Tag Archives: trip

An Update (Again)


Just came back from my annual visit to Indonesia. As usual, to celebrate the CNY.

This time, Chinese New Year feels different for me. In so many ways.

Not only that now I am no longer receiving angpao, and instead having to give kids ones, it was also… I don’t know. Ambivalent? I don’t know, I am not even sure how to put it. What I know is that in this trip home, so many things has changed. And, I realised that I have changed a lot too, since the last CNY.


Mentally, mostly.

One little thing like… how I feel when I was surrounded by family, for example. It has changed too.

I used to like being left alone. I can blame it to my teenage angst, but now I can appreciate it more. I can appreciate being surrounded by cousins whom I haven’t met for at least five years, or nieces and nephews I haven’t never seen before. I can appreciate the attentions, as much as I could appreciate them leaving me alone in the past.

Or, the way I reacted to the problems in the family. I feel that I am no longer trying to fix stuff. It was, of course an effort not to treat my sisters and brother like children anymore. They are adults now, and the realisation has helped me to let them go, and be their own person. And they are their own persons, and I am proud of them.

It’s just…

Being the eldest in the family, there’s always this feeling of wanting to protect my sisters and brother. They probably don’t need my protection, not anymore. But it is always ingrained in me, the sisterly tough love to them. And, to be honest, this is probably the closest I could ever be to parenthood, so… IF they read this, I hope they understand if I was mummying them. (No, there’s a difference between mummying, and mummifying. Pay attention!)

Anyway. One thing doesn’t change though…


As the closing of today’s post, I will present you: THE FOOD

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When Mr. Fix-It Is Having Days Off


Belated Happy Easter, people.


It is said that Easter is supposed to be a bigger celebration than Christmas if you are a Catholic. Roman Catholic. I’ve been told that by my teachers at school. Mind you, I was schooled in a Catholic schools, so I just took in what they told me.

And, why? I heard you ask. Why Easter is supposed to be bigger celebration that Christmas. Well… Apparently being undead is a bigger magic trick miracle than being born.

Anyway… I am not in the mood for religious argument. Talking about Easter is supposed to be coincide with Jewish Passover, or that what we now celebrate as Easter is actually he pagan spring solstice celebration. But oh well.. it doesn’t matter. Does it? People will believe what they want, and I could just ignore it and enjoy the holiday it gives me and Mr. Fix-It.

We went to London.

My plan was brilliant, of course, by taking my beloved husband to V&A museum. It wasn’t heavily packed with people, considering it was Sunday, and school holiday. But sometime after lunch Mr. Fix -It decided that it would be nice if we abandon V&A and go to Science Museum.

And then we realised. Going to museums that catered for kiddies in school holidays is not a good idea.

Granted that the queue in front of Science Museum was not as long as the one in front of Natural History Museum. But you couldn’t judge a museum from the queue in front of it, really. Because when we went in to Science Museum, it was packed with people. I hated it.

I mean… I never hated going to museum, but I never went to a museum when it was incredibly… incredibly packed with children like that. Oh the agony. Wished we never left V&A.


Me trying the gauntlet. Should have bought hand gel to sanitise my hand after putting it on.

Oh well.. We did have fun though. We went home completely exhausted, but happy that we did what we did. I wish he could have a longer holiday 😦


We’re Back!


I think I could slip one more entry before New Year 🙂 And yes, we are back from visiting Mr. Fix-It’s parents for Christmas. As much as we’re happy to see them, we are so delighted to come back home and just relax. Especially after all the troubles happened.


If you have seen the holiday films, you would see that nothing would go so smooth. You thought that it was just a movie, and it would never happen to you. You are wrong. It could, because that’s exactly what happened to us. Yes, even when we have carefully planned our trip.

Weeks before the travelling day, we have sent the car we’re going to drive in for a check and service. We have booked the hotel way in advance so there’s no last minute rush. We cleaned the house, wash our clothings and get cards and gifts sorted, so we could go very early in the morning without any silly delay. Yes, we planned to leave the house around five in the morning because last year we arrived at Wales quite late, and apparently driving in Wales’s windy road in the dark is not the best thing you could have for a happy driving.

Everything seems to be in the right place.

Until when we got up at half four, getting ready and slipped our toothbrushes and toothpaste in our bag…

I heard a lout expletives from the back room. Mr. Fix-It looked frustrated and miserable. The boiler busted again. You know the love-hate relationship between the Brits and their boilers? Yes, our boiler had problem earlier this year, and just before we left the house, it went again. It drenched the boiler room and almost flood the back room too. We had to stop the water in the house so that it would stop dripping.

My husband phoned the council to report it, and got an assurance that someone could come to get it done once we are back from holiday. But we’ve already late from our schedule.

First crisis evaded. We loaded our stuff to our car, set the satnav.

AND… the car is not starting.

It just didn’t want to start. I mean… we we believe in sign, we would just cancel the holiday, thinking that it is a sign sent by the universe telling us that we should not leave our house at all.

Luckily, our house is a little bit up the slope, so all he needed to do is to give our little car a nudge so it rolled down the slope while he jumpstarted it. The car engine works again, but the engine light was flashing and it made Mr. Fix-It incredibly twitchy. I googled a little when we were filling up our tanks, and told him that the engine light would take time before it goes. It did stop flashing on our first stop in the motorway service.

That is… when we realised that Mr. Fix-It has left his phone home. And he was the one in contact with the B&B we’re going to spend the night in. Luckily, Mr. Fix-It had slipped in his “emergency” mobile phone in one of the bags. He managed to access his e-mails and we’re saved. For now.

I have to say that this trip might be fun for me, but not so for my husband. Bless him, he could not rest for a minute because my father in law and his wife, and I were just making more and more troubles for him. His dad kept asking him to do some ground work, and I got horribly drunk after my father in law poured my third glass of black russian. Probably the only people who were actually trying to make Mr. Fix-It felt relaxed were our B&B Host.


We are so happy that we are home. The repairman came this morning and fix our boiler. And the car haven’t done anything dodgy so far. AND… we still have few more days of holiday 🙂


Istanbul, Satu Kota Seribu Cerita


Mungkin agak terlambat kalau saya menceritakan tentang liburan saya saat Lebaran kemarin, tapi tetap saja saya ingin berbagi, siapa tahu saja di antara kalian ada yang ingin jalan-jalan ke Turki di waktu yang akan datang. Sebelumnya, saya ingin memberi dua tips mengenai kapan waktu yang tepat untuk berlibur ke Turki.

1. Mungkin memang waktu yang paling pas buat kita berlibur, terutama yang di Indonesia adalah pada saat lebaran. Tapi pergi ke Turki pada saat lebaran sungguh bukan waktu yang tepat. Bayangkan macetnya arus mudik? Ya, demikian juga keadaan lalu lintas di Turki. Kenapa? Karena mayoritas penduduk Turki beragama Islam, dan mereka juga merayakan Ramadan, beberapa tempat wisata kemungkinan ditutup atau tutup setengah hari karena perayaan ini juga, jadi sayang sekali kalau harus menghabiskan waktu di jalan karena terjebak macet seperti yang saya alami kemarin di Turki.

2. Karena lokasinya, beberapa wilayah Turki memiliki iklim mediterania. Turki mengalami musim dingin-penghujan yang bisa membuat orang menggigil kedinginan, juga musim panas yang kering dan gerah. Pergi ke Turki pada bulan-bulan musim panas seperti yang saya lakukan kemarin sungguh bukan pengalaman yang menyenangkan, terutama bagi kita yang tinggal di negara tropis. Tentu saja berbeda bagi wisatawan Eropa yang senangnya bukan main kalau melihat cahaya matahari, kita akan sibuk mencari perlindungan pohon atau payung dan berlapis-lapis krim untuk melindungi kita dari sengatan matahari. Takut gosong bok!! Jadi, sebaiknya pergi ke Turki pada bulan-bulan Maret di mana kalian bisa menikmati tulip bermekaran di istana Topkapi, atau akhir September di saat cuaca tidak terlalu panas.

Istanbul ini adalah kota terbesar di Turki, tapi jangan salah, Istanbul bukanlah ibukota Turki. Ibukota Turki berada di Ankara, letaknya di daerah Anatolia. Mengapa kota terbesar di Turki tidak sekalian saja dijadikan ibukota, seperti Jakarta, misalnya?

Nah, bapak pendiri Republik Turki, sekaligus presiden pertama Turki, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk memiliki visi yang besar terhadap negara ini. Dia tahu benar bahwa sebagai ibukota, sebuah wilayah harus memiliki fasilitas infrastruktur yang baik. Istanbul pada saat itu sudah terlalu penuh untuk dibangun ulang, maka dipilihlah Ankara sebagai ibu kota. Dimana letak Ankara ini tidak hanya strategis, tetapi masih memberi ruang untuk membangun gedung-gedung bisnis dan administrasi negara tanpa merombak gedung-gedung tua bersejarah di Istanbul.

Tahu dari mana saya semua itu?

Tour guide kami selama di Turki, Erkan, mungkin adalah tour guide terbaik yang pernah saya temui. Tidak hanya dengan sabar menjelaskan mengenai tempat-tempat yang kami kunjungi, namun juga sangat informatif mengenai hal-hal di luar itu. Erkan tahu banyak hal dari sejarah agama, politik maupun sejarah arkeologi, yang membuat seminggu bersama tur ini membuat saya merasa sudah menjadi ahlinya Turki.

Karena sudah menjadi tour guide selama lebih dari 10 tahun, dan sudah memimpin tur untuk grup orang Indonesia selama itu juga, kemampuan bahasa Indonesia Erkan sangat baik. Ini sangat membantu bagi anggota keluarga kami yang tidak bisa berbahasa Inggris seperti orang tua saya. Dan, mengenal betul sifat orang Indonesia, Erkan memutuskan untuk membagi tur Istanbul menjadi dua hari. Hari pertama sesaat setelah kami mendarat, dan hari terakhir sebelum kami pulang.

Ide yang bagus. Karena ternyata kami harus terjebak 9 jam kemacetan saat hendak keluar dari Istanbul, menuju ke Canakkale. Ya, benar… arus mudik lebaran. Istanbul adalah kota termacet di Turki, kami tahu itu di hari pertama liburan kami.

Harus saya akui hari pertama saya di Turki, di Istanbul benar-benar melelahkan.

Meskipun tur dimulai di Istanbul, tapi perjalanan saya dimulai duapuluh empat jam sebelumnya di Norwich. Karena saya tidak lagi berdomisili di Indonesia, saya bergabung dengan anggota tur yang lain di Bandara Internasional Ataturk, Istanbul. Hanya saja, karena perbedaan waktu penerbangan, saya harus menunggu di dalam bandara selama kurang lebih tujuh jam. Tanpa internet.

Mengantuk dan kelaparan, saya tidak bisa melakukan apa-apa selain membeli air minum dan cemilan dari vending machine. Karena tidak ada internet sama sekali, saya tidak bisa mengontak siapa pun.  Lagipula batere saya sudah mau mati karena menunggu sekian lama. Alhasil saya harus menunggu di tempat di mana anggota keluarga saya akan mengambil bagasi nanti. Ah…

Ditambah dengan teriknya matahari musim panas di Turki, saya benar-benar tidak bisa seratus persen menikmati hari pertama di Istanbul. Padahal saya penasaran betul dengan tiga tempat ini, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, dan Hagia Sopia. Tiga tempat bersejarah ini punya beribu cerita tentang Istanbul.