I haven’t been posting recently. I haven’t been checking my blog actually for quite some time. I have been unusually busy with stuff. And I also have something new brewing in my life. They take up most of my energy and waking time.

Anyway, since I am in a reflective mood tonight, I decided to do what I love to do during these moments, unload, blog.

And I got a notification. The 1st year anniversary of my blog is here.

Wow again.


I remember I started this blog last year when I was feeling unusually down. Something happened and I needed therapy. Starting a blog was the cheapest that I can think of that time. And now I reached the one year mark.

A lot has happened. From being a keeper of my rants, fears and cries, this blog has evolved into my own personal, quiet space. One that I can always turn to when I need somebody to listen. One who will not say anything but will just take in everything that I want to pour into it. This blog has been my quiet friend.

It’s weird thanking an inanimate but I will still do it. Thank you my dear blog for keeping my sanity (and insanity) for a year. We still have a long way to go.

I am still counting on you.


One of Those Days


It’s raining outside. I ordered room service. I was out earlier. There was a staff birthday party. It usually happens every end of the month. I have no intention of joining today. I went back to my room unusually early and changed into my pajamas. Then I got a call. One of the organizers was asking if I will join the party. I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed again. I have become the unofficial gift-giver of the birthday celebrants. The staff somehow looks forward to me giving them the gift that the management prepared for them and they enjoy it when I kiss them on the cheeks as I hand it over. Sometimes, when I am in the mood, I give the guy celebrants a peck on the cheek as well. Just to rouse the crowd.

Anyway, so the program of the party was over. A long line ensued. A line for food. Usually, I stay longer in the area to chat with some employees and eat with them as well. Today, I was not in the mood.

After the signal that food is ready, I quietly slipped out of the hall. Of course, it will never go unnoticed. Being one of the only three expats, and a female at that, in a workplace of more than 200 employees, everything I do is magnified. I cannot be invisible here. The crowd parted when I passed and jumped into my buggy. I have been used to this special treatment. No, I don’t relish it. But I just have to live with it because that’s the way it will be.

I think that’s the reason why I got sad. I realized, I will never be one of them. Though I can be thrown in the sea of Indonesian girls and not pop out differently as I look very much like each and everyone here, I am still different. And that difference is what is keeping me from being one of them.

I guess I suddenly missed the camaraderie and belongingness I feel back home. Even though I can speak (read baby talk) their language now, I still don’t understand it fully. The nuances and inner meaning of each and every word will never be a part of me. Even though I am friendly with them and they are friendly with me, that relationship is never gonna deepen because they see me as different.

Even though I have lived here for almost 3 months now and somehow knows every nook and cranny of this place, this is still not home.

Funny. I know I am just doing this to myself, making myself feel sad because really, there is no need to be sad. This place is paradise. But then once in a while the comfort of familiarity is missed.

I know I thrive in adventure and novelty but in moments like this I am also craving for normalcy and solidarity.

A Facebook Story


So I got a funny message today.

Guy: Hey Les. Are you ok? I haven’t seen any post (in FB) for a while now. I am wondering if you’re alright dear.

Me: Haha! I am ok. That is so funny. 🙂 My FB has become my heartbeat now huh?

Guy: Ya laaa. Suddenly so quiet. I was wondering what happened to you.

Me: How have I been behaving in FB before? OMG. I must have been terrible posting everything. I am very much ok.

Guy: Everyday there is a post no matter what laaa. Suddenly nothing. No pictures. You must be in love with someone that is why you are so busy.

Me: Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

And then I quietly blushed.

I think he got that spot on.

Fernanda’s Day

It is Chinese New Year and it is also your birthday. How auspicious can this day be?


I hope you are wearing red because Chinese believes it is a lucky color and I hope you ate noodles because they say it will give you longer life.

But what the heck. You are probably dressed to the nines and it doesn’t matter if it is red or not. And eating noodles is the farthest from your mind because what matters most now is that goldish drink with fizzles and bubbles on top which makes people happy and tipsy and makes you kiss strangers in some unknown club in a new city (like Istanbul perhaps) which will give you good memories and something to smile about. Don’t kill me. 🙂


I flew a Chinese lantern for you with a wish that somehow somewhere, we will bump into each other in one crowded street again at the same place at the same time and decide to have a beer (see, I told you I will try to drink one for you) and create new memories again together.

Happy birthday tatlim. You are always in my heart.


Now, have your cake


and drink some cola (from Safranbolu).


Because there’d be no way it will be called a birthday in Turkey unless these two are served together. 🙂

A (Karonese) Indonesian Wedding

There were three wedding invitations on my table last Tuesday.

I never thought I would really get to attend one but then luckily the workplace organized a transport last Thursday to bring all those who can escape from work and extend well-wishes to the couples who were having their big day.

I joined one.

We traveled for about an hour through rolling hills and unpaved road.


Then we reached the village aka kampong.


From a distance you can already hear that a party is going on. We walked a few meters, turned some corners until we reached the village hall.

Gathered there were family members, friends and other relatives of the bride and groom. It was an interesting sight for me. People were garbed in their traditional costumes with those interesting head dress and Batik. The place was just overflowing with Batik, Indonesia’s national cloth.



As the ceremony was already ongoing when we arrived, somebody ushered us in a small area to eat first.

Rice, plates and plastic glasses were placed in the middle of the mat. Everybody is expected to gather around.


I was thinking if they only serve rice during weddings up until a man with a pail filled with steaming mix of meat and vegetables arrived and scooped one big spoon of the dish to my plate.


This was how our plates look like. And there was a bowl of water in the middle to wash our hands. There were no spoon and fork. I made sure I got the first dip in the bowl as it is shared by the owners of all those four plates. That same bowl of water will be used to wash the hands after eating. I made sure I washed my hands in running water after the meal.


The meal was interesting. It is spicy and very tasty. The vegetable came from puso ng saging or the crown of banana (?) and the meat was something I still can’t place until now. I am sure my Dad would be able to perfectly guess what it is based from the taste. The meal has to be eaten fast as the meat turns into greasy yellow quickly. I hope the meat is not from an animal I wouldn’t dare to eat.



After the meal we came back to watch the ceremony.

The families of the bride and groom stand facing each other in the middle of the hall. One by one, the important members from the side of the groom leaves messages for the newly married couple while the family of the bride listens. It was full of drama. Sometimes, one family member will burst out crying as he/she is giving his/her message and the couple will walk towards him/her, hold his/her hands as if saying everything will be ok.


And I can’t help but notice these women with stuff on their head. It turned out those will be their gifts to the new family.



As these were ongoing, I was looking around trying to take in as much as I can.

I noticed that men and women are in separate circles. Women are huddled together oblivious to what is going on while the men are hunched over taking a drag from their cigarettes.



One thing very fascinating for me were the women chewing a reddish stuff. I know it was bad to stare but I just can’t help it. And they seem not to mind especially after learning that I am not orang Indonesia. They willingly showed me how to prepare it. At first I thought it was betel nut they were chewing. But then they don’t use the seed that I saw some old people in the Philippines were chewing. They use dried tobacco (leaves?).


These two Indonesian ladies were such dolls as they demoed to me how to make one. I would have wanted to try and taste it but then my colleague told me it is better if I don’t.


Fine. But I made sure I had a photo with them.


Oh, and another thing about this leafy concoction, they have to spit out the reddish juice that came out with chewing. I really think it is like the version of nganga in the Philippines, only with different ingredients.


So yeah, after the messages, the fun part began.



It was part of the wedding ceremony and the movements were all symbolical. I was smiling as I was watching.

Until I was dragged into the center and was forced to dance with the groom which I willingly obliged with my own version of dance steps of course.


I enjoyed the wedding so much.

It is not the typical one I am used to and there are things that I will probably not get used to but what the heck, this is culture. I am just so honored to be invited and to be able to participate in such a loving event.

I wish the bride and groom a lasting and fruitful marriage.

I made sure I have a souvenir with the newly weds before the day ended. They looked so regal with that costume. Don’t you think so?


It was more than a wedding for me. It was a cultural performance and I am very honored to witness it firsthand.