Of Life This Lebaran Weekend

Hello guys! Selamat Lebaran!

It's been a real nice holiday break for Indonesia. It started yesterday with our 67th Independence day and people may take off for the entire of next week. My facebook friends in Jakarta have been commenting on how quiet the city is and of course they love it that way :) My mom herself is going to Bali tomorrow with some of my aunts and uncles. My other cousin and her parents will also spend next week in South Korea. Lebaran break can actually be a seriously stressful period in households which employ maids, nannies, and drivers. All those helps can be gone for a week or so and parents or teenagers who have never had to take care of the house found themselves having to clean after themselves, oh the horror for the rich. Of course if they are immensely rich, they will just get out of the city themselves and enjoy the break away in hotels where you get served. Anyways many people seem to be having a nice holiday break. I can't say much about me. I'm not sure what I will be doing. I think I will spend most of it in my room, watching a lot of stuff in my computer, a bad thing since I really should be learning french.

I had my last French class today. It's the last class in the advance level and I'm not continuing after this. Well because I am taking DELF preparatory class to prepare me for the B2 DELF exam. We had our first session (out of 12) yesterday evening. I'm not loving weekday classes at 7 pm to 9 pm, but we don't have a choice. I need all the help that I can get to tackle B2. Why B2? Because it's comparative to the CELI 3 exam that I did before I left my Italian class. So I want to leave my french education at the same level as my Italian one. We did the part on the listening comprehension yesterday and though I met the minimal requirement, I think I did poorly. I score 12 out the maximum 25. There are 4 parts to the test, each carries 25 points. As usual, I am approaching this strategically and I am having a hard time figuring out how to tackle the parts. The competitive me wants to get 90 and above but that does not seem attainable. So then I am eyeing on the 80 and above range and that also proves to be difficult because that would mean in each of the 4 parts I can only make a less than 5 points mistake. That is difficult because right now I think I can only safely hope that I'll get 15 in each part, which will make a total of 60. To go from 60 to 80 is hard and I don't know if this preparatory class will help :( By the way I only got C for CELI 3 but I studied on my own for it. The test will be in November. Considering this is August, it seems that we have plenty of time to get ready right? That's the thing though, one needs to put the commitment and effort and for anyone who has left the education system, one would agree with me, I think, when I say how we hate having to go back to the books and getting ready for exams :(

So anyway, yesterday we ended at 9 something and by 9 am today I was back at Alliance Française for a test that I totally didn't prepare for. Well of course I was late but I think I wasn't so badly late as compared to my usual self, I think I was less than 5 minutes late and that was because I went to the toilet first before coming to class. I heard Mr. N was being funny when he told the rest that I would be there even though I complained about having to have a test :D I think the test was difficult except for the listening part. Maybe Mr. N was being nice that he made it easy for us or perhaps there's some sort of trap somewhere there. When I saw the essay question, I did think how far we have come. The question was, what is spirituality for you and what is its place in the modern society? :) Smile, I can only smile seeing that. Imagine how you are going to answer that in your mother tongue and fill around 1.5 pages with your answer. Then imagine doing that in a new language that you are learning and at the same time trying to be sophisticated in your answer. In a way I like how my language lessons always progress into a point that got me thinking about stuff. I chose a similar topic about God and all for the orale part. Mr. N chose me to go first and XF to go second and the rest could go in turns as they please. Errr ... why me? He said because I was courageuse, that is courageous in French. We were given time to prepare but after some minutes I was like okay whatev, let's go and of course I blew it. I'm really not good in speaking. Not that I did well in the writing part, I think I was pretty sweet and idealistic in it but I think it was disjointed, repetitive, and not really putting much insight in adressing the question. As for the orale, I think Mr. N was being nice that at the end of it he said he got my point of view :P I think the best part of it was sharing about religion and my family and getting him surprised because he didn't know that side about me and perhaps didn't see that one coming :P Moments like this are some of the things I love about my classes, the fact that I managed to build connection and relationship with some of my classmates and teachers. Yes perhaps it's not long lasting but there were really moments, at least for me, in all those Saturdays when we are truly friends and we were having a good time for the 3 hours we spent together. So with that I was a bit kinda sad that this was the end of my Saturday classes. I don't know how I will deal with my Saturdays from now on. Yes, I complain about getting up early, being tired, about it being demanding and hard, yesterday and today were particularly so, but in the end I cannot deny that there were days when the classes were the best part of my week.

Movie this week was Brave which I watched because I really needed something to kinda cheer me up. I think it wasn't that amazing. The short animation before it, La Luna, was pretty smart though. Anyway, perhaps I was really not in a good place that I really needed more to amuse me and Brave didn't fulfill the task. I have to say that I didn't expect the story to be like that based on the trailer that I saw, so in a way I did get a nice surprise, but overall in the end I was feeling rather bored. So that's that. I guess perhaps I should talk about life but I don't really want to. If I can be honest, I am feeling pretty lonely, pretty sad, and of course God is nice that He gives me things or people to make me feel slightly better when I am feeling really down. I wish I can ask this and that to God but I think asking for this and that is also a form of complaining so I am trying to be strong. Maybe the universe knows me, perhaps Mr. N was right, that no matter how I feel I don't want to deal with something, when the time comes I will be right there and I will be fighting. I guess I've spoken too much. Perhaps if I shouldn't ask God to relieve me from the obstacles I have to face, I could wish for God to give me something amusing in my life, something that can be a good distraction and hopefully makes me smile. Alright, take care peeps. If you have a break in your side of the world, enjoy the holiday :)

:) eKa @ 10:58:00 PM • 0 comments

The Bourne Legacy

It's National day here in Singapore. I missed most of the parade telecast on tv in favor of Downton Abbey. I am currently in love with it. It's actually being shown on the local tv now, but I had a feeling some parts of it were censored, I guess I'm right. Anyway, I think I'm sick now :( my runny nose is getting worse despite of me taking a medicine earlier :( Will I die if I take 2 tablets later instead of the 1 dosage?

Anyway as the title hints, I went to watch The Bourne Legacy today. It's rather funny considering I have never watched any of the Bourne movies in the cinema, it was always on tv. I remembered watching the first Bourne movie and thought it was actually cool and Matt Damon could actually be cool. As cool as the movies were, for some reason I didn't bring myself to the cinema to watch them. I went for this one though. Why? Well because I love Edward Norton. I think I've never mentioned this to the world. It's a rather strange thing too. Edward Norton is quite a serious actor, I mean he chose pretty heavy movies to be in and I actually started to love him on the movie, The Painted Veil, which I actually watched on tv, I didn't even know there was such movie at that time. I guess it helped that his character there was this very nice noble doctor. Anyways, with Edward Norton and Jeremy Renner, The Bourne Legacy just seemed promisingly interesting. By the way, it's unfortunate I still haven't watched Jeremy Renner's The Hurt Locker, hope I'll get to it soon. I actually love The Bourne Legacy, but I think I'm being bias. I love it because Edward Norton was there. Was it good? I think the story wasn't that strong. There's a few things that don't add up. Why did the doctor suddenly went crazy and killed his colleagues? What did Jeremy Renner's character, Aaron Cross, did in the mountain in the beginning of the movie? By the way, Jeremy Renner did bring a different side of how these super soldiers are. If Jason Bourne was the serious type, I think Aaron Cross had more sense of humour in him. I think if you ever have to get stuck with one of them, being stuck with Aaron Cross would be kinda nicer :P Other comment, Manila kinda looks like Jakarta at some parts. Overall, perhaps the story and the action scenes weren't that amazing, some people may find it boring, but I was pretty entertained.

Okay, can't talk much. I'm sick, really. I wish all of us great days ahead. Take care peeps!

:) eKa @ 8:58:00 PM • 0 comments

Being Tourist in Singapore

My Thursday this week felt like Friday. I had much nerves about this Thursday ever since I could see it coming but I have to say that it ended pretty well. There was more emotion than I would have expected when I left and they lingered uneasily but a good night sleep and a day away kinda wiped most that remained. It's weird how it ended, I really didn't see it coming. I often teased Gascoigne about the fact that when he left us, he gave us nothing and yet when he left people whom he spent less time with, he gave them something. One would think that it would be harder and there would be more emotion when you leave a place where you spent more time in it, a place where you have built many relationships with many people as compared to a place where you spent less time and in which you do not actually make friends for life. One would think that way, but in reality the ending was totally different for me that if you look at the ending you would have thought that I love my 2-year experience more than my 6. It's not really so. Especially in this place where I was enlighten that hate grows faster than love.

My 6-year stint was life changing for me. It formed me. It was not always easy but it gave me courage and independence. However when I left, it's just like I'm done. I was so done that all I wanted was to just walk out of the door and I kinda did that. If I can justify my lack of emotion (perhaps) to the people there, well I would say it's because the people who mattered more had left me, they were gone before me. By the end of it, I would say that I was bruised and my confidence was kinda gone. Being told you're not good enough and feeling you're not appreciated can really damage you. So my 2-year experience after that is really something that I'm truly grateful for. Yes, it also had its moment when I want to throw things at some people but in the end I didn't leave feeling like I was battered. So I guess that's why I felt obliged to give the peeps something and wrote a beautiful email (if I can say so myself). So in a way, I think I perhaps kinda can understand how it was too for Gascoigne. It's just different. I am truly thankful for having experienced this 2-year stint because this experience showed that I don't suck, really! What made it even nicer even after I already felt like I was at peace with everything, was that someone actually replied my beautiful email, saying thank you and sorry that he didn't do more to make things work and if he had done so perhaps things would have been different for me. I never think of anything wrong to be attributed to this person and so for him to say those nice words made me feel that again I don't suck and no matter how people misunderstand me or do not want to even begin to understand me, I am ensured that I can actually make a connection with some people and we know that we're cool. Well, I am never one who think you can be friends with everyone, so I guess what I want to say is, for a person that I kinda feel that he's pretty cool to be saying such nice things to me, that is pretty awesome :)

So that's that. Yesterday was my break day and I really had plans to make use that day as much as I can. I really have to say that the tourist side of me really moves in a gung-ho and efficient manner. The plan was to go to the Harry Potter exhibition and visit Gardens by the Bay but it turned out into much more than that. I started the day watching Moonrise Kingdom, a movie by Wes Anderson. Now, Wes Anderson is one of those directors with a very distinct style and quirks in his stories. This movie is about 2 kids who fell in love and decided to run away together and caused all the adults in their lives to run after them. I thought it was good and funny. Quirky. Some may love it, some may not, but overall I think it was sweet. In that almost empty cinema, I actually saw a certain Dr from my past. It was such a surprise. Unfortunately I chickened out when the movie ended and I kinda ran away instead of saying "hi", even though my first instinct when I saw him was to say "hey!". It was really unexpected that I really wanted to sms some people, but I guess the point of yesterday was to get away from people that I didn't. Anyways, after the movie, I went to pray. I'm starting a new chapter in life, so I felt I need all the universe's help.

Then it was to the Harry Potter exhibition in the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands. There was also an Andy Warhol's exhibition in the same place. Considering that I got a resident's discount, I decied to just buy both tickets. It's like I pay the price for Harry Potter exhibition to get entry to both exhibitions, so why the hell not, right? The Harry Potter exhibition featured things from the movies. You go in in groups. When we started, we went into a room with the sorting hat. We had 3 kids trying out the hat and the first kid was such a gem. He's from Hong Kong and he was not shy and was awfully cute in his responses. I actually really really wanted to try the hat too but then I was too shy to ask, considering I'm an adult :( Next was the room where there were footages from all of the movies which made me feel pretty emotional. Harry Potter was really something for me. The books and the movies have transported me to a different world which I really like. After that, we were let to roam around by ourselves. Being a Harry Potter fan, being able to see all of these things up close was something. I tried to see every details and the details were amazing and it made me think that being in a movie production must be something too. Who would have thought that after the scene was shot, someone would actually keep things like the parchment where the kids signed up for Dumbledore Army safe and sound. Seriously, if you are a fan, to see everything in details is amazing, things like how the skeleton of a dementor looks like, how a snitch really looks like, how big Hagrid really is, I was a bit confused if Robbie Coltrane had to wear a fat suit to play him, I thought it was just some special effect thingy, also Hagrid's sofa is really big that if you sit on it, your feet wouldn't touch the ground. I had a really good time there. I wanted to get the wand but at S$75 a stick, I just couldn't. I was rather envious that there was an Indonesian mom who was getting it for her daughter on top of other goodies that the girl got. Indonesians are really rich *sigh*. As for the wands, Bellatrix's wand is the most unique one of all. The elder wand was beautiful. Out of the main characters, perhaps Hermione's wand was the nicest, it was the longest of the 3 if I'm not mistaken. I would most probably have chosen Snape's. It was black and cool and Snape is one of my favourite characters.

After that I went to Andy Warhol's exhibition which was of course colourful. My impression of Andy Warhol is that he's pretty hardworking and pretty contemplative and reflective in his works. It's like he saw more things than what's in front of him and he's always brought those things that he saw out, how else can you explain making things like a time capsule project. Alright, obviously I have very little knowledge about arts to make comments about it. I thought it was an interesting exhibition but I can't say I am a fan of his. His works made me feel uneasy, maybe it's the colours, maybe it's the composition but whatever it is, the more I see them the more they make me feel like I'm gonna get a nightmare. I guess, what I want to say is that we don't match :P I truly enjoyed the animal prints though, those were nice, I love those, really :) As always that happens when I get to experience things like this, I am thankful for the experience, to have had seen works of Andy Warhol :)

After which I went to Gardens by the Bay. By this time, I was already pretty tired. The whole compound is huge and in the heat of the daytime in Singapore when I was already tired, I wasn't interested to walk every mile of it. I think the weather will be the turn off for anyone to explore every part of the compound, it makes walking more tiring. So I kinda headed straight to the 2 conservatories or domes. Again, I have a resident discount for this one. Yesterday I really felt, that finally there's some benefit for being a resident of Singapore. I paid S$20 for the 2 conservatories. I didn't try the skyway because I believe I would be coming to this place more so I wasn't in a rush to try it. Now I saw that there's an individual annual pass for S$68, that is kinda really worth it! So anyway there are 2 domes, the cloud forest and flower dome. I started with the cloud forest and I was totally blown away when I got in. We were greeted with a waterfall! I remember thinking that Singapore did really good with this. It was really totally cool. To explore the cloud forest, you take the lift up and then make your way down on the path way that encirles the hill. I can imagine that my mom is gonna love it here. It was really totally cool. Afterwhich I went to the flower dome. I think the flower dome is bigger than the cloud forest. Here you are straight away greeted by the colourful landscape. I also think it's cool. By the way, both of the conservatories are literally cool so it's totally nice to be inside and get away from the humid hot outside weather. There were trees in the flower dome including the baobab trees which were rather small actually. The flowers were pretty. If I have any criticism is that there weren't much variety in the flowers. Well there were a lot but not like super a lot. In fact if you have gone to Singapore Garden Festivals, there weren't many things in the dome which are super unique. I do not know if this flower dome will have different flowers according to the seasons or such. It's just, don't count on finding tulips there or even sunflowers. There were roses but not numerously many. I don't think I see any lily. It was nice and pretty. I was blown away because such things exist in Singapore, the engineering of this project is truly quite a feat, and the concept of all of this is really unique but I don't think it beats places like the Keukenhof garden for example. The 2 places are different and it's not like one is better than the others though I will understand if someone like Keukenhof garden more. Overall, I think I was surprisingly more captivated by the cloud forest than the flower dome. To see the pictures, you can go here.

Seeing all these, I did think of Taman Bunga Nusantara. We have this naturally huge place, located in a place where the weather is condusive to grow flowers which need cooler air. If only someone can come in and invest in it well, it could be so awesome. That's the thing about Indonesia. We have a lot of potential and natural resources, we just need the right people to work with them. Anyway that was my day yesterday. It was very tiring. My feet hurts and my legs were tired. There was a lot of walking and the part of being ping-pong-ed between mrt stations was totally not fun. I feel it's quite a hassle to reach the Marina Bay area using the mrt :( Anyway, it's a new life this coming Monday. If I think about it, I will definitely be freaking out. So I'm kinda trying not to think about it. I realize something about me, I may hate having to battle or go into the battle field but when I am already inside one, believe me that I will fight. I'm not one who runs away. Stupid maybe, but that is just me. So wish me luck. Hope everything will be alright and I will be okay. Hope you guys have a great week ahead. It's a 4-day week here in Singapore with National day this coming Thursday, so I guess that's something to look forward to for us here. Take care peeps!

:) eKa @ 10:14:00 PM • 0 comments

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