Perspective: Being A Wife

I am a 31 years old woman, not married and feeling relieved for that.

Unlike many other Indonesian women, I never have this dream to be married, have kids, build a family and all that. Yet, I had more than five men who asked me to marry them since I was 18 years old. And as you know, I rejected everyone of them.

Since my early womanhood, just like every young girl, I did like the idea of the wedding, the party, the food, the dress, the flowers, and the handsome groom.. it’s all great and beautiful. But marriage happens not only for the the party. It should lasted for life, “till death do us part”, they say. It is heavier than the glitters.

The first marriage proposal I rejected was from one of my teacher in the boarding school. He was young, smart and handsome. But the idea of staying in the boarding school for life, terrified me. Three years was enough for me. So I fled for college and asked my mom to reject the proposal. Now he is married with a beautiful wife, three years younger than me and has two kids. I am more than happy for him.

In college, I met this senior from another major. I knew him for only three months, which turned out, for him, it was a ta’aruf process. Sorry for not sorry, he was a handsome-geek and very religious, I liked everything about him. But being married on my 20 wasn’t my plan. So I let him married another woman six months later, now with four children (my genital thanked me for this decision).

I could go on telling you about each one of them but I don’t want to waste your time reading my old love story. So I fast forward to the recent one, my boyfriend for two years, Danny. A person who is beyond a boyfriend to me. He was a family member (not by blood) before romance come to us. A best friend who understands and loves me to the bone, he cherishes every single thought I have. We are not married yet, but I said yes when he asked me to marry him. And recently, he is been calling me “wife”.

I always find it cute to see a man who call his wife, “wife”. Like, “hey wife, what do you think about having dinner at taco casa tonight?”. Or when a man post a picture with caption “with la wife”. There is a slight sense of domination over the other person (the wife), but in unserious tone, it’s cute.

That slight sense of domination feels really heavy when it happens to me. Turned out, I don’t like being called “wife”, even by the person I love deeply.

It feels like a job. Yes, a job. And I do understand why.

Growing up in a religious-Islamic family and in a patriarchy culture, I have been watching women around me being wives and mothers. They have to clean up the house, wake up early, prepare the food for husband and children, doing laundry, put the kids to sleep, buy produce in the market, doing home-industry business to help the husband, make the husband happy in bed, help the children to do homework, keep their beauty for the husband under hijab, doing parent-teacher meeting, etc..etc.. That’s a wife and what wife does. Wife is a second class citizen. Wife lives to serve.

So clearly, being a wife is not something I want to do in life. Definition of “wife” in common perspective doesn’t fit me both mentally and morally. Maybe this was the basic reason why I didn’t want to be a wife to someone who is very religious. As I knew they will impose that role on me and have control over my life. No, no, thank you very much!

So I told Danny about this when he asked me whether I feel comfortable or not when he called me “wife”. The world know that I love him for life. I would let him make me his partner, both on papers and in life. But not calling me “wife”.

As a definition of wife that fits me the best is the one that says:

“A wife is a life partner who shares whatever she wants to share, who loves you as much as you love her, who takes care of you and you take care of her, who chose whatever she wants to do with her body and her reproduction system. A completely free human being who deliberately be there for you and you be there for her. Who walks side by side with you and share her thought with you.”

Good thing Danny is a Frenchman. He is familiar with the word: égalitaire. And I am grateful for that.



How to keep a healthy lifestyle in Ubud, Bali, for IDR 3 million or less

(DISCLAIMER: This tips are not for those who use all organics ingredients, there is several organic market that sells organic produce for a better price than the ones in the supermarket, it will cost you more than 3 millions per month. Also, I am not a vegetarian, I eat meat or fish every now and then, so  conclusions may vary if you are a vegan or a vegetarian).

There are background stories in that salad bowl. Let’s take a deeper look into what we eat and find alternatives behind that green juice and purple smoothies.

I live in a healthy food Mecca, the destination for people to get raw-food and yoga teacher certification. Yet, eating a plate of bland and disgraced gado-gado in a restaurant or salad with sesame-soya dressing will cost me around USD5 a bowl including 10% government tax.

Shall I call it expensive?

Like everywhere else in the world, ingredients’ cost for restaurant should not be more than 30% of its price per portion. The same rule is applied in most of restaurants in Ubud. Knowing this, you will also have to include salary cost, rental cost and general cost (which also includes, tools cost and external cost) and profit to the price. So next time you pay for that salad bowl, remember what you are paying for.

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This pineapple-cucumber-carrot juice costs less than IDR 5K!

For the local Balinese, it is a waste of money to pay for all those costs on the price tag. Why? As most of us know, almost 70% of Balinese earnings belongs to the social structure that makes Bali, Bali. They paid for those beautiful offerings that we used to step on it on the road. They paid for those incense we smell every morning and evening, as well as for those beautiful ceremonies that lure many people from around the globe to come to this island. In short, they pay for the biggest chunk of effort that makes Bali, Bali. That beautiful kebaya and charming udeng also cost them money, you know.

So how can they survive with that 30% of their earnings?

Before we know how much exactly that 30% is, first, we need to know the wage for local Balinese. The minimum wage for the locals in this area (Ubud, Gianyar) is IDR 1,700,000 a month (USD123). With bonuses and other additional earnings, the average local Balinese earns IDR2,500,000 per month. 6 out of 10 Balinese live with this amount. Mostly, those are the waitress who serves you kombucha and and quinoa salad.

30% from that minimum wage means IDR 750,000 every month solely for food. Based on past time history before Bali becomes touristy area, this was how much they used to earn in the past, even better. And most of Balinese I know don’t savor the food as much as any avid foodie. Even if they love to eat good food, they would rather spend their money for offerings and ceremonies than on food (that will become human waste in the end).

The locals are happy enough with their IDR 7,000 Nasi Campur from Made Latri in Tebesaya for breakfast. Or IDR 10,000 Nasi Ayam from Mek Susi in Lungsiakan for lunch, and IDR 8,000 Sate Ikan in front of Gallery Tangkas for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good, and probably the best (deal) in the area.

From all those facts I mentioned above we can learn that except for housing, living expense in Ubud is not that expensive. That is, if we adopt the locals’ way to live.

So how can we manage to spend IDR 3 millions on food while maintain a good amount of nutrition for our body?

1. Buy fruits and vegetables like the locals.
Don’t go to Bintang and Delta Dewata to buy fruits and vegetables. I go to this no-name shop near Bale Banjar Penestanan Kelod. It’s on the left side of the road after you turn right, if you go from Cupit BBQ.

From this shop, I buy carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, mango, purple dragon fruit, strawberry, tomato, local lemon, pisang hijau (a variety of banana that doesn’t ripen too fast), pineapple, papaya, watermelon, young coconut and its water, melon, zucchini, cucumber, green apple, eggs, garlic, shallot, onion and leafy greens.

I spend in average IDR 150,000 per visit, and IDR1,200,000 per month (IDR 150,000 x 2 visits (a week) x 4 (weeks)). Vegetables and fruits worth of IDR150,000 makes 10 bowls of fruit salad and 4 portions of vegetable meals. That is amount of meal for 3-4 days.

For the fruits, I cut them and serve it in a bowl. Along with a dash (2tbs) of Muesli that costs IDR100,000 per 1kg in Bintang Supermarket. Enough for the whole month.

For the vegetables, I make dip sauce for it, or you can call it dressing. I replace pasta with these vegetables: carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, zuchinni sticks, spinach bowl or corn soup. I spend IDR450,000 for these dressings: cream tuna dressing, bolognese dressing, cream mushrooms dressing, spicy escalivada dip, and tzatziki dip. I make it in medium size batch that is enough for 4 to 5 portions.

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Tzatziki dip with wholemeal tortilla chips works too!

2. Eat out where the locals go
We need to socialize once in a while to be a part of this small community. And eating all fruits and vegetables 30 days in a row is a bland life for me. So I make time and spare a budget to eat outside. Twice or three times a week won’t make your wallet bleeds. Budget for this category is around IDR750,000 per month.

These are my first option warungs:
Dapurku in Jalan Raya Ubud (spending per visit: IDR25,000 – IDR50,000)
Everything is good in there. My all time favorite is the buffet menu. From the menu list, the best ones are Bubur Ayam, Nasi Goreng Vegetarian, and Sop Buntut. Dapurku serves the best watermelon juice in Ubud for IDR10K!

Warung Widuri in Jalan Sukma (spending per visit: IDR35,000 – IDR50,000)
They serve the best Opor Ayam and Sambal Goreng Ati in town. Their Gepuk Sapi is also to die for. If you like chicken feet, they serve the spicy one, and the one that resemble chicken feet at dimsum restaurant. They also serve durian pancake and irresistible desserts. Don’t drop your saliva just yet!

Restoran Padang Bagindo Rasa in Peliatan (spending per visit: IDR17,000 – IDR35,000)
This one is the best Padang food in town! Very authentic and honest price. They also open 24 hours. It makes Padang galore at midnight becomes so delightful. The best options in here is of course, rendang sapi, paru goreng, ayam balado, jengkol balado, and kari cincang. If licking a plate after eating is polite, I would do that in there!

Sate Ayam Madura in Pengosekan across the petrol station (spending per visit: IDR12,000)
This one is the best sate ayam in town. Owned by a guy from Madura who seems to know how to make a good sate Madura. He needs to provide spoon, though. I bring my own to scoop the peanut sauce.

Warung Mak Yayah in Jalan Sukma (spending per visit: IDR15,000 to IDR45,000)
Mak Yayah is that short-haired chatty woman in her late 40s that came from Jakarta to provide the most authentic gado-gado in Ubud. She also serves Ketoprak and nasi uduk with peanut sauce. Her soto ayam also pretty good.

Warung Bali Ibu Ade in Jalan Sukma (spending per visit IDR15,000 – 30,000)
This is the place where you can get a satisfying Nasi Campur Bali. Ibu Ade serves the best sate Babi and sate lilit ayam which tastes like nowhere else in Ubud. She uses the right amount of seasoning and spices on everything she cooks.

Warung Mek Susi in Lungsiakan (spending per visit: IDR10,000 – IDR15,000)
Cheap and pretty good. Enough for a break between fruit salads.

Ayam Goreng Prambanan near Arjuna Statue (spending per visit: IDR20,000 to IDR40,000)
Their ayam kremes tastes like a normal ayam goreng, but quire run-of-the-mill.

The second options would be:
Mangga Madu in the back of Ayam Goreng Prambanan for their ayam keju and es cincau, Warung Igelanca for their Mie Jawa, Kwetiau Ayam, perkedel jagung and chocolate mousse; Warung Taman for their Ayam Koloke, nasi goreng special and just to chat with the owner, Bang Joni.

3. Once in a month, give yourself a treat or two
Usually I go to Taco Casa, Man Maru, Tartufo or Warung Siam to give myself a reward after brain-squeezing work, or a challenging meeting with a client. I spend no more than IDR150,000 per visit. Once in a blue moon, I would enjoy fine dining restaurants.

I don’t normally drink alcohol except for free. For me, it doesn’t make sense to pay for something that intoxicate my only liver. This thought saves a lot of money as great cocktails costs me a fortune. And I don’t enjoy pilsener.

If you could spend less, save your money to invest on fridge, rice cooker, blender + chopper, food processor and good sauce pan. These tools are essential to produce healthy food.

In the end, healthy lifestyle is not one without exercise involved. Download Skimble app on your phone and do minimum 3 exercises every week.

The annoying part from this app is they constantly “persuade” you to subscribe and pay minimum IDR82,000 per month. If you feel like spending that amount, you could subscribe. But if you think it’s out of your budget, ignore that, and don’t worry, the free exercises are great too. My favorites are the ones that focus on using body weight: Thank-full Body, The Survivor and Candy Crusher.

With all these tips, I hope you could enjoy life in Ubud and be happy every time you eat. Because life is short, eat good food, and be a smart spender.


Page Zero, The Big One.

Oh, hi again!

Gosh! You have no idea how good it feels like to write for yourself, not for work. Even if it is just non-sense-peripheral stuff. (And… I thought to write for a living is a nice thing to do. Now after two years of doing it, I don’t think it is as nice as I thought before, you gullible younger-me! :p)

Well, anyway..

Let’s make a plan!

Year 2015 almost comes to end. I know it is depressing to say it, as we still have three months left, ok two months and three weeks, to be precise. But I think it’s not too late to start something I have been wanting to do since January…. Which are:

  1. Write blog. Two or three per month, maybe more… Says my ambitious self. Well, I have many material to talk about and I think it might be useful for some of you, I hope. Or even if it’s not, It’s fun to keep milestones rants on internet. You know, to show how miserable happy your life is.
  2. Recipes. I have a bunch! Well, for those who haven’t try my cooking, I hope you can try it at home and figure out how it tastes like, even maybe, you could do it better than I did. Which is awesome, right? :D
  3. Doing road trip. Blame Mad Max. I want to do this crazy road trip all over Bali on motorbike. Also maybe to Lombok. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, and what I am going to encounter.. But HEY! That’s the most interesting part!
  4. Train Trip all over Java. I have never done this before. I have always been this picky and overly cautious girl who wants to stay safe and being away from danger. Which is not bad, except, the term danger for me was too safe, compared to the real danger for most people’s standard.

Of course, money is still a problem for me. I will have to work remotely while I do all that above. Well, let’s see. I hope I am smart enough during this month so I can get enough saving to make this plan comes true, I shouldn’t need much money to do all that. Am I?

Whatever! Let’s do this!

#YOLO baby :p

30 Things You Will Totally Realize on Your 30

30. A person who constantly says “I hate drama” is the most dramatic person there is.

29. Silence can be the loudest answer.

28. Not everyone who is nice to you is a nice person.

27. True love is when you love someone selflessly. Which is difficult to do.

26. Your soulmate is the one who tears down the thickest wall of yours and embraces whatever behind it.

25. There are jobs you do for money and there are jobs you do for self-fulfillment. The later contributes more for your mental development and it’s good for you.

24. Pick carefully people you want to keep in your life. It’s okay to keep only a few people. True friend is hard to find anyway.. But don’t worry, you will find each other.

23. Always trust your hunch. It never lies.

22. Always spend the first hour and the last hour of your day with someone you care the most.

21. Money can’t buy happiness, but it could help you through bad things smoothly. Totally!

20. Have a kid is a choice. Not an achievement nor obligation.

19. Virgins are boring.

18. Sex has nothing to do with love.

17. BUT, intimacy does, so choose a partner who can relate to you effortlessly, and has the same level of intelligence as you (or better than you, if they don’t mind). Sexy is being smart, and thoughtful.

16. Being able to laugh at the same jokes is important for couple.

15. Some men are more loyal than dogs, emotionally.

14. Don’t reheat a tortilla unless you want to make nachos out of it.

13. Your poo turns purple after you eat dragon fruit salad.

12. True friendship is the one that encourages you to be a better person.

11. Being alone is great, but socializing is also important. People are annoying, that’s why dodging skill in a conversation is essentiel!

10. Geeks are always hot. Nerds even hotter.

9. Date a man who cooks but cook for him anyway, especially for breakfast.

8. Everyone is dealing with their own insecurity. It’s a part of self development, just don’t stuck with it and not doing anything about it while you can.

7. Never make any promise when your belly is full, never make any decision when you are hungry (except a decision to fill your stomach. D’oh!).

6. Bad people do exist. They might be around you. And they can be good looking.

5. When someone says “I don’t do X” they most likely do. They just say that to make you feel better about it. Which, you shouldn’t. (What’s the point of denying it when nobody accuses you, if you don’t do it, heyyloooww?)

4. Ugly people can also have an ugly personality. Fuck inner beauty. Ugly people ugly.

3. Never lose faith in yourself, never betray yourself.

2. Runny yolk tastes sweet. But I still don’t like it.

1. The most important person in your life is the one who’s with you at the moment.