I'm a Thunderstorm Cloud

Hello guys, how has your first week of 2016 been? Busy I'm sure considering the last few weeks of the year always feel like the holidays. Yesterday I was pretty glad that I finished a week, especially considering I've been under the weather these past few days. I don't know what's wrong with me, I'm just not all that well :( Anyways I was glad for the weekend though if we look at it, it's pretty scary that a week has passed by. This week Japanese class has also started. I can't remember how long I have been learning Japanese, definitely more than 1 year. I usually go out of the class pretty fast and so very rarely I share the lift down with my classmates. Today for the first time I shared the lift with I guess the prettiest girl in the class. She's so cheery which makes me think perhaps that's what makes her beautiful as well. Today after class she has to go back to work and this week she's been working overtime a lot, like there's a time she went home at 2 am and got back to work the next day at around 9 am. She was telling me all this while still being cheerful and chatty, man that girl is really chatty. I told her she looked okay and not pissed off or anything and she said that she had to be positive, if not it would make it harder for her to cope with all this. The cynical me would think, ah the folly of being young, but today I thought she's pretty wise. She's a fresh graduate and she's still in a training period and it's only been 3 weeks so in a way yes the complaining shouldn't manifest yet. Aside for that fact, I think she's just more of an optimistic person, which makes me think that if people see me, their first impression is of dark thunderstorm cloud and when people see her, perhaps their first impression is of the sun or sunflower. Do I want to be a sunflower? Perhaps not, I cannot deny there are times when it feels good that people don't start approaching me and ask me stuff. I like my alone time. However talking to her does make think of me having to be more upbeat, positive, and most importantly be grateful.

This week something good happened to me. Really good. There were many years of me only dreaming of receiving what I received this week and in those days this was something like an impossibility. Yet this week when I found out about this good thing, I was just like meh. I wasn't excited and at the same time I was disappointed at my lack of gratitude. I do feel really really sinful. If I ask myself what more do you need Eka? Well there's always more and more thing that I need, but when I really look at it, I already have a lot of things and perhaps more than I need. There's the greed and laziness and I guess all these are where the ingratitude comes from. I'm never one with a new year's resolution and I'm not sure I can do this, but perhaps this year I can try, try, try, try to be more positive, to be more supportive and encouraging to people, to be grateful for what I have.

Anyways, gonna post some photos here. During the Christmas long weekend, I went to the Singapore National Gallery and it's pretty cool. It has a mix of classical work and modern art. As usual the installation arts always make me confuse of their meaning. The place is big and I feel it needs to be filled with more things. Well I guess they're still working on it - the Singtel gallery was not ready yet when I was there. There weren't many people which is a shame, but also made for a great visit. The place is pretty cool, the front steps are like the New York Met where people can just hang around, but in hot Singapore it's just not practical, the sun was scorching. The admission price is kinda high at S$20, but it's free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (Thank God! I was so happy for this) so I think more Singaporeans and PRs should visit this place, but perhaps arts is not really a thing for Asians? It's really a shame though, while it needs more things, it's still wonderful to have this place. Singaporeans are lucky to have it. If only there's something like this in Indonesia. I was really interested to go because I wanted to see paintings by Raden Saleh, an Indonesian painter, who is seriously not well known in Indonesia because I didn't even really know him, but he was an accomplished painter and for achieving such success during his time during the colonial time, he's just amazing and inspiring. The reason why he's not famous in Indonesia because this is just not something being taught in Indonesia. If you ask Indonesian kids, name an Indonesian painter, they most probably cannot name any. Anyway one of his painting is very big, the biggest in the museum. It's this first painting below. It shows a scene during a forest fire where there are tigers attacking a buffalo. The more I looked at it and noticed the details like there's a cat on the left, the more I felt like it's capturing a moment in time, it's like capturing a scene in a photograph, but this is when there's no camera yet. Unfortunately, my photo of it is not really good. Anyways, here are some of the other items from the gallery.







As mentioned, I went home for the new year long weekend. Didn't do anything special for new year's eve. I was trying to sleep earlier because the next day we're going to Mount Salak in Bogor. For some reason my inability to sleep was still happening when I was home. Seriously the last week of the year I couldn't sleep much. I think this week I could sleep because I took flu med every night. Anyways on new year's eve, it didn't help that fireworks were cracking up a lot. I only managed to catch a little glimpse of it because there are many high houses near my area so they block the views. It was cool though seeing fireworks standing on the street in front of my house and from the 3rd floor when I saw fireworks near an office area in the distance. By the way, Indonesians don't need New Year to play with fireworks. In my area, they also do so during weekend. I don't know why, mom once said maybe's there's a wedding. I guess it's just fun, so why not? Anyways, when it was cracking up lot, I was thinking it must be what it's like living in a war zone. As I laid in my bed hearing more than half an hour of exploding sounds, I did think of how lucky I am, to have this life, to be hearing those exploding sound in my bed, not cowering being scared for life. It also made me think that for people with PTSD, that time in Jakarta must be so traumatic for them to hear all those exploding sounds. Don't think what I say is balderdash because I once read an article that encourage people in America to not go overboard with the fireworks during 4th of July celebration because it could be bad for returning soldiers with PTSD. Seriously at midnight, it was like one explosion after another that I did think if perhaps one of them was a real bomb explosion, thank God nothing of the sort.

1st day of 2016, my parents, aunt, uncle, and 2 of my uncle's workers went to Bogor. First stop was Mount Salak where there's a waterfall. The water from the waterfall runs down and fill some little pools of water along the way down. I can't really explain this well. As we walked in, I thought I needed to eat for this which annoyed my mom because I rejected her oat breakfast in the morning (it was dawn mind you!), so I asked mom for money to buy fried bananas. It's so great that things are cheaper in Indonesia. Today I saw a fried banana, one for S$1. With the same amount of money you could get 9 to 10 in Indonesia, like I did that day. Ate that while walking to the lower waterfall and pool. I thought that's it, my family wouldn't want to hike up to where the big waterfall is. To my surprise my uncle and dad started marching up. I was most worried about my aunt, then my dad, I'm not sure they could make it, but they all did. I've been to places right, but this was the most challenging hike I've ever done. This being Indonesia, facility is often at the bare minimum, so for this hike there isn't like a nice path to walk through, you have to navigate river rocks, which I guess make the whole thing much more fun, but it's definitely not straightforward easy. I wasn't out of breath, almost fell once because I chose a difficult path, luckily I didn't crack my head open, and overall it's really really fun and I love it. The view is pretty great, but maybe as Indonesian I see this kinda thing a lot in Indonesia, I wasn't that blown away. The curse of living in a place with so many beautiful places :P Here are 2 pictures from the trip. One time I looked up and I thought the faraway mountains looked beautiful and the waterfall was pretty majestic with its water hitting hard on the rocks, but these days I don't get much amused with waterfall anymore.



Going back down was actually scarier for me, because I felt it was more treacherous, but we all made it alright. After that we went to the city of Bogor and went to the botanical garden. Bogor botanical garden is like Singapore botanical garden and a quick google showed that Bogor botanical garden is older. Both are built during colonial times. Unlike Singapore botanical garden, access to the Bogor botanical garden is not free. That being said, I feel it's not as well kept even though they charge admission *sigh* but Singapore is richer so things can be better here. I want to complain on the fact that I wouldn't know where the entrance for Bogor botanical garden is because it's filled with vendors selling things, they totally cover the main gate, it's more like a market there. I did see some improvement in progress like the zoology museum and a new bridge connecting some areas. Next year, the garden will be 200 years old and I really hope it will be awesome then. Some of the interesting things are the bamboo groves where there are yellow bamboos and then seeing the Bogor presidential palace. The last time I was in this garden was more than 20 years ago and I didn't recall that you can see the palace from the garden. It's separated by a waterlily pond. I have to say with such view, this palace must be great to stay in. Of course when talking about Bogor presidential palace, one would wonder if the deer are still there and yes I did saw a glimpse of some deer. Security was light at the palace, the security guards were just sitting talking and no sniper on the roof, I guess because the president wasn't there. We didn't stay long because it was getting hot and my aunt was getting tired.



That's about it peeps, what I've been doing the last few weeks. Gonna go home for Chinese New Year which before I know it will be very soon. Then it will be my birthday. Then it will be that time of the year where I usually travel. I do wish time would pass slower because I hate being older but of course like a kid in school, most of the time I wish the clock would tick faster and the bell would ring.

:) eKa @ 7:39:00 PM • 0 comments

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