What I Think about Running

I did my first running race! Yeayy…on 16th December, I participated in Alam Sutera Running Race. I joined the 5 miles race or 8 point something K race. Never in my life had I dreamed or imagined participating in running race. Once, I used to run in what I thought considerable distance which was more or less 5 KM. I did it when I joined Badminton Club at junior high school. Yeah and it was 18 years ago:)).

And now I am a mother of a child and I once assumed that I barely had enough time to do sport. I joined aerobic and yoga club when I was at my old office. After my resignation, the list of exercises were around going to club  for running on treadmill or static bicycle and swimming. Running in outdoor was something I rarely did. Usually I only ran on weekend, either saturday or sunday. That’s when the street was sane, no traffic, so we could go to city park to get some fresh air and supporting condition for running.

The thing changed when we moved to Jogja. The situation around our neighborhood is running-friendly. No..no! Dont imagine of shady trees or large pavement or even city park. Here in Jogja, I run in street. Somehow, when I run early in the morning, the traffic is not crowded, I still get fresh air and not-so-large rice fields a bonus.

Then the question pops us. Why I run? The answer is brief and clear. I want to stay healthy. Okay to be honest, at the first time I wanted to shed some pound I gained once moving to Jogja. I guess because the life here in Jogja is so peaceful, I easily gain weight. But then, I realize that what I should aim at is healthy life style. I want to stay healthy, fit and powerful once I age. Then the choice fell to running. Why? because it is easy and I can do it anytime anywhere. What I really need is a pair of shoes.

I started running for only 2 KM in pace around 8 minutes. It was not easy yet I was satisfied that I could conquer my will to stop in my running. I commit that I have to reach my set goal. Every time I want to run, I always set the distance I am going to achieve. Slowly but sure, I improved the distance as well as my pace. In July 2012, I initiated indo runners community in Jogja. At least, I have my fellow runners in Jogja and we run together once in a week.

Two years ago, I read an article of celebrity who was used to run several times in a week and she did at least 5K. I wondered how could she did it. How could she have such endurance. And I thought it was such craziness as she considered running as me time. Now, I know how she felt. Running for me now is kinda habitual. It is something that I do because I need it. It’s just like food that I eat or sleep that I take. I find no reason why I stop running. And going to a race is my personal achievements despite a very slim chance of winning the race. As for me, the victory is when I could grip my determination for running and beating myself.

Just like what I had in my first running race. I was very satisfied with the result. Three weeks prior the race, I exercised long running every weekend. I ran 10K every Saturday as race preparation. My personal best time for 10 K was in pace 7.20 minutes. In my first race, I could achieve 7.03 minute pace. I ran happily and excited as well. I felt my heartbeat pumped fast within my first kilometer. I left behind some fellow runners from Urban Mama, with whom I shared same start.  I must have followed participants with pace of 6 because for the six kilometers I was constantly in pace of 6. My speed slowed in kilometer 7 and 8 to only 7 minutes. About 50 meters before finish line, I sprinted competing with two other runners. Finally I could accomplish my mission and finished strongly. And now I keep running and running. As Mbak Pipin, my fellow runner, says: run happily and you’ll want more.


Bali Culinary Treasure

Bali is a word equivalent to holiday…sun…leisure and good food. I think I have visited Bali for about ten times however I never feel satiable of it. I want to go there again and again. Just like what I did last month. My hubby and I visited Bali once again. As we already visited almost all tourism sites in Bali, then we focused our last visit to enjoy the culinary treasures of The Island of Gods. Here I’d like to share some foods that you might try upon visiting this heavenly island.

Warung Sop Ikan Makbeng

Warung Sop Ikan Makbeng is one of “legendary” food in Bali. It’s located in Sanur Beach area. The look of the warung is simple. It’s small yet packed with tables and chairs. I think it can accomodate more than 50 seats at once. On the wall, we found out Indonesian artists on frame. Apparently, the warung has gained popularity among them.

                          sop ikan makbeng

Then I ordered two portion of the sop ikan. 10 minutes later the waitress came with two bowls of sop ikan, two plates of fried fish and two plates of steamed rice. Before my eyes was served the famous sop ikan Makbeng. It contained of big chunk of fish (I guess it’s snapper) and many chunks of cucumber. The broth was yellowish, neither too thick nor too light. Straightly I tasted the sop. Hmmm…savory and a hint of sour blended nicely. it reminded me of sayur asem banjar,  that my mom’s used to cook. Yet, this sop ikan makbeng doesn’t taste as sour as sayur asem banjar does. A big slice of friend fish was served as sop’s companion. The flesh of fish was still moist. I dipped the fried fish with the sambal (traditional chili sauce) and sweet soya sauce. It was heaven. Yummy. Warm steamed-rice, savory-sour sop and a big chunk of fried fish as well as the sambal were a deadly combination.  I ate a lot and suddenly didn’t care how much calorie I gained that day:)

Warung Ikan Bakar Mami

I should thank Pak Bondan, an Indonesia culinary enthusiast for reviewing this simple warung in his blog. Warung Ikan Bakar Mami is another must-visit warung in Bali. It is located in Jalan Uluwatu II/30 X. What warung mami serves is grilled sea fish which is mostly found and sold in touristic area of Jimbaran. The difference is what will you get here is the grilled fish with the same excellent quality as those served in Jimbaran but with a very reasonable price. Pak Bondan says “Harga Jujur”. No excessive mark-up. Customers happy, seller happy.

the grilled fish

I found no difficulty once looking for this warung. Faithfully following the direction written in Pak Bondan’s blog, we could spot this warung from the smoke of the griller. I ordered a portion of grilled fish and a portion of grilled shell directly to Pak Putu, the owner cum chef of warung mami. He opened a box of fresh fish. There were ikan kakap a.k.a snapper and ikan tresi.  I asked Pak Putu what was the difference of those fishes. “If you want the firm fish, choose kakap. Tresi has soft flesh”. As I ever ate kakap, then I decided to choose ikan tresi. Hhmmm….I couldnt wait the soft-fleshed fish served before me.

the grilled shell

We sat on the plastic chair. There was no essential ornament in this warung. Only a picture on Pak Putu and Pak Bondan on the wall. For beverage, there was a cool box with some selections of chilled-bottled drinks. After 20 minutes of waiting, the grilled fish and grilled shell were delivered with the hot steamed rice. Ahhh the grilled fish with reddish ingredients which I really loved. I tasted the fish first. Mmm…suddenly fell in love from the first bite. The flesh of fish was very moist covered with bumbu basep and red chili at its best.


Besides the main dishes, condiments here were deserved another compliment. The condiments were plecing kangkung (boiled kangkoong with chili paste), two kinds of sambal (sweet soya sauce with chili and matah sambal), acar timun tomat (cucumber and tomato pickles) and the hittest one was fried garlic. I rarely found fried garlic served as condiment especially in sea food restaurant. It turned out that garlic fried was a deadly combination of grilled fish and steamed rice. I had to join Pak Bondan in agreement that all dishes served in Warung Mami deserved thumbs up.



New York Marathon

Another reason to go to New York is New York Marathon. May Universe hear the wish I whisper that someday I am going to make it. To visit the city that never sleeps (as Sinatra said) to enjoy the lights and run along 42 KM in New York.

Photo taken from here: http://elitedaily.com/elite/2012/outrage-generators-ny-marathon-tent-provide-electricity-400-homes/

Pempek Nyonya Kamto

Pempek Nyonya Kamto. One of many Pempek in Jogjakarta, yet it is the best one, in my opinion. I have eaten pempek in many places, including ones from its origin place, Palembang. And from my point of view, what pempek Nyonya Kamto offers is as delicious as those from Palembang or other places at South Sumatera.

Pempek is a fishcake made of Tenggiri fish. It is served with sweet, sour and spicy sauce. As topping, you may add cucumber or noodle. You can have it wet or fried. Both are delicious. Back to Pempek Nyonya Kamto, the menus served vary. They are pempek kapal selam, pempek bulat, lenggang, pempek lenjer, and pempek kulit. They also have tekwan. Tekwan technically is not a variation of pempek. It is actually a fish ball served with delicious broth. My favorites are always pempek kapal selam and pempek kulit. Pempek kapal selam is the biggest pempek of all (in size) and stuffed with duck egg. As for pempek kulit, it is made of kulit or fish skin, mixed with flour and the ingredients. The last time I went there, my hubby tried lenggang. Lenggang is fish cake fried with omelet.

Pempek Nyonya Kamto have several branches in Yogyakarta. I have been to its first outlet at Jalan Beskalan 3, Yogyakarta (close by Toko Ramai) and to another outlet at Lower Ground floor of Plaza Ambarukmo, Yogyakarta. The price is affordable. A pempek kapal selam costs only 10.000 rupiahs. Other menus like lenggang, kulit, lenjer, and bulat are priced 7500.

The 4-years of Sacred Union

Four years ago, we embarked from one point of a sacred union. The thick and thin. All ups and downs. Bitter and sweet. Through all of it….we always make it and are hopeful will always stay that way. Happy fourth anniversary, my other halves.

Pristine Island : South Island of New Zealand (part 2)

After a quick stay, yet memorable, at Queenstown, we went ahead to Milford Sound. We departed early in the morning to catch the afternoon cruise at Milford Sound. The distance between Queenstown and Milford sound is approximately 286 KM. It was estimated that we would be there by at least 5-hours drive by car. The scenery along from Queenstown to Milford Sound is very beautiful. Sturdy mountains and scattering lakes are the natural ornaments all along the route. In between the driving, we stopped by to the nearest city to the Milford Sound, Te Anau.

Te Anau was a small city where we booked a homestay for a night. We decided to stay at Te Anau because of limited accommodation choice at Milford Sound. Milford Sound is an option of a quick visit only and not for staying. Understandably, not many lodging options there. According to the Lonely Planet, there is only one available lodging. And surely it’s not an option for us. We had an issue once doing the check in at the homestay. I just knew when I arrived that the homestay did not accomodate children under 10. And it became a problem to us as we had to find another lodging.  Te Anau is a very small city and we were afraid that we couldn’t find any available hotel, homestay or room to stay. Therefore, we hopped from one hotel to other hotels, one homestay to other homestays. Good luck was on our side. There was a vacant room in a modest-beautiful homestay run by a carpenter. So, we paid the rent fee at advance before continuing our driving to Te Anau.

According to Lonely Planet the scenery along the route to Milford Sound is the wildest, most magnifique, the most natural of all spots in the South Island, and probably in all over New Zealand. Been warned like that, we became very enthusiastic. While driving to Milford Sound, we opened the car windows and let the wind blew in. Fresh!!  Once heading to Milford Sound from Te Anau, one by one, the wildest beauty that we’re told before were there before our eyes. Large havana, creeks,  sturdy trees, beautiful valley, river flew across the street that we passed, and the most magnificent one was the the scenery of waterfalls. Not only one but a lot of waterfall. They flow down from the cliff along the road to Milford Sound. It’s very beautiful. The source of waterfall is from the snow toppling over the cliff. The snow melts and plunges down as waterfall. We stopped in one of photo shoot points. The chilling wind caught us right away when we stepped down from car. Rain made the weather even colder and wet.

Our road path to Milford Sound got descending as it was a river heading to the sea. Once got there, we exchanged the tickets in the counter. Days before, we bought ticket online in an cruise operator. My suggestion: buy the cruise ticket online because you will get the discounted price. There are a lot of cruise operators in Milford Sound and almost all sell the ticket via web. Simply google them to compare the best price. After waiting for several minutes, our cruise came from the previous trip. We boarded in a quite big cruise which would take us to enjoy the river. Rain kept pouring down all day. Understandably, it said recorded  as one of the wettest area in the world. Sun was hardly seen. The scenery offered along the river was beautiful. Waterfalls fell down from the highest peak of the cliff. The fog made our journey mysterious. The chilling wind continued blowing and passengers who wanted to get warm can get into ship and make coffee and tea for free. The journey back and forth the river was approximately 90 minutes. Our camera shutter didn’t stop working as many breathtaking views to capture.

After enjoying Milford Sound, we stayed at Te Anau for a night. In the morning after that day we departed to Dunedin. It took about 4,5 hours drive to Dunedin from Te Anau. Dunedin is well know as City of Student where University of Otago located. It is one of the best universities in New Zealand. I knew why students prefer Dunedin to other cities. It is simply because it has a  well-known university and  friendly environment. It is a small city with complete supporting facilities. And everything is relatively cheap there. Our first destination at Dunedin was Cadbury Museum. Cadbury is undoubtedly known as popular chocolate brand. In Dunedin, they have established plant since 1800 and they have a long history. In the museum, we were accompanied by a very warm guide who comprehensively elaborated the history of Cadbury and its development since the very beginning to the current. Each of visitor got free chocolate and candy for free. Yumm!! Of course, we could also buy chocolate and Cadbury related merchandises there. Having been indulged by delicious chocolate in Cadbury, we headed to the Dunedin Railway Station. Still according to Lonely Planet, this is the most photographed railway station in the world.

Otago peninsula is another lovely site in Dunedin that has many views to offer. First is Larnach Castle. Larnach Castle has fantastic garden and a spot where you can see Otago Peninsula from top. The castle was surrounded by native rainforest plants. They have a small cafe where visitors can sit and enjoy the scenic view while sipping the tea.

If you are interested to watch Pinguin in their native habitat, then you have to go to  to Sandfly Bay in Otago Peninsula where Yellow-eyed Pinguin have their colonies. The best time to catch the Pinguin is before dusk. The local authority provides a shelter for visitor to view the Pinguin colony heading back to their nestle from the sea. By viewing them from behind the shelter, we can see them clearly without obvious interruption. Pinguin is a sensitive and shy animal. Human presence can make them uncomfortable.

It was already 8 PM once we finished watching the Pinguin. However the sun was still shining as in the summer sun usually sets in 9 PM. Feeling hungry we rushed in to Plato, a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. Unfortunately, all main course are sold out and only dessert left. We chose Rhubab, a sweet delicacy from Turkey and a Coconut cake. All were nice. Once at hotel, we ate bread and everything we had.

In the next day, we went to Scribe  which is said as the largest second hand book in world by Lonely Planet. I could smell the old and vintage books once getting in. The tall shelves and tables were full of books. Amazing. Scribes has complete collections and I bought some books there with half of price surely. Baldwin Street is another interesting and as for me a must-visit site. It is recorded as the steepest street in the world by the Guinness World of Record. If you have a chance to visit the city center, please do come. Enjoy the museum and cafes around the octagon-shaped public space where wi-fi is free.

Our last day at New Zealand was spent at Christchurch. In a day before, we drove to Christchurch from Dunedin. The trip by car was approximately 5 hours. On the trip, we stopped by at the Mouraki Boulder. It is a collection of large spherical boulders in the beach. The boulders are scattered along the beach. We also bought some souvenirs there.

Christchurch. Our last day at New Zealand. It was memorable as we didn’t realize that the windshield of the GPS was missing. Once returning the car to the rent operator, they told us to find it otherwise we had to compensate the lost. And it was expensive. Hurriedly, we went back to hotel and found out the shield already dumped in the bin. Thank God the office boy was very helpful to assist us finding it. 8 day, 9 nights. We’re content and ready to fly to Melbourne.



The Pristine Land: South Island of NZ (part 1)

New Zealand! Finally, I made it. It is one of my wish destinations and now I could write it off from my list.

It was wet because of raining when we arrived at Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The song from ABBA, I Do, was played by the driver of the Super Shuttle, the service that would take us to the lodging. It made a more melancholic day.

We stayed two days and a half  in Christchurch. Actually not many things to see in this city especially after the massive earthquake last year. The city center, where the old cathedral is located was ruined. The restoration was still on going when we were there. City tram, one of the city attractions doesn’t operate because the path is also not working.

On the first day, we couldn’t see many things because we arrived in the late noon. The activities we did were having dinner and doing the groceries. The next day, we walked down to the botanical garden. It was very large garden with quite complete collection. You could take the tour such as punting the avon by which you will be taken to the small boat and do tour on the small-shallow river surrounding the garden. There is a guide who will punt for you. All you have to do is just sit back and relax.

Next to the botanical garden is the Canterburry Museum. In this museum, you will find a story about Maori people, the native people of New Zealand. Besides, the museum also provides information on the south polar exploration carried out by scientist. New Zealand is one of the nearest country to the South Polar. Understandably, the information provided is relatively comprehensive. No admission fee in this museum however you are encouraged to give voluntarily donation for the maintenance program.

To get informed about the city and the surrounding, we took the city tour by the bus. The tour took about 1,5 hours. You can buy the ticket in the i-site, an official tourism information of New Zealand which are located in the strategic places around NZ. As for us, we bought the ticket in the i-site located in the botanical garden. The bus is typically tour bus with double deck. We sat on the top-less second deck in order to capture as many as possible views along the tour.

It was summer when we were there however the chilling wind concealed the hot of the sun. That was called summer breeze. After completing the tour, we went to the car rental nearby the airport. We did the reservation about one month before. The car we chose was Nissan Travella, a very convenient sedan that could accomodate up to 5 persons. The rent fee was 47 NZD per day. NZ strictly requires a baby or toddler or children to sit in the special car seat. So, car renter will ‘force’ you to rent the baby/toddler car seat if you bring a long minors.

On the third day we headed to Mount Cook. It is one of the highest mountains in the Australia-Oceania. Even in the summer, the cap of the mount is covered by snow. Exciting as it would be our mountainous experience with snow. Before arriving to the Mount Cook, we would be spoiled by beautiful scenery in Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. It was very breath-taking view we saw there. Understandably Peter Jackson chose this area as the setting of Lord of the Ring. The turquoise water was very calm. And because we came in summer, there were a lot of beautiful wild flowers in near lakes. Scenic!

Mount Cook or famously known as Aoraki/Mount Cook  National Park lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range that lies along the length of South Island. Our ultimate destination was Tasman Glacier. However, there are many sites that you can visit for example Sir Edmund Hillary Center where visitors can find various information about the mount. The center also plays 4D movie that family can go together.

To reach the Tasman Glacier, we should go to the starting point from the lodge by vehicle. It will take 45 minute return walking. The path is relatively steep but since it is nicely built up, visitors can easily go up to the viewing point. The Tasman Glacier is gradually melting due to the global warming. When we were up there, we could see that some part of the glacier melted and the water flew to Lake Pukaki. Should the global warming persists, it is plausible the glacier will disappear any soon.

After Mount Cook, we headed to Queenstown. Queenstown is a very small city that reminds me of Kuta Bali. It is packed with bungalows, hotels, cafes, restaurants and of course tourists. It locations is by a beautiful lake, Wanaka. Because the lake is very near, some locations of Queenstown resemble beach by the sea. In Queenstown you can find some places to go to do bungee jumping, which unfortunately we didnt do as we had a toddler going with us. So, what we did? As we only stay for one night, we walked to the city center to enjoy the scenery. As I told you before that Queenstown is very small city that we could do the city walk not more than one hour. We also dropped by at the Cow, a famous restaurant that sells the best pizza int town. Cow was located at Cow Lane. It is the “our pick” in the Lonely Planet then we went there. We met our anticipation as the pizza was soooo delicious. The garlic bread was served wholly with warm garlic butter to spread above the bread. Everything was so delicious and we were very content.








After full with seafood pizza and garlic bread, we went to souvenir shops around. There were many choices of souvenirs shops in the center of city. I bought somes for my relatives and friend in Indonesia. Another thing one should not miss while in Queenstown is stopping by to Fergburger. It’s located in 42 Shootover St. They served the best burger in town and it was not boastful. A lot of burger’s menus you can choose and all of them are awesome.

Unfortunately we only stay one night at Queenstown so we can not really enjoy all sceneries in the city. The day after we arrived, we had to drove to Milford Sound. I will elaborate the beauty of Milford Sound in the next post. Enough for now!


Potty Training

I proudly announce that my son, Avicena (25 months old), has completed successfully potty training program during the night. It started more or less one week ago, I suggested him not to wear any cloth diaper in the night. Surprisingly he agreed. Then, we began the night potty training program. Months before reaching 24 months old or 2 years, Cena did complete the potty training in the day and nite before sleeping. Therefore, completing the program in the night was another big challenge for me. Actually, I put it as one of my resolutions in 2012:)

Then, the program commenced. Before going to sleep, I asked Cena to pee. I also put waterproof sheet on the bed, just in case Cena unconsciously did pee in the night. In the first night, I did hypno-suggestion to Cena. Repeatedly I said to him a ‘chant” like this:

From this night on, if you want to pee, you wake up in the middle of your sleep and go to the bathroom.

I kept saying that to Cena while breastfeeding him before sleeping because it was the best time to suggest a person, including a toddler like Cena.

I watched him along the first night, making sure if he wanted to pee then I could rescue him to the bathroom. Beyond my expectation, he didn’t pee at all. Waking up in the morning, the first thing he did was saying to  like this :

Bun, I wanted to pee.

Then, hurriedly I carried him to the bathroom and voila…he did it in the bathroom. I was soooo happy.

And it continued in succeeding nights. Cena has been sleeping without cloth diaper until now. Learning from my experience, I could share some tips once doing potty training for children:

  1. Trust our children. Put trust on our children is the ultimate thing. Believe in his/her capability to make this program success.
  2. Start the program as early as possible. The earlier, the better. Once your son/daughter could sit straightly, the program can be commenced.
  3. Be consistent. Once your son/daughter doesn’t wear any diaper, offer him/her to go to the bathroom or pee in the portable closet.
  4. Be supportive. Praise them if they are willing to pee in the bathroom.


Quick Style Tips

As any mother will know, being a parent can sometimes mean that you don’t have much time to spent on making yourself look great. However, that doesn’t mean that mothers can’t still take pride in their appearance, and enjoy looking stylish. If you are looking to find quick and easy ways to make sure you always look great, then here are a few tips to consider.

If you don’t have the time or the energy to spend your days trawling around the shops in order to update your wardrobe, then don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to make sure you still look stylish using what you’ve already got. One of the best ways to add the finishing touch to almost any outfit is by accessorising. Simply add a beautiful ring from somewhere like 77diamonds, or an eye-catching necklace, and you will find that you are able to dress up your entire outfit in seconds. Jewellery fashions tend to come and go, so take a look through items which you no longer wear, and see of there is anything which might compliment your clothing.

If you are leaving the house in a rush, then dry-shampoo can be something of a miracle worker. If your hair looks like it might need a wash, then dry shampoo can help to revive it, giving you voluminous locks which smell amazing! A small pocket-sized hairspray can also be useful for taming unruly hair whilst on the go, as you can simply pop it in your handbag, and use as necessary. In addition, it is worth remembering that a red shade of lipstick will always add a touch of glamour to your look, even if that is the only make-up which you are wearing.

what’s in 2012

2012 is going to be an excellent year, I plan. We will start this year with vacation…yeay we really long for holiday after abundance of works through 2011. It will be an extending holiday as we will be off for three weeks. Three weeks? Yup it is. So, we’re now busy delegating our task to our staff so the daily chores that we’re used to do will be running smoothly without us.

After the pleasant vacation, we hope to get the energy and more insights to be applied at our next projects. My hubby is in on- going process of launching a new product with his team. I will be also occupied to deploy several projects which are related to my e-commerce business. And the most exciting is one of the project will be requiring us to travel to several cities!

This year we also hope our lovely house will be ready to be settled in. And once it’s ready, we will move to Jogja. And before it, I need to complete a series of course to gain a new competency.

Overall, we are hopeful to obtain more success ahead this year!