I turned 34 several days ago. Unlike last year when I spent my birthday in Bangkok, I spent my birthday here, in Surabaya. I’d been thinking to do the same this year, but I’d been too much traveling for the last six years… So, this made me a little bit tired and wanted to be at home. Besides, I’d been having my “detox” diet for the last two year.  And, I’m enjoying it now. Once I decided to go on birthday retreat, my diet could be back in array. :). So, I just need to wait for another getaway.

I’ve never been so much easier for birthdays for the last several years besides “Oh Man, I’m getting older.  What I’ve done. What I’ve achieved“ When I realized I haven’t done a lot, this made me more saddened.

But not this time… I don’t really care if I’m getting older (truthfully, I’m getting older each day). I hated myself on birthdays.. It always was… But not this year.. NO MATTER what, birthday is birthday. Each day, one day is drained to the closet. Birthday is no longer an issue to me… :). Maybe because I have less things to worry about. Because I let things happen and go. That’s why I’m happier now.. Although life is getting more and more challenged to me. I’m accepting life as the way it is. My life now is pretty much like a flowing river.

But I guess I need to jot down why this happened to me. OK, let me take a deep breath and try to recall what had happened to me. I think it was a long process – through a long and winding road; good and bad, happy and sad, struggles and failures. I will try to recap 34 things that are important in my life that had taught me to be better and better. Things that had made me like today… this day…

  1. 2010-2012 is one of the most important period in my life. I could call it as “a turning point in my life.” Two years living in Saint Louis was moving so fast… So fast like I could not really control it. I eally enjoyed living in a place that I’d always dreamed about since I was a kid… living in  foreign country. Then “crash”, and I could not control my life anymore because I’m not the one who control it. I needed to deal and accept life as the way it is… Not like the way I always want my life to be. Ah, too complicated, heh? Two years living in Saint Louis with so much ego and ambition had made me rethink about what the success and achievement really meant to me. Well, success and achievement are not the key of happiness. I began to rethink my life purpose after several “incidents” in my life during those years.
  2. After all the “incidents”, I’m still lucky to have a solid family and good people in my life. I’m lucky to always surrounded by them. They always ensured me that I could “hang in there” and made it. I did made it.
  3. I was feeling lucky the day when my friend Caroline Tanjaya shared me a blog link, Zen Habit. This blog mesmerises me.
  4. I don’t remember exactly what day it was.. But I think it was in August. I was at the office when an email popped up in my inbox. It did tell me that I could not get a scholarship. I was so sad till I could not cry. So, I decided to call one my good friend. Then she said, “OK, calm down… I’ll take you to a dinner… “ At that night, I ate three courses meals, and I felt so relieved… :). I was so heartbroken because I was too confident that I could get in. No, I was not.
  5. Till I’m turning 30, school and education were still something very important to me. I really wanted them so badly. I loved school. Very much.
  6. After that “too confident” incident, I never over expected to get into a scholarship program when I applied. Well, at the end, I got two scholarship programs in two different places at the same time. How lucky I was… (not to mention the Grad School in Indonesia that I’d applied and enrolled). Hahahaha.
  7. But, when I was at school, I began to realize, that school was no longer my thing. Reading thick text book and never ending articles and assignments just made me think, “ why did I do this?” I still love learning, but not my spending hours in the library and computer lab as well as my laptop. I spent like 15 hours in front of my computer and classes. And slept like 5 hours everyday. I think every grad student has experienced this. Maybe, spending several years on the job market and being a full time worker, had just changed me… Reading text books were no longer interesting things to do. 🙂
  8. Although Grad school was tough (especially in the first semester), I never cried till the end of the first semester when my advisor asked me to stop by at his office… I cried on my way home from school. I was almost kicked out from school because my grade did not meet the standard. I only knew, I needed to get better. Hahaha. Everytime I remember this, I smiled. Aha, Grad School. What a life.
  9. At that time, I began to realize what I’m really interested in…. traveling, cooking, eating, and writing some “spams” Hahahaha.
  10. During my rough times in Grad School, I found solace and peace in the kitchen. It’s the only place that could make me so happy. I will go to the kitchen whenever I got too much stress, I don’t care what time was it. Sometimes after 12 am. I would cook and eat . Sometimes straight from the pan. I would eat them at the kitchen counter.
  11. I always love riding bike. This makes me feel so goooooooddddd. Even when I was in Saint Louis, I decided to buy a pink bike which I called her “Eva.” Then, she was stolen at the first day in the Spring. So sad… :((. She was a pretty and good bike. When I’m back home, my dad bought me a new one – as a graduation’s present. I named the new bike, Lou. I ride Lou everyday to and from work.
  12. Savannah, GA is my favorite place in the US. I don’t know why I love this place so much. Maybe because the city looks so old: with colonial houses with porches and spanish most everywhere? I remember going to a nice restaurant to eat with Katie. The name of the restaurant is Six Pence. I think it’s a Irsih pub.
  13. I’m happy that my work allows me to travel alot. During those travel called business trips, I could catch up with some old friends, and so many good buddies. Whenever I’m going somewhere, I always a friend to shout out and hang out with.
  14. I quit caffein. It feeeeellll gooooodddd. I’m happy to find ways to stay awake and fresh without a single drop of caffein. Do you want to know how I made it? I eat healthier and better. That’s the secret. Simple and easy.
  15. The day I decided to change my diet and the way I eat was the right decision I’ve ever taken. I always love food, and I had problem to control my appetite. It’s always huge. I always wanted to eat so much things and new things. Well, I’m still adventurous in food, but I’ve changed in the way I see food.
  16. I sometimes like being alone (sure not lonely 🙂 )… just me and my thought. It could be everywhere, with noone and talk to me. I love being silence sometimes. That’s when I can hear the noise and voice in my head. I really need to tame them without losing my edge. I remember when I was a kid, my parents and little bro were out of town and I was left all alone. I refused to go to my aunt’s house to stay with her for the night. I wanted to be alone that night. What I did at that time was going to the town, bought cookies and some other foods, eating them, and watching television till late.
  17. I quit gym membership, and I exercise the way my body wanted to. I do mostly light exercise like walking and a basic step of tai chi.
  18. I always fall in love in a strange way…. The stories are always “strange”, not a plain one. I still remember every single detail why I fall in love with a certain guy.
  19. I experienced a weird day between Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago one time… I was in those two cities in one day with my three Thai friends. At that night, I had a drink in a Japanese restaurant in Chicago, got drunk for the first time, had a surreal night. But I HAD A GREAT NIGHT at that time. Oh Gosh, it was a pretty and awesome evening. This wiped out tears I shed in Wisconsin. 🙂
  20. Everything happens at the right moment and place. That’s what I’ve learned over the past four years. And everything has its own message.
  21. I had a remarkable 33th birthday in Bangkok. I was all alone, stayed in a hostel with 8 bunkbed room. I was the only one who stayed that night. On my birthday, I roamed in Siam Center, had a lunch with myself in a cool place, and had tea afternoon with Yui. That day, I flyed back home. At the airport, I had a really nice conversation with a “brondong”, high quality one.
  22. During traveling, taking off is my most favorite thing… It feels like… You have to be seated upright. Seat belt fastened. Then, the plane begin to take off in a full speed. Slowly but sure, it begin to “loose” in the horizon. I love the sensation.
  23. I really enjoy the moment during the flight. I used to really hate them because I could not do anything besides sleeping and reading. Now, I really enjoy the moment up in the air as a moment to contemplate and meditate.
  24. It was really surprised me when I found out that I’m an ISFJ (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judgement). But it’s not suprising actually, when I get older, I really enjoy being alone and in silence. When I was much younger, maybe 10 years ago, I love being with many people around me. I was a social butterlfy when I loved being everybody’s attention.
  25. I can’t swim. But I love beaches so much. I love going to the quiet and secluded beach. Being at the queit beach doing nothing – just lying at the sand and going to the saltwater can make me so happy.
  26. Do you know the best moment in life? Giving! And people are happy.
  27. When I was a kid, I always imagined to be able at the beach, lay down during the night, and see the stars above. Actually, I had my dream came true. When I was in Dili during my best friend wedding, Bebe’s, I was able to spend the night at the beach seeing thousands stars above with Tika, Yoko, and Teo.
  28. I always have strange experiences when I’m traveling. I always had so much to tell… Like when I was in Dili: got a Harley ride with the guy I don’t know – even his name, being known in the city as the “drunk” bridesmaid who slept in the toilet, etc. To tell you the truth, I did not drink a single drop of alcohol that night.. I was only tired and sleepy. So, I decided to sleep at the toilet because it was so comfy.
  29. When I’m traveling, I become more open. Maybe, that;s why I love traveling.
  30. I have several favorite places to eat. In the US, I like a place called Cafe Berlin. It’s a small and local restaurant run by a local Colombia, MO enterpreneur. It serves the best waffle and omlette in town. :). Oh Man, I want to eat breakie there again.
  31. One food I really miss from the US is bagel with creamcheese. Well, I don’t eat bagel everyday. But because I could not find in Indonesia easily, I miss it so much. Imagine, fresh toasted bagel then spread with cream cheese? Oh, it’s devine.
  32. I become closer to God and really amazed with His creations while traveling. I would see the beauty of nature, the people I encounter on the road, and who always have willingness to help.
  33.  When I simplify my life, I become happy. When I declutter, I feel so much happier. Decluttering is like caffein. It’s make me want to do more and more.
  34. Starting this blong is one of the happiest moment in my life. It’s a new start. A new journey. A new challenge.


my 31st birthday cake. :)

my 31st birthday cake. 🙂

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