Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: family

The Feeling of Losing A Loved One

Death. The word you won’t understand until you have a person you love breathing for the last time in front of your eyes.

I never witnessed death in my whole life. I never understood the feeling of losing loved ones. I had no idea how it felt. I never experienced it. Having to live abroad for most of my life, I don’t get the luxury of being close to my extended family and relatives. We seldom see each other, perhaps only once in 3 years. So when the news about the passing of a family member brought to my attention, I didn’t feel the effect of losing him/her. I was sad, but the feeling only lasted for a day or two.

It was only a month ago that I had a painful experience of having to lose someone I dearly loved.

On the 23rd of January, my grandma passed away.

She was my only grandma that I personally had known since I was a kid. The only grandma whom I always referred to as Ibu (mother). The grandma who used to take care of me when I came back home from the boarding school during my high school years. The grandma who used to be very active, full of energy, sociable, and friendly to anyone. The famous grandma that everyone loves, from our neighbor’s  security guards to tukang ojek; from her grandchildren, to her great-grandchildren; from the old to the young souls. The super-generous grandma who loved to help and give advice to others. The independent and tough grandma who was a natural businesswoman and who could earn money more than the average grandmothers in her age. The traditional grandma who were very fashionable and knew how to use a mobile phone. “I cannot use this MS!”, that’s what she always said, referring to SMS.

Losing her was no doubt one of the saddest moments in my life. Until this very day, I still cannot believe that she’s not around anymore. Her voice still freshly resonates in my mind. Having to wake up every morning in Jakarta without hearing her voice seems surreal. Am I dreaming? I have to remind myself that I am not. Even though she is no longer physically there, I can still feel that she is sitting in the terrace, walking around the house, talking or commenting about something, or giving some allowances for her small grandchildren. Her presence was strong that the house became so empty and dull without her. Her death was a huge loss for our family. It was no doubt a huge loss for our community.

Perhaps, the saddest thing for me was when I realized that I did not spend a lot of time with her. But despite all the regrets, there is one thing that I am extremely grateful about: the fact that she would wait for my mom and me to be by her side before her last breath. It did not matter that we could only see each other for 2 hours (that were very precious to me!). It did not matter that she could no longer speak anymore. But what mattered is: I saw my grandma before her soul parted from her body. I saw her beautiful and peaceful face before she was covered. These are the moments that I would never forget.

Ibu, I miss you. I hope you are in a better place now with the One you truly love. Al-Fatihah.

Smartphones, I resist…

My sister just got a smartphone. A BlackBerry to be precise. Her decision to abandon her classic mobile phone has made me the only person in the family who still refuses to follow the majority. My family fails to understand why I keep on resisting to get a smartphone. But I am a very stubborn person sometimes. If I said no, then nobody could change it except me. Anyhow…

It has been 4 years since the first time I owned this Nokia mobile phone. I did not actually buy it — I got it from my dad after he bought a new one. The phone does not look good anymore. The plastic silver cover has been partially torn up. What can I say? I may be a loyal owner of a gadget, but I am not good in taking a good care of it. But that small gadget is perfectly fine. It is working wonderfully. At least, I can make some calls and send some texts. That’s what I need it for.

Sure, smartphone is a handy and important gadget for my family. Being miles and miles away from each other, my family needs any cheap means to communicate. So far, Skype, VOIP, Yahoo Messenger, and (sometimes) SMS are the things that bind us together, despite our distances.

Recently, my mom who is a BlackBerry addict, has been trying so hard to convince me to use a BlackBerry so that she can communicate with me much easier and cheaper. I’ve used that ugly device before, only for 3 weeks when I was in Indonesia 2 years ago, and I have to say that I did NOT like it at all. I had to borrow and use it because I needed the Internet. Otherwise, I would never use it. I just hate it… It’s sooooooooo not user-friendly.

Well, that’s not the only reason why I refuse to use BlackBerry or any other smartphones. I just don’t want to be too addicted to it. It’s such a bad device. I already have an iPod Touch, given by my former boss, and I use it Even with an iPod, sometimes I complain if I can’t find any Internet connection. If I had a smartphone, I’d definitely be on the Internet the wholeeee time! I’m an Internet junkie, for sure, and I’ve been trying to limit it. Limiting internet usage seems to be unsuccessful for an IT geek, so the only thing I can do now is NOT to give myself a device that would increase my geekness (if there’s such a word, LOL).

I’m not saying that I will never get myself a smartphone. I will definitely get it one day (YES, it’s so tempting, to be honest!). But for now, let me just stick with my old granny phone. Let’s just see how many months or years I can resist the temptation :). Hooray if I could stay with this phone until it completely refuses to work!

Chatting with Broken Arabic

Chatting with my most favorite guy is always full of laughter (and full of ROFL smileys). I showed my brother this super cute picture of panda, because I knew he would not find her cute at all. He was simply annoyed, because it was just a freaking panda for God sake! Hahaha.

It’s no secret that we LOVE to speak in broken Arabic. So much so that our dad was annoyed upon hearing it every time hahhaa. But it’s so funny! We call it a broken Arabic because we can put the verb and noun in any place we want. We basically imitate how the Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and some Indonesians speak Arabic. LOL. The funny thing is that some Saudis use broken Arabic too when they speak with them!!! 😛 The bad thing about it is that I no longer know how to speak in proper Arabic!!! I totally forgot hahaha! I don’t talk Arabic to anyone else except him. This is bad! LOL.

Not a lot of people know that the Arabs use numbers to replace some Arabic letters that do not exist in the Roman alphabet. For example, the letter ‘ain (ع) is replaced with number 3. In the chat above, I wrote the word ba3den which means later. Another example is the word 5alas which means enough/that’s it/finish. The number 5 denotes the letter kha’ (Ø®) in Arabic. The word can also be written as khalas.

For the complete list of alphabets, go to this Wikipedia page about Arabic chat alphabet.

Umm Ali


This is a famous Egyptian bread pudding called Umm Ali (meaning: the mother of Ali). According to this website:

Umm Ali (the dish) dates back to Ottoman era Egypt, when legend has it the sultan stopped in a poor village looking for something to eat and the village’s best cook, named Umm Ali, made something akin to this dish. There are other legends too, about a British nurse named O’Malley who may have invented the recipe.

Whatever the history was, what matters the most is that this desert is SOOOOO delicious! It is usually served during Ramadhan.

I remember when I was in Jeddah last year, I was craving for Umm Ali. So we tried to find it and ask people about it. But somehow we couldn’t locate which restaurant served this delicious dish. So my dad took us to a 4-star hotel. Having worked in a tourism business for more than 10 years, he knew most of the people in that hotel really well. From the manager to the security guy. So he asked the chef to make Umm Ali especially for us! Hahahaha. It was the best Umm Ali I’ve ever had!!! EVER. It wasn’t too sweet. The taste was just right on the spot! And it was for free! What more could I ask for?!

My brother (who also came with us to eat Umm Ali) said: “Malu-maluin aja. Dateng kesini cuma mau makan Umm Ali. Gratis pula!” Basically he said that we should be ashamed of ourselves for coming to the hotel only for the sake of Umm Ali! When we finished eating, he popped up the question “That’s it?! We’re leaving now?” Hahaha. Yep. We left and I didn’t feel ashamed at all LOL.

Now I’m craving for this desert all over again. Somehow, the craving and the homesickness always show up prior to/during Ramadhan. Spending Ramadhan in Saudi Arabia is just the best.

I’m going to try making Umm Ali next time! 🙂 (read: when I’m in the mood of cooking). I’ve got the recipe already. Yay.

Relationship 101: Love Language

“Love language” is the concept developed by Gary Chapman, which defines a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. Everyone has different ways to make others feel loved and appreciated.  Some people prefer to use their own love language when expressing love to others and some would prefer to use other love language(s) than their own to do that.

There are five different love languages that Chapman mentioned:

  • Words of Affirmation
    This can be in the form of verbal appreciation, unsolicited compliments, and encouragement. Things like “I love you” or “You look handsome today” mean the world to people of this love language. Hearing the reasons behind that love sends their spirits skyward. Insults can leave them shattered and are not easily forgotten.
  • Quality Time
    Spending time and being there with the significant other –with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby– is what quality time all about. Quality conversation is very important for these people, whether it is about sharing experiences, thoughts, feeling, or desires. Quality activities, like doing activities that they love to do with their loved ones, are also a very important part of quality time. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
  • Receiving Gifts
    Some people respond well to visual symbols of love. Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous–so would the absence of everyday gestures.
  • Acts of Service
    People of this love language view anything that can be done to ease the burden of others as an expression of love and devotion. This can be demonstrated by doing simple chores around the house or doing something without being asked. It is very important to understand what acts of service these people most appreciate. Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
  • Physical Touch
    This love language is marked by the desire to be touched. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face–these are some ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

So I hope by now you can identify the love language of the people around you — your family members (including your kids), friends, partner, or boy/girlfriend. Everyone has one primary love language that they speak and it’s not rare to speak one primary language and one secondary language.

One important thing that we must understand about love language is that: all of us need to express our love based on the love language of our  significant other. We need to know their love language in order for us to speak the same language. We need to fill their “love tank” with the right love language so that they would feel loved. If not, “miscommunication” can occur and they would complain that we don’t understand them because they don’t feel that their needs are fulfilled. So, from now on, let’s fill their love tank with the love language they prefer, before it’s being filled by other people! 🙂

My love language is quality time and I tend to speak the same language when expressing my love to others. I just love spending time with friends. Sitting in a café, having dinner together, or traveling together are the things I love to do the most. This is probably the reason why my brother and I can get along really well. The presence of each other means so much to both of us. I love spending time in his room (and he always forced me to be in his room). You might find us singing or dancing like there’s no tomorrow, talking like grown-ups do, or just doing something on our own — it doesn’t matter. We just love to be in each other’s company. That’s probably why I love to have roommates!! 😉

I do get irritated when people postpone or cancel our meet-ups or dates (not all the time, but depending on circumstances and reasons, of course). I also feel awful when people ignore me or pretend to listen to me when they actually don’t. If you’re busy, tell me that you are and I’d definitely understand.

My only grandma, interestingly, loves to receive gifts. I observe that she would appreciate more if others notice what she wants and suddenly buy her the gift. I remember at one time she complained about forgetting to buy meses (chocolate sprinkles or hagelslag). So when I went out with friends, I decided to buy her a pack of meses (I didn’t plan to, but I suddenly remembered when I passed a supermarket). She was soooo happy when I gave it to her! She overly praised me in front of others, although it’s only meses!!! Hehehe. I never understood why she loved receiving things from others, but after finding the five love languages, I understood why she felt that way :).

So, what’s your love language? If you don’t know, you can take the quiz to find it out 🙂

P.S. I haven’t read Chapman’s book and I don’t think I will haha!

P.S.S. If you think I have so much time available to post this stuff on my blog, think again! This has been saved as a draft for almost a month! (in case you’re wondering hihihi)


Miss Me, Yet?

A chat with my lovely little brother…

Bro: When are you going back to Jakarta? I’ll be there in 4 days until after Eid.

me: I don’t know!!! But I think I’ll go straight to KL

Bro: Why?! Ira is going to be in Jakarta next month.

me: Really???

Bro: Wallahi

me: Well, if she’s in Jakarta, then I need to go there then. Let’s see when I’ll graduate

Bro: what if you don’t graduate? hahahhaa…

me: hey!!!! at least pray for me! ckckck

Bro: oh so it’s still mishwar. Hopefully you’ll graduate 😉

me: So, do you miss me? 😉

Bro: Hmmm… I don’t think so… hahahaha….

me: hahahahha. I know you do!!!!

He never wanted to admit it. LOL.

Change of Plans?

Well, how can I say write this? I’m getting a bit emotional now.

It isn’t exactly right to say that my only sister is ill. Because most of the time she is perfectly fine. But let me put it this way: for more than 5 years, she’s been struggling and suffering. Almost every year, there’s a time when she has to be sent back to Jeddah and take a break from the university for months. Everyone, especially my parents are worried about her. She has a lot of dreams but somehow her suffering prevents that.

My parents asked me a few moments ago if I’d be willing to live with her for 2 years until (at least) she graduates. They wanted me to take care of her and hoped that I could find a job there. This was a hard decision to make knowing that I got a lot of things I wanted to do (in Indonesia) but I knew that I had no other choices. I gotta do this for sure :(. I never thought of (temporarily) giving up my dreams to someone coz for me it was impossible. But hey, it doesn’t seem impossible anymore. I’m sad, because I’m still in shock but I know I’ll get over it soon.

I ask myself this question: am I not destined to go back to Indonesia? LOL

Are you ungrateful?

Your spouse is a gift of Allah to you. And to be ungrateful to a gift is to be ungrateful to Allah ‘Azza wa jal.

Your parents are a gift of Allah to you. So if you don’t have a good relationship with them, who are you actually be ungrateful to?

— Nouman Ali Khan

MasyaAllah. Yet another slap to the reality by one of my most favorite speakers. I was searching for some Islamic-related talk on YouTube about forgiving (remember, vulnerability?) and ended up listening to his lecture about Time, Love, Praise and Encouragement in Relationships. The lecture is filled with simple reminders on how to raise a kid and be a good parent and spouse.

But THAT quote really made me sick of myself. I’ve never felt so upset about myself.

Thank you ya Allah for the reminder. May Allah reward his efforts for delivering an excellent talk. And may I be constantly reminded. Amin ya rabbal alamin.

* I encourage everyone of you to watch this brilliant talk, even if you’re a non-Muslim or not religious. His other talks (of different issues) can be found on YouTube and I’ve been one of many people who have benefited from them.

A Sign of Desperation

Mom: Have you been talking to that guy?

Me: Which guy? *pretending to be stupid*

Mom: You know… XX?

Me: Oohh.. THAT guy! Nope.

Mom: Why? He’s a nice guy, you know.

Me: Mom, I don’t know him, okay? *getting grumpy*

Mom: But you can chat over the internet, right?!

Me: *silent*

Mom: Or maybe you’re trying to hide your relationship again… like you did last time with YY?

Me: Hey, Mom! Do you know that I’m going to Egypt at the end of this year with Asti and one other friend?!

A usual conversation between mother and daughter that is hard to avoid. Every phone conversation is the same. I’m going crazy. HEEEELP!

Reminder of the Day

Don't let technology ruin your quality time.

Don’t let technology ruin your quality time. Use it wisely.

Photo courtesy of Fantasy Matahari