a picture I took from up there in Monte Solaro.

The blue water is pretty, isn't it? For more pictures from Capri, you can go here. So that was our trip to Capri. It was rather uneventful perhaps. Again we reached Rome pretty late. We decided to eat at the restaurant next to our hotel again. We had the same waiter again. Since it's my second time there, I guess he was friendlier to me. He served me better, complete with a wink and a smile :P I overheard his conversation with the guests on the table in front of me. It seemed he's from Napoli. We didn't talk much though this time around. It's okay I guess, since I was leaving. I did feel kinda sad about leaving Italy. On the road from Napoli to Rome, I felt sad that I was leaving Italy again. I don't know when I'll be back or if I ever gonna come back (I really hope so!!!). Of course, I felt sad too that holiday was ending :P It had been a long journey and a completion of any journey would make you rather sentimental I guess. We left the next day. Mau left first because her flight was earlier. I had time for breakfast and lo and behold I saw the Singaporean couple. Apparently they were in the same hotel as us. So I ate with them and then I rushed off as they made their way to the Colosseum.

In the Termini train station, apparently the track for Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport was quite far. Now I knew why 2 years ago, I managed to take the wrong exit! Anyway, dragging my luggage, I made it to the train that I wanted to take. It was like a workout, walking really really fast without stopping while dragging your luggage. In the airport, we had to use the machine again to check in and an Italian lady next to me was complaining of how confusing it was. I told her I didn't like it either and she ranted all the way in Italian telling me how she did everything and it still didn't work and one of the staff quickly came to help her. I think it was rather a silly system. The whole point is for the passengers to do check in themselves easily and yet it does get confusing. A staff had to help a big group of chinese tourists. I felt sorry for the girl who had to help all of them one by one. So anyway, I didn't encounter any problem. I went to my gate and I heard someone called me. It was surprising and it was more suprising to find out it's Mau. She got on the wrong train in Rome and so she missed her flight and ended up in the same flight as me. Poor her. She did leave very very early so perhaps she wasn't totally awake yet when she was at the train station. Our flight was actually for Amsterdam. I planned a longer stopover there because I had one last thing to cross off my life list, which I will tell you more in the next post. Mau on the other hand was staying the night there. On the plane, I was seated next to this young Norway girl, maybe around 17. I think she was stunned to find out I'm 29 :P Her english was amazing that I was stunned to hear her. She said it's common for Norwegian to speak english. She was going back from a holiday in Florence and Cinque Terre with some American friends. She looked pretty tired. All and all, I arrived in Schiphol without any problem. I didn't see Mau anymore though when we landed. Anyway, I'll stop now and I'll continue in the next post :)

:) eKa @ 7:37:00 PM • 0 comments