5 Things You Must Do Before Ending Long-term Relationship

Edwin and Sara have been living together for two years. They were dating for half a year before Sara moved in. She decided to move to make the relationship works, it’s easier for her to move to Edwin’s place than the other way around.

Time goes by, they lived as a happy couple until last year. Edwin has to work in another country to work on his startup for three months and as expected, the problems arise before they know it. Every single thing they have been ignored all along, came to the surface.

Of course Sara understands that the startup is very important for Edwin as much as it is important for her to see Edwin doing good at his career. At least once, she wants to see him being successful. It is the first time for Sara to see Edwin wanting to achieve something -Edwin could be anything, but an over achiever.

All in all, three months felt like hell for her, it was a real struggle to gather the crumbs of her feelings toward Edwin. After hundreds of devastating fights, the color of her love finally washed out. The voice in the back of her head who says: “you are in for an endless pain if you continue this..” gets louder as she ignores it.

Nobody knows when this feeling-apocalypse has started. She has no clue, nor Edwin. Well, for Edwin, it’s more because she hides this from him, this sounds cliché, but she really wants him to focus on his startup. She thinks this is something that she needs to work on on her own. All Edwin needs to know is, she is waiting for him at home. For her, it was the right thing to do at that moment.

Three months have passed, turned out, Edwin has to stay longer, this time… for another six months. She was exploded in silence as she maintained good communications with him. He came back twice during those six months, she appeared happy during those days when he was home. She replied “I miss you too” to Edwin’s affectionate texts, calls, video calls… she made everything looks normal, until he proposed to her, to which she replied, “let’s see in a year..” not “I do” nor “Yess!”

Two weeks after the proposal, she told him she wants to live in Nordic country, in other words, she wants to fly away from him and he noticed that. Then, two months after the proposal, they decided to talk it out. Edwin came back home, then she revealed everything.

She told him every single pain she had, which became a thousand stabs on his chest as he listened to her. She failed to gather the feeling that has long gone. She thinks it’s time to let him go, so he can be with a better woman, who can treat him better, who can love him better than she did, someone who fits better for him. But of course, for him, at that moment, she was the only woman who’s perfect for him. For her, she was saving them for future missery. For him, she killed his hope and the future he has planned with her in it. That’s the end of the story.


Now, back to the title. Let’s do not do what Sara did to Edwin. Although she did right on some points, should we learn from what she did wrong and not do that to our (future) partner.

1. A couple should be able to talk about every-single-thing in any kind of situation.

Before you start a relationship with someone, you should make sure that you can reveal every single thing to him / her, you have to feel comfortable enough to talk openly to him / her, from petty-mundane stuff to the darkest secret, if you have any.

Once you feel comfortable enough to openly talk about everything, then you can consider him / her as a potential partner. Ignore those butterfly in your stomach for a moment, think of having something eating you up from the inside (just because you can not talk about everything with your partner) after years of dating feels a like hell, I tell you.

But then if you are in the same situation like Sara’s, you really should talk it out with your partner, as soon as possible, however impossible the situation between you two might seem to you. If the relationship meant to be broken, it will be broken no matter what.

Love and trust in a relationship is like oreo. Once it’s crumbling on the floor, it is impossibe to assemble it, nor eat it. (Euww… I know, right).

By the time you are trying to mend it, you have wasted yours and their time to meet someone new, someone who fits better for you, or simply to be happy. You are not doing anyone a favor by living a life that is not making you happy, aren’t you?

2. Find at least 3 essential reasons why it’s better for you two to split up.

Long term relationship is like a marriage without legal stuff getting on your way when you want to split up. But even though it’s as easy as it might sound to you, make sure you can mention 3 essential reasons. The reason should be something you can no longer improve (like trying to feel the love that has long gone), something you can not fix (his or her characters), something you can not change (anything beyond your reach and beyond your capacity).

You know the saying: “if you can not fix it, let it go…”

3. It makes two parties to make mistake in a relationship.

I am sorry to say that this is not a one man show. “No matter how wronged you are, if you the two of you are arguing, you are part of what’s creating that argument. Even if she or he is acting crazy, your reaction to that is not helping. This argument, all arguments, are as much about you being in the wrong as about her being in the wrong. Until you accept that, you will never find a mutually-satisfactory outcome.”

Enough said.

4. Remember how it feels like being single.

It is easier for introverts to think about being single. It will be so much liberating, you don’t have to think of another party and involve them (nor anyone) in decision making process. It feels like riding a car as fast as you want, without having anyone screaming on the passenger seat asking you to slow down or go faster. All those good stuff.

But if you think it’s the other way around, meaning you think you still want her / him in your life as long as they can, then there must be something you can actually improve in the relationship. No?

5. Treat him / her the way you want to be treated.

Isn’t it a basic courtesy?

Well.. Not really after years of living together. Sometimes we forgot the right way to treat our partner. Do not do this, kids.

Give her / him some respect they deserve. Talk to them gently, cool headed, calmly. Don’t yell at them, nor saying things that might hurt them even worse. It’s an adult relationship, end it like those grown-ups do.


No More Wasted Year

Have you ever sit down  and think how many minutes you have wasted today? How many hours have you spent on something meaningful, hence impactful? Either for yourself or for people around you?

I had this awakening moment last year on November, on that exact Tuesday morning when I felt the need to achieve everything I have been wanting to achieve but somehow I didn’t do anything about it. My pride bleeds as I write this…

I used to call myself a hard worker and an overachiever person. But at that exact moment, I felt that I was nowhere near the person I used to think I am. It kills me to realize that. I needed to find a way to get out of that situation. I don’t want to waste more years… Not that I am gonna get any younger, am I? It scares me to the bone to realize that this time I have been wasting is going to end at some point and will never comes back, obviously.

This can not go on forever.

This has to change… So I told myself.

A wise man ever told me, to reach the summit, the first thing I need to do is to take a thousand repetitive steps to the right direction.

So first, I set my goals = the summit I want to achieve. Then, I break down the steps I am going to take and being mindful as I take each one of them. In this case, let’s call it: maximizing time management.

I did my quick research in order to copy what those successful people do during their 24 hours. Google leads me to Tom Ford, yes, that Tom Ford, the man behind YSL and James Bond’s impeccably-sleek suites.

Tom Ford

This handsome legend, Tom Ford.

He revealed his morning routine to Harpers Bazaar. I am so so grateful that he revealed his morning schedule. It’s definitely not the easiest thing to do as he starts his day at 4.30am in the morning, so I gave myself some time to adjust.

It took me two months to finally being able to wake up that early. I started with waking up earlier than my biological alarm which usually makes me wake up at 5.30am to 6am every morning. I tried to wake up at 5am then gradually, I start waking up at 4.30 every morning.

Yes, I weigh myself as I woke up, just to remind me that I have to do that goddamn exercise. Then I make myself an iced coffee in a tall glass, the volume is 500ml including the ice. Similar to Tom Ford, I don’t like hot / warm coffee. And I swear, sipping iced black coffee as you dip yourself in a hot bath is the best way to wake up. I let my mind wander as it wants as I lay my body in the bathtub, it feels very much meditative. Somehow it makes me feel great about myself.

I do that for half an hour. Then I will start my morning exercise. 20 minutes of intense training then followed by 30 minutes of moderate or casual training. Sometimes I like doing it at the gym, sometimes I like doing it at home. I prefer the later most of the time, as it is not time-consuming, plus the fact that I don’t have to wear anything except my sport bra, it’s a bonus. I’d spent at least 20 minutes to go back and forth between the gym and home. That precious 20 minutes… I could have used it to prepare my breakfast.

I would finished the exercise around 6am. By that time, the air in my terrace still so fresh, I will breath it in deeply and exhale slowly and stretch my body like a cat. I would see Komang sweeps those dry leaves at the yard in front of my room, I would say hi to her, she will smile back at me, then I get back inside my room, cutting fruits, prepare my breakfast as I listen to my favorite podcast channel. Those duo: Chuck and Josh are my favorite.


No podcast in the morning is a wasted morning.

I will not read anything until I finished listen to the podcast. One podcast from The Nerdist usually lasts for 60 minutes. I make the bed as I listen to it, make breakfast, eat breakfast and cleaning up the room also packing up for all day activity. There is something zen as I do all that in the morning.

I believe a peaceful morning makes a great day.


That is the last view I want to see before I close the door.

I will be finished doing all those above around 8am. By then, I will get the hot shower, use my favorite scented shower gel: vanilla raspberry, or jasmine, or red musk. Then take a shower like James Bond. Mr. Bond uses hot water in the beginning of rinsing the soap then cold water afterward. It is important to feel like a badass when you start your day. Well, it works for me big time.

After getting ready to work, I will hit the road at 9am to start my day.

I have a daily theme for my days. I set mandatory tasks for each day. It helps me to stay navigated during the week and helps me to make sure that I get done all of those mandatory tasks.

On the side notes, it’s pretty much irritating when I miss one action in a day or when things don’t go as planned. Like unproductive meeting, someone coming late to an appoinment, and many other irresponsible and disrespectful acts. But then, thanks to Google Calendar, it helps me to keep on the track and stay navigated to reach my destination by the end of the week.

In a perfect world…

I will be finished working at 5pm then hang out with friends or simply have time to watch my favorite tv series or the movies I have downloaded, or talk to my loving boyfriend who resides on the other side of the globe.

But this is a flawed world, the summit I want to reach makes me working on 5 jobs (soon will be six). So I will finish working around 8pm or 11pm. Sometimes at 2am. So, just so you can understand, when I am willing to show up, meaning I respect you that much.

As I called it a day, it would be my time to have a quality time with my loved one. Then go to sleep at least at 2am. So yes, I sleep 180 minutes to 300 minutes a day. Sometimes with power nap after lunch for around 20 minutes, when I can.

Is it enough for me? Will it help me to achieve my goals?

Let’s see in a year.:)

Quentin Tarantino: Blown Heads, Racism, and Psychotic Women

I just watched The Hateful Eight recently. Just like any other Tarantino’s movie, it left my soul crumbled on the floor and I had to pick it up until I watch something else that is as light as a feather and as comforting as a wool blanket during winter.

The first thought that came to mind after I watched that movie was, “why does he really like to show a blown head? With guns or whatever weapon that can make the head exploded, literally and figuratively…” and he likes bloody blood spread all over the place… a lot. To the level he makes me see it as a human’s property that painlessly withdrawn if not flowing from their body, he made it fun to watch people bleeding and died for no reason. He made me a psychopath for some period of time as I watch his movie.

Remember Inglourious Basterds? Or the more recent one, Django Unchained? Let’s take these three movies as incomplete samples for this content.

The other similarity amongst those movies, other than being human’s-body-parts-rain show is, it’s all emphasized the clash between human races back in the days. And he made the defeated parties (in reality, based on history) to be the winner. He basically made an alternative reality for us to see. Those intense, often sarcastically funny, and beyond witty dialogues clearly depicted utopic situations in the movie. And again, those intense brutalities are just some spices to make the movies colorful. The best part of the movies are always the dialogues, no matter how dark the jokes can get.

Does anyone ever observe the female characters? I did. And I think female characters in Tarantino’s movies are either psychotic (Daisy Domergue) or naive, weak and unworthy (Cora, Broomhilda).

The only female character who got a fair image is Shosanna Dreyfus (on the side note: oh my god! She is drop-dead gorgeous isn’t she?), which is also my lifetime favorite character. She was allowed to be vengeful, yet powerful at the same time. (Well, revenge gives you power).

Shosanna Dreyfus

Sweet lord, Mimieux! (Source)

Apart from unfitting female characters in his movies, I get it that he erased the boundary between women and men stereotyping by treating women like inferior men. That’s how I see it when John Ruth beats Daisy repeatedly just to shut her up. Not so manly in terms of common mannerism. But then Daisy is the mother of the crazies.


“When you get to hell, tell them Daisy sent you..” (Source)


25 Marriage Rule of Thumb

First of all, before you read anything, I’d like to warn you, don’t take advice about marriage from a single person.

I am not married, I am as single as a banana, never married and not planning to get married unless someone like Vipertongue wants to marry me and please take a bold note that we are mutually not interested in matrimony. So, you see what I mean.

And over the years, I have been surrounded by people whose cohabitation and or marriage life don’t work as smooth as they planned before (nobody plans for chaos, isn’t it?). And I figured it’s happening everywhere, thus, this note might be useful for some people.

Marriage is a total bitch. It’s clearly not for everyone. But, if you are inclined to weather ‘live happily ever after’, ’till die do us apart’ or have a short memory and an abundant amount of sense of humor. Then, you might want to read further.

25. The honeymoon phase will be over eventually. Be it in six months, or after a year, or after five years, the person you fell hard for will show you their whole quality. They don’t change, they are still themselves, you just didn’t know them enough to see that part. Or, you ignored those red flags for some reasons. And don’t worry, it is common to happen when you fall in love.

Some people can prolong this honeymoon phase by showing more affection and being a perfect match for each other. Nurture the love every day together and earn more love from their partners. But, just in case this honeymoon wears off, the first move you should take is stay as long as you can and do whatever you could to keep the fire alive.

24. Preserve the privacy of yours and your partners’. I get that feeling when you see your partner goes tell-it-all in public, posting passive aggressive stuff which they can actually tell you in person and talk it out like an emotionally stable person. Be it on social media or on magazines. Well.. you can’t do anything about it, it’s their choice.The last thing you could do is doing the same thing and tell people the story from your side. Other than that, stay classy, and keep it for yourself, your closest friends and your lawyer.

Let me tell you something everybody knows, no matter how heavy the problem you have, nobody on social media gives a fuck. Nobody in public care.

It’s either they are being cynical about it.. or, laugh at your problems. Those cats’and dogs’ pictures are way more valuable than the sad story of your marriage with the beau you call perfect in the first three months of your relationship.

So, stop posting those passive-aggressive post on facebook. Especially the ones that similar to “Sebagai istri harus selalu ikhlas dan sabar..“, do you hear that sound of my eyes got stuck in the back of its sockets after I rolled it too hard?  I learned my lesson, and I think it’s not a cool thing to do.

It’s marriage, it’s an adult stuff, treat problems in your marriage like an adult. Have some dignity to not reveal it in public.

23. Always forgive and forget… until it’s no longer worthy. Forgiveness sets you free. It’s not about the other party you forgave, it’s about letting go of things that hurt you. Holding onto grudge won’t make you a better person, nor makes you happy. And erasing something from your memory is not something you can really do. Especially when it’s related to something essential.

In short, when it comes to something essential and the situation requires you to forgive and forget, that is a loud reminder to forgive and leave.

22. Be a good teammate. Life can come at you hard. One of the nice things about marriage is being able to have someone else in the bunker when you’re getting shelled. When problems come at you two, focus on solution, panicking over something won’t help, let alone being fussy about the small stuff around the problem.

Remind your partner to stay focus, then give yourself a time to process the whole stuff. When you are ready with solution and talk it out, give them a sign that you are ready. ALWAYS talk about problem when you both completely composed and calm.

21. Grow and adapt. Things are changing, (most) people don’t. But if you want a rewarding relationship, please make sure you and your partner are encouraging each other to be the better version of yourselves.

Please make sure you are a different individual compare to the person who said “yes” to that marriage proposal -in a good way. Make sure you are more successful in your career, you are a happier person, and you are a better you day by day in your marriage. Because if you don’t think you need all that, they do, and that is the moment when you two are not on the same page, then, one of you will have to catch up in order to preserve the balance. Balance and structure are essentials in many fields.

20. Own your compass. Be it moral compass or mental compass, marriage is for people with a strong sense of belief. Moral compass helps you to be your own voice of reason. You know where you are heading, and you know what to expect from your partner and your marriage.  Moral compass won’t let you manipulate and lie to your partner, it keeps you honest and trustworthy. While mental compass, is the quality of your relationship with yourself. It helps you to be in touch with reality and sustain a healthy mind. With a healthy mind, you can decide and process problems then find the right fix for it.

19. Travel together or travel alone. It is great if you can travel together most of the time. Since I know how it feels like when you want your significant other to see how beautiful the view that you see, or when you want to share the excitement you had when you did that dirt bike racing with your friends and wish your partner can experience the same adrenaline rush as you did.

But sometimes, he wants to go to Bora-bora and you want to do a trek to Galdhøpiggen in Norway. Well, go for it, see him / her in a week and share your stories over potato gratin and spicy meatballs you cooked together.

Life is not always about being together all the time. We gotta do what we gotta do. That’s how we grow together, and contribute to the relationship, by broadening our worldview. Thus, it can change the way we value our relationship.

18. Develop your own interests. Have passion on something, the thing that makes you feel happy when you do it, something that makes you want to excel on it.

Be it singing, cooking, do modern dance, watch movie, play video games, videography, make clothing design, writing, or whatever science related hobby. Have your own interest, the thing that makes you want to spend your time doing it -just for the sake of it, and produce a useful result, at least for your own happiness.

By having your own interest and develop it from time to time, it helps you to grow, meet and connect with new people, it keeps your mind healthy. You will always have something to share with your partner. Happy people make a healthy relationship.

Or just in case you don’t know what to learn, first, maybe you can learn to be self-sufficient. Learn to do your own laundry. Know how to cook a meal; how to navigate the grocery store; how to make an online purchase; how to turn off the water to the house; how to erect a camping tent; how to unclog a toilet. So at least, you know how to do all that.

17. Cultivate a wide, diverse circle of friends. I personally like to keep my inner circle narrow. Although, I don’t close it for new people to get into it altogether. New perspective is always refreshing. That is why meeting interesting people is one of the greatest joys of living. You will get to hear new story, new perspective, new personality to understand and new stuff to learn.

When you are in a healthy relationship, the more people you know, the more you can appreciate your partner and strengthen your relationship with them.

16. Take care of your health and your shape. Yes, your partner loves you for who you are, despite the size of your wardrobes. But, good shape is not always about the look, it’s more about how good you maintain your health. You owe it to each other to be in the best physical health possible. Exercise is also beneficial for your mental health.

Take pride in your appearance. Your marriage license doesn’t give you a free pass to always wear sweat pants and T-shirts. Those batik pants, fedora hats, 3/4 shorts, beach shirt, gym shorts… please take it off. Except you need a contraception to wear, well, go ahead. Other than that, please maintain good hygiene. Could your armpit odor make someone who stands behind you, faints? Could your breath shrivel the whole field? Take care of that, please.

15. Practice self-awareness. Be mindful of what you say and do. Before you say anything, take a deeper look at what you want to say, before you do anything, make sure the things that you want to do is not counterproductive.Take frequent looks in the mirror. Reflect on who you are and the contributions you are making to your relationship. Are you being judgmental? Unfair? Nitpicking? Verbally abusive?

14. Admit that you’re wrong (even, on occasion, when you aren’t). No excuse, no one else to blame, own up your mistake, then don’t repeat. It is easier to forgive someone who owns up their mistake and does some effort to make the situation better. This simple gesture will pay immeasurable dividends; it will help you grow and it’s just the right thing to do.

13. Surprise one another. Fill up the gas in her vehicle, buy him some bacon, buy her a bucket of white roses on the day she accomplished something at work, buy him Sagami 0.01 and put it next to his dessert plate. Give your partners a small pleasant surprise.

12. It’s the good little things, it’s the bad little things. The simplest act and almost effortless gestures like holding the door, bring the shopping bag for her, push the trolley for her at the grocery, suggesting a movie night, rubbing his back, paying attention when she talks, wipe his spoon before he uses it.. can be so much rewarding, the reward is greater than the sum of the parts.

While the little bad things does the contrary, drops of urine on the toilet seat, forgot to buy something important your partner asked you to buy, cancel the plan in last minute, forgetting the promise you made last month, spitting in public, insensitive jokes. These are death by a thousand cuts to your relationship.

11. The bathroom session is private. If you think it’s an old-fashioned to brush your teeth while I use the toilet, you’ll change your mind about that eventually. We spent the whole night sleeping next to each other, give me some space in the morning, especially when I want to say goodbye to the food I ate yesterday before I flush it. And, the only voice I want to hear in the morning is my morning music or, my favorite podcast, or the voice similar to Obama’s.. Other than that, please do it some other time.

10. Don’t make sex a taboo subject. Not right after or right before you do it. But you can do it, say, during dinner or at the grocery store when the isle is pretty much quiet. Sex is an important part of any marriage or cohabitating life. But for some reason couples don’t want to discuss it unless they are in the throes of passion.

9. It’s okay to have secrets. Be open since the beginning that you will want your secret garden secluded and untouched. It’s not that you want to hide someone else in your life, or you (still) want to do something he doesn’t like on his back. But a secret room is something everyone needs. We don’t have to know all things that are not essential about someone.

But over everything, please make sure that you don’t have a Poison Ivy in your secret garden.

8. Avoid subtext. This is a cowardly way to communicate. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hint about it. Hints are for dummies.

7. Put it down. His cellphone, her cell phone. Period. It’s an invasive behavior. Normal people will ask their partner what they want to know and their partner will answer the question. If you don’t feel secure enough in your relationship to the level that you think you need to check his or her cellphone, you need to see a therapist.

6. Don’t over-romanticize past (or future) relationships. I know that for some couples, pre-wed pictures are the only evidence for a couple that they were once a happy couple. It is tempting to repost it on Facebook after 5 years of marriage.

And I know that for some couples, updating their relationship situation on Facebook to get the impression that they are TOTALLY happy with their relationship is cool. Of course, you do it with the hope that your union will be as perfect as you want it to be.

Let me tell you something, you weren’t that great and she isn’t that hot. Keep your feet on the ground, stop longing for someone they aren’t, stop thinking they will change eventually to be the person you wish them to be.

5. You are equals. It doesn’t matter which one of you makes the most money. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the better collection of Marvel Comics vintage edition. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the cutest ass. It doesn’t even matter which one of you can run faster or fart louder than the other. You are in this together.

4. Respect each other’s friends. You know his friend Fredy is loud mouthed. And you know her friend Cathy thinks you are not as reliable as her ex. In this case, know when to keep your mouth shut. No list would be complete without the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” lesson.

3. Respect space and time. Have we not evolved as a species or watched enough Dr. Phil to realize our mate does not want to answer the question “How was your day?” the minute he/she walks in the door?

2. Be responsible with money. No one lives on love. You need money. If you earned it, you will almost certainly respect it. If you didn’t earn it, you must respect it even more. When it comes to money, everyone being extra sensitive and will take it very seriously. Basic manner and respect will help you to survive this subject.

1. Adapting beats abandoning. There will be moments when you want to quit, walk out, give up, fly away. You can do that. You certainy can. But you will probably be doing so without giving due consideration to the new life that awaits you.

When the problem gets too heavy on your chest, take a helicopter view. Will this worth the effort of adapting? Will it worth the wait? How will you feel about this problem 10 days from now? Will you feel better off in 10 months? 10 years? You know the answers to those questions. If you think you don’t, remove your fear.


Dear My Future Partner

Hey, I write this because I am done dealing with those guys whose chemical reaction in their brains don’t have the same components as mine -also not at the same time. You know, that dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin spikes in the brain thing.

And I hope that you really exist. Yes, you: someone who’s willing to share your life, shit, happiness, money, debt, foods, drinks, love (I want to fall hard, real hard for once and for all), cuddles, and hugs. Your everything… with me, in a monogamous – committed relationship. Someone who call me ‘home’ and mean it when you say it.

You, someone who have been wanting to see someone like me, and someone who find me fit you the most. Yeah.. I do hope you exist. At least, I still have a little-faith-the faith-is-so-little-I-can’t-believe-that-I-have-it.

For early notice. This open letter will say about my thoughts and expectations about you and what we might have in our future relationship.

So here is how I put it…

Nothing is permanent in life, you know that. That’s why I wouldn’t promise I will love you forever, never stop loving you as you are and all that jazz. That’s an utopic yet idiotic thing to say and do. And a bad choice as well, if I must say. BUT, I’ll promise, I will hold onto our commitment instead and I’ll love you as you grow to be a better person that you want to be. Be better every day. I am looking forward to seeing your keep-on-growing-self.

And before that, let’s keep things real between us.

We must be really intellectually connected to each other. We arouse each other with those conversations in hours, have a good laugh and share the stories we had. And that will be the biggest reason why I’d decided to be with you. I want to be able to talk to you about almost everything. I want to be able to completely strip off my masks and show you my whole skin.

I’m gonna love you because your openness on almost everything: including on your thoughts about beliefs and religion. You might be a Christian or a Buddhist or maybe a Moslem or, even better, a non-believer. But you wouldn’t force your belief towards me or our kids (if we wanna have any, so far, nobody ever makes me want to sacrifice my life for their future child). For you, your belief is something very personal, so is other people’s beliefs. If we happen to have a different point of views on this one, we’ll be able to respect each other’s thoughts and supporting each other to live with it. And we’ll be happily doing it.

I’ll be someone you run into when you find little things to talk about and to examine your thoughts about it. And so you’re to me. We wouldn’t be afraid of having a bunch of different point of views when we examine our thoughts. We’ll be able to discuss petty-cute-things to significant-shitty-things in a good tone of voices and mannerism.

We’ll love each other deeply. So that we’ll take care of each other in our better and in our worse. In cold winter of Westeros and the heat of Sava… Okay forget about it, you got what I mean.

I’ll be the one who lovingly rub warming oil on your belly, on your chest and on your back when flatulence bugs you in the middle of the night. And I’ll make you some hot chocolate or corn soup when it’s too cold outside. I’ll also be that particular person who will lovingly give you a gentle massage on your forehead, or on your glabella, or on your palms, or simply stroking your hair when you get tired. I’ll do it when you lay your head on my chest or on my lap. You can choose which one you like. I’m fine either way.

We both know, that the world we are living in is a very fucked up world. But it won’t hold us back from being kind and gentle to the other humankind. Although, every now and then, we would express our disappointment over humankind.

Okay, I think that’s all I wanna say to you, so far. A long letter to someone who doesn’t even exist (yet). I feel schizophrenic now. Errr… Okay, let’s watch our favorite movies. Let’s do our adventures. Let’s do what we want to do. Until somehow, we manage to make our paths meet in the middle of somewhere we never visited before.

Perspective: Being A Wife

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

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 17 years old. And as you know, I rejected every one 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 party. It should be 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 teachers in the boarding school, when I was 17 years old. He was relatively young, although he was 10 years older than me, he was also smart and handsome. But the idea of staying in the boarding school for life, terrified me to bits. Three years were enough for me. So I fled for college and asked my mom to reject the proposal. Now he is married to a beautiful wife, three years younger than me and has two kids. I am more than happy to 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 ‘a Ruf 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 relationship 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 comes 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 calls his wife, “wife”. Like, “hey wife, what do you think about having dinner at taco casa tonight?”. Or when a man posts a picture with the 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 by those definitions above, 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 knows that I love him. 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 including 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 thoughts with you.”

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

[SIDE NOTE: Turned out we have to end the relationship. Things are changing and evolving. And sometimes, it’s gone. I am so grateful that I had a very understanding and mature partner. Now that we stay friends, or family, I personally wish Danny the greatest life a man can have. A good partner to love and exciting games to play. We have chosen different paths and we will continue supporting each other in different ways. Just like family do].



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 million 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 a restaurant should not be more than 30% of its price per portion. The same rule is applied in most of the 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 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 million on food while maintaining 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 the 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, zucchini sticks, spinach bowl or corn soup. I spend IDR450,000 for these dressings: creamy tuna dressing, bolognese dressing, cream mushrooms dressing, spicy esca li vada 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. The 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 resembles chicken feet at dim sum 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 are 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 intoxicates my only liver. This thought saves a lot of money as great cocktails cost me a fortune. And I don’t enjoy pilsener.

If you could spend less, save your money to invest on the 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.